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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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Friday, 30 January 2015

Rod McKuen, 'King of Kitsch', dies aged 81

One of my favourites. Sad news again -bbc news Online

Rod McKuen  
McKuen reached the peak of his popularity in the late '60s and '70s
Populist poet and prolific songwriter Rod McKuen has died at the age of 81.

Known as the 'King of Kitsch', he died in Los Angeles of respiratory arrest after suffering from pneumonia.

A Grammy winner and double Oscar nominee, McKuen worked with a string of household names including Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand.

His best-known song was arguably Seasons in the Sun, a number one hit in the US for Terry Jacks. He later wrote for Madonna's Ray of Light album.

The artist was co-credited on Madonna's track Drowned World/Substitute for Love, which borrowed from McKuen's Why I Follow the Tigers.

Seasons in the Sun - like another of his compositions, If You Go Away - was an English-language reworking of a song by McKuen's idol, French artist Jacques Brel.

"It was like winning the Nobel and the Lottery on the same afternoon”
Rod McKuen on working with Frank Sinatra
McKuen earned two Oscar nominations, one for the song Jean, from 1969 film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and another for the song score of 1970 Peanuts movie A Boy Named Charlie Brown.

He clinched his only Grammy, for best spoken word recording, for his Lonesome Cities album, one of nine albums to chart between 1968 and 1971.

Of his collaboration with Sinatra - on the album A Man Alone - he wrote, in 1999: "You can imagine how excited I was when Frank Sinatra asked me to write an original album for him.

"What could possibly be nicer, more flattering and challenging than being commissioned by the world's most inventive and popular singer to write and compose something, let alone a whole album.

"It was like winning the Nobel and the Lottery on the same afternoon. Scintillating and scary."
The album included one of McKuen's most popular hits, Love's Been Good to Me.

Dolly Parton, Chet Baker, Glen Campbell and Dusty Springfield are among many artists to have recorded his material.
Rod McKuen  
McKuen's song compositions were used in major film and TV productions, including The Borrowers and Cheers
In the US at least, though, he remains best known for his poetry. He published 30 volumes in all, including the best-selling Listen to the Warm.

Born in California in 1933, McKuen ran away from home at 11 to escape an abusive stepfather. He worked as a stuntman, cowboy and DJ before settling in San Francisco, where he began writing poetry.
The St James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture describes McKuen as having been, at his height, "the unofficial poet laureate of America".

In an article in 2008, the Guardian claimed he was the world's most widely-read poet. "It was in that crossover between lyrics and poetry that he flourished," wrote Ben Myers.

"He went from appearing on poetry bills with Kerouac and Ginsberg to being a far greater seller of poetry than either."

"I think it's a reaction people are having against so much insanity in the world," McKuen once said of how his poetry was embraced.

"I mean, people are really all we've got. You know it sounds kind of corny, and I suppose it's a cliche, but it's really true; that's just the way it is."

Time to end on one of my favourite tracks from Rod.....

Tempus fugit

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Ready For A Gag? And, NO -I Do NOT Mean It Like That!!

Back in the early 1990s I wrote  single gags to go into European newspapers and magazines for, amongst others, the German Baaske Agency.  Got paid once and heard no more since -these could be in constant reprint and I'd never know it!

Anyway, I scanned some on the old 1990s computer so quality ain't great but here -see if they give you a smile!

Artist on these was John "Sepp" Schiltz.

X-Men For TV? Fox Gives Disney The Finger ....which has a totally different meaning in the UK than in the US!

This item, posted over at Pastemagazine: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/01/fox-wants-a-live-action-x-men-television-series.html  seems to indicate that Disney (Marvel) are not going to get their characters back any time soon. 

After all, Fox has seen how many bucks 'Marvel' super heroes pull in.  Disney would need to buy the US Treasury to buy the franchise back right now.

Anyway, over to the marvelously named Turner Minton.....

Fox Wants a Live-Action X-Men Television Series

Fox Wants a Live-Action <i>X-Men</i> Television Series

Not every superhero saga has to be a multi-million dollar production set for the silver screen.

Today, multiple comic book adaptations are heading for the living room. The CW network has a nice crossover set-up going between Arrow and The Flash, a leap and bounds better than their early experimental days with Smallville. Netflix has recently ordered the first season of Daredevil, which is set to premiere its first episode April 10. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter seem to be doing well for themselves on ABC. Now, Fox is looking to get in on the action with a live-action version of X-Men, according to an exclusive from Collider.

Hold your horses moviegoers. Before anyone gets carried away, the series is in early development and should not interfere with any plans to complete the popular film franchise. With cast negotiations settling down for the latest entry in the film series, X-Men: Apocalypse, the studio is securely placing its bets on viewers wanting more mutants. Although the films have proven box office successes and guaranteed high paychecks for everyone involved, Fox has to believe that the series can’t go on forever. After all, Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine an unprecedented seven times. Although it’s unimaginable to see anyone else in the role of the metallic clawed mutant, audiences can’t expect him to stay young forever, unlike the character he plays.

The new series was first rumored in April of last year when writer/producer Simon Kinberg, who is currently working on the script for X-Men: Apocalypse, talked about the possibility of a X-Men television series coming to the Fox network with Collider editor Steve Weintraub:

“We’re still in this place of figuring out what the future of the franchise will be but when you look at S.H.I.E.L.D. to some extent and what Marvel is doing now with Daredevil and other shows on Netflix, it makes sense to tell some of these stories in TV partly because there’s just not enough screens to do all these characters and also because the serialized format of comic books is better suited for TV. Because that’s it, every week you come back to the same characters, different story, and in comic books every week it’s the same characters, different story. I think what [Fox is] seeing now is with the proliferation of new kinds of visual and special effects, there’s a way to make these stories that doesn’t cost $300 million every time you have to make a huge movie.”

The esteemed studio will have a few hurdles to jump over if it is going to get the show jumpstarted. The current deal between the studio and Marvel doesn’t include the rights to make a television adaptation of the Stan Lee comic series. Fox Entertainment Chairman Gary Newman had the following to add concerning the negotiations with Marvel:

“We’re cautiously optimistic, we had a good meeting with them. That will not be on a fast track creatively. This is just the deal, now we have to find the creative.”

Audiences have to be as cautiously optimistic about the promise of such a live-action series. On the one hand, the lower production value could diminish the value of the comic books with the lack of attentive action sequences. On the other hand, there should be an increased story arc leaning toward character development. Finally, the long-awaited love triangle between Jean Grey, Cyclops and Logan will get all the attention it needs.

The only question left to ask is how the series will be handled. Right now, the film series is trending towards a focus on the younger lives of the heroes, a step in the opposite direction of how the series got its start. With such a large cast to fill, the stars will most likely be unknown or lesser known celebrities. Ideally, no matter how the series approaches the content, the work will remain faithful to its source material.

Black Tower Overseas Licensing?

Posting no. 82 for January -happy Bob?

As 2015 is going to be my last fully active year in comics -though, like Bond, I never say "never again"- I need to make some money.  Seriously, if any overseas publisher is interested in publishing Black Tower books under licence then please get in touch -derails in the About section at the top of page.

Remember that BTCG books are black and white and I do NOT provide a translation service.

I've been asked a couple of times about an interview well, my usual objections I'm throwing aside for this year so....

That's it.  Now I need to go draw!

Welcome To Post No. 81

It's interesting that France and Germany have been in the top five sources for views of CBO.  Germany tends to drop off and back to 4th, 5th or 6th place while France has at times exceeded views from the United States or United Kingdom.

But though France seems to be providing a steady source of CBO views Bulgaria has gradually been creeping up the positions so that, today (it's 1325 hrs here in the UK) it is the country producing the highest number of hits.  Yes, Bulgaria is Number 1 in the CBO chart!

Thank you, Bulgaria.

Our good friends at Lambiek (which you should really all be checking out) provided a guide, albeit brief,to Bulgarian comicshere: http://www.lambiek.net/comics/bulgarian.htm

What comics, if any, are being published in Bulgaria today I have no idea.  I do know that in Sofia there is Elephant Bookstore (? if I remember correctly) and a comic museum opened in 2014 -I hope I'm remembering this all correctly as I have too much junk in my head.

Bulgaria -YOU NEED BLACK TOWER COMICS!  That or a company to reprint them under licence!

So, welcome, Bulgaria and if there is comic media news you would like to see more of on CBO get in touch.  Or want people to know about your comics?  I'm an easy going guy!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

CBO Comic Strip: First Time In OVER 60 years -Slicksure Returns!

Harry Edgar Banger was a Platignum and Golden Ages -even Silver age- comic creator.  Like others he had to write his scripts and draw them.  Humour was his mainstay but with Slicksure he tried to combine humour and serious story-telling such as in the later.......The Terror Of Grimstone Castle!!

You can see that here:


For more on Banger (pronounced as in "Danger"):


And now, in 2015, a previously untold story of Slicksure while on a previously undisclosed case  brought to you by the much revived STRANSKY & LABATT!!!

Seiously? Is THAT All??

I got a comment from someone over on Face Book (forwarded by email) and it asked WHY I was not posting much on CBO?

I do not think Bob is a regular CBOer.  There have been 78 posts so far THIS month.  January.  How many posts have other comic media bloggers put up?

Greedy greedy little piggies!

Fantastic Four | Official Teaser Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

I do NOT want to be Charlie Negative but this looks awful.  Really awful.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

So How Many......

Current views of CBO via Google+ stand at 1,116,700 add that the CBOs direct views of 1,792207 and you find that CBO has been viewed 2,908,907 times. 

And THAT is without all the internet feeds that pick up on what CBO posts or reviews.

Only hard copy reviews, remember.  So WHY send CBO books or DVDs to review?  If I have to write "Check those figures" then I need to ask you to move along!

We Enjoy Their Work But Where Are We When They Need OUR Help? Norm Breyfogle

Please read and visit the page.  If you can help please do.

NORM BREYFOGLE SUFFER STROKE and has a long road to recovery ahead with extended therapy and has no insurance. as a lengendary BATMAN ARTIST. his lifetime savings has already been dwindled down to nothing paying for for out of pocket, insurmountable medical expenses in nearly a week in I.C.U.

Norm has suffered paralysis on his left side (and is left handed). As an artist...that is devastating! Norm now needs months of extended care in a Nursing Home fscility with daily therapy that will hopefully enable him to once again, continue his skillful art and regain his mobility to be able to walk again.

Norm as touched many fans throughout his career as a professional artist and now needs all of our help. Norm has helped so many with his generosity throughout the years and has saved others lives in nearly the same situation of those in need of medical care expenses.

PLEASE Fans, Family and Friends, let's pull together now to help Norm after all he has done for all of us in the many ways he has touchd our lives. SPREAD THE WORD!

All it takes is just a $1 Donation from 200,000 of his fans, friends and family to pull him through! I am sure he may need much more to cover all the expenses...but this is a start!

Thank you all for all of your kind words and support! Norm appreciates all you do!