It’s Friday, and that means time for our regular Stuff (& Possibly Nonsense) slot where Richard and Joe round up some of the news and links they spotted over the last few days. We’ve made it to 150 of these things. Yay.
Hunt Emerson on a Bloke’s Progress…
Saw this the other day, a new Knockabout publication written by Kevin Jackson with art by the wonderful Hunt Emerson. With a certain amount of help from the ideas of John Ruskin, the celebrated writer and art critic of the 19th Century. But before I had the chance to do anything about it, Lew Stringer had already been in touch with Hunt for the details, which can be found, along with more art, on Lew’s ever-excellent blog Blimey! Here’s just a little of what Hunt had to say about this new Bloke’s Progress:
“In 2005 and 2008 Kevin Jackson and myself, with the Ruskin Foundation, produced two comic books – HOW TO BE RICH and HOW TO SEE, both for limited distribution in the North West of England. There was always intended to be a third volume, HOW TO WORK, and now the Ruskin Foundation have the funds to realise it. Knockabout, with the Foundation, are publishing all three comics in one 120 page volume, BLOKE’S PROGRESS, to be released in April to coincide with a major exhibition entitled WORK at Brantwood (Cumbria), the Ruskin Foundation’s headquarters.”
Hunt’s promising a book that’s far from the dry nature of art criticism and describes it as “funny, wild and weird, it’s a romance and a psychedelic trip, and it has Skittle, one of the most loveable dogs in comics. And it contains some very interesting and radical ideas.”
Bloke’s Progress, telling the tale of Darren Bloke, his life ruined by a squandered lottery win, explores Ruskin’s ideas of “money, perception, and work” … but will it be enough to help him sort his mess of a life out?
Published in April, Hunt is currently taking pre-orders through his Largecow shop.
Small Press Day 2018 – celebrating self published comics across the UK & Ireland
Returning for its third year, Small Press Day 2018 will take place on Saturday July 7th. The day is planned, as always, as a celebration of self-publishing through the UK and Ireland. Local artists and comic shops will be working together to organise their own comic events during the day.
The first Small Press Day, back in 2016, was dreamed up by David Ziggy Greene (Scene & Heard). Along with organisers Amneet Johal (Alternative Press) and Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver, Greene helps coordinate and promote the day. Last year saw 25 comic events across the country, and this year, with the help of local SPD ambassadors, the team are hoping for more (a bunch of our stores are already starting to put out feelers to local creators for possible events).
If you would like more information about Small Press Day, including ideas of events and what local ambassadors can do, get in touch here.
“The future’s bright…”
Loving this portrait of Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor, nice bit of art by Peter Mckinstry:
Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday – available from the British Newspaper Archive
Seen via Garen Ewing: The British Newspaper Archive has uploaded 635 digitised issues of Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday to their website. Long recognised as the first recurring comic strip character, Ally Sloper was created in 1867, and starred in his own weekly, Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday from 1884.
Ally Sloper was created in 1867 by Charles H. Ross and his wife Emile de Tessier (under the pseudonym Marie Duval) for the magazine Judy. The character later graduated to his own weekly publication in 1884 called Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday, and acquired a new artist in William Baxter. When Baxter died in 1888, W. Fletcher Thomas took over until the end of the 19th Century, superseded by C.H. Chapman, who drew it until the closure of the comic in 1916. Like most early British comics, Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday was aimed at adults. The publication was full of social satire and humourous commentary, cartoons and short strips. (The closest equivalent today would be Private Eye.)
It’s rather good timing as Simon Grennan, Roger Sabin and Julian Waite have a fascinating book coming from Myriad Editions celebrating the work of Marie Duval this spring, and it includes a fair chunk of her Ally Sloper material, it’s a pretty remarkable peek into an almost forgotten part of British comics history and an early (and hugely successful) woman creator. Marie Duval is available for pre-order on our site now.
Lizz Lunney’s Frog Chorus Feelings Board…
Over at her Facebook page, the fantastic Lizz Lunney gives us this… what she feels when she hears The Frog Chorus…
Venerable Brit comic legend 2000 AD has entertained us with more than forty years of Thrill Power, but it has suffered somewhat on the creative side with an image as a boy’s club, with only a handful of women writers, artists, colourists and letterers over the years. It’s something they have been trying to change, and this summer they are publishing a 48-page 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special which will be entirely written and illustrated by an all-female creative team. From the press release:
“On sale 20 June, the 48-page 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special will have an all-female roster of writers, artists, colourists and letterers, with covers from Tula Lotay (Supreme: Blue Rose, Bodies) and newcomer Emily Zeinner, and all-new stories by Alex De Campi (Twisted Romance, No Mercy), Maura McHugh (Witchfinder, The Nail), Tillie Walden (On A Sunbeam, The End of Summer), Katy Rex (Jade Street Protection Services), Laura Bailey (Future Shocks) and many more.
A unique venture in the history of Britain’s biggest comic, most of the creators will be working on the galaxy of 2000 AD characters for the very first time, including Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Psi-Judge Anderson and DeMarco, P.I..
2000 AD editor Matt Smith said: ‘I’m especially excited to welcome a group of new creators to 2000 AD, most of whom are making their debuts at the House of Tharg. This year’s historic Sci-Fi Special is going to be packed with unique voices and amazing talent.‘”
It’s a great idea to open up the doors like this, kudos to Team Tharg for doing it, and let’s hope it leads to more new female talent appearing more regularly in the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. Two further specials are planned for 2018, with Rebellion further exploiting their acquisition of the Egmont Gleetway archive for more classic (non 2000 AD) Brit comics material, which we heartily approve of (we’ve been saying for years how poorly served classic UK comics material is compared to the US scene), and in October there will be another Scream and Misty special, in time for Halloween.
The trailer for the forthcoming Star Wars spinoff film about our favourite space-going scoundrel’s younger years hit the web:
Deadpool meets Cable
More trailery goodness with the cracked, foul-mouthed, innuendo-laden genius we expect for a Deadpool movie:
Jessica Jones returns to screens
Small screen trailer news too as Netflix released a trailer for Jessica Jones season two, based on Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ Alias excellent series (currently running a new mini series at Marvel and retitled to match the TV show). I really enjoyed the first series – it feels a little to me that wave of Marvel TV shows hass been a law of diminishing returns, with Jones and Daredevil working well, while I found Cage and Punisher watchable but nothing to write home about (and I won’t even talk about Iron Fist), although the Defenders team-up of them all was rather fun. But for me the Jessica Jones series topped even the DD one, so I am more than happy to see a second season on the way soon.
Zoom and Ink
DC Comics has announced two new imprints aimed at younger comics readers, DC Zoom and DC Ink, designed to cover middle school and young adult age ranges respectively. Titles so far announced for an autumn launch include a Harley Quinn title by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh, a Mera graphic novel by Steve Pugh and the existing DC Super Hero Girls series will have a new volume, Search for Atlantis by Shea Fontana and Yancey Labat, included in the new range.
(annoyingly no credit was mentioned on the artist here – if anyone knows, please tell us so we can credit them properly!)
Always good to see any initiative aimed at bringing in young readers; DC has always had several titles aimed at young readers but it makes sense to have imprints specifically looking after this field, especially given kid’s books tend to be one part of the market that just keep growing sales in general. Let’s hope they get a longer run that the Minx imprint a few years ago which had some cracking manga-digest sized titles aimed at teen readers, but sadly stopped, far too soon in my opinion. (via Batman News)
Bendis at DC
On related DC news, the first titles the acclaimed Brian Michael Bendis will be working on, following his much-publicised move from Marvel, have been announced. His first story (with artist Jim Lee) will be on Action Comics as it hits the remarkable milestone #1000 issue (due April 18th), May sees Bendis embark on Man of Steel, a six-part miniseries to be published weekly, unusual for US comics, with the series set to “shake up the classic story of Krypton’s final days and Kal-El’s path to becoming an iconic hero, introducing a new villain that knows a terrifying secret behind the destruction of Superman’s homeworld.”
(cover art for Action Comics #1000 by Jim Lee and Scott Williams, to be published to mark the 80th anniversary of the original Action Comics in April)
Superman #1, with art by Ivan Reis, debuts in July, and Bendis’ gritty crime tales from Jinxworld will be coming to DC (digitally at first), while there will also be a mysterious “curated imprint” which DC isn’t revealing much information on as yet, but which they say “will feature some of Bendis’ all-time favorite characters in very unique and unusual situations, combined with new characters created specifically for this new imprint.”
Dark Horse announced that Stan Sakai’s long-running and hugely respected Usagi Yojimbo comics have been optioned by French studio Gaumont: “Gaumont has optioned the iconic, multi-generational comic book series Usagi Yojimbo from the series creator, writer, and illustrator Stan Sakai, to be developed into an animated TV series. First published in 1984, the multiple award-winning Usagi Yojimbo is to be co-produced by Gaumont, Sakai, James Wan’s Atomic Monster, and Dark Horse Entertainment’s Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg who will serve as executive producers, with Chris Tongue as co-executive producer. The announcement was made today by Gaumont’s President of Animation, Nicolas Atlan.
“Usagi Yojimbo has been much sought after for many years, and we are honored to work with Stan Sakai to translate his multi-generational stories into the first ever TV series,” commented Atlan. “Usagi Yojimbo’s blend of history and mythology, clever balance between action and comedy, and real-world touchpoints combined with the supernatural, together with the passionate fan base that Stan has already amassed, makes this an incredibly exciting property to develop with our partners Atomic Monster and Dark Horse Entertainment.”
“We get fan mail from readers of all ages across the globe who have been asking to see Usagi Yojimbo in his own TV series,” added Sakai. “With Gaumont, James Wan and his team at Atomic Monster, and Dark Horse Entertainment, we have the best creative talent on board to bring the adventures I have been creating for over 30 years to life.””