Thursday, April 19, 2018

CHIPS 'Happy Gift Number' (1932)

These days, free gifts in comics are usually promoted on the polybag they're kept in. Before that, they'd be mentioned on the front cover, often accompanied by an illustration of said gift in action. Back in 1932, this "Happy Gift Number" of Illustrated Chips didn't show the "Splendid Toy Pistol" it was giving away but the occasion did merit a fancy celebratory masthead. 

As ever, those jolly wandering tramps Weary Willie and Tired Tim held the cover position, drawn by Percy Cocking. I've always liked comics of this period; the storylines are basic and contrived but the art is so full of life and expression. 

The long tradition of British comics giving away toy guns continues to this day, except now they're called "blasters" (never guns or pistols) and they shoot sponge darts. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

U.S. News: Action Comics reaches issue 1000 today!

It's been 80 years since Superman first appeared and it's a double celebration as his original long running title Action Comics reaches issue 1000 today! On sale in comic shops across the USA and UK, Action Comics No.1000 is an 80 page giant and features a choice of variant covers designed in the style of each decade. The UK's own Dave Gibbons has drawn the cover representing the 1950s issues. I'm sure Dave's younger self back in the late '50s could never have imagined he'd one day be drawing the cover for the 1000th edition! 

Here's the info on this issue:

Celebrate 1000 issues of Action Comics with an all-star lineup of top talent as they pay tribute to the comic that started it all! From today's explosive action to a previously unpublished tale illustrated by the legendary Curt Swan to the Man of Tomorrow's future-this very special, oversized issue presents the best of the best in Superman stories! 

FEATURING ALL-NEW ART AND STORIES BY:

•  BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS 
•  JOHN CASSADAY
•  OLIVIER COIPEL 
•  PAUL DINI 
•  JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ 
•  PATRICK GLEASON 
•  BUTCH GUICE 
•  GEOFF JOHNS 
•  DAN JURGENS 
•  TOM KING 
•  JIM LEE 
•  CLAY MANN 
•  BRAD MELTZER
•  JERRY ORDWAY 
•  TIM SALE 
•  LOUISE SIMONSON 
•  SCOTT SNYDER 
•  CURT SWAN 
•  PETER J. TOMASI
•  MARV WOLFMAN
...AND MORE! 

DECADES-SPANNING OPEN-TO-ORDER VARIANT COVERS BY:

•  STEVE RUDE (1930s) 
•  MICHAEL CHO (1940s) 
•  DAVE GIBBONS (1950s)
•  MICHAEL ALLRED (1960s) 
•  JIM STERANKO (1970s) 
•  JOSHUA MIDDLETON (1980s) 
•  DAN JURGENS (1990s)
•  LEE BERMEJO (2000s) 
...PLUS A BLANK VARIANT COVER!

In Shops: Apr 18, 2018
SRP: $7.99

You can see the rest of the variant covers here:





This week's COMMANDO comics...


Direct from D.C. Thomson, here's the news on the four issues of Commando that will be in the shops this week.

Brand new Commando issues #5115-5118 are coming soon! Storm Jerry lines at Messines Ridge, blast Bettys in a Buffalo, tunnel under the trenches with Maori Miners, and defend a Scottish island from an infiltrating U-Boat! It’s all in a day’s work for our Commandos!

5115: Home of Heroes: To Win Just Once

On the 7th of June, 1917, at Messines Ridge, the largest explosion the world had ever seen was detonated. After battering Jerry with artillery fire through the night, the shells stopped just before dawn and the birdsong began. At 3:10am, over 450 tons of explosives went off under the German line. They could hear it in Paris, and they felt it in London. But the battle had only just begun…

Andrew Knighton’s debut issue of Commando treats the First World War with gravitas, perfectly balancing developed characters and white-knuckle action. Accompanied by meticulous interiors from Vicente Alcazar, the intensity of the trenches is felt on every page, especially the prodigious wrap-around cover from Neil Roberts.

| Story | Andrew Knighton | Art | Vicente Alcazar | Cover | Neil Roberts |



5116: Gold Collection: Buffalo Patrol

Dave Kerr just wanted to be an RAF pilot but, even though he was a skilled flyer, he failed every exam. Sent to Singapore along with his pilot friend Patrick Elliot, Dave ran to Patrick’s tent to wake him when the Squadron Leader called in a scramble but found him asleep, pushed to exhaustion. Dave knew what he had to do — he grabbed Patrick’s flying helmet and goggles and ran for his Buffalo!

An unusually vibrant background for an Ian Kennedy cover, the burning orange sets an explosive backdrop for the duelling Buffalo and Betty, preparing us for the aerial onslaught Mira skilfully provides inside.

| Story | Staff | Art | Mira | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No. 519 (December 1970).



5117: Action and Adventure: Tunnels of Arras

Digging the Medieval tunnels deep beneath Arras in France, the New Zealand infantrymen thought they were tunnelling into Hell itself. With the ground above them frosted, the caverns underneath were icy, but the soldiers made it their own. They knew that after the losses at Verdun and the Somme, their only chance of defeating the Germans above was to dig beneath them. But what if the Germans had the same plan?

First time Commando writer Jason Cobley’s refreshing focus on the New Zealand Tunnellers and the Maori Pioneer Battalion in the First World War is compelling in its detail, including the graffiti and place names marked in the eponymous Arras tunnels, which Carlos Pino details in his claustrophobic, yet homely interiors.

| Story | Jason Colby | Art | Carlos Pino | Cover | Carlos Pino |



5118: Silver Collection: In Trouble Again

When a U-Boat surfaces offshore from a remote Scottish island with nothing but a radio station run by the Royal Signals on it, Charlie Potter of the Intelligence Corps knew their only chance was to fight back. The invading SS waved the white flag, telling the Britishers that if they surrendered they would be spared, but Charlie knew that the Nazis would never take prisoners on to a submarine.

With cover art from Mike Dorey of DC Thomson, IPC and 2000AD fame, the hazy fog and choppy waves surrounding the Scottish island are like something straight from ‘When Eight Bells Toll’. This combined with Mike Knowles tale of trouble seeking anti-hero Charlie Potter and veteran Commando artist CT Rigby’s interiors makes this a classic boys’ adventure comic for any age.

| Story | Mike Knowles | Art | CT Rigby | Cover | Mike Dorey |
Originally Commando No. 2741 (March 1994).




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review: COMIC SCENE UK Issue:0

It's been several years since the UK had a magazine about British comics. The last one was Crikey! which ended in 2010. Now, Tony Foster has produced a brand new publication; Comic Scene UK, which launched at the Edinburgh Comic Con last weekend.

This is issue zero, with the actual first issue coming out in August. Tony's done a good job here, assembling a group of contributors that include fans and seasoned professionals such as Pat Mills, John Wagner, and John Freeman. This 64 page debut issue features articles that include news on upcoming comics, reflections on comics long gone, and commentary on the industry. 

I would have liked to have seen an in-depth interview or two with comic creators on their careers to date. We don't really get that, but there are quotes and comments from creators about specific subjects. One highlight for me being reflections by Chris Lowder and Steve MacManus on their time at IPC during the Valiant and Lion merger. 

There's a handful of strips too. Marc Jackson brings us Whackoman! while Tom J. Farmer, Jose Rodriguez Mota and Valentina Muzzo present us with Captain Scotland, and Jim Wilkins does Deja Who?

Most of the features only run to two pages, so there's a lot to read in the magazine's 64 full colour glossy pages on a variety of comics. I'd have liked to have seen some coverage of the first half of comics history from the 19th Century to the 1950s but there's always room for that in future issues. Obviously it needs to focus on what people want to see, and in my experience, most fans mainly prefer comics from their own nostalgia, rather than those of the early 20th Century. 

It's an impressive start, and I wish Comic Scene UK every success for the future. I hope readers will give it their support. 

You can subscribe to Comic Scene UK at their website here:
https://comicscene.org







Are you ready for THE VIGILANT?


Dash to your newsagent on August 15th for The Vigilant, - a new one-off comic from Rebellion. John Freeman has an exclusive about it on his blog, so dash there first! 
https://downthetubes.net/?p=45010
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