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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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Monday, 27 April 2015

Les Super-Héros à la Française !

I REALLY have to try to get a copy of this!

Bonjour !
A la une de ce numéro de mai, les Super-Héros à la française !

Une riche enquête signée Philippe Peter. 

Au sommaire également : Jano, Edith, Mathieu Sapin, Dominique Rousseau (Vasco), Carole Martinez, Patrick Marty, des travaux inédits d'Albert Uderzo pour l'armée de l'air, les studios Aardman... et l'histoire de Zig & Puce.

Vous découvrirez aussi que François Morel est un passionné de BD et de belles images.
Sans oublier nos actualités, critiques, intégrales et notre sélection jeunesse !

Bonne lecture à tous !

It Was A Cosmic Fulcrum........

It was "back in the day" (about 1989/1990?) and I was visiting the Fleetway-Egmont offices regularly if not to take in scripts for Revolver then to pitch ideas.

I have already posted on The Ultimate Game and mentioned its predecessor, The Cosmic Fulcrum. Blogger has managed to delete most of the images (AGAIN!) but you can find it here:


Now this all became Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes.  And I had lost all the pages to the Cosmic Fulcrum....or so I thought.  I'll explain.

I had only photocopies of Fulcrum, drawn originally by Dean Willetts whose black and white art I posted samples of a couple days back. LOVELY  art but, though I never got excited since I knew what companies were like, Fleetway-Egmont expressed interest.  I had spoken to the Revolver editor and had a rather heated few words about WHY I was very unhappy that "Igor thinks this series title is so great he wants to use it so if you can re-name the series---" and on my way out bumped into another editor and we got talking.

Apparently, Egmont, owning Fleetway, were looking for something new.  I arranged to call back the following week having pitched The Cosmic Fulcrum.  Next week I turned up with the pages -black and white and the hurriedly coloured pages.  I was told it all looked good but he'd need to show it all to the boss.  So, he took everything and was going to copy it all and hand it back on my next visit (a third trip to London in a week -eugh!).

So, I turn up at the offices and the man "isn't here any more" -this happened a lot back then for no reason. But the young lady handed me my folders back and had been instructed to tell me "no thank you".

I got home not very happy.  A week later I needed to make more copies but the black and white pages were gone -someone had accidentally put various financial documents in the folder.  And some colour pages were missing while others had been hole-punched!  I return the financial papers but I never got the art returned.  After six months I gave up.

There are differences here compared to Return in which RIM (Robotic Infantry Man) and Femme Avenger and Justice (being watched by the trilby wearing shadow) never got to Neo Olympus.

Here is what I found in a folder at the bottom of a box -inked using Windsor & Newtons.  I've not tidied them up but this is comics history....somewhere!

If You Are In Germany (Sorry) Hundreds Of German Cinemas Boycotting Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Of course Disney are going t6o squeeze every cent out of something that is popular.  It is what they do. A furry turd gets attention then Disney will sell it at an over the top price.

Just as you are guaranteed that soon Star Wars and the Marvel Universe are going to cross over.  My gods, the Disney executives must be wetting their pants over that.  Why are Marvel Disney comics more and more sci fi based.....?

Hundreds Of German Cinemas Boycotting Avengers: Age Of Ultron
The heroes of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ won’t be assembling at a number of German theatres.
Theatres in 193 small towns in Germany are refusing to screen the Marvel blockbuster, citing Disney’s raised rental fee for the film, according to German publication Deutsche Welle. 

In total, the film is being kept from 686 screens.

Cinema owners told DW that they were taken aback when Disney announced it was upping the fee from 47.7 to 53 percent of ticket sales.
Additionally, Disney is cutting its advertising spend and will not provide advances for 3D glasses. 

“We are worried, particularly about eastern Germany,” Karl-Heinz Meier, spokesman for advocacy group I.G. Nord, told DW. 

“When prices go up, then we have a serious problem that could force movie theatres to close.”

A Disney rep issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that the studio wouldn’t address the situation. “We don’t discuss the negotiations that we are engaged in with our partners in exhibition,” the statement reads.

The Joss Whedon-directed film, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, opened April 23 in Germany. 

It got off to a big start at the international box office this weekend with a $201.2 million haul, including $9.3 million from the German box office, and hits U.S. theatres on May 1.

Image credit: Disney

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Death If This Be My Day...

I shoulda been writing comics.

Anyhow, not able to do much of anything today but a CBO policy decision was made as I clashed with death above the planet Earth (I really aint all here).

I am going back through all the events I publicised in 2014/2015 and those I never got a follow up press release or event photos from -blacklisted.

Seriously, I give up hours of my time and lots of CBO space to these events and NEVER get any follow ups, even when I ask, so let the cull begin (drawn by Erik Larsen).

Saturday, 25 April 2015

An Appreciation -British Creator Ben R. Dilworth

There are UK comic creators who deserve to get far more recognition than they do. I have highlighted some of these in the past but  it is worth mentioning one other.  Ben R. Dilworth.

Now the man inked over my pencils "in the day" (which is what we call the period 1986-1990) on strips such as Liz & Jen: Coming Out and D-Gruppe: Revenge of the Ice Queen.

He was also self-publishing Small Press comics under his Penguinflight banner and seemed to be  contributing to every small press comic going -Bum Comic, Creepy Crawlies, Zine Ager, Hardware -it is a bloody long list and the legendary Picasso Cafe must never be forgotten!

Neither do I forget Dilworth stapling Black Tower Adventure issues across his knee at the old Bath marts.  Nor the experimental acetate, spray-painted covers for Previews Comic or a dozen other mad things.

We ought to, really, forget the most famous and now nearly lost legendary visit of Dilworth and Andrew Hope (who recently worked for Marvel Comics) to Bristol.

The drunken outrages committed -including throwing up over the window of comic shop, Forever People, or the very long discussion between the two on the movie A Company of Wolves which kind of resulted in the 0300 hours incident of me wielding a bread-knife......yeah, let's forget that.

Anyhow, The Tall Man wrote and drew for comics such as Spider Baby Grafix's Taboo, Eternity Comics Killing Stroke and Trident Comics (PLEASE no one mention Trident to Paul Ashley Brown!!) The Shadowmen written by some Scots bloke...uh, Mark Millar.

He can also claim to be, as the artist, co-creator of Pete Wisdom, initially created by Warren Ellis and drawn by Ben , in a pitch for "Electric Angel" for publisher Trident Comics.

Didn't know all that did you?


Here are some of his credits from a data base I just stumbled across at http://comicbookdb.com/creator.php?ID=8028

Killing Stroke (1991)


Killing Stroke (1991) The Shadowmen (1990) Taboo (1988)


Gore Shriek (1986) Gore Shriek (1990) Killing Stroke (1991) The Shadowmen (1990) Shriek (1989) Taboo (1988) Trident (1989)


Gore Shriek (1990)
Killing Stroke (1991)

And over recent years The Tall One has had work published by Black Tower -including his Award winning Haiku (in English), Aesop's Fables, Purple Hood, Runestone, Chronos:The Watchman -and much, much more that has ensured Black Tower titles such as Adventure were able to carry on after a rough patch.

The man is a fecking comic book genius.  WFT is he not working full time in comics and getting paid??!

Calming down a bit....deep breath.  Seriously, check out the Black Tower lulu.com store front and you'll find Dilworth work.  Maybe one day he'll get a creator byline for Pete Wisdom, hmm?
From myself I'd like to offer him a big THANK YOU.

You wait, I'll make him famous yet.  Poor but famous!

And I went and forgot Loaded number 1 from 1991 in which I wrote and pencilled Graveyard  and Dilworth  inked and lettered!

The Tale Of My Comic Book Artist Alter Ego Back Issue


Due to a few problems I took today off from drawing or doing much other than the previously posted item about bagging or not bagging my zines.  But I did take the opportunity to catalogue my comic magazines like Alter Ego.

I had Alter Ego volume 2 on Standing Order (SO) at Forbidden Planet but after one excuse after another it was not until I told the then manager that I'd contact the guy who owned FP (I'd only met him twice but it was a good bluff -hey, I worked in the comics industry) my SO started with No.9. I'm not kidding.

Thereafter it was an on-off fight to get the damn magazine.  All the usual "distributors fault" and other excuses.  "I have it on order so we need to wait for it to arrive".  Next week I asked and the man checked but no issue was on order. 

The same happened with Back Issue, Comic Book Artist.  Now, remember these were ALL on SO and I was literally pestering every week to make sure I got a copy though I did get really **** off when I was told my copies were sold to someone who walked in and asked about the titles.  Not even a regular customer.

The list tells the story so:

#3   #4
Comic Book Artist
9    12   13   14  15  16  17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24  25 (last issue and the fight to get #23-25 was near titanic!)

Back Issue
2   3   4   5  6  8   9   12   13  14  17   18   19   21   23   25   26   27   29   32   34  38   40   41    42   43   44   45   46   48   49    50   51   52    53   54   55   57   58   59   60   62   64

Alter Ego
9  10  11  12  14  15  17  18 19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47  48  49  50  51  52  53  54  55  56  57  58  59  60  62  63  64  65  66  67  68  69  70  71  72  73  74  75  76  77  78  80  81  82  83  84  85  86  89  90  91  92   95  96  97 98  99  100  101  102  103  104  105  106   107  108  109  110  111 113  114  115  116  117

Now those are some weird gaps and I only found out later that friends of people working in the stores (yes, we are talking three different stores each promising that they "will guarantee" that I never miss an issue again!) got my copies because something in it interested them.  Now that really does make a mockery of the prominent sign:

      "Standing Order -NEVER miss an issue again!"

Horse shit with flies to that.

So why did I stop at Alter Ego 117?  Well, I could no longer stomach what Marvel and DC were churning out so stopped buying.  But at least I'd get my mags.  No.  What?  Well, it was made very clear to me that if I was no longer going to have a comics SO then they could not guarantee my magazine SO.  WHY? All I got was a shrug.

Seriously, comic shops want to survive then they need to treat their customers with respect. 

These are a lot of issues and I doubt I'll ever get the ones missing which is a pity as I loved Alter Ego in particular.

But one thing I did think while going through these: if anything the UK needs a Platinum and Golden Ages publication.  Never know, it might happen!


I Have Several Printed Forests In A Box!


You know, some times I just do not think.  I picked up 100 A4 document pockets this morning thinking that would see all my A4 Small Press comics/mags taken care of.  I'll actually need about another 200!!

When it comes to the A5 (Digest) sized books...I think I'll need about 300 pockets.  Having found out that my shelf by the door still has Browner Knowles, Anon, Zelta, Willie Hewes,Vanessa Wells and Jess Bradley-Bove books....oh.

I'll have 1000+ or so Small Press books which does not include my foreign language zines or the few late 1960s-1970s fanzines I have which are, literally, worth a hell of a lot!

Based on the lowest cover prices, condition of some -anyone remember the 1980s Captain Scotland comic/RPG?- the collection, and for some reason it is not a collectors market (yet), is worth around £3000.  But that is as a whole and I'm not intending to sell off one or two here and there just yet!

Once I've finished The Green Skies I have a number of things I want to do and one will be to price the zines individually -maybe produce a basic price guide and one that is not by someone who wants to artificially inflate prices to make money from selling a collection is probably overdue!

Hey, I even have Finland's Pekka A. Manninen's first A4 Small Press comic from 1981 -Milanon Ihne!

I can see that relaxed Hollywood life style just over the council cess-pit!

And in case you missed the old article about the Golden Age of the UK Small Press: http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/golden-age-of-british-small-press.html

Da da da da da da dah -Bat-Cat!

Music For Deep Meditation posted this to Face Book. I normally avoid these things but it might raise a smile or two!

Friday, 24 April 2015

He Died To Save The Earth. No. Really....

Now I am not sure why but when I found these it had a sticker on the back of page one that read "inks Dilworth".  I am guessing that came off of something else!

You see, these are NOT Ben R. Dilworth inks or lettering.

Let's get into explanations.

You'll note the date on The Avengers monument reveals the date of his death as 1992.  For delays before publication I usually date everything a year ahead.  So, this would have been inked in 1991 at least.  I think I drew the pencils in 1989?

There's a little oike (derived from "bloke" and "idiot") who has been telling people (offline as far as I can tell since he knows if he starts up his little games again he is in BIG trouble) that I am talking crap about when Return of the Gods: Twilight of the Super Heroes/"Invasion 1987" not to mention The Ultimate Game  began/happened/ whatever.  I have no idea what this is even about since my recorded history in comics is searchable online.  Also, I have all the existing artwork, scripts and even the my-company correspondence regarding these projects.

I guess some people just like being made to look arses.

Page 10...I do have page 10 "somewhere" -the original and an A4 copy.  But can I find them?  I will, though.  I just thought that I might treat you to the unedited pages of the aftermath of the Boarman Invasion which was later detailed in Return.  Of course, this never happened in the BT Universe (well, not now!) but it was nice for me to see the old characters.

And who inked it?  A fellow by the name of Dean Willets who, in the 1980s did a great deal of strip work for Martin Lock's Harrier Comics.  Dean also worked on a couple of the pocket-sized fantasy books from "the Scottish company whose name may not be spoken" and he drew issue 1 of The Survivor that I wrote and would have been linked into the whole Invasion saga.  And, Dean also drew the first issue of The Cosmic Fulcrum which went on to become Return.

Dean's inking style is very recognisable -even over my scrawling pencils!  It is fair to say that he was an artist that really SHOULD have gone on to draw for Marvel or DC and he certainly deserves a better mention in UK comics history.

I did find Dean again on Face Book a few years back but he vanished.  As far as I know he does not draw comics any more and that truly makes me sad.  A great talent.

So, here are the pages: