Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: The Leopard from Lime Street

In this, the second book in Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics line, The Leopard From Lime Street reprints the weekly episodes that originally appeared in Buster from 12th March 1976 to 11th June 1977. 

This was during a period when I'd stopped buying most British comics so the strips are new to me. Well, not entirely true. I'd seen one or two episodes back then, and haughtily dismissed the strip as a rip-off of Spider-Man. On a very basic surface level, it certainly is, but The Leopard from Lime Street has a charm and excitement all its own, and the artwork is of the highest standard seen in British weeklies. 

The plot: young Billy Farmer is scratched by a radioactive leopard and gains the strength and agility of a jungle cat. He makes a costume and sets out to fight crime, whilst taking photos for his local paper. Yep, the similarities to Spider-Man are glaring, but the British working class setting and distinctive UK storylines raise it above being a mere Spidey copy. Tom Tully's lively, fast-paced scripts carry the reader along, making the book an exciting page turner. The art, by Mike Western and Eric Bradbury is crisp and detailed, giving the strips a toughness and streetwise quality. It was very unusual in British comics back then for two artists to work as a pencil/ink team but it really works. In later episodes I'm guessing Western may have only supplied layouts, as Bradbury's style becomes more evident, but it's all great. Two of the best British artists working together? What's not to like?

I know that The Leopard from Lime Street has long had a dedicated following in British comics and I've never really understood why... until now. The advantage of this collected edition is it gives the reader the opportunity to get into the storylines and put aside any concerns of the source that inspired it. 

The book has an introduction by Steve Holland, and in the back there's a preview of forthcoming books in the Treasury of British Comics line, including Marney the Fox and Faceache. It's all looking good, so I hope fans of UK comics who have been clamouring for a return to the "good old days" will support these books so the line can grow. 

  • CREATIVE TEAM:  Tom Tully (w) Eric Bradbury, Mike Western (a) 
  • REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
  • RELEASE DATE: 13 July 2017
  • PAPERBACK - 162 pages
  • PRICE: £14.99 (UK)
  • ISBN: 9781781085974
  • DIAMOND: MAY171761
Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

New Commando comics this week

Here's the latest news direct from D.C. Thomson on the four issues of Commando that will arrive in the shops this Thursday...

Brand new Commando issues 5031-5034 are coming soon, with four action packed stories of bravery and duty as our heroes must against the Nazis in the heat of the Second World War!

5031: Home of Heroes:
Race – Or Die!

Set on the sleepy Isle of Man, or not as sleepy as it may seem, a long way from the main battles of the Second World War, conflict still managed to find its way to this secluded island. Nazi spies, secret codes, U-Boats and one thrilling motorbike chase… Colin Watson’s original story has it all!

Rodriguez and Morhain team up again to deliver another beautifully illustrated issue of Commando. With dark, black waters surrounding the island, you can really feel the isolation of the characters. But, as Janek’s cover shows, this is not always a good thing as the stakes are raised to a one-on-one motorbike chase - the island blurred beside the motorbikes, which kick up dust behind them on the quiet country land.

|Story | Colin Watson | Art | Rodriguez & Morhain| Cover | Janek Matysiak|

5032: Gold Collection
The Deadly Game

Lopez Espi’s cover truly captures the hot headed red-head, Corporal Kit Hughes. With hair to match his temper, the Dunkirk evacuee was not one to be trifled with as “the flame haired giant strode the plains of Crete like one of the ancient Gods of mythology.” But these plains in R. Fuente’s interior artwork are not quite the green and gold Mediterranean of the cover, but hard rocky outcrops and dry, bare trees: a hard land which mirrors the fighting that takes place there. 

But now, Kit won’t retreat again in Gentry’s very Commando story of friendship, bravery, duty and revenge. Having evacuated once before, Kit and his best pal Private Len Small have no intentions of leaving Crete, especially when they find out that Nazi Major Mauch, a brutal figure from their past, is leading a base there…

|Story | Gentry | Art | R. Fuente| Cover | Lopez Espi |
Originally Commando No 369

5033: Action and Adventure:
Forgotten Fighters

In the Second World War, Japan actually invaded American soil. It happened in 1942, and the soil in question was the island of Attu, off the coast of Alaska. The battle, the only to take place on American territory, lasted nineteen days and is the subject which inspired writer Richard Davis.

Interior artists Rezzonico and Morhain take full advantage of the island’s mist and rain, contrasting the clear visibility of the soldiers training in America to the harsh conditions of Attu and how unprepared our heroes were for this war. However, no matter the bleak look of the island’s interior, David Alexander’s traditional art cover captures the serene isolation of the island, untouched and mystical, concealing the violence that would take place there.

 |Story | Richard Davis | Art | Rezzonico & Morhain | Cover | David Alexander |

5034: Silver Collection
Escape to Battle

An unconventional hero for Commando, Mike Azonette is a petty thief, growing up in the streets of New York under Don Capardi. But after getting caught robbing the Don’s nephew, Giovanni Castovanni, Mike must go on the run, and what better place to hide than in the armed forces? Little does Mike know that he’s about to be drafted to North Africa now that the U.S. has joined Europe in the Second World War…

With the shadowy face of Giovanni looming in the background, always hanging over Mike’s head, watching, the sense of dread in ‘Escape to Battle’ is felt right through from Ian Kennedy’s remarkable cover. Meanwhile, Welsh illustrator Keith Shone’s illustrations really stand out as he often bleeds images between panels, with characters, objects and explosions breaking free of their frames.

|Story | Ian Clark | Art |Keith Shone | Cover |Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No 2581

Monday, June 26, 2017

Missed Deadline Magazine at Macc-Pow!

Cover by Shaky Kane
Another good reason to attend Macc-Pow! this Saturday is that you'll be able to find information on Missed Deadline magazine, the upcoming revival of '90s comic Deadline

Jessica Kemp and Ed Hilyer will be there, and you'll be able to find out how to get access to the digital issue 0 of Missed Deadline.
Down at the Old Hope in Hell by Mark Stafford
What's in that zero issue? Weird and varied comics from people such as Mark Stafford, Craig Conlan, James Howard, David Leach, Marc Jackson and more. Some material is new, some you may have seen before, but it's all good stuff. 
Chicken Boy by James Howard
Ghost Cat by Craig Conlan
Psycho Gran by David Leach
My favourite was the UKIP spoof, BKIP, by PM Buchan and Phillip Marsden, about a bear version of UKIP. Mocking Farage and his ilk never gets old.

Come along to Macc-Pow! at Macclesfield Town Hall on Saturday and find out more!

Here Comes Cat Stevens!

A new comic is always worth celebrating. Here Comes Cat Stevens is a one-off from Marc Jackson's Weirdo Comics that was commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival and funded by a grant by the Arts Council England. Where can you get it? At Macc-Pow! this Saturday, 1st July, at the Town Hall, Macclesfield.

What's it like? 32 pages of fun, and Marc Jackson's best comic yet in my opinion. The plot is simple and ideal for all ages: Cat Stevens (a cat, called Cat Stevens) and his friends embark on a journey to deliver pizza to an address in the woods, - but legend has it there's a monster there that eats pizza delivery guys! What happens? Get the comic and find out!

Marc Jackson's artwork has an appealing retro-but-modern style that's very engaging. The flat colours and limited palate suit it perfectly and help the story move along without clutter or distraction. 

Come along to Macc-Pow! on Saturday where Here Comes Cat Stevens will be one of the comics you'll be able to discover!

Thoughts on self-publishing...

On my other blog last week I posted an article regarding my opinions on self-publishing. It's already had hundreds of views but if you missed it, you can read it here:

That blog is entirely about my own work, so it only attracts people who follow my comics (plus the occasional troll) so I thought I'd link to the article so the rest of you could see it. If you feel inclined to comment on that particular subject, please post over at that blog, not here, thanks. 
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