A few short news items to send downthetubes readers scurrying around the web for more information. Today’s “Tube Surfs” include news of a Buck Rogers revival, BEANO strips, Dalek delights and a look back at Dandy Xtreme…
• Free BEANO Comics! The official BEANO web site is crammed with content, and they’ve just added some of Lew Stringer’s “Rasher” strips to read for free. Check out “Rasher’s New Diet” here and follow the links for much more silliness!
• Is Buck Back? It’s been almost four decades since the classic comic strip hero Buck Rogers, appeared in live-action, but that may soon change. According to The Wrap, Transformers producer Don Murphy and Legendary Entertainment are teaming up for a revival. Their plans include “a prestige television series that leads to a blockbuster film franchise along with an anime-style animated series, all designed to reintroduce the Buck Rogers Universe to modern audiences”.
• Vampire Tales: Young Adventures vampire drama First Kill, executive produced by Emma Roberts through her Belletrist Productions, landed an order from Netflix. The series is based on a short story by Victoria “V.E.” Schwab, who is creator, writer and executive producer, better known to downthetubes readers as the author of the Shades of Magic novels and comics.
• Autumnal Art: Artist “ItsNotAboutWork” has been delighting Twitter followers with beautiful pen and ink watercolour artworks for some time. They are an absolute joy, so do give his Instagram and Twitter accounts a follow. We’re told prints may be available at some point – here’s hoping!
• Tintin Pastiche: Talking of terrific illustration, here’s a wonderful Tintin pastiche by the brilliant Yves Rodier, creator of numerous fan works inspired by the character, including his incredible completion of Hergé’s unfinished last Tintin story, Tintin et l’Alph-Art. The Hergé Foundation forbade the publication of the tribute, but the artist did use the work to present himself to publishers and a pirate edition appeared in 1991 – and several translated versions still circulate on the web. You can find Yves here on Facebook.
• “Scorer” Remembered: Former editor of Tiger and Roy of the Rovers Barrie Tomlinson wrote an article for The Football Pink earlier this year, discussing the creation and development of “Scorer” for the Daily Mirror, initially drawn by Barrie Mitchell, followed by John Gillatt, until he sadly had a stroke, with David Sque completing its run. Running for 22 years across 6000 episodes, Barrie acknowledges it’s a strip “of its time” and would approach it differently today, given opportunity. Barrie is the focus of a new podcast discussing Roy of the Rovers, which we reported on here.
• Ace African Animation: Nigerian animator Ridwan Moshood was so determined to learn how to make cartoons, he spent hours in internet cafés in Lagos, watching YouTube lessons and taking notes. “I would go to a cyber café, watch video tutorials and write down whatever I’d learnt,” he told BBC News, in a spotlight on African animation. Today, the 26-year-old is a rising star in Africa’s blossoming animation scene.
• Dalek Delight: The Daleks arrived in Doctor Who in late 1963, and the popularity of the metal monsters from Skaro led to their very own comic strip, which ran weekly on the back page of TV Century 21, starting in January 1965. Written by Doctor Who script editor David Whitaker with input from TV21 editor Alan Fennell, the strip was initially by Richard Jennings.
Artist Allan Harvey, who specialises in digital restoration work for publishers such as It’s Alive and Image Comics, has produced a digital restoration of the first episode of the strip, seen here alongside a copy of the 1965 comic so you can see the difference.
As we’ve previously reported, Panini UK are currently working on a collected edition of the complete two-year run of the strip, so if anyone out there by chance owns original art boards, please let us know and we’ll pass on the information. Boards for over two thirds of the strip have so far been sourced for the project.
• Stainless Steel Rat is Back: After some complaints there simply wasn’t enough Carlos Ezquerra art in our item about the new collection of The Stainless Steel Rat from Rebellion, we’ve added a couple of images – and a lovely take on Slippery Jim DiGriz by Alan Craddock, too, from a sought after SSR collectible featured in the story.
• Digging Back to Dandy Xtreme: And finally… ten years ago today, we highlighted the current issue of Dandy Xtreme, which, stripped of its free gifts (five chewy sweets and a small toy light sabre) offered nothing to suggest that it is a comic, let alone the longest running comic in the country.
However, change was in the air, with a makeover teased on the “Next Issue” page featuring Desperate Dan, drawn by Jamie Smart. Changes were coming in Dandyland to pull the title back from the “Xtreme”, and for the next three years, much fun was had as a brave attempt was made to revive the long-running comic’s fortunes, eventually moving, briefly, to digital-only format.
Bizarrely, The Dandy‘s Twitter account is still active, although nothing has been posted on it since 2013, promoting the last digital issue.
While only Dandy annuals and specials are published today, the bold experiment to revamp the title, both physically and to push it into the digital world, paved the way for the continued success of the BEANO today, so some good, at least, came from all that hard work.
With thanks to Allan Harvey and Sim Leech
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.