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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

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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Could The New James Bond Be Hugh Jackman?

I love how, if a movie has been announced or someone needs to be replaced in a franchise the number of "names" suddenly put forward sky-rockets. It's interesting in that in 99.% of the cases not one single person named ends up in the role/movie.

You'll notice that my name has not been put forward?  Basically, I  decided that I was looking for a more high profile franchise to star in.

Anyway, according to moviepilot.com: http://moviepilot.com/posts/3521792-new-bond-jackman-hugh-jackman?lt_source=external,manual here is the tittle-tattle!

by ⋅ 
Hugh Jackman might have turned down the role of James Bond once before in favor of Wolverine's Adamantium claws, but the 46-year-old Australian actor has had a change of heart when it comes to the idea of getting suited and booted as 007.

In a recent interview with Time, Jackman explained how he turned down the coveted opportunity in 2002 because he felt like "it would box me in too much" along with stretching himself too thin while perfecting his role as Wolverine. He told interviewers that:
"At the time I was just about to do X-Men 2 and I was like, ‘Ah, I don’t think it’s the right time.'"
Filming X-Men 2 was too hectic to consider Bond
Filming X-Men 2 was too hectic to consider Bond
However, now his time as Wolverine is rapidly coming to an end with the final movie being released in 2017, Jackman has reconsidered his priorities and publicly expressed that he'd "seriously consider" being recruited into the half a century old franchise.

Although Daniel Craig hasn't confirmed he is leaving the franchise just yet, Jackman's colossal and dedicated fan following will probably give him an edge over other candidates being considered for the role.

While some might be skeptical because of Jackman's age (he is currently 46), it's worth noting that Sean Connery was only a year younger when he first stepped into Bond's impeccably buffed shoes and went on to play the spy until over a decade later when he was 57 years old.

For now, we will just have to see if the offer is extended to Jackman once more, but I for one would be thrilled to see him as the new Bond.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Ruffalo Reveals the Hulk Won't Be in "Civil War"

I am sorry, but despite the last couple of days I almost chuckled when I saw Comics Vine News used Google Translate but did not tidy up the translation so it reads weirdly. I ain't tidying it up:http://www.comicvine.com/articles/mark-ruffalo-reveals-the-reason-hulk-wont-be-in-ci/1100-153438/

There will be no "Hulk Smash" in next year's Marvel film.

The back and forth debate to whether or not Mark Ruffalo will be playing Bruce Banner/Hulk in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film may have come to an end. At the Venice Film Festival, badtaste talked to Ruffalo and asked him whether or not Hulk will be in the upcoming Captain America film.
I thought that I would be in the film, but in the end evidently believe that reveal what happened Hulk is something too big, and Marvel wants to use this information later. My character had been inserted in the script, but then it was taken away. Who knows, maybe Hulk will never return. However, they want to keep the revelation of what happened a secret, because it is something really big
Translated by Google
Hulk was in the script, then taken out because something bigger is going on. That leads to a few new questions. Does that mean Bruce Banner is going to be in the film then? Many fans are still hoping for Ruffalo to appear in the movie, and clinging to that like there's no tomorrow. Many people are speculating that this big secret is somehow going to lead to a Planet Hulk movie, based off the comic story line where Hulk crash lands on a planet and fights his way through gladiator battles in order to become king. It's widely considered to be one of the best Hulk story lines.


A Planet Hulk film still feels a little far-fetched, but something else to wonder about is if fans will even get another stand-alone Hulk film. What do you think? Captain America: Civil War opens on May 6, 2016.
 ________________________________________________________________________________

Pity if we don't see Ruffalo as Banner because, having seen all the stand alone movies (including that over long awful first one by Ang Lee) I think he has nailed the portrayal of Bruce Banner.  But this is movies and movies....http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/rtk3ngtw71ot9mzjzneb.jpg

Confirmation Of What I wrote (at last): Did Disney Deem Avengers: Age Of Ultron A Failure?

Ben Bussey, at Yahoo! Movies, wrote a piece that confirms exactly what I wrote a good while back and it's interesting to see confirmation. You doubted your Uncle terry!

https://uk.movies.yahoo.com/post/128321997761/did-disney-deem-avengers-age-of-ultron-a-failure

I do, however, think that it is stretching things to believe that Disney are going to take artistic creativity more seriously.

Why? Look at the comics and the movie universe.  The movies are good, if nothing to do with the characters and comics that Disney bought.  But there is really only one thing Disney wants and likes and that is money.  The $ versus creativity.  Creativity loses every time.
_____________________________________________________________________________

image
Can a feature film really earn gross profits of just over $1.4 billion worldwide during its theatrical run - and still be considered a disappointment by its studio?

According to a report at Bleeding Cool, this has been the case for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ at Marvel’s parent studio Disney.

BC’s sources tell them that “although the film made a lot of money and got okay reviews, it didn’t make enough money. Or get as good reviews as the first. People, basically, didn’t go back for seconds.”

It would seem Disney were hoping to see the superhero sequel break the record set by its 2012 predecessor, which was until recently the third biggest box office hit ever - until that record was broken earlier this year, not by ‘Age of Ultron’ but by Universal’s ‘Jurassic World.’


As absurd as it may seem to look at box office takings of over a billion dollars as a failure, we might note last year’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ managed over $700 million worldwide, and was still deemed a series-killing flop.

However, it is important to note that the Hollywood studios tend to be particularly concerned with how well their films perform domestically, and ‘Age of Ultron’ grossed just shy of $478 million - less than a third of its overall takings - in the USA, whilst the original made just over $623 million.

‘Age of Ultron’ was also a more expensive film to make, with a production budget of $250 million - $30 million more than its predecessor. And that’s not taking into account marketing and distribution costs.

image 
 Still, it might not all be about the money. Indeed, it’s quite encouraging to think this could be an indication that the top brass at Disney take the creative side as seriously as the profits.

After all, it is fair to acknowledge that, at the end of the day, ‘Age of Ultron’ just didn’t have the same cultural impact that the original ‘Avengers’ had.

Bleeding Cool’s report ties in closely with the recent revelations coming out of the Marvel/Disney camp that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has disbanded the Marvel Creative Comittee, considered instrumental both in shaping the MCU as it stands, but also driving many directors to despair with their micro-management.
‘Avengers’ writer-director Joss Whedon made little secret of the intense pressure he was under making the sequel, saying the experience “broke me a little.” This of course fueled his decision not to return for ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’

Most notoriously, the demands of the Marvel Creative Committee are believed to have driven Edgar Wright to drop out of ‘Ant-Man.’

With the Creative Committee seemingly held responsible for the (relative) disappointment of ‘Age of Ultron,’ does their dismissal bode well for future MCU filmmakers - notably Joe and Anthony Russo, directors tasked with ‘Captain America: Civli War’ and the two-volume ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ - being able to make their films with greater freedom and less external pressure?

Maybe so - but still, the notion of a film earning a ten figure sum at the box office yet being regarded a let-down certainly gives one pause for thought about the state of things in Hollywood.

Picture Credit: Marvel

"Octobriana: The Underground History" launches!

After yesterday's major downer I decided to read a book that had arrived and that I had been looking forward to. ....
 
John A. Short
Kult Creations http://kultcreations.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/october-fest-octobriana-underground.html
16 x 24 cms
Perfect bound
116 pages,
b&w and colour illustrations plus photographs
UK £9.99     Eur  £11.99  Outside Europe £13.99


'Octobriana: The Underground History' by John A. Short, published by Kult Creations is a numbered, signed, book - limited to just 300 copies... 120 PAGES LONG. LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED. 

It contains the full story behind the original book that introduced the cult communist superheroine to the world. It also features a full breakdown of all her uses and appearances since - in comics, movies and audio drama... From 'The Adventures of Luther Arkwright' to the David Bowie and Billy Idol connections. 

NEW COMIC STRIP ACTION - written by J.A. Short & illustrated in full colour by GABRIELLE NOBLE (and containing the Devil Woman's full origin story.) And with bonus new Octobriana illustrations by NEIL EDWARDS, HUNT EMERSON and VINCE DANKS . Fully painted covers by SIMON BREEZE. It's going to be REVOLUTIONARY! 

Is the book what I thought it might be?  Well, to that I have to give a resounding "NO!"  As I read through it and looked at the art and images I realised that it was far better than I expected. 

Having looked at the photo of Petr Sadecky I realised that I had met him in the early 1980s at a UK Comic Art Convention. Bearded and full of what the comic scene in then Czechoslovakia held for us and I even got a couple of Czech comics.  I got an address in Germany and....that was it. Reading Short's book I think that sums up Sadecky.

What Short has managed to do is dig out old articles and gather information that lets him cut through the whole Sadecky-Octobriana story which has a lot of twists and turns.  And information on the real Octobriana (or "Amazona") artists and their part in this story.  There is even a stripography of Octobriana appearances in comic strip and film format and more.

Octobriana is a character shrouded in a lot of confusion and more than a few bad rumours.  Short has written a book that has to be seen as the ultimate source-book on the subject and proves people can still write interesting and original books about comics.

And then there is the full colour origin story which really could not be much better and is pure Octobriana from start to finish!

10 out of 10 and highly recommended

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Sci-Fi Janet 1963 - 2015


You WILL be missed.





Tempus fugit
 Sci-Fi Janet

I Skip. I Sing. I Draw. (and I may fart a bit too much)

 Above: 2013 and one of these Old Farts is a lot older than the other...Mr Brown? ahem.


Back in October, 2014, I wrote an incredible post.  It should have won an award.  It DID. It won the Hooper Pillitser.  Remember "I'm Too Radical For The Kids"?  If not -here: http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/im-too-radical-for-kids-bczf.html

Why am I mentioning this now?  Simple.  If you watched Howlermouse and his DC 52  rant video (just go down this page a post or two) I think it was one of his best video blogs.  Firstly, he lives in the United States, has been a life long DC comics fan and collector and, more importantly, I don't know him and he does not know me.

Again, why is that important?  Firstly, because he has underscored literally everything I have written about Marvel and DC and, to an extent, the current "new fans" and how the companies are treating their fans as morons who are told what they want in comics because it is the latest "cash cow" plan. I think "Enough is enough!" has been screamed out by so many long time comic fans that if Marvel and DC really did have that open-ness to fans and creativity of the 1960s/1970s they would have taken notice long ago.

Instead, we all know that DC and Marvel are run by "suits" who get a great deal of sexual gratification when they see that $ sign....the higher the number the better it gets (though some require sedating when it gets too intense).

Another point was that George Perez is "one of the old guys" but the companies don't pull them into conventions because they want, what they see as young, hip and cool creators so that their companies look young, hip and cool.  Some of the "old guys" do get to comic book conventions like Perez or Neal Adams but usually independent of Marvel or DC.  You know, the "young, hip and cool" are not that good and people like Sal Buscema have to tidy up and make their comic work presentable.  Do these old guys get credit?  HELL NO!!  Is DC or Marvel going to tell their purchasers (I won't say "fans") that "old guys" have to finish off the latest 'star's' work because he is not capable?

WHY do you need six pencillers and some times even more inkers on one feckin comic???  You work it out.  In the old days when quality was the key word and artists pencilled and inked without a computer it was one penciller and one inker unless a deadline had been moved up and so a book had to be rushed through.

My conversations with youngsters (I'm old and "rad" enough to be able to write that) on putting comics together usually goes like this.

Me: "I pencil straight onto the page then ink it"
Anon: "What computer program?"
Me: "Don't use one for anything but lettering"
Anon:"So HOW do you draw -?"
Me: "I use a pencil -different types- and then various pens for inking or brush and ink for solid black areas"
Anon:"On the computer?"

At this point I usually pull out pencils and a pen and demonstrate.  Usually to dumbfounded expressions.

Me: "Like that"
Anon: "You...pencil...AND you...ink??"
Me: "You got it! "

A silence usually falls as the person stares at what I've drawn.  It's almost like them trying to push their brains through thick molasses!

Anon: "Every page?"
Anon: "You don't do any drawing on the computer?"
Me: "No. Not one page. Only lettering because I simply cannot letter to any publishable standard -that I use the computer for"

Oh lords!  They see a colour illo and when I explain I used colour inks, water colours or a mix of tools a few have to be taken away in an ambulance.

Come on, I am not the only one out there does this and it surely cannot be beyond the little minds to understand that I use a pencil for what pencils were designed for and pens and inks for what they were designed for?

I almost feel like I've been thawed from a block of ice having been frozen in 1950!

Jim Lee does drawing demoes at events using a Wacom. Big feckin deal.  I've seen one after another "computer artists" have near nervous breakdowns when their computers fail because everything -everything- is stored on it.  "Art studio", comic work -everything.  I just have to go to my folders and pull pages out.  Word.

"Old school" they say to me.  "Artist" is how I normally respond to the non-pain-in-the-ass ones.

In the United States and UK "it's all about age", as Bollo once said.  Howlermouse nailed that.  And I pointed it out in my "Too Radical" post.  I mentioned how I got the strange looks and even the rudeness of other creators there -and it really did seem to be because of my age.  Drawing, writing and publishing comics at my age?  My response is this: how dare YOU fucking demand that I conform to your inane and grotesquely stupid idea of what someone of my age should be doing.

In Europe you have musical performers who started in the 1960s and still continue today because it is the talent and music NOT their age that is taken into account.  If you do not know that or understand it then get back inside your tin can.

Hansrudi Wascher...well, I could make a very long list of comic creators from Europe who are well past 60 years of age and still going strong.  In the UK many comic creators and cartoonists are kicked out into retirement on reaching 65. There is no reason WHY any publication cannot use them as freelance or, in more recent years, continue to employ them.  Let's not get started on British comics because that is dead unless someone with money comes along.

You see, following my response to a comment on CBO as to WHY I am unable to get a table at event after event in the UK (excluding the little minded conspirators) I hear from two comic people that when they mentioned to certain event organisers my post on the subject the response was also a whince and (that ***** expression again) "Well, he's really old school and we want to attract younger people".  So Howlermouse REALLY nailed it. 

I mentioned someone into maths had worked out the odds of my being "unlucky" enough not to get a table for five straight years for every event I contacted. Doug responded in an email: "Actually, easiest way of putting it when it gets broken down, is that the odds against this happening over that period come out as 99.8% against it"  I think the term is "screwed".

I get far more views of my Maakika Art from Europe -mainly France.  UK hardly ever registers.

This is why, and I was only just sitting down to catch up on videos yesterday, I shared the video. I had not intended to but I thought "See? Ain't just me!  I'll show everyone" and that was it.

No one told Jack Kirby "You iz too old, man!" (but then he had 99% more talent than me!)


Legendary Disney Actor Dean Jones Dies At 84

And another one goes...https://uk.movies.yahoo.com/post/128246388481/legendary-disney-actor-dean-jones-dies-at-84



ben-arnold:

Dean Jones, the actor who helmed a wealth of classic Disney movies from ‘The Love Bug’ , ‘Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo’ and 'That Darn Cat!’, has died aged 84.


He had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease.


Jones, also starred in 46 films over a prolific acting career, including titles like 'Jailhouse Rock’, with Elvis Presley, 'Under The Yum-Yum Tree’ with Jack Lemmon, 'Beethoven’, 'Blackbeard’s Ghost’, and 'Clear And Present Danger’.

It was after serving in the Navy during the Korean War that he took to acting, working at a local theatre in Buena Park, California.


He made his debut on Broadway in 1960 alongside Jane Fonda in the play 'There Was A Little Girl’, later appearing in Stephen Sondheim’s 'Company’.

After inking a deal with MGM, he then embarked on a movie career in 1956, and would go on to star with Frank Sinatra in 'Never So Few’, Fonda once again in 'Any Wednesday’, and Gregory Peck and Danny DeVito in 'Other People’s Money’.


He also played the evil vet Dr. Herman Varnick in 'Beethoven’ in 1992.


Jones was inducted into the Disney Hall of Fame in 1995.

He is survived by his three children and wife, former actress Lory Patrick.

Tempus fugit

“Lord of Lowbrow” Artist The Pizz 1958-2015

From hifructose.com where you will find more art samples:http://hifructose.com/2015/08/31/lord-of-lowbrow-artist-the-pizz-1958-2015/

by CaroPosted on 

The art world’s heart has a hole in it today.


 “The Pizz” (a.k.a. El Pizzo a.k.a. Stephen Pizzurro), the self-described Lowbrow artist who evolved into a celebrated influence to a generation of artists, has left us. He was only 57. Born in 1958 and raised in a large Italian family in Orange County, California, The Pizz grew up creating art – he once said that he began drawing since he had a pen in his hand.

He caught his first big break working on Rat Fink comics for his personal inspiration, cartoonist Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, before going on to design cover art for punk label Sympathy for the Record Industry, and eventually entering the gallery world with fellow notable artists like Robert Williams.


With his signature dark glasses and a most impressive “fuzzy chin”, The Pizz was a familiar figure at openings and events. He even made appearances on reality TV and in film documentaries, including Flake and Flames (2013) and The Treasures of Long Gone John (2006).


At that time, Lowbrow Art was just a bubbling underground art scene and today works by The Pizz are considered as one of the original sources of “cartoon expressionism”, inspiring waves of artists to build upon. Artists like The Pizz, Coop, Anthony Ausgang, and many others drew from the well of hot-rod influenced Kustom Kulture, surf, skateboarding, tattoo, underground comics, Beatnik and tiki styles and brought it to galleries like La Luz De Jesus as fine art like no other. For over 20 years, The Pizz’s brutal, colorful, and enthralling graphics presented a surreal alternative to our consumer-driven pop culture.


Using the sensibility of cartoons, his paintings pop with the things he loved: eye-catching pinups, pimps, perverts, pirates, post-apocalyptic demigods, motorcyclists and fast cars. Dedicated to an art form that was generally frowned upon by society, he helped to create a new genre of imagery that was undeniably interesting; unapologetically presented to a myriad of folks from all walks of life, not just the pedigreed elite. As he said, “It’s a tumultuous adrenaline-soaked hellride of a lifetime leaving a mountain of debris and unspeakable carnage in its wake. Yeah, it’ll scar your fragile psyche for miles into the hereafter.”






Wednesday, 2 September 2015

My DC Comics Rant. 52 and You. Part 1

YEAH, YEAH. hooper rants but I AM not the only one saying this stuff and here Howlermouse has his turn.  And, yes, it may well be that my age ain't making me "hip"!

Comics In Germany -A Bit Of A Pipe-dream?







D-GRUPPE THE ZEIT GEIST SAGA 



Going by a few Face Book comments it seems that some people have the idea that I think I can just turn up at a European comic convention and the sales and money will flow.

Obviously, these people have NOT read the CBO posts that elicited these 'responses'.

Back in the 1990s I tried to chat to German comic fans on various forums.  I think I had a couple positive experiences -darkjedi and, unless my memory has really gotten so bad that I've got it wrong -Subzero and his brother, Enrique.  I even contributed to various groups -scans of 1960s/1970s comics from Germany that most had heard of (or not) but never seen.  Sadly, that group (basically) took away my membership after earning that I was opposed to illegal scanning of new comics.

The other forums got me these responses:




1.  "Who do you think you are?  English and you think you know German comics!"
2.  "We have seen your work* and it does not fit in Germany!"
3.  "It seems you like the low-brow, childish comics of Bastei and those others.  Comics have to be
     taken as a serious medium not frivolous!"

meh. Arschlochs everywhere.

All I can say regarding (1) above is that I was able to provide cover scans of old German comics back to the 1950s as well as covers and art of Hansrudi Wascher and provide background information most of the members had never heard of.  However, when two very "vocal" members took over they all faded away and, obviously, weren't going to support the foreigner out loud!

(2) well, I had contributed to German zines and was a very active correspondent with many of the Small Pressers of the 1980s/early 1990s and some of my work had been translated into German -including "Revenge of the Ice Queen", the first published D-Gruppe story.  So it was odd that after so much positive feedback, the internet (shock!) produced very negative idiots.

(3) It's true that this type exists everywhere.  They feel that comics cannot be anything other than intellectual or very arty.  These people considered 99% of comics published in Germany as "purile".

 Where are they now?

I partly grew up on a farm in a German village -Dalborn- along with other kids and we read and talked comics and played. At that time (1960s/1970s) there was, amongst some young people, the need for everything "to be German" and not in a bad way. 

My cousins decided that they could no longer understand English -"Auf Deutsch! Ich kann dir nicht verstehen!" It's not as though I was talking English all the time but if you've not spoken a language in a while and go back to it you need a couple weeks to get in the stride again so if I could not remember certain words such as, say, Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz, I said it in English to get a prompt to the German word.  My cousins carried on this "Ich kann dir nicht verstehen" ever since.
THE IRON WARRIOR COLLECTION
In a way it's a bit like the British, in general terms, and "I cannot understand you so I'll shout!"


But I do know that there are a lot of German comic fans who do speak and read English -buy Marvel and DC comics and a lot are into Independent comics. People seems to misunderstand things and think "But they speak German -they won't understand an English comic" which is a bit insulting to be honest.  Germans like comics as much as anyone else.  My uncle used to read Micky Maus or Donald Duck, Lupo and so on. This was back in the 1960s/early 1970s when it was looked down on to be an adult reading a comic -they were for kids!  And, yes, I came across that attitude.

German comickers, publishers and comic history are not exactly unknown to me!  That gives a clittle bit of an edge.

The thing is to make sure that German comic fans know about Black Tower Comics but forums I would never like to try again.  So what is the alternative?  That is something I am looking into. It is also why the idea of spending a fortune going to a big German convention is out.  Maybe smaller events but then mainly to let people know what Black Tower is and see what is available.

After all, there is no reason why a German comic fan who reads English should not enjoy The Iron Warrior or Phantom Detective or even Chung Ling soo or Dene Vernon.  It is making them aware of these books and making it very clear the idea is to exist alongside existing German publishers not push them out of the way (not very likely to happen!).

So all of this needs to be assessed and mainly because to translate books into German will take a long time and if the interest is not there...

It is a necessary move, though as today I am told I have "been unlucky this time" in getting a table at another event.  Very depressing when you have the books but no direct customer contact.  Of course, if an entrepreneur backer for comics comes forward (UK or Germany) it makes it easier.

I've not given up.  And I've no fantasies about the "big time" in Germany.  But we all need to eat, right?
THE CASE BOOK OF CHUNG LING SOO