• One of downthetubes contributor Matthew Badham’s two articles in the new Judge Dredd Megazine (article entitled The Nu Brit Comics Revolution) pimps Blank Slate, The DFC, ROK Comics, Trains are Mint and Garen Ewing’s Rainbow Orchid. You should be able to find a copy, which comes complete with a spiffing free gift — a copy of Snow/Tiger: Pax Americana By Andy Diggle & Andy Clarke and includes Part 4 of an all new Judge Dredd strip, Ratfink, Part 2 of Tank Girl: Skidmarks, Part 1 of Black Atlantic: Rig and Part 5 of Anderson, Psi Division: Wiierd.
• Talking of Trains Are Mint, belated congratulations to Mr Oli East, who is among the nominees in the Promising Newcomer category in the Ignatz Awards for Trains Are Mint from Blank Slate. Nice one.
The Ignatz Awards, named for the character in the classic comic strip Krazy Kat by George Herriman, is a festival prize that recognizes outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning. The ballot is created by a panel of five cartoonists and is then voted on by the attendees at the event. This offers a unique reflection of the views the professionals and their fans. The award winners will be announced on Saturday, 4th October, 2008.
• And talking of Judge Dredd: The Megazine, comic conisseur Paul Gravett has posted the full interview with Matthew Badham quoted in the article in Issue 276 about his new books, Best Crime Comics and The Leather Nun & Other Incredibly Strange Comics, on his own official web site.
“The Leather Nun & Other Incredibly Strange Comics is not a thick anthology of complete comics but a small hardback, really a gift book or stocking filler,” says Paul, “showing 61 weird and wacky comic covers and alongside them some quotes, panels and info all about them.
“I’ve amassed some real oddities over my many years of exploring comics, I seem to be drawn to them, as I’m constantly surprised by what people have done in this medium. The idea was to appeal to people’s taste for the tasteless and bizarre or simply odd, so all the comics had to have a striking title and/or cover. But they had to be incredibly strange inside as well, so I could explain the stories and the history behind each comic and its creators.”
• Following last month’s debut of Sarah Oleksyk’s Previously Possessed at MySpace Dark Horse Presents, Comic Book Resources reports September’s issue of the free webcomics anthology features another rising star discovered by the publisher at the Stumptown Comics Festival back in April. Steak and Kidney Punch by Liz Greenfield, a Netherlands-born cartoonist living in Manchester,who says being approached by Dark Horse on my 21st birthday “Was a better gift than I could ever have asked for, and I’m very glad it led to Steak and Kidney Punch.” Read the CBR article and more from Liz
• A chap called Eamonn Clarke has, off his own bat, created a website containing annotations for all the references in Ian Edington and comic artist D’Israeli’s Scarlet Traces trilogy, plus Leviathan, Stickleback and Kingdom of the Wicked. D’Israeli is, we’re told, amazed…
• UK newspaper The Times ran an article on Doctor Who last week (yes, another one), based on e-mail exchanges between outgoing producer Russell T. Davies, who revived the show, and journalist Benjamin Cook. The e-mails, all part of preparation for the writing of Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale, to be released later this week from BBC Books, provide a unique insight into the show – and reveals some of its most closely-guarded secrets. (While on the subject of Doctor Who, check out Lew Stringer’s pictures of the Dalek and TARDIS forming part of this year’s Blackpool Illuminations and a big Happy 400th Issue Birthday to Doctor Who Magazine! The first pro magazine I ever edited and tremedous fun to to do thanks to the readers and the cast and crew of the show.
• Lew also notes that latest Viz annual (sub-titled The Last Turkey in the Shop) is out now, featuring 160 pages packed with comic strips from issues 152 to 161 of the ongoing monthly. Priced at £10.99, the large hardback includes characters such as The Fat Slags, Sid the Sexist, The Real Ale Twats, Elton John’s Bandit Beater, Roger Mellie, and many more. Artists include Paul Palmer, Cat Sullivan, Davey Jones, Simon Thorp, Alex Collier… and Lew, of course!
• Broadcast reports Merlin, the enjoyable new Saturday night tea time drama currently occupying the family viewing slot carved by Doctor Who and Robin Hood, worked its magic over 6.6m viewers (30% share) on Saturday night but was no match for ITV1’s The X Factor. The opening 45-minute episode of the BBC1 drama featuring John Hurt as the voice of a dragon, Richard Wilson and Anthony Head, began with 6.9m (31.9%), dropped to 6.4m (28.9%) at 7.45pm but managed to rally in the final 15-minutes with 6.6m (29.3%). That rating is up by 24.5% on the channel’s slot average for the year so far of 5.3m (25.4%).
Is a comic based on the show in the works we wonder? Or, now armed with three top drama series and countles other BBC-owned shows to draw from, how about a weekly title in the tradition of TV Comic and Look-In? Surely someone’s considered it? Meanwhile, check out the official Merlin web site…
News bytes by Matthew Badham and John Freeman
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.