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Big week for Brendan McCarthy fans

Good news for fans of the lesser-spotted psychedelic comics legend Brendan McCarthy. This Wednesday will see the release of IDW Publishing’s The Zaucer of Zilk #1 in the United States, and in the United Kingdom, the new issue of The Judge Dredd Megazine (#329) comes festooned in a wraparound image of Judge Anderson. This cover is something of a warm-up for McCarthy, as he has an Anderson back-up strip in Issue 2 of IDW’s upcoming Judge Dredd comic, written by Duane Swierczynski. Images from both below.

Anyone who missed the U.K. publication of The Zaucer of Zilk is in for a real treat. McCarthy says the work has “been described as Harry Potter meets Yellow Submarine. .. Mix a bit of David Lynch in there and I’ll go along with that.”  I’d throw in a recommendation for fans of Dr. Strange (it’s a massive Ditko fan doing a story about a dimension’s Sorcerer Supreme, after all), and McCarthy’s previous cynical hipster superheroes, like Paradax, Zenith and Rogan Gosh.

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Kickstart My Art | Judge Dredd miniatures game Block Wars


There’s been a long history of games adaptations of Judge Dredd, going back to the first board game released by Games Workshop in 1982, and their role-playing game of 1985. Back then, Games Workshop’s miniature-making division Citadel released many waves of Judge Dredd figures. I bought many of those as a lad, with plenty of them still in my parents’ attic, in various states of assembly.

There have been a few iterations between then and now, but one thing is for sure, the coming-to-an-end-soon Kickstarter campaign for the latest generation of Judge Dredd miniatures from Mongoose is a rousing success, with nearly $80,000 pledged now from an initial goal of $2,000. Their rulebook for the game is a free download, so have a look, and if you’re hooked, throw them a few dollars. At the rate they’re going, they’ll be able to make miniatures of every character ever to grace the strip.

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Dredd fan film Judge Minty to premiere at Leeds Film Festival

Judge Dredd fans have another cinematic version of their favorite antihero to look forward to (no, there hasn’t been a last-minute, sequel-saving, boost to the box-office haul of Dredd 3D). The short fan film Judge Minty, which has had a production period running almost parallel to the official movie, has announced it is to premiere at the Leeds Film Festival on Nov. 12, with a second showing at the Leeds Thought Bubble comics festival Nov. 18.

The movie has plenty of close links to the comic and its fandom: Dredd is played in the film by artist Greg Staples, and the script was written by regular 2000AD contributor Michael Carroll, adapting a classic John Wagner and Mick McMahon story. The teaser trailer, which has been doing the rounds for more two years now, shows that it is tantalizingly possible to do an incredibly faithful live-action Judge Dredd on a television budget. Make it so, BBC/HBO commissioning bods!

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Seeing Dredd 3D this weekend? Here’s some history of the character


A fairly definitive history of 2000AD was published a few years ago, in the form of Thrill Power Overload, but that volume was written by David Bishop, the man original 2000AD-creator and UK comics prime mover Pat Mills came to view as his nemesis (no pun intended).  As such, I’m unsurprised that Mills has at various times planned to write his own version of the events of 2000AD‘s launch, and apparently, in the current post-Dredd 3D climate, publishers are again showing interest in the book. Mills has posted an extract from the chapter on the hard-fought gestation of Judge Dredd at his recently-started blog. It’s a very personal version of events – Mills is prone to skip about tangentially wherever his memory takes him, and why not? He’s earned the privilege.

Over at io9, author David J Williams has a short essay pitched at introducing 2000AD to a wider science fiction-appreciating audience.  There’s nothing there that should be new to any comics-literate passer-by, but its good to see the movie being put in a wider context for any curious newcomers thrown in that direction.

Art Barrage | U.K. cartoonists feeling frisky

Art Barrage favorite Rob Davis has debuted the cover for his adaptation of Don Quixote Part Two. Davis’ work on the first book of Cervantes’ masterpiece was that rare treat, an adaptation that crossed from one media to another and still seemed fresh rather than redundant. This is because Davis is a creator of rare intellect and taste, with his blog being the place to see the amount of thought he puts into every project he embarks upon.

When I mention here that the U.K. is going through a Golden Age for graphic novel publishing, Davis has proven to be a key figure in its renaissance. Two of the publishers now regularly producing a steady stream of great books have worked with him, with Self Made Hero releasing these Don Quixote volumes (there’s a collected edition hitting the American market in the not-too-distant future); the ground-breaking anthology he co-edited with Woodrow Phoenix for Blank Slate Books, Nelson, would surely have won a multitude of awards this year if it had been published by one of the big U.S. indies (no, really; if you haven’t read it, click the link, look at that list of contributors, and ask yourself if it isn’t worth a punt, you won’t regret it).

More below, including another Don Quixote cover by Davis, and work by Jonathan Edwards, Rian Hughes, Etherington Brothers and more.

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Jock creates limited-edition Mondo poster for Dredd 3D

Entertainment Weekly has debuted Mondo’s Dredd 3D poster created by Jock for Fantastic Fest, which begins Thursday in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2005, the annual event is the largest genre film festival in the United States, and this year plays host to a screen of director Pete Travis’ Judge Dredd adaptation, attended by stars Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, and screenwriter Alex Garland.

Initially at least, poster be available only at the festival; however, any left over will be sold online. Jock has been working a lot lately with Mondo, the collectible art boutique arm of Alamo Drafthouse, producing limited-edition posters for The Dark Knight Rises and The Raid: Redemption.

Dredd 3D opens Friday nationwide.

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Chris Weston on his return to 2000AD with ‘Death of Dan-E Cannon’


The timing really couldn’t be better: 2000AD reaches its 1,800th issue the week after the U.K. release of the latest movie adaptation of its lynchpin, Judge Dredd. Even the most die-hard 2000AD fan would have found it hard to summon the bravado to predict just how successful the film would prove in its first weekend. A great time, then, for a relaunch issue of the revered anthology comic, with a headline-grabbing Simon Bisley cover, and a standalone Dredd story both written and drawn by the great Chris Weston.

With the first Dredd movie adaptation, 1995′s Sylvester Stallone star vehicle, previously very much a sore subject for fans of the character, maybe now is a time to put lay old ghosts to rest. To forgive and forget. To put old grudges behind.  Or maybe sod that — now is the time for some arch-triumphalism at the expense of that terrible old flick, and run a strip called “The Death of Dan-E Cannon,” a title seemingly designed to troll the director of the box-office flop that nearly brought the comic to its knees in the mid-’90s?

We spoke to Chris Weston about his abiding love for 2000AD, his feelings about comic-to-film adaptations in general, and whether dissing one of the U.S.’s top TV producers so publicly could prove to be a bad career move. You’ll never work in this town again! 

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Comics A.M. | Despite overall growth, sales slipped for most of Top 25

Aquaman #12, one of just two ongoing titles in August's Top 25 that saw an increase

Retailing | ICv2 analyzes the August direct market numbers and comes up with some interesting patterns: While the market as a whole is up, the number of comics with sales of more than 1,000 has been declining; sales dropped a bit for most ongoing comics series in the Top 25, but strong sales of Before Watchmen and two annuals more than compensated for that; and graphic novels sell in far lower numbers than comics, but because many of them are backlist titles, the numbers still increase from year to year. ICv2 also posted lists of last month’s Top 300 comics and graphic novels. [ICv2]

Publishing | Yet another big publisher spawns a graphic novel imprint: This time it’s Penguin, whose Berkley/NAL division will launch a graphic novel imprint, InkLit, next month. Helmed by former DC vice president and Yen Press co-founder Rich Johnson, InkLit will publish both original graphic novels and adaptations of prose works. The line will begin with Vol. 1 of Patricia Briggs’s Alpha and Omega, which collects the trades published by Dynamite; the second volume will be all new material. Also in the works are books by Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Sage Stossel. [Publishers Weekly]

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Bill Sienkiewicz rolls a critical success on D&D painting

And not just any Dungeons & Dragons, but the ’80s cartoon version, which never looked this good.

Monster Brains has a whole gallery of Sienkiewicz featuring Judge Dredd, Conan and a ton of art from his out-of-print 1985 Vampyres portfolio.

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Comics A.M. | Batman dominates August bookstore sales

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Retailing | DC Comics dominated bookstore graphic novel sales in August, probably because of the release of The Dark Knight Rises and a “buy two, get one free” sale on DC graphic novels at Barnes & Noble. Six of the Top 10 titles are Batman comics, with The Walking Dead, Watchmen, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Naruto each taking a slot as well. [ICv2]

Creators | Judge Dredd writer John Wagner talks about the origins of his character, the importance of U.K. publisher DC Thomson, and his dislike of digital comics. [The Daily Record]

Creators | Nick Spencer guests on Kieron Gillen’s podcast to discuss Morning Glories. [Kieron Gillen's Workblog]

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Previews: What Looks Good for November

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics — now with 100 percent more JK Parkin! Michael May, Graeme McMillan, Chris Arrant and JK have each picked the five comics they’re most anticipating in order to create a Top 20 (or so; we overlap sometimes) of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

47 Ronin #1

John Parkin

47 Ronin #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99): Mike Richardson, Dark Horse’s head honcho, teams with Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai to retell the story of the 47 ronin who avenged their master after he was forced to commit ritual suicide for assaulting a court official. It will be both very cool and a little odd to see Sakai drawing samurai that aren’t anthropomorphic animals and aren’t in black and white (the book’s full color), but I’ve always admired his clean style. As an added bonus, Kazuo Koike of Lone Wolf and Cub fame consulted on the project, so this should be a treat.

Great Pacific #1 (Image Comics, $2.99): Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo have come up with a book that I just love the high concept behind: the heir to one of America’s most successful oil companies moves to the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch and declares it a sovereign country. He then fights giant sea monsters, based on the preview art that’s been released, which is an added bonus.

Marvel NOW!: This might be cheating, but Marvel has 10 new comics debuting in November under the Marvel NOW! banner. Mark Waid on Hulk? John Romita on Captain America? Matt Fraction writing Fantastic Four and FF? Jonathan Hickman on Avengers? Yeah, I’ll just lump all these together and hope no one notices I’m gaming the system here …

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown: Fantagraphics continues its series of high-end collections of the best of Carl Barks’ duck stories, with the Christmas-themed third volume arriving just in time to be stuffed in somebody’s stocking.

Retrovirus (Image Comics, $16.99): Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s latest graphic novel, drawn by Norberto Fernandez, is about a research scientist who specializes in viruses heading to Antarctica to examine a perfectly preserved caveman. I’m a fan of Palmiotti and Gray’s work together, from Jonah Hex to The Monolith (which gets the collection treatment in November), and this one sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

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Dredd comic prequel delves into the world of Ma-Ma

With a little more than two weeks before director Pete Travis’ Dredd 3D arrives in theaters, Lionsgate and 2000AD have released a 10-page prequel comic that delves into the backstory of Ma-Ma (played in the film by Lena Headey), the drug lord responsible for the Slo-Mo epidemic plaguing Mega-City One.

Titled “Top of the World, Ma-Ma,” the comic is written by 2000AD editor Matt Smith, with art by Henry Flint, colors by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland and a cover by Greg Staples.

Dredd 3D opens Sept. 21.

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Mark Torres to launch Ink:Toxicated at Singapore convention

IDW Publishing staple Mark Torres is launching an art book Ink:Toxicated this weekend at the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention. The book is published in a very rock ‘n’ roll 12-inch by 12-inch format, and features 48 pages of work done for IDW, Image and Dark Horse alongside assorted pin-ups and sketches. The book also includes “an exclusive mini-graphic concierto” (sic) called Sliver. There’s a large gallery of great-looking preview art at Parka Blogs.

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Art Barrage | Dan Quintana’s Batman, Ian McQue’s Dredd and more


By now, everyone’s bound to have seen Matt Fraction’s Fantastic Four Tumblr, yeah? The writer is publicly working out his background reading for taking over the comic those of us of a certain age still see as Marvel’s flagship, and it’s highly entertaining. My favorite of all the panels Fraction has flagged up so far has been the one above, which you could imagine being slapped around town on a sticker by Shepard Fairey. Andre the giant has a posse, and it includes Professor X. Much more art, including work by Dan Quintana, Ian McQue, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell and Tim Hamilton, below.

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Grant & Trevallion bring Ratfink back to Judge Dredd Megazine


Inside the new issue of 2000AD is the above teaser for the lead strip in next month’s  Judge Dredd Megazine (scan via ECBT2000AD). Any day with news of upcoming art by Tiernen Trevallion is a good day, so I tracked him down to his local golf club and ruthlessly extracted the following preview page from him: Continue Reading »


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