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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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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Where are all the British superheroes? asked The Journalist. "They All Live Here With Me" Was My Reply!

The following article is from The Telegraph -the online version of a UK national newspaper- in 2013 got a response from me.  I pointed out that counting US created 'British' heroes was not "home grown".  I cited a long list but also pointed out that Black Tower had been publishing home grown, British created, super heroes since 1984.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10201861/Where-are-all-the-British-superheroes.html

How did the Telegraph respond -remember I was very polite and not "Angry of Bristol!"- to this?

"Sorry but your comment is not suitable"

*****!!!

So here is that article by Tim Martin -you lot out there fill in all the gaps -this is DIY know your British super heroes test no. 1!

Where are all the British superheroes?

As Wolverine opens in cinemas, Tim Martin looks at the best - and worst - of our homegrown superheroes.

Absurdly good: Zenith is a popster turned superhero
Absurdly good: Zenith is a popster turned superhero Photo: (Rebellion A/S)
Had you forgotten that the superhero Wolverine is a Canadian? I had, I confess. Not just because the grumpy old man of the X-Men exists at such distance from maple-leaf stereotype — although he does, being much more likely to blow cigar smoke in your eye or skewer you with adamantine claws than apologise or take you to a hockey game — but because one tends to assume that most superheroes are American by default. US culture has proved fertile ground for such myths since Superman’s creation in 1938, but attempts to funnel the spirit of other countries into skintight costumes and capes have been less successful. One can’t imagine the French or the Italians getting particularly exercised about the failure, but the Brits are a different matter.

No one needs reminding that the caped crusaders on today’s cinema screens owe much to British talent. Batman is played by a Welshman, Superman by a Jerseyman, and directors like Christopher Nolan and Ken Branagh lurk behind the cameras. Further back in the 1980s, it was the influx of writers such as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey and Grant Morrison that helped to drag American comics from the creative slough of identikit theatrics and point them towards a future of adult plotlines, snappy dialogue and ironical introspection. So where, then, are all the British superheroes?

Standard procedure here would be to mention Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and other (non-super) heroes as refracted homegrown equivalents to Marvel and DC’s men in tights. But that’s just special pleading. A riffle through the archives does indeed reveal several British supes who deserve a share of the attention garnered by their louder, older, more famous counterparts across the Atlantic — as well as some perfect examples of why no one’s ever heard of the breed.

Zenith
The adventures of a lackadaisical British popster, son of two Baby Boomer superheroes, who is forced to abandon his assignations with willing groupies when neo-Nazis find a hibernating Übermensch, fill him with Lovecraftian horrors and sic him on London. Long out of print, Zenith is reissued by 2000AD later this year, and it’s brilliant: recognizably British in its sense of the absurd but with a fearsomely exciting high-stakes plot. If anyone ever wants to make a good UK superhero movie, there are many worse places to start.
Knight
Britain’s first superpowered blueblood. Created in the Fifties with his sidekick Squire as a homegrown competitor to Batman, Knight was initially the alter ego of Percy Sheldrake, Earl of 'Wordenshire', and could be summoned by ringing the bell of his local church. By the time Grant Morrison briefly revived the character at the end of the Nineties, the new Knight was seen to have piddled away his inheritance and acquired a drug habit, and had to be rescued from the gutter to restart his crimefighting career from someone’s garage. Now there’s Broken Britain for you.



Blueblooded crimefighter: 'Knight' with his sidekick 'Squire' (DC Entertainment)

 
Captain Britain
Another super-aristo who failed to move with the times. Raised in a posh family fallen on hard times — Wikipedia amusingly describes him as “too proud to fraternise with lower classes” — Brian Braddock has the good fortune to be around when Merlin turns up brandishing a superpowered Amulet of Right. Subsequent exploits made for a wearisome parade of victories over Arthurian villains, Nazis and other gestures towards Britain’s storied past, while successive attempts to rename him as ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Brittanic’ took the franchise even farther towards swivel-eye territory.


Miracleman
The best homegrown superhero writing draws more on British satirical tradition than it does on Blitz-spirit cliché and poshos with funny names. Years before Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the Northampton magus Alan Moore began sniping at superhero tropes with Miracleman, imagining a knackered freelance journalist able to swap bodies with a glittering blond super-being at the whisper of a magic word. Under Neil Gaiman’s subsequent stewardship, the series became a queasy meditation on the moral demands of supreme power in a super-utopia. Last year’s resolution of a long-running rights dispute holds out hope for a reprint, too.


Union Jack
Originally Lord Falsworth, military man and scourge of His Majesty’s enemies during the Second World War. Loses his legs in combat with the evil Baron Blood, so his son takes up the mantle, subsequently becoming one of the very few gay superheroes. He bites the dust in turn, however, and it falls to a working-class Mancunian to take up the cudgels in Jack’s most recent incarnation. It’s an interesting trajectory for a British character, if you overlook the temporary possession by Sir Lancelot’s ghost, but perhaps of more use as a sociological document than a Hollywood adaptation.



Motley crew: 'The Boys' is laced with sex, swearing and gore (Spitfire Productions Ltd and Darick Robertson)

 
The Boys
A take on the superhero myth from a Northern Irish writer, garlanded with the kind of swearing, sex and gore that would make Tarantino blench. The Boys chronicles the efforts of a band of trenchcoated enforcers, led by a musclebound ex-SAS titan and a wimpy Scot called Hughie, to control with extreme prejudice the Spandex super-puppets of an American military-industrial complex. Both funnier and more offensive than Mark Millar's later Kick-Ass, this has a bilious charm all its own.
                                             +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That's it. Now if you try to think of British super heroes and you do not come up with a single Black Tower character....you need to become a journalist!!

Oh. And suck on this from 2011...
http://downthetubes.net/?p=1597 

My Excess: Dave -A Cosmic Oddity


A4
Black & White
Paperback, 
106 Pages
Price: £12.99
The biography of Dave Gordon, often called the Uk's Manara. Detailing Dave's origins and relationships, this is an insight into one of UK comicdoms creators.

I got this book handed to me by the postman (mailman if you are American) at 1300 hrs and by 1500 hrs I had read it through.

This is David Gordon -the UKs very own Milo Manara- telling his story.  From his birth and adoption three days later through family life, school, university, work and later trying to contact his birth mother -the outcome of which is still currently open.

Dave takes us through his life and troubled relationships with himself (2014) narrating and flashback images and sequences of events.  The style he uses in this book, being honest here, I saw at a glance and thought "not sure about this".  However, I realised the clever way the art had been designed and drawn -photos, etc.- actually worked. Even the cartoony flashback-to-situation pages (see below).

What can I write about this?  Gritty -yes.  Factual and being brutally honest and to be equally honest here I do not think I'd have the guts to quite literally open up my chest and let some of these experiences out.  Being pushed away by his adopted family is bad enough but then having to go through his (adoption) father dying of cancer -bad enough.  But we then learn about the abusive relationships (physical and emotional).

There is still the matter of his birth mother and how that might end.  However, Dave is now happily in a relationship with Lesley (I've met her and she seems quite nice for a prison officer -not even a moustache!) and that gives us a sort of happy ending.  But, oh boy, what happened before.

Let me tell you something.  For years I was also an agent for comic creators.  You see good art, you know the writers or artists are reliable so, as an agent you put a spin on things to sell the work.  I've read and reviewed comics and graphic novels for publications and online now for over 30 years.  I see a couple hundred books of one sort or another a year -the crammed bookshelves and floors attest to that.

I cannot think of one book where a creator has taken us through his personal life and things have been so dark and gut-wrenching -even preparing for suicide- that I have said out loud "F***!" so many times. My sister even said "What are you swearing at?"

If this were an independent film it would be getting some award.  A publisher should be paying Gordon to allow them to publish this!  This is superbly written -and it must have taken a lot of thought to put this together without going over the top or exaggerating.  To make it a sequential story interspersed with illustrated text pieces....this is truly what Will Eisner described what graphic novels should be: telling a true and honest story that grabs the reader and pulls them in.

You people out there deciding who gets nominated for an Eagle Award should read this book.

This book should NOT be ignored. If you think "I'll buy just one Independent book...." then PLEASE make it this.

The book has surprised and shocked me - I have heard some snippets over the years but never the whole story.  In fact, you really need to read it yourself because nothing I write here can even adequately do it justice.









Hexagon Comics -It Might Be A French Company But You OUGHT To Be Paying Close Attention!





 Now for a while I've wondered what happened to Hexagon and Wanga comics.  If you are new here you may wish to check out my interview with Jean Marc Lofficer -naturally our French readers will want to!

http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/jean-marc-lofficier-man-who-created.html

And on the bus home from shopping, delayed by roadworks I wondered again.  So, turn on my computer and there is an email from Jean Marc!!

Wow.  And has he been busy.  So rather that hack and slash his email I'll reproduce it here with some added artwork.

PLEASE check the links because there is some incredible stuff!

 Anyway, over to Jean-Marc:

Hi Terry,

I thought I would briefly update you on what;'s going on with Hexagon Comics.

I'll start by providing you with a "table of contents" here on our French Riviere Blanche site which lists & details pretty much all of what follows:


1) The "classic reprint" tpb line à l Marvel Essentials or DC Showcase continues monthly, and strongly. There are now 40+ volumes.

2) We've added licensed prose volumes, more specifically two novels (featuring the Hexagon Group -- our "aveners") and two short story collections, also available as e-books.

3) We've added a licensed RPG (separate link):


4) I'm afraid we've terminated the Wanga license (amicably) and regrouped all the STRANGERS titles under our own banner. This now includes three TPBs, STRANGERS 0 (a collection of prologue stories), STRANGERS Season 1 TPB and STRANGERS Season 2 TPB (ewhich collects all 7 single comics put out by Wanga + an 8th new story)

5) We've embarked on STRANGERS Season 3 in the form of 48-page, b&w, squarebound monthly "prestige format" books -- 7 issues have been released so far. Here is a link to a cover gall;erry of past & future issues:

6) Parallel to STRANGERS, we're also doing a line of color comics featuring "LE GARDE REPUBLICAIN" (in English: Guardian of the Republic) -- 3 issues so far + an Annual coming out for Xmas.

7)There are a few other odds & ends such as a DICK DEMON hardcover, a WWII story (Les Partisans) and the forthcoming Kabur color graphic novel (also hardcover).

8) Finally, we've begun uploading our vast catalog on comixology:

Our 2015 program is quite full already; let me know if you have any questions!

Best,

jm
We  do have two recent books in English, that can be ordered through our site, amazon etc. or in e-media on comixology:

-- STRANMGERS SEASON 1 #1 to 6
-- GUARDIAN OF THE REPUBLIC #1

I've had a quick look at the site and must admit I got very excited. I think I'm going to have to start saving those pennies now!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

You See WHY You Should Read What I Post Properly?



You see? You see?!!!

Now I'm getting hyper.  Note to self -do not get too hyper after working on comics.

WHY am I hyper?  Well, I could be dumbfounded or even sarcastic.  All the movie news I keep posting?  Everyone seemingly ignores it and months later everyone "finds out" and ki8ck up a big fuss.  Borrrr-ing!

So, someone says "go check out Bleeding Cool Comics!"  I do and see this headline:

Marvel Announces Phase Three From 2016 – Including Civil War, Avengers Infinity War Two Parter, Captain Marvel, Black Panther (Starring Chadwick Boseman), Inhumans, Doctor Strange And Thor: Ragnarok

 Right. But this is an "official" announcement whereas I was telling everyone based on solid information months ago.

Ignore me.  Go to Bleeding Cool Comics and read the item. Go on
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/10/28/marvel-announces-phase-three-from-2016-including-black-panther-and-thor-ragnarok/ 

BILBOLBUL A LUCCA COMICS & GAMES 2014

"Exquisite black and white work" no more!



I missed this story in April but that makes it even more interesting since last November I pointed out that the indications were that Di$ney were unhappy and wanted to make more money from reprints.

I was told that, back in April the freebie comics newsletter Comic Shop News confirmed this. The end of the Marvel Comics Essential line the phone book-sized volumes that reprinted classic Marvel comics in black and white.

These books reproduced the old series and in black and white many looked far better than when coloured. I used the phrase "exquisite black and white work" many times.

According to the CSN item:
“Marvel has confirmed the end of their Essentials program of black and white reprints of classic material.  Marvel has sold off almost all remaining inventory of older in-print volumes and will not be adding further books.  ‘This material needs to be in color,’ Marvel Senior VP of Sales David Gabriel said.  ‘So we’ll be replacing our Essentials program with more full-color Epic Collections.’”
Epic Collections are around $40 for 20 issues and an Essential volume might give you 25-30 or so issues for $20.

Pity but there you go.  "**** the fans!"

AVAILABLE 1ST NOVEMBER -Kadath : or The Dream Quest of Randolph Carter

 
 
 
Charles Cutting
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: SLOTH COMICS (1 Nov 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1908830077
ISBN-13: 978-1908830074
Product Dimensions: 26 x 17 x 0.9 cm
£11.38

Available 1st November 2014

Amazon Advanced ordering: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kadath-Dream-Quest-Randolph-Carter/dp/1908830077

Three times Randolph Carter dreams of a magnificent sunset city, but his perfect dreams are not what they seem to be. As Carter sets out on a quest within a dream world to find his ideal city at all costs, he is drawn inexorably closer towards a terrible secret. Based on H.P. Lovecraft's novella The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (1943).

I absolutely raved over The Dream Quest Of Randolph Carter and Charles Cuttings art style -including the vibrant colours.  Now he has a whole graphic novel coming out and it is available from Amazon.

Like good comics?  Love Lovecraft?  THIS is for you.  Do not miss out or you will be kicking yourselves!!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

I Need To Say This....To Annoy The Idiots Out There.

I wrote on the old CBO, as well as on this blogger version, that I considered there to be two countries where they had the know-how and facilities to publish comics and set up a revitalised industry in the UK -and from there spring out into Europe and the United States.

Those countries are China and India.

I have posted a few times about my dealings with companies in India.  Basically, it appears that they have no stomach to move away from their established market, however profitable it might be.  Fair enough -it is THEIR company after all.

That leaves China.  China has a superb and economic printing industry AND have companies that have the will to jump in and establish themselves in a new area/market.

It's all I am saying for now.

如果有任何真正的有兴趣建立英国一个地方设立一个新的满华业务请联系企业

Bang! Bang! Hooper's Silver Age Hammer....



I have completed the complete run of Marvels West Coast Avengers/Avengers West Coast -why was it that the WCA or AWC were shut down by the founding Avengers?  Well, in an awful script/story -and some AWFUL artwork- that seemed to throw established characterisation and established Avengers history aside, it was because the WCA compound had been attacked and compromised too often.

Now, let's get this right: the established East Coast Avengers whose mansion had been infiltrated by the Scarlet Centurion, Immortus, Kang, The Masters of Evil (in the classic Siege storyline), Ultron -so many times I forget- by the Vision (before he became an Avenger), by Black Panther before he became an Avenger, by NSA Henry Gyrich, by Man Ape...look, you see where I'm going with this?

A team that had been attacked, injured, imprisoned in their mansion HQ -whose mansion HQ had been wrecked and damaged so often were telling the West Coast team.....I sat there reading this crappy story and just kept asking out loud "WTF???!!!"

It is interesting when you go through your collection of Marvel Comics that you notice writing and story-telling as well as art sharply decline at 1990/1991.  It's almost as though it's a different company. The good writers were still alive.  The good artists were still alive.  One Sal Buscema or John Buscema book was worth 20 or 30 of the new ones.  No comparison really.

 

 And, sadly, The Avengers volume 1 ended with #402.  Yes, things had gone down hill.  The Wasp had antennae and had become more like a dragonfly!  Tony Stark had become a murderer  in a misguided attempt to change history -seriously, it was almost as though Marvel wanted to kill their own comic books.

 

And so The Avengers died until the new Avengers vol. 2 which resulted in 11(?) issues that were so bad they then....died away.  That cover might look okay but inside....yeugh.

Then Marvel brought in Kurt Busiek and George Perez for volume 3 and things were back to the glory days until, as with the excellent Avengers Forever , Marvel thought "screw this!" and totally killed everything.

Where am I going with this? No idea. But I think my point is that 1990/1991 saw a huge and noticeable decline in Marvel Comics.

So, I have decided to just complete my Silver and Bronze Ages books.



I've completed Machine Man -the run started by Jack Kirby.  I've completed my Omega the Unknown series (10 issues)



And I have completed the 1960s-1970s run of The Sub-Mariner....a fantastic series.

I've only a few of the original Defenders series I need to get and, basically, I'll sort out others I need to complete such as Marvels The Champions featuring Hercules, Ice Man et al.  I need a good few of them!

It would have been nice to see to see issues of the Avengers in black and white from volume 1 #207 on but Marvel, like DC. seems to be scrapping The Essentials line for higher priced, fewer issues in colour in hardback form.  Yep, sell lots at a lower price or fewer at a higher price and "***** you fans!"

And, no, I'm not going to be ripped off with high prices: UK dealers note that I have bought three Avengers back issues from the US which, even with postage, cost less than one of them at an inflated high price. You do not want UK buyers trade **** you.




BilBOlbul Newsletter


 
NEWSLETTER 28/10/2014
  
 
 
GLI AUTORI DI BILBOLBUL
A LUCCA COMICS E GAMES 2014!
 
Quest'anno BilBOlbul sarà presente a Lucca Comics & Games, dal 30 ottobre al 2 novembre presso lo stand E123 del padiglione di Piazza Napoleone.

Giovedì 30 e venerdì 31 ottobre dalle 15.30 alle 18 gli ospiti presenti, passati e futuri di BilBOlbul dedicheranno le loro nuove uscite. Saranno presenti:
Paolo Bacilieri, Matteo Farinella, Massimo Giacon, Julie Maroh, Rutu Modan, Nicolò Pellizzon, Tuono Pettinato, Vanna Vinci, Delebile, La Trama, Teiera.
A seguire, un aperitivo insieme agli autori per festeggiare insieme l'ottava edizione del festival!

Vi aspettiamo allo stand BBB14, dove troverete gli orari di ciascuna giornata, le cartoline e il programma della nuova edizione di BilBOlbul!
 
 
ANCORA UNA SETTIMANA PER L'ISCRIZIONE AI WORKSHOP DI BILBOLBUL 2014
 
Stanno per chiudersi le iscrizioni ai workshop organizzati in occasione di BilBOlbul 2014.

C'è tempo fino a lunedì 3 novembre per partecipare ai laboratori tenuti da Paolo Bacilieri, Alessandro Tota, Roman Muradov, Icinori e Manuele Fior, un momento di confronto e crescita professionale immancabile per chiunque operi nei settori dell’illustrazione, del fumetto, della grafica e dell’editoria.

 
 
BilBOlbul Festival internazionale di fumetto fa parte della
Rete dei Festival del Contemporaneo di Bologna
Future Film Festival: 1 > 6 aprile 2014 - futurefilmfestival.org :: Live Arts Week: 8 > 13 aprile 2014 - liveartsweek.it :: Angelica- Festival Internazionale di musica: 2 > 31 maggio 2014 - aaa-angelica.com :: Biografilm: 6 > 16 giugno 2014 - biografilm.it :: Gender Bender: 25 ottobre > 1 novembre 2014 www.genderbender.it :: BilBOlBul: 20 > 23 novembre 2014 - bilbolbulnet