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THE UKs LARGEST INDEPENDENT COMICS PUBLISHER Between 1984-1994 I worked freelance as a writer/artist/editor/agent in comics as well as comics journalism for MU Press,Blue Comet Press,Fantagraphic Books,Eros Comics,Dorne,Fleetway,IPC and others in the United States,UK and Europe. During this period I also produced large numbers of single panel gag cartoons for agencies in Germany such as Boiselle-Lohmann and Baaske Agency –these going to magazines and publications around Europe. I also worked as a freelance editor in comics and publications ranging from wildlife,astronomy and science fiction magazines. From 1984 to present I've been self publishing comics as well as publications on a wide variety of subjects under the Black Tower banner. I have also produced packages of work for companies in India,Hong Kong and China. I have also been working as an industry advisor for smaller companies in countries such as India,Canada,Singapore,China,Europe and the US. hoopercomicsuk@yahoo.com

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Disney Is Sticking It To Marvel Comic Buyers -And They Just Take It (again)

Now, when I publish this sort of thing people ask if I am joking. However, I am not.  Disney saw how much money they could make out of the Avengers movie and comics with anything "Avenger" in/on them.  So, amassing £370m in world-wide box office takings from Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney executives stopped flagellating themselves over the sales figures and came up with an exploitation idea.

And it is exploitation but I've gone over this before.

Anyway, two of the stars of Guardians Of The Galaxy-Rocket Raccoon and Groot will be taking over the covers of the releases for November, featuring art from some the premier artists working today. Yes, in November they will appear with NINETEEN VARIANT COVERS!

Marvel’s press release…
Build Up Your Variant Collection With Marvel ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT Variants!
New York, NY – September 17th, 2014 – The breakout comic book characters of the year are taking over the covers of your favorite Marvel titles this November! That’s right True Believer, ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT VARIANTS are coming, featuring some of the best and brightest talents in the industry! Not only will you get to see so many great artists putting their own spin on Rocket & Groot, but 20 of your favorite Marvel comics will feature these one-of-a-kind variants depicting some of the most classic of covers!
  • All-New Captain America #1
  • All-New X-Men #34
  • Amazing Spider-Man #9
  • Amazing X-Men #13
  • Avengers #38
  • Avengers World #15
  • Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #2
  • Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #1
  • Deadpool #37
  • Guardians 3000 #2
  • Guardians of the Galaxy #21
  • Hulk 8
  • Legendary Star-Lord #5
  • New Avengers #26
  • Rocket Raccoon #5
  • Spider-Verse #1
  • Spider-Woman #1
  • Superior Iron Man #1
  • Thor #2
  • Uncanny X-Men #28
“People everywhere can’t seem to get enough Rocket & Groot!” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “As soon as we came up with the concept to do Rocket Raccoon & Groot variants, the ideas just started pouring in. We couldn’t wait to get our hands dirty creating some really fantastic cover homages. This program is really the best of both worlds and we know it will really excite old and new fans everywhere.”

Marvel urges retailers to check their orders on these hotly anticipated variant covers as they hit comic shelves through the month of November. No fan will want to miss the chance to see these fan-favorite Marvel characters in a whole new way when the ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT VARIANTS hit store shelves worldwide this November!

Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #2 (variant cover, Sandford Greene)
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #2 (variant cover, Sandford Greene)
Captain America & The Mighty Avengers  #1 (variant cover, Ulises Farinas)
Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #1 (variant cover, Ulises Farinas)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #21 (variant cover, Dustin Nguyen)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #21 (variant cover, Dustin Nguyen)
image - Hulk #8 (variant cover, Tom Fowler)
Superior Iron Man #1 (variant cover, Tom Fowler)
Superior Iron Man #1 (variant cover, Tom Fowler)
Thor #2 (variant cover, James Stokoe)
Thor #2 (variant cover, James Stokoe)
Avengers #38 (variant cover, Chip Zdarsky)
Avengers #38 (variant cover, Chip Zdarsky)

And do you know something?  Fan-boys and girls are already counting their pennies in anticipation.  They are Disneys "Money Bitches".  This is just a sheer insult to Marvel fans.
I'm pretty sick of explaining all this to people. You stupid? Go buy ALL the books!

Doctor Strange...yes, The 'secret' movie I was talking about a while back.

Doctor Strange Release Date Set For 2016

Marvel are in “advanced negotiations” to film ‘Doctor Strange’ in the UK next year ahead of a planned July 2016 release date, according to reports.

Screen Daily believe that Marvel Studios is in the process of assembling a crew - led by director Scott Derrickson - which will move into Shepperton in late 2014 or early 2015 for a shoot tentatively pencilled in for May.

The 8 July, 2016 release date Marvel announced for an unnamed project has long been assumed to belong to ‘Doctor Strange’ given that it is the only forthcoming Marvel film beyond 2015’s Ant-Man and April 2016’s ‘Captain America 3’ with a known director.

'Doctor Strange' will tell the story of Marvel's sorcerer supreme, a neurosurgeon whose life is torn apart by an injury, but who soon becomes well-versed in the ways of magic and mysticism.


Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix has been linked to the starring role multiple times as Marvel continue their pursuit of a leading man. 

While not yet officially announced by Marvel, the ‘Doctor Strange’ film has been public knowledge since Variety broke the news of Derrickson’s hiring back in June. Since then the director has made numerous references to the film on social media, even mentioning it in his Twitter bio

The film’s script is being written by Jon Spaihts, who is working from previous drafts by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.

'Doctor Strange' is set for release on 8 July 2016. 
Doctor Strange Movie Gets Sinister Director

Jon Pertwee being hilarious


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Official Synopsis for Avengers: Age of Ultron

Yup, just in case you may have forgotten there is an Avengers movie on the way, Disney (yes, Disney NOT Marvel) have sent this release out.
New Promotional Art for Avengers: Age of Ultron Showcases the Team in Action

Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

Wow. If I'd been living in a coma for months I'd not already know this.  But it is nice that Marvel Disney thinks about the little folk out in movie land now and then....

As the Wasp said in AVENGERS: EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES: "That's one heck of a feckin lot of feckin Ultrons!"  I may have paraphrased there. And added something.  But it WAS a great scene and animated TV series.

Well, Do I Look Dumb?

Just got a double email. One from Blogger and one from Google+ to tell me that combined views for CBO are at 2,387,561.

I may be just getting a bit snappy but I can read numbers.

Google+ have offered me a premium membership which involves linking CBO into Google+ BUT this is quite convoluted and there are aspects of control and lack of certain controls I currently have on Blogger that I do not want to give up.  Of course, Google+ would be happy as it adds a lot of views there!

But, no, things have worked out well so far so why change something that is not broken?

I do note that neither Google nor Blogger offered me money.  Where's all this internet monet Southpark told me about???

Oh....I have to be a You Tube sensation first???? (CAUTION -adults only!)#

The Great Escape actor Angus Lennie dies aged 84

Angus Lennie in Monarch of the Glen  
Angus Lennie in his last acting role from BBC drama Monarch of the Glen
Scottish actor Angus Lennie, who was famous for roles in The Great Escape and ITV show Crossroads, has died in a London nursing home aged 84.

Born in Glasgow, he played a huge range of roles across stage, TV and film.

As Archibald "the Mole" Ives, Lennie performed opposite Hollywood icon Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Director and co-star Richard Attenborough cast him again in Oh! What A Lovely War.

Lennie also had roles in Doctor Who and Monarch of the Glen.

For soap fans, he was Shughie McFee the chef in the ITV's Crossroads.

Lennie was also cast as a bagpipe-playing innkeeper during several appearances in Doctor Who.
He frequently returned to Scotland to appear in pantomime, often as a double act with his friend Stanley Baxter.

His last acting role was in Monarch of the Glen, before ill health forced his

Hamelin Newsletter 16 settembre 2014

NEWSLETTER del 16/9/2014

Sono ufficialmente riaperte le iscrizioni a La sottile linea scura - Convegno internazionale su adolescenza e lettura, che si terrà il 25 settembre 2014 presso il Cinema Arlecchino (via Lame 57, Bologna).

A tutti coloro che si sono prenotati alla lista d’attesa chiediamo di saldare al più presto la quota di partecipazione.

La mostra Sottosopra. Voci contemporanee dell'illustrazione svedese sarà presentata a Losanna presso Bibliomedia Lausanne dal 19 settembre al 18 ottobre 2014 con il titolo Sens dessus dessous.
L'esposizione è stata realizzata per la Fiera del libro di Bologna 2013 in occasione di Svezia Paese ospite, promossa da Swedish Istitute.

L'inaugurazione sarà giovedì 18 settembre alle ore 18.30.
Venerdì 19 settembre alle ore 14 Karin Cyrén e Emelie Östergren, due delle autrici esposte, saranno le protagoniste di una tavola rotonda sull'illustrazione svedese.

Giovedì 18 settembre si chiude a Trento, presso la Sala Verde della Provincia, il corso per bibliotecari "Adolescenza e libri imperdibili. Il meglio dell'editoria contemporanea", organizzato dall' Ufficio per il Sistema bibliotecario trentino all'interno delle attività del Decennale Xanadu. Dieci anni di giovani lettori ostinati.

I prossimi appuntamenti a Rovigo, il 29 settembre presso l'Accademia dei Concordi, e a Verbania, il 4 ottobre.

Mercoledì 17 settembre, al Nuovo Cinema Nosadella (Via Lodovico Berti 2/7, Bologna) prende il via la VIII edizione del festival di cinema lesbico, Some Prefer Cake.

Una delle protagoniste dell'edizione di quest'anno è Tove Jansson. In occasione del centenario della nascita della grande illustratrice, verrà proiettato il documentario Haru, Island of the Solitary (venerdì 19 settembre, ore 18), a cui farà seguito l'incontro con Boel Westin, biografa dell'artista.

Hamelin Associazione Culturale ha voluto partecipare all'evento mettendo a disposizione la mostra Mumin e i suoi amici, che ha animato la V edizione di BilBOlBul, Festival Internazionale di Fumetto. La mostra sarà visibile per tutta la durata di Some Prefer Cake, che si chiuderà domenica 21 settembre.

International Board on Books for Young People è una rete internazionale di persone, che provengono da 77 paesi e promuove la cooperazione internazionale attraverso i libri per bambini, creando ovunque per l'infanzia l'opportunità di avere accesso a libri di alto livello letterario e artistico e incoraggiando la pubblicazione e la distribuzione di libri di qualità per bambini specialmente nei Paesi in via di sviluppo.

Comic Event Organisers Please Take Note!

I think the time has come to put a stop to absolute freebie advertising of events. CBO gets thousands of hits per day and comic event news are amongst the most popular items.  However, I am quite willing to sacrifice those views.

Do I get invited as a guest to these events? NO!
Do I ever get offered a table at these events for the promotional work I put in for them?  NO!
Do I ever succeed in getting a table at these events? NO!

What do I get out of all the work I put in for these UK events?  Absolutely nothing.  Organisers seem to think they are doing me a favour by deeming to grace me with their press releases.

No. It stops.  Time for me to be 'selfish' -I'm a person who publishes -biggest publisher of Independent comics in the UK.  Yes, but I don't know so-and-so.  I get invited to vote in the Harvey Awards and others -and I get invitations from outside the UK.

All my years promoting UK comics, the Small Press, my work, my publishing means nothing to a convention organiser which, let's put it mildly, is a bloody outright insult.  So why should their events mean anything to me?

From now on there are no more freebies -and please don't say you never saw this posting as its going out to you by mail also.  £20.00 a posting of a Press Release from an event organiser or you can pay £50.00 each year to have all your PRs on site rather than individual charges.

That's it.

Lakes International Comic Art Festival Exhibitions set to stir imaginations

Please refer to the next post if you are a convention organiser.

Universe Within - Doug Braithwaite Exhibition Poster
Kendal, UK, 16th September 2014:  With just a month to go before this year's Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th - 19th October 2014), Kendal is already abuzz about comics as local galleries and businesses host a number of free comic-related exhibitions.
While art by Festival patron Sean Phillips has been gracing the walls of local cafe Baba Ganoush for a while now, two major comic exhibitions are now open at the Brewery Arts Centre, the Festival's lead venue.
"Drawing on Japan" featuring the work of Glyn Dillon, Junko Mizuno and Fumio Obata has taken over the venue's Intro Bar and Warehouse Café, while "The Universe Within", an exhibition focusing on the work of top Marvel and Image artist Doug Braithwaite, is on display in the Brewery's Sugar Store Gallery.

"The exhibition is a retrospective of my career,' says Doug, whose recent credits include Storm Dogs for US publisher Image and UNITY and Armor Hunters for Valiant, "from my first foray into the comic book business through to some of my current projects.

"You can see my progression as an artist through the years and there will be examples of work displayed that should give the viewers a bit of an insight into my working process."
"The Great War in Comics" opens at the prestigious Abbot Hall Gallery on 28th September (running until 6th December), featuring art from 'Charley's War' by Joe Colquhoun, 'White Death' by Charlie Adlard and 'Ghosts of Passchendaele' by Ivan Petrus. While you'll be able to visit this terrific exhibition for free over the Festival weekend if you have a ticket for any Festival event, there is an admission charge to the Gallery at any other time.
"The Magic of Metaphrog" featuring the work of one of Scotland's most innovative comic art teams opens in Kendal Library on 1st October, exhibiting pages from their hand-painted graphic novels Louis – Night Salad and Louis - Red Letter Day, along with brand new material from their forthcoming graphic novel to be released by Papercutz in 2015.
At the end of this month, comics will take over shop windows across the town with the "Windows Trail", involving both business and locals with the creation of fun displays of comics and comic-related ephemera. The aim of this is to draw the local community into the enthusiasm visiting comic creators have for their art, echoing similar ‘outreach’ work that is part and parcel of long-establish European comic festivals such as Angouleme.
Over the Festival Weekend, Ruskin's Bar will celebrate 75 Years of Batman with artworks inspired by the character, designed by students of Kendal College; art by Oliver East will grace the Brewery's Studio Theatre, created as part of the Festival-backed "Cumbrian Yarn" project; and the VIZ comic team will be exhibiting work from the comic as part of "VIZ UnMasked" in Elephant's Yard.
Artist Doug Braithwaite has high praise for the Lakes Festival after being one of the guests last year, and is looking forward to returning to the town in October.

"For those trying to break in to the industry, festivals and cons are great for meeting other creators who are also trying to break in," he feels. "Writers meet artists they can collaborate with, ideas get bandied about, they’re places of creativity where you’ll make some lifelong friends.

"They’re also places where you can meet the established creators and talk to them and, if you’re lucky, you might get your work looked at by an editor. They are great places to network, make friends and contacts and generally absorb some of what the industry is about."
• Tickets for all the events at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th - 19th October) are on sale now. For the full guest list, details of events and exhibitions and bookings visit: www.comicartfestival.com

• Full festival programme released! You can now view the full festival programme online here on Issuu

Exhibition Dates, Information and Venues

Sean Phillips at Baba Ganoush
Unit 4, Berrys Yard 27, Finkle Street, Kendal LA9 4AB. Web: www.baba-ganoush.co.uk
Please check Baba Ganoush website for opening times. Free
A selection of images from last year's fantastic The Art of Sean Phillips exhibition in one of Kendal's top cafés, to help raise local awareness of this year’s upcoming Festival

The Universe Within: The Art of Doug Braithwaite
The Sugar Store Gallery, The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal. Web: www.breweryarts.co.uk
Runs until 26th October 2014. Free
Explore top comic artist Doug’s working process, as well as see some of his finished artwork, and find out why he is considered to be a truly “fine” artist both within and beyond the comic art world.

Drawing on Japan
Intro Bar and Warehouse Café, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal (usual opening hours)
Runs until 26th October 2014. Free
Three acclaimed international artists exhibit work which draws on Japan for their influence, style and inspiration : Glyn Dillon, Junko Mizuno and Fumio Obata.

The Magic of Metaphrog
Kendal Library, Stricklandgate, Kendal (usual opening hours)
1st – 31st October 2014. Free
Multiple-award-nominated Metaphrog will be exhibiting pages from their hand-painted graphic novels Louis – Night Salad and Louis - Red Letter Day, along with brand new material from their forthcoming graphic novel to be released by Papercutz in 2015.

Oliver East :The Homesick Truant’s Cumbrian Yarn
Studio Theatre, Brewery Arts Centre and The Factory, Kendal
17 - 19th October 2014. Free
Oliver East is one of a new wave of comic creators who takes both art and comics in uncharted directions. East gets his energy from being out on the road, from following a predetermined path and taking what chance and the elements throw at him. During the harsh winter and of 2014 Oliver began his most ambitious project to date.
Commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, East walked over 140 miles in 10 stages from Arnside train station to Carlisle train station taking in the 30+ train stations that form the Cumbrian Coastal Train Line. Keeping as close as possible to the train line and intently observing his surroundings but without taking photos or making detailed sketches, East focused on the humdrum incidentals of the landscape and human activity. Later he drew and made comics, one for each stage of the journey. The end results, in dramatic monochrome, are not documentary but revelatory.

Windows on Comic Art Trail 2014
Taking over the windows of over 30 businesses stretching across the town, from Youdells to Kendal Fisheries and Oxfam to Waterstones
3rd to 24th October. Free

The Great War in Comics
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal. Web: www.abbothall.org.uk
28th September – 6th December 2014, Monday - Saturday 10.30am - 5.00pm, Sunday 19 October noon - 4.00pm. Free entry with any festival ticket 17-19th October (Entry fee applies outside of festival allowing access to all exhibitions)
Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Abbot Hall Art Gallery and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival bring together for the first time the work of three internationally-acclaimed artists who have shed new light on this conflict through the medium of comic art: Charlie Adlard, Joe Colquhoun and Ivan Petrus.

VIZ UnMasked
Elephant's Yard, Kendal, 17th - 19th October. Free
The ever-irreverent VIZ team are promoting their Lakes Festival exhibition plans with this satirical take on the British Library’s recent Comics UnMasked poster by Jamie Hewlett.

The Batcave at Ruskin's Bar
Ruskins Bar, Yard 2, Stricklandgate, Kendal LA9 4ND. Web: www.ruskinsbar.com
Opening Times: Friday 17th October 5.00 pm - 1.00 am | Saturday 18th October 10.30am - 1.00am (family-friendly until 5.00pm) | Sunday 19th October 11.00am - 1.00am (family-friendly until 5.00pm)
Quickly... To The BatCave! Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the weird and wonderful world of Batman where the Lakes Festival goes a bit batty with an installation created by the multi-talented creative arts students (past and present) of award-winning Kendal College. Experience the mystery and atmosphere of the BatCave, come and meet the Dark Knight himself and some of the characters that make up this legendary story.

• Sign up for the Festival's newsletter here for the latest news! Web: www.comicartfestival.com

About the 2014 Lakes International Comic Art Festival

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October 2014) is a new kind of comic art event in the UK. Modelled on a European-style festival it aims to take over the market town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District, with comic art presenting the widest range of genres. Events include a 24 Hour Comic Marathon, children’s comic workshops, talks, signings, Great War in Comics art exhibition and a Comics Fair. 
The huge line up of guests at this year's Lakes International Comic Art Festival include the acclaimed comics creator and newspaper strip artist Nick Abadzis (author of Laika); Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard; Storm Dogs and UNITY artist Doug BraithwaiteFables and Sandman artist Mark Buckingham; The Mire and Wolves creator Becky Cloonan; Alec and From Hell artist Eddie Campbell; veteran publisher Dez SkinnWatchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons; digital comics pioneer Scott McCloud; Japanese artist Junko Mizuno; Drowntown co-creator Robbie Morrison; leading US comics writer Gail Simone; the creator of the multi-award winning Bone Jeff Smith; and Grandville and Luther Arkwright author Bryan Talbot, one of the Festival's patrons alongside Sean Phillips and Mary Talbot and Emma Vieceli, will also join other comic creators for Kendal's second comics extravaganza.

• Visit the Festival web site for the full guest list announced so far

24 Hour Comic Marathon

The 24 Hour Comic Marathon creative team is: Dan Berry, Marathon curator and producer; Kristyna Baczynski (NME), Warwick Johnson Cadwell (Tank Girl), Joe Decie (The Accidental Salad) Sarah McIntyre (Oliver and the Seawigs, shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2014), Fumio Obata (author of the graphic novel Just So Happens) and Jack Teagle.

• For more information about the 24 Hour Comic Marathon visit: www.comicartfestival.com/competitions

Festival Sponsors and Benefactors

The Patrons of the Festival are comic creators Sean Phillips, Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot and Emma Vieceli.

The Festival is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, with funding from South Lakeland District Council and Kendal Town Council working in partnership with the Brewery Arts Centre and Kendal College.

Commercial sponsors include the Westmorland Shopping Centre, SEQUENTIAL and Knockabout.