Established in 2006, BLIMEY! is a blog by Lew Stringer creator of Combat Colin, Tom Thug, Brickman, Derek the Troll and many more. This blog looks back at classic British comics and sometimes reports on current and upcoming titles.
John Freeman recently conducted a fascinating interview with comics collector supreme Peter Hansen and the results are now on John's Down the Tubes blog.
Peter has led an interesting life and has managed to amass a huge collection of comics and related items such as promo material for retailers, original artwork, and more. There's some great items that John photographed during his visit to Peter's house, including the cover for a dummy issue of a proposed girls' comic called Candy, that I venture none of us have heard of before. (Not to be confused with the very weird Candy comic published by City Magazines/Century 21 in the 1960s.)
It's often a concern what will happen to our collections in the future, and one such as Peter's deserves to be retained. He hopes that his collection will one day be archived in a museum to ensure that future generations can learn about the rich history of comics. Let's hope that can be achieved!
Incidentally, I have to say again that Down the Tubes excels at this sort of reporting. My Blimey! blog only scratches the surface, but John's blog, which has been around for much longer than mine, researches its subject matter thoroughly. Remember to bookmark Down the Tubes for a great source of news and historical content. When Blimey! ends later this year, DTT is your place to go... and you should be visiting it regularly already.
The weekly Dandy ended in 2012 after an impressive 75 year run but The Dandy Annual is still going strong every year. The latest edition, cover dated 2020 as annuals are always dated a year ahead, is out now and the copy I ordered arrived today.
The book has 112 pages and once again is all-new material with no reprint. Full colour throughout, it contains many of the Dandy favourites including Cuddles and Dimples, Corporal Clott, Beryl the Peril, Blinky, and many more. Here are a few snippets...
Desperate Dan, drawn by Ken H. Harrison...
Korky the Cat drawn by Hunt Emerson...
Winker Watson drawn by Alan Ryan...
Keyhole Kate written, drawn (and lettered) by Lew Stringer (hey, that's me!)...
The Dandy Annual 2020 is available now from the D.C. Thomson shop as is the Beano Annual 2020 and will be in bookstores soon!
Will there be a Dandy Annual 2021 as well? You bet! I'm working on it now!
There's sometimes a concern with independent comics that they might not survive beyond the first couple of issues, either due to lack of sales or creative disinterest. Fortunately for us, that's clearly not the case with Reverend Cross, which has recently reached its 7th issue and is still going strong.
Dubbed "the first ever vicar action hero", Reverend Cross is fast-paced escapist entertainment. As with the previous issue, No.7 contains four short, self-contained stories. All are written by John A. Short, with artwork by Aaron Murphy, Andrew Richmond, Gabrielle Noble, and Richard Pester. The excellent cover art is by David Hitchcock.
This is an "Origin Special", giving us some details on Abigail Cross' backstory as well as stories set in the present. Publisher/writer John A. Short has chosen a good selection of artists for this issue, giving us a variety of styles. It goes to prove that the character is strong enough to still be distinctive even when illustrated by various hands, thanks not just to the artists but also to John's confident and professional scripts.
With a cover price of just £2.99 (plus postage), Reverend Cross No.7 is well worth your time. You can order it, and back issues, directly from the publisher Kult Creations at their web shop here: http://reverendcross.blogspot.com
I loved Saturdays when I was a child because it meant comics day! Sure, comics came out on some other days too (Dandy on Monday, Topper on Wednesday, etc) but most of them were published on Saturday. Plus it wasn't a school day, so even better!
Saturdays in 1971 meant it was the day Countdown was out, my favourite comic of the early Seventies. Basically a rebranded version of TV21, Countdown was the place for comic strip versions of Gerry Anderson shows, plus Doctor Who!
One of the main selling points for Countdown was the UFO strip, which sometimes featured on the covers. And that's my roundabout way of explaining why I like this issue of Andersonic so much. The covers are designed as a perfect homage to Countdown comic, from the logo to the UFO cover strip!
I don't buy Andersonic very often so I didn't know it carried an ongoing UFO strip. It's superbly crafted by writer Graeme Bassett and artist Richard Farrell and would fit perfectly in a modern-day version of Countdown if such a thing existed.
The rest of the contents of this slick 44 page A5 size well designed fanzine feature articles relating to various Gerry Anderson shows, and the highlight of the issue is an interesting interview with Joy Cuff, who sculpted many of the Thunderbirds puppets.
Andersonic is a great read for any aficionado of those classic TV shows. The current issue is No.25 and it, and back issues, can be bought from their website here: http://andersonic.co.uk/page13.htm
Exactly half a century ago, on July 20th 1969, humans first set foot on the Moon. An incredible achievement recorded by the world's media. I remember it well. A perfect crescendo to a fantastic decade!
Here's how the Daily Mirror reported it the next day. As this is a blog about British comics I thought you'd also like to see the comic strips and cartoons that issue contained. As you can seem there were a lot more than the Mirror carries these days! The Daily Mirror was a great paper in the 1960s, not just for its excellent news coverage but also for its numerous strips and cartoons. We'll never see such days again.
Andy Capp by Reg Smythe.
Useless Eustace by Jack Greenall.
Garth by John Allard. Larks by Jack Dunkley. Flutters by Ian Gammidge and Len Gamblin.
Perishers by Maurice Dodd and Dennis Collins.
Playboy! by David Rowe.
You'll notice that only one cartoon, the slot usually taken for topical/political cartoons, mentions the Moon mission. That one was probably drawn just before the deadline, as most political cartoons are. My guess is that others wanted to make sure everything went well first, as the mission could have so easily ended in disaster. Thankfully it didn't, and the historic achievement is one we can look back on with happy memories.
A gentle reminder that the two-volume set The Power Pack of Ken Reid is still available from their publisher. These luxurious hardbacks reprint all of Ken Reid's work for Odhams from Wham!, Smash! and Pow! in the 1960s. Most of it has never been reprinted before!
Frankie Stein, the Friendly Monster! The good-natured but ghastly Frankie, created by Professor Cube who subsequently also wants to get rid of him!
Jasper McGrasper! The Victorian miser and his penny-pinching schemes that invariably backfire!
Queen of the Seas! Enoch, Bert, and their narrowboat, - a recipe for disaster!
Dare-A-Day Davy! He can't resist a dare... even though they're bound to lead to near-fatal consequences for him!
The Nervs! The microscopic blue-collar workers inside Fatty's innards who work overtime to deal with his constant appetite!
Plus extensive articles on Ken Reid's life and career, accompanied with rare unseen sketches and artwork!
Some of the most bizarre, and funniest, strips ever seen in British comics. All perfect vehicles for Ken Reid's manic humour. The reproduction of the strips is top notch! Not to be missed!
As many of you will remember, Simon Furman and Geoff Senior were a team supreme when they worked together on Marvel UK's Transformers comic in the 1980s. Now they're back together again, producing their brand new creator-owned comic To the Death! It's a gritty, fast-paced tale of future war with tough dialogue and suitably dynamic battle scenes. The main protagonist, Aleksy Dryagin, returns from war in space to settle back into a family life, - but it becomes impossible when he's marked for death between Tri-Corp and an organisation called White Noise. But Aleksy isn't going down without a fight..
Geoff Senior's art style is a lot looser here than it was 30 years ago, but the colours play a bigger part in the finished product. It gives the comic a distinctive look and conveys the story well.
Issue 1 ends on an explosive cliffhanger, but the comic is scheduled to be monthly so 4 or 5 weeks isn't long to wait! I understand it's a 10 issue mini-series, so it'll be quite an epic!
I'm finally going to find time to get through the backlog of books and comics I promised to review so, firstly, apologies for the delay and, secondly, let's get on with it, - kicking off with Stand in Your Power, the new book from Rachael Smith.
Other reviewers have called the book "emotionally brave" and they're not wrong. It's a revealing autobiographical story of a period of Rachael's life where her boyfriend had ended their relationship, and how she dealt with that... as well as her depression. Now, in less talented hands that could be a very dull and downbeat story, but Rachael's own natural sense of humour gives the book a lift in all the right places and engages the reader.
That's not to mean it's flippant of course. Not at all. Rachael deals with the subject matter realistically and responsibly, and in an appealing way. There are pages where she talks about how she self-harmed, and it's quite upsetting, especially for those who know Rachael but didn't know about these incidents. Thoughtfully, Rachael has colour-coded those pages in green, so if readers feel it may be too harrowing they can skip that chapter. I hope they won't though, because it carries an important message.
Stand in Your Power is a sequel of sorts to Wired Up Wrong, Rachael's previous book that I reviewed here. Both are very accessible books, helped immensely by the format; square pages, with no more than four panels a page. Rachael's art style is very easy on the eye and pleasant to see, showcasing her skills at facial expressions and composition.
I hate to use the cliché "emotional rollercoaster" but that's how it felt reading this book, as Rachael shares her highs and lows with us and it's a book of laughter and tears. The book ends on an uplifting note though, with life improving for Rachael, and I came away from it feeling happy for her and also grateful that she'd shared so much that I know will help others cope with their dark days.
I'll go as far to say that Stand in Your Power is an important book because of how it'll help others relate. Depression is something people are more willing to talk about now than they did a few decades ago, and this book is ideal to encourage that.
Rachael will also be one of the guests at the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia next weekend (26th to 28th July) and you'll be able to buy the book at her table in the Comics Zone: https://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com
Let me show you your future, Earthlets! Here's an advance look at next week's2000AD, which will be in the shops on Wednesday! Fantastic cover by Chris Weston, who also illustrates the Judge Dredd story inside. Worth the cover price alone!
• UK and DIGITAL: 24th July 2019 £2.85 • NORTH AMERICA: 24th August 2019 $32.80 (per pack) • DIAMOND: JUL192141 • COVER: CHRIS WESTON
In this issue: JUDGE DREDD: CONTROL by Rob Williams (w) Chris Weston (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
INDIGO PRIME: FALL OF THE HOUSE OF VISTA by Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION: MARTYRS by Emma Beeby (w) Aneke (a) Barbara Nosenzo (c) Simon Bowland (l)
ABSALOM: TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS by Gordon Rennie (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
THISTLEBONE by TC Eglington (w) Simon Davis (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Available in print from: newsagents and comic book stores via Diamond
It all ends here! I've followed the work of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill throughout their careers so it's with a heavy heart that I'll be reading this final comic of theirs before they retire from the funnybook business. They leave us with a fantastic legacy of work though, with comics that never compromised and always followed their own path. Very few in this industry have achieved that.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest No.6 is in comic stores today and it wraps up the 20-year story of the League in suitably "meta" fashion, as the kids say today. I haven't seen a copy yet so I'll review it when I do, but for now I thought I'd give you a "heads up" (as the kids also say) so you don't miss this milestone issue!
Each issue of The Tempest has featured a parody of a British comic on its cover and it's appropriate that this final issue has a spoof of the early 2000AD cover design, as that comic was the one that launched Alan and Kevin into the spotlight. Don't miss it!
(W) Alan Moore (A/CA) Kevin O'Neill In Moore and O'Neill's final comic book, this issue masquerading as a British science-fiction weekly, the plot-strands of our concluding volume and loose ends from twenty years of continuity are tied in an ingenious starry bow, as Mina Murray and her legendary confederates transition from the world of fiction past and present to the world of fiction future. Planets end in visual spectacle, lovers are united in the matrimonial event of the millenium, and deadly enemies draw close in the conclusion of their fatal dances. This is your last call for the immaculate crescendo of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. IV, The Tempest.