I was on my hols last week. And I missed the 100th Stuff. Damn it, I had balloons and everything. Ho hum, guess I’ll have to save those for episode 200. Now, onwards and upwards with 101…
Okey dokey… let’s start with a bit of show news.
Birmingham Comics Festival is becoming a regular feature on the ever-increasing con circuit. Remember how I used to do a regular diary thing every few months a while back? well I had to stop that when it got to the point when it was taking the best part of three bloody months to list every damn comic event that sprang up every few goddamn minutes. Oh, I’m cranky. Jetlag. I’m blaming jetlag.
Ok, back to it then… Birmingham Comics Festival, celebrating year three in my second favourite city. I was there back in 2015 and had a good old time. The thing that really makes me pleased to see this particular comics event go from strength to strength is the amount of community outreach it’s getting done, year on year. The organisers really put themselves and their events out into the wider city, not just relying on a single day of a comics con. That I like, that I like very much.
Everything starts this year on 1st June, when Birmingham City University hosts the Birmingham Comic Art Show, an exhibition of original and rare comic book art for the public to go oooh at. Following that, BCF has a host of events at various city venues, including my old stomping ground, Nostalgia & Comics, before culminating with the convention itself on the weekend of the 24th and 25th June.
Loads more info at the Birmingham Comics Festival website.
Now down to that there London town, and ELCAF…. East London Comics Art Festival:
That’s the new official poster for ELCAF 2017 by artists-in-residence Icinori (aka Mayumi Otero & Raphael Urwiller).
This is one I’ve not been to (yet), but it’s certainly always come across as the cool kid in town, and this year sure seems like another good one. Again, loads more at the ELCAF website – www.elcaf.co.uk. ELCAF happens 16th-18th June.
It seems we still cannot log onto a news site or check Twitter without finding out that we’ve lost another creative talent and again far too damned early. This time it was the shock news that Bill Paxton had passed away aged only 61, due to complications from surgery. Bill, who was still busy and in the middle of a TV series, was a touchstone for many of us in a huge slew of movies, many of them in our beloved fantastic genres such as Weird Science or the original Terminator, to huge blockbuster films like Apollo 13, Tombstone, Twister and Titanic.
Even if it was just a quick cameo role it always made me smile to see him appear on the screen, and I think a lot of us felt that way. I still have a tremendous soft spot for a young Bill playing Severen in Katherine Bigelow’s brilliant modern vampire/Western Near Dark. His role in James Cameron’s Aliens left us with a catchphrase many a sci-fi geek still delights in using, “game over, man, game over…” It’s game over now, and far too bloody soon, but, man, Bill, you gave us a good game. You’ll be missed.
Somehow I totally forgot to post up that the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) awards shortlist had been revealed, so apologies for tardiness, and without further ado, here are this year’s contenders:
Chris Beckett – Daughter of Eden (Atlantic/Corvus)
Becky Chambers – A Closed and Common Orbit (Hodder & Stoughton)
Dave Hutchinson – Europe in Winter (Solaris)
Tricia Sullivan – Occupy Me (Gollancz)
Nick Wood – Azanian Bridges (NewCon Press)
Best Short Fiction
Malcolm Devlin – The End of Hope Street (Interzone #266)
Jaine Fenn – Liberty Bird (Now We Are Ten, NewCon Press)
Una McCormack – Taking Flight (Crises and Conflicts, NewCon Press)
Helen Oyeyemi – Presence (What is Not Yours is Not Yours, Picador)
Tade Thompson – The Apologists (Interzone #266)
Aliya Whiteley – The Arrival of Missives (Unsung Stories)
Rob Hansen – THEN: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK 1930-1980 (Ansible Editions)
Erin Horáková – Boucher, Backbone and Blake: The Legacy of Blakes Seven (Strange Horizons)
Anna McFarlane – Breaking the Cycle of the Golden Age: Jack Glass and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy (Adam Roberts: Critical Essays, Gylphi)
Paul Graham Raven – New Model Authors? Authority, Authordom, Anarchism and the Atomized Text in a Networked World (Adam Roberts: Critical Essays, Gylphi)
Geoff Ryman – 100 African Writers of SFF (Tor.com)
Ann & Jeff VanderMeer – Introduction to The Big Book of Science Fiction (Vintage)
Juan Miguel Aguilera – Cover of The 1000 Year Reich by Ian Watson (NewCon Press)
Tara Bush – Transition (Cover of Black Static #53)
Suzanne Dean and Kai & Sunny – Cover of The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan (William Heinemann)
David A Hardy – Cover of Disturbed Universes by David L Clements (NewCon Press)
Sarah Anne Langton – Cover for Central Station by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications)
Chris Moore – Cover of The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds (NewCon Press)
The BSFA awards are announced at the annual Brit SF bash, Eastercon, which this year takes place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole from 14th-17th April 2017
The Bookseller reports that 2000 AD/Rebellion is continuing its fairly recent development of publishing some non-2000 AD archive Brit comics material, such as classic horror comic Misty, with an entire range of archive material following a deal to acquire Fleetway and IPC Youth Group works from Egmont. From the Bookseller:
“The first release in the Treasury of British Comics line will be One-Eyed Jack, a strip that is “part Dirty Harry, part Judge Dredd” created by John Wagner and John Cooper and first published in 1975, out in June. This will be followed by Mike Western and Eric Bradbury’s The Leopard from Lime Street—Book 1 in July, which was originally published in 1976 and is described as “the British Spiderman”. In September, a Watership Down-style tale of a lone fox up against wicked humans, Marney the Fox, introduced by writer M Scott Goodall and illustrator John Stokes in 1974, will be reprinted. Rounding up the launch list will be a reprint of the second volume of horror comic for girls that was originally published from 1978 to 1980, Misty—Book 2 in November, featuring two stories: “The Sentinels” and “End of the Line”, and “the humorous adventures of Ricky Rubberneck”, first seen in 1971, in Faceache by “one of the all-too-forgotten greats of British comics”, Ken Reid, in December.”
(Faceache by the brilliant Ken Reid)
We’ve been bemoaning for years that while the US has enjoyed a real boom in publishing archive comics material (Fantagraphics’ superb Complete Peanuts must take some of the credit for sparking that approach, I think), here in the UK we are sitting on an enormous and rich heritage of all sorts of comics works, which many of us would like to see again, but nobody is reprinting. So of course we’re delighted to see Rebellion stepping up to the plate and bringing some of our huge comics heritage back to reading life. Looking forward to seeing some of these!
In other news from Rebellion, their classic Rogue Trooper video game is getting a revamped Redux version for the new Nintendo Switch, as well as the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. That was a popular translation of the iconic 2000 AD character, so I’m sure this newly updated version should be pretty welcome with gamers (especially comics fans who are gamers!)
James Moran, writer on cult horror flicks like Severance and Cockneys Vs Zombies, as well as Doctor Who, Torchwood and more, and his associates are setting up a Kickstarter to crowdfund a new short film, Blood Shed. From the description:
“Jack loves a bargain. And he loves sheds. When he buys suspiciously cheap second-hand parts online to build his very own dream shed, he and long-suffering wife Helen find they’ve got more than they bargained for: a killer shed with an appetite for blood. As the body count rises, and the shed’s ferocious appetite grows, Jack is faced with a horrifying dilemma. A comedy horror about a man’s twisted love for his shed… that eats people.
Blood Shed is a dark and twisted but laugh out loud comedy, with a Creepshow-style look and sound, synthesizer music, LOTS of Evil Dead-style blood, and comic book panels. It’s a love letter to the 80s horror anthology style, while telling a bizarre new tale with a unique monster.
The team need to raise £10K to make this beautiful nightmare a reality, with a Kickstarter campaign live from 27th February – 27th March 2017. But they can’t do it without you! There are perks including signed goodies, exclusive extras and downloads, set visits, screening tickets, props, Executive Producer credits, writing workshops, script feedback, and even a piece of the shed!“(thanks for the heads-up, Matt!)
Little Heroes Comics is fundraising to send packs of comics to sick kids in hospital, along with kits for them to make their own comics while they’re stuck in a hospital ward, and also taking donations of age-appropriate comics they can use. It’s a lovely idea – we know the fundraiser to print the great Moose Kid Comics to take into children’s wards in hospitals went down very well, cheering up a lot of ill kids, and this looks like another very nice thing to do. Full details on their Just Giving page here and, as ever, please do spread the word.
The always terrific Spleenal on Farage dining with Trump: