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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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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Seriously, I COULD Have Bought A House!

As a little postscript to my looking at The Avengers titles I was trying to sort out I have to say "What a ***** mess!"

The current -I say "current" as I don't think it's all ended again as of...oh, I see it has.  Anyway, the last volume of Avengers was volume 6 even though people keep calling it volume 5.  See, the 1963 run was volume 1.  Then there was that awful year long volume 2.  But some do not count that run as a volume but it is. 

Volume 3 was when Busiek and Perez brought back the great stories and art....before others took over. And this is where it gets odd because at around #83 they decided to continue numbering from volume 1 so from #83 you get quite quickly to the final issue -#503.

#503 is the end of volume 3.

Volume 4 has 36 issues and then it moves on to volume 5 which goes to #34.  Volume 6 is The Avengers NOW run which is currently/has ended.

New Avengers volume 1runs to #64.  Volume 2 runs to #34 and New Avengers NOW is volume 3. 

Avengers-Invaders, Avengers Ultron Imperative, Avengers Next, Last Hero Standing and Last Planet Standing are part of the "alternative future" Avengers that featured J2, et al.  Those three mini series along with Marvel Adventures The Avengers were probably the most fun style comics in Marvel's last 20+ years.

Oh, there was also -deeep breath:

 Avengers Finale, Avengers Strike-Force, Secret Avengers (vol. 1 -34 issues), Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes (vols. 1 and 2), Dark Avengers, Avengers Infinity Gauntlet (4 issues), Avengers Terminatrix Objective, Avengers Unplugged (4 issues), Avengers -Thunderbolts, The Last Avengers Story (2 issues), Avengers Classic, Avengers V X-Men, A v X (mini series), Avengers Domination Factor (4 issues), Avengers v Agents of Atlas, Avengers-Transformers, Young Avengers, Young Avengers Presents.....

This is overkill unlike any previous comics overkill such as with Superman, X-Men or, good grief -even outdoes Batman and Spiderman overkill.

And I never even touched on The Ultimate Avengers.

There are a few "key issues"  as dealers like to call them.  They are issues they can exploit and try to screw every red penny out of one of those new moronic comic geeks.  The rest?  Well, I've now had FOUR people telling me that selling comics by the kilo is what a lot of people do now because they are like 1920s Deutsch Marks -a barrel load got you, if you were lucky, a loaf of bread.  Sell by bulk and the buyer picks the ones he wants and the rest....he doesn't care.  Bin. Burn.

Really, I know all the ins and outs, I've been buying and reading comics for near on 50 years and to sit here and look at these boxes and realised I could have purchased a house if only I had saved and not bought comics!!

Spread the word.  The Comic Bubble is about to burst -SELL YOUR COMICS WHILE YOU CAN!!!


Tilda Swinton To Be "The Ancient One" In Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’??

Hahahahahahahahahaha--oh.  You're being serious?

Talk about sticking it to the fans. Great actress but just WTF????????????????

According to Variety: http://variety.com/2015/film/news/tilda-swinton-doctor-strange-cast-benedict-cumberbatch-1201506594/
Tilda Swinton Doctor Strange
Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Tilda Swinton is in talks to co-star with Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange"
Scott Derrickson is directing the comicbook movie.

Cumberbatch will play Stephen Vincent Strange, a former neurosurgeon who becomes the next Sorcerer Supreme and primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. Marvel Comics vets Stan Lee and Steve Ditko co-created the character in 1963. Strange’s mentor is a Tibetan mystic known as the Ancient One, who is training pupils to be the next Sorcerer Supreme. In the comics, the character has been a male, and Marvel Studios was initially searching for a male actor. Given Swinton’s interest in the film, however, the studio has now rethought the role.

“Doctor Strange” will debut on Nov. 4, 2016.

The news was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
Above: Dr Stephen Strange and The Ancient One when he still had a willy.  A todger. A John Thomas. A...get it right?

Cinebook The 9th Art; Papyrus 6 - The Amulet of the Great Pyramid

  Papyrus 6 - The Amulet of the Great Pyramid
Author: De Gieter
Age: 8 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182409
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: February 2015

Drawn by strange cries coming from the necropolis at the foot of the pyramids, Papyrus comes face to face with Anubis, the god of the dead. The jackal-headed god, angered by a rash of grave robbing, orders the young Egyptian to enter the Great Pyramid and retrieve there the heart scarab of Kheops. But the pyramid is already 1000 years old to Papyrus, and robbers have long ago desecrated it. The young boy will have to search it from top to bottom.

I think this was one of the first European books I saw from Cinebook that showed a rather cartoony figure style could be employed in amongst wonderfully drawn Egyptian architecture and scenes from daily life.

Of course, there is some history thrown in, Anubis gets to appear in a comic (he complains so!) and young Papyrus has to face snakes and other dangers.  The series is very enjoyable and I would, again, write that this title is "suitable for kids of all ages".  And, incidentally, the colour work by B. Swysen is excellent and adds to each scene.

UK Comics -What Might Have Been: Maxwell Pergamon Publishing Vs News International

I have already written how, after late businessman Robert Maxwell had purchased Fleetway and made it part of Maxwell Pergamon Publishing, I met up with Maxwell.  He saw that comics could make money and I put a lot of proposals together.

Robert Maxwell

Very nice, genial and joking man but I recall as I left I WAS counting my fingers. There was something too "off" but if he had the money to back UK comics and re-establish the UK as a comic publishing nation who was I to complain?

But talking to an assistant, later, I learnt that, basically, Maxwell wanted his fingers in as many pies as News International boss Rupert Murdoch.  If Murdoch was involved in an industry -whether newspaper, media or sport then Maxwell had to try to outdo him.  And Murdoch vice versa.

I was told that if any representative of News International or Murdoch approached me regarding comic publishing I was to consider myself "being loyal to Mr. Maxwell -and let us know " -which had me imaging brown envelopes full of cash being handed to me in " special deals"  (I was in comics -come on, let me fantasize! )

I did discuss the matter with a couple of the higher ranking Fleetway people who were still at the company.  The advice was to go ahead -" it can't do any more harm can it?"

You see, only afterwards did I realise what was said: "It can't do any more harm..."

Well, we all know what happened to Robert Maxwell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Maxwell

Oddly, even after Egmont took over Fleetway, things were shaky and I was left unpaid for work to the tune of £5,000.  And I was given the excuse that it was all "Maxwell's fault!"  But Maxwell had died years before and had nothing to do with Egmont-Fleetway!

But I digress.

Maxwell was paranoid about Murdoch who he said he knew -others confirmed it later- was going to jump into comic book publishing.  I even signed an agreement that I was committed to Maxwell Pergamon and would not discuss or advise on publishing comics in the UK (specifically) with News International representatives.

Rupert Murdoch - Flickr - Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer.jpg
 Rupert Murdoch

To be fair, at one point, while in London, I was approached by someone who said he was from News International but despite all his smooth talking I told him I was "under contract" -those magic words shut him up completely but he gave me a number to call "in case".

The interesting thing is that Maxwell had said that he knew Science Fiction (2000 AD) and super heroes were the best genres to jump in to.  He also wanted "the best" creators -"big names if possible but very talented if not".

How different the 1980s-1990s might have been with two battling media giants controlling rival comic publishing houses.  We might even have a comics industry today like any other in Europe. Of course, it would all  have depended on whether this was merely a one-upmanship deal or a serious business project. We'll never know.

This was all brought back to me as I looked through old papers.  I have a rule, based on my "other work", that any correspondence is strictly confidential for thirty years -unless it is needed to provide evidence in a legal case some how.  In fact, I have enough dirt on people in UK comics (letters, faxes etc) that I could quite easily cause them real problems!  The old joke of my body being pulled out of the River Avon and in my hand a note reading "Comic scandal if----" springs to mind.

But I have ethics.  And that makes me wonder how long I might have lasted in a Maxwell controlled comic industry.  Would have been interesting though.




È online su www.coopforwords.it il bando della tredicesima edizione di "Coop for words" riservata a scrittori e fumettisti dai 18 ai 35 anni, che dovranno inviare i loro elaborati - inediti e in lingua italiana - entro il 15 giugno, tramite l’apposito form presente sul sito.
Tanti i premi in palio: borse di studio e opportunità professionali, la possibilità di partecipare ad Ad alta voce e la pubblicazione di un’antologia. I 5 vincitori assoluti verranno premiati durante l’Expo di Milano e potranno partecipare gratuitamente ai corsi della Bottega Finzioni, esporre a BilBOlbul 2015 e ricevere una borsa di studio offerta da GVC.
Per la sezione fumetto si richiede la creazione di due tavole immaginate come prefazione di un’opera letteraria contemporanea (dal Novecento ai giorni nostri) a scelta, mettendone in evidenza o l’atmosfera, o una tematica, o le emozioni che suscita nel lettore.

Anche grazie al tuo contributo potremo portare avanti le nostre attività.
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: 19 > 22 novembre 2015 - bilbolbul.net :: Live Arts Week: liveartsweek.it ::
Future Film Festival
: futurefilmfestival.org

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Cinebook The 9th Art: The Bluecoats 08 - Auld Lang Blue


The Bluecoats 08 - Auld Lang Blue
Authors: Lambil & Cauvin
Age: 8 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages

08 - Auld Lang Blue
ISBN: 9781849182454
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: March 2015

Contrary to what you may believe, even the very martial Sergeant Chesterfield didn’t always wear the Union’s blue uniform. Both he and Blutch were civilians at the beginning of the war – butcher’s boy and barman, respectively. So, how did they find themselves in the 22nd Cavalry? Well, there was a rather unscrupulous recruiting officer, a lot of alcohol, an overly eager young lady ... and a definite aversion for the infantry!

There is one thing that stands out with this series.  Accuracy.  You might think that with a "humour" title ("humour" in its broadest sense) that the historical accuracy need not be important.  But if you check your history you find out that this is not just a slapped together series or story -how Sergeant Chesterfield was "tricked" into joining the Union Army in this volume.

And things like uniform accuracy (yes, I really can be THAT pedantic!) keeps the series look going and the battle scene was well drawn -as if it would be anything else!

Have I written that it is a fun series to read?  No? Right.  This is a fun series to read and I would say it ought to be enjoyed by a universal age group -children to adults of all ages!



Cardiff Independent Comic Expo 2015

Event Details

Cardiff’s only independent comic show returns on Saturday 27th June, 2015 at Cardiff Masonic Hall.
The Cardiff Independent Comic Expo (CICE) will showcase the very best in independent comic artists, writers, publishers, retailers, illustrators and more, from South Wales and beyond.

The event returns after a brief break in 2014, to build on the successful shows held since 2011, to celebrate the talent of those creators at the heart of the indie scene.  

Guests include 2000AD artists Mike Collins and Patrick Goddard, 2000AD writers Ian Edginton and Rob Williams, horror writers Wayne Simmons and David Moody.  They are joined by superbly talented indie creators including: Ana Catris, Lou Scannon, Bearded Skull, Stiffs, Razarhawk, David Broughton, Godmachine, Sarah Millman, Stu.Art, and many more…

Mike Allwood, creator of CICE and comic show producer for 25+ years, is delighted to bring back CICE:-

The independent creators are the very soul of our shows.  Every year they raise the bar on the books they produce and to this day continue to push the medium to new levels.  I’m delighted to have the opportunity once again to showcase the rich pool of talent we have in the UK with our small press creators”

The show is suitable for all ages, families are welcome, as are family friendly cosplayers
Tickets are available online from our official website priced at £5 (children under 12 go free with a ticket holding adult)


I Have Been Avenging!! (sort of)

 Well, I've just spent three hours trying to sort out my Marvel Comics -specifically The Avengers and what a **** mess it is.

Straight forward we had the first volume and, no, I do not have #1 just reprints of this great comic.  A joy to read even now and ***** off Brevoort.

The seemingly forgotten volume 2 is...bad.  But volume 3 had Busiek and Perez who, while on the title made it a real Avengers book for fans. But let's have a look at what I've been going through.

Avengers #1 vol. 1

 Luckily I've already catalogued volume 1 and the distractions it caused...great covers and stories.

 Of course, due to the constant selling off and screwing about (read Sean Howe's Marvel The Untold Story) Marvel was, once again, on the very edge of ceasing publication so it tried some of the new "hot talents".

I have tried reading this short run (I think 13 issues in all) but it is just awful and, in the end, was a failure.

Avengers #1  vol. 2

And that failure meant that someone at Marvel had to stress-out over what to do next.  They got George Perez who they asked to also write the book.  George had a better idea and he "strongly" suggest Kurt Busiek and Busiek accepted like a shot (see the interview on the animated film Ultimate Avengers).

The Avengers were back. Beautiful art and great stories.

Avengers #1  vol. 3

Avengers The Domination Factor (mini series tie in with Fantastric Four Domination Factor)

Sadly, things went wrong and as Marvel jumped issue numbering again so that it continued on from the first volume, the rot set in with Avengers Disassemble.  Awful, awful, awful -by this time Busiek and Perez had been kicked off  decided to move aside for a 'better team'.  I believe 'em.

I think the last storyline was "Siege"

But then, oh my gods...it almost looked as though Marvel had realised their mistake and their titles re-launched as The Heroic Age.

Avengers #1  vol. 4

Yeah, and that didn't last long before it got messy again.  Don't give a crap: Bendis ruined the whole thing and it's that simple.  **** Bendis.

Hmmm. I seem to be getting a wee bit angry.  Anyway, the Avengers Assemble movie was a big deal and Disney now owned Marvel (not to mention Star Wars) and everything has become science fiction orientated.  And to cap it all off probably the best Marvel animated series ever -Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes got ****** over by Disney.  Screw all the story lines and that fans loved the two series -I've even seen Justice League Animated fans rave about "the opposition". 

And what did they replace this great animated series with -throwing out all the storylines?  "Avengers Assemble" a piece of puerile crap -but it has the same title as the hit movie so who gives a ****?!

Avengers #1 Volume 5


But you have to remember there was Avengers United They Stand -an animated series so awful I tried to blind myself -and the comic? aaaagh

Avengers Solo, Avengers Strikefile, Avengers Unplugged, Avengers Infinity, Avengers Celestial Quest, Avengers The Last Story, Avengers---oh. And of course....
Young Avengers   #1

Yeah, milk it!

Young Avengers #1 vol.2


"How can we screw more money out of the morons, Joe?"

The Initiative #1
"Joe -we need more and more sucker money!"

 Secret Avengers #1  vol.1

"Joe, I can't, you know, be a "real man" for my wife unless I see more money squeezed out of the jerks!"

Secret Avengers #1  vol. 2


New Avengers #1  vol. 1


"Uh, this is better than viagra -more sucker money! More! MORE!!!!!!"

New Avengers #1 vol. 2

And to help that bunch of executives -because money spread sheets are better than porn....

Avengers 1959

The number of Avengers titles goes on.  I have two shelves which includes West Coast Avengers mini series and volume 1 (complete).  So you are sat there thinking I'm looking at gold.  I can ask whatever I want for these Fine to Near Mint comics, right? 

I tried to work it out but I've paid over the years a couple thousand on just these books.  Their ACTUAL value?  I'd be very lucky if I even got £100 for all of them.  Seriously, I checked it all out and the only ones asking big prices are the dealers and traders who are milking stupidity.

It's all very sobering and now I need to catalogue this lot before bed....I'm tempted to start tonight and end tomorrow.  Who knows?  My comics aren't going anywhere!

Cinebook The 9th Art: Valerian & Laureline 09 - Châtelet Station, Destination Cassiopeia

Valerian & Laureline 09 - Châtelet Station, Destination Cassiopeia
 Authors: Mézières & Christin
Age: 12 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182447
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: March 2015

Our two spatio-temporal agents are on a new mission, but this time the duo is split up. While Laureline flies solo from planet to planet, on the trail of arms dealers and forbidden technologies, Valerian is on 20th century Earth, teamed up with the eccentric Mr Albert. And he, too, is hunting down technologies incompatible with the era. What is the link between the two cases, separated as they are by centuries and light-years?

It's been a real joy seeing these albums in English.  I love the art and some of the really weird stuff Mezieres drew.  And the stories are great.  This is one I have not seen before -if it wasn't published in English or German I never saw it.  There is very much "almost" a feel of Alphaville here* while Valerian is in the past, but still telepathically in contact with Laureline in the future.

I ****** love this.

Just how does someone from the future go about his business in the past without drawing too much attention to himself?  If fact, should such a person allow himself to be picked up by a mysterious blond in a car?  I think we may well find out in the next album -Brooklyn Line, Terminus Cosmos.

And Laureline's solo mission just might get a little more dangerous.

This is great comic book reading and, I really hope, another big success for Cinebook!

As I feel it my duty to educate now and then: * Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (Alphaville: A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution) is a 1965 film starring Eddie Constantine as Peter Cheyney's private eye Lemmy Caution ("Only my mother ever got away with calling me 'Lemuel'!"


Return Of The Gods & The Cross-Earths Caper Parts 1 & 2 Of The "Invasion Earth" Trilogy

The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super Heroes

Terry Hooper-Scharf
Black & White
331 Pages
Price: £20.00
It begins slowly with Earth’s heroes going about their daily tasks –fighting a giant robot controlled by a mad scientist’s brain , attackers both human and mystical -even alien high priests of some mysterious cult and their zombie followers and, of course, a ghost and a young genius lost in time. 
Pretty mundane. But there is a huge alien Mother-ship near the Moon and strange orange spheres chase some of Earth’s heroes who vanish into thin air –are they dead?
 Then black, impenetrable domes cover cities world-wide. 
Alien invasion of Earth! 
A war between the Dark Old Gods and the pantheons that followed! 
Warriors from Earth’s past having to battle each day and whether they die or not they are back the next day!
 And no one suspects the driving force behind the events that could cause destruction and chaos throughout the multiverse —assaulted on all fronts can Earth’s defenders succeed or will they fail...is this truly the end?


 Terry Hooper-Scharf
Black & White
107 Pages 
Price: £12.00
Following the events on Neo Olympus and the Boarman invasion of Earth, many heroes and crime-fighters have withdrawn from activity. 
Some are trying to recover from injuries while others are fighting the mental scars left by the events. 
As heroes from other parallels who helped during the events return home, members of the Special Globe Guard are shocked at the sudden appearance of Zom of the Zodiac. 
Very soon, a group of heroes find a quick rescue mission turn sour as they become lost between parallel Earths and threats. Sometimes one Earth just is not enough. 
The complete story published in issues 7-10 of Black Tower Adventure now in...one handy dandy book!