It’s been a busy week, and not just in terms of stories posted on downthetubes. Among other things, I’ve been to London (not for London Film and Comic Con, which looked incredible, but to discuss an exciting comics project at the British Library); got a sneak peek at the amazing The Spirit newspaper edited by Sean Phillips, which includes work by Sergio Aragonés, Duncan Fegredo and John M. Burns, which will be on sale at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October.
Here are some items you may have missed on our site and beyond. Have a great weekend!
• The latest volume of David Lloyd‘s brilliant digital anthology Aces Weekly has started its run. Volume 29 of the digital-only anthology includes part five of Jok and Santullo’s “The Big Hit”, Laura Scarpa’s “Beauty”, Lee Robson and Bryan Coyle’s stunning-looking superspy Velicity Jones in “The Devil’s Breath”, David Brana and Olga Carmona’s “Lady Enigma” and more – all for a bargain price! Running over seven weeks, subscribe now by visiting at www.acesweekly.co.uk/shop for just £I per week!
Lee Robson tells me he’s really excited about their strip in this Volume. “It’s something different for both of us,” he says, “in terms of story and content – and we’re hoping that we can maybe get people equally excited in it!”
I’ve mentioned the Lakes International Comic Art Festival already, but this week we continued our interviews with some of the guests – inventive cartoonist Marc Jackson, the wonderful Team Metaphrog and the frenetically brilliant Rufus Dayglo. Each interview includes their current comic favourites and advice on how to break into the comics industry.
The Festival has switched to a Weekend Pass system this year – get yours here. Everyone buying a pass gets a limited edition goodie bag and it will include some great items, including these lovely art cards one of course by Michael Cho, who we interviewed a while back.
• One final mention for LICAF – their bonkers “Finnish Village” plans which include events in a sauna (I’m told Oliver East is doing one!) and appearances by Johanna Rojola and Petteri Tikkanen. All part of the more “Festival Fringe” stuff that’s going to be going on in Kendal in October, including some Grandville-inspired cosplay at the hands of award-wing comics creator Bryan Talbot!
• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast has an interview with Hannah Berry as part of their latest episode, talking about her books, her article on how hard it is to create a graphic novel and on how she believes she may be a witch. (you should also check out her podcast which she hosts with Dan Berry called No YOU Hang Up).
• Talking of comic creators, as a comics editor finding the details about a particular creator online can, surprisingly, be hard work. One tool that folk might find useful is this database of creators but together by Cartoonists of Color, which is an incredible piece of data gathering.
• There are plenty of other events happening comics wise in coming weeks of course: Nine Worlds is on in London this weekend, with a line-up that includes appearances by Comic writers Mike Carey and Kieron Gillen, and the London Film and Comic Con at the end of August just became all the more enticing with the news that there will be a big screen showing of the superb Search/Destroy: A Strontium Dog Fan Film.
• We also have news that the British Library in London will pay tribute to the life, work and legacy of the great Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali at a special event on Friday 27th October 2017, an event that includes The Guardian‘s Steve Bell as a speaker. (No, this isn’t the comics project I was meeting them about).
• Plus, there’s some manga making opportunities for children this weekend at the British Museum.
• The official dandare.com website has had a revamp and digging around it details some of the strips the company owns apart from Dan himself, which include “Doomlord” and more. We’re not sure they own “Storm Force“, but hopefully it will return as many fans remember it fondly.
• The BBC have profiled Holly Ringsell, owner of Dark Side Comics in Chelmsford, Essex, and talks about being a woman running a store in what has been a traditionally very male-dominated sphere in the past – but that is now changing. Good! The article also includes comment fro other women working in the comics industry, including artist Kate Brown.
• This month marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Phil Clarke and Steve Moore‘s KA-POW #1 – the first British comic fanzine (Although in Ireland Tony Roche got there first of course, with his Merry Marvel Fanzine). Now, a plan has been hatched to celebrate this momentous anniversary, find out more here.
• Hot on the heels of the news of the sell-out success of the latest collected edition of football strip Striker, which is a cracking read, comes an update on the planned release dates for the next two volumes – and more about the future of the strip itself from creator Pete Nash. A new Striker strip started in The Sun this week.
• Fighting Fantasy‘s much-loved gamebook The Trolltooth Wars is back as a graphic novel, written by PJ Montgomery, co-writer of the horror comedy series Stiffs, with art by Gavin Mitchell (Santa Claus vs the Nazis, The Samurai Slasher and more) – and it looks absolutely stunning.
• Oh, and if you’re in London tonight, downthetubes contributor Richard Sheaf reminds us August 2017 is the 35th Anniversary of the first publication of the iconic The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. To celebrate, Steve and Ian will be signing at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore tonight, Friday 4th August from 6 – 7pm. Check out the Forbidden Planet web site here
Ian will be signing the new Fighting Fantasy title, The Port of Peril. In this brand new addition to the multi million-copy-selling books, you – the hero – must travel all over Allansia, from old haunts like Darkwood Forest and Port Blacksand, on a dangerous quest!
• Do you have what it takes to be a 2000AD creator? At 2017’s Thought Bubble in Leeds, returning to the city next month, a quick reminder that 2000AD is again running its talent search for writers and artists. The prize? Paid work with the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.
• Talking of 2000AD, the ultimate collection of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic gets its launch this week when subscriptions launch for 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection – bringing you the best stories from forty years of Britain’s biggest comic.
• Talking of 2000AD (again!), over on Steam, Rebellion’s games are on sales discount – so you can pick up Dredd vs Death for £1.39 and Rogue Trooper for £1.74.
• Do you want a free Dark Judges comic, assembling some great material from fan titles such as Zarjaz? Of course you do. Find out ow here on the new 2000AD and Beyond site.
• Created by British cartoonist and environmental advocate Alex Hallatt and distributed by King Features Syndicate, popular comic strip Arctic Circle made a small impression on the Climate Change debate recently – by reducing its size through the week!
• Staying with newspapers, a new collection of Andy Capp strips is on its way, six years after Titan Books published the last assembly of tales starring Britain’s best-known layabout.
• Our most popular item this week is a close toss up between the news of the impending arrival of “Doctor Men” figures inspired by Doctor Who and Mr Men, and my feature on the state of British comics – and exactly what people mean by the “British comics industry”. The article (and thanks to everyone who commented on it!).
Thank you for reading downthetubes. Your support is very much appreciated! Thanks also to the downthetubes team – Jeremy Briggs, Tony Esmond and Richard Sheaf among them this week
Want more British comics news? Here are some great sites
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.