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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

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Opus 21: “Quality Birds” a.k.a. “The Wisdom of the Colonel”


Peter Lally
Opus 21
A4
12pp
Colour
£3.00
 To purchase a copy contact Peter at:
peterlally@gmail.com 

It appears that last Friday Mr Paul Brown was gamboling about London.  And while gamboling met up with Lord Peter Lally -adventurer, treasure seeker and international man of mystery. "Give this to Hooper -and if you are questioned you know nothing!" were the words I apparently made him utter for comedic effect here.

So, on the Saturday I noticed Mr Brown skipping along the lane toward my house. Once in the house and seated, he excitedly produced "Quality Birds" by Lord Lally.  To calm him down from a sugar-rush created excitement, I promised to do a review.

Well, I sat down and looked through this one. The production is incredible and must have cost a few quid. Nice crisp and shiny.  Now the thing is that Peter is NOT Jack Kirby.  He is NOT John Byrne. But this is why I think the Small Press works -there are no huge egotistical pretensions.  What I look for is the "feel" of a book and, yes, you can "feel" if a story or comic was just chucked together for fun or whether it was just chucked together and **** what it ends up like.

I got part way through this creation of the man who brought us Mind Your Manners: The Donald Hamilton Story and just chuckled.  I also uttered the words: "What are you on, Lally?"  Seriously, I thought that this was going to be some huge attack on the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.  Instead it was....funny.  Take a look at the pages below -particularly the first!  Pure genius.  And do you know what?  While shopping in Tesco (I feel it my duty to help them get back that £25m) I passed the frozen chickens* and thought "Ooh. There's a quality bird!  Oo-er!"  And, yes, I did have to stifle a loud laugh.

I will never be able to look at a frozen or fresh chicken again without that feeling of....arousal.  Lally caused that!

Seriously, you need to read the whole book. It does make me wonder just Miss Millie  is trying to impart...no, I don't want to go there.

If you want a fun read then this is it.  If you don't buy a copy...well, it really is your loss!!





*I ought to point out that I've been a vegetarian for 35(?) years now so was passing the chicken section and not deliberately heading there to check out the "talent".

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Alan Moore, Listen -There Are A LOT Of Young Creative People Out There (and me)

It was nice to see Small Pressers comment on the usual Alan Moore rantings -this time his claim that comics at all levels suck.

See what the people at The water Closet say:

http://waterclosetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/alan-moore-versus-small-press.html

Moore, like a few others who rose to "fame" (fleeting bastard that it is) in the 1980s and he did work with fanzines.  He shows that he does not grasp what is going on in the all encompassing term "comic industry". The Small Press used to be where you honed your skills before moving on to mainstream comics.  In the 1970s it was a rather small group of people. 

In the 1980s it quite literally exploded because photocopying allowed a faster way of publishing and it was a bloody sight quicker and cleaner than using a Gestetner!!

 
It’s Not About The Money
By Raphael Salimena

By the mid-1990s there seemed to be a slight stagnation because Small Pressers found their main selling points, Fast Fiction and later Zine Zone gone. Comic marts seemed to decline also.  Getting a table at one of the new conventions was going to cost more than your rent!

Then computers became more common and desk top publishing moved from putting together a comic at home and handing it to a printer to being able to do small print runs yourself at home. Print on Demand also helped would-be publishers. And then the Small Press/Alternative Press events kicked in.  People like Peter Lally and Jimi Gherkin literally blasted a major Alternative Press community -community NOT "industry"- onto London.

Today there are more Small Press events going on in the UK than major comic conventions -many of which still look down at Small Pressers but are all smiles to take their money for a table.

Most of the creators have no idea about comics.  They never read comics.  They are trying things out.  Being inventive. They are not looking at making big money, most seem to enjoy the work -or pleasure- of putting these books together and seem amazed if anyone buys their book!

They are not "appropriating" characters and ideas from old literature.  They are not claiming any Messianic power.

They are having fun.

I am an aging curmudgeon and if I smile it might just be me farmers playing me up.  They are young, fresh faced and doe-eyed. I'd sooner sit in a room full of them than in a luxury suite with Mr. Moore.

SUPPORT THE SMALL/ALTERNATIVE PRESS!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

What Ever Happened To Blake & Mortimer?

I had a couple of queries from people who have searched CBO (believe me this is a site with well over 2000 posts so they deserve medals!) looking for specific Cinebook reviews. I checked and they are quite correct in that certain books were not reviewed because I never received them!

Blake & Mortimer 12 and 17 for instance. I think I noted in the review of 13 and then 18 that I was a wee bit confused and it seems that was because I missed the previous books. I just checked the bookcase in front of me with all the Cinebooks and, yes, there are a few volumes from various series missing.

Its odd because I get a book to review and I assume that I have reviewed the previous one.  Even when that nagging voice is whispering in my head!

But you can go over to the Cinebook site where all the books are listed!

So apologies if any of you have tried looking for a certain book and cannot find it -publishers send books that they want to send and I accept what I receive so its beyond my control!

Bristol Comic And Zine Fair -IT'S NEXT SATURDAY!!!!!

Whoa! I was looking through this list this afternoon with Paul Ashley Brown and, boy, has it grown! This time next week I will be so rich from sales that I'll close CBO down!

Exhibitors

We have over 60 incredible artists, writers and makers exhibiting and selling their work at BCZF 2014. You can read about them all on this page. Here are our first batch of amazing exhibitors, with MORE TO COME!


Avery Hill Publishing Logo - Bristol
AVERY HILL PUBLISHING
Avery Hill Publishing is an independent publishing house that was setup in South London in the long dark winter of 2012. We are currently promoting use of the word ‘micropublisher’ to describe ourselves, as it sounds boutique-y and glamorous. We publish comics, zines, fine art and anything else that grabs our fancy under our two labels, AHArts and AHComics. We also have three ongoing house publications: ‘Tiny Dancing’ – a miscellany of nonsense and genius, ‘Reads’ – a comics anthology featuring some of the best talent from the UK small press comics scene and ‘Fronts’ – an arts showcase that focuses on an artist whose work we admire, featuring images and an interview with the creator regarding their process.
Our canon includes psychogeographical mappings, drunk 19th century scientists, time-travelling beagles, minimalist musings, kids running amok in dance tents, and much more.
businesscard_template_uk
SEAN AZZOPARDI
Sean is a London-based cartoonist and has been making and self publishing comics for eleven years. He’s produced numerous mini comics and books for his Phatcomics imprint, including acclaimed titles such as Ed, Twelve Hour Shift and Dark Matters. Away from self published titles he is working on Necessary Monsters (First comics) and has drawn a back up strip for indy smash Phonogram (Image). He has work in numerous anthologies and magazines, most recently the current Off Life and Ink + Paper.
 bark
BARK
We are two cool kids who really care about the world. We are setting up a mag called Bark which we hope to sell to raise money to buy rain forest from the worldlandtrust.org. We will be launching
our comic at the zine fair, which includes loads of great artists. We will also be selling original artwork from the zine and we have made some exclusive comics and other goodies especially for the fair.
Check out the bark blog (bark-cc.tumblr.com) to see all the amazing artists involved.
 AndyBarron_Icon
ANDY BARRON
Andy draws comics and cartoons based in the world of OM.  OM is a series of short wordless comics featuring an expanding cast of characters.  Andy will be showcasing a brand new comic at BCZF.
@omcomics
 boras_fogg
SAMMY BORAS AND SARAH FOGG
Sammy and Sarah are friends who make comics. Sammy specialises in comics, while Sarah specialises in illustration and zines. As a team they produce a comic anthology once a year and a music zine whenever they feel like it. They both work on the quarterly zine What’s The Time, Mrs Woolf?
  breakfast
BREAKFAST CHAMPION
CM Carter creates comics and illustrations under the guise of Breakfast Champion. They draw influence from alternative comix, low brow culture and dark humour. Their work can be seen in various places including Off Life, Design Week Blog, Doodlers Anonymous and Peculiar Bliss. As well as old fashioned pens and paper Breakfast Champion works with digital media, silk screen and single malt.
Gareth Brookes
GARETH BROOKES
Gareth has been small press publishing since 2005, beginning with collaborations with Banal Pig and later becoming involved with groups such as The Alternative Press and The Comix Reader. Goodies to be found artfully arranged on his table include The Black Project – a Graphic Novel created entirely in the mediums of embroidery and linocut relief print, the psychidelic sci-fi epic The Land of My Heart Chokes on its Abundance, and a bountiful preponderance of original prints and handmade zines.
Paul Ashley Brown
PAUL ASHLEY BROWN
Since 2008 has been self-publishing Browner-Knowle, his collection of short, poetic melancholy narratives and comic-strips, as well as other one-off zines, and has also been published in The Illustrated Ape, The Comix Reader, and Stripburger. He can usually be found loitering in Park Street cafes, drinking copious amounts of tea and drawing the denizens of Bristol very very quickly, as they pass.
 laura-callaghan
LAURA CALLAGHAN
Laura is an Irish illustrator currently based in South East London. Her work is largely hand painted using watercolour, indian ink and isograph pen, depicting women in environments which are ostensibly bright and beautiful but that cultivate a sense of mystery or unease. She will be selling publications, art prints and cards and will be debuting the third instalment of her ‘Fancy’ zine series.
 EmmaCarlisle
EMMA CARLISLE 
Emma Carlisle is a freelance illustrator and makes stories, prints, hand painted badges and ceramics, based in Malvern UK
 Craig-Conlan-square
Craig Conlan is a Scottish artist living in London. He has worked as an illustrator for many years but has recently returned to his first love- comics! His site, Craig’s Comic Land features a new story every month, on the first of the month, with a rotating cast of characters. Craig will be selling comics, prints and original art featuring Ghost Cat, Hairy Mary and friends.

DECADENCE COMICS
DECADENCE is a comic anthology and collective that publishes science fiction stories. Their comics feature psychedelic altered states and dystopian visions. Futures and alternative realities are projected while an awareness of the past and present are retained. Decadence comics attempt to break down reality and confront the idea of duality within the Cosmos.
 DIRTY
DIRTY ROTTEN COMICS
Dirty Rotten Comics is an underground comics anthology curated by Kirk Campbell and Gary Clap. We will be debuting our third issue at the Bristol Comic and Zine Fair, featuring work from upcoming UK artists and writers
 dry comics
DRY COMICS
Dry Comics is a newly-founded publisher of minicomics based in Cardiff. Debuting at BCZF will be ‘The Architect’ by Ioan Morris, a poetry zine by Rhydian Parry, and an adaptation of Gemima Salt’s short story ‘Treehouse’. They’ll also be selling other comics/zines/illustrations by founder Ioan Morris.
eyeball
EYEBALL COMIX
EyeBall Comix began in Bristol, the first issue was printed in 2010. EyeBall produces toxic garbage in the underground/horror tradition and has printed works by among others; James Quigley, Motohiro Hayakawa, Kyle Platts, Aidan Cook and Brigid Deacon, alongside your main EyeBall honkies; Paul Arscott, Barry Cook and Robscenity.
 HarveyFinch_Icon
HARVEY FINCH
Harvey is the creator of the swords and sorcery adventure – Logar The Barbarian, and more recently, Nadir – a pre-apocalyptic story set in South London. 
@harveyfinch
 FLAPJACK
FLAPJACK COLLECTIVE
A collective of freshly graduated illustrators from the Arts University Bournemouth. Made up of Louis Craig Carpenter, Maia Fjord, Allie Oldfield, Hope Sloan and Florence Zealey. We’ll be selling zines, comics, screen prints, t-shirts, postcards and the like. Previously we’ve exhibited at Comica Festival in London. Come and say hello, we don’t bite!
Fold Collaborative
FOLD COLLABORATIVE
Fold Collaborative is an independent publication produced by 9 illustration graduates from Falmouth University. We will be releasing fold issue 10 at BCZF along with other printed things and goodies!
 Print
 FOOTPRINT
Footprint are a printer co-operative from Leeds. This Risograph specialist, zine-happy, anti-capitalist, booty-shaking collective have started doing a zine distro of the finest wares that rattle off their machines and they’ll be bringing a tableful of it to Bristol. They’ll also be happy to talk to punters about printing, co-operatives and anything else they do.
pic-lorena-garcia
LORENA GARCIA
Lorena Garcia is a freelance illustrator, designer and artisan. Currently based in London, she published the first issue of her zine Compendiums of Curiosities last April, featuring botanical illustrations of poisonous flowers. Lorena has a passion for knowledge and curiosities, specially regarding Botany, History and Literature. She is the kind of person who believes you can never have too many books, just not enough space.
 isabel greenberg
ISABEL GREENBERG
Isabel is a London based illustrator and writer. She is currently working on her first graphic novel ‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth’ which is due to be publushed in 2013 by Jonathan Cape in the UK, Random House in Canada and Little Brown in the US. She studied illustration at the University of Brighton and since graduating has worked for a variety of clients including Nobrow Press, The National Trust, Seven Stories Press, Solipsistic Pop and Wrap Magazine. In 2011 she won the Observer Jonathan Cape Graphic short story prize.
 grindyrteeth
GRIND YOUR TEETH
​Two parts of Bristol based collective Grind Your Teeth. Gwion Christmas and Paul Mcquay are two illustrators brought together through a love of pens and print.
 Alex Hahn Publishing Bristol icon
 ALEX HAHN
Alex Hahn Publishing is an independent producer of comics, zines and graphic novels. With products ranging from small, home made editions to 100-page graphic novels and more. The charm of Alex’s products is matched by the characters within them: The emasculated hero, Heracles; the lovestruck cupcake known as Muffnut (doughnut/muffin) and his muse, the Cruffin (croissant/muffin); a determined little space man and, of course, Blop -everyone’s favourite Martian!
Visit Alex’s table for a wide selection of titles, prints, cards, original artwork and other cool merchandise; free signing and a friendly smile. Look out for a brand new book launching at the fair!!
@alexhahns_twits
 blacktowerB&Wlogo

TERRY HOOPER-SCHARF
Terry Hooper-Scharf is a writer and comics journalist and has worked in comics since the early 1980s for Fantagraphic Books, MU Press, Blackbird Comics, Marvel UK, Fleetway and Egmont. He has been a major supporter of the Small Press in both the UK and Europe and Black Tower Comics and Books recently celebrated over 30 years of publishing.
logoweb
JAZZ DAD BOOKS 
Jazz Dad Books is a small press publisher based in Bristol. Founded in 2013 by Edward Cheverton. Jazz Dad Books focuses on producing small runs of Zines, Comics and Artist’s books from a variety of Illustrators and Artists. We will have titles from Nick Edwards, Disa Wallander, Chris Harnan, Jayde Perkin, David Biskup, Rosie Brand and many more, as well as prints, original art and the legendary Jazz Dad badge.
Graham Johnson bczf
GRAHAM JOHNSON
Mr G Johnson, sometimes known as Graham, is a Bristol based artist currently mostly finishing his illustration degree and slowly drawing http://portinastormcomic.com, but sometimes does other stuff like raising a pet lizard (and drawing him).
creepsquaddisplay
MAX K
Max K; organiser of the up & coming ‘SHAKE BRISTOL’, comic & poster illustrator and creator of the saddest/raddest mutants. Come say hi.
 joseph-p-kelly-square-image
JOSEPH P KELLY.
Joseph P Kelly is a comic book artist, illustrator and screen printer based in London. His work is created using traditional pen and ink techniques often adding colour digitally before reproducing through hand made screen prints.  He will be selling zines, hand made screen printed posters and art works.
Stephen Kelly
STEPHEN KELLY
Stephen is a Scottish artist living in Bristol, working mostly in publishing as an editorial illustrator for magazines like Classic Rock, Total Guitar and Rock Sound. He will be selling his first foray into comics at BCZF 2014, so please be nice.


leadache
LEADACHE
Marie Callum, Hamish Steele and Melissa Trender are animators with wildly different styles but a shared love of exploring pop culture, human nature and the macabre through comics. Hamish (@hamishsteele), creator of Cartoon Hangover’s Dead End will be signing copies of his new comic Pantheon: The Heavenly Cow.

ISAAC LENKIEWICZ

LIZE MEDDINGS
Modernist 9 spread Karel Teige
THE MODERNIST 
the modernist magazine is a quarterly publication about 20th century modernist architecture and design. Published  in the North of England and now spreading its tentacles across the world. We’ve hand picked a team of experts, and dilettantes alike, to bring you news, reviews, musings and delightful titbits about modernist architecture and design. So, if you love 20th century architecture and design, the modernist magazine is just the ticket.
 momo
MOMO WORKS
Momo Works is a small press based in London. After publishing Flamingo Magazine, it now focuses on short-run essays.
 MEP square for BZF
MONSTER EMPORIUM PRESS
Monster Emporium Press was born in 2009 out of the constructed chaos of south London arts collective What They Could Do, They Did and one of its innumerable projects, a zine, ‘They Did’. Out of MEP’s own chaos now come art books, zines and new writing.
@MonsterEmporium
 roselbadge
NUALA MURPHY
Nuala Murphy puts out a comic about once every 5 years in a half-arsed, photocopied sort of way.
 louisnetter
LOUIS NETTER
Corruption Comics is the brainchild of Louis Netter and it seeks to crawl under the reptilian skin of the power brokers of the world and shine a light in the dark corners (with more than a laugh or two thrown in). Four comics will be available with one never before seen journey into LSD and CIA mayhem.
 fixed_up_logo_comixcology
IAN NORRIS
Fixed Up is the story of one man’s journey from a geeky, awkward, shy teenager in Cape Town – to a geeky, awkward, shy adult in Oxford. It tells the story of how being in love is the worst thing ever. The first three epic issues will be on sale, as well as a speak preview of issue 4.
 oomk-logo-2
 OOMK
One of My Kind (OOMK) is a highly visual, handcrafted small-press publication whose content largely pivots upon the imaginations, creativity and spirituality of women.
 OTA_Logo
OPPOSITE THE ALLEY
Opposite The Alley is a small independent press founded by Illustrators Emma Evans and Iselle Maddocks. It offers a platform for illustrators working in a wide variety of styles and aims to shed light onto both emerging artists and young talent. We’re friendly so be sure to say ‘hi’ if you stop by our stall!
sandraortuno
SANDRA ORTUNO
Sandra Ortuño is a female human currently living in the UK but was born in Spain. She claims to be an illustrator and graphic designer. When she grows up, she wants to be a crazy cat lady but since she’s got no cats yet, for now she’s just crazy. Besides cats and every living creature wandering on the planet, she also loves cake, colourful things, cartoons, gentlemen with goatees and sunny days. Sometimes she grabs a pencil and draws silly stuff.
 Otto_Press_Logo-02
A varied selection of comics, art books and prints published @ottopressuk will be on display for your discernment.
Mark James B icon
MARK PEARCE AND JAMES STAYTE
Mark Pearce is the creator of Ronin Dogs. James Stayte is the creator of Big Jimmy. They are the Wyld Stallyns of comics.”
 tom plant
Having realized at an early age that he was a bit of an introvert, Tom decided to become a cartoonist.  He has since gone on to produce work for The Beano, The Dandy, The Guardian, The Readers Digest, CBBC, Nessy and many others.  Tom is the author and illustrator of The Broadmead Colouring Book, Sunshine Bay: not half as bad as people say, A Load of Old Rubbish and lots of magazine comics.
 fingers crossed bristol banner
JIM POWNALL
Jim Pownall is the writer of the autobiographical comic series Fingers Crossed. The stories give us an insight into the author’s life to date as he attempts to find his path and just do the right thing. However, standing in his way are suicidal frogs, crazy best friends, aggressive French women, ex-girlfriends and ruined weddings.
These are definitely not your typical coming of age tales.
 zoepower
 ZOE POWER
Fresh off the boat from Montréal, where she’s been living for the past few years, Zoe is moving back to her hometown with a paintbrish in hand and a thirst for collaboration. Bikes and food are some of her favourite things as are black marker pens, sexy lettering, relief print and dry humour.
 princesa_pirata
PRINCESA PIRATA
Princesa Pirata is a small queer/anarcha feminist distro with a love for cycling and all kinds of D.I.Y. It’s run by A-K Pirata and based in Bristol. Princesa Pirata stocks zines, small press comix, badges, postcards etc. princesapiratadistro.wordpress.com
 shape of my heart
 SHAPE OF MY HEART
Based in London, I write perzines focusing on mental health recovery, travel and penguins!

SICKER THAN THOU
Sicker Than Thou is a comic collective consisting of Andrew Godfrey (artist, writer) and Emma Mould (writer) who make autobiographical comics about chronic and mental illness with a twist of humour. Andrew was born with the chronic illness Cystic Fibrosis, a degenerative disease that affects the lungs and digestion, amongst other things, and Emma Mould was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder aged 18.They are currently working on a strip for the forthcoming anthology of mental health recovery comics edited by mental health nurse and educator Theo Stickley and cartoonist Brick (Depresso, Knockabout Comics).
 bristolstarkey2
SAMANTHA STARKEY
Samantha Starkey is a London based character Illustrator who’s drawings humour the mundane, and celebrate the beauty of the ordinary.  She’ll also be teaming up with some of her buddies from Kingston Uni.
Expect digestible zines and mini stickers.
 LeeTaylorPic
LEE TAYLOR
As well as having co-created issues of the music / art / stuff zine ‘The Screever’ since ’09, Lee also makes a perzine called ‘Larry’, draws bleak comics for folk, and writes, records, and releases a bunch of music that no one listens to.
 MAIR
MAIR THOMAS
Mair (A little lost) makes DIY lo-fi surreal comics and colouring books, which often feature flying tortoises. She has a weekly updated Welsh Language online comic called ‘Llong’ about a boat’s adventures around a flat world. Mair’s work can sometimes be seen in Bear Pit Zine and What’s the Time, Mrs Woolf Zine.
 twin-freaks-logo
 TWIN FREAKS
Twin Freaks are Bristol-based illustrators Alys Jones and Ryan Gajda.
ALYS JONES likes almost anything which is over 100 years old. RYAN GAJDA is unable to relate to anything except through an increasingly alienating filter of pop culture and geekery.
They will be selling: zines, postcards, badges, prints and various pieces of illustrated esoterica.
WCP
WATER CLOSET PRESS
Richard Worth is a bearded comics writer; he’s Northern. Jordan Collver is a bearded comics artist; he’s Canadian. They have been making comics together as The Water Closet Press since 2010.  Their chief export is a small press serial comic entitledLadies & Gentlemen.  The Water Closet transcends all divides and is located in both Leeds and Bristol.
 OwenWatts
OWEN WATTS

The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel is a bizarre anthology filled with the best of the small press – short self-contained tales of the strange and the inexplicable
 brzfelliceweaver
ELLICE WEAVER
Ellice Weaver is a young comic maker, self publisher and cake artist from Bristol. She studies Illustration at the University of West England and prints her zines and comics under ‘Cringe Press’. Most of her Comics are autobiographical and deal with the problems of everyday life: petting soft animals, getting a haircut and the creeping feeling of not belonging anywhere.
 Image_for_bristol
WE STUDIO PRESS
We Studio Press is a wee/small press publishing initiative based in
Glasgow and Dundee set up by Glaswegian illustrator David Kerr. We will
presenting books and prints by a select few illustrators and comic
artists.
 dunce_500
WOLF MASK
Wolfmask is a cartoonist based in London who has been commissioned/featured by people such as Kerrang! Magazine, Download Festival, The Murderburgers, Don’t Panic, Asian Man Records, Bizarre Magazine, Secret 7″ and many more.
Over the past few years he has released over a dozen zines ranging from the childish to the purely idiotic.
 yetispaghetti-bio
A father and son independent publishing powerhouse delivering heavy hit after heavy hit.