Tuesday, 31 May 2011

News Bites 11!

Its only the flipping news, you sexy buggers! And as this is News Bites 11 this is on the soundtrack. Take it away, Russ!


ITEM! Yes! Jamie Smart's Kochi Wanaba has been picked up by Blank Slate - to be published as a book! can't wait! Also his Where's The Doctor? spreads are being collected into a book too which is awesome. Oh and by the way if you're not reading Corporate Skull then I hate you so just don't talk to me, okay? Just don't.

ITEM! Adam "The Everyday" Cadwell's latest comic Blood Blokes #1 is now available to buy - just £4 via paypal at his email and its all yours. See the free preview HERE

ITEM! Chris Doherty's Video Nasties is now being serialised online on his website. Read it, bitches!

ITEM! Spirit Of Hope charity comic launched by the Comic Book Alliance in aid of the Japan & New Zealand earthquake. It looks like an amazing anthology - almost 100 creators involved including Jasper Bark, Paul H Birch, Bolt-01, Dan Boultwood, Jim Campbell, Richmond Clements, Martin Conaghan, Gary Crutchley, Al Davison, Benjamin Dickson, Martin Eden, Gary Erskine, Al Ewing, Leigh Gallagher, Matt Gibbs, Graeme Howard, Tony Lee, Gary Spencer Millidge, Michiru Morikawa, Declan Shalvey, Si Spencer, Vicky Stonebridge, Lew Stringer, Steve Tanner, Geoffrey D. Wessel, Chris Western, Rob Williams and many more! Full details on the Down The Tubes website. There is also a Facebook Group

ITEM! Garen Ewing is posting a four-page preview of Rainbow Orchid v3 on his website! "A new strip will be going up three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for five weeks. There will be more preview later in the year and in a few months time a brand new Julius Chancer story will be made available on the web as well." Go HERE now!

ITEM! There's a Slaughterman's Creed signing with Cy Dethan and Nic Wilkinson at Whatever Comics in Canterbury on Saturday 4th June

ITEM! ...and another at Forbidden Planet Belfast with Stephen Downey and Andy & Ryan Brown on Saturday 11th June.

ITEM! Copies of Becky Cloonan's new mini-comic Wolves are now available from Page Forty-Five, GOSH! and Travelling Man. wantwantwantwantWANT!!!!!!


ITEM! Spiffing artist and ace animator Dani Abrams will be joining in with Upfest this weekend in Bristol and she's selling a bloody awesome painting too. Check it out on her blog HERE. Go along and cheer her on please - tell her SPBM sent you! By the way you are following her on twitter aren't you? No? Why not? Do it now. Prat.

ITEM! It's that Garen Ewing again! He's just launched a new podcast mini-series in which he and his brother Murray Ewing discuss ten classic adventure films - Episode one features the immortal King Kong (1933)

ITEM! Ace manga artist Sonia Leong has just launched her new webcomic - check out Fujo Fujo - it looks gorgeous! Follow her on twitter too.


Okay, i'm spent. If you have news for us please wave your knickers in the air - or, more practically, drop us a line via email or Twitter

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

2D – Northern Ireland Comics Festival 2011

Hey kiddies, this looks great! 2D the Northern Ireland Comics Festival is in its 5th year and the line-up of guests and events is terrific! 2D runs from the 2nd-4th June (that's next week, folks)and featires the likes of Glenn Fabry, Mick McMahon, Mark Chiarello, Rufus Dayglo, Garry Leach, Rob Davis, Gary Erskine, Gary Northfield, PJ Holden, Stephen Downey, Vicky Stonebridge, Kevin Logue, Neill Cameron and many more. Oh, and did I mention it's FREE? I didn't did I? Well it is - it's FREE - everyone likes free, right? Okay, I'm waffling now, read the press release, ogle the lovely promo art and then take a gander at the programme. Take it away, Russ...


2D – Northern Ireland Comics Festival kicks off!

The cream of the world’s comic talent will touch down in Derry/Londonderry next week for 2D, the Northern Ireland Comics Festival.

The free event – hosted annually by the Verbal Arts Centre – runs from 2nd - 4th June and is the biggest of its kind in Northern Ireland as well as being a unique and engaging celebration of comic book culture.

It marks the fifth time the event has run in the city and organisers have pulled out all the stops to ensure that this year’s event is the biggest and best to date, having secured some of the biggest and most respected names in the comics industry for this year’s programme.

Guests include legendary artists such as Mick McMahon (Judge Dredd), Glenn Fabry (Preacher, Slaine) and Mike Collins (Dr Who, Superman) as well as host of other comic creators who have worked on properties and titles such as Transformers, Batman, Star Wars, Spiderman, Gorillaz, Game of Thrones and the Beano.

One of the highlights of the festival is the 2D Comics Fair on Sat 4th June and those attending can buy comics, meet top comic creators, get free sketches of their favourite character, have a Robot version of themselves drawn at the ‘Hi Robot’ booth, or get their face painted as a fun character.

Attendees can also enter in the Mario Bros and Moshi Monsters drawing competitions, the Fancy Dress competition or have a go on our ‘Robot Drawing Wall’, with great comic prizes for the best efforts. Festival goers can also have their photo taken with the Star Wars Stormtroopers, as the fantastic Emerald Garrison will be in attendance.

This year one of the most influential men in Comics, Mark Chiarello (DC Comics VP Art Direction), will be attending to give an insight into the industry and host a series of portfolio reviews for aspiring creators, where he’ll be looking out for new talent. These portfolio reviews are notoriously hard to arrange, so please get in touch if you would like to take advantage of this great opportunity to get your skills noticed and possibly get a foot in the door of the comics industry.

The festival caters for all ages with workshops and fun drawing events for all the family during the daytime and panel talks in Sandinos bar for the older audience on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th June evenings from 6.30pm.

All events are completely FREE OF CHARGE.

For more details contact the Verbal Arts Centre on 02871266946, or email, check the website www.2dfestival.com or 2D facebook group.
Twitter: @2dComicsFest.

The complete guest list

The full itinerary of events


If you go along to this please drop us a line about how it went won't you?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

WHITE KNUCKLE exclusive preview!

Hey kiddies! Now this is a thriller in more ways that one! What do you get if you combine the writer of Cancertown and Slaughterman's Creed with the artist behind Tw1sted Vision and Innocent Soul? The correct answer is White Knuckle a psycho-thriller that just got signed to Markosia. (I would also have accepted the answer: 'terribly overexcited')

SPBM has been blessed with an exclusive sneak peek at the work in progress and we're going to share a little with you, you lucky lucky dogs! Lets start you off nice an easy, here's the tag-line:

Unforgiven meets Harry Brown - and strangles him.

Do you feel that? That, my friends, is the feeling of a malevolent grin spreading across your face! But wait, we have more to share. Slide your eyeballs over this:

Forty years ago, Seth Rigal was a man to be feared – a serial strangler with a string of victims. Now nearly seventy and tormented by a lifetime of monstrous violence, Rigal lives on the verge of poverty and quietly waits for the death he knows he deserves.

Tortured and confused, still tormented by the drives that made him a killer in his youth, Rigal finds himself almost unconsciously stalking the daughter of his final victim – only to have his precious anonymity snatched from him when he accidentally saves her son’s life.

Seth Rigal, formerly known as the Gripper, just became a local celebrity. The bodies won’t stay buried any longer.

Doesn't that sound brilliant? I think we're into a real winner here, kids. If you heard our review of Slaughterman's Creed you might remember that we said how brilliantly Cy Dethan kept us on the hook with superb plot twists, well he just did it again - in the space of three short paragraphs for cryin' out loud!

White Knuckle is a complex and intense psychological thriller, distorting the ever-popular “retired gunslinger” motif into a rain-slick urban fantasy of murderous men and the needs that drive them.

Ooooooh....! So far so awesome, but comics are a visual medium and poor art can choke great writing stone dead. No fear here cos the artist on White Knuckle is Valia Kapadai and she's proven she can do dark and scary with her short story collection Tw1sted Vision and horror webcomic Innocent Soul, but if you still need convincing here's a sneak peek at two pages in progress.

Those pretty much speak for themselves, I think, but this is what Dethan has to say: 

"I'm really excited to be able to work with Valia, whose art and enthusiasm I've admired for a long time. If I had a handful of artists with half her ability, I could probably end the world." 

As you can see those are unlettered pages, but as Nic Wilkinson is on lettering duties you can rest assured they're in very capable hands.

So yeah, I know what you're thinking... you want it in your sweaty mitts right now don't you? Well we're all going to have to wait because they're hoping to have it ready to launch at the 2012 Bristol Comics Expo

Right, that's all we have to show you today, but when we know more, you'll know more. We're going to give the final word to Valia who sums up our feeling succinctly:

"OOOOOH MY.... OOOOOH MY.... so frigging excited about White Knuckle!!"

Yup. That covers it.

Monday, 23 May 2011

News Bites 10!

You want the news?? You can't handle the news!! Oh go on then....


ITEM! Jovial Jamie Smart will be signing at the MCM Expo next weekend and will be giving away free stuff to the first five people in the queue who bring along a copy of Find Chaffy to get signed! Also if you buy any of his T-shirts or toys from TopatoCo you get a free comic!

ITEM! Disco Daniel Clifford has written a piece for the Forbidden Planet International blog about the superb What Is The Point In Small press Superheroes? panel at Bristol. Also he is now selling his Sugar Glider badge & sticker sets online.

ITEM! More Bristol panel awesomeness for those who weren't there to enjoy: Fab podcast Comic Book Outsiders is hosting a recording of "The Task Of Blood: Creating Slaughterman's Creed"  - bloody marvellous stuff!

ITEM! Speaking of which Speedy Stephen Downey is currently selling brilliant original artwork from Cancertown, Slaughterman's Creed and Torchwood. If you're interested contact him via email or via his Twitter

ITEM! Awesome Andy Bloor is also selling his amazing original art from his The Wolfmen, Fall Of The Wolfmen and his numerous Accent UK anthology short stories. Contact him via his EmailFacebook or Twitter 

ITEM! Corky Corey Brotherson and Sergio Calvet's Magic Of Myths is now available to buy in Birmingham's Nostalgia & Comics as well as online

ITEM! Yippee Jennie Gyllblad has posted a brilliant doodleblog of her Bristol Expo experience HERE. The energy bunny of comics also has a new Facebook page which you can find HERE.

ITEM! Laudable Laura Sneddon's excellent series of online articles Women In Comics continues with Part 5: Red Sonja & Power Girl: A New Hope

ITEM! The beautiful cover of Thought Bubble #1 - the new anthology for the Leeds Sequential Art Festival - all proceeds will go to Barnardos.

ITEM! You can read Issue 0 of STRIP magazine online free HERE!

ITEM!  The theme of this years's Caption convention is Austerity. Caption is the longest running comic convention in the UK, celebrates small press and indie press comics and is on the 6th-7th August at the East Oxford Community Centre. More info in Down The Tubes write-up HERE

ITEM! The Christchurch Kid's Blog has posted a superb breakdown of the creative process behind Glarin' Garen Ewing's sublime Rainbow Orchid - check it out HERE.

ITEM! SPBM was saddened to learn of the death of incredible fantasy and comics artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones last week (18th May 2011). The best tribute I can think of is to simply link you to her comics, paintings and artwork.

Lee's First Tastes

Welcome to what I hope will be a nice semi-regular feature here on the SPBM blog. I love hearing people's stories about how they first fell in love with comics. Y'know, which comic was the first they ever saw, first they ever read, first they collected? Was it the traditional parental-bought subscription to The Beano or did a cool sibling hand them a 2000AD or Misty or Spider-Man? Did they discover comics later in life via a boyfriend or girlfriend perhaps? Did they fall away from comics during puberty to come back to them later? Or did anyone first discover comics in college or Uni or as an adult via the movie adaptations? I love hearing about that stuff.

So what are the key early comics, creators, characters and memories of your life? Drop us a line.

Here's mine...

I'm in infants’ school: In the class toy box is a comic, the cover of which depicts a burning man, a rocky monster, a half-vanished girl and a man who is stretching his body out as if to grab me. It looks weird and scares me slightly so I leave it alone.  

I’m six years old and I'm into Airfix kits & toy soldiers and all that kind of Junior Warmonger stuff. So one day my Nan buys me a comic because it has a free gift of two model planes - I love the model planes but I barely looked at the comic: the giant red nail-headed robot on the cover is burned into my memory though. As I grown up I assume this was an issue of Victor or Warlord as I remember the texture of the paper, but I work out decades later that it was a British weekly called Bullet - which was also published by DC Thompson and had the same texture paper. Isn't memory funny? 

I'm 9 and one wet day at school I see a comic on a desk in a classroom. It's a girl's comic but the cover depicts a ghost-monster that lives in the white dot that appears on the TV screen when you turn it off. The image creeps… me… the fuck out. The memory of that cover stayed with me my whole life but I couldn't remember the title - and only last year thanks to an aquaintance on Twitter do I discover its Misty.

Later that year or maybe the next, its Easter and my mum buys me a humour comic called Buster. I never liked The Beano or The Dandy at all - they seemed very old fashioned and plain, but Buster was cool! It had Faceache and Tin Teacher and Stan Still's Stop Watch and Gums and best of all it had The Leopard From Lime Street. My ambition is to draw this comic when I grow up; I remember saying so in a school essay. 

I see my first prog of 2000AD soon after. My mum buys it for my younger brother, but I take a look at it. It is quite phenomenally weird and disturbing. One of the stories features a man who is disappearing piece by piece. I really don't like it.

My parents daily newspaper is The Sun - there's a comic strip called Axa. Its about a sexy warrior girl in a post apocalyptic future - there's dinosaurs and robots and mutants and giant insects and swords and lasers and the lead character is frequently naked. Its ace! One day Axa just disappears from the paper - mid story and without warning. Replaced (if I recall correctly) by Popeye (the Popeye movie was out at the time and the strip was introduced as a cash-in on that). My grandparents are Daily Mirror readers and that newsaper has Garth which is almost as good as Axa and The Perishers which is really funny especially the 2-week period every year when the strip visits a group of crazy crabs living in a rock pool. (it is only recently that, rereading some old Perishers books I realise how brilliant the strip is)

I'm 10 or 11 years old: I'm reading war comics Warlord, Victor and Battle. Battle is the best. It's stories are more brutal and realistic that the others. Johnny Red and Charley's War are my favourites. I'm learning a lot of real stuff about the First and Second World Wars. I know why mothers were terrified of the telegram boy and why we wear poppies and what claykickers are and what happened at Stalingrad when other kids don't; though to my teachers at school this knowledge 'doesn't count' because of its source. I'm taking my first tiny steps out of warmonger-hood.

Around this time I’m reading a new weekly called Speed on regular order from the newsagent – it’s ace! Speed's life was short and it becomes the first comic that I read for the entirety of it life. My dentist has an issue of Star Wars Weekly in the waiting room – it has a close up photo of Darth Vader on the cover. I love Star Wars but the other stories in the comic are really weird. (Some years later a friend of mine will give me his entire collection of Star Wars Weekly because he has outgrown them. Cheers for that, Jason! In a bizarre coincidence there's only one issue missing from Jason's collection - and its the same issue that was in my dentist's waiting room)

I see my first proper American comics. They seem small and only have one story per comic but they're in colour. A local newsagent is selling packs of three Marvel comics for 30p. I buy one. It contains (I shit you not) Daredevil #159, Uncanny X-Men #130 and Invincible Iron Man #124 (that's the start of Frank Miller's DD run and more-or-less the start of both the Phoenix saga and the Michelinie/Romita/Layton 'Demon In A Bottle' run. Could I have asked for a better introduction to Marvel comics???) Fun Fact: I originally thought Iron Man was called The Invisible Iron Man not Invincible - I couldn't understand why he didn't turn invisible once in the whole comic!

A year or two later and I'm old enough to appreciate 2000AD. I'm still reading Battle every week and I'm reading as many Marvel comics as I can afford. Distribution of US comics is incredibly patchy - they're literally shipped in as ballast. It's almost impossible to get two consecutive issues of any title. Summer holidays to Rhyl and Mablethorpe are a godsend as new newsagents mean different comics. Oh, and by the way I've just read my first Alan Moore stories: "Bax The Burner" and “One Christmas During Eternity.” They are clearly, noticeably special

Around this time I’m on holiday when I pick up my first Batman comic – Batman Pocketbook. It’s a full colour reprint of the Englehart/Rogers run. It’s nothing like the TV series (they've drawn the batmobile all wrong for a start!) but I love it! I read my first issues of The Daredevils (featuring Captain Britain), Warrior (with Marvelman, V For Vendetta and Axel Pressbutton), Heavy Metal (with lots of naked ladies in stories that don’t seen to make a lick of sense but are beautifully and disturbingly illustrated) 

There's a new B&W magazine reprinting classic DC comics in my local newsagent. It’s called The Superheroes - it has a painting of Batman and the Joker on the cover. Batman is almost entirely hidden by shadows and The Joker looks like a grinning maniac. In the story (“Joker’s Five Way Revenge”) the Joker actually kills people! He blows a guy up with an exploding cigar laced with nitroglycerine! I can’t believe it! It’s brilliant! The TV show was nothing like this!!

DC comics are starting to pop up in my local newsie and I pick up issue #1 of Night Force. I think its a superhero comic like The fantatsic Four because there's a flamimg woman on the cover , but its a horror/mystery story and I bloody love it! It’s one of the best comics I’ve ever read. It’s written by a woman called Mary (or so I thought - I later realise its Marv) Wolfman who also writes a super-team comic called The New Teen Titans. Teen Titans leads me to Crisis On Infinite Earths and then the DC Universe as a whole. I’m now buying most of my comics from a local market stall. He has so many different titles I’m spoiled for choice!  

Aged 16 and I'm the only kid I know who reads comics. I never fell away from them like most kids. This is the year I discover Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham and a whole new world of independent comics like Nexus, Scout, American Flagg and Lone Wolf And Cub (hello manga, pleased to meet you. You're awesome!) from First Comics; AliensConcrete, The American and Roachmill from Dark Horse. 

Now Fast forward 25 years and 10,000+ comics later I'm sat here typing this. I'm co-host of a podcast where I get to waffle on about comics that I love, alongside a friend I love even more. I've been to conventions and met up with awesome talented people some of whom I consider friends. And I've even had the honour of seeing my name in print attached to the wonderful comics Sugar Glider Stories #1 and 100% Squishy - I am making new treasured memories of comics every day.


So, that's me... who's next? (and don't feel you necessary need to be as lengthy as I was - I suffer from diahorrea of the keyboard)