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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

Friday, 18 April 2014

Whatever Happened To The Fastest Boy In The World?

To more than one child the name Billy Whizz was a joy and inspiration. Memories of the character in that unique colour scheme live on.  But what the hell did Thomson do to him???

In case you know nothing about him (!) there is a Wikipedia entry and I paraphrase  in part here:

Billy Whizz is a character featured in the Beano where he first appeared in issue 1139, dated 16th May 1964.  Created by Malcolm Judge to replace The Country Cuzzins strip. Billy, is able to run at incredible speed -and his speed often causes chaos. Interestingly, he also has a younger brother called Alfie Whizz who was of similar appearance. Alfie is usually shown as a normal boy but occasionally he is shown to be just as fast as his brother.

In the strips up until the 1980s, Billy lives in Whizztown rather than Beanotown like most of the other regular characters, however this later changed and more recent strips place him in Beanotown.

There is more detail at the Wiki where the creator history (and who is to blame for what) is also cited:

 Above: Billy Whizz as most of us knew him and (below) AFTER his father made him wear long trousers in an attempt to slow him down (Okay, "Dad" wasn't a one for Physics).

Then Billy opted for a tracksuit with a red lightning streak...or yellow -I guess he must have had several suits because tracksuits get dirty quickly! In this suit Billy was once whisked off to take part in an interplanetary Olympic games!

Yes, in 2003 Billy was still recognisable as Billy.
Billy with his Lightening Tracksuit

 Even after a slight change Billy was still recognisable (below). No problem here.

And......W..T..F????????????????  After passing through a heavy trans-dimensional warp and cutting through interstitial time, Billy is the victim of.....okay. I'm sorry but this is not Billy  Whizz. It's some D. C. Thomson aborted attempt to turn their comics into a very poor Cartoon Network style mockery to increase sales and no doubt "make the character more relevant to modern readers" (or, as we call it, an editor with no ideas left in the head).
How did that work out, fellas?

It is very sad to think that, after Nigel Dobbyn revitalised Billy The Cat and even the old General Jumbo character (THAT ended rather badly thanks to Thomson's) that this is the best they could do for Whizz! I think a lot of us oldies were hoping that one day Billy The Cat would answer an emergency call from Jumbo and a certain speedster would gate-crash.

Let's not undermine the character. His influence on readers who went on to work in comics is great. Remember 2000 ADs strip ZENITH? Well it had a Billy  Whizz inspired character.

 Jimmy Quick was a young superhuman from Alternate 666 with the ability to run at super-speed. He was killed by the Lloigor infected Mr Why on February 14, 1988 taking a message to the Alternate 303.

You can find out about other such characters in Zenith here Seizing The Fire:

And there is a certain Black Tower character named "Jack Flash" whose inspiration lo, those many years ago was Billy.

So, whatever Thomson was thinking and what they did to the character I'll allways have fond memories of the real Billy Whizz!!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Calling the Cops on Conventions

Donna Barr has posted an item on her blog that I think is very important.  Why? Because more and more I hear female cosplayers and women attending US conventions report sexual harassment.  The organisers of events rarely even act when perpetrators are reported.

A woman wearing a comic or fantasy related costume to an event is NOT shouting out -"Hey, I'm a slu come and abuse me!"  I've heard of no incidents in the UK but cosplayers and fan boy geeks ought to read Donna's posting!


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

HAPPY EASTER with love the BOOKED! Team!!

Easter Egg

It’s Easter time and we want to celebrate with a gift from the BOOKED! team!!

All you need to do is look for the egg picture above which can be found on one of our pages and click on it – you will then be taken to a very special ticket page for BOOKED! which can only be accessed through this image.

There you will find a VERY LIMITED set of tickets for BOOKED! with incredible discounts. There will be a limited amount of each type of ticket.

So what are you waiting for? Get your tickets today!!

Here is the hint for where to find the Backcover Promotions Egg….

Hearts are normally RED, but this heart is WHITE!!


Combining Blogs?

I'm seriously thinking of combing the British Golden Age Comics blogs with CBO for the reason that there seems very little interest in British GA comics unless they are the Beano, Dandy or an Associated Press title.

Nothing definite just yet but "under serious consideration"!

With the way Yahoo has totally screwed up its groups now the British Archives group has become such a pain to use that, despite all the info and pages of albums, I've just left it as it is.

The link is on the blog roll.

Now, off to rest my weary body!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Pasg Hapus Dalen / A Happy Celtic Easter from Dalen

Dalen is a great Welsh company deserving of support in the UK industry. I had thought they vanished but -thankfully- they are still publishing!

Cylchlythyr Ebrill 2014
April 2014 Newsletter

Tintin Derwyddon Druids Pasg
Pasg Hapus o Straeon Stribed
Tintin mewn Cernyweg – ac yn Gymraeg! – a rhan ola stori
Y Derwyddon yn Gymraeg a Saesneg

Antur Newydd Tintin yn Gymraeg, ac
am y tro cynta erioed
Tintin mewn Cernyweg!
Tintin Y Bad RachubLlong o Amlwch yn achos pryder i Tintin
Y Bad Rachub yw antur Gymraeg newydd Tintin. Mae angen cymorth y gohebydd pengoch ar ei hen gyfaill, yr Emir Ben Kalish o wlad Khemed yn y Dwyrain Canol. Ond yn llechu yn y cysgodion mae hen gydnabod sy'n masnachu mewn caethweision. Gyda pheryglon astrus ar dir a môr, mae Tintin, Milyn a'r Capten Hadog yn camu i sefullfa enbyd ar fwrdd y bad Rachub.
ISBN 9781906587406

Tintin An Ynys DhuAm y tro cynta erioed,
Tintin mewn Cernyweg
Dyw Tintin erioed wedi siarad Cernyweg o'r blaen, ond erbyn hyn mae e wedi bod ar gwrs carlam er mwyn herio chwedl y bwystfil ar An Ynys Dhu. Bydd yr antur hon, sy wedi cael ei chyfieithu gan un o aelodau Gorsedd Cernyw, Mark Trevethan, o ddiddordeb mawr i ddarllenwyr sy'n cael blas ar y Pethe Celtaidd. Mae'r tebygrwydd dwy chwaer-iaith rhwng y Gymraeg a'r Gernyweg, ac mae'n syndod faint o'r fersiwn Gernyweg sy'n rhwydd i'r Cymro ei deall.
ISBN 9781906587437

Y Derwyddon Cystudd y CyfiawnCymal ola achos
Y Derwyddon…
Diweddglo annisgwyl i ymchwil Gwynlan! Mae gwaith diflino Gwynlan i geisio dod o hyd i'r sawl sy'n gyfrifol am gyfres o lofruddiaethau milenig yn yr Eglwys Geltaidd wedi'n tywys ni o fynachlogydd Llydaw, i ryfeddod Côr y Cewri, i lannau Môn ac i bellafoedd Ynysoedd Heledd. Yn rhan ola cyfres iasoer Y Derwyddon: Cystudd y Cyfiawn, mae'r gwaith o geisio canfod pwy laddodd y mynachod yn troi cornel fydd neb yn ei disgwyl wrth i'r trywydd ein cludo ymhellach i oerni'r gogledd a rhyfeddodau Tir Na N'Og.
ISBN 9781906587321

Druids Voyage of discovery…ac yn yr un modd, Druids
Mae rhan ola'r Derwyddon mewn Saesneg hefyd wedi ei chyhoeddi – Druids: Voyage of Discovery. Gyda chwblhau'r stori yn Gymraeg, y peth lleia allen ni neud oedd gorffen y stori yn ein fersiwn Saesneg o'r gyfres hefyd! Mae fformat y gyfres Saesneg ychydig yn wahanol – y maint yn llai, a dwy o'r straeon Cymraeg wedi eu cyrnhoi i mewn i un llyfr – ond mae'r stori a'r arlunwaith yn benigamp ym mha iaith bynnag ddewiswch chi ddarllen!
ISBN 9781906587390

A Celtic flavour to Easter from Dalen!
Brand New Tintin in Cornish
and the conclusion of Druids in English
Dalen has four new titles reaching the bookshelves this Easter, including – for the first time ever – Tintin in Cornish and the much anticipated conclusion of the excellent murder-mystery Druids series.
 Tintin in Cornish
An Ynys Dhu is the Cornish version of the Tintin bestseller L'Ile Noire/The Black Island. For the first time ever, the intrepid reporter speaks the Celtic language of Cornwall on an adventure which takes him to the furthermost parts of Scotland. On a remote, craggy island, Tintin faces up to the legend of the Goedhvil of An Ynys Dhu.
ISBN 9781906587437
Tintin in Welsh
The successful Tintin series in Welsh also continues with the release of Y Bad Rachub, Dafydd Jones' gripping adaptation of Coke en Stock/Red Sea Sharks. This is the tenth Tintin album released in Welsh by Dalen, as our bequiffed hero encounters slavery and piracy on the Red Sea.
ISBN 9781906587086
Druids in English
The excellent Druids series, penned by Thierry Jigourel and Jean-Luc Istin, and fabulously illustrated by Jacques Lamontage, reaches its conclusion in the newly-released Voyage of Discovery. Published over three volumes, Gwynlan's investigation into the murder of some Dark Age monks takes him on a trail to ensure the survival of the Treasures of the Britons. In a dramatic end to the tale, with a surprisingly unexpected twist, Druids: Voyage of Discovery is available here for £9.99 plus postage, or get it from your local bookstore. ISBN 9781906587390
Druids –Y Derwyddon – in Welsh
 You could be really in to the authentic Celtic feel of the Druids series, and fancy investing in the Welsh version of the series. Published in the same large 48 page format as the original French version, Y Derwyddon: Cystudd y Cyfiawn is the concluding part of the series in Welsh.
ISBN 9781906587321

I Have No Idea What You Mean By "Boob Window" But....

 Over at Tales From The Kryptonian, Subzero has produced a new posting that might be of interest to, uh, gentleman with a keen interest in the uhh, well, photographically captured female stars of movies and TV...and there are boob windows!


Return Of The Angry Comic Collector (Age Witheld)

  To be honest I'm stupid. I treat people honestly and fairly and expect them to reciprocate. Last August I posted this item (and it took me AGES to find this post):

Never Ever Let People Near Your Comicx Collection

I have to admit that until I started trying to catalogue (again) the old 1960s comics I had such as Odhams Fantastic and Terrific and, of course, my Alan Class collection I had no idea just how many comics had been...well, stolen by visitors I used to have when my apartment was an open door to comic people.

How bad are the losses?

Well, I now have only issues 11, 12, 13, 45, 60, 67, 76 and 77 from my Fantastics and I was given a large stack at the old Bath mart in the 1980s by David Johnson.

The Terrific comics I just stared at in shock. Only two left -issues 6 and 7.

That is pretty gutting but my own fault since I was so open to visitors.

It was when I came to my Alan Class box that I discovered there were only just over 50 books -and a big space in the box.

I only have

Amazing Stories of Suspense 98, 102, 117, 127, 153, 174, 186, 219, 221 and 233.

Out Of This World 4, 7 and 18!!!

Sinister Tales  54, 75, 100, 106, 108, 117, 144, 184, 208, 214 and 227.

Secrets Of The Unknown  104, 139, 194, 206, 229, 230 and 241

Uncanny Tales  30, 64, 66, 73, 116, 141, 152, 153, 169, 173, 179 and 183

Astounding Stories  8, 76, 81, 93, 94, 122, 130, 141, 144, 171 and 188

Creepy Worlds  133, 138, 141, 159, 165, 204, 205 and 239

If you are a member of my Yahoo Alan Class group and have seen the cover scans I uploaded there years ago when I started the group you will see that I am missing...a lot.

By the gaps between numbers it looks as though people just put their hands in, grabbed a bunch and that was it.

I can actually see now WHY collectors tend not to let others near their books -especially unattended. I'm not the first to have had a collection looted but let it serve as an example to you. 

Can I rebuild the collection?  Not likely since ebay sellers are pushing prices sky-high and well out of my range.

Just utterly winded.

So why repost? Oh, that's simple. You see, as most of you reading these posts will have gathered, since I was a youngster I was a big -BIG- fan of Marvel Comics The Avengers.  My collection started back in the 1960s -though the past decade has seen and end to that love -but not of the old books.
Until I was in my 40s (yes, I know, you see my photo and think "but he looks so much like a young Jude Law!" you teases, you!) I never had a permanent home and nine years into my 'permanent' home the local authority decided it had to be demolished.  So, where-ever I lived was a drop-in point for comickers. They looked and read through my collection....
...but my Avengers collection remained boxed up to preserve their full colour goodness. Only a piece of tape sealing the lid down but good enough (I thought).
Now, last week I decided that I needed to catalogue the issues to try to, eventually, get the issues I needed to fill in my collection. I've read and re-read The Essential Avengers volumes so often I thought I'd treat myself to a full colour read.
What greeted me when I opened the box was devastating to say the least. Having been ill I thought seeing those books might pick me up. It did the opposite.
The early books were never "very fine" or "mint" but good reading copies because I have no pretentions that they were my pension in storage -and let's face it, when I shuffle off this mortal coil the books are going to be dumped or sold on to some dealer shark. 
So what did I find? Lots of ripped covers and huge gaps in the run of books. Someone, or some persons, have quite obviously just put hand/hands in and grabbed whatever. 
The fact that I never checked the 'secured' box is my fault. That I let people near my collection is my fault. I have to be philosophical about this because I am assured tracking down everyone who ever visited my homes, torturing and then exacting a comic book type vengeance on them is not allowed.

It's a lesson learnt a bit late in life. So, I need to replace all the issues up to #118 -BUT the Neal Adams #93 is still there and intact (HA HA YOU THIEVING SCUM YOU MISSED THAT ONE!! ITS HERE ON MY DESK UNDER THE COFFEE MUG AND...................oh.

Joking aside, at least I have a task for my declining years while white hot vengeance burns its way through my raging heart...or maybe I should take some more Gaviscon (the paranormal investigator and comic book professionals friend)?

If you love your comics -treasure them!