Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: The Leopard from Lime Street

In this, the second book in Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics line, The Leopard From Lime Street reprints the weekly episodes that originally appeared in Buster from 12th March 1976 to 11th June 1977. 

This was during a period when I'd stopped buying most British comics so the strips are new to me. Well, not entirely true. I'd seen one or two episodes back then, and haughtily dismissed the strip as a rip-off of Spider-Man. On a very basic surface level, it certainly is, but The Leopard from Lime Street has a charm and excitement all its own, and the artwork is of the highest standard seen in British weeklies. 

The plot: young Billy Farmer is scratched by a radioactive leopard and gains the strength and agility of a jungle cat. He makes a costume and sets out to fight crime, whilst taking photos for his local paper. Yep, the similarities to Spider-Man are glaring, but the British working class setting and distinctive UK storylines raise it above being a mere Spidey copy. Tom Tully's lively, fast-paced scripts carry the reader along, making the book an exciting page turner. The art, by Mike Western and Eric Bradbury is crisp and detailed, giving the strips a toughness and streetwise quality. It was very unusual in British comics back then for two artists to work as a pencil/ink team but it really works. In later episodes I'm guessing Western may have only supplied layouts, as Bradbury's style becomes more evident, but it's all great. Two of the best British artists working together? What's not to like?

I know that The Leopard from Lime Street has long had a dedicated following in British comics and I've never really understood why... until now. The advantage of this collected edition is it gives the reader the opportunity to get into the storylines and put aside any concerns of the source that inspired it. 

The book has an introduction by Steve Holland, and in the back there's a preview of forthcoming books in the Treasury of British Comics line, including Marney the Fox and Faceache. It's all looking good, so I hope fans of UK comics who have been clamouring for a return to the "good old days" will support these books so the line can grow. 


  • CREATIVE TEAM:  Tom Tully (w) Eric Bradbury, Mike Western (a) 
  • REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
  • RELEASE DATE: 13 July 2017
  • PAPERBACK - 162 pages
  • PRICE: £14.99 (UK)
  • ISBN: 9781781085974
  • DIAMOND: MAY171761
Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

New Commando comics this week

Here's the latest news direct from D.C. Thomson on the four issues of Commando that will arrive in the shops this Thursday...


Brand new Commando issues 5031-5034 are coming soon, with four action packed stories of bravery and duty as our heroes must against the Nazis in the heat of the Second World War!

5031: Home of Heroes:
Race – Or Die!

Set on the sleepy Isle of Man, or not as sleepy as it may seem, a long way from the main battles of the Second World War, conflict still managed to find its way to this secluded island. Nazi spies, secret codes, U-Boats and one thrilling motorbike chase… Colin Watson’s original story has it all!

Rodriguez and Morhain team up again to deliver another beautifully illustrated issue of Commando. With dark, black waters surrounding the island, you can really feel the isolation of the characters. But, as Janek’s cover shows, this is not always a good thing as the stakes are raised to a one-on-one motorbike chase - the island blurred beside the motorbikes, which kick up dust behind them on the quiet country land.

|Story | Colin Watson | Art | Rodriguez & Morhain| Cover | Janek Matysiak|


5032: Gold Collection
The Deadly Game

Lopez Espi’s cover truly captures the hot headed red-head, Corporal Kit Hughes. With hair to match his temper, the Dunkirk evacuee was not one to be trifled with as “the flame haired giant strode the plains of Crete like one of the ancient Gods of mythology.” But these plains in R. Fuente’s interior artwork are not quite the green and gold Mediterranean of the cover, but hard rocky outcrops and dry, bare trees: a hard land which mirrors the fighting that takes place there. 

But now, Kit won’t retreat again in Gentry’s very Commando story of friendship, bravery, duty and revenge. Having evacuated once before, Kit and his best pal Private Len Small have no intentions of leaving Crete, especially when they find out that Nazi Major Mauch, a brutal figure from their past, is leading a base there…

|Story | Gentry | Art | R. Fuente| Cover | Lopez Espi |
Originally Commando No 369


5033: Action and Adventure:
Forgotten Fighters

In the Second World War, Japan actually invaded American soil. It happened in 1942, and the soil in question was the island of Attu, off the coast of Alaska. The battle, the only to take place on American territory, lasted nineteen days and is the subject which inspired writer Richard Davis.

Interior artists Rezzonico and Morhain take full advantage of the island’s mist and rain, contrasting the clear visibility of the soldiers training in America to the harsh conditions of Attu and how unprepared our heroes were for this war. However, no matter the bleak look of the island’s interior, David Alexander’s traditional art cover captures the serene isolation of the island, untouched and mystical, concealing the violence that would take place there.

 |Story | Richard Davis | Art | Rezzonico & Morhain | Cover | David Alexander |


5034: Silver Collection
Escape to Battle

An unconventional hero for Commando, Mike Azonette is a petty thief, growing up in the streets of New York under Don Capardi. But after getting caught robbing the Don’s nephew, Giovanni Castovanni, Mike must go on the run, and what better place to hide than in the armed forces? Little does Mike know that he’s about to be drafted to North Africa now that the U.S. has joined Europe in the Second World War…

With the shadowy face of Giovanni looming in the background, always hanging over Mike’s head, watching, the sense of dread in ‘Escape to Battle’ is felt right through from Ian Kennedy’s remarkable cover. Meanwhile, Welsh illustrator Keith Shone’s illustrations really stand out as he often bleeds images between panels, with characters, objects and explosions breaking free of their frames.

|Story | Ian Clark | Art |Keith Shone | Cover |Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No 2581

Monday, June 26, 2017

Missed Deadline Magazine at Macc-Pow!

Cover by Shaky Kane
Another good reason to attend Macc-Pow! this Saturday is that you'll be able to find information on Missed Deadline magazine, the upcoming revival of '90s comic Deadline

Jessica Kemp and Ed Hilyer will be there, and you'll be able to find out how to get access to the digital issue 0 of Missed Deadline.
Down at the Old Hope in Hell by Mark Stafford
What's in that zero issue? Weird and varied comics from people such as Mark Stafford, Craig Conlan, James Howard, David Leach, Marc Jackson and more. Some material is new, some you may have seen before, but it's all good stuff. 
Chicken Boy by James Howard
Ghost Cat by Craig Conlan
Psycho Gran by David Leach
My favourite was the UKIP spoof, BKIP, by PM Buchan and Phillip Marsden, about a bear version of UKIP. Mocking Farage and his ilk never gets old.

Come along to Macc-Pow! at Macclesfield Town Hall on Saturday and find out more!
http://maccpow.co.uk

Here Comes Cat Stevens!

A new comic is always worth celebrating. Here Comes Cat Stevens is a one-off from Marc Jackson's Weirdo Comics that was commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival and funded by a grant by the Arts Council England. Where can you get it? At Macc-Pow! this Saturday, 1st July, at the Town Hall, Macclesfield.

What's it like? 32 pages of fun, and Marc Jackson's best comic yet in my opinion. The plot is simple and ideal for all ages: Cat Stevens (a cat, called Cat Stevens) and his friends embark on a journey to deliver pizza to an address in the woods, - but legend has it there's a monster there that eats pizza delivery guys! What happens? Get the comic and find out!

Marc Jackson's artwork has an appealing retro-but-modern style that's very engaging. The flat colours and limited palate suit it perfectly and help the story move along without clutter or distraction. 

Come along to Macc-Pow! on Saturday where Here Comes Cat Stevens will be one of the comics you'll be able to discover!
http://maccpow.co.uk

Thoughts on self-publishing...

On my other blog last week I posted an article regarding my opinions on self-publishing. It's already had hundreds of views but if you missed it, you can read it here:
http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/why-self-publish.html

That blog is entirely about my own work, so it only attracts people who follow my comics (plus the occasional troll) so I thought I'd link to the article so the rest of you could see it. If you feel inclined to comment on that particular subject, please post over at that blog, not here, thanks. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The next issue of Doctor Who Magazine...

Here's a cover preview of Doctor Who Magazine No.514, that will be in the shops this coming Thursday (29th June). Contents will include a preview of this season's final episode, The Doctor Falls, interviews with Michelle Gomez and John Simm, comic strips The Soul Garden and my own Daft Dimension, and much more! 

84 packed pages for only £5.99. Don't miss it!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Coming up in 2000AD...

Here's your weekly preview of the next issue of 2000AD, on sale this coming Wednesday!

UK & DIGITAL: 26 June 2017 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 27 July 2017 $7.99
DIAMOND CODE: APR171917
COVER: MARK HARRISON


In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Parental Guidance by Rory McConville (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Defoe: Diehards by Pat Mills (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Grey Area: Batch Recall by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)


Hunted: Furies by Gordon Rennie (w) PJ Holden (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

Friday, June 23, 2017

It's happening!

I've just received the print proof copy of Combat Colin No.1 from the printers who have done a fantastic job on it and I'm very pleased. 40 fantastic pages reprinting all the Combat Colin strips from Action Force. This is the ONLY print copy in existence at the moment, sent for approval, so it's not available to buy yet, but hopefully the rest of the print run will be ready soon! More details as they happen!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Two from Titan

New this week from Titan Comics are the latest issues of Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem and World War Tank Girl

Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem No.4 is written by Kim Newman and illustrated by Paul McCaffrey. Fantastic artwork, and deserves to be seen by as large an audience as possible so spread the word! 

World War Tank Girl No.3 by Alan Martin and Brett Parson continues the irreverent, adults-only saga of Tank Girl in World War 2. Funny stuff, with top class art by Brett Parson and a retro homage to comics of old. 

Both comics were published yesterday so hopefully your nearest comics shop may still have them. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

50 year Flashback: BEANO SUMMER SPECIAL 1967

When I was a kid, I'd wait until I was on holiday to buy the latest summer specials. Picking up this Beano Summer Special from a stall on Blackpool prom in 1967, accompanied by the sea air and the sounds of seagulls and trams, was all part of the holiday experience. It also provided something to read in the guest house during the inevitable rainy days. 

Let's take a look at a few pages from this wonderful special. The cover artwork is by Dudley Watkins, showing a seemingly reckless Biffo the Bear leaping off the pier, but there's a safe resolution on the back cover...

Inside, the 32 tabloid sized pages were packed with all-new strips and features. The layout was often interesting, with strips sharing space, such as this spread with Punch and Jimmy by David Jenner alongside Dennis the Menace by David Law...

Most of the strips had a holiday theme of some sort. This Roger the Dodger page by Robert Nixon shows an old-style railway carriage and a stereotypical boarding house landlady...

This special had a good selection of adventure strips too; General Jumbo, The Q Bikes, and a great full colour centrespread with The Iron Fish, drawn by Sandy Calder...

A really nicely illustrated Lord Snooty and His Pals story by Dudley Watkins...

A very funny Dennis the Menace page by David Law...

...and what I think may be the very first Bash Street Dogs story, simply titled Dogs' Tale. The dogs had appeared in a few Bash Street Kids episodes in the weekly, but this is months before they achieved their own Pup Parade strip. You'll notice that they look a little different to how they appeared in the regular series. Art by David Sutherland...


That was a few pages from the 1967 special. Don't forget that the current Beano Summer Special is in the shops now!
Cover by Nigel Parkinson


All artwork in this post ©D.C. Thomson and Co. Ltd.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

It's a comics themed month in Birmingham!

A reminder that there are various comics-related events taking place in Birmingham throughout this month as part of the Birmingham Comics Festival. The one I'm attending is the Birmingham Comic Art Show next Saturday (24th June) at Birmingham City University, along with other comics guests, but here's the full line up of events that are happening in other venues...

https://birminghamcomicsfestival.com/bcf-2017-events-listing/

Preview: Judge Dredd Megazine No.385

It's always a good week when there's a new issue of Judge Dredd Megazine due, and No.385 will be in the shops this coming Wednesday, 21st June. Here's a preview, thanks to those folks at Rebellion...

UK & DIGITAL: 21 June 2017 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 21 July 2017 $13
DIAMOND CODE: APR171918
COVER: PHIL WINSLADE

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: The Third Person by Michael Carroll Carl Critchlow (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Tales from the Black Museum: Bite Sized by Rory McConville (w) Andrew Currie (a) Annie Parkhouse

Havn by Si Spencer (w) Henry Flint (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Anderson, Psi Division: Dragon Blood by Alan Grant (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Lawless: Long-Range War by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Features: 
New Books: Skizz, One-eyed Jack, Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!
Obituary: Edmund Bagwell


Bagged reprint: 
Necrophim: Civil Warlord by Tony Lee (w) Lee Carter (a) Annie Parkhouse 


Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

Preview of 2000AD Prog 2036

Leading with a superbly illustrated cover by Chris Weston, 2000AD Prog 2036 is another excellent issue. It goes on sale Wednesday 21st June, but you can see preview pages here now, courtesy of Rebellion...

UK & DIGITAL: 21 June 2017 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 21 July 2017 $7.99
DIAMOND CODE: FEB171836
COVER: CHRIS WESTON

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: The Fields by Rob Williams (w) Chris Weston (a) Dylan Teague (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)


Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)


Defoe: Diehards by Pat Mills (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Ellie De Ville (l)


Grey Area: Back in Black by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)


Hunted: Furies by Gordon Rennie (w) PJ Holden (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

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