Thursday, October 20, 2016

Chained to his Sword (1976)

As promised the other day in my post about the early work of some of our top comics creators, here are a few examples of Chained to his Sword. This series appeared in D.C. Thomson's  The Wizard in 1976, although I there had been an earlier series a few years before. The artwork is by the great Carlos Ezquerra, designer of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog for 2000AD and Starlord

The first episode from The Wizard dated September 25th, 1976...

The episode from The Wizard dated November 13th, 1976...

The penultimate episode from The Wizard dated December 25th, 1976...

Tomorrow I'll be showing more 40 year old strips from another comics legend! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

She Lives!

At London's Cartoon Museum later this month, a unique experience as artist Woodrow Phoenix presents his book, She Lives! I saw Woodrow with this at the Lakes International Comic art Festival two years ago and it's certainly worth seeing. He's bound his actual artwork into a HUGE book, that will never be printed, but instead Woodrow narrates the story as he turns the pages for the audience. That's art, that is, mate! 

For more details, visit the Cartoon Museum website:

(I won't be able to make it myself as I'll be at the Nottingham Comic Con on October 29th but if you're in London that day, drop in to see Woodrow's book!)

Details of this week's COMMANDO comics

Direct from D.C. Thomson, here's the press release for the four issues of Commando that are in the shops from today...

Commando Issues 4959-4962 - On Sale 20th October 2016

Commando - 4959 - Home Front Terror

Wounded on a daring operation in Occupied Norway, Commando Sergeant Jeff Tain was sent home to England to recuperate.
Jeff’s younger brother, Dave, was a police constable, investigating a black market racket when dead bodies unexpectedly started showing up.
The siblings were convinced that something more sinister was going on… an assassination plot involving German spies!

Story: George Low
Art: Morahin
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando - 4960 - Blood Of Heroes

Sergeant Butch Walker was a veteran with 30 years of fighting service in the British Army - and now they said he was too old to fight.
Boy soldier Jimmy Walker, Butch’s nephew, had barely one year of square-bashing to his credit. They said he was too young to fight.
But no matter how hard they tried, nobody could keep those two away from the front line for long. For in the veins of both ran the blood of heroes.

Story: Eric Hebden
Art: Segrelles
Cover: James

Introduction -
The impressive art of Vicente Segrelles appeared in fifteen Commando books, beginning with “Desert Fury” (No 232) and ending with “Silence The Guns!” (No 1454). All were published between 1966 and 1980.
A Spaniard, his interior work had a dramatic, fluid style with plenty of thick, black inks. Señor Segrelles also handled some Commando covers - although not on this occasion, that equally impressive piece of art was done by the mysterious ‘James’.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Blood Of Heroes, originally Commando No 259 (May 1967), re-issued as No 915 (March 1975)

Commando - 4961 - The Stone Forest

Clarke Johnson was a reconnaissance pilot during America’s clash with Mexico in the early 20th Century. His aircraft grounded, Clarke found himself in an uneasy alliance with an Apache-born former U.S. Cavalryman and together they were fighting Pancho Villa’s Mexican revolutionaries.
Things looked bleak - as bleak as the eerie burial site that hid a treasure that men were willing to kill for. They would have to fight to survive and uncover the secret of… The Stone Forest!

Story: Steve Coombs
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

Commando - 4962 - Raid By Night!

Tactics had changed, machines had improved, but Group Captain Roland Bird knew from his Great War experiences that efficiency came with practice and attention to detail. His new command could expect a hard taskmaster, especially the crew of Wellington S-Sugar, who had crashed his car at their first meeting.

Story: Ian Clark
Art: Terry Patrick
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Introduction -
Regular Commando readers know that Ian Kennedy is renowned for his legendary aircraft covers - although, of course, he can draw anything and everything. Ian himself has a passion for aeronautical illustration that has become his trademark and he has drawn over 1000 Commando covers.
His painting here is of a slightly more esoteric plane than we’re used to - a Handley Page 400, which was flown by pilots in the newly-formed Royal Air Force, as well as the Royal Naval Air Service late in World War I. The image may not be of something as immediately recognisable as a Wellington or a Lancaster but we still have that sense of drama and dynamism inherent in this amazing artist’s work.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Raid By Night!, originally Commando No 2461 (April 1991)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Wizard work by Bolland, Gibbons, and Ezquerra

Before 2000AD exploded onto the scene, some of its greatest artists had drawn strips for rival publisher D.C. Thomson. I showed The Year of the Shark Men on this blog in a previous post (see here) and today I'd like to show a few more forgotten treasures.

All of these strips are from The Wizard in 1976. Simon Gaunt was the fictional narrator of short, self-contained supernatural stories that were mainly used as filler material in the comic. Useful, therefore, to give work to the newer generation of artists such as Carlos Ezquerra, Dave Gibbons, and Brian Bolland. Their distinctive styles and talent were evident even then, and it was inevitable they'd become three of the top comics artists in the industry. 

Click on the pages to see them much larger. 

Who Killed Kane? drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, from Wizard dated January 31st, 1976...

Eye of the Tiger drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, from Wizard dated February 14th 1976...

The Black Monk, drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, from Wizard dated April 3rd, 1976...

The Black Horse of Vengeance, drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, from Wizard dated May 22nd, 1976...

The Deathless Army, drawn by Dave Gibbons, from Wizard dated August 14th, 1976...

The Last Torpedo, drawn by Dave Gibbons, from Wizard dated August 28th, 1976...

The Box, drawn by Brian Bolland, from Wizard dated September 25, 1976...

Roundhead's Revenge, drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, from Wizard dated November 13th, 1976...

Carlos Ezquerra also drew a serial called Chained to his Sword during this period too, and I'll show some examples of that in a future post.

New edition of The Cursed Earth!

Here's Mick McMahon's fantastic cover art for the trade paperback edition of Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored, to be published by Rebellion in December, priced £19.99. It reprints the first long Dredd mega-epic which appeared in 2000AD in 1978. Previous reprints had excluded some chapters because they satirised brands such as McDonalds and Green Giant, but now the story is represented in its complete form.

The hardback version, which was published in July and sold out, had a cover by Brian Bolland (see below). 
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