Tube Surfing: 10 September 2008

• Catching up with comics news after a (very wet) short break, Bryan Talbot’s re-released The Tale of One Bad Rat has just had a rightfully glowing review in The Times, describing it as “an incontrovertible and blazing masterpiece.” There’s also high praise for the new edition of Raymond Briggs’ Gentleman Jim and Debbie Drechsler’s Daddy’s Girl.

• To celebrate 40 years of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, the most popular underground comics in the world,
Gilbert Shelton will be signing copies of the new 624 page Freak Brothers Omnibus at Gosh, 39 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NZ this Saturday September 13th from 2pm. For more information call Gosh on 0207 636 1011.

The Forbidden Planet International blog reports on the launch of a new anthology I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now but I’m off saving the world which will be getting its big release in Ireland this coming weekend, with contributors including Sarah McIntyre, Bridgeen Gillespie, Lee Thacker and many more.

The release party for the anthology will take place on Saturday 13th of September at 9pm, Skeahan’s pub, Liberty Sq, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. The book will be available to purchase from several locations in Ireland and via the website from the 20th September. It will also be sold at the Birmingham International Comics Show in October and in November at the Thought Bubble comics show in Leeds. (Check the anthology website in the coming weeks for a full list of sale locations).

The book contains over 90 pages of art – 30 artists contributing to 25 stories. Each artist was given the phrase “I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now but I’m off saving the world” to interpret however they wished. The result is a mixture of stories that range from the serious to the silly, the factual to the abstract but all sharing a common thread.

The book is dedicated to Conor Lyons who past away in September 2007 while working for the United Nations in Sri Lanka and all money raised from the sale of the book will be donated to GOAL in his memory.

• During a dig around looking for information on the newspaper strips he’s been running recently, ove on Bear Alley Steve Holland recently came across a couple of examples of a science fiction strip, Captain Universe, that appeared in the Daily Herald back in 1952. “Judging by the numbering (it ran in issues Monday through Saturday), it began on 28 January 1952. I’ve no idea how long it ran for,” he says. The artist was Terry Maloney who, sadly, died earlier this year. The anonymous author was Herbert James Campbell, who was at that time editing the science fiction magazine Authentic Science Fiction.

• Over on Comics Village Andrew Luke has posted up an unabridged version of his ‘State of the Union’ talk at the recent Caption small press event, discussing ways in which our small press creators can get out there and sell comics cheaply but directly, holding up the London Underground Comics model as one way of doing this.

• Artist Eddie Campbell reports that illustrator Pete Mullins has started a blog. “He’s using it to showcase his work both old and new and make passing comments as he goes along,” Eddie notes on his own blog. “It was great to see some of the stuff he’s been up to of late. Long time readers here will recall that Pete and I worked closely together for a few years in the 1990s. You can see his work in Bacchus volumes 7-10 and From Hell. You’ll probably have trouble separating his from mine back then, as we often do ourselves, and as Lambiek does, surprising given that he does work as flash as these character designs for an animated series where the characters are all constructed from old socks and stuff.”

• And finally… it looks like both Rentaghost and Worzel Gummidge will follow Doctor Who to TV revival after the rights holders new owners announced plans for a comeback. Come on, will no-one pick up Sapphire and Steel or UFO?

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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