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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, 19 December 2014

The Green Skies Cancelled

I've decided that The Green Skies -voluminous as it already is- is cancelled.  No publication date for 2015 if at all.

There are enough books on the online store.

Just In Case You Don't Pay Attention To These Things.....

....Does anyone?

My Anomalous Observational Phenomena blog is being allowed to die a death.  Over 200 postings and almost 20,000 views and no comments or points to be made by those viewers? 

I'm posting nothing new there.

And do not think I won't close CBO in 2015 (I was going to do it now but I'm taking deep breath).

The New EU VAT Law And Small/Digital Publishers

 Here is an update on the situation.  Please read and do what you feel you need to. This is NOT the end for "micro-publishers!  http://euvataction.org/2014/12/18/its-not-all-ears-its-action-too-in-the-european-commission-on-eu-vat/

It’s Not ‘All Ears’, It’s Action Too In The European Commission On EU VAT

Your voice is being heard On December 17th our team had a long conversation with a Cabinet Member from Andrus Ansip’s (European Commission Vice-President) office. These are the people responsible for the digital economy in the EU, so they’re the decision-makers and the ones who can help us to create the changes that are so desperately needed.

Here’s a summary of where we’re up to:
  1. Andrus Ansip is now fully aware of the impact that the EU VAT rules are having on the smallest businesses.
  2. He is taking action on your behalf, both writing to and meeting with senior people across the EU, in the last few days before Christmas, to try to find solutions that will allow everyone to keep trading.
  3. They are looking at short-term solutions and medium-term solutions.
    4. They are open to ideas from YOU as to what those solutions could reasonably be. They do not pretend to have all the answers.
    5. There are no promises, but there IS hope.

You ARE being heard.

Those in Andrus Ansip’s team now understand that:
  • Most of the smallest businesses cannot comply with the legislation because they can’t collect the required 3 pieces of location evidence. 90% are using basic PayPal buttons and the most they will be able to get is the customer’s account address – one piece of not-completely-reliable data.
  • Most can’t display the correct price on their sales pages because they don’t know where the customer is until after they have purchased, so have no way of applying the correct VAT rate during the purchase process.
  • Even if they could code the VAT rates into their payment solution, most platforms offer just one rate of VAT per country. It is very likely that some transactions will require two rates, for different kinds of products. This is not possible for the smallest businesses to manage during the checkout.
  • These businesses don’t get any of the data until after the transaction, so it creates a massive administrative burden of manually checking each transaction and then going back to a customer if the data looks incorrect, then analysing and storing the data to complete their VAT-MOSS return.
  • Our case studies show that each EU Member State’s interpretation of what is a ‘digitally-delivered service’ is different. Even if you comply with your own Member State’s interpretation, you could still be prosecuted by another Member State if the interpretations differ.
  • The legislative assumption was that most businesses sell through 3rd party platforms (our quantitative study shows it’s only 40%). The Commission now understands that most of the 3rd party platforms only heard about the new EU VAT rules in November 2014 and will be unable to comply by January 1st.

What We Are Campaigning For:

Given all of this, most businesses have a choice at the end of this month either to break the law or close or remove digitally-delivered services. How can we make sure they can keep trading?

  1. Emergency exception to allow the implementation to be suspended for micro businesses and sole traders for 1 year, whilst workable solutions are found.
  2. If this cannot be agreed before January 1st, then an emergency exemption to allow acceptance of the customer’s self-declared address as proof of place of supply for micro businesses and sole traders who don’t have access to the required 3 pieces of evidence (the 3rd being needed for the cases where the first two conflict).
What Andrus Ansip’s team needs from you:
Keep going with today’s Wednesday Action Challenge (writing to Andrus, Pierre Moscovici and Donato Raponi). Copy in your national MP and your MEPs.

PLUS lobby your equivalent to the Treasury (those who represent you on the EU Fiscal Attache) – we are compiling a list.

The reason the Commission needs you to lobby your representative on the EU Fiscal Attache is because if we want to get a legislative change, it is much more likely to be passed in a short timeframe if the Member States push for it, than if the EU suggests it. *** Your representative needs to lobby Pierre Moscovici. ***

So PLEASE do the Wednesday Action Challenge. And PLEASE also send your email to the Fiscal Attache member (we’re compiling a list) for your country, asking them to lobby for a sensible exemption threshold for micro businesses and sole traders.

And please have a quick look at the discussion thread for ‘how can we stay in business while we buy time for EU negotiations’ thread. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DigitalVAT2015/permalink/1512635875680390/)

And please share your inspiration on the thread for potential short-term and long-term solutions:

As I said, it’s not promises, but it IS hope. And, for me, it feels miraculous.
Thank you all for the part each of you has played.

We are making progress.
Clare & the EU VAT Action Team

Christmas Cancelled. English Law Proves Its A Joke

Right someone asked "What's happening?" re. my being prosecuted for whatever TV licensing made up (not watching a TV and not having a TV licence???). 

I put the whole matter before the court in writing which was totally ignored. 

So I got a £70 ($130) fine....plus cost so its £250 ($500+). 

So, not just my health and business screwed but a SECOND court fine this year in which I was totally innocent but the court attitude was "so what?"  Another reason to not celebrate Christmas. 

I don't apologise when I say England can fuck off.

My New Look!

Decided to shave my hair and style the beard.  What do you think?  I was inspired by the Black Tower character The Thinker.


No, regarding the question, I have NOT closed my DeviantArt page.  I think some of you are searching for "Terry Hooper"/"Terry Hooper-Scharf" or "Black Tower".  You need to look for "Terrywerry", ahem.

But here is the link.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Buying Comics Because It's Your "Retirement Investment"? You're Being Conned!

This article from last year on the Bloomberg Business site and, basically, reinforces everything I've written about.  Lots of New Comic Chique Geeks are being ripped off -especially on Ebay and internet comic stores.  "This Avengers comic is hot! It'll be worth thousands if not hundreds!"

Anyway, read and weep.

Those Comics in Your Basement? Probably Worthless

Those Comics in Your Basement? Probably Worthless
Photograph by Paul Carstairs

Barry T. Smith, 44, spent most of his life collecting comic books. And he always considered them an investment. “These books would someday be college tuition, or a house down payment,” Smith remembers thinking. “I would lay them all out in my parents’ living room, sorting them, cataloging them, writing down entries on graph paper while cross-referencing them against the Overstreet Price Guide.”

After college he landed a tech job in Silicon Valley but held on to all 1,200 of his comics, including several hundred early issues of Marvel’s (DIS) X-Men, which his research suggested had grown in value every year. The comics sat in a storage unit, boarded and bagged, for close to two decades. When Smith found himself unemployed and in need of money to support his wife and two daughters, he decided the time was right to cash in on his investment.

The entire collection sold for about $500. “I’m not too proud to admit, I cried a bit,” Smith says.
He’s not the only would-be investor who’s discovered in recent years that his comic collection isn’t worth nearly as much as he’d hoped. Kevin J. Maroney, 47, of Yonkers, N.Y., decided to sell 10,000 comics, roughly a third of his collection, on consignment with various comic book stores in Manhattan. Thus far, fewer than 300 have sold for a total of about $800. He’s not surprised by the lack of interest. “A lot of people my age, who grew up collecting comics, are trying to sell their collections now,” says Maroney, who works in IT support for Piper Jaffray. “But there just aren’t any buyers anymore.”

Frank Santoro, a columnist for the Comics Journal and an avid collector himself, has noticed the same trend. “More and more of these types of collections are showing up for sale,” he says. “And they’re becoming more and more devalued. The prices are dropping.” He recently had to break the bad news to a friend’s uncle, who was convinced his comic collection—about 3,000 books—was worth at least $23,000. “I told him it was probably more like $500,” Santoro says. “And a comic book store would probably only offer him $200.”

Stories like these are a stark contrast to what’s typically reported. To go by media accounts, 2013 has been a huge year for the vintage comic market. A Minnesota man found a copy of Action Comics No. 1—the first appearance of Superman, published in 1938—in a wall of his house and sold it for $175,000 in June. Three decades ago a different copy of the same comic sold for about $5,000, a record at the time. In August, meanwhile, Heritage Auctions hosted a comic-oriented event in Dallas where a highly-graded copy of the 1940 comic Batman No. 1 sold for a staggering $567,625. A recent piece on the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website was especially enthusiastic about comics as an investment strategy, calling them “more predictable than stocks” and “recession-proof.” Old comics, the author suggested, could even save your home from foreclosure.

Outlandish claims and tales of amazing windfalls elicit only groans from Rob Salkowitz, a business analyst and author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture. He also happens to be, in his own words, “a guy in his 40s with a basement full of old comics.” He warns that too many people have been deluded into thinking they are sitting on a comic book gold mine.

“There are two markets for comic books,” Salkowitz says. “There’s the market for gold-plated issues with megawatt cultural significance, which sell for hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. But that’s a very, very, very limited market. If a Saudi sheik decides he needs Action Comics No. 1, there are only a few people out there who have a copy.” And then there’s the other market, where most comics change hands for pennies and nobody is getting rich or even breaking even. “The entire back-issues market is essentially a Ponzi scheme,” Salkowitz says. “It’s been managed and run that way for 35 years.”

Bill Boichel, the owner of Pittsburgh’s Copacetic Comics, argues that transactions involving high-profile vintage comics happen in an entirely separate market. “Ultra-high-grade books sell for as much or more than ever to doctors, lawyers, brokers, and bankers,” he says. Comics like The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1—an Ohio man recently auctioned a copy for $7,900 to help pay for his daughter’s wedding—are considered a “blue chip stock of high liquidity, in that there is always a ready buyer for it.”

14 DC Titles Cancelled...More First Issues On The Way!!!

Swamp Thing #40 cover
Swamp Thing #40 cover

IGN and other sites are reporting that DC is to cancel 14 titles and that the old DC universe (WHICH one?) will be returning.

According to IGN http://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/12/16/dc-to-end-14-comics-in-march-2015

Check out the full list of cancellations below:
  • Aquaman and the Others #11
  • Arkham Manor #6
  • Batman Eternal #52
  • Batwoman #40
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #40
  • Infinity Man and the Forever People #9
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Three #12
  • Klarion #6
  • Red Lanterns #40
  • Secret Origins #11
  • Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #8
  • Swamp Thing #40
  • Trinity of Sin #6
  • World's Finest #32
While the solicitations for Earth 2: World's End and The New 52: Futures End don't make it explicit, we suspect both of those series are also concluding in March.

You can read more at IGN

Hot Toys: not your typical action figure

There Was An Ant-Man In The Comic Book Avengers? Yes. Read A Comic.

I love it when the newbie comic geek journalists write these things.  It's the current Di$ney Generation of Marvel Comics.  Still, more publicity for Marvel based movies....are DC making any movies based on their comics?

Ant-Man Was A Founder Of The Avengers?

It looks as though Ant-Man may have played a more important part in ‘The Avengers’ than we ever realised… as Evangeline Lily reveals that Hank Pym helped found the Avengers.

Ant-Man Was A Founder Of The Avengers?

It was a major part of Marvel comic book history – the creation of The Avengers back in 1963 as Ant-Man and The Wasp helped tackle Loki. But as we all know, that doesn’t mean that the comic books will translate directly to the screen. 

Thankfully, it seems that in this case, it may be a little closer than usual… and Ant-Man and The Wasp may well be the original founders of The Avengers.

During an interview with CNN, the lovely Evangeline Lily was asked about her character, Hope Van Dyne… and it looks as though she revealed exactly how Hank Pym fits into the wider Marvel universe.

“She is the daughter of the founders of The Avengers, Ant-Man and the Wasp,” she revealed. “She is a very talented, intelligent, capable woman and a force to be reckoned with.”

Of course, Ant-Man and The Wasp have been a mainstay in the comic books for years… and way back in 1963, helped Thor and Iron Man to establish the first Avengers line-up. In fact, it was The Wasp who came up with the snappy moniker for Marvel’s biggest superhero team.

But does this mean that Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym was a founder of the Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

It’s certainly starting to look that way… and if you ask me, it would be a rather neat call back to the original comic books. But for now, we’ll have to wait and see. 

Either way, it looks as though ‘Ant-Man’ is shaping up to be one of Marvel’s biggest releases yet… and could open up the MCU to an entirely different kind of film – the heist movie.

“This one is very much a heist film,” she explained. “It has all the fun, tension and drama of a good heist film. The heist is being masterminded by myself, my father and Scott Lang.”

It’s certainly starting to sound as though Hope Van Dyne plays a much bigger part in ‘Ant-Man’ than we first thought… and could even end up taking the name of The Wasp as Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) dons the Ant-Man suit.
And it looks as though Lily has had a real blast…

“I’ve been astounded to discover how good to their teams and crew that Marvel are,” she added. “They’re so collaborative, so smart with their stories. They have rich, dynamic characters which are so much fun to play. I expected I’d be a cog in the wheel of a big machine — I wasn’t sure I’d like this experience. But I’ve been so astounded at how pleasurable the whole experience has been.”

‘Ant-Man’ heads to cinemas on 17 July 2015