Wednesday, 28 November 2012

17 Fantastic Fantasy Comics

Hey SPBMers, so I was asked today if I could recommend some fantasy comics/graphic novels for someone for Christmas. After spending a stupid amount of time mulling it over I came up with a not-so-short list. Then I though "I know, I'll post the list on the blog that way I won't feel like a complete nutcakeface for spending way too much time answering a simple question!" I even made a title banner, look....


Originally serialised in the DFC comic this gorgeous story of stone-age myths and superstitions was collected complete as a large format hardcover. Breathtakingly beautiful and quite scary, I'd highly recommend this for all ages with the exception of very young children.

Imagine a trio of Loony Tunes characters caught up in The Lord Of The Rings and you'll have some idea of what Bone is like - though no idea how brilliant it is. Funny, charming, uncynical, epic, fun. Available in several formats including a massive complete-in-one doorstop.

Slaine: Warrior's Dawn
Pat Mills, Angie Kincaid, Massimo Belardinelli, Mike McMahon
Conceived as an antidote to the testosteronal tradition of Conan The Barbarian this satirical Celtic fantasy is a collection of the earliest stories that ran in 2000AD. Superb B&W art especially McMahon who gave the strip a primitive sinewy style unlike anyone else. 

Slaine: The Horned God
Pat Mills, Simon Bisley
A few years later burgeoning superstar artist Simon Bisley signed on as Slaine artist for what was to prove to be Slaine's most popular story. Visually much closer to the hyper-muscularised Conan/Frank Frazetta archetype the strip still maintained its sarcastic attitude.

A Princess Of Mars 
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ian Edginton, INJ Culbard 
The seminal pulp classic has been adapted to comics many times over the years, but this by far the classiest and most faithful. Simultaneously a swashbuckling, otherworldly fantasy and a genuinely engaging romance.
Conan: The Frost Giant's Daughter
Robert E Howard, Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord
Another quality adaptation of a sword and sorcery pulp classic. I've never really been a huge fan of Conan to be honest but this really won me over. This was the first of many Conan books from Dark Horse, both adaptations of Howard's stories and original tales.

Alan Grant, Arthur Ranson
Another 2000AD serial, this beautiful paperback collects all three volumes complete in one book. This sombre, nightmarish fantasy is stunningly illustrated by Arthur Ranson

Requiem: Vampire Knight
Pat Mills, Olivier Letroit
Created by Pat Mills for the European market, this Hellbound genre-blending adult fantasy is dark, horrific and frequently sadomasochistic, but always has Mills' underlining humour. Ledroit's art is amongst the most brain-meltingly fantabulous you're ever likely to inflict your eyeballs on. Each of the five (to date) UK editions contains two of the European albums. Which is nice.

Mouse Guard
Like Bone this is another all-ages fantasy, beautifully illustrated, but in a more realistic non-anthropomorphised style. Not remotely as silly as you might imagine, but thoroughly charming and engaging. Two lush hardcover volumes to date and several spin-off series.

Wendy Pini, Richard Pini
A genuine indie classic this epic series has graced several publishers over the years, but is currently all available to read online for free!

Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz RosiƄski
This highly esteemed, hugely popular and long-running (33 volumes to date) series from Belgium combines a multitude of myths and legends. Currently being published in English by Cinebook.

Kingdom Of The Wicked
Ian Edginton, D'Israeli
This dark, psychological graphic novel involves a bestselling children's author who finds himself, as an adult, suffering black-outs and awakening in the fantasy world he imagined as a child - except it is now a brutal, war-torn place. Any time Edginton & D'Israeli team up you know its going to be good and this is no exception.

Shaman Warrior
Park Joong-Ki 

I picked up the first volume of this Korean series on the spur of the moment, knowing nothing about it, and its absolutely blew me away. The art is jaw-droppingly good and the story whips along like lightning. If you like your fantasy epics full of skull-splitting action then this 9-volume series is for you. 

The Hobbit
JRR Tolkien, David Wenzel
This needs no introduction I'm sure and this is a lush, lovely adaptation by Dave Wenzel.

Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco

The First World War brought catastrophic advancements in warfare technology - the machine gun, the fighter plane, tanks, mustard gas - but imagine if WWI had been fought instead using magic and dragons and other mythical beasts. This is the premise of Arrowsmith, an imaginative, genre-blending, brilliantly illustrated comic.  

Wolves/The Mire
Becky Cloonan
These two self-published comics from Becky Cloonan are surely so stranger to faithful SPBMers, we rave on about these brilliant medieval horror tales often enough, and we will continue to do so until every last one of you have read them!


Right, that's me spent - do you have any fantasy comics you'd recommend? Drop us a line via carrier roc or the usual methods...

Monday, 19 November 2012

British Comic Awards 2012 winners!

This past weekend saw the inaugural British Comic Awards held at the Leeds Comic Art Festival (aka Thought Bubble 2012). The judging panel were Hunt Emerson, John Freeman, Dr Mel Gibson, Stephen L Holland, Roger Sabin and SPBM's own Stacey Whittle.

The full list of this year's nominees can be found here but the BCA 2012 winners are... (drumroll)


Nelson by Various (Rob Davis & Woodrow Phoenix, editors)






Congratulations to all the winners - excellent and worthy choices all - and fist-bumps and butt-slaps to all the nominees too!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Thought Bubble 2012

Just in the nick of all-most-too-late its the SPBM Pre-Bubb Blog (and if you can say that out loud without sounding like a blocked toilet you're a better man than me) 

I, the lovely-and-fragrant Lee, will not be attending Thought Bubble again this year due to the completely unforeseen and totally unpredicted arrival of Christmas in 6 weeks - but no, sweet child, don't cry as I usually manage to not see anyone at these things anyway. So for the full GriceCon experience simply, at random moments during the weekend, ask someone "Where's Lee?" and get them to reply "In a panel I think" and it'll be just like I'm actually there. 

Fortunately, the gorgeous-yet-meek-and-retiring-and-never-ever-intoxicated Stace will be attending so if you see her there please say hello. Also say loudly and clearly "You are The Stacey Whittle off of that Small Press Big Mouth and here's your £5!", then give her £5. 

Important Safety Tip: Stacey will kick out when startled so if you approach her from behind, like with a horse, place a hand gently on her rear and maintain contact as you move forwards until you're in her field of vision.*

*Don't do this. She will slap your face so hard it will spin around your head like its Duck Season Wabbit Season Duck Season. 

Right then, SPBMers - shopping lists at the ready...


Top of your shopping list should be the second Thought Bubble Anthology - a quality comic and all profits go to Barnardos.

David Wynne will be there selling copies of Hypergirl and Particle Fiction, plus PRINTS! lots and lots of prints!

Nic Wilkinson and Cy Dethan will be there launching Cancertown 2 and have all other their other books  (White Knuckle, Cancertown, Slaughterman's Creed, The Indifference Engine) on sale. Special offer £20 Cancertown 1 & 2. Graeme Howard will be selling original art. Table 15 New Dock (Savile's) Hall

Improper Books will be there with a free colour promo of Porcelain, also, the B&W Butterfly Gate edition they had at Bristol, plus Christian Wildgoose and Laura Trinder will be sketching at the table.

Martin Eden be launching Spandex #7 and O Men Book Two. Spandex 17 is 36 pages and wraps up the ‘O.M.F.G.’ storyline (and deals with that Issue 6 cliffhanger) – and not everyone is going to survive!  Free with this issue is Spandex Black & White – a mini-artbook featuring 16 b&w portraits (including one embroidery and one photograph) of the team/cast by various very talented people including Matthew Craig, Nigel Dobbyn and Graham Pearce.

Lydia Wysocki will be there on Saturday (half of Terry Wiley's table) with her new book Celebrity Homes and some comic etchings and some handmade comics. She has a brand new Comicsy shop Comicsy shop and an Etsy shop Etsy shop. I'll be selling etchings a bit cheaper at Thought Bubble, comics'll be the same prices

Barry Nugent will be launching the second anthology from Unseen Shadows 'Tales of the Forgotten' for £8.50 and the first anthology Tales of the Fallen for £10.0. We will also be doing a special deal where if anyone buys both anthologies they will get them for £15.00. Not only that there will be a special Unseen Shadows panel on Sunday at 12:10 in the Alea Cinema Room.

Bevis Musson will have The Dead Queen Detectives Omnibus: The II Edition, which is both Dead Queen Detectives issues rescanned and tidied up, plus 15 extra pages, 12 totally new. All that plus a new. colour cover for £5. I'll be at the Improper Books table with the Omnibus and be sketching too, £5 each.

Jennie Gyllblad will be there selling Jenspiration and prints and Skal and stuff. And Clockwork Watch: The Arrival plus a Clockwork Watch Preview Book 2013 with arty goodies in it and info on stuff like our live events!

Daniel Clifford will be there and Art Heroes will do workshops all weekend at our table in the Royal Armouries Hall. And comics! workshops are a character competition, they'll give advice on creating characters with a prize for the best. Also they will be releasing the re-drawn, re-inked and re-lettered Remastered Halcyon & Tenderfoot #1.

Graham Pearce will have two brand new comics at Thought Bubble. Firstly there is Last Admin Hero 2 #1 which is the new spin-off mini series starring the humble office worker John Trojan as he fights terrorism in the office. Secondly he has Sgt Mike Battle #18 which is the exact same comic albeit with the ongoing numbering so that regular readers can continue their collection! "There is no incentive to buy both but if you did it would cost less than most mainstream comics these days!"

Valia Kapadai says she'll have a few copies of everything she's ever done, some copies of Pavlos Pavlidis' Full Bloom, her new Stinky Sketchbook (with a toilet paper sketch), and maybe I'll also have copies of new comic Dreamcatcher written by Mo Ali. "oh..and CANDIES!!!! LOTS OF CANDIES at our table!!!!!!"

Richmond Clements will have Ketsueki his new book with artist Ai Takita-Lucas, and there will be new issues of Futurequake, Something Wicked, Zarjaz & Dogbreath. Speaking of which...
...2000AD art droid extraordinaire Colin MacNeil will be at the FutureQuake table during the weekend sketching and selling original artwork. Table 166 in the New Dock Hall.

Abby Ryder will be doing £10 sketch commissions as well as having Imaginary Gumbo prints and comics.

Gavin Mitchell  will be selling these bad boys.

Dave Shirley will have Fera issues 1-2 as well as his new comic The Editors at table 131 NDH. Fera is an adventure-romance story also available to read online here whilst The Editors is a conspiracy tale set in a superhero universe with a shady group who conduct in-world retcons.

Dave West will be launching WesterNoir #2 and will surely have copies of issue 1 as well as all his other very fine comics such as Robot Shorts, Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man and the Accent UK anthologies.

Sarah Turner kindly informs us that the  Leeds University Anime Society will be doing a 'make a manga' anthology for the first time. This collection of comics, art and writing will apparently be available in the foyer of the Royal Armouries Hall.

Afterlife Inc. Volume 2: Near Life And Other Stories, will be debuting this weekend. Collecting the hit series Near Life and Dead Days - plus a wealth of special features and an exclusive, print-only tale - Near Life And Other Stories marks the triumphant return to the world of Afterlife Inc. as written by Jon Lock and illustrated by a stunning selection of artists. Afterlife Inc. is also running a Kickstarter campaign throughout November to fund Volume 3: Lifeblood. Be sure to stop by our table in the Royal Armouries Hall to learn more about the project and the next phase of stories for Afterlife Inc.

Starburst Magazine columnist P M Buchan and manga artist Karen Yumi Lusted will release the first issue of their Gothic-Horror series La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Based on the poem of the same name by John Keats, La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a four-part series that drags The Beautiful Lady out of the forest and screaming into the modern world. And speaking of Monsieur Buchan... 

Controversial horror-comedy anthology Blackout will launch at Thought Bubble comic festival in Leeds. This 32-page, full-colour anthology is packed with unrequited romance, booze, death-by-misadventure, necrophilia, cannibalism and suicide, and that’s just the first story! Created by PM Buchan, The Big Bang creator Jack Fallows and Kerrang! illustrator Phillip Marsden, with guest contributions by Andrew Waugh (Dodgem Logic), Mike Barnes (Cornelius Blow) and Harley Poe frontman Joe Whiteford.

Sugar Glider artist/co-creator Gary Bainbridge is launching Nightbus #3

The Phoenix Comic are going to Thought Bubble this weekend! Join in the fun feathery festivities with the team and see what they've got lined-up by reading the flyer, left.

Disconnected Press have two new comics Disconnected v2 and How To Kill BearsDisconnected v2 will pick up where Vol. 1 left off, exploring the curious things that happen in small towns, the stories that don’t make the big city press, the tales that tell us the truth about ourselves as we twitch the net curtains between our fingers.

How To Kill Bears is the sister publication to their earlier Lost: Boys, it follows the fortunes of four female characters, in stories written by Lizzie Boyle and brought to life by emerging and even unknown female artists.

Find the Disconnected team at Table 11 in New Dock Hall. Alternatively, order your copy of Disconnected v2 from their online shop for £5.00 plus P&P.

Blank Slate will have some super-earlybird copies of Felt Mistress' Creature Couture & 20 limited-edition gold Tippy designer toys. Come meet the team behind the book as Felt Mistress, Jonathan Edwards, Woodrow Phoenix & Tippy Winkles will all be in attendance!

Dan Thompson ‏tells us Beyond The Bunker will be launching Moon #2. The trailer for the book is here on Vimeo or here on Youtube 

The Last Ride Of Henry Holden will be on sale at Thoughtbubble at a special launch price of £6.00, along with Time Bomb’s full range of  titles.

Garen Ewing will have the Rainbow Orchid Supplement and The Complete Rainbow Orchid selling that one for a mere £10! Quickly! Take advantage of the poor fool before he sobers up!


Ian Culbard just tweeted is to tell us his Lovecraftian graphic novel Deadbeats (as written by Chris Lackey & Chad Fifer, and published by Self Made Hero) will make its tentacular debut at TB. 

Dan "Druff" Harris and the Lou Scannon boys will be there. Say hello if you want, buy their comics if you like but for the love of God guard your chips.

Peter Cooper and Adam Burn will be there with the first issue of Telikos Protocol - check it out.

Sally Jane Thompson has new prints for Thought Bubble - signed, archival, on acid-free paper. She's at table 168 in New Dock - stop by! I assume'hope she will also have some of her beautiful mini-comics with her - Now & Then, From and Candy Bag - take a looksee.

Accent UK launches Who on Earth was Thaddeus Mist? from Owen Michael Johnson and a host of writers and artists.

John Lees will be selling of The Standard v1, the graphic novel collecting the first 3 issues of the series.  He'll also have prints and T-shirts available while stocks last.  He will be at table 72 in Armouries Hall, sharing with...

...Gary Chudleigh who will premiering GLoW 2, the second Glasgow League of Writers (he theme this time round is horror)...

...and artist Graeme Kennedy of Obscure Reference Comics, who will be debuting the 3rd and final issue of dark thriller Villainous. 

Gordon McLean will be at Table 89 at Royal Armoury Hall with No More Heroes #1-3 and a special deal including a limited edition variant of #1 - only 50 printed.


PS If you see any 'Fake Nerds' there this weekend don't be a cunt, tell them about a comic that you like.