"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Veteran British writer Steve Moore, one of the original contributors to The Fortean Times who’s also credited with teaching a young Alan Moore how to write comics scripts, passed away over the weekend at age 64.
The news was first reported this morning by Strange Attractor, a journal for which Moore regularly wrote. “Steve was a warm, wise and gentle man, with a surreal sense of humour and an astoundingly deep knowledge that covered history, the I Ching, forteana, magic, oriental mysticism, martial arts cinema, science fiction, underground comics and worlds more,” the remembrance states.
A contributor to 2000AD, Warrior and Doctor Who Magazine, Moore’s list of accomplishments includes pioneering the Future Shocks story format and co-creating “Red Fang,” “Valkyries” and Axel Pressbutton. A longtime friend of Alan Moore (no relation), he wrote “Young Tom Strong” and “Jonni Future” in Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales, as well as a novelization of the film V For Vendetta.
Legal | Ecuadorean cartoonist Xavier Bonilla has received a court summons on unspecified charges that seem to relate to a cartoon that President Rafael Correa finds offensive. The case was brought by Ecuador’s new media regulator; Correa has stepped up attacks on the press in recent years, and the newspaper that runs Bonilla’s cartoons, El Universo, has been prosecuted in the past. [Business Standard]
Censorship | Michael Dooley looks at successful and unsuccessful attempts to remove comics from schools and libraries over the past 13 years; this short roundup is informative in its own right, and it’s apparently a sidebar to a longer article that’s not available for free. [Print Magazine]
The good burghers of 2000AD have sent along a raft of preview images for new thrills they’ll be running in their venerable anthology in 2014:
• Paul Grist’s Demon Nic. Appearing in the creator-owned slot of the Judge Dredd Megazine previously held by critically acclaimed strips as “Numbercruncher” and “Ordinary,” this will be Grist’s first work for the 2000AD stable since 1993.
Veteran U.K. writer Gordon Rennie has been using his Facebook account this week to tease several upcoming projects, including a new edition of the long-out-of-print White Trash, the series that propelled the late, great Martin Emond to stardom. Emond loved rock ‘n’ roll, and rock ‘n’ roll loved him: He was regularly employed by Glenn Danzig at his horror/smut imprint Verotik, and had signed a deal to develop his character Switch Blade into an animated series with Interscope Records just days before he committed suicide in 2004.
White Trash features thinly veiled analogs for Elvis Presley and Axl Rose going together on an anarchic road trip across America. Rennie posted this image when he released the news, a cover from the original Tundra/Atomeka miniseries. I’m presuming this new Titan collection may well include shorts featuring these characters done for other sources, such as Heavy Metal and the U.K. anthology Blast!
When I was a kid growing up in the United Kingdom in the mid-’70s, it seemed like all the comics I read had flamboyant and entirely fictional editorial staff. DC Thomson’s Warlord was purportedly edited by Sir Peter Flint, who was also the lead character in the comic. His nephew Fireball (yeah, I know!) similarly “edited” the publisher’s other action anthology Bullet. Looking back, this tradition was something of an affront. Sure, it seemed like innocent fun and games, but given DC Thomson’s longstanding corporate failure to credit creators by name for their work, it begins to seem more sinister.
I’ve since heard the theory that the art assistants at DC Thomson in Dundee, Scotland, were so scrupulous about whiting out the signatures artists tried to sneak onto their pages because of paranoia that IPC in London would poach their best talents. That had happened before, in 1964, when the great Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale changed sides and caused a massive shift in the balance of power between the Big Two of U.K. comics. Hiding your editorial staff behind fictional identities seems more threatening from the position of adulthood and hindsight: The publisher is saying we can replace you and no-one will even notice! How’s that for job security?
One of the best new artists to break through at 2000AD in these past few years is Tiernen Trevallion. His style reminds me of all the right people (Kev Walker, Mike Mignola, Simon Bisley, Kevin O’Neill), and his inking is always deliciously thick and glossy.
I don’t often check on the progress of my old blog, but when I do, I tend to notice the entry from November 2009 on Trevallion’s designs for the Doctor Who animation “Dreamland” still racks up a fair few hits every month. And when not engaged in comics or as a conceptual artist, he has a third string to his bow, creating fine art of that low brow, transgressive kind I love so much.
On Facebook, Trevallion has been going on a big pre-Christmas push, selling prints of assorted images he has produced for 2000AD, and some images from the “Samovar of Filth,” an ongoing series of tributes to the art of sleazy 1960s paperbacks. It’s all great stuff, and he encourages everyone to email him for details (email@example.com) of what he has left, quotes for worldwide shipping, etc. Drop him a line.
Retailing | Fans of the Fall River, Massachusetts, retailer StillPoint Comics, Cards & Games kicked in $5,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to keep the store in business. The shop, which opened in 1997, had to close for 10 days last month after its power was shut off. [The Herald News]
Publishing | Following confirmation last month of a Space Mountain graphic novel series, Heidi MacDonald talks with executives from Disney Publishing Worldwide about the expansion of the new Disney Comics imprint. [Publishers Weekly]
Events | Sean Kleefeld reports on Day 1 of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art in Columbus, Ohio. [Kleefeld on Comics]
Shirts based on comics characters isn’t anything new, but Judge Dredd and 2000AD publisher Rebellion recently partnered with the U.K. T-shirt boutique Last Exit to Nowhere to produce this amazing-looking design. Although it’s based on the film iteration of Dredd rather than the comic itself, it’s still a shirt well worth owning — even with the additional expense of shipping outside the United Kingdom.
We’ve featured street art by the collective EndoftheLine before (this post from July 2012 included murals in the styles of French maestros Moebius and McBess), but it’s recently posted images of some impressive new projects, again making it abundantly clear how much the group is influenced by comics.
Last week EndoftheLine unveiled a piece in London’s Hoxton district celebrating 30 years of 2000AD‘s “Slaine” with this spot-on tribute to the work of Simon Bisley, painted by founder Jim Vision.
I’m very fond of the output of artist David Roach. The Welshman has been an on-off contributor to 2000AD since 1988, as well as regularly working as an inker on the strip features in Doctor Who Magazine. I don’t remember him working much recently in the United States, where he regularly turned up at DC and Dark Horse both as a penciler and inker. He comes from a family of academics, and has been developing a parallel career of late as something of a comic book and illustration historian.
Roach regularly uses his Facebook page as an art blog, showcasing artists of all stripes, just as likely to be a fine artist as a comic illustrator, as well as occasionally featuring art from his own collection. This week he has been displaying scans from what he calls “surely the rarest collectible in the comics history.”
Today 2000AD debuted all 20 volumes of the Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files series on its iOS app, making three decades’ worth of stories available for download on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. A 21st volume will be published next month, with subsequent tomes to follow.
Retailing for $13.99 (£9.99), The Complete Case Files feature work from the likes of John Wagner, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Dave Gibbons, Mark Millar, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Mick McMahon, Alan Grant, John Smith, Brendan McCarthy and Garry Leach.
You can see a selection of pages below.
The proposed “day of action” for the “Make a Dredd Sequel” campaign turns out to be a rather cleverly planned piece of corporate synergy. The date, Sept, 17, is of course a New Comics Day, and the day 2000AD Prog 1850 (as anticipated by ROBOT 6’s Brigid Alverson in this week’s Cheat Sheet), and Judge Dredd Megazine #340 are released. Both comics are optimized for new readers, featuring high-profile new series and contributors.
These new series include a Dredd strip based upon the movie continuity (as previewed here last week), and “Ordinary,” a creator-owned strip by the critically acclaimed team of Rob Williams and D’Israeli (again, previewed here last week); the press release from the publisher Rebellion flags the recent high-profile gigs for all the talent involved, such as “Damnation Station” being written by Mighty Avengers‘ Al Ewing.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. It’s only Monday, but our contributors have their eyes on Wednesday releases, ranging from John Wagner and Arthur Ranson’s Button Man: Get Harry Ex to a new jumping-on point for 2000AD to … well, it’s not exactly a comic book but it does involve two comics creators.
To see what we’re looking forward to this week, just keep reading.
Next week sees the release of Judge Dredd Megazine #340, featuring the debut of “Ordinary,” a creator-owned strip by writer Rob Williams and artist D’Israeli, the creative team behind the acclaimed 2000AD strip “Low Life,: I’ve been a big fan of both their work for quite a while now — in Williams’ case, since his first published work, the great Cla$$war, in 2002; in the case of D’Israeli, scarily enough, it’s been since his “Timulo'”strip ran in Deadline in the late 1980s. I managed to grab a word with Williams about the new series, and he happily obliged, and sent along a veritable mountain of preview art to boot.
Robot 6: So Rob, the last ordinary man in a world of the super-powered, eh? But what’s Ordinary really about?
Rob Williams: I’m a little wary of frightening people off by talking about themes. “Ordinary” is filled with spectacle, big-Hollywood action set pieces and outlandish characters that are, hopefully, quite memorable, This is a world where everyone gets a different superpower, after all — no two people are the same. But, at its heart, it’s about emotionally allowing yourself to come to terms with fatherhood, really. Out main character, Michael Fisher, is a divorcee who very rarely sees his son when we first meet him. And then the world starts going to hell and it’s up to him to try and find this boy he hardly knows even though there’s a super-powered danger around every turn. And, for Michael, it’s coming to realise the real reason he never sees his son. The book’s called “Ordinary” for reasons that aren’t just about super powers and explosions and giants and talking bears and huge battles. There’s an emotional arc for our lead that is pretty unusual for modern comics, I think.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Although the U.S. Postal Service is closed today for Labor Day, UPS is going full steam ahead, which means comics arrive on Wednesday as usual. And so some of the ROBOT contributors took a break from the long weekend to make their top picks for the week. Keep reading to see what they chose …