May 2008 was an important month for British comics artist Tim Perkins and his company, Wizards Keep. Making an appearance at their first major British comics convention, this year’s Bristol International Comics Expo, their stand caused quite a stir.
Lots of new products were launched at the event, including the Worlds End Ashcan promoting Tim’s upcoming graphic novel series and a figurines range, among others items – including a Mouse Mat!
Sporting a cover pencilled and coloured by Tim and inked by legendary US inker Joe Rubinstein, the Ashcan was released as an early promotion for the first of the Worlds End series of graphic novels, Volume One: The Riders on the Storm, due for release in 2009.
Featured in the Ashcan’s pages is a full colour, digitally painted, prologue and other artwork which will not see print in the graphic novel, including artwork by John Ridgway and US artist Frank Zigarrelli. Also featured are character concept sketches, lots of background information and a “how the pages are created” section.
The Ashcan costs £1.50 when bought direct from Wizards Keep from either the website or at conventions and comes with an official, numbered, £2.50 money back security voucher, which can be redeemed against the cost of the graphic novel next year.
In addition to being on sale direct from the Wizards Keep website at www.wizards-keep.com the Ashcan is also on sale at The Who shop in Blackpool and The Batcave in Blackburn, Botany Bay, Lancashire, as well as several on-line and terrestrial retailers from around the globe, soon to be announced.
Tim told downthetubes reaction to the Ashcan has been incredibly positive and it is getting some rave reviews, which hopefully bodes well for the release of the graphic novel next year.
“At the stand we had women approach us, ask about the stand, pick up the Ashcan and then buy it,” Tim says of the his Expo experience, “so we found ourselves selling to kids, both boys and girls and also to adults, both men and women, something you generally don’t expect.
“When I began working up the initial concept I had created back in the 1980s, back in 2003/4 I looked at making sure all the bases were covered as far as potential licensing, etc.” he says of the Worlds End project. “I made sure I could attract girls and boys to the books, but it seems to have worked like a dream, because I always hoped it would have universal appeal, but women, in the main don’t tend to read comic books and Worlds End seems to be able to attract them, which is great.
“I can’t believe how popular the book is becoming,” he adds enthusiastically, “although I always hoped it would be. Reaction from folks within the industry is great, too, and I can’t thank the guys enough for their support.”
Tim is working on the graphic novel now, almost exclusively to anything else except the Hot Wheels comic, which he produces monthly for Toontastic Publishing.
Complementing the launch of the Ashcan is the release of the first three figurines in the Worlds End range: Gweldar the Elder, Young Ralf and Master Chl’Atheeir. Several other Figurines are in presently in development and should be ready for retailing very soon.
“Wizards Keep is going through a very exciting time, as folks begin to take notice of our products,” says Tim. ” We’re being bombarded with folks asking if we want to publish their stuff too. ”
“We have already spoken tentatively to several well known high profile creators who have shown a lot of interest in us publishing their books under the Wizards Keep imprint,” he adds, “which is incredible.”
Keep a look out for more news about Wizards Keep soon.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.
Categories: British Comics