Friday, October 20, 2017

The Spirit of the Lakes

One spectacular comic I bought last weekend at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival was The Spirit, a massive (broadsheet) sized 12 page comic featuring strips by the top talent in the industry.

The one-off comic was produced for the Festival, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Will Eisner, The Spirit's creator. With a wonderful cover by Becky Cloonan, each interior page features a tribute strip of The Spirit by the following creators:
Brendan McCarthy, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Graham Dury and Simon Thorp, Chris Samee, John M Burns, Sergio Aragones, Peter Milligan and Duncan Fregredo, Seth, Jason Latour, Johnathan Ross and Bryan Hitch, and a back cover illustration by Michael Cho.

There's also a tribute written by Neil Gaiman, and an article by Chris Murray and John McShane on how Will Eisner influenced a change in direction of British comics. 

The comic was edited by Sean Phillips and is truly a classy production. This deserves a place in everyone's collection, and if you'd like a copy you can buy one directly from the comic shop Page 45 in Nottingham or from their website:

Panini UK launch BEN 10 Magazine

Panini UK have just launched the first issue of a new Ben 10 Magazine, based on the popular Cartoon Network show. The 36 page mag, aimed at 4 to 8 year olds, includes a brand new 8 page comic strip drawn by Russ Leach (who was previously the artist on Doctor Who Adventures). Good to see new strip created for the mag instead of reprint.
Here's more info...

Follow the heroic exploits of Ben Tennyson, Grandpa Max and Cousin Gwen in the NEW official magazine. 10-year-old Ben does what any kid his age would do if he possessed the most powerful device in the universe, the Omnitrix – he uses it at every available opportunity!
This extra-special first issue will include a super-awesome free gift, plus the first episode of a BRAND NEW alien-bashing comic strip story. There's also a selection of villainous puzzles and fantastic prizes to be won!
Unleash your inner hero across 36 action-packed pages!

Issue Number: 1

Price: £3.99

Covermounted Gift: FREE blaster!

On sale: Thurs 18th October 2017

To see more of Russ Leach's work, visit his website here:

Panini Comics UK website:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The first MINNIE THE MINX! (1953)

Over on Beano.Com this week they've uploaded the very first Minnie the Minx strip, when she debuted in The Beano back in 1953. 

The artwork is by Leo Baxendale, but it's from his early days as a cartoonist when he was still experimenting with his style. Minnie looks somewhat different to how we know her today, and Leo's style was less confident and not as distinct. 

Leo would of course go on to become the most influential artist in British comics from the 1950s to the present day, so it just goes to prove that artists should be given a chance to develop their styles, and strips should be given time to grow. 

See the full strip over at here:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A good weekend at the Lakes!

My thanks to Julie Tait, Carole Tait, Sandra Wood, and the whole team for organising The Lakes International Comic Art Festival last weekend. It was a pleasure to be a guest again at such a well organised and diverse event. As always at such shows it's great to meet the readers, catch up with old friends, and meet new people too. Thanks to John Freeman, Marc Jackson, Davey Jones, Jim Stewart, Eli Winter, Steve MacManus, Rian Hughes, John McShane, Pete Renshaw, Jeremy Briggs, Hunt Emerson and Jane, Tony Bennett, Tim Pilcher, John and Sandra of Metaphrog, Emma Vieceli, Steve McGarry, Brad Brooks, Emmeline Pidgen, Andrew Jolly, Peter Doherty, Graham Dury, Simon Thorp, Charlie Adlard, Bryan Talbot, Steve White, and many more for being good company, even though I only saw some of you briefly. Hope you all enjoyed the weekend too.

I didn't get a chance to take many photos but here's a few...

Even the Clocktower looked good, despite the scaffolding, thanks to the huge banner promoting the show!

Kendal is a very picturesque town. The hotel I stayed in is a converted 18th Century tannery. (Far more comfortable inside than the exterior would suggest!) 

My thanks to everyone who attended my Comics Gold talk (a whirlwind presentation on the history of UK comics). Special thanks to John Freeman for co-hosting it.

The talks and interviews mostly took place at the Brewery Arts Centre (shown at the top of this post) with exhibitors a short distance down the road at the Clock Tower. (This photo was taken towards the end of the event when things were quietening down.)

Saturday evening gave us a chance to relax with live entertainment, including the band Blue Harvest at popular town centre pub Ruskins...

I missed most of the panels but on Sunday I did catch the prolific artist Steve McGarry giving a fascinating and entertaining talk on the history of football comics.

By 4pm on Sunday I had to dash off to catch my train home but I'd had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend! No doubt more in-depth reviews of LICAF will be appearing online soon so look out for them! (In fact, this one over at the Page 45 site is pretty comprehensive: )

All photos in this report ©2017 Lew Stringer.


The next event I'll be at will be Loughborough Comic-Con, this coming Sunday, 22nd October, at Loughborough Leisure Centre. See you there!

Preview: MISTY Volume 2

The Scream and Misty Halloween Special comes out today featuring all new material, and in four weeks' time Rebellion will publish Misty Volume 2, featuring classic material from the 1970s. Interesting to see them revert to the original logo, as Volume 1 had a new logo designed for it. (See here.) I suppose it has brand recognition of sorts but I never thought it evoked a supernatural vibe befitting the comic. Still, it's the logo people remember so it's appropriate that it's back.

Misty Volume 2 will feature two complete serials, collected from the Misty weekly comic. Here's some info and preview images...

CREATIVE TEAM:  Malcolm Shaw (w) Mario Capaldi, John Richardson (a)
REGIONS: UK, North America, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 16 November 2017
PRICE: £13.99 (UK) $21.99 (US)
ISBN: 9781781086001

Following up our hit first volume of the ‘horror comic for girls’ with another collection of two stories: The Sentinels and End of The Line. Misty was a revolutionary concept by 2000 AD’s creator Pat Mills in 1978 and left its mark on a whole generation of young women. The two identical tower blocks, known as ‘The Sentinels’ to the locals, stand tall over the town of Birdwood – but only one is occupied while the other remains mysteriously empty. When Jan Richards’ family lose their home they decide to hide out in the abandoned block so they can stay together, only to be sent into a parallel world where the Nazis conquered Britain in 1940… 

In End of the Line, Ann’s father was one of a group of engineers believed to have been killed whilst working on an extension to the London Underground but when she and her mother are invited to the opening of the new train tunnel, Ann discovers a mysterious time portal through which several workers are being kept as slaves by an evil Victorian called Lord Vicary.
Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond
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