Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Combat Colin No.2 is out now!

Only available exclusively from me, Combat Colin No.2 has arrived from the printers and is now available to buy!

As with the first issue, No.2 has 40 pages packed with classic Combat Colin strips from the late 1980s. This issue starts with the ones when The Transformers and Action Force merged into one comic, and features almost 70 half page strips running from February 1988 to July 1989. 

You'll see Combat Colin and his sidekick Semi-Automatic Steve encounter villains such as Madprof and Mr.Magno for the first time, plus the return of the evil Aunt Arctic of the Antarctic, the secret of the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, the introduction of the Giggly Sisters and much more!

Combat Colin was a strip I created for the Marvel UK comics in 1987 and when it ended in 1991, Marvel returned the rights to me. Most of the strips in issue 2 have been scanned directly from my original artwork, and I've added dates to the foot of every strip so you know where and when it first appeared.

Combat Colin No.2 has 40 pages comprising full colour covers and black and white interiors. Only £3.50 plus postage, and can be ordered here:

BBC unveils the new Doctor Who logo

Here's the brand new Doctor Who logo that will appear on the new series when it begins in the Autumn with Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. Expect to see it all across the range of new merchandise too, and on the cover of Doctor Who Magazine later this year.

COMMANDO features the Mexican Revolution

It's not all about World War 2 you know! Commando often delves into other historical conflicts and this week they feature an issue set in the Mexican Revolution. Here's the info on that issue and the three others available this Thursday...

5099: Home of Heroes: Into the Wild

Never was there a more unlikely team: Commando Captain Tom Wilson, who surrendered to the Waffen SS in the Dunkirk retreat and got his entire squadron killed; his second in command, the loyal Lieutenant Charlie Shaw; South African big game hunter, Rene Muelens; short and stocky tough guy Commando, Tony Lewis; Digger Smith, built like a brick outhouse; and Otto Kramer, their Polish German guide.

They may not trust each other, but they were the Allies’ only hope of rescuing a Polish eugenics scientist and putting an end to his dangerous experiments.

A thrilling story from Jim and David Turner, the eco-political themes resonate today, while Rezzonico and Morhain’s artwork builds on the sense of menace and foreboding from Janek Matysiak’s cover, the wolves proving just as bloodcurdling throughout!

|Story | Jim & David Turner | Art | Rezzonico & Morhain | Cover | Janek Matysiak |

5100: Gold Collection: Clash of Giants

Fighting like warships on the sea of sand, British battle cruisers and Panzers roamed the empty deserts of North Africa. But when his brother’s tank was destroyed by friendlies in a Beaufighter, Garry Connel would never forgive the men who fired on him. So, when a single parachute falls from the hit aircraft, Connel sees red, casting the surviving airman out into the desert winds – leaving him to die. But, Connel was quick to realise that with Nazis disguised in British khakis, and enemy and Allied aircraft viewing them as a target, then maybe he might need the Pilot Officer’s help after all…

Bellalta’s stunning interiors hurl gale-force winds and deadly siroccos at the reader, as Allan’s story throws us straight into the perils of 1941 North Africa, right alongside Tommy pongos and tank crews.

|Story | Allan | Art | Bellalta | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No.  508 (October 1970).

5101: Action and Adventure: Viva Villa!

Over two dozen battle-hardened Federales charged the deserted village of Puebla where the Gomez brothers stood alone against them. Taking cover in an adobe hut, the only thing that stood between them and President Huerta’s men was a Colt-Browning machine gun. But after two years of revolution had ravaged Mexico, leading to a lengthy civil war, Hector and Carlos Gomez would do whatever it took to protect the villagers.

Richard Davis’ western-edged Commando combines the heart of ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ with the unforgiving setting of ‘The Wild Bunch’. Meanwhile, premiering a brand new ‘Mexican Revolution’ badge for Commando, Carlos Pino’s scorching cover shows the Gomez brothers’ true grit as they fire at the reader, their explosive bullets reflecting the blazing sun behind them!

|Story | Richard Davis | Art | Carlos Pino | Cover | Carlos Pino |

5102: Silver Collection: Strike from the Sea

Lieutenant Steve Pitt checked everything twice, meticulous on every mission and his men trusted him implicitly… that was until Lieutenant Bob Travis joined his special REME unit. You see, Pitt wasn’t always so careful, and, according to Travis, his own ego and carelessness had caused the death of his father! It was a vendetta Travis would forever hold – but would he let it get in the way of their mission?

Roger Sanderson’s ‘Strike from the Sea’ serves us two memorable characters of classic Commando conceits, but also delivers on a tense, top notch Special Operation, with our heroes dodging Jerries left, right and centre, each stage of the mission a surprise.

|Story | Roger Sanderson | Art | C. T. Rigby | Cover | Phil Gascoine |
Originally Commando No. 2682 (July 1993).

New GARTH story starts today

Reprints of Garth continue to appear in the Daily Mirror, and today sees the start of another adventure. The Fishermen originally appeared in the paper from March 16th to July 14th 1979, written by Jim Edgar and drawn by Martin Asbury. The reprint now has the addition of full colour for its new appearance thanks to the skills of Martin Baines.

The reprints give us two strips a day, meaning that the serials conclude in half the time that they originally did. The Fishermen should run until sometime in April.

Buy the Daily Mirror to see the strip continue, or follow it online for free at the Mirror's website:

Comic Turns

Every now and then you see an idea that's so brilliant you stop and think "I wish I'd thought of that!" One such concept is Comic Turns by comic artist/writer Karen Rubins. It's a card game where every card is a different panel of a comic strip that can be arranged in any order to tell a different story! Ingenious!

I first saw Karen's prototype of this years ago when it was called Hand of Fate and it's good to see it modified and improved. Karen's looking for backers for the project on Kickstarter and it's an idea that deserves to succeed so I hope you'll help to support it.  

Go to Karen Rubins' Kickstarter page which contains all the information about Comic Turns and what you'll receive for your pledges...

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Comic Oddities: WONDER (1968)

Here's a comic from the 1960s that wasn't on sale in any newsagents but still had national distribution. The reason being that Wonder Weekly was published by the Esso Petrolium Company Ltd, and sold at Esso garages.
Wonder was edited by Roberta Leigh, a multi-talented author, artist, composer, and tv producer who was responsible for the cult classic Space Patrol puppet series. She had also created the puppet show Wonder Boy and Tiger, and featured them as the cover stars of the new comic.

Wonder had 16 pages including 4 in full colour, and was printed web offset (like Jag and Cor!! but on slightly thicker paper). It sold for 6d, so it was a competitive price to other comics of the day, even though most others would have more pages. Most of the artwork was uncredited (typical of UK comics) but has a very European look so I imagine most of the artists were recruited through an agency. Here's a few pages. I've credited them where known...

Hovercraft Patrol, art by Luis Bermejo.

Nitwits art by Joseph Lee.

Bossy Boots art by Juan Rafart (signed as RAF).
Gulliver Travels art by Juan Rafart (signed 'Raf').
I only saw this comic once, in the summer of 1968, sold from a stall at the Royal Show when I was on a school trip. I didn't buy it then as it probably wouldn't have survived the journey with a bus full of kids wanting to borrow it, so I made a mental note to get it when I returned home. My family never had a car so as I never visited a garage I never saw the comic again, and it always puzzled me for years until I learned of its restriction to Esso outlets. I've since bought a few on eBay, but it remains a rare item to find, and no one seems certain of how many were produced. Denis Gifford's books say 52, and a year's contract would make sense, but I've never known of anyone to have issues beyond No.20. If you have any more info, please post a comment below (or just post a comment anyway if you have any thoughts on this comic).


In the shops this coming Wednesday is another packed issue of Judge Dredd Megazine. Here's the info and preview pages, thanks to Rebellion...

UK & DIGITAL: 21st February 2018 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 21st March 2018 $7.99

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: KRONG ISLAND by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
LAWLESS: BREAKING BADROCK by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie DeVille (l) 
DEVLIN WAUGH: BLOOD DEBT by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)
CURSED EARTH KOBURN by Rory McConville (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Simon Bowland (l)
DREDD: THE DEAD WORLD by Arthur Wyatt & Alex De Campi (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse(l)

Features: new 2000 AD talent, Jim Baikie obituary

Bagged reprint: Outlier by TC Eglington (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores 
via Diamond 
Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop, 2000 AD iPad app, 2000 AD Android app, 2000 AD Windows 10 app

Advance Preview: 2000AD Prog 2069

Here's an advance look at next week's 2000AD. Another packed issue with 30 pages of story plus a great cover by Clint Langley. Yours for just £2.75. A superb bargain compared to comics prices today!

UK & DIGITAL: 21st February 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 21st March 2018 $7.99

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: LIVE EVIL by Ian Edginton (w) Dave Taylor (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)

SAVAGE: THE THOUSAND YEAR STARE by Pat Mills (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l) 

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Ally Sloper revivals of the late 1940s

Ally Sloper had a bit of a choppy history as a comic. The character, created by Charles H. Ross and his partner Emile de Tessier (AKA Marie Duval) started out in Judy, then graduated to his own comic, Ally Sloper's Half Holiday from 1884 to 1914. It was then simplified to Ally Sloper from 1914 to 1916, when it ceased. A new, short-lived series of Ally Sloper's Half Holiday then resumed in 1922 to 1923. 

Then, in 1948, the character was revived again, in an 8 page Ally Sloper comic, printed in red and black. Although intended as a series, only No.1 was published. This version of Ally Sloper turns up a lot on eBay. I bought one myself many years ago, and was told that there had been a pile of them found in an old distributor's warehouse, which had never reached the shops. Unfortunately, it's a terrible comic. 

Although the Ally Sloper of this 1948 comic resembles the Victorian character, the artwork is crude and extremely basic, and the comic completely lacks the social satire that made the original so popular. The scripting is not only childish, it's poor. Take a look at that cover strip for example (above). Ally says he wants "three coppers" (meaning pennies), three policemen turn up (coppers, see, geddit?) and throw Ally in jail. Why? Makes no sense.

The comic is most surely in the public domain now, so here's the complete thing.

It's no surprise that the 1948 Ally Sloper only lasted one issue. A year later, a different publisher had a go, reviving the full title as Ally Sloper's Half Holiday No.1. Perhaps realising that the attempt to turn Ally into a children's character hadn't worked, this time it was revived as a satirical paper for older readers. Sadly, the poor art on the cover was uninspiring, and Ally looked out of place amongst people of the late 1940s.
The contents of this 8 page comic were mostly reprints from Ally's original publication, and therein lies the problem. Whatever possessed the publishers to think that Victorian cartoons and humour would work in 1949? The world had moved on, and the art style and verbosity of the dialogue of the reprints was extremely outdated.

Unsurprisingly, this version of Ally Sloper's Half Holiday didn't reach a second issue either. 

That was it for poor Ally, until 1976, when Denis Gifford launched his own Ally Sloper comic. This time Ally looked right, but the contents were an odd mixture. The well-intentioned venture only lasted four issues. (Personally I loved this version.) 

The closest publications we have today to the original satirical Ally Sloper's Half Holiday are Private Eye and Viz, proving that even in this mad world, (or because of it) we still need good social satire. Perhaps Ally Sloper should be revived again. I'm sure he'd have a few things to say about Brexit and Trump.

Let's end by remembering what Ally Sloper's Half Holiday looked like in its heyday, with this marvellous (albeit blackly comic) cover by W.F. Thomas for the April Fool issue of 1892...

Bonus: Lonnng before the Dennis the Menace Fan Club, Ally Sloper had his own club (most probably the first comic club) and by cutting out coupons from the comic, readers could send away for a nice metal medal. I plucked one out of the time vortex recently (or I bought one on eBay, you decide) so I thought you might like to see it. It's about the same size as an old penny (31mm diameter). Each one issued had its own number stamped on the back. This one would have been owned by member number 20689, and dates from around 1902 I believe. I've cleaned it up, which apparently devalues it, but they're really not that valuable, and I don't intend selling it anyway.

You can read more about Ally Sloper here:

and here:

Monday, February 12, 2018

ROK OF THE REDS collected!

The excellent Rok of the Reds mini-series is to be collected as a trade paperback and published on 16th April. 

Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, and drawn by Dan Cornwell, wityh colours by Abigail Bulmer, it features an alien who flees to Earth and assumes the human form of a footballer. It's in the vein of Doomlord (which Alan Grant created for Eagle) but with a contemporary approach. Dan Cornwell's artwork is both traditional and modern, - a perfect fit for the Wagner/Grant story. 

If you're not a football fan don't let that put you off. I can't stand football and I thought this comic was brilliant!  

You can pre-order the book now from the BHP Comics website:

Cartoons up for auction

A couple of years ago I drew a random cartoon a day for a few weeks. Unique and weird characters that were pretty much stream-of-consciousness material. Each one is on A5 size 200gsm weight paper, drawn in my own style, rather than following a house style directive. They were posted online, but never published in print, and I'm now selling 17 of them on eBay. Prices include postage.
If you're interested, visit my eBay page here:

All bids welcome. Thanks in advance!

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