An Alternative To The Queens Speech

It's Christmas Day, you've opened your presents and the turkey's still in the oven, nothing to do now but watch repeats on TV and wait for the Queens speech, right? Wrong.

I present to you, my alternative to the Queens speech, a Christmas message from Iron Man and Batman.


Laugh at the performance, or laugh at my poor attempt, either way I hope you had a good laugh and continue to do so well in to the New Year. Merry Christmas all!
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Dredd Returning To Film

Rebellion and 2000AD have announced on their message board, that their longest running, most famed character Judge Joseph Dredd is returning to celluloid thanks to a partnership with DNA Films.

DNA Films, the movie production company behind such great sci-fi movies such as Sunshine and 28 Weeks Later, Judge Dredd will go into production in 2009.

Jason Kingsley, CEO and Creative Director said, ‘We can’t give away too many details at this point, but we’re looking forward to working with DNA Films to bring Judge Dredd back to the big screen.’

Dredd is a popular character who's been worked on by the greats of British comicdom, such as Garth Ennis, Mark Millar and Grant Morrison. Though the previous film left many with a bad taste in their mouths, be it because of Stallone's insistance on removing the helmet for much of the film, or Rob Schneider's...well, Rob Schneider. Hollywood seems awash with remakes and when it used to wait decades, now a remake can be turned around within 5 years.

The real question now lies with who shall wear the helm of the hard-hitting Judge?

My opinion, only one man for the job. An English actor, who can play American. Big, tough, athletic and of course a strong jawline. Jason Statham.

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Embrace The Angel Of Death

When I'm asked to name my favourite comics whether they're from DC, Marvel, Wildstorm, Vertigo or Icon, they tend to have one thing in common. Ed. Brubaker.

Iron Fist, Captain America, Daredevil, Criminal, some of the best series from the last year, comics that have not only kept me gripped but I have confidence I could lend to anyone and they would love. Batman, Sleeper, Authority, Gotham Central all have been either created by, or perfected by Mr. Brubaker.

A man who manipulates crime fiction like Stephen Hawkings does time and space, Brubakers writing style is addictive and perfectly paced to keep you aching for more. Seriously, I could write about Brubakers work until my heart is a flutter, but the reason for this post is Brubakers new web series, Angel Of Death.

The webseries, exclusive to Crackle.com. Angel of Death is about an assassin that is haunted by her victims after a brush with death. To free her conscience she must destroy the criminals that originally hired her. Looks like, guns, blood and suspense. Ticks all my boxes. Starring Zoe Bell, Ted Raimi, Doug Jones and Xena Warri...sorry, Lucy Lawless!

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Introducing...The Riddler?

Yes according to The Sun with a follow up piece in The Guardian apparently, from "Insider Sources", 80s superstar Eddie Murphy will be starring as The Riddler in the third Batman film entitled Gotham.

During the 80s and early 90s Murphy had a string of hits with films such as Beverly Hills cop, 48 Hours and Coming To America along with a successful stand up career and a span on Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, thanks largely to an ego explosion, with attempts at making music and starring in a string of ever worsening films, such as Holy Man, Bowfinger, Daddy Day Care and most recently Meet Dave, Murphy has crashed at the box office, even after he managed to rekindle some success with his highly tauted performance in Dream Girls, where he won an Oscar nomination.

So, this story follows rumours that Rachel Weisz would play Catwoman and current Hollywood golden boy who starred in, well, everything in the last year, Shia Lebeouf could well sign up to play Robin.

My advice, take these with a handful of salt and don't believe anything until it's announced officially.
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Waiting For The Trades...

Being a comic book fan, doesn't necessarily mean trawling through longboxes in a local comic shop where everyone knows your name. Or at least your gamer tag. We don't all have that...privledge, especially here in Blighty where comic book shops are more secluded than sex shops and outside of the comics are only rarely found, buried on the bottom shelf of a WH Smiths or local corner shop. Still reprinting catch up issues of Infinite Crisis and Civil War, with the only characters with a semblance of shelf life being Batman and Wolverine.

Even the mighty battle of the (Forbidden) Planets (.co.uk and .com) can only manage 24 stores nation wide. So how's a guy to get his comic fix on?

Graphic novels, trades can be found in the same places as comics, yet also appear in regular book stores and the likes of Waterstones. You can also take your search online and again, finding UK companies who take subscription services for comics, or deal with back issues are not only difficult to find, but expensive too. Trades online are much easier to find with many online book specialists offering excellent prices, many with as much as up to 25% off the RRP, such as:

Book Depository
Forbidden Planet.com
Forbidden Planet.co.uk
WH Smiths

Now you've found some trades to start your collection, in my opinion a nice row of trades just looks so much more aesthetically pleaseing, as well as more effective to work with when selecting titles than using comic long boxes to store and find what you want. If you're like me and want your collection to remain consist, using all trades or all hard covers, or picking DC over Titan, or Marvel over Marvel UK or Panini when it comes to publsihing companies.

Many of these collections, be they of recent stories or older reprints often come with extras, including sketches, covers and celebrity laden forewards. These collections often collecting full stories can be a strong jumping on point for returning and new comic fans.

I do and have read floppy comics, but find it increasingly difficult when inundated by multiple page ads, which just don't exist in the trades. I understand the need to have ads, but when the centre pages are 4-6 pages advertising some sports event I have no interest in, you've just gone too far.

Though these are some of the reasons I personally opt to wait for the trade, you have to remember that it's the floppy's that result in trades being released in the first place. You want to continue reading about the C/D-list character you've discovered, then it's floppy sales that will keep that character alive and ideally the trades will help it then turn a profit.

Even though my personaly preference is waiting for the trades, sometimes there are some stories that just have to be read NOW. I get Booster Gold (love the character), Final Crisis (felt it had to be so good to make up for the awful Countdown), X-Men Noir, Incognito, Gears Of War and Brave and the Bold. Stories I just have to read now and, if they're good enough, like Booster Gold so far, I'll probably end up getting the collected editions as well.
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Watchmen: The End Is Nigh

Funnily enough, the end is nigh was one of my first thoughts when a video game based on Watchmen was announced. What a travesty, how can you take such an intelligent, telling story about the dismantling of so called, superheroes and turn it into some kind of scrolling beat-em-up?!

Well, it seems you take the two cool street level characters, throw in some very tight graphics and some hard hitting punches. Over the course of the year I've learnt to stop being so outraged and remakes, reimaginings and reshoots of comics, books and films and if you ignore that this game will have Alan Moore tearing his beard out in disgust then it actually looks fairly good.

Hit more for the first Watchmen: The End Is Nigh teaser.

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Wolverine: Origins

Just managed to catch a bootlegged copy of the trailer and damn, this film looks awesome. It is pretty much a wet dream for anyone who even drops a smirk at the term "bub". Let's see, we get to see the young master Howlett's Canadian origins, including the death of his father, the death of his beloved Silver Fox, his involvement in every modern war ever, including his time as a samurai. Then up to and including his journey through Weapon X including his feud with Sabretooth. This is where business picks up.

Wolverine vs Sabretooth
Wolverine vs Blob
Wolverine vs Gambit

Also throw in John Wraith, Agent Zero (Maverick) and Barnell Bohusk (Beak). With enough Deadpool and Gambit involvement that both have already been mentioned as spin offs (PLEASE GOD, PLEASE!).

*EDIT* Removed the sketchy youtube trailer and added the official trailer now it's been released, so click the jump to see it!


For the High-Def version of the trailer you have to head on over to Myspace and befriend X-menorigins.

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Yeah. I Can Fly

2008 saw the beginnings of what looks to become one of the most impressive series of films laid to celluloid as Marvel blast their way through their A-list characters to build up to an Avengers film and it started with an orphaned billionaire playboy with a fair few tricks up his sleeve. Forget Bruce Wayne and say hello to the suave, witty and down right dapper, Tony Stark. Who, in his own words "I am Iron Man".

So, Iron Man, pretty damn good film, eh? Where do you go from here? Well like my last post dealing with Dark Knight, this time I'll show you some of the things you can buy for the Iron fan out there.

1) For the Iron Man who has everything.

Well, not everything, so let's start from the top, the best piece of Iron Man merchandise you can buy, the 1:1 Iron Man movie bust. Now I wanted to focus on things out in time for Christmas, but this piece is of such quality that just had to be included.

Ok, not to worry, you want a bust in time for Christmas, there's still the 1:2 Iron Man Stealth armour bust. This stunning piece with glowing chest piece and eyes is out now and only a quarter of the price of the full scale bust, plus being smaller you'd still have room left over to cram in some Iron man minimates!

Busts are all well and good, but what you really want is an Iron Man helmet you can put on while making repulsor beam noises, well you can, with the life size, golden replica helmet.

2) For the fanboy:

You want to be a fanboy? Learn your history. Invincible Iron Man Omnibus Hardcover Volume 1, with an Adi Granov variant cover. It's all here, the origins, the letters pages, the covers and of course, Stan Lee.

You love yourself some Iron Man but just don't have the money to invest in a bank breaking bust or piece of memorabilia? Then start saving with monetary advice from a billionaire, while still adding a cool looking piece of kit to your collection, the Talking Iron Man bobble headed bank.

A quality peice of merchandise can be a real talking point for any collection, though finding something cost effective, yet still official isn't always easy, so these 1:4 size miniture replica helmets are perfect.

I try and avoid books as comic book fans could have anything on order, I know I have a list of preorders as long as my arm, including things waiting to come back in stock, but besides the origins there's one more aspect of Tony Starks life worth reading about to get you up to speed and that's his battle against his ultimate devils. Alcoholism. Iron Man - Demon In A Bottle.

3) Seen the movie, love the movie, want some more?

I wasn't a fan of these deformed Super Squad kiddies figures, but they've grown on me and these two packs are cheap and cute enough to make the right kind of impression.
- Iron Man: Hall of Armour 4 pack
- Iron Man: Heroes & Villains 4 pack

I talked about these with Batman and Iron Man doesn't miss a beat with Iron Man cosbaby's! These are cute and brilliant, you can start with one but I doubt you'll stop there.
- Iron Man The Movie Cosbabys

Again, like Batman for a good summary of Iron Man over the years and a cool little lead statuette you can get the Marvel Figurine Collection.

Iron Man doesn't have an extensive back catalogue of films and TV Series' to back up the film, but you can still find the Iron Man Ultimate Collection which includes both the 60s and 90s animated shows.

One last thing for those budding Tony Stark's out there, you want to be Iron Man, you've got to at least DRINK like Iron Man, or drink the Iron Man that is:

The Iron Man

Half shot of each of:
Green Chatreuse

Three dashes of hot sauce.

All into a shot glass. Drink. Survive.

Making An "Iron Man" Drink -- powered by ExpertVillage.com

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Comic Christmas - Batman

Christmas is only serious business and is now only 4 weeks away today and 4 weeks is not very long at all once you start throwing things in like, seeing the family, over time at work, Christmas parties and, of course...Christmas shopping. Shopping for a comic book fan isn't easy work, they have orders, preorders, specific strategy to their collection and for non-comic book fans even if they're told specifically about which heroes you're collecting and which books you need, most will just glaze over and not have a clue.

So I'll try and give you a few suggestions, with four posts detailing merchandise for two of the biggest comic book movies of the all time and their respective companies.

1) Dark Knight.

For the diehard afficiando:

How about the expensive, yet highly detailed 1/6th scale Dark Knight Move Masterpiece series.
- Dark Knight
- Batmobile
- Joker

Or maybe you prefer to splash your cash on a statue or bust?
- Alex Ross' Batman Dark Crusader
- 1/2 scale Joker Bust

Or for those who want to start their own batcave, you could opt for Batman props and replicas.
- Dark Knight Batarang Set
- JLA Trophy Room Bat-Cuffs Replica
- JLA Trophy Room Jokers Cane Replica
- Dark Knight 12" Grappling Launcher Replica

For the fanboy:

Maybe still a little expensive, but a very cool set that works for more than just the Batfan.
- Dark Knight - Joker Poker Set

A bit more affordable, though not quite a "Masterpiece", still a highly quality figure.
- 13" Deluxe Batman Figure

A smaller bust can still be high quality, besides more than a handful is a waste, eh?
- Joker Mini Bust

I said it's hard to tell what books to get a comic fan, but these Batman Absolute editions are fit for any collection, not something one can afford with the weekly trades and make the perfect holiday present.
- Absolute Dark Knight by Frank Miller
- Absolute Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb
- Absolute Hush by Jeph Loeb

For the branching out movie fan:

They may have already ventured into looking at comics and graphic novels so too much, too soon may scare them off so if you do get a chance to look at their books, if you don't see this it'd the perfect place to start.
- Batman: Year One

Batman is now about 70 years old in terms of comics, if only there was someway to summerise the important aspects of Bruce Waynes life, his villains and maybe throw in a free lead figurine, oh wait. There is.
- DC Comics Superhero Collection 01 - Batman

These Batman Cosbaby's are SO cute, yet still capture the details of the characters they're supposed to represent that they'd make quality gifts for any Batfan.
Choose from Batgirl, Batman Modern, Batman Classic, Robin, Joker, Two Face and Catwoman.
- Batman Cosbabys

The easiest way to push someone over the edge from merely dipping their toe into Bat coloured water is with DVDs and old Bats has plenty of them.
- The Batman 2000s Animated Series Season 1
- The Batman Legacy (The First Four Films)
- Batman Begins (2 Discs)
- The Dark Knight - HMV Exclusive With Comic - Amazon Exclusive Batmask Pack
- Dark Knight Blu-ray
- Dark Knight/Batman Begins Double Pack - DVD - Blu-Ray

When I get chance I'll take a look at Iron Man as well as Marvel and DC.

For more comic merchandise and book deals check out:
- Forbidden Planet (.com)
- Forbidden Planet (.co.uk)
- Book Depository

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May 2009

Make sure you keep that month free, book yourself a hospital bed, because you'll spending the rest of the year in hospital as your geek glands overdose. This month sees not one but TWO of the most anticipated, geeky movies ever. Watchmen and Star Trek.

I spoke about Watchmen in my last post, but now we have a new official trailer, this time giving us more of a glimpse into the plot of the film. Now, the first trailer...teaser, had me damn excited for Zach Snyders adaptation, this new trailer, well let's just say I had to have some personal alone time to watch this brilliance. The only part not quite hitting 11 on my radar so far is Rorschach's voice, they should've learnt from the limited criticism of the Dark Knight movie.

Watchmen official movie trailer.

Star Trek. Star Trek for me was tea time TV. I'd get home from school and grab some food and with nothing else on until Simpsons, I'd watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and I'd enjoy it, I enjoyed Voyager and I enjoyed Deep Space 9. That's it. I don't own any DVDs or anything like that, yet this film has me so excited. Star Trek is an institution, it's bigger than me, it's bigger than the fans and it transcends generations. The look and cast of this film is fantastic, Zachery Quinto as Spock? Inspired! Simon Pegg as Scotty, well now your touching geeky buttons that would make people blush. I don't care if you're a "trekkie" or not you should be excited for this film and embrace it like it's one of the family.

Star Trek trailer.
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Watch The Watchmen

Watchmen, a masterpiece that changed the way we look at superheroes forever, a detailed artwork, that unfurls more of it's secrets upon subsequent reads and soon to be made into what so far appears to be one Hell of a film!

Despite tales that the ending may be changed, for better or worse, fans will always be divided when it comes to movie adaptations.

Personally my belief is enjoy the film in its own right. Hopefully, comic, Watchmen, fans will appreciate the adaptation and work gone into making such a film and that non-comic book fans will be inspired enough to check out the original material, other work by Moore, or maybe just delve into comics in general.

We've already seen this in some respects after the release of the initial trailer Watchmen sales went through the roof, with an estimated 1 million copies being sold this year, comparable with 100,000 last year.

I could talk about and link to posts about Watchmen all night, but I want to keep this short, I want to help be a part of this awesome momentum, so go check out these links, watch the footage and feel the excitement, whether you're a current comic book fan or not, this is going to be one Hell of a film!

Official Trailer
Brand New Footage
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A Newcomer Review of BICS - Part 2

Since I’ve already blogged about the amount of money we spent on graphic novels and trades I should mention the amount of money we spent on food. While the food available at BICS was fresh and damn tasty it was a little on the expensive side. I have to quote Lee on this as he summed it up perfectly, “It’ll fill a hole in your stomach but it will leave an even bigger hole in your wallet.”

I suggest to anyone wanting to visit a Comic Con that doesn’t want to spend a fair amount of money on munchies to take your own with you. After all, there are much, much better things to spend your funds on when you’re surrounded by comics! That carrot cake was PERFECT though...


Now, Cosplayers. I’ve never had much experience with cosplayers but I’ve always thought they were pretty cool. I was right, they are VERY cool people. I was chatting to the guy dressed up as The Joker outside on day 2 and from what he said, the amount of time and effort that goes into their characters is amazing. He had made the costumes himself, by hand and he looked incredible!



I know there are a lot of people who find the idea of grown Men and Woman playing ‘dress-up’ to be immature and quite silly. I couldn’t disagree more. Even if it’s just for the excited look on the face of the little boy who gleefully told me he’d just seen Batman, it’s worth it.



Can’t think of much else to say right now. Will probably edit this post later to add some more.
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Want To Win An Awesome Prize?!

Hell yeah you do! You know what, so do I, so get in line! My good friends over at Major Spoilers are running a fantastic costume competition with a chance to win Hellboy Animated Maquette, and the Library edition of the first volume of Hellboy!

It's simple to enter, just dress up in your favourite comic book costume, snap some pictures, include a picture of yourself in your normal clothes and fire off an email to: contest@majorspoilers.com

Just get that done by October 21st and you could be a winner!

When you've done your excellent photos feel free to email them to me at leenygma@googlemail.com and I'll post them up for the world to see the spectacular effort you've made!

On or around October 21, 2008, the Major Spoilers crew will narrow down the entries to the top 5 (oh please let there be five entries), and post those entrants on this site. Then, we’ll let the readers decide who should walk away with the grand prize, which will be announced on October 31, 2008.

This is an American site, but open to anyone, though if you win you will be responsible for any import taxes shipping over seas may endure.

Link: http://www.majorspoilers.com/archives/7097.htm/
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Bringing Back The Classics

I mentioned in a previous post that at BICS I saw two innovative uses of comics that, inspired me and made me feel good to be a fan and avid supporter of such medium. The first being PJ Holden's Eyecandy, iphone comics, the second being the company Classical Comics.

“A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” - Mark Twain

This is never more true than at school between 9 - 16 when anything with more than 150 pages felt just as daunting as being picked last for rugby. The Classical Comics solution? By their own admission, "Bringing Classics To Life", with full colour graphic novels. Now stop that, stop rolling your eyes, this isn't Christmas maths fun, these are genuinally quality graphic novels, drawn by quality name artist and adapted in several ways for everyone to enjoy and to address the original source in a respectful intelligent manner. Choose from reading the original text, the plain English text for the Shakespearean adaptations and quick text, a reduced, simplified dialogue of the original text for easy understanding at a much faster pace.


Classical literature has always been an important part of our curriculum, whether it be English Literature and Language, History, Art or Drama, getting the importance across to students hasn't always been an easy task. Yet here you have a way that comfortably engages various age levels and abilities keeping them on the same page at the same pace by using the different levels of text, yet all with the same wonderfully illustrated imagery in front of them. The idea of comics in the class room would also create a more balanced interest, capturing the attention of the more reluctant readers as well as giving male readers a more consistent interest, going against the grain that sees boys typically working less than girls.

Classical Comics is not only offering the books themselves, but also have to offer free-to-download teachers' resources and study aids that cover in Key Stage 3 English set plays, which for 2009 will be Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest as well as support for the previous years Much Ado About Nothing and Richard III. Including a "no-text" version of the plays with empty speech balloons for students to fill in the dialogue and a teachers resource booklets including lesson plans and general activities, which, coming in .pdf files means you can work on computer, or using an electronic white board or simply print out what and as you need. Just check out the free previews.


This isn't all Shakespeare and education, at the heart of these graphic novels are excellent comic adaptations of classics that everyone can enjoy, old or young, comic fan or not. With quality artwork, appropriate for the source material including artists such as Gary Erskine, Mike Collins and Staz Johnson. Working on such excellent peices as Dracula, Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol, Romeo And Juliet and The Canterville Ghost, books everyone has heard of and many may have read, but now you can see it in full colour graphic novel.

There are so many testimonials both in the material I've read and on their site, citing the excellent quality and genius of the concept, but I'm glad to say I got to flick through, see and read these books myself as they are fantastic and in putting this excellent concept into action they've just blown me away, I would've killed for a chance to have these in front of me during my school days! I had a brief chance to meet these guys and they clearly love what they do and I hope they have every success in the world, for them, for kids and for the classics.

Classical Comics

Avaliable from all the good places you buy books online, Waterstones, Amazon, Forbidden Planet, WH Smiths, Play.com.
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Invest In Comics

The stock markets are all but up in flames, banks closing, governments panicing, old people stuffing their mattresses with fives. The world is coming to an end as we know it. How do you invest in something when values are dropping like leaves in Fall. Well apparently that isn't the case all around and those old comics at the back of the bottom longbox buried in your attic, may just be the answer to your money worries.

Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27, Marvel Comics #1 together you have some of the most important comics of all time...you also, have a huge wedge of cash. The collective value for these comics is over $4.5 million that's over £2.5 million in real money! For that kind of cash you could just about afford every single Marvel variant cover for the rest of the year and still have enough to pay Grant Morrison to explain Batman and Final Crisis for you.

The value of classic comics is increasing at a rapid rate and honestly, it's no wonder, what with the numerous comic book movies coming out and comics hitting the shelves weekly with less of a geeky taboo surrounding them as celebrities are seen with comics and speaking out about their fandom.

So remember, comics aren't just for Christmas, BAG AND BOARD. We're not animals.

Top 100 Comics
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A Newcomer Review of BICS - Part 1

For me, the first day of the Birmingham International Comic Show 2008 started with one hell of a bang! Within 5 minutes of entering the thinktank exhibition area I had dropped over £70 on Graphic novels. Its times like these I'm very grateful for my family’s generosity and patience as I stumble my way through the throws of newbie excitement.

My foray into the DCU has been smoother than I initially thought it would be. I have become a student of sorts to Lee whose shear amount of knowledge that at first seemed rather overwhelming, has given me invaluable help on where I should start.

First stop of the day upon arriving was to a mostly mainstream graphic novels stall where I picked up enough material to make the handles on my bag snap. I guess I got a little carried away! It’s one of the best things I found about BICS, the ability to browse, touch and just plain SWOON over the talent available. You can’t get that kind of experience from a website.

The thing that really made my first comic con so amazing was without a doubt the people. I’ve never met so many welcoming and friendly folk, even the big professional artists. Phil Winslade for example was the most wonderful person. We had some good chats as he indulged my passion for his art. His wife Pippa showed us photos from a Manga event in Paris they attended and they were just so full of grace you couldn’t help but feel charmed in their presence.

The small firm artists and writers were a joy to talk to, every single one of them. Tom McNally from Semiotic Cohesion Comics, complete with an awesome hat and an easy smile, was a huge amount of fun. He signed both my arm and my weekend pass wrist band with a grin I just had to return. While I’m dying to comment on his work, it will have to wait 'til I post a review about all the things I bought. Watch this space!


Phillip Spence and Mike Rouse-Deane on the Ninja Bunny table made me smile more than I had in a while. They doodled for me... and on me while we chatted about Pirate Ninja Bunnies.


They also had great hair.


Part 2 coming soon - Hot Dogs and Artists and Cosplayers – Oh My!
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Small Press Publishers

The lil' guys! Don't ever forget the lil' guys! It might be a company just starting out, or someone who publishers something out of the norm, or a bunch of photocopied A4 sheets stapled together whatever it is, small doesn't mean they aren't mighty and worthy of you parting with cash for a quality read. Unfortunately I couldn't pick up something by everyone, though I did gather cards and contact details for several and I was impressed by the wealth of talent out there and the determination of people to push the things they lovingly created.

Semiotic Cohesion.


Speaking of pushing things, when we first arrived at BICS we were a bit over whelmed as people piled into this relatively small space filled with people behind desks, cosplayers and comic paraphernalia. We managed to traverse the first room, making it through the bright lights and flashing buttons of the Think Tank into the following room and into longbox territory. Meandering around the boxes and comics and toys and posters we still hadn't really spoke to anyone particular until someone spoke to us. A Mr. TOM McNally (I got his name wrong in an earlier post, I do apologise!). Stood behind a table filled with photocopied A4 comics laden with sharks and the more professional, colourful looking Semiotic Cohesion compilation comics, this smiling chap with an excellent hat gave me my first taste of small press pubishing. The South African based Semiotic Cohesion comics were an acquired sense of humour, yet the cartoony visuals of a walking, talking shark kept me intrigued as I flicked through. The issues on the table mostly created by Tom McNally and Sebastian Borckenhagen bring out a kind of existential humour, hat can be enjoyed on an as is level, much like some of the more obscure Adult Swim shows, 12 oz Mouse comes to mind, only funnier and with better artwork! With his laptop on display showing some of the off the wall Semiotic Cohesion splash screens you can collect from the website which gives you an immediate glimpse into the tongue in cheek, make you think twice humour which has constanly grown on me.

Would I purchase the comic in a store? The smaller Shark Of Wisdom and Ancient Shark Of Despair comics, despite the enthusiastic, delightful Mr. McNally, I probably wouldn't part with my cash. Though as a webcomic, or as part of a compilation, I would most definately keep up to date with the strip. Though I not only wish I'd picked up a copy of the Semiotic Cohesion compilation, I'm going to order them from the excellent website come payday.

Reaper Comics.


These guys mean business, which is great, because their business looks fantastic. From the mind of Hal Laren, this digital masterpiece looks fantastic. The covers alone are more than enough to get anyone to stop and have a look around and straight away see, that there's more than just enthusiasm and determination going on here, there's something truely special. So special, I was sold. I picked up every issue of their first extensive release B.ex, the story of a woman killed and brought back to life as a cyborg by a doctor claiming to be an ally, but to what ends? The art and concept work in harmony together as flicking through the clear, digitally enhanced I couldn't help but want more. Don't let the thought of digital art put you off, the idea made me cringe at first, thinking of late 90s kids TV that clearly tried to hard, the art here draws you in with a futuristic sheen and life like quality that has nods to the best animated manga, without leaving you dropping to your knees in confusion.

Reaper Comics has much more to offer, with numerous titles in the works, just looking at the website gives a list of 9 other titles, which I can't wait to hear more about with titles such as, Vena, Limbo Casino and the 9 Lives of Chat Noir. B.ex may be the most extensive comic so far, with 5 issues, but it wasn't the only one on display at BICS, as I also picked up a copy of The Elementals, to read a perspective of our world by the demigod like powers that created it. The other comic on display was robot team-up, Diba and Rock, two robots outside of society, one as scrap, one avoiding the army, singularly powerless, yet together more an irresistable force. Not being a robot fan I didn't bother with Diba and Rock, though reading the about the concept and the way I was so impressed with what else I saw, I may well have found something that would have really surpirsed me and really, that's what all this is about. Discovering new things, new comics and new publishers and hopefully the next big thing. That may be what I have found here, you will certainly be hearing more of Reaper Comics on here as I will be reading and reviewing B.ex issues 1-5 and The Elementals, so please, check back, you don't have to fear the Reaper here.

The DFC.


Comics, the term has meant many things to me over the years, but when I was younger it mostly meant comic strips, the only reason I'd pick up a newspaper that didn't involve building something on Blue Peter, Beano, Dandy...the stuff I had to shut me up in the supermarket. The DFC is comic strips, at it's finest. I just wish I had this kind of quality when I was a kid, you won't see this sitting in the supermarket as you have to sign up on the beautifully, innovatively designed website and subscribe so it will be delivered directly to you, on your doorstep in its specially designed envelope every single week. The fantastic brightly coloured strips of all kinds of stories, including John Blake written by acclaimed writer Philip Pullman, he of His Dark Materials fame and the hit movie The Golden Compass. Jamie Smart writer and artist of Bear, Neil Cameron writer of the excellent Classical Comics adaptation of Henry V...you will be hearing me go on about this alot more soon and the excellent Mr. Tony Lee who's wrote for the likes of Marvel, IDW, Rebellion and Markosia including the Hope Falls series I also picked up from BICS.


Yes, DFC has the colours it has the strips and it even has the big names, but working with the excellent website really makes this comic excel. With games, competitions, drawing guides and even a comic strip creator and the thing that impressed more the most, both website and comic is ALL done with absolutely no ads. Not a single one. Zero. No toy of the week forced down your childs throat, no new pair of trainers you will be incessently bugged for until an even newer pair is released, no pop ups, no epilepsy induicing flashing banners, just excellent, incredibly high quality comic strips from creators that everyone can appreciate. Go sign your kids up for a subscription now. Don't have kids? Get some, you need an excuse to read this comic.

Failing that, pick up an issue for FREE!
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The Future Of Comics

Behold! I have seen ze future of comics and it fits in the palm of your hand!

At BICS I saw two innovative uses of comics that, inspired me and made me feel good to be a fan and avid supporter of such medium. The first of which, yes, I really believe will be the future of comics! Don't believe me?



Meet my fantastic camera work and the many moods of the brilliant and damn nice guy, Paul J Holden. The creator of the excellent Eyecandy childrens comic. A comic purchasable for the iphone/ipod touch from the itunes store for just 99c, about 50p! This isn't just some boring ebook with pictures though, this is a full colour, excellently clear childrens comic with a fair few tricks up its sleeve. The iphone and ipod touch works with a touch sensitive screen and as such sliding your finger across the screen flicks through the pages with no more licking of thumbs and sliding your finger down the screen allows you to phase the comic from full colour, to inks and to the original pencils. Taking the colour out of the comic down to the inks, with a couple of clicks brings up a pallet to allow children to colour in their own comic with their finger as the brush and no paint on the walls!

To move forward, you must learn from your past...sounds like something someone would say, but it's fairly true. When I was young one of the appeals of comics like Beano and Dandy to me was sweets on the front cover, or even better...a toy! PJ Holden seems to have learnt this little trick well, as every copy of Eyecandy comes with a free toy, be it a horse with googling eyes that wobble as you shake the iphone/ipod touch while neighing at you, or being able to shave a guys head with your finger tip as the screen buzzes and vibrates beneath you!

I keep mentioning children, but to be quite honest, I want one. The comic, I'm completely sold on, I want to see how it's draw with the original sketch and dammit I want my toy. I want it so much, I want to save for an iphone so I can download it. Speaking for myself is one thing, but watching people crowd around to get a look, giggling with glee at a horse with googly eyes and flicking back and forth between pencils, inks, pencils, inks, colours and so on. This is the future of comics and I want it in my hand.


The link to the itunes store for Eyecandy #1.
PJ Holden on Twitter.
Still don't believe me? Watch for yourself!
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An introduction.

I’ve never been a stranger to comics. I grew up in a haze of X-Men back issues starting with ‘The Dark Phoenix Saga’ and became so fiercely protective of my Marvel upbringing that I would read nothing else.

Things recently changed. My friend Lee gave me DC’s Identity Crisis to borrow and yes, at first I was sceptical and shot the hard cover sideways glances for a few days. I picked it up one morning and ended up skipping breakfast (a rather shocking experience) as I just couldn’t put it down. It excited me in ways I hadn’t experienced since my Uncle Colin handed me his magical box of Marvel goodies one summer all those years ago. It’s fair to say I’ve never seen Lee smirk at me like that before. He just KNOWS.

After reading Identity Crisis, Lee asked me which characters I liked best. My answer: Black Canary and The Flash. He then let me borrow ‘Blood and Circuits’ and ‘Dead of Winter’ from Gail Simone’s run on Birds of Prey. Apart from an inexplicable dislike of Barbara Gordon I fell head over heels for BoP and consequently, Simone’s writing. Again, I just could not put it down! I found myself wondering if I had finally succumbed to obsession.

The two of us took a trip to Birmingham one day for Forbidden Planet’s 30th Anniversary. Who can resist a sale? I bought every Birds of Prey graphic novel I could find, and while I certainly did pay attention to the wealth of Marvel material in front of me, I felt no urgency to run my finger tips over the covers and gaze adoringly at the artwork like I once did. I needed to branch out a bit.

I think Lee truly opened my eyes with his introductory post for me. This really is in a way, a love affair.
I guess I’m still ‘going steady’ with the DCU at the moment, for lack of a better term. So, from this introduction comes a first and ‘proper’ blog post of my wide-eyed fledgling excitement of a first Comic Con...
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New Blood

I love introducing new people to comics, waxing passionate and knowledgable to someone eager to learn with no clue where to start, watching my enthusiasm encompass them! Showing them that's there's so much more to comics than what the movies touch upon and that the fourth wall doesn't just close in superheroes. Though finding someone who takes a passing interest in comics into a fully fledged love affair is like finding gold in a handful of dirt, I have recently had that pleasure. The force is strong in this one, as is her growing love affair, so much so that I've invited her to share and write her thoughts and new comic experiences on my lil' blog. I'm sure Gemmar can take it from here with a post of her own. Click Here to Read More..

BICS Sketches and Goodies

It's been a long weekend, my feet are sore, my legs ache, I've spent several hours driving with my Sat Nav woman chirping in my ear and I've spent my home time unpacking and sorting through all the sketches, things that I'd bought, cards, leaflets, badges and all sorts of things I was given. Yet I just couldn't wait to show off some of what I got over the weekend, there will be several posts of reviews and tales, but I thought I'd start with a few pictures of my sketches and goodies.


From the top left is an Identity Crisis, Deadshot figure and a Green Goblin Titanium Marvel Heroes figure. Under that from left to right is the DFC.co.uk kids comic, Robots from Accent UK, Phonogram from Image, signed by artist Jamie McKelvie, Ragamuffins and Dick Turpin from Time Bomb comics and then Tony Lee's Makosia comics, Hope Falls issues 1-5. Again from the left is Accent UK's The Wolfmen, Carol Roswell's Spider Cafe, The Adventures Of Ninja Bunny, by Philip Spence, with my pirate, ninja bunny figure just above that, The Shark Of Wisdom by the brilliant TOM McNally, B.ex issues 1-5 and The Elementals comics are both from a new company called Reaper comics with some great digital artwork, two Who Watches The Watchmen bookmarks and finally on the far right from 2000AD Bison.

These are the sketches I managed to get done during the weekend.


A little sketch and autograph from the fantastic Paul J Holden.


A sketch of the star of the title, on the inside cover, of Kid Eternity by the very funny, Duncan Fegrado.


I had to wait a while for this detailed sketch of DC's Zoom, but time flew by chatting to Phil Winslade and his wife, talking comics, music and cosplay!


This the first of three Wildstorm characters, Grifter drawn by Sean Philips, who also signed my copy of Sleeper and agreed with me that if Tom Cruise is to star in a movie version, he'd make a great Tao.


An excellent sketch of Midnighter by a man who is rapidly becoming one of my favourite artists, Lee Garbett. Wildstorm...keep a tight hold on this guy.


My last sketch of the post, was the last sketch of the con and one I very nearly didn't get done. I had to queue for over an hour and a half and the queue was cut off just a few people behind me, but this was well worth the wait! The brilliant Elijah Snow, by the ever so polite, patient and one of my favourite artists John Cassaday.

More posts to come, so stay tuned!
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To Read...

I've been reading alot and ordering less the last month or so, mostly due to more work and less cash with only three pay days until Christmas left! I thought I'd made a reasonable cut into my pile, considering my preorders tend to continue to turn up at scattered times throughout the month. That was until I piled them all together...

Take a look at this...

..and that's before I've even left for Birmingham International Comic Show!
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Birmingham International Comic Show

Birmingham ThinkTank, this weekend. My first real Comic Con and I cannot wait. The closest I've come to a Comic Con was Manchester Collectomania a couple of years back which had about three artists I hadn't heard of at the time (meaing in my newbishness I missed meeting some guy called John McCrea?!) and involved me getting my photo taken with Face and Murdock from the A-Team and meeting Robert Englund outside before the show. This time it's just comics man. Comics.

I'm really looking forward to seeing some of my favourite writers and artists, trawling through back issue boxes (I still need Flex Mentallo 3/4!), chatting with like minded individuals and generally geeking out. Oh, and watching The Dark Knight in IMAX!

So I'm going to go through some of the main people I'm hoping to meet and get autographs from.

Charlie Adlard. I've enjoyed his work on one of the few 2000AD books I've managed to fit in my budget, Nikolai Dante. Though is perhaps most well known for the interior artwork on the best zombie piece outside of Romero's head, Image's The Walking Dead.

Doug Braithwaite. A breathtaking artist, who's work with Alex Ross has resulted in epic storylines for both Marvel in Universe X and DC in Justice. Personally I'm hoping to get my copy of Justice signed, though I have a large box set including issue 1 of Justice and action figures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. Unfortunately it's just too big to take down to get signed.

Mark Buckingham. Writer of one of my favourite series, Fables. Taking all your favourite classic story characters, from the Big Bad Wolf to Pinocchio and Prince Charming and sticking them in our world while facing a war with their own homeland. Absolutely brilliant and yet filled with characters you thought you already knew.

John Cassaday. One of the few overseas creators at BICS, also happens to be one of the greatest artists working in comics. His Captain America was real, dignified and strong enough to make me wish I was American so I could get behind him even more. The Captain America shield you would see as you walk in my room, or the Captain America ring on my finger wouldn't mean as much had it not been for Cassadays timeless artwork. If he can do that to an icon, seeing him create original characters such as Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer for Warren Ellis acclaimed series Planetary is even better.

Andy Diggle. A British writer and editor who brought back traditional values to 2000AD before conquering the States. Teaming with artist Jock (who I'm also looking forward to meeting at the show) on Vertigo series The Losers and then reinventing the origins of Oliver Queen in Green Arrow: Year One before moving onto bigger and better titles with Hellblazer and his first work for Marvel taking over from Warren Ellis on Thunderbolts. All of which I love and I'm hoping to get both Diggle and Jock to sign my copy of Green Arrow: Year One!

Duncan Fegredo. Currently working with Mike Mignola on Hellboy, I'm more familiar with his earlier work, particularly his team up with Grant Morrison to create the DC/Vertigo title Kid Eternity.

Lee Garbett. There are very few comics I actually get, I much prefer trades. I've been collected much of the event stuff from DC for Final Crisis, but, also being a huge fan of Wildstorm, I collect Midnighter and DC/Wildtsorm crossover, Dream War. Thanks to Mr. Garbett, the artwork to both of these books is fantastic.

Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. The epic, opus of the comic book world and the man tasked with bringing Alan Moore's world to the printed page, Dave Gibbons. What more can you say? Well he's also currently working on one of DC's most successful current ongoing series Green Lantern Corps, especially coming off the back of the excellent Sinestro Corps War.

Sean Philips. I love Wildstorm, I've said that before and Sean Philips has tackled some of my favourite Wildstorm stuff with the WildC.A.T.S and the just picked up to be made into a film, Sleeper with Ed Brubaker. Continuing his work with Ed Brubaker is the creator owned Criminal series and the series I'm most looking forward to Incognito, a twisted mash of noir and supervillains.

PJ Holden. Artist on Judge Dredd the innovative iPhone comic Murderdrome.

David Lloyd. Art on V For Vendetta.

Leah Moore. Daugter of Alan Moore and wife of John Reppion whom she worked with both on Albion for Wildstorm.

Liam Sharp. Derby artist currently doing the Gears of War comic adaptation.

John Watson. Excellent painter who did the Civil War and Hulk Frontline covers.

Chris Weston. The Twelve, The Filth.

Phil Winslade. Flash: Blitz.

Well, I have some packing to finish up and hopefully my next post will include many more images, including photos of my time at the con. Hope to see you there!
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The Nightly News

This is one of the best thing I have read all year and I have read ALOT this year. This is less a comic and more an experience, right from the get go the way you're addressed, the style and form of the art is completely different to your standard four colour panels.

The good guys, aren't good and are mostly getting what they deserve, the bad guys are a cult who actually talk a lot of sense. The aim is to take down the media, make the super powers sweat and bring some truth to the people.

The key to a great story is to make you think, to inspire you and to do it all while making you say "cool". Nightly News most definately fits that criteria and is a perfect study for anyone from teen neo-anarchists to the more jaded and cynical amongst you.

After reading this I wanted to do something different, something I'd never done before, so I emailed Jonathan Hickman just to say thanks and it's good to say he replied and reciprocated.

So have a look for yourself, take in the artwork and the envigorating, refreshing style with the first few pages.
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Yes I still exist! Despite my poor beleagured, maltreated blog lieing dormant for about a month!

My laptop died and apparently took many weeks to fix, though I think I actually just got jumped by cowboys, least that's how it felt when I saw the bill! Though anyway, it's fixed...for now, though I was warned it may work for days or years. Yay?
Anyway hopefully I'll get chance to post more now, the only posts I've made over the last few weeks have been me whining on Twitter about my poor laptop being in the clinic.

For now, let me just say...if you're not reading Brian Woods DMZ you're doing something wrong. FIX IT.
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Comic Related Part 2

Ok, so I put forward my thoughts on the best DC properties that could and should make it to fil, but now for something different, looking at non-DC/Marvel properties and seeing what out there would make for a decent TV series. With so much quality TV out there from Dexter to Mad Men, it's time for comic properties to break live action TV. Will any of these get taken up? Unfortunately, I doubt it, it just depends on who's willing to take an expensive risk. Not something production companies are really known for.

1) Preacher

Preacher was briefly touted as a TV series when HBO bought the rights a few years ago, but unfortunately that has since been forgotten and any sign of a Preacher series/movie/anything seems long gone.

Preacher, Jesse Custer, a man with the literal voice of God and seemingly fists of Chuck Norris. Coupled with the love of his life,the gun toting Tulip O'Hare and Irish vampire Cassidy. They set out on their mission to find and confront God. Preacher is infamous for its off taste brand of humour and violence, but the heart of the graphic novel and for any potential TV series is the relationship between these three characters and their personal journeys up and down, with and without each other. The characters, like the storyline have a definitive opening and ending, but the journey between the two could be told in various ways, tweaked and tuned for more appropriate television. With various groups of villains looking to get their hands on Jesse Custer including being stalked by one of the greatest comic book characters ever created, The Saint of Killers...kinda like the Terminator meets The Man With No Name. Add to that their original mission and you've got space for several seasons worth of storylines.

2) Powers

Cop shows, work. Whether it be humour, drama or even reality, you can change the setting and the time and you can shift focus from on the street to homicide to forensics, it doesn't matter, because cop shows work.

Deep down, being a damn good cop drama is what makes Powers so good and addictive. Throw in the hook that these cops work in a homicide departemnt that deals specifically with people who have "powers" and investigate these crimes through down to Earth police procdeural work.

With the right casthing Powers could be as successful as something like The X-Files. Like The X-Files, for many it wasn't the aliens and freaks that kept them tuning in it was the relationship between Mulder and Scully and the way they took to investigating each case. The same is true of powers, you want to see the character side of things, see how they investigate the crime and handle the wild card of powers being thrown into the mix.

3) DMZ

DMZ stands for demilitarised zone and in this case, New York City. Set in the near future where America is split by a civil war between the United States of America and the Free States. Now, I haven't read much of this as yet, but the premise alone gripped me straight away and would make for a great TV series given the right budget, bringing war back to the US, following an intern reporter as he tries to aclimatise life in the New York City no-mans land, which is treated like another character in the storyline. Creating a powerful drama and running the gamut of emotions as the lead character Matty Roth goes from being abandoned to finding his own place.

4) Ex Machina

I recently picked up the first HC collection and I am totally hooked from the get go. Murder, mystery, politics and...superpowers. All centered around one man, Mayor of New York City , former super hero The Great Machine, Mitchell Hundred.

Written by the brilliant Brian K. Vaughn who already holds sway with a successful TV series credit under his belt as a writer on the hit show, Lost. There are few similarities between Ex Machina and Lost, though one of which is telling the story through Hundreds time in office and the filling in and updating the story through flashbacks to his time as The Great Machine which works effectively woithout damaging the pacing of the story. Ex Machina would probably make more a cross of The West Wing and Lost than like anything in particular. The storyline is exciting and fast paced for such a political drama.

5) The Boys/The Authority

The Boys and The Authority seemingly couldn't be more different, but I consider them two sides of the same coin. Both attempting to better humanity by dealing with power, abuse and control. The Boys would probably be easier to produce for a TV series, with more black ops work and less super powers, just plenty of sweary violence. The Authority would be high budget, special effects, taking on other heroes, whole armies and interdimensional monsters, which as fun as would be to see and to see The Authority issuing their own brand of arrogant, brutal smackdown it just wouldn't quite work on a TV series budget. The Boys is less superhero centric and you could pull off the occasional hardcore throwdown between The Boys and a group of superheroes without blowing a seasons budget on one episode.

The Authority is something I personally would love to see, but realistically The Boys has a much more apt chance of hitting the screen. Being the guys who take down the superheroes who get beyond their station leaves an open ended storyline suitable for a TV series, but would possibly work better as a big budget film (throw in Simon Pegg as Lil' Hughie).
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