Still finding mock-up dummies of projects which never were, and have just posted one which would have become a cult classic… Danger Man, taken from the 1960s ITC TV series and with art by the wonderful Jesus Blasco. Click here for the Ones That Got Away page and whizz on down to the bottom for the full story.
1/9/11: Keeping the Mail Order Bods quiet
We’re got to fed up with eBay making sellers’ lives pure hell that we’ve added a few new pages to this site, offering a range of goodies for the discerning comics fan and historian. You’ll find our very own Quality back issues (Warrior, House of Hammer, Starburst and the rest) here, while we’ve also produced a fabulous cover gallery and sales lists for hundreds of Starblazer and thousands of Commando back issues.
We’ll be adding more as weeks pass, so be sure to bookmark this page, chums!
18/8/11: MUSIC MAESTRO PUH-LEEZE!
As the more discerning among you will already realise, Brighton is a creative nexus for all things artistic… from computer game creators to actors, writers, comics folk and musicians. In fact, you can hardly step out of the front door without tripping over a creative of some sort! Even our window cleaner is an eccentric! About 75 years old, cut glass accent and green hair! No, really.
In Brighton, if you want to sound unusual and interesting in a pub chat (there are 365 of said establishments in this fine town BTW), best say you’re an accountant or an estate agent… anything but a creative, they’re ten a penny!
All of which is a tortuous lead-in to saying I’m now offering to the world the chap-hop charms of two of my local musical chums. Men of great taste and infinite jest, not only do both coincidentally drink from the same trough in splendid and slightly different ways, but they both have the good taste to also be followers of the sequential art form too!
In fact, one of them is actually a bit of a practitioner to boot! Above right is a sample of Mr B’s more autobiographical work to the right.
Given the oft-heard crossover between music and comics, coupled with our own mail order expertise going all the way back to 1975’s House of Hammer Bargain Basement, it seemed only logical to get behind these two chaps full force.
You’ll find the results here.
26/6/11: Back up to Manchester again next weekend. There’s an all-day celebration of one of my old titles reaching its 30th birthday… That’s WARRIORcon on Saturday July 2 from 11-5pm at the city’s top pub: The Lass O’Gowrie. Email guvnor Gareth on firstname.lastname@example.org with the magic word of “Champion” and you can get in for a bargain £4.00.
14/6/11: Just back from Manchester and a relaunch party for one of my old titles, Starburst – the UK’s longest-running science fiction film & TV magazine (apparently – it lasted 365 issues, under various publishers and editors). Mike Royce has revived it as a podcast and webzine. Check out the launch pics here.
18/4/11: Have now completed the coverage of my time with Marvel UK by finishing off the Doctor Who entry. That’s got me finally into the 1980s and pushed the total word count on here beyond the 100,000 mark. Phew! I thought this might make an interesting little book when done, but the way it’s going it would be more like an entire series!
19/3/11: Just about made it into the 1980s covering past publications and projects. Recent website updates include Studio System detailing The Monster Club and swinging Soho at the birth of the new decade, plus I’m just getting into the launch of Doctor Who Weekly. So much to say, so little (spare) time…
5/2/11: Hardly a week back from the United Arab Emirates and I’ve been a guest speaker at another event. Yet more sand but less heat this time as I took a contingent of the Brighton bunch (or Skinn’s Posse as some have been calling us) down to Pontins, Camber Sands, for the second SFX Weekender.
Above (l-r): artists Glenn Fabry and Paul Cemmick, publishers Gareth Kavanagh and yrs truly, plus Cravats lead singer turned toigh guy actor The Shend, getting ready for action.
That the event had the audacity to be held on my birthday resulted in a higher personal profile than I’d intended, with me mounting the stage during the evening festivities, being serenaded by the assembled multitude and ending with a somewhat foolhardy dive into the mosh pit. So much for growing old gracefully!
I’m indebted to reader Simon Fitzpatrick for sending me the following clipping from the previous year’s event. As they invited me back this year, I can only imagine that SFX Magazine must have seen the article and actually believed what it said!
Education through Entertainment in the United Arab Emirates
30/1/11: Back from the first United Arab Emirates trip. Wow! Heady stuff. To the left is a photo taken during the talk at the New York University (Abu Dhabi) featuring Qais Mohammed Sedki (who became a firm friend during the three hour private conversation we shared before the event), yours truly as chair person and Charles Kochman (flown in from the States specifically for the talk and who I regret not getting to spend more time with). Following the 90-minute talk, there was a lively Q&A session and I then did a stack of interviews with local students, example here. There’s a review of the event here and NYU has made the entire discussion available as an online video here.
But I was actually out there for a meetings-packed week, laying the foundations for a major event about which more to follow. Brit cartoonist Kev F Sutherland also came out (spending his days zooming around ten local schools with his superb interactive workshop). This gave me a pal to chat with during our evenings back at the hotel where, despite fears, alcohol is available and, much to my relief and probably Kev’s disdain, they still allow smoking in restaurants and bars!
As well as this 3-piece suit event, I got all kitted up for the entire week with some serious funky power dressing (including skinny ties, wide braces, skinny jeans and chelsea boots) which greatly bemused the Emirati as such attire is rarely seen out there. Think Blues Brothers meets Wall Street in the Middle East!
Despite being one of the wealthiest countries, the UAE also has the largest number of unemployed under-25s (with the United Nations fearing it may rise as high as 40% by the end of 2011). I believe this is mainly due to it being a key victim of the worldwide fall in literacy, surely the basis for all learning. So, under my instant slogan of “Education through Entertainment”, it looks like I’ve found a new challenge in life!
19/1/11: With my strong beliefs about the role comics can play in fighting the ever-increasing worldwide levels in illiteracy, I have recently begun working with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, initially flying out to chair a discussion on Comics and Literacy in the Middle East with further UAE events and workshops set to follow across 2011. More details here when available.
7/1/11: A few people have commented on difficulty in posting a message on here. Simply whizz down to the bottom of any page you want to add your two penneth to on the Forum page and use the “Leave A Reply” section. Seems to work fine for bloody spammers (*groan*) – now deleting over 70 of their nonsense posts a day…
31/12/10: As 2010 draws to a close, I’ve been merrily beavering away at this website for about six months now. With additions to both the Comics Conventions History (on the third Fanzines page, including some great 1968 and 1970 visuals unearthed) and almost completing my time at Marvel UK (just a little thing named Doctor Who Weekly to go!), I’ve almost finished with the 1970s. But I feel like I’m writing a masters thesis here, it’s just passed 80,000 words.
If spam’s anything to go by, we’re certainly getting plenty of hits (we’re deleting about 50 pieces of nonsense every day) but you’ve all gone worrying quiet on us again…
Is it something I said?
23/11/10: As I’ve been dotting about attempting to move each of the sections forward chronologically, having now finished the House of Hammer entry (a mere 22,000 words), the latest updates have been to the fanzines and history of comics conventions section (12,000 words and rising!). There are still more wonderful albeit time-locked visuals, including yet another Frank Bellamy cover, and a fascinating report by Andrew Skilleter on Bellamy’s talk at the 1971 London convention. Looking back and summerising, it’s also amazing to see how much the market evolved in the 1970s with both comic shops and comic conventions almost going extinct! Here’s a handy link to it all for the benefit of regulars. (19/11/10)
Another section I’ve just built up features some of my attempts to convince a mainstream magazine audience of the value of comics literature. You can see examples of my old Arena columns via this link.
Apparently there’s a US version about to be made – let’s hope it shapes up better than the US Life on Mars (see here for the jaw-droppingly awful ending – literally featuring Major Tom, a genetic gene hunt, the planet Mars and even Ground Control (yet the Bowie soundtrack is oddly replaced by Elton John’s Mona Lisa!). Looks like we can add “metaphor” to the Separated by a Common Language list which began with “irony”.
Anyway, main plot: At a Brighton function recently (The Space) I was introduced to Toby Whithouse, creator/writer of the wonderful everyday tale of three Bristol housemates – a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. It turned out he’s as big a fan of Warrior and House of Hammer as I am of his work.
We’ve promised to swap autographs over a beer soon! Here’s a photo of said historic first encounter twixt Toby and Dez “At the start of their bromance,” as snapper Kerensa Bryant put it! Hate to think what she’d have said if she’d heard event organiser Wayne Imms when we met… he told me he has every issue from #1 of my old Starburst magazine!
A HISTORY OF HORROR
I do hope you’ve been watching the latest from the ever-amazing author/actor Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Doctor Who, League of Gentlemen, Nighty Night, Jekyll, etc).
His History of Horror is a three parter documentary on BBC 4, currently available as a catch-up through BBC iPlayer, or Google “A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss”.
The first part focused on Universal horror, the second on Hammer, Amicus and Roger Corman, the third on the 1980s US horror wave.
He even gave my old House of Hammer magazine a lovely plug in the second one, bless him.