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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

Monday, 28 July 2014

Joe Sacco’s “The Great War”

My thanks to old Eurocomics stalwart Sebchoq for reminding me of this. The news item from The New Yorker is from November 2013 but this "exhibit" is something to go and see if you are in Paris this Summer!

Joe Sacco’s latest work, “The Great War,” a twenty-four-foot-long panorama that folds like an accordion, illustrates the first day of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in history, which took place on July 1, 1916. The Maltese-American cartoonist is best known for his comics journalism, including works like “Palestine,” “Safe Area Goražde,” and “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (his 2012 New York Times best-selling collaboration with Chris Hedges), but “The Great War” is a purely visual work, homing in on a specific moment in history. We spoke with Sacco about his approach.

When I got a call from an old friend of mine, an editor at Norton, asking me to draw a panorama of the Western front, my first response was “No!” Being a cartoonist, I always think in terms of narrative—but I grew up on Australia, and there the First World War truly gives Australians a sense of national identity. I’ve been reading about it since I was a kid, and I’ve spent so much time thinking about it—I’ve read so many books—that in the end, I thought, Why not?
When you read obsessively about a subject, at some point you begin to wonder about yourself. Why am I reading another book about the First World War? What’s pulling me in? So one of the reasons I agreed to do this panorama was trying to deal with my historical voyeurism: O.K., I should deal with this now, because otherwise, why did I visit the Somme battlefield fifteen years ago? It was almost like a penance for a boyhood interest that had lasted so long.
I don’t feel a separation from the people I read about in history books. Right now, I’m working on a long book on Mesopotamia—that’s years in the making, it’ll take a long time. I’ve been obsessed with the Middle Ages, I’ve been obsessed with the ancient world, I read a lot about different subjects—and to me, they’re all living people, just people who are just no longer with us.
When we first talked about my drawing a panorama of the Western front, the idea seemed static. But immediately I thought of the Bayeux Tapestry [a work probably made in the eleventh century depicting the Norman Conquest], which has a narrative. William the Conqueror in France is getting ready for the invasion; they’re building the boats; they’re crossing the English Channel; then there’s the Battle of Hastings, and you basically read it left to right. It just came to my mind that I could show soldiers marching up to the front, going to the trenches, going over the top, and then returning after they’ve been wounded, back through the lines to the casualty-clearing station behind the front. So it seemed like a very simple idea, and to be honest, I just wanted to draw. On a visceral level, it was just a pleasure to think only in terms of drawing.
It was a relief not to think about words, and to do a different kind of research. I did a lot of image research and I actually had to read a lot of books, because sometimes prose takes you where photography never went. I would read and get images in my head, and it was just a matter of putting them down. I’ve spent a lot of time doing journalism, and I still am interested in it, but I think the artist side of me wants to sort of come out now. And that’s what the Great War was to me, letting myself go in that direction.
I can’t get journalism out of my blood, so even for this First World War drawing, I needed to get everything right about the details. With the Mesopotamia project, which is very historical, I’m interviewing archaeologists, so that’s how my journalism background comes into it—it’s not just about reading and then distilling. I can get to the level where I can ask intelligent questions, but obviously you have to speak to people who really know that sort of stuff and have spent ten years on digs.
When I worked on “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” with Chris Hedges, it grew organically—he and I are good friends. I’d do these little scenes of some of the people we met. I’ve done that in my other work, so I thought, Why not just translate the approach into an American context?
I’ll probably never give up journalism … but I’ve done this for twenty years and I’m not sure I need to go to another conflict zone. You begin to see the similarities in certain human behaviors, and that starts to interest you. There are some things that may be easier to approach artistically than journalistically. I’m not sure I’ll write fiction, but fiction allows a writer to connect the dots while journalists often place the dots down without connecting them. And, I mean, I just need a creative change.
 There are some video links but the videos are in French.


Ahh, There Are Those 'Professionals' Again...

I would like to make it very clear that I do no, in any way, support or comment on comic forums -especially in the UK.  Neither am I interested in commenting on "He said this" or "He said that".  DO NOT CARE.

I lost too much time from writing and drawing over these things before.

I'm writing and drawing comics and trying to sell them while I have the time so please don't send me emails that are just crap trying to stir up trouble.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

(Censored from TV) The Adventures Of Mark Twain (1985) -intended for kids!

Dr Who: Capaldi: No flirting with sidekick

Incoming Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi has revealed there will be no flirting with co-star Jenna Coleman in the new series.

The previous Doctor was engaged in a close relationship with his sidekick Clara that even led to a passionate kiss.

But Capaldi, 56, insisted his Time Lord would not be following in predecessor Matt Smith's footsteps by getting intimate with 28-year-old Coleman's character.

"There'll be no flirting, that's for sure," he told The Sunday Times Magazine. "It's not what this Doctor's concerned with. It's quite a fun relationship, but no, I did call and say, 'I want no Papa-Nicole moments'. I think there was a bit of tension with that at first, but I was absolutely adamant."

The Papa-Nicole comment relates to a series of 1990s Renault Clio car adverts which hinted at a romance between an older man and a younger woman, before they were revealed to be father and daughter.
Capaldi also had good news for those Doctor Who purists who believe the show's storylines have become over the top in the past few series.

"It's going to be a bit different from what we've seen over recent years. A bit more gravity," he said.
"Some situations are more sombre and I think there are more rooted dramatic scenes. Over the past two or three years, which I've loved, there has often been a breathless vigour; we still have that attack, but we have another level of drama, another tone. And the scenes are longer."

Capaldi recalled how his agent called him to tell him he had got the part when he was filming in Prague, and he spent the afternoon wandering around the city humming the Doctor Who theme tune.

"I just didn't think it was something that would happen to me," he admitted.

But the Glaswegian actor did not say yes to the part immediately.

"I didn't want to be Doctor Who in a Doctor Who I didn't like," he said. "I had to be convinced the show was going in a direction I was interested in.

"I had to think carefully about the level of visibility. My life was blessed, but as soon as this happened I had paparazzi outside my house. People spoke to me before and recognised me, but nothing like this.
"I had to decide if I was ready to live with that, because once that genie is out of the bottle, it doesn't go back in."

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on August 23.

New Hulk Movie To Be Announced......

If -if - you watched that video from SDCC with Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo then this should be no surprise.  When asked about a "stand alone" Hulk movie Evans jumped in an repeated the question to Ruffalo and fooled around -then "cut" and back to normal.

If anything telegraphed something in advance more obviously I have not seen it yet.


Chris Evans & Mark Ruffalo 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Exclusive Interview...

BBC News Online: Mark Hamill calls Star Wars return 'a gift'

"It was certainly unexpected. I already had a beginning, middle and end. I never thought we'd come back," he told the BBC's Lizo Mzimba.

"To go on to those sets that evoked so many memories. It is just astonishing."

He added that Harrison Ford was recovering well after breaking his leg on set in June.

"I was not on set. It was really terrible but I hear he's doing really well. It will take more than that to stop Harrison Ford," said Hamill, who was speaking on the red carpet of the UK premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy.

The 62-year-old starred in the three original Star Wars films, the first of which was released in 1977.
When the franchise was revived in 2002, the Luke Skywalker character was only seen as a baby in Revenge of the Sith (Episode III).

The new film, which only has the working title Episode VII so far, is due to be released in 2015.

The casting is a mix of original actors, including Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, and new faces to the Star Wars universe, such as Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o and Domhnall Gleeson, whose characters have yet to be named.

George Lucas and Mark Hamill on the set of Star Wars Hamill (right) was 25 when he filmed the first Star Wars movie with George Lucas 
Speaking about returning to his biggest screen role with Fisher, Hamill said: "It was fantastic. Again - I thought even if they did a third trilogy, we wouldn't be involved, because it is really about the new generation of characters.

"We are just there to lend our support and grow contractually obligated beards."

He added that the new generation of actors brought in by director JJ Abrams were impressing him.

There is an interview with Hamill accompanying this piece at the BBC site:

Let Someone Else Tell you...SDCC 2014

Apparently I'm too sarcastic when it comes to dishing out DC and Marvel news.  No, really -I just hadn't realised.

So, I'm going to share this item by Jesse Schedeen from IGN which you will find here:


SDCC 2014: Marvel's Avengers NOW! Panel Recap

Angela goes solo and the Mighty Avengers live on. 

Yesterday at the Avengers & X-Men: All-AXIS panel, Marvel focused mainly on the upcoming AXIS event and also announced Rick Remender and Jerome Opena's graphic novel, Avengers: Rage of Ultron. Today's Avengers NOW! panel looked beyond AXIS to some of the projects in the works for late 2014. Remender and fellow writers Jason Aaron, Nathan Edmondson, and Nick Spencer, as well as Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso were on hand to discuss how the Avengers franchise will evolve moving into 2015.

Two new Avengers comics were announced during the course of the panel. First was Captain America & the Mighty Avengers, from writer Al Ewing and artist Luke Ross. The series is replacing the current Mighty Avengers volume and features the new Captain America (Sam Wilson, in case you haven't heard the news) as team leader. Spider-Man will also be rejoining the team, unaware of the trouble he caused Luke Cage and Jessica Jones during his Superior phase. The series will debut in November 2014.

Captain America & the Mighty Avengers #1 cover by Luke Ross

The other new book is Angela: Asgard's Assassin from co-writers Kieron Gillen and Maguerite Bennett and artists Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans. As the title suggests, the series spins out of recent revelations in Original Sin about Angela being the long-lost sister of Thor and Loki. The series explores Angela's quest for "a clean slate" after being cast out of the Tenth Realm. This series will also launch in November.

During the panel, Remender discussed how his Captain America run will build towards the upcoming All-New Captain America relaunch. The current arc will explore the relationship between Arnim Zola and Red Skull, while issue #25 will show Sam Wilson earning the mantle. Remender said Sam is the logical choice to replace Steve Rogers because he "speaks to a modern sensibility and audience."

Alonso said that Angela's new series is a way of allowing the character to have her own platform in Marvel's catalog while also showing how she fits into the larger universe. Aaron wouldn't deny the possibility that Angela is also the new female Thor, though he also joked the mystery heroine is really Aunt May. Aaron also said he's been building to the development of Thor being unworthy to wield Mjolnir for a while. Thor will still appear in the new series, but the female Thor (whose identity is a mystery to all but Odin) will be the main focus. Alonso reiterated that this is a status quo change that won't be going away anytime soon.

Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1 cover by Stephanie Hans

Various other Avengers-centric titles and story tidbits were discussed during the course of the panel:
  • Avengers World #10-11 will see the series' plot points "come to a head" and will feature both Black Knight's Euro Force and the Chinese team The Ascendents.
  • Obviously, Deathlok's TV debut played a role in Marvel green-lighting the character's new solo series. Edmondson said much of the conflict will revolve round the fact that the main character is completely unaware that he's a deadly cyborg assassin.
  • Remender created the "inciting incident" for the Superior Iron Man status quo, and Marvel then turned to Tom Taylor to develop the idea into a new series. Alonso confirmed that a meeting between Iron Man and fellow SF resident Daredevil is "very likely."
  • The new female Thor isn't appearing in AXIS because Remender wanted to write a crucial scene involving regular Thor and Odin. A firm timeline has been established among Marvel's writers for where the Avengers NOW! books fall in relation to AXIS.
  • A new character will be taking up the mantle of Nomad. This Nomad has ties to Steve Rogers but isn't Steve himself.
  • Edmondson feels Black Widow works best as a solo character, but hinted that the Avengers will play a role in her book as they discover some of the questionable actions she's undertaken.
  • When asked why Sif wasn't tapped to replace Thor, Aaron said he wanted to create a new Thor and compared it to "the difference between telling a story about Robin and a story about Batman."
  • Alonso said Marvel has big plans in mind for Doctor Strange, and they even have a writer lined up for a solo series to be announced down the road. He said there's a reason Strange features so prominently in Original Sin.
  • Remender teased that the image of Stephen Colbert becoming the new Falcon is "canon." Whether he's serious remains to be seen.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.

Wow. A NEW number one Avengers...sorry -TWO new first issues of NEW Avengers titles.  I was sat here thinking just yesterday "What we really need is a couple new Avengers titles" -and look what happens!  Incredible.

"Angela"....?!!  I know they are American and we are talking Marvel Comics (Disney) here but do they realise that Asgard, Thor, Odin, etc., etc., are all Northern European?  I just checked my Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology and no name "Angela" crops up.  I even checked a list of old Nordic names -no Angela.  Tom Brevoort must have been plunging his finger into the Black Hole of Calcutta again -"OOH! OOH! Idea!"

Next, Thor is a GOD. He is ancient. The hammer says someone has to be worthy to YIELD THE POWER of Thor -NOT FUCKING REPLACE HIM AS A GOD AND CHANGE HIS SEX.

Marvel Comics is full of ass-holes and the same applies to the head butt keepers at Disney.  Let's not get in the way of avoiding possible copyright claims (ahh, those nuisance Nordic chroniclers!) and trying to get another "super babe" in comics -just what those sad, nerdy geeks stuck in their rooms need: another comic babe to masturbate to.

I do hope I'm not coming across all angry?

Hey -a black Captain America that can fly and can have a little humour added in. I think that is an absolutely brilliant idea.

Defecate all over the work that established Marvel Comics as THE House of Ideas and turn it into a pile of Disney sludge?   Why not? It is their company after all and Brevoort is over-filled with sludge that needs releasing with all the integrity that only Brevoort can command.

I think Marvel Comics are hitting new heights now and I reall want to polish up my old Merry Marvel Marching Society badge and wear it proudly when I go shopping.

Anyway, I have to rush as it's Sunday Sarcastiball Match day and I'm topped up with "Joy Juice" to replenish my energy.