Thursday, 29 December 2011

STRIP Magazine rides with the Devil!

Here's the cover to Issue 3 of STRIP Magazine, on sale in UK comic shops next month.

The Devil's Heritage is a new strip to the title, by Jerome Felix and Paul Gastine. A mystery adventure set in pre-World War 2 France, the art is gorgeous and we think you'll enjoy it.

First published in France by Bamboo, this is our first ongoing story from continental creators.

Also in the issue:

• A special Black Ops Extreme 'flashback' story drawn by Nick Dyer - whose art on this issue's Strip Challenge entry, Black Dragon, secured him the commission

• Wizard Wex battles a deadly monster in Age of Heroes from James Hudnall and John Ridgway

• Young Mia is drawn deeper into an ancient battle of the gods in Warpaint by Phil Hester and John McCrea

• Can a shark expert put an end to Hook Jaw in our classic strip from Ken Armstrong and Ramon Sola?

• Who is Bogey-Man Bob?

We've also got interviews with comic creators Jason Cobley and John Ridgway - and a special retrospective feature on Starlord, 2000AD's short-lived stablemate, the comic that first brought Britain Strontium Dog!

Issue 3 is on sale in January 2012. Happy New Year!

Friday, 16 December 2011

STRIP Magazine Issue 2 On Sale Now

STRIP Magazine #2 is on sale now in all good UK comic shops, including many offering mail order.


In STRIP Magazine Issue Two, with a cover by Rufus Dayglo...

Black Ops Xtreme Part 2, written by John Freeman and drawn by PJ Holden: the team are sent to South America to kill a dangerous terrorist!
Warpaint Part 2 by Phil Hester and John McCrea: Mia learns more about an ancient war!
Age of Heroes Part 2 by James Hudnall and John Ridgway: the magician Wex battles for his life against deadly monsters!
Recovery Inc. by Michael Penick and Dean Deckard: the company is hired to retrieve a top secret stolen prototype!
Hook Jaw, re-mastered by Jim Campbell and Gary Caldwell: Joy over an oil strike turns sour as the great white shark Hook Jaw attacks!
• 'Cold Hard Facts' - a man from the 20th Century finds the future is not the paradise he expected
• The second winner of our 'Strip Challenge' - "The Citadel Codex", set in ancient Mexico

PLUS - an exclusive interview with comic artist John McCrea, British comics news, a competition to win copies of Paul Gravett's new book 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die and the new collection of Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson's Mazeworld; and a sneak preview of Crucible, one of the new strips coming up next year STRIP Magazine!

You can now subscribe to Strip Magazine online at www.printmediaproductions.com at our introductory rates as advertised in Issue 1 of our new magazine.

STRIP Magazine #2 is also available from iTunes

• Visit www.printmediaproductions.com to subscribe 

Buy STRIP Magazine #2 from ForbiddenPlanet.com


Buy STRIP Magazine #1 from ForbiddenPlanet.com  


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

STRIP Magazine #2 Digital Edition on sale now

The iPad-only digital edition of STRIP Magazine #2 is now on sale from iTunes - again in advance of the print edition.

Due to a small but unexpected delivery delay from Bosnia, the print edition will not be on sale until 14th December, for which we apologize.

Subscriber copies should be with our subscriptions department this week, along with a limited re-stock of Issue 1 for subscribers who have asked to start their sub from our first issue.

In STRIP Magazine Issue Two, with a cover by Rufus Dayglo...

Black Ops Xtreme Part 2, written by John Freeman and drawn by PJ Holden: the team are sent to South America to kill a dangerous terrorist!
Warpaint Part 2 by Phil Hester and John McCrea: Mia learns more about an ancient war!
Age of Heroes Part 2 by James Hudnall and John Ridgway: the magician Wex battles for his life against deadly monsters!
Recovery Inc. by Michael Penick and Dean Deckard: the company is hired to retrieve a top secret stolen prototype!
Hook Jaw, re-mastered by Jim Campbell and Gary Caldwell: Joy over an oil strike turns sour as the great white shark Hook Jaw attacks!
• 'Cold Hard Facts' - a man from the 20th Century finds the future is not the paradise he expected
• The second winner of our 'Strip Challenge' - "The Citadel Codex", set in ancient Mexico

PLUS - an exclusive interview with comic artist John McCrea, British comics news, a competition to win copies of Paul Gravett's new book 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die and the new collection of Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson's Mazeworld; and a sneak preview of Crucible, one of the new strips coming up next year STRIP Magazine!

Buy STRIP Magazine #2 from iTunes
You can now subscribe to Strip Magazine online at www.printmediaproductions.com at our introductory rates as advertised in Issue 1 of our new magazine.

Until 15th December 2011 a six-issue subscription costs £14.99 including handling and a 12-issue subscription costs £25.99.

Payment is currently by Paypal online - or you can send a cheque or postal order made payable to Print Media Productions to PMP (Subscriptions), PO Box 721, Lancaster LA1 4XE.

If mailing, please ensure you include your name and address, email and daytime telephone number and clearly state how many issues you are subscribing for and which issue you want to subscribe from.

From 15th December 2011 our subscriptions will be at the normal rate of £16.90 (6 issues) and £33.90 (12 issues).

• Visit www.printmediaproductions.com to subscribe 
Buy STRIP Magazine #2 from iTunes

Friday, 18 November 2011

Subscribe to STRIP Magazine

You can now subscribe to Strip Magazine online at www.printmediaproductions.com at our introductory rates as advertised in Issue 1 of our new magazine.

Until 15th December 2011 a six-issue subscription costs £14.99 including handling and a 12-issue subscription costs £25.99.

Payment is currently by Paypal online - or you can send a cheque or postal order made payable to Print Media Productions to PMP (Subscriptions), PO Box 721, Lancaster LA1 4XE.

If mailing, please ensure you include your name and address, email and daytime telephone number and clearly state how many issues you are subscribing for and which issue you want to subscribe from.

From 15th December 2011 our subscriptions will be at the normal rate of £16.90 (6 issues) and £33.90 (12 issues).


• Visit www.printmediaproductions.com to subscribe

Background Detail: Black Ops Extreme

Black Ops Extreme - 'A Piece of the Action' - art by Nick Dyer
I just love it when an artist throws in something into the background of a comic strip that sparks ideas for future stories.

Case in point is this panel from a special flashback episode of Black Ops Extreme for Issue 3, drawn by Nick Dyer (stepping in for one issue, with PJ Holden still working hard on the main tale). BOX Commander Trask is at a mystery location - clearly before the events of Issue 1! - waiting for an uncomfortable debrief.

My script just asked for a Harrier jump jet to be on the airfield outside but Nick, one of our Strip Challenge winners, dropped in an old FRS1 Sea Harrier - which deputy editor Jeremy Briggs tells me is a Fighter/Reconnaisance/Strike Mark 1.

In Navy parlance "strike" means nuclear strike as they could carry WE177 free-fall nuclear bombs.

While the Harriers scrapped by the government in the Defence Review - now being bought by the US - aren't the same model, it seems a casual script suggestion has echoes in the real world. Someone clearly bought this FRS1 - but what for?  Its nuclear capability?

So now I'm thinking -- how can I get this into the main story at some point?  Thanks, Nick. (and Jeremy for the background).

Two Royal Navy British Aerospace Sea Harrier FRS.1 from 800
Naval Air Squadron, assigned to the aircraft carrier
HMS Illustrious, approach the flight deck of the U.S. Navy
aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). via Wikipedia
The last Royal Navy FRS1 flew in the mid-1990s although the Indian Navy still have them. The Royal Navy FRS1 survivors were upgraded to FA2 standard with a thimble nose with the Blue Vixen radar rather than the pointed nose with the Blue Fox in the art above.

The Labour government scrapped the FA2s in 2006 which was when we lost the ability to retake the Falklands unaided because Sea Harriers were proper fighters while Harriers were only ground attack aircraft.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

STRIP Magazine Issue 2 set for 1st December release

As readers of STRIP Magazine know, Issue 1 had a delayed released thanks to courier problems, so Issue 2 is set to go on sale 1st December, not 17th November as stated in the Magazine (which was obviously printed before our print run got stuck in a time warp somewhere in Austria).

Wrapped in a terrific Hookjaw cover from Rufus Dayglo, we have more great strips, including Warpaint by Phil Hester and John McCrea, Age of Heroes by James Hudnall and John Ridgway and Black Ops Extreme, drawn by PJ Holden.

The issue also featues a sneek peak at Crucible, due for publication in 2012, drawn by former 2000AD artist Smuzz (older readers will recall his amazing work on ABC Warriors) and an exclusive interview with artist John McCrea, talking about Warpaint and his hopes for an animated spin-off.

We're also giving away another giant-sized poster - Rufus' Hookjaw cover! How can you resist?

Issue One sold out quickly in UK comics shops (we're supplying new stock for those of you still chasing a copy) - so make sure you tell your comics retailer to put Issue 2 aside for you!

Hookjaw © 2011 Egmont UK

Belfast signing for BOX artist PJ Holden


PJ Holden - artist on our Black Ops Extreme strip - will be doing a signing at Forbidden Planet International Belfast (facebook link) on Saturday 3rd December between 1.00 and 3.00pm.

In addition to Black Ops Extreme, PJ's credits include 2000AD, Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Games Workshop and Egmont UK.  As PJ mentioned in his interview in Issue 1, he's also working on Dept. of Monsterology (written by Gordon Rennie), which will be published by Renegade Entertainment next year.

Copies of STRIP Magazine Issue 1 - featuring a cover by PJ - will be on sale.

• Forbidden Planet International Belfast is at 52-54 Ann Street (facing Victoria Square), BT1 4EG Belfast. Twitter: https://twitter.com/FPI_Belfast Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Forbidden-Planet-International-Belfast/113286515387696 Main Site: http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Strip Issue One on sale today in UK comic shops




STRIP Magazine Issue One is available in British comics shops from today. The digital edition for iPad is also available and can be downloaded from the iTunes Store. The cost of either edition is £2.99. (of course, the digital edition doesn't come with the fab giant Mirabilis poster).

And in case you'd forgotten - STRIP Magazine is an adventure anthology comic featuring some great art and stories from some brilliant creators including PJ Holden (Judge Dredd), John McCrea (Hitman, The Boys), Michael Penick (Insurrection), John Ridgway and many more.

Offering a range of strip stories, comics news, interviews and features, plus a fully re-mastered version of the classic British comic strip Hookjaw, this is a first issue you will not want to miss!

As the title's editor, I'd like to thank everyone who's been involved so far - it's not been the easiest of 'births' - and everyone who's already bought the iPad edition, or is heading out to buy the comic today.

Print Media is a new British company formed by Ivo Milicevic, who has been publishing comics and graphic albums in Bosnia and Croatia for 20 years, working with publishers such as Bamboo, Casterman Dupuis, Les Humanoides Associes and King Features Syndicate.

PMP UK plans to publish comics and graphic albums in the UK market, developing their own characters but also working directly with creators and other publishers to create new graphic albums and comic strips.

• More info at www.printmediaproductions.com

• There's a list of comic shops we know are stocking the title, some of whom do mail order, on the STRIP blog (see column right, further information welcomed from comic shops): http://stripcomicmagazineuk.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Digital STRIP Magazine now on sale for iPad

Print Media Productions is pleased to announce the launch of a digital edition of the new UK adventure anthology comic STRIP Magazine, published in partnership with the UK's mobile comics company ROK Comics.

Initially only available in print in dedicated UK comic shops, the digital edition of the first issue is now available worldwide for iPad from the Apple iTunes store.

Published by new graphic novel and magazine company Print Media Productions, STRIP Magazine is an adventure anthology comic featuring some great art and stories from some brilliant creators including PJ Holden (Judge Dredd), John McCrea (Hitman, The Boys), Michael Penick (Insurrection), John Ridgway and many more.

Offering a range of strip stories, comics news, interviews and features, plus a fully re-mastered version of the classic British comic strip Hookjaw, this is a first issue you will not want to miss!

ROK Comics partnership with Print Media Productions is one of several new agreements with comics publishers and comic creators. These include the release of an iPad edition of The Iron Moon, the steampunk graphic novel created by acclaimed film writer Stephen Walsh and veteran British artist Keith Page and available in print from PMP.

A special 'prequel' strip for The Iron Moon appears in STRIP Magazine #1.

The opening page of Black Ops Xtreme,
drawn by PJ Holden.
© Print Media Productions
ROK Comics has previously published creator-owned and licensed strips for mobile, with three iPhone apps – Ligeia the Vampire by Rodrigo Diaz Ricci, The Mobile Gospel by Rich Diesslin and Madd Science by Steve English.

Further iPhone and iPad apps, working with a number of different publishers, are in development.

ROK Comics, part of ROK Global PLC, continues to provide mobile comics content for WAP subscription services across the globe and is currently working with partners in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Listed on the Open Market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, ROK Global PLC was co-founded by US Billionaire John Paul DeJoria and UK-based serial technology-specialist entrepreneur, Jonathan Kendrick.

In addition to being co-founder of ROK, John Paul DeJoria is Chairman and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, the producer and manufacturer of Paul Mitchell hair care products and is also co-founder of Patron Tequila, the world’s leading premium tequila brand.

ROK has pioneered many new technologies in the rapidly-evolving mobile and web space, including high quality mass-market Mobile TV.

• STRIP Magazine #1 can be downloaded at: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/strip-magazine-1/id474222695?mt=8

• The Iron Moon can be downloaded at: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-iron-moon/id472627046?mt=8

• Visit ROK Comics at: www.rokcomics.com

Monday, 24 October 2011

Strip Magazine launch now 2nd November

The delayed delivery of STRIP Magazine Issue 1 from Bosnia has forced us to push back its UK comic shop launch to 2nd November.

Naturally, you can imagine that after all the hard work of so many great creators and the enthusiastic support of so many fans and the British comic press, this is an unwelcome development but Diamond have confirmed arrival of the Magazine so there should be no more unwelcome delays.

I want to apologize to comic fans eagerly awaiting our title, who will now have to wait a little longer.

In some ways, the only consolation I have personally is that the decision to 'test bed' the magazine's production cycle by, initially, selling exclusively through UK comic shops, was a wise move on the part of our publisher, Ivo Milicevic.

We've already experienced some bizarre blips in trans-European delivery on our books, and will now be building more time into our production schedule to hopefully avoid this unfortunate situation arising again.

- John Freeman, Editor

• STRIP Magazine Issue 1 will now being on sale from 2nd November 2011 in all good UK comic shops. You will soon also be able to order single issues online from www.printmediaproductions.com.

• A digital edition, working in partnership with ROK Comics, available via iTunes, is awaiting Apple approval

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

STRIP Magazine: Publication Delay statement

Despite our best efforts, STRIP Magazine will not be on sale tomorrow (20th) due to courier problems beyond our control.

We will advise of new on sale asap as soon as it is confirmed, but please be assured we're working closely with Diamond to get our first issue into UK comic shops as soon as we can.

Naturally, we are extremely disappointed and annoyed by this turn of events and we know that this news will disappoint many people waiting for the Magazine's debut.

As soon as we have definite news we will publish it here and on the Print Media Productions web site: www.printmediaproductions.com

Friday, 23 September 2011

Hookjaw Attacks STRIP Magazine Issue 2!

Over on his official blog, ace artist (and major Hookjaw fan) Rufus Dayglo has posted details of how he created the stuning image that graces STRIP Magazine Issue 2, on sale 17th November - which was approved just yesterday by Egmont.

"Recently, John Freeman asked me if I’d be up for drawing the cover for the second issue of the soon to be launched comic book, STRIP Magazine," he exaplains.

"Best of all…. The cover was of Hookjaw, from Action, the 70s most mischievous comic book, and certainly the bloodiest thing to ever see print in mainstream UK Comics!
 
"Ramon Sola is one of my absolute heroes, and he drew Hookjaw in Action weekly.. so I was very excited about drawing this cover! 
 
"I originally wanted to show the whole of HookJaw," he explains, "and thought I’d try the old 70s technique of putting another panel within his shape… so the Screaming diver is ‘reflected’ in HookJaw’s body… but I thought it looked kinda messy.
 
"So I tried it with the diver superimposed inside HookJaw’s mouth.. to suggest what was about to happen to him…  but again…  I thought it looked kinda confusing, and was a bit too busy.. no breathing space, so I abandonned that one too!
 
 "Eventually, I went for a real 70s comic book approach…. The diver almost reaching the surface, and HookJaw looming over him.  This also meant I could emphasize the ocean, and blood!
 
"This is probably as close to drawing my childhood comics as I’ll get…  I can’t wait to see it in print!"
 
Needless to say, we think the cover's absolutely amazing and we're really chuffed Rufus, who's very busy with Tank Girl and more, found the time to draw it.
 
Issue 2 featuring this cover is on sale 17th November 2011.
 
Originally written by Ken Armstrong, who now lives in Australia, and drawn by Ramon Sola, Hookjaw is being remastered for STRIP Magazine in sparkling new colour, with no script edits (there will be no Greedo shot first type nonsense!)
 
• You can see the other stages of this cover's development on Rufus' blog: http://rufusdayglo.blogspot.com/2011/09/death-from-below.html

STRIP Magazine PREVIEWS Code for Issue 1 (on sale 20th October) is Code is JUL117915
 
HookJaw © 2011 Egmont UK

Strip Magazine Issue 1 - Sneak Preview Released

Click to view the full digital publication online
Read
Strip Magazine
Issue 1

- Sneak Preview
We're pleased to offer Comic fans a special sampler of STRIP Magazine Issue 1, our new British comics anthology, on sale from 20th October 2011 in all good UK comic shops.

This online sampler features pages of some of the strips - plus feature spreads from our exclusive interview with artist PJ Holden and our feature on 1970s comic Action - to give you a taster of the new title.

We're also delighted to reveal the first winners of our STRIP Challenge (with more to be announced later) - David and Graham Stoddart, whose Agent Syber features in Issue 1. Pages from this great strip feature in the sampler. 

STRIP Magazine Issue 1 is a 68-page issue, featuring comics by PJ Holden, John McCrea, Phil Hester, James Hudnall, John Ridgway, Jon Rushby, Mauricet, Keith Page, Stephen Walsh and others - including a re-presentation of the classic Action strip, Hookjaw. It comes with a pullout Warpaint mini-poster by John McCrea and a dazzling giant poster promoting Mirabilis, one of our ongoing graphic album series.

• To order the print magazine, give your UK comic shop this Diamond Previews order code: JUL117915.


• For more about Print Media projects bookmark: www.printmediaproductions.com

STRIP Magazine is © 2011 Print Media Productions. All strip material © respective creators

Friday, 26 August 2011

Frontier brings readers a very Weird Wild West!

Print Media Productions is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of Frontier: Dealing with Demons by Jason Cobley and Andrew Wildman.

The Wild West... and Daisy Adams is suddenly all alone, living on the plains, left with her father's old coat and a catapult. Then Mitch Seeker, the son of a sheriff, runs into her life. And they've been running ever since, chasing werewolves, ghosts and demons, on a quest to track down the man who turned them both into orphans and unleashed weirdness into the Wild West.

In 1866, out on the Frontier, things got Weird. History failed to record everything that happened, but Daisy wrote it all down in her diaries. In Frontier, we follow Mitch and Daisy as they seek justice but end up finding more adventure and danger than they counted on. It's weird. It's wild. It happened out west!

First published in the acclaimed Random House weekly comic The DFC, Print Media Productions is delighted to bring you this collection of Britain's weirdest western comic – Frontier: Dealing with Demons. Weaving an engaging, adventure-filled tale of derring-do in the American West, this collected edition of Frontier from Jason Cobley and Andrew Wildman includes additional feature material, including pages from Daisy's secret diary and reveals just how the story was created.

Frontier – now being considered as a possible TV series with a trailer shot earlier this year – will appeal to anyone who's ever enjoyed a cowboy film or comic, but has an added fantasy element that will draw in plenty more readers. With great characters, werewolves, ancient gods and demons and a bad guy that bullets can't kill, there's plenty to enjoy.

Writer Jason Cobley has adapted Dracula, Frankenstein and An Inspector Calls as graphic novels, working with artists Staz Johnson, Declan Shalvey and Will Volley to bring the classics to new life. As well as working as a teacher for almost two decades, he has written the adventures of Captain Winston Bulldog for almost as long, with a variety of UK comic artists including Neill Cameron, most notably in the epic Bulldog: Empire. Based in East Anglia, holding back the sea with just a dustbin lid and some twine, Jason is currently working on new projects, including a version of the legend of folk hero Tom Hickathrift with artist Paul Harrison Davies. Jason met Frontier collaborator Andrew Wildman through a shared love for rock band Marillion. Sad, but we all need a hobby.

Andrew Wildman is a designer and illustrator of some 25 years industry experience. His work as an illustrator has been used in advertising and publishing but it is for his work in the field of comics that he is best known, illustrating for books such as Transformers, The X-Men, Spider-Man and Venom. Further work includes character and environment design as well as storyboarding and animated movie production for the Video Games industries on projects such as Wing Commander, The Mummy, Gunlok, Jesse James: Gunfighter, Delta Force, and Dredd v Death.

Andrew was also Head Character Designer for the animated TV shows Legend of The Dragon and Zorro: Generation Z, Production Designer on the children’s animated TV show The Matt Hatter Chronicles which is due to air early 2012 and storyboard artist on the BBC horror series, The Fades, as well as creating a Children’s TV series with Bob the Builder scriptwriter Simon Jowett and developing his own Graphic Novel, Horizon.

Frontier: Dealing with Demons is being handled for bookshops by Gazelle Books and will be listed in the October 2011 Diamond Previews catalogue.

Technical Data

Release Date: September 2011
Format: Hardcover Graphic Album
Page Count: 68
Publisher: Print Media Productions Ltd.
Web: www.printmediaproductions.com
ISBN-10: 0956712134
ISBN-13: 9780956712134
Product Dimensions: 31.5 x 23.5 cm
List Price: £14.99





Wednesday, 17 August 2011

STRIP Magazine Initial Launch News

Work is proceeding apace on STRIP Magazine with the strip line up now firmed up for the first issues.

The magazine is on course to launch as planned in October 2011, but as a result of discussions with our news stand distributor we have decided to delay a wide roll out until 2012.

As a result of these discussions, STRIP will launch in UK comic shops only, solicited through Diamond, but we still plan to widen our sales to the UK high street in 2012, effectively 're-launching' the title after its initial tranche of content draws to a close.

Naturally, we expect some potential readers who've been following developments might be disappointed by this news but we actually see it as an opportunity to "test bed" the title, in the a similar way to part works publishers who roll out test magazines in a key region to see if the project appeals.

We will also, of course, be offering subscriptions to the magazine and we're looking at a digital edition - although there are issues about that relating to the use of creator-owned strips that need to be resolved.

STRIP Magazine Issue One includes Black Ops Xtreme, drawn by PJ Holden; Warpaint by Phil Hester and John McCrea - the first episode will feature in an upcoming issue of Tripwire (see news story); Age of Heroes by James Hudnall and John Ridgway; Hookjaw, re-mastered by Jim Campbell and Gary Caldwell; 'Hush Hush' a prequel story to Stephen Walsh and Keith Page's Iron Moon graphic album; Recovery Inc. by Michael Penick and Dean Deckard; and the first winners of our Strip Challenge.

(The initial winners for the first three slots have been notified and we'll be advising creators of the next three slots very soon).

We'll also have features on the 1970s comic Action that originally published Hookjaw, written by Moose Harris; and an exclusive interview with PJ Holden by Matt Badham.

The bumper 68-page STRIP Magazine Issue One will cost £2.99 and will come with a free poster, and will be on sale in October.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Tripwire #55 previews "Warpaint" from Phil Hester and John McCrea

The next print edition of media magazine Tripwire will preview the first episode of Phil Hester and John McCrea's "Warpaint", which will run in STRIP Magazine from Issue 1.

Part of the Magazine's "StripWire" section, you'll be able to read the entire first episode of the creator-owned story which centres on a teenage girl granted supernatural powers in defence of the planet.

Edited by Joel Meadows, a staunch supporter of British comics for many years, Tripwire #55 also features an exclusive Elric cover painted by David Michael Beck, as the magazine celebrate 50 years of the White Wolf with his creator Michael Moorcock and a review BOOM!’s comic - plus, there's an interview with its writer Chris Roberson.

Elsewhere, the magazine commemorates the Fantastic Four’s 50th birthday, and takes a long look at Green Lantern from the Golden Age all the way up to the movie and everything in between.

Also included is an interview with comics creator Jason Aaron of Scalped and Punisher fame, and a chat with London-based author Christopher Fowler and a profileof  movie location scouting company Sarah Eastel.

Walt Simonson's eagerly awaited The Judas Coin hardcover, to be published this Christmas, gets a preview, including a unique sketchbook and pencils and inks section; and Shaenon Garrity writes about the history of webcomics seen from the inside.

Rounding the issue out there are reviews of several of the Eisner-nominated graphic novels and 22 pages of comic strip content in the STRIPWIRE section, which, given its "Warpaint" section, is something STRIP Magazine followers won't want to miss...

• Tripwire #55 Diamond item code is MAY111336. For more information and to check out the digital editions of  Tripwire visit www.tripwire-magazine.com

Friday, 29 July 2011

John McCrea at MCM Expo Manchester

The first MCM Expo in Manchester, taking place tomorrow (Saturday 30th July) has gathered a strong line up of comic creators alongside its TV and film guests.

Warpaint artist John McCrea will be appearing at the event, and you might also catch Andrew Chiu, who we hope to get started on a new strip for late 2012 soon, written by Jasper Bark.

Andrew's currently working on a new strip for ROK Comics, which will debut soon online.

Among the comic creators at the event are artists Leigh Gallagher, Stephen Downey, Al Davison and writer Antony Johnston, along with indie creators such as Lizz Lunney, Sergeant Mike Battle creator Graham Pearce, Rob Jackson and Adam Cadwell.

Joining them will be independent publishers such as Time Bomb Comics , publishers of Stephen Walsh and Keith Page's London Calling, and Accent UK.

Taking place at the Manchester Central venue, the event will also see appearances by Red Dwarf star Craig Charles; Sarah Jane Adventures actress Anjili Mohindra and actors Warwick Davis and Kenny Baker.

• There's more info on the event at: www.manchestermcmexpo.com

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Strip Spotlight Challenge - Sending Your Entries

We're getting a lot of entries for our first STRIP SPOTLIGHT CHALLENGE - but some behind the scenes technical glitch means the email delivery address - stripspotlightATprintmediaproductions.com - is not currently working.

(We're in the process of bringing the full printmediaproductions.com web site online and that's thrown an electronic spanner in the mail forwarding works)

We're working to fix this as soon as possible, but in the mean time if you have an entry for the challenge, please send it to johnfreeman6-stripchallenge@yahoo.co.uk

Our apologies to everyone who's had problems sending in their entry, and thanks to everyone who's brought the problem to our attention.

We have extended the deadline for entries to 12 noon BST 23rd July 2011 because of this issue.


Full details of the Strip Challenge are here

Monday, 13 June 2011

Mirabilis artist Bikes It in aid of Cancer charity!



Mirabilis artist Leo Hartas has signed up to do a 100 mile cycle ride in a day in aid of Devon-based chartity Force Cancer.

"Yes! It’s stupid!" he admits, but "It is for a good cause."

If you' like to sponsor Leo on line go to Just Giving - http://www.justgiving.com/Leo-Hartas.

"I've had so many donations that my initial target of £100 was whizzed past faster than a tortoise on a race bike," he reveals. "I've now upped the target to £200!

"Thank you so much for your donations, and there's still plenty of time to give to this great charity."

Based in Exeter, the FORCE Cancer Charity has played a vital role in local cancer services for nearly 25 years. It holds the belief that anyone diagnosed with cancer deserves the best possible treatment and professional support close to home.

Their work finances improvements in patient care through research, the purchase of advanced equipment and their Cancer Support and Information Centre located in the grounds of the RD&E Hospital.

Mirabilis: Year of Wonders Volume 1 was solicited by Diamond (Order Code FEB111949), joining Keith Page and Stephen Walsh's Iron Moon title as the first graphic album projects from the British comics company Print Media Productions. Both albums will be re-solicited in July Previews.

• Advance copies of Mirabilis: Year of Wonders Book One are still available now only from First Age Comics, The Assembly Rooms, Lancaster; order it online from the First Age eBay Store

More about Mirabilis: Year of Wonders on the STRIP Magazine blog

Mirabilis on iTunes

• Learn more at www.mirabilis-yearofwonders.com

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Mirabilis: Year of Wonders advance copies on sale now

We're delighted to announce that advance copies of Print Media Productions hardcover edition of Mirabilis: Year of Wonders - Winter Book 1 are now on sale exclusively from First Age Comics, Lancaster.

A huge graphic novel project by Dave Morris and Leo Hartas, Mirabilis is a fantasy adventure story for young adults which opens New Year’s Day 1901, when a green comet appears in the sky. As it gets bigger, the line between reality and fantasy blurs. Soon there are mermaids in the Thames, elves in Parliament and a dragon roosting on Big Ben. But then the comet rounds the sun and starts to fade. Will the world be able to go back to a life without magic?

The full-colour graphic novel was originally serialized in The DFC, the weekly print comic published by Random House UK, who financed the production and has been released as a digital edition for iPad.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the production design on these books," says Dave Morris. "Typography, colours and layouts all add to the reading experience, and Print Media have carried all that through with professionalism and a real eye for detail.

"The end result is not simply our comic between hard covers, but a beautiful work that we think readers will treasure."

Mirabilis: Year of Wonders Volume 1 was solicited by Diamond (Order Code FEB111949), joining Keith Page and Stephen Walsh's Iron Moon title as the first graphic album projects from the new British company. Both albums will be re-solicited in July Previews.

• Advance copies are available now only from First Age Comics, The Assembly Rooms, Lancaster; order it online from the First Age eBay Store

More about Mirabilis: Year of Wonders on the STRIP Magazine blog

Mirabilis on iTunes

• Learn more at www.mirabilis-yearofwonders.com

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Read Strip Magazine Issue Zero

Here's an online version of STRIP Magazine Issue Zero. We hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Will You be in the Strip Spotlight?

PJ Holden's cover for Strip Magazine #1
STRIP Magazine has lined up some great creators for its launch in October 2011 – but will YOU be one of them?

We're looking for six page self-contained action adventure strips to feature in STRIP Magazine. The selected strips will feature in our special Strip Spotlight section – and the creators of published strips will win a cash prize of £250 for publication and, perhaps, the opportunity to turn their story into an ongoing series for our first comic title.

The strip and characters featured will remain your copyright (so if you want to feature your own characters you think would be great part of STRIP Magazine, go right ahead).

STRIP SPOTLIGHT: WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR

Six page, self-contained black and white or colour adventure stories which can have twist or shock endings, or a 'snapshot' of an ongoing tale from creator-owned strips. The strips should be action-oriented, reflecting the tone of STRIP Magazine; they can have an adventure, war, fantasy or science fiction setting but should not veer to the adult, horrific or horror.

You should use the stories as the means to promote a character or a setting you want the reader to know more about. Those strips that get the best response will be considered for ongoing strip slots.

Strips must, of course, be original and not feature characters belonging to other comics companies, and it must be finished work – drawn, inked, coloured (if applicable) and lettered.

WHAT WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR

Ongoing tales; stories full of talking heads; cryptic tales full of unfulfilled mystery and no explanations for what the characters are up to; stories without a beginning, middle and end. Think of this slot as a platform for your best work - in terms of both script and art.

HOW DO I SUBMIT MY STRIP SPOTLIGHT?

  • Send art (JPGs or PDF only, please at this stage) or links to your strip online to edATstripmagazine.co.uk. Please include 'Strip Challenge Entry' in your subject line.
  • Or mail your entries to STRIP Magazine, Print Media Productions Limited, PO Box 721, Lancaster LA1 1XE
  • Entries must be received by 12 noon BST 21st July 2011. Judging will be carried out by the editor and publisher of STRIP Magazine, John Freeman and Ivo Milicevic.
  • After an initial round of judging, narrowing submitted entries to a final 15, the final editorial decision will be made (in partnership with one external judge) to help decide the final winning FIVE entries. The competition will then be re-launched in Issue 5 of STRIP Magazine.
  • All 15 final selections will receive an appraisal of their work from the editor and publisher of STRIP Magazine
Good luck!

Full Terms and Conditions



Entries for our first Strip Spotlight Challenge, which closes 12 noon BST 21st July 2011, must abide by the following guidelines

• Any entries must be sent to Print Media Productions Limited, PO Box 721, Lancaster LA1 1XE. Strip Challenge Entry Submissions Email address: edATstripmagazine.co.uk (Please include the words " Strip Challenge Entry " in your subject line)

• Strip dimensions should ideally be no smaller than 25.5 x 18.5 centimetres

• Only six page, self-contained black and white or colour adventure stories will be accepted; these must be complete art, including lettering

• The strips should be action-oriented, reflecting the tone of Strip Magazine; they can have an adventure, war, fantasy or science fiction setting but should not veer to the adult, horrific or horror.

• You may use the stories as the means to promote a character or a setting you want the reader to know more about. Those strips that get the best response will be considered for ongoing strip slots.

• Strips must be original and not feature characters belonging to other creators, comics or other media companies

• Strips must not include any lewd, adult, sexual material or material including extreme violence (if such action happens, suggest, don't show – let the readers imagination imagine the worst)

• Prose submissions will not be considered

• Do not send original art or other materials – make sure you send copies only

• Make sure that each page includes your name, address, and phone number – written on the back of each art page or contained within the "File Information" if submitting electronically

• If submitting by email, send only material as LOW RESOLUTION .jpgs or PDFs only in the first instance. The strip dimensions should ideally be no smaller than 25.5 x 18.5 centimetres. (Final art for publication will need to be in any standard format such as JPG, TIFF, etc. All files MUST be CMYK. Final files must be 300 dpi (colour), 600 dpi (black and white) and the strip dimensions must be no smaller than 25.5 x 18.5 centimetres)

• We do not accept unsolicited submissions as Word documents or any other image format

• Files sent on CD or DVD should be in any standard format such as JPG, TIFF, etc. All files MUST be CMYK. Files must be 300 dpi (colour), 600 dpi (black and white) and the strip dimensions must be no smaller than 25.5 x 18.5 centimetres)

• All submissions by post should be sent to

Strip Challenge
Print Media Productions Limited
PO Box 721
Lancaster
LA1 1XE

Friday, 13 May 2011

Strip Issue Zero hit by French strike

We're very sorry to announce that our print version of STRIP Magazine Issue Zero - which was to have been be given away free to Bristol International Comic Expo visitors this weekend - has been caught up in an industrial dispute at Charles de Gaulle airport, France.

The promotional magazine,now available to read online here or download as a PDF is a victim of a walkout by staff at the airport's FedEx depot.

Business news site Bloomberg reports FedEx have cancelled several flights and delayed deliveries of thousands of packages because employees in Paris have been walking off the job in a labour dispute - and there is no indication of when the walkout might end.

"FedEx have been very apologetic and tried to find a solution," said STRIP Magazine editor John Freeman, "The company is tweaking flight and delivery plans to blunt the effect of the walkouts, but we've been told it's unlikely we'll receive copies this weekend."

"Naturally, we're sorry to let people down, especially after the positive feedback we've been getting via Twitter and Facebook, but the situation is not of our making.

"We're looking at ways to get print copies of Issue Zero to fans," John added. "We already have copies scheduled to go to Diamond UK, and we've already had offers of other help, which is really heartening.

"There will still be a STRIP Magazine panel at the Expo on Sunday afternoon and I'll be around to talk about our plans at other times."

Wrapped in a cover by Smuzz, Issue Zero features background on key strips in the new comic magazine such as Black Ops Extreme by John Freeman and PJ Holden, Warpaint by Phil Hester and John McCrea, Age of Heroes by James Hudnall and John Ridgway, Savant by Jim Alexander and Ferrer and Carlos Vila - plus some highlights of the upcoming Print Media Productions graphic album range.

There's also a special competition in the Sampler which will offer comic creators the chance to have their work in the title when it launches later in 2011.

Read STRIP Magazine Issue Zero Online

• Let us know what you think via Twitter or Facebook

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Strip Magazine Issue Zero Cover Revealed

Here's the cover of STRIP MAGAZINE Issue Zero - which will be given away free to Bristol International Comic Expo visitors next month

Issue Zero features background on key strips in the new comic magazine such as Black Ops Extreme by John Freeman and PJ Holden, Warpaint by Phil Hester and John McCrea, Age of Heroes by James Hudnall and John Ridgway, Savant by Jim Alexander and Ferrer and Carlos Vila - plus some highlights of the upcoming Print Media Productions graphic album range.

The sampler comes wrapped in a cover by Smuzz, perhaps best known to comics fans for his work on 2000AD's 'ABC Warriors'. The image is taken from his new comic, 'Crucible', which will feature in STRIP Magazine.

There's also a special competition in the Sampler which will offer comic creators the chance to have their work in the title when it launches later in 2011.

Find out more when you pick up your copy at the Bristol Comic Expo!

• Bristol International Comic Expo - 14th - 15th May 2011. More info: www.fantasyevents.org/bristolcomicexpo

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Seek out Savant!

Savant is the creation of Jim Alexander.
Art by Ferrer and Vila.
Print Media Productions is delighted to announce the development of Savant, a new science fiction adventure by Jim Alexander (Judge Dredd Megazine, Generator Rex) with art by acclaimed Spanish artists Josep Lluis Ferrer (2000AD, Starlord) and Carlos Vila.

Savant is a world at the centre of the universe -- or so legend has it -- often referred to as the Planet of Light. At adolescence, many Savants leave the home world to traverse the populated worlds in the search for ‘life experiences’. On their return they download these experiences into the towers of knowledge.

On many worlds the people of Savant have attained mythical status as the chroniclers of important events. It is an intuitive thing -- more than just memory, emotion and intensity are recorded as well, so keeping the moment alive forever.

The story's main character, Lode, is a Savant who has chosen to chronicle the lives of the dying and as a result seeks out war zones. She is not a harbinger of death; but it is death nevertheless that draws her like a moth to a flame.

Savant will first feature in STRIP Magazine, a new monthly comic magazine for the UK market which will be previewed at the Bristol International Comic Expo in May, and launch later in 2011, as part of a publishing program that includes new graphic albums as well as this new magazine title.

Savant © 2011 Print Media Productions
Savant author Jim Alexander had his publishing debut as writer of 'Calhab Justice' for Judge Dredd Megazine. He went on to write for DC (Birds of Prey, Batman 80 Page Giant), Marvel (Marvel Milestones) and Tokyopop (Star Trek Manga). He also worked with artists David Lloyd and Richard Corben on the esteemed European publication Metal Hurlant. In addition to his writing duties on Savant, Jim currently writes Ben 10 and Generator Rex for DC and 'Growing Pains' for New Jersey's Space and Time Magazine.

Comics artist and illustrator Josep Lluis Ferrer, who signs his work as, simply, Ferrer, has been drawing professionally for more than 30 years, half of which have been spent doing comics for various publishers, mostly in Spain.

He has worked for several British publishers, drawing strips such as 'Ants' and 'Robo Hunter' for early issues of 2000AD, and 'Ro Busters' for Starlord. He's also known for his war and science fiction work for DC Thomson, and children’s and horror comics for German publishers, including licensed titles such as The Real Ghostbusters and Captain Future. He's also worked with the principal publishing houses in Spain.

Veteran artist Carlos Vila's work includes art for Italian publishers Ediperiodicci, Charlton Comics, Penthouse Comix (in Spain) and many more publishers.

"Jim's story and Ferrer and Vila's art evokes the kind of buzz I used to get reading Heavy Metal and watching Luc Besson's The Fifth Element," says STRIP Magazine editor John Freeman. "His short pitch was 'Apocalypse Now in Space' -- and the villain of the piece is pretty chilling.

"We know a lot of people are waiting patiently for our new title, and I hope these teasers aren't too tantalising," he adds. " Setting this project up has taken much longer than we expected, but it is starting to come together."

-----
Savant is the creation of Jim Alexander. Art by Ferrer and Vila

Coming Soon: the STRIP Magazine Comic Challenge

The Print Media Productions team would like to thank to many dedicated comics creators who have pitched ideas for graphic albums and comic strips at STRIP Magazine. Your submissions are being considered pending our next round of commissioning, but this will not be until later in 2011.

We will however be announcing a Comic Strip Challenge at the Bristol International Comic Expo in May which will offer the chance for the best creators to have a strip in the new Magazine. Please do not send us submissions until you have seen the guidelines.

Mighty World of Marvel Issue 17
I got one of my first breaks in comics thanks to a 'strip challenge' in Mighty World of Marvel way back in 1984. Editor John Tomlinson published a strip called Cat and Mouse, drawn by Matt Bingham.

I've been enthusing about doing something similar since I first started talking to Ivo Milicevic about the STRIP Magazine project and I'm glad he's backed the idea.

Other titles have also promoted new work in the same way, most recently in CLiNT in the UK, the brainchild of Kick Ass creator Mark Millar and publisher Titan Magazines. 

In addition to the announcement at the Expo, details of the Challenge will appear on our full, official web site when it goes live in the next few weeks.

Writers Jasper Barke and Jim Alexander and others will be joining me as part of a special Print Media Productions panel on Sunday at the Expo.

Bristol International Comic Expo

Please do not send us submissions for the Comic Challenge until you have seen the guidelines

-- John Freeman 

Friday, 4 March 2011

STRIP Magazine editor at Lancaster comics event on 19th March

Lancaster's Storey Creative Industries Centre will host a comic and science fiction fair on Saturday 19th March.

A must for all collectors of Doctor Who, Marvel and DC Comics, film posters, trading cards and toys, along with an appearance by Star Wars robot R2D2,  John Freeman, editor of the upcoming STRIP Magazine will be at this event - and we're sure some local Lancaster-based comic creators will also be putting in appearance, too.

Copies of Iron Moon will be on sale.

The Fair opens at 12 noon, admission £1.

• For enquiries about exhibition stalls contact mse.events@yahoo.com

•  Click here for a Google Map of the location

• Iron Moon by Stephen Walsh and Keith Page is also available now from First Age Comics, The Assembly Rooms, Lancaster


Order it online from the First Age eBay Store

Friday, 25 February 2011

Mirabilis Hardcover editions planned by Print Media Productions

Print Media Productions is delighted to announce it is publishing hardcover editions of Mirabilis: Year of Wonders this year -- a huge graphic novel project by Dave Morris and Leo Hartas.

Mirabilis is a fantasy adventure story for young adults which opens New Year’s Day 1901, when a green comet appears in the sky. As it gets bigger, the line between reality and fantasy blurs. Soon there are mermaids in the Thames, elves in Parliament and a dragon roosting on Big Ben. But then the comet rounds the sun and starts to fade. Will the world be able to go back to a life without magic?

The full-colour graphic novel was originally serialized in The DFC, the weekly print comic published by Random House UK, who financed the production and has been released as a digital edition for iPad.

"I'm a huge fan of this story," says PMP Managing Editor John Freeman. "Dave and Leo have a firm eye on every avenue for getting their wonderful story out there, and we're delighted to be part of their masterplan!"

"We couldn't be more pleased with the production design on these books," says Dave Morris. "Typography, colours and layouts all add to the reading experience, and Print Media have carried all that through with professionalism and a real eye for detail.

"The end result is not simply our comic between hard covers, but a beautiful work that we think readers will treasure."

"It's great to have another publisher showing confidence in British comics publishing," he continues. "Many people in Britain see comics as just for little kids, and are unaware of the rich diversity of creative comics talent we have in this country. We need more graphic novels with compelling characters, relatable storylines and stunning cinematic visuals to prove to those British readers who haven't yet got the message what their neighbours on the Continent have been saying for years - comics are cool!"

"We've been incredibly lucky with our publishers. Print Media really get what we're doing with Mirabilis. They see that it's part of this modern trend in comics to create not just stories but whole universes."


A panel from Dave Morris and Leo Hartas epic Mirabilis tale

The Origins of Mirabilis

Their parents may be more concerned about grocery bills and mortgages, but for thousands of children the biggest casualty of the recession was Britain’s brightest weekly comic The DFC.

Published by Random House, The DFC treated several thousand devoted subscribers to the very best in British graphic fiction, with stories by top-name talent like Phillip Pullman and Harry Potter artist Adam Brockbank.

The biggest single project among all The DFC's ongoing stories was unquestionably Mirabilis, a hugely ambitious comics saga planned to span almost 200 issues. Mirabilis tells the story of a magical green comet that appears in the night sky over Edwardian London, ushering in an era in which steam trains and airships combine with ghosts, goblins and Martian invaders. Billed as "a modern Tintin", Mirabilis's planned 800 pages equals more than a dozen volumes of Herge's classic comic series.

When The DFC closed in 2009, Mirabilis creators Dave Morris and Leo Hartas had barely begun to tell their epic yarn. The next two instalments appeared on the Mirabilis website (www.mirabilis-yearofwonders.com) and drew almost eight thousand hits. That's when Hartas and Morris realized they could be onto something.

"We couldn't bear to end our story there," explains Morris, a bestselling UK author and a mentor with the American Film Institute. "You have a duty both to your readers and to the characters you've created not to leave them in the middle of a cliff-hanger."

"The question was how to finance the project," says Hartas, the award-winning illustrator who draws the Mirabilis comic. "It's a recession and nobody was investing in anything. Then we decided, to hell with it – rather than looking around for new work, we'd just get our heads down and complete the story."

Dragon Rides - art for Mirabilis by Leo Hartas

The new Mirabilis

The first season of Mirabilis is now ready. Mirabilis: Winter is a whopping 200-page book whose eight chapters comprise the first act of Mirabilis's year of wonders. Morris and Hartas had several discussions with David Fickling, The DFC's ebullient editor, about releasing it through his book imprint. But the tortuously slow progress of print publishing meant that the first volume wouldn't appear until late 2012 – and Fickling and his Random House paymasters couldn't commit to future books until they saw the sales figures.

"In the end, much as we would have loved to stay with the Fickling label, we decided to keep doing it our way," says Hartas. "We just wanted to get the work out there in front of readers as soon as possible."

Two events provided the key to achieving that ambitious goal. First with the release of the iPad, which allowed Morris and Hartas to launch a digital version of the comic in time for Christmas 2010, and then in a deal with Print Media Productions, who have signed up Mirabilis: Winter for release as two prestige-format hardback volumes that will be in UK bookshops in 2011.

Morris and Hartas had already had offers from digital publishers to release Mirabilis on iPhone, but were reluctant because the small screen didn't do justice to the fabulous full-colour artwork. "A graphic novel page is not merely a storyboard sequence of panels," says Morris. "On a phone screen you lose too much of the full reading experience of a printed book. The iPad, though, that's another matter."

Teaming up with Brighton-based TDB Software, Morris and Hartas drew on both their creative and entrepreneurial experience to set up Mirabilis on iPad through their own Mirus Entertainment label. The Mirabilis app is free and comes with the first 25-page chapter already loaded. Subsequent chapters are $1.99 and have been crafted to evoke the experience of collecting a set of comic books, right down to the covers and letters page.

"A comic is more than just a novel with pictures," says Hartas. "It's about community, it's about being drawn into a completely immersive fantasy world."

As inveterate comic and book collectors, Morris and Hartas were not content for their story to only appear digitally. “That’s why the offer from Print Media Productions came at such an ideal time,” says Hartas. “Print Media have their own print works in Europe, meaning that we can work closely with our editor, John Freeman and publisher Ivo Milicevic, to get the production quality tuned to perfection without the long delays that other publishers have to suffer with books being printed out in the Far East.”

The Print Media edition of Mirabilis: Winter is being published as two top-quality hardback books, each of 112 pages, at the large-format album size traditional for European graphic novels that can be seen in a series like Charley’s War and the company's first graphic album release, The Iron Moon. This ensures that the books will be cherished by readers for years to come.

And what next for Hartas and Morris?

“As soon as Christmas is over we’ll be back in harness,” Hartas says. “Creating an ongoing series like this is a lot like working on a long-running TV show. You have a schedule of episodes, and things like holidays have to fit around that.”

With 600 pages of the Mirabilis epic still to go, are they daunted? “Not a bit,” says Morris. “We get to spend the next couple of years of our life immersed in the Mirabilis universe – and believe me, there’s no place we’d rather be.”

About the Authors

"I was the first boy in Britain to meet a Dalek in the flesh (so to speak) when my Dad took me to the BBC workshops one dark January night in 1964," Dave says. "That early experience probably explains quite a lot. After a childhood spent daydreaming about aliens, time travel and vampires, I discovered Marvel Comics and happily gave up all connection with reality to immerse myself in the marvellous worlds of Stan Lee, Gene Colon, John Romita, John Buscema and Neal Adams.

"Every Saturday I would head doggedly from newsagent to newsagent like a ten-year-old hunter-gatherer, searching out the latest Iron Man or Spider-Man comics, snapping up new issues for 10d each (that’s about 4p in your fancy modern digital money).

"Since those halcyon days I've written a lot of books. Really, a lot. If you put a copy of every one of my books in a suitcase then you’d need to get a friend to help you lift it and even then you'd need to have a sit down afterwards. Apart from (of course) Mirabilis, my favourites among my own books are Heart of Ice, a sci-fi interactive adventure where the Côte d’Azur is a jungle and the Sahara is covered in snow, and the Knightmare novellas. I'd say that my fantasy writing has been most influenced by Lord Dunsany, Jack Vance, Mike Mignola and Neil Gaiman, but I ought to stress that none of those fellows is personally to blame."

Leo Hartas comes from a long and distinguished line of British artistic talent. His mother introduced Brian Epstein to The Beatles while his father-in-law’s classic picture book, The Giant Jam Sandwich, has been delighting kids for almost 40 years. His own award-winning books include Haunted Castle, The Apartment Book and King Arthur’s Spaceship. As well as book illustration he has worked in concept art for television and games.

His dramatic narrative style and vivid, engaging characters ensured Mirabilis a weekly audience of over 5000 readers when it was serialized in the The DFC. As co-creator of Mirabilis, Leo is not only responsible for the artwork but also works closely with Dave on the plotlines, designs the book covers and page layouts, masterminded the Mirabilis website and is actively involved in development of the iPad version.

Leo lives with his wife, three children, two cats and numerous chickens in a sprawling medieval home that lies exactly on the Devon/Somerset border.

The Print Media Hardbacks



Early POD trade paperback versions
of the two books
Mirabilis: Year of Wonders Volume 1 is now being solicited by Diamond (Order Code FEB111949), joining Keith Page and Stephen Walsh's Iron Moon title as the first graphic album projects from the new British company.

Publisher Ivo Milicevic is keen to mix a range of new British graphic albums with some translations of European material, which will be detailed soon.

Mirabilis: Winter Book One can be ordered via Diamond Previews, Order Code FEB111949.


Mirabilis on iTunes

• Learn more at www.mirabilis-yearofwonders.com

Sunday, 13 February 2011

"Impressive debut" for Print Media's graphic novel range

Top British comics creator and British comics expert Lew Stringer has posted the first review for Print Media's first graphic novel, The Iron Moon by Stephen Walsh and Keith Page, calling it an impressive debut.

"The 64 page full colour hardback book is a nice large format, bigger than A4, and a classy looking product," says Lew. "The heroine of the story is Charlotte Corday, and if that name sounds familiar it's because she also starred in London Calling last year from Time Bomb Comics. This is the beauty of creator-ownership, that characters can leap between publishers like this.

"There's more to Ms. Corday than that though, as she's a Jerry Cornelius type figure who can appear in completely different times. Where London Calling was set in an alternative 1950s Britain, The Iron Moon is set in the alternative steampunk era of Queen Victoria's reign.

"... Keith Page's artwork here is a joy and a revelation," he says. "In recent years his own style has really developed and The Iron Moon is proof of the dedication and hard work he's devoted to his craft. Keith has put an amazing amount of detail into the drawings and the book is a rewarding experience... A refreshing change from all the computer coloured pages usually found in comics these days."

• You can read the full review here on Lew's British comics blog, where he also recently noted Hookjaw's birthday and regularly posts news about his work and other highly-recommended British comics projects.

The Iron Moon will be available in March via comic shops, distributed by Diamond, and can be ordered now from First Age Comics Lancaster:
http://stores.ebay.co.uk/First-Age. 

• If you'd would like to know when The Iron Moon is available in bookshops, drop the publisher a line at johnfreeman6-ironmoon@yahoo.co.uk

• A variety of Keith Page's work can be seen on: www.keithpageukcomocsartist.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Quest - First Colour Promotional Image

© 2011 John Freeman and Smuzz (SMS)
Ace artist Smuzz (whose credits include 2000AD and Interzone) has just delivered this terrific promotional image for The Quest, which will feature in STRIP Magazine later this year.

The Quest, which is written by John Freeman, drawn by Smuzz, might look like sword and sorcery... but trust us, there's a twist.

There's a little more information on the strip's blog here.

There's still a lot of work to be done - 12 pages are drawn so far, which feature, so far, two fights, more weird creatures than we know what to do with - all of them wonderful - and one of the major baddies has taken its first victim.

There will be blood, the artist demands...

• The Quest - Blog

STRIP Magazine features in new Megazine

The latest issue of Rebellion's Judge Dredd Megazine - on sale now in all good UK newsagents and comic shops - features an article by Joel Meadows on STRIP Magazine and Print Media Productions graphic album plans.

Joel interviewed PMP's John Freeman and artist PJ Holden about the project last year.

Along with the feature - which includes PJ Holden's superb cover for STRIP Magazine Issue 1 as a full page 'pin up' - Megazine 307 features a new Judge Dredd adventure by John Wagner, drawn by Staz Johnson; and the second episode of Numbercruncher, Simon Spurrier and PJ Holden's intriguing creator-owned tale.

There's also two great creator features by Matthew Badham -  interviews with comics writer Peter Hogan and Elephantmen creator Richard Starkings.

Our thanks to the Megazine team for the coverage.

Judge Dredd Megazine is on sale now from all god UK newsagents and comic shops. Specific information on the issue at: www.2000adonline.com/vault/megs/307

Thursday, 6 January 2011

STRIP Magazine Creator Interview: Jim Campbell

Jim's lettering for STRIP's re-presentation
of Hookjaw. Hookjaw © Egmont UK
Matthew Badham talks to ace letterer and STRIP Magazine's secret weapon Jim Campbell, who's offered some very useful advice on the project besides lettering projects such as Iron Moon and strips for the new anthology. 

This interview was first published on Matt's blog - bookmark it now! - and is reprinted here with his full permission.

For some time now, I’ve had the urge to do some serious research into the craft of lettering. I think it’s an under-appreciated and under-discussed area of the business of making comics (I imagine that’s probably because, to be fair, it’s only of interest to a minority of people, even amongst hardcore comic fans). 

Taking my first steps into this new area of research I decided to interview Jim Campbell, who recently became a full-time lettering professional. 

Anyway, over to Jim for a potted biography before we dive into the interview proper:

It’s all Dave Gibbons’ fault. Aged ten, I was immediately attracted to the Tully/Gibbons Dan Dare strip in the first issue of 2000AD I was bought, and couldn’t help noticing that, by doing his own lettering, Dave got his name on the credits twice! Coolest. Thing. Ever.

Despite never losing interest in lettering, or letterers, I decided instead that I was going to be an artist. Or a writer. Or a writer/artist. So I spent a large chunk of the late 1980s and early ’90s working for small publishers who went bust without publishing me.

A chance correspondence in the mid-’90s led me to work with Kev Walker as his co-writer on a number of projects, two of which actually made it into print: The Inspectre for the Judge Dredd Megazine and Dæmonifuge for Games Workshop’s Black Library, but overconfidence, overwork and girls caused me to take my eye off the ball as a comic creator and that was the end of that!

Being a graphic designer, I found I was able to make a contribution to the UK small press in a design/production capacity where I didn’t have time to contribute as a writer or artist, and this led to investigating the possibilities of computer lettering, first appearing in Mike Sivier’s Action tribute comic VIOLENT! in 1998 and continuing sporadically thereafter.

A series of lucky coincidences in the second half of 2008 saw what had been a long-time hobby turn into a paying second job that, by mid-2009, was proving just lucrative enough to make the life of a freelancer viable. 2010 saw the launch of my blog, and, I fear, the cementing of my reputation as the Internet’s premier lettering bore.

Thanks, Jim. Now, without further ado, the interview itself:

An excerpt from Charmed, lettered by Jim Campbell
Writer/artist credits above.
Do you think that lettering is an under-appreciated component of comics?

Hmm. That’s a question of two halves, depending on who’s doing the under-appreciating! As I’ve said to a number of writers and artists: I don’t expect them to care about the lettering, I only expect them to care that I care, to understand that making a decent job of lettering their strip is important to me and that they can confidently forget about the lettering while I get on with it.

Appreciated by the readers…? Well, if you got into the comics industry for fame, girls and fast cars, then you should have been a penciller!

I do think that the contraction of the industry as a whole and the attendant squeeze on overheads has led to ‘ancilliary’ creators (inkers, colourists, letterers) being under-appreciated to a degree by editorial. There are many smaller companies who have dispensed with inkers entirely and have their lettering done in-house by production staff, or by letterers with no real experience but who will work for insanely low page rates. The flip side of this, though, is that a great many of these titles probably wouldn’t make break-even if their overheads extended to paying a decent letterer and an inker, so I find it hard to be overly critical of the practice.

And, if you do think lettering is under-appreciated, do you think that it’s ‘invisible’ (i.e. only noticed when it’s done badly)?

To an extent, I think this is the curse of the letterer: the better you get at it, the less people should notice it. Not because you can’t do showy things, but if you do showy things, they should be in the service of the story. If you stick in a great big sound effect, for example, the reader shouldn’t think “What a great piece of lettering!”, they should think “What a cool explosion!” If you’re doing it really, really well then the reader should actually think that the sound effect was drawn by the artist, if they give it any thought at all.

What’s your take on the ‘state of the comics nation’ in terms of letterers/lettering? Are we in a good or bad way?

As we’ve already touched on, the contraction of the market has seen inking, lettering and colouring squeezed particularly hard. At the end of the day, I suppose that forces you to raise your game if you want to make a living from something like lettering — gigs are relatively thin on the ground, and you’ll only get them by being better than the next guy. In one respect, I have no problem with that — if your work is lazy or substandard then you damn well shouldn’t be getting paying jobs. On the other hand, I also know that Tom Orzechowski doesn’t make that much more a page than I do and that’s crazy. Tom-frickin’-Orzechowski. There’s something wrong there…

The back half of this year — post iPad, unsurprisingly — has seen a noticeable uptick in the amount of work on offer for digital formats, which is very promising. If the comic publishers would just learn the lessons of the music industry rather than appearing hell-bent on repeating their mistakes, we might stand a fighting chance!

What are those lessons?

It’s easy to forget that, before iTunes, the music industry made practically zero revenue from online music. This is because they tried to implement digital strategies that shored up their traditional business models instead of recognizing that the business model was changing fundamentally. The most perceptive comment I heard on this — which I can’t find a cite for right now — was that “Your customers aren’t pirates, and pirates aren’t your customers” so treating everyone who wants a digital download of your product with suspicion, making the process actively difficult for them, is just idiotic when they can get the product for free.

What iTunes showed was that you could get people to pay for digital music, but you had to make the purchase process trivially easy and purchase price trivially low.
$2.99 for a digital comic, any digital comic, is insane. $0.99 an issue? I’m all over that — that’s a price point for impulse buying, that’s a price point that will grow your sales.

What the iPad and the slew of tablets that are starting to follow offer the industry is a route back into the mass market; the market from which comics have been excluded since the publishers chose to retreat from the newsstands and into the specialist stores.

I worked in print production — newspapers and magazines — for many years, so I understand the problems of newsstand distribution and the economic reasons why the direct sales market looked so attractive. The key disadvantage of mass market distribution was wastage: comics had to be printed as cheaply as possible because you had to print a million of them to sell half a million, and accept that the other 500,000 would be pulped.

At a stroke, digital distribution dispenses with that entire cost factor, but you simply cannot formulate a digital business strategy predicated on defending your current business model, in this case the dead tree editions of the comics. You have to recognize that this is something new — if you can sell three digital editions at $0.99 instead of one print copy at $2.99, you’re automatically making more money because you haven’t had to pay to print and distribute those digital copies and you’re expanding your market which the industry desperately, desperately needs.

The $2.99 and (outrageous, in my opinion) $3.99 price points are a function of trying to extract maximum profit from a dwindling market: the specialist comic stores. What digital offers is whole new territories to conquer. What is required here is vision and courage, not caution and timidity.
Above: excerpt from Murderdrome, lettered by Jim Campbell.
Writer and artist credits above.


What has digital lettering brought to the ‘creative table’ for letterers? More time to experiment? More space to focus on the ‘artistry’ of lettering? Other positive stuff…? 

Are there negative aspects to the new digital age of lettering? (I think you’ve hinted at a couple already.)

I’m probably not the best person to comment on this, since my abilities and modest success as a letterer are entirely the result of the rise of computer lettering. I tried to master hand-lettering many years ago. My God, how I tried! And it’s hard! I just couldn’t master it to a degree where I could reasonably expect someone to pay me for it. Some letterers — I’m sure I’ve read interviews or forum posts from Rich Starkings and Simon Bowland — have said that they don’t miss ink and smudges and whiteout and ruling baselines with an Ames guide and I can certainly understand that.

One has to be philosophical about this: change comes to all industries — my first boss in newspaper production wasn’t much older than me and could remember the first Macs arriving at his paper, and the death of hot metal. With lettering, the job has ceased to be about calligraphy and become about type-setting. Type is an elegant, subtle artform in itself, it’s just different.

The downside of this is the same malaise that afflicts the design industry as a whole, which is that anyone with access to a computer and a basic art programme can convince themselves that there’s no real skill required, despite so very many of their ham-fisted efforts quite clearly demonstrating the contrary! It has the effect of devaluing the profession and driving down page rates. This, in turn, actually restricts the amount of time you can spend on a page… unless you want to make less than minimum wage!

Quote: ‘With lettering, the job has ceased to be about calligraphy and become about type-setting. Type is an elegant, subtle artform in itself, it’s just different.’
Could you expand on this a little and give some practical examples?

(NB: To fully understand the answer Jim gave to this question, I had to ask him what kerning pairs are and what a ligature is. Here are his explanations:

Kerning pairs tighten up the space between specific letters which would otherwise look a bit ‘gappy’, such as AV:

Ligatures are a feature of fonts where typing a specific combination of letters causes the font to substitute a third, custom character:


(NB: Both the these images are from Wikipedia.)

Anyway, back to the interview.)

To be honest, we are now straying into areas so rarefied that you can see the eyes of people who don’t do this for a living glazing over when you talk about this stuff! You can spend a lifetime learning typography; it’s about incredibly fine distinctions.

Understanding that leading (line spacing) is not just a function of type size, but also of font style, for example. I would never set a block of text in a ‘normal’ copy font on lines as tightly spaced as I would a block of comic lettering. It’s about being alert for ugly kerning pairs in the text as you work and caring enough to take the time to fix them.

Clem (Hellboy; BRPD; Hellblazer: Pandemonium; The Losers) Robins’ use of ligatures is a brilliant example of just how obsessive you can get about type. Clem’s pursuit of making font lettering look handwritten is magnificent!

For example: most modern lettering fonts use autoligatures — if you type an E and then another E, the font knows to substitute the second E for a variant character, which takes a lot of the mechanical feel out of the lettering. Clem makes his own fonts and not only has multiple variants of commonly used characters, but has autoligs set up to look five or six characters either side of each character, so that a word like PLEASE will automatically substitute a different E at the end, and a word like PRECEDE will automatically use three different versions of the letter E.

He recently revealed that he does this for punctuation characters, too, so that when he types ?!? at the end of a balloon, the font automatically uses a subtly different question mark the second time!

Jim offered PMP various lettering
styles for Iron Moon before the final
look was decided. Art © Keith Page
Do you get a creative brief from someone when you get a lettering gig? The editor, writer, artist or… whoever?
 
This varies enormously. Some editors are very engaged with the lettering part of the process: Clive Bryant, managing director at Classical Comics, is very much up on the lettering side of the process, so we’ll go backwards and forwards on fonts until we find the right combination of style, character and readability for each book.

Obviously, on tight deadline books, the editor is more likely to expect you to have a suitable font to hand and just get on with it!

Given a little lead time, I’ll generally try to produce at least three different sample pages to give the writer, artist and/or editor a choice, but for the most part everyone seems happy just to let me get on with it. A lot of the time, that’s flattering, but sometimes it’s nice to be challenged…

You’re also dabbling a bit in art and doing some work for the small press. Please tell us a bit about that. Also, why have you got such a downer on your art? (At least that’s the impression I get from having read your comments about it online). To me, it looks of the standard where if you scored regular pro’ work you’d soon be at the point where your art would be completely acceptable in a pro’ publication; you seem to be at that tipping point of ‘not quite there yet but could get there with a bit of mentoring’. Is art something you would like to pursue professionally or just a hobby?


It’s very kind of you to be so complimentary. I’ve always drawn, and my enthusiasm has always far outstripped my actual ability. I do believe that with hard work, application and practise, I could probably get to something approximating a professional standard and had set myself 2010 as the year to really work on my drawing. However, I ended up with a (very welcome) surfeit of lettering work in the last three months of the year, which kinda derailed that!

I’ve come to really enjoy digital inking in Manga Studio, and I’ve had some success swiping other people’s pencils off the internet and inking them — Chad Hardin, Eric Basaldua, EJ Su, Gibson Quarter and Boo Cook have all been very complimentary about the ink jobs I’ve done over their pencils, which is enormously gratifying. I think I’m nearly there in terms of the quality of the inks, but now I need to practise to the point where I can make that last leap in quality and work fast enough to meet a professional deadline. I’d be quite happy to add some inking work to my professional credits — a bit of diversity in your business model is never a bad thing! Maybe in 2011…
An excerpt from the Fractal Friction web-strip lettered
by Jim Campbell. Writer/artist credits above.


(You can see the pieces in question in the ‘Inks’ section of my deviantart page).

After that, maybe I’ll try and get my pencilling up to scratch, although the digital workflow does tend to blur these distinctions more than a little!

Where do you think lettering is going to go in the next 10 years or so and what implications will that have for letterers? Where do you hope your comics career will be in that time?

I’m hoping for a resurgent industry, obviously! CLiNT may be the first stirring of some small revival in the UK comic market and I believe that comics are one of the few areas of newsagent/high street publishing in the UK that is still seeing some growth.

I have high hopes for Strip Magazine and if that leads to a few more titles that aren’t reprint and/or licensed then that can only be a good thing. The main problem with UK comics is that kids up to the age of about ten are actually pretty well-served, but once they hit ten or eleven, the slot where titles like 2000AD and Battle would once have taken over from the more juvenile comics, there’s now nothing. If we could keep those kids reading comics through their mid-teens, then it becomes a natural progression for them to graduate to more ‘mature’ titles, such as CLiNT or 2000AD as it is today.

The model is very different in the US, where I think you may see the death of the traditional paper monthly, to be replaced by digital publishing, with print versions being reserved for the trade collections. A great many monthly titles are practically looked upon as loss-leaders for the trades anyway, so this would seem a logical step to me.

If it all goes well, then it should be good news for everyone who works in the industry. Personally, I’d like to have a few more clients in my portfolio and if they were larger publishers, I wouldn’t complain. :-)

It would be nice if I’d made some sales as an artist of some description, and equally nice to do the same as a writer but, if I’m honest, I just can’t turn work over in either of those fields at the sort of pace where I could expect to make a living at it; realistically, I’d anticipate the majority of my income continuing to derive from lettering.

If it all goes horribly wrong, then I’ll just have to get a real job!

Please tell me about your lettering blog and what you’re trying to do there…

I started doing computer lettering as one way of making a contribution to the small press here in the UK. What used to grieve me was seeing so many stories with great scripts and great art let down so comprehensively by bloody awful lettering.

At heart, I’m still a small press guy but, although I try to make a contribution to the small press as often as I can, I can’t letter everything myself, so that’s what the blog is for! There are some damn fine letterers in the small press (special mention for FutureQuake Publishing’s Bolt-01!) but there’s still a lot of bad lettering, too. What I’m trying to do is make enough advice and resources available to potential small press letterers for them to be able to make a decent stab at it. I’m also still not quite able to believe that I make a living from working in comics, so I feel a kind of karmic compulsion to pay some of that back, in the form of my time, my advice, and a hand-up, no matter how small, to those attempting the same thing as me…

Where can readers find your work currently and also what have you got coming up in the future?


The bulk of my ‘normal’ comic work is currently for Zenescope Entertainment, whose distribution is a bit spotty in the UK. I’ve done a couple of fairly high-profile books for them — the ongoing Charmed series (doing for that TV series what “Season 8″ did for Buffy) which has the trade paperback of the first five issues due out any time now, and the 120 page original graphic novel Ten Deadliest Sharks, produced in association with the Discovery Channel.

I also have the distinct pleasure of lettering some of Classical Comics’ literary adaptations. So far, you can see my work on Great Expectations, Romeo and Juliet and The Canterville Ghost.

You can find other my lettering popping up all over the small press like a nasty rash: currently in Davey Candlish’s Paragon and the collected Jikan Chronicles, for example.

Plus, of course, I letter (and occasionally contribute on the art front) to ongoing weekly webcomic Fractal Friction: http://fractalfriction.blogspot.com/

I have lots more Zenescope and Classical work upcoming — I believe Classical are looking to have their adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream out in time for the Cardiff Comic Con in late February, which is a completely gorgeous-looking book with art by Kat Nicholson and Jason Cardy, and then the much-anticipated Dracula, with art by Staz Johnson, following fairly shortly after that.

I’m also lettering Hoax Hunters, which is the back-up strip in the new series of Tim Seeley’s Hack/Slash from Image, and had the pleasure of lettering the exclusive new strip in the upcoming “We Hate Tank Girl” collection. Oh, and Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht, by Alex Ronald and Emperor; which debuts in the next issue of Alan Grant’s WASTED and will be a genuine revelation in the development of Alex’s art, for those who haven’t seen his blog, at least! And I may have lettered a strip in an upcoming issue of CLiNT, unless Titan decide to have it re-lettered in-house, which I’ll be pretty miffed about.


And an online tie-in to a BIG movie that’s out about now; and a book for Markosia; and another for Timebomb; and – fingers crossed!– one for Com.X; and Iron Moon from Print Media; and a bunch of cool stuff for Strip Magazine; and, ooh, you’ll be sick of the sight of me by the middle of 2011!

And can I also say a big “thanks” to you, Matt, for being interested enough to give me space to ramble on about all this. If I have a ‘mission’, it’s not just to try and raise the standards of lettering across all the small press and web-comics where it can currently be of –ahem– variable quality, but to try and get people who aren’t necessarily that interested to at least think about lettering, and to perhaps value the contribution of the letterer a little bit more. In that goal, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Thanks, Jim, for taking time out to answer my questions.

• Jim Campell’s lettering blog can be found at clintflickerlettering.blogspot.com

Myebook - The Iron Moon Sampler - click here to open my ebook
• Print Media Productions first hardcover graphic album, The Iron Moon, a new steampunk tale from Stephen Walsh and Keith Page, lettered by Jim Campbell, will be available soon. Here's a trailer for the book.

A six page 'teaser' strip for the graphic novel, "Hush Hush", will appear in the first issue of STRIP.
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