Across The Pond

Hello British comic fans as I present to you another action-packed (and late!) edition of Across The Pond’s monthly News and Views column. For any American who missed last mont’s edition and has just happened to check us out after my superb (ahem) Marvel News and Views, this is just like DC/Marvel News and Views with the sole exception that I get to talk about the best comics in the world.

Anyway on with the show as it’s the thirteenth hour and Daron’s sharpening the knife that will have my name on it if this is even later than it is already.


Dreddcon 5 News

2000AD’s annual convention Dreddcon took place last Saturday from the Oxford Union. Sadly I missed Dreddcon despite having been planning on going all year”¦but hey when you owe (censored) there’s some things you just can’t do”¦like eat. Oh well there’s always next year (Dreddcon that is, not eating).

However, my absence from Dreddcon does not stop me providing you with the news that came out of this unabashed celebration of 2000AD and beer that was Dreddcon.

All stories taken from 2000ADonline’s message board discussion about the weekend, any mistakes are therefore their fault not mine J!

Ian & Steve Yeowell say there’s two more Red Seas in the works. Steve also said that John Smith hadn’t written the next Tyranny Rex script yet, so that’ll be a while off.

Great to hear that there’s two more Red Seas in the works as it’s the type of comic that we’d see more of if the industry tried to appeal to normal people instead of the same stagnant fanbase. Plus the two stories so far have been cracking yarns with the mixture between daredevil action, attractive characterisation and OTT mythology producing an enjoyable pulp adventure read. Yeowell’s art isn’t bad either!

On the other hand its sad to hear that we’ll be waiting for a while for the next Tyranny Rex series as The Comeback effectively re-established the character and it now really needs some quick follow on stories to build on the momentum.

Simon Davis is due to start work on Black Siddha 3 in January. He also impressed everyone by not doing sketches but quick watercolours for everyone.“

Great news, I was a huge fan of the first book of Black Siddha and the second book improved dramatically as its run progressed with Davis getting the opportunity to depict some truly bonkers visuals. The only problem is that this means we’ll be waiting quite some time for the third book, which will mean that it may suffer from the same problem as the second book in having to remind readers about what they read almost a year ago.

As for the watercolours”¦well that’s just showing off J.

Talking to Charlie Adlard, Pat hasn’t written Savage II yet. And Charlie will be too busy to do it if Mills doesn’t write it soon.

Bollocks! I must admit with Adlard taking on Walking Dead I doubted that he’d be back Savage II, which would suck as he was awesome on the first book. He and Mills really established an artistic rapport with the result being some spectacular pages as they brought guerrilla war and insurgency to modern day Britain. Come on Pat! Get writing”¦please.

“My one snippet is that Boo Cook would like to draw some psychedelic, McCarthy kind, Dredds.”

Oh man how much would this rule? Whilst Boo is excelling at the moment in Asylum with a more naturalistic style he has the imagination to let rip and go truly bonkers, so producing some fantastic visuals. I’d love to see him and John Smith team up on Dredd, that’d rule so much.

Fans of Edgy and D’issy should look out for Kingdom of the Wicked around Christmas. It’s in the same format as Scarlet Traces and in colour! COLOUR! And has the Heavy Metal prologue. Really, if you liked Leviathan and Scarlet Traces you should buy it without thinking. It’s as different again as they are from each other but just luvverly. D’man in question was the only person I heard described as a genius by any other droid during the whole weekend.

Not news as just (its been announced for ages) but can I second this? I’ve never read Kingdom of the Wicked but Edginton and D’Israeli together is pure gold with Scarlet Traces and Leviathan being brilliant reads with Edginton’s writing being truly experimental and thought provoking whilst D’Israeli is just, well D’Israeli.

On a similar note it was announced that Scarlet Traces II is to be published by Dark Horse soon in singles and then a trade. For those who don’t know, the original Scarlet Traces was set in London after the British Empire’s victory against the Martians in War of the Worlds with Britain preparing to launch an offensive on Mars. It’s brilliant stuff, with lots of cool conspiracy and sci-fi stuff. The sequel is set in the 1930s and promises “Dan Dare style action” and sounds equally brilliant.

Leatherjacket, looks like a super soldier sci-fi thing. Gritty. Man suspended in tank. Couldn’t make out the rest. As I said previously it was difficult to hear sometimes

A slight breakdown in communication here but from what I can make out Mark Harrison is drawing a series called Leatherjacket that is indeed a super soldier sci-fi thing. There’s some confusion as to whose writing it with some saying Rob Williams, some saying John Smith (Leatherjacket was an aborted Vertigo comic he wrote for Chris Weston) and of course the knee-jerk reaction to “drawn by Mark Harrison” is “written by Dan Abnett”. Whateve’s the truth it sounds interesting, especially the whispers that Harrison has updated his style, which is a relief as it was beginning to stagnate towards the end of the Durham Red trilogy.

There was some news about something I thought was very exciting, but I’m not about to jinx it by telling y’all what it is.

@#$!%&* tease!


Solar Wind Issue 4 “It’s Aggrotastic!”

Paul Scott was good enough to forward this message from Cosmic Ray, editor of Solar Wind a premenient British small press comic:

Solar Wind is in part a tribute to the heady days of the 1970’s and 1980’s British adventure comics, and an affectionate parody of it. Anyone who lived through these exciting times and read such comics, Solar Wind is waiting for them, having been freshly chrono-imported from simpler times.

Its editor is Cosmic Ray, that Zastard son of a collapsed star, who along with his androits and drones produces the best comic this site of Sangwar VII. There are better comics on the other side of Sangwar VII, but sadly this is beyond the reach of human beings.

The comic is presented in an anthology format (with obligatory free gift) as a rival to the comics of the day. And as usual, the issue is a jumping on point for the interested reader. As well as SF adventure strips there are fun adverts, reade’s letters and features and described by many who read it as ‘laugh out loud funny’.

The upcoming issue 4 is a merger with ‘The Geeze’, edited by Hard Man Harry, and the merger brings a whole new level of 70’s extreme aggro and associated hooliganism to the comic. Be careful though, there may be zombies.

Solar Wind has received such accolades as a 9 out of 10 review in Comics International, an SFX Fanzine of the Month award and a National Comic Award and continues to go from strength to strength. When your great-grandchildren ask if you read Solar Wind in the 21st century, do you really want to have to tell them you didn’t?

The art shown is the unlettered artwork from Jack Knacker and the Invasion of the Space Scum. Jack Knacker once saved Great Britain from the French and the evil Napoleon Clone-a-Part. But now, a forgotten and broken man, his trusty piece of 2×4 discarded, has Jack lost the Knack? And our country?! There’s only one way to find out, and that’s in the pages of Solar Wind!

Visit our website for more details


Forthcoming 2000AD Trades

Dreddcon also saw 2000AD’s head of trades Jamie Boardman announced their line up for the New Year. Thankfully, he was kind enough to give me the list of their forthcoming releases:

NB: The first three are books published with DC for the American market whilst the fourth is published by Rebellion on their own primarily for the European market. Also the credits are by me not Jamie, so any mistakes are my fault.

January

ABC Warriors: The Meknificent Seven by Pat Mills et al
Sinister Dexter: Murder 101 by Dan Abnett et al
Bad Company: Goodbye, Krool World by Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy
Shakara by Robbie Morrison and Henry Flint

Good choices here, with Shakara and Bad Company both classics that are as well off the beaten track as they are brilliant. The ABC Warriors and Sinister Dexter trades are both part of complete reprints, which is great news as these characters have such a rich collection of adventures that they deserve to be the centre of the type of TPB library that lesser characters have (although I won’t be getting this ABC Warriors trade as I have the Titan print). If I was to have one moan, it would be the fact that probably the best and most inventive story of the bunch in Shakara is not getting the exposure in America it deserves, which is a shame.

February

Rogue Trooper: The Future of War by Gerry Finely Day et al
Devlin Waugh: Red Tide by John Smith and Colin MacNeil
Skizz by Alan Moore and Jim Balkie
Carver Hale: Twisting the Knife by Mike Carey and

Another good selection with the mixture between Golden Age classics, newer material and releases whose creators will have name recognition in America maintained. It is however a shame to see Red Tide being reprinted so early, I was hoping that they’d reprint the 2000AD Devlin Waugh mega-epic first. Still all these are good choices and Skizz is a must read for any Alan Moore fan as its one of his first multi-part stories. It began as an attempted spoiler to ET but Moore being Moore there’s a load of anti-establishment politics and genius writing tacked on to what should have been a fairly forgettable story. In many ways it’s like his ABC work but with a harsher edge.

March

Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death by John Wagner and Brian Bolland
Nikolai Dante: The Great Game by Robbie Morrison and Si Fraser
Sláine: Warrior’s Dawn by Pat Mills et al
Lobster Random: No Gain, No Pain by Si Spurrier and Carl Critchlow

Another good selection with the beginning of the complete reprint of Nikolai Dante being very welcome as its one of the 2000AD series that will most appeal to Vertigo audience with its tale of the bastard child of one of the leading Russian aristocratic families being sucked into a power struggle that eventually leads to civil war. It’s an exhaustive and moving story that inspired two artists in Si Fraser and John Burns to produce some of the best art of their career. Also of note is Dredd vs Death, which contains some of Brian Bolland’s best artwork in all its black and white glory. The Euro reprint is also worth searching for as it reprints Lobster Random (hopefully including the forthcoming sequel), which was one of the best stories of all of 2003 with a riotous blend of anarchic action, torture, grumpy old man nastiness and full on robot on man action that’ll appeal to any finds of Transmetropolitan.

April

Strontium Dog: The Early Cases by John Wagner, Alan Grant & Carlos Ezquerra
Robo-Hunter: Day of the Droids by John Wagner, Alan Grant & Ian Gibson
Thirteen by Mike Carey and Andy Clarke
Fiends of the Eastern Front by Gerry Finely Day

Another good set of choices, especially the two classics ones that we’ll be required reading and are again part of reprint collections. Thirteen is also worth a look containing as it does great writing by Mike Carey and fantastic art by Andy Clarke.

May
ABC Warriors: The Black Hole by Pat Mills, Simon Bisley and S.M.S
Sinister Dexter: Slay Per View by Dan Abnett et al
Judge Anderson: Anderson, Psi-Division by Alan Grant et al
Leviathan by Iain Edginton and D’Israeli

Yet another good month with the highlight being the reprint of The Black Hole, which is Simon Bisley’s breakthrough story and contains perhaps his best art as drawing in black and white forces him to be tighter with his linework than usual. Yet again the Euro-reprint is very interesting, being the majestic Leviathan by Edginton and D’Israeli, which is the story of a mysterious murder aboard a cruise liner”¦that has been at sea for decades! Excellent story.

June
Rogue Trooper: Fort Neuro by Gerry Finely Day et al
The Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson
The Complete Indigo Prime by John Smith and Chris Weston
Bec and Kawl: Bloody Students by Si Spurrier and Steve Roberts

We finish our run down with a fantastic month with the reprinting for the American market of perhaps Alan Moore’s greatest work in The Ballad of Halo Jones; the story of how an ordinary civilian young women ends up fighting in a war in the far corners of the galaxy. Also worth a look is The Complete Indigo Prime if only for the promise of the artwork that Chris Weston considers the finest in his career.

Overall this is a very good selection of books by rebelling with a smart balance between classic and newer material. If I were to have two complaints they would be a) the lack of Dredd reprints and b) the amount of books that have already been reprinting in the last four years by Titan, something that certainly threatens sales. Also I hope Rebellion are better at getting their self-published euro-style books into shops then there were in the immediate aftermath of their split with Titan as the early collections were incredibly difficult to find.

Anyway, great choices and you should seriously consider buying”¦oh at least all of them

“¦

I’m not joking all of these are smegging excellent and if I didn’t already own many of them in previous editions I’d buy them all.


Future Quake News

Future Quake is a quarterly sci-fi comic that bears homage to the classic Future Shocks of yore with self-contained sci-fi stories with twist endings being the norm.

With Future Quake 3 just published there has been some chances/announcements concerning the future of the ‘Quake.

Firstly, there’s the fact that previously all seeing editor and lead writer Arthur Wyatt is no longer so and instead from issue 4 Future Quake will be edited by Richard Clements, David Evans and James Mackay. It goes without saying that I wish them good luck in building on the excellent work that Wyatt has done.

Of course The Tripod are getting started putting their first issue together and naturally want submissions from eager and able writers and artists. Here’s how they advertised it on 2000Adonline’s message board:

“(Future Quake is) Dedicated to showcasing work by new writers and artists, we publish self-contained comic stories, preferably of 5 pages or less and usually of a sci-fi/fantasy bent.

WRITERS: If you have a story idea, email a script synopsis to futurequake@aol.com. NB: Please head your email “Script Submission”.
DEADLINE: 5th November 2004
While we’re not wedded to the idea of the “twist” ending in quite the way 2000AD’s Future Shocks series is, it might be a good idea to take a look at the guidelines for new writers elsewhere on this site before submitting.

ARTISTS: We would love to hear from any and all aspiring comics artists. Please contact us at futurequake@aol.com. NB: Please head your email “Art Submission”, and include a sample of your work.
Note on art samples: obviously, since this is a comic, we’d rather have a sample showing strip work. If you want a clearer idea, the first issue of Future Quake is available to download at the site linked below.
Deadline: 19th November 2004.”

Finally there’s the small matter of the comic book equivalent of Pop Idol that is their reade’s competition. They announced it as such on the 2000adonline message board:

“Future Quake is proud to announce our first-ever Reader’s Competition!

In the short space of time since they first burst onto the UK’s comics scene, Inaki Miranda and Eva de la Cruz have built up a strong reputation for beautiful manga-esque visuals, working both on the UK’s top strip Judge Dredd (2000AD, Metro newspaper) and creator-owned series The Chase.

Now, you have the chance to see your script brought to life by two of the comics scene’s most exciting young artists!

Your brief is to come up with a script for a one-page strip. It has to contain no more than 6 individual panels, and must consist of dialogue only (i.e. no narration). Inaki & Eva will be judging the competition themselves, and have made it clear that they prefer action/adventure style stories. Most importantly, the strip must be self-contained and tell a complete story in those 6 panels.

Think you’re up to the challenge? Email your script to futurequake@aol.com, along with your contact details!

DEADLINE 19th November 2004.”

Sounds slightly interesting although I’ve got admit I’m not a huge fan of Inaki and company anyway. Plus I think received wisdom is that a one-page strip is actually incredibly difficult to write and so is the last thing you would want to give a newbie. And in any case, if there were good enough to write a story to be published in the comic via a competition then surely they’d be good enough to get published via the normal submissions route. I don’t want to be negative because it’s a cute idea to get people involved with the comic but I’m not sure whether it’ll work all that well.


Faces

2000AD’s Matt Smith was kind enough to give us a preview of Faces by John Higgins and Mindy Newell that is the sequel to the Peter Milligan/John Higgins series Freaks. Its starts Prog 1412, on sale 20th October 2004.


Angel Fire

We finish this week on news that the highly acclaimed writer/colourist Chris Blythe has teamed with the equally acclaimed artist Steve Parkhouse to produce Angel Fire; a dark, thought provoking horror graphic novel that is out on October 31st. In a press release they describe it as follows:

“Meet John Dury. The poster boy for a morally corrupt generation. A corporate predator who hunts and kills businesses for money, power and bonuses paid in designer drugs.

The latest drug to hit the city is Angel Fire. A powerful sedative and hallucinogen that seems to open the door to the next world.

Instead of finding the keys to heaven, John opens the door to hell – spiralling into a nightmare dimension of ghosts and demons – and the faceless shadow that waits in the deepest blackest reaches of his own soul.

Part Faustian fable, part Gothic horror story – Angel Fire is a powerful tale of corruption and redemption”

Chris Blythe and Steve Parkhouse have taken a tremendous gamble with self-publishing this graphic novel especially after the toll that the collapse of Crossgen has taken on Chris. To me when you read the enthusiasm they have for this story you understand why they’ve taken these risks and I for one hope it pays off for them. I have a very good-looking preview copy waiting to be reviewed next week but until then you’ll have to make do with these exclusive preview images supplied to us by Chris Blythe.

For more details visit their website for details including more sample pages, wallpapers, positive reviews from the likes of Matt Smith and Joe Casey and much, much more!

Okay that’s it! That’s all the British comic news and views you’ll be getting out of me until four weeks (ish) time. But stay tuned to The Nexus for reviews of 2000AD, Judge Dredd Megazine and other British titles. Plus let’s not forget the excellent column of the incomparable Floyd Kermode who’ll be back next week with a missive entitled Size Matters.