Wednesday, January 17, 2018


New from Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics imprint comes The Beatles Story, reprinting the serial written by Angus Allen and illustrated by Arthur Ranson that ran in Look-In during 1981 and 1982.

Although Look-In is not one of the comics that Rebellion now own, The Beatles Story is unique in that Angus Allen and Arthur Ranson own the rights to the strip.

Sure to be a hit with fans of the Fab Four, The Beatles Story is an affectionate photo-realistic take on the saga of what many of us consider to be the greatest band in music history. 

CREATIVE TEAM: Angus Allan (w) Arthur Ranson (a)
REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 22nd February 2018
HARDCOVER, 57 pages
PRICE: £12.99 (UK) $17.99 (US)
ISBN: 9781781086179

The very first graphic novel to chart the creation, evolution and breakup of the fab four, first published in 1981. The Beatles Story is an exceptionally drawn account of the band from one of the UK's leading artists of his generation, Arthur Ranson (Judge Dredd, Button Man). It includes fascinating insights into Paul McCartney and John Lennon's first encounter, their early gigs in Hamburg's Kaiser Keller, through to the recording of the legendary Abbey Road album and the band's break-up. First published in the pages of legendary UK youth magazine Look In, this beautifully illustrated account is a treat for both the devoted Beatles admirer and new fans alike.

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

Available to pre-order now from the Treasury of British Comics shop:

Monday, January 15, 2018

35 Year Flashback: SPIKE No.1 (1983)

D.C. Thomson launched a new weekly comic 35 years ago, when Spike No.1 arrived in newsagents on Friday 14th January 1983. Although Thomsons had attempted a few tougher styled boys' comics with WarlordBullet and Crunch a few years earlier, this new comic was playing it comparatively safe and was more of a mixture of traditional comics like Victor and Buddy. That said, Spike did have its own style and felt more casual than its companion comics, helped considerably by the comic's mascot, Spike himself. 

Under a nicely designed logo, the cover of issue 1 featured two proven methods to hook the reader; an exciting announcement that the comic contained a free gift, and the opening panels of the lead strip, Iron Barr (art by Mike White). The perceived wisdom at the time was that if a reader picked up a comic to read the cover strip, you were almost guaranteed a sale. Whether this worked in practice was debatable, as Spike only lasted for 67 weeks before merging into Champ.

Inside, the comic contained a nice variety of adventure strips, including sci-fi hero Starhawk (who had previously starred in Crunch) fighting the Powerbeast. (Art by Terry Patrick.)
A D.C. Thomson boys' comic wouldn't be complete without a war story, and Spike gave us The Ghost in the Cockpit (art by Gordon Livingstone)...
The main draw of Spike started in the centre pages. The Man in Black told the story of a mysterious, seemingly ageless athlete with extraordinary strength and stamina. The clues to the man's identity were revealed over the weeks that followed, eventually identifying him as William Wilson, the Wonder Athlete who had appeared in Thomson story paper The Wizard many years earlier, and in The Hornet in the 1960s. His revival in Spike acted as a sequel to those earlier stories but was also a retelling, using updated scripts as I recall. The artist of the strip was a Wilson too; Neville Wilson...

The Bleak Street Bunch was a traditional school strip, but with a contemporary setting. Art by Peter Foster...
Ticker Tait, the Man with a Time Bomb in his Heart, was also drawn by the very-busy Neville Wilson, and was the spy thriller of the comic's line up...
Spike also featured a few articles, a text story, plus a strip featuring Spike himself, drawn by Brian Walker...
On the back page of the 36 page first issue was an ad for future issues and the free gifts to come! 
...and if you wondered what the Ghostly Glow Badge in issue 4 looked like, here it is...
...and yes, it did glow in the dark!
Spike was a very enjoyable, well produced comic but sadly it arrived at a time when traditional adventure comics were on their way out. Had it been launched in the 1960s it might have stood a better chance, but not in 1983 when it faced so much rivalry from comics based on toys and tv shows. The comics industry was changing and publishers soon found they had to adapt to survive.

All of the images in this post are my own scans and photographs, but I'm indebted to Jeremy Briggs at Down the Tubes for his excellent article on Spike which you'll find here:  which enabled me to identify the artists.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

MODERN WONDER (1937 to 1941)

Issue Vol.1 No.10 July 24th 1937.

As mentioned here in November, the latest issue of Spaceship Away includes an excellent article by Andrew Darlington on the innovative 1930s weekly Modern Wonder. Inspired by the feature I decided to seek out some issues myself and was impressed by the results. 

Modern Wonder was a weekly publication that ran from 1937 to 1941 (changing its title along the way in 1940 to Modern World). It was a large sized glossy magazine providing articles of speculative science, current technology, and prose text stories. Initially, its page size was huge; 41cm high by 27cm wide, then it reduced to the standard tabloid size later used by Eagle and TV21. Although it featured no comic strips (apart from reprints of Flash Gordon from American Sunday papers later in its run) it was pretty much a template for what followed years later with Eagle, even down to full colour cutaway illustrations. 

Modern Wonder was a fabulous publication that conveyed the 1930s hopes for a brighter tomorrow where fantastic technology would be a boon to mankind. Sadly, World War 2 scuppered those hopes, and, I'd venture, made Modern Wonder suddenly seem increasingly naive in places. That, plus paper rationing forcing a cut back from 16 to 8 pages, was probably the death knoll for the publication as it limped to its grave in 1941. 

That national optimism returned in the 1950s, but it was too late for Modern Wonder by then. However, let's take a look back at parts of the few issues I have to see what a great mag it was, and how it envisioned a future that might have been, had war not sent the world tumbling off into another direction...

Is it just me, or does this train look like Judge Dredd's helmet? Coincidence of course. Modern Wonder Vol.2 No.24, October 30th 1937...

Yes, they did indeed speculate that a train would run on giant ball-bearings and reach a speed up to 250mph....

From the same issue, a back page feature on then-current telephone technology...

Modern Wonder relished in its visions of motorways and high speed trains. We're not quite there with streamlined cars like this yet, and even Pendolino trains don't quite tip sideways that far! No.42, March 5th 1938...

From the same 1938 issue, an early prediction of widescreen cinema, which would later develop in some ways (but with different technology) as the IMAX cinema...

Television was just starting to take off in the late 1930s, until war postponed that too. Modern Wonder Vol.3 No.67 August 27th 1938...

As mentioned above, Modern Wonder also featured prose stories, illustrated with high quality artwork. If anyone knows the identity of these artists I'd be obliged...

I've only scratched the surface of what a fantastic magazine Modern Wonder was. I hope you enjoy seeing the amazing covers in large format. (In case you don't already know, click on the images, and click again to see them full size. Best viewed on a computer, not a phone.) To reiterate, the current Spaceship Away (No.43) has a much more detailed history of Modern Wonder so I urge everyone to buy it.

Prisoner TV event next Sunday at Elstree Studios

Just a quick plug for an event that old friends of mine are organising for next Sunday, 21st January, that's sure to interest fans of The Prisoner TV series. Guests include Alex Cox, Nicholas Briggs, Ian Rakoff and more. To find out full details and buy tickets visit:

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Here's the press release and preview pages for the next issue of Judge Dredd Megazine, - in shops this coming Wednesday!

Ever since the Judge Dredd Megazine began its series extrapolating on the world of the DREDD movie starring Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, fans have speculated when or even if the Dark Judges would make an appearance in the more 'grim 'n' gritty' world of Alex Garland's action opus. Well they can wonder no longer - series writer Arthur Wyatt and co-writer Alex De Campi (Mayday, Wonder Woman) have teamed up with fan favourite artist Henry Flint to bring Judge Death himself to the strip - and it promises to be one hell of a swansong for the series! Details below...

UK & DIGITAL: 17th January 2018 
NORTH AMERICA: 17th February 2018 

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: KRONG ISLAND by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

LAWLESS: BREAKING BADROCK by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie DeVille (l) 

DEVLIN WAUGH: BLOOD DEBT by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)

CURSED EARTH KOBURN by Rory McConville (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Simon Bowland (l)

DREDD: THE DEAD WORLD by Arthur Wyatt & Alex De Campi (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse(l)

Features: Duke Mighten interview, Arthur Ranson interview.

Bagged reprint: Outlier by TC Eglington (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l) with conclusion to Wagner's Walk by RE Wright (w) Mike White (a)

Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

Prog Preview: Next week's 2000AD...

Direct from Rebellion, here's the info on 2000AD Prog 2064, - on sale Wednesday 17th January...

UK & DIGITAL: 17th January 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 17th February 2018 $7.99

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: ECHOES by Michael Carroll (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SAVAGE: THE THOUSAND YEAR STARE by Pat Mills (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)

ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l) 

Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Preview: ANT WARS collected

Rebellion's next collection of classic material will be Ant Wars, reprinting an early serial from 2000AD. The book will also include a back up, collecting the Zancudo serial from more recent times. Here's the info and a few preview pages...

CREATIVE TEAM: Gerry Finley-Day, Simon Spurrier (w) Jose Luis Ferrer, Alfonso Azpiri, Cam Kennedy, Lanzo, Pena (a), Steve Potter, Pete Knight, Bill Nuttall, John Aldrich, Ellie De Ville (l)
REGIONS: UK, North America, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 8th February 2018
PAPERBACK, 114 pages
PRICE: £12.99 (UK) $17.99 (US)
ISBN: 9781781085509

ANT WARS: When military personnel spray an untested insecticide on ants in the Brazilian rainforest, the colony mutate into super-intelligent creatures with a taste for human flesh! As the terrifying army head closer towards civilisation, Captain Villa and a young forest native race ahead in the vain attempt to warn a thoroughly unprepared world! Written by Gerry Finley-Day (Rogue Trooper), with Art by Joe Ferrer (Robo-Hunter), Azpiri (Black Hawk) and many others, Ant Wars is an exhilarating take on classic sci-fi movies.

ZANCUDO: 2127 AD: High above the Peruvian rainforest, vast, eerie creatures fix compound eyes on a vessel transporting the notorious Fendito ‘the Bandito’ back into custody in the South-Am mega-city of Cuidad Barranquilla. For ‘Banana City’ judges Xavi Ancizar and Sofia Perez, the bug hunt is just beginning ... Written by Simon Spurrier (X-Men Legacy) and featuring the art of British comics legend Cam Kennedy (Judge Dredd), witness all-out insect war with mankind in the middle!

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

The Black Panther is coming to The Mighty World of Marvel

It's been a long time since the Black Panther starred in a British comic, but next month sees him get top billing in The Mighty World of Marvel, when Panini UK begin reprinting his adventures.

Issue 18 of the comic, out on February 8th, will contain part one of Who is The Black Panther? by Reginald Hudlin, John Romita Jr, and Klaus Janson, that first appeared in the Marvel Knights Black Panther No.1 in 2005. The Panther will also be headlined on the cover, taking over from Champions which is currently featured.  The reason for the change of course is because the Black Panther movie debuts next month, but it's still great to see one of Marvel's most interesting heroes back in newsagents.
Great stuff, apart from the anomaly of Cap using his old shield in 1944.
As well as the Black Panther, The Mighty World of Marvel No.18 will also feature a Star-Lord solo story, continue the story arcs of the Black Widow and the Champions, and have a classic 1960s Doctor Strange tale by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as a bonus.

Meanwhile, issue 17 of MWOM is currently on sale, featuring a cover by Neal Adams. 

The first appearance of the Black Panther in a British comic would have been in the last few issues of Fantastic in 1968, which reprinted a crossover between the X-Men and The Avengers. As the X-Men reprints were ahead of some other Marvel reprints, any British readers who weren't buying American comics wouldn't have seen the Panther's debut in the Fantastic Four, or his initiation in The Avengers, so his sudden appearance as an Avenger in Fantastic must have puzzled a few people. 
FANTASTIC No.89 (final issue) from 1968.
I'm certainly looking forward to the Black Panther movie. When I was a kid in the 1960s, I thought the Panther was the coolest comics character I'd seen. Looks like the film will convey that too. Here's the trailer...

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