Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Treasury of British Comics - so far


It's an impressive sight isn't it? All the covers of the books in The Treasury of British Comics line. Ten of these have already been published, and the other ten are on their way. Just a couple of years ago, fans had almost given up hope to see their favourites back in print, and now we're spoiled for choice. You can order the books directly from the publishers here:
https://treasuryofbritishcomics.com

Hopefully, this is just the beginning, and we'll see many more classic British strips reprinted over the years to come. Which stories would you like to see Rebellion reprint? Remember, they only own the rights to the IPC comics published from 1970 onwards (with a few that fall prior to that, such as Whizzer and Chips which started in 1969, and Roy of the Rovers). Also, some material from Oink! is creator-owned, and the licensed titles such as Sonic the Comic or Thunderbirds are not part of the acquisition.

Obviously, Rebellion will give preference to material that has the best potential to sell, so a collection of Gus Gorilla strips from Cor!! probably isn't likely to be part of their future plans. On the other hand, a collection of Dredger strips from Action could work, I think.

So... what would you like to see?

Today's Marvel Legends is a free gift issue

It's very rare for Panini's Marvel Collectors' Editions to carry free gifts, - in fact I think it's been several years since the last one, - but Marvel Legends No.23, out today, has a cover mount of a pack of Marvel Trading Cards. (A similar gift was also with last week's Avengers Universe, so they may be given away with other Marvel titles soon too.) It's a good way to attract the attention of kids who have just been to see Avengers: Infinity War!

Here's the info on the latest Marvel Legends...

Marvel Legends Vol. 3 #23. On sale 26th April 2018. FREE MARVEL TRADING CARDS!
76 Action-Packed pages featuring Marvel’s ‘Big 3’ – Iron Man, Captain America and Thor! £3.99!

A Secret Empire Chapter! Captain America, the Hydra Supreme, and ruler of the USA speaks openly about how Hydra are making America great again. (Note, that this tale takes place after the events of Avengers Universe #5, on sale now!) 

Plus, Ironheart is the new queen of Latveria! 

Finally, to reclaim his honour and the hammer of Ultimate Thor, the Odinson battles the Collector and Thanos’s Black Order!

By Nick Spencer, Andres Guinaldo, Javier Pina, Yildiray Çinar, Kevin Libranda, Jon Malin, Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, Jason Aaron and Olivier Coipel!
Includes material reprinted from Captain America: Steve Rogers #17, Invincible Iron Man #10 and Unworthy Thor #4!

On sale from WH Smith, selected newsagents, and comic shops.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Preview: Charley's War, The Definitive Collection Volume 2

The next book in Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics line will be the second volume of Charley's War: The Definitive Collection. Hot on the heels of Vol.1 which was released last week, Volume 2 will be published on May 17th.

Volume 2, subtitled Brothers In Arms, will be another chunky softback of over 330 pages, reprinting the classic WW1 story by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun. This edition covers the stories from Battle Action from late 1980 to mid 1982. The horrors of the war continue, and this time we're given the story of a deserter, the British mutiny, and Charlie's encounters with the sadistic British officer Captain Snell. 

When these stories first appeared in Battle-Action, the comic was sadly past its best, but Charley's War was a true gem. Indeed, it would even have stood head and shoulders above the contents of any comic, such was the high standard of the creative team. Pat Mills' dedicated research into the subject matter, combined with his skills of writing a gripping adventure story, made the strip unmissable, and Joe Colquhoun's powerful, detailed, and emotive artwork was the perfect match. 

Back in the day, I was buying Battle-Action solely for Charley's War, and would carefully cut out those pages in order to staple each story arc together into makeshift books. Now that we have these Definitive Collections, better printed than the original comics, I'll be replacing my yellowing old pages with these handsome books.

In short, not to be missed! Here's a preview of the first chapter in Volume 2...

CREATIVE TEAM: Pat Mills, (w) Joe Colquhoun (a) John Aldrich, Mike Peters, Peter Knight (l)
REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 17th May 2018
PAPERBACK, 320 pages
PRICE: £19.99 (UK) TBC (US)
ISBN: 9781781086209
DIAMOND: TBC
Injured in The Battle of the Somme, Charley returns to wartime London and meets a deserter from the French Foreign Legion, Blue, who tells of his brutal experiences of the Battle of Verdun. All too soon Charley returns to the front line at Ypres where the threat from the German army is matched only by the inhumanity of his superiors! In the face of suffering and injustice, seeds of mutiny begin to grow among the ranks… This second volume of Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun’s masterpiece continues to tell the story of an ordinary soldier’s experiences in World War One, including the vibrant re-mastered colour pages from the original comic.

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond




This week's BEANO...

Beano No.3932 is in the shops today, and comes bagged with gifts. The contents of the comic feature the usual fun-stars and there's another new Big Eggo strip by me. Here's a preview...
What's this? Has Big Eggo finally found his egg? Has Terry Tuff captured him at last? Find out in Beano No.3932, out now!

More Beano info here:
https://www.beano.com/categories/comic-strips



Sunday, April 22, 2018

The debut of BILLY THE CAT (1967)

The Beano's famous crimefighter Billy the Cat first appeared in a 1/4 page teaser ad (above) in the Easter 1967 issue of The Beano (No.1288). His strip began the following week, in The Beano No.1289, dated April 1st 1967. Although this was the April Fool themed issue, there was no mention of that in Billy's debut strip.

The artwork was by David Sutherland, who had been drawing The Bash Street Kids since 1962 (and indeed still draws those Kids today). An excellent artist who is able to adapt his style from humour to adventure. Curiously, there's no origin story. We're not told how William Grange became such a remarkable acrobat or who made his costume and the funny looking customised biker helmet with the whiskers. However, years later, a fan named David Carman wrote his own origin for the character and published it online with the permission of D.C. Thomson. You can read it here:
http://www.davidcarman.co.uk/billy.htm

Presumably The Beano had decided to feature a superhero in their pages because of the success of the Batman TV show, although Billy's premise was closer to that of Spider-Man (running at that time in rival comic Pow!). Billy the Cat became very popular with the readers and ran on and off until 1974, even joined by his cousin, Katie the Cat, for later adventures. He was later revived and rebooted as a slightly older character in Buddy comic in 1981, and you can read that story here:
https://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/buddy-no1-1981.html

The Beano has revived Billy the Cat on occasion, drawn by various artists including Wayne Thompson, Nigel Dobbyn, and Laura Howell. With the current popularity of superheroes, and this being The Beano's 80th anniversary year, it'd be nice to see him return again. My choice would be Steve Beckett as artist, as he's another creator who can switch from humour to adventure, and he has that suitable light adventure style that works well in The Beano. 

Will Billy the Cat return? I've no idea, but time will tell.



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