Thursday, 30 June 2011

SPBM Gallery: Pavlos Pavlidis

In SPBM episode 32 I reviewed Unstrung! a comic from Greek creator Pavlos Pavlidis. It was one of three of his comics given to me by the lovely Valia Kapadai by way of a cultural comics exchange (if you're interested I gave her an old paperback collection of The Perishers strips).

Although I couldn't understand the stories I was blown away by Pavlos's harsh chiaroscuro style and punk sensibilities. I mentioned on the podcast I was hoping to post a gallery of his artwork. He kindly agreed so here it is. 

Pavlos doesn't seem to have an online shop at the moment but enquiries to buy his comics or commission art can be directed to his deviantART profile and he's on Twitter. I'm hoping he will - and have been encouraging him to - make English language editions of his comics available.

Anyhoo, enough of my waffle, its time for the gallery - enjoy....

[click thumbnails for full-size images]


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Unseen Shadows

It seems there's a new Empire Builder out there in the realm of British indie and small press comics 'Bullwhip' Barry Nugent (aka The Nuge) is striking out like Hannibal himself. (When I say "Hannibal" I mean this guy. Well, maybe a little bit of this guy, but definitely not this guy

Faithful SPBMers will be aware of Barry's bestselling novel Fallen Heroes and the comics adaptation thereof and in the last SPBM we mentioned Barry's new website devoted to the spin-offs, multimedia and general expanded universe of Fallen Heroes - Unseen Shadows. From the introduction on the site:

Originally [the novel] Fallen Heroes was called Unseen Shadows but the more I worked on the story the more I felt that the title was a little too overarching to fit one book. I knew I was going to tell this one huge adventure spread over three books and so Unseen Shadows became the overall theme for that story.
Now with the ongoing work to expand the world and characters I’ve created via the mediums of comics, audio and live action  it made sense to bring the term ‘Unseen Shadows’ more to the forefront.

Things are fair cooking away there at the moment. Four spin-off comics have been announced so far. They are:

The Reverend: Wrath of God by Cy Dethan, Steve Penfold and Gat Melvyn

Napoleon Stone and the Fragments of Fate by Pete Rogers and Roy Huteson Stewart

Stephanie Conisbee in Operation: Solomon by Richmond Clements & Conor Boyle

Clancy Wallencheck: Band of Butchers by Dan Thompson, Robert Carey and Vicky Stonebridge

That's a damned impressive line-up of talent there I think you'll agree. But what are the spin-offs? Again I'll quote Barry from the site:

"The spin-offs expand and enhance the characters lives and relationships within the novels. Although the books and the spin offs can be read and enjoyed independently of each other you will get more insights into the characters by experiencing all the stories across the Unseen Shadows universe."

Barry is currently working on the sequel novel to Fallen Heroes - Forgotten Warriors - has this amazing group of talent working on his characters influenced his new novel at all? That's a good question and I'd ask him if he hadn't already answered it himself on the site. He says:

"I found myself subconsciously referencing events in the spin-off scripts as if they were canon and then the thought occurred to me ‘Why don’t I just make them canon’.  So now every member of the creative team knows that their material is 100% a part of the Unseen Shadows universe and not just a nice little side story with no impact on the events surrounding it."

Fascinating stuff! And for art whores like me there are regular treats and updates on the site including character posters by Steve Penfold and early character sketches by Rob Carey for Band Of Butchers as well as sneak previews of inked pages and cover art.

Barry plans for Unseen Shadows stretch beyond novels and comics and into live action and audio dramas too. In fact he just announced today that he is "Very excited to have have just co-written my first audio drama script which is an Unseen Shadows spin off with Alan White. Tales of the Fallen: Empire of Blood episode 1 is on the way." 

How cool is that? And from the sound of things The Nuge is just getting warmed up!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

News Bites 13

Hello you big bunch of SPBMers! Here's another platterful of anews-bouche for you to let your faceknockers nibble on.


ITEM! Knock knock! Who's there? Mister. Mister Who? Yes. What? Eh? Wait, lets start again. Who is Mister Who? Find out in Mister Who #1 available to read free online ahead of its official release! 

ITEM! Jamie "too damn talented for his own good" Smart has gone and 'wrote a blog about the thieving internet. contains swears and angry punching' Read it HERE 

ITEM! When Emily Carroll delivers a new webcomic this is always A Very Good Thing. Her latest The Prince & The Sea is A Very Very Good Thing. Go and read it now, I'll wait.....

ITEM! ...are you back? Waddya think? I know, awesome, right? You know what else is awesome? The fan art piece that Vera B (Anya's Ghost) posted soon after. Check it out HERE

ITEM! Are you in a sneak-preview-of-an-ace-looking-comic mood? Well then feast your eye-holes on the first 3 gorgeous pages of Jennifer Wilde (Warning: may contain nuts. And boobs.)  You'll remember of course this comic is from Rob CurleyMaura McHugh and Stephen Downey.

ITEM! As if Cancertown 2 and White Knuckle weren't enough to be going on with 'Cyberman' Cy Dethan has unleashed news of yet another project to tingle your mind and blow your spine: Phantom Lung And The Garden Of Dead Liars will have art by Simon 'Says Why' Wyatt, letters by 'Knickers' Nic Wilkinson and will be a Markosia joint.

ITEM! Speaking of Markosia - check out these awesome trailers for upcoming books The Interactives and Unbelieveable - The Man Who Ate Daffodils (from that Simon Wyatt guy again!)

ITEM! And while we're in a video show kinda mood here's the trailer for Pirates Of Pangaea the first strip announced for The Phoenix Comic - which will be hitting the streets on the 7th January 2012!

STOP PRESS! Com-X graphic novel 45 from Andi Ewington is now available on graphicly - and at the bargain price of £1.99 for one week only!


That's yer lot for now you gorgeous geeky gluttons, you. If you have any news for us give me a shout on Twitter or drop us an email

Friday, 24 June 2011

RIP Gene Colan

I was genuinely saddened today to hear of the passing of one of my greatest art heroes - 'Gentleman' Gene Colan. It wasn't a surprise to he honest, he'd been ill for a long time and took a turn for worse earlier in the week, as reported by Gene's good friend Clifford Meth.

It was Meth who also passed on the news of Gene's death this morning. He wrote:

"I regret to announce that my friend Gene Colan died at about 11 pm on June 23. Gene spent this last week in a quasi-coma state following a broken hip and complications from liver disease. He was 84.

I am terribly saddened to lose Gene. He was a gentle and deeply spiritual man, a bright light in every context, and those who knew him at any level were enriched by his warmth and generous nature. [...]

I leave the historical perspective and details of Gene's significant career to my friends Tom Spurgeon and Mark Evanier. For now, I mourn."

Those who know me will know how much I love Colan's work and what an influence it has been on me ever since I was a kid - I've mentioned him several times on this blog, in my Influence Map and in my First Tastes blog a few weeks ago. As I type this there are two framed prints of Colan sketches on the wall over my bed. Gene will probably be best remembered for his long incredible run on Marvel's Tomb Of Dracula comic in the 70s or for his equally brilliant Howard The Duck run around the same time, but there's barely a character at Marvel and DC he didn't leave his mark on: Daredevil, Batman, Iron Man, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Doctor Strange, The Spectre... the list goes on. And there wasn't a genre that Gene couldn't draw with class and consummate skill: horror, superhero, humour, SF, western, war, detective, romance, drama... 

Colan also co-created and illustrated original comics for DC such as detective Nathaniel Dusk, Jemm Son Of Saturn, Silverblade and Night Force as well as illustrating the comics adaptation of the films Little Shop of Horrors (for DC) and Jaws 2 (for Marvel).

Gene also went on to do some superlative work for indie publishers like Comico, Eclipse and Dark Horse on titles like Ragamuffins, Bloodscent, Detectives Inc, Stewert The Rat and Curse Of Dracula. Gene was a notoriously tricky artist to ink and from the late 80s his work was usually printed straight from his pencils to stunning effect.

My first exposure to Colan's work - and probably still my favourite - was Night Force the 80s horror comic written by Marv Wolfman for DC. Gene's art seemed to be formed from smoke and shadows; free and expressionistic yet always completely real. It was love at first sight for me. 

I could go on and on, but really I think the best tribute I can pay the man is to simply post a gallery of his work, but before I do that I just want to strongly recommend to everyone reading this that they pick up Essential Tomb Of Dracula v1-4 and Essential Howard The Duck - as well as being just plain great comics to read these fat affordable paperbacks present Colan's art in glorious black & white. 

I also recommend TwoMorrows' brilliant book Secrets In The Shadows: The Life And Work Of Gene Colan. (A new printing of this please, TwoMorrow people!)

To DC Comics I respectfully plead for collected editions of Night Force and Colan's Batman & Detective Comics runs.*

And finally to Gene Colan's family, friends and fellow fans I send my sincerest condolences.

Addendum 1 *Turns out they are! Hardcovers are scheduled for Night Force in October and his Batman/Detective Comics run in August! I may cry. Right, now how about Nathaniel Dusk, Wonder Woman and Jemm, Son Of Saturn?

Addendum 2 Clifford Meth is setting up the Gene Colan Scholarship for The Kubert School

Here's some of the amazing comics art 'The Dean' produced throughout his career...


And here are a few examples of the sketches and commissions he did. Amazing work.

RIP Gene Colan 1926-2011