Category Archives: Comics

Strips, graphic novels, albums, anthologies, BD, comix, small press…

Oops: missing Doomlord post finally published

Been doing some blog housekeeping in between dull work slogs today, and discovered a five year old post I never got round to publishing.

It’s on Eagle comic (the 1980s revival title rather than the Christian one of the fifties) and the reprints of The Thirteenth Floor and Doomlord strips which the small press imprint Hibernia Books put out a few years back.

It’s quite interesting, even if I do say myself. Hibernia has also put out another title recently, which I hope to cover in some depth over on my other blog, The BRISTLE.


The BRISTLE – full of lovely comicky goodness including rare Judge Dredd strip and behind-the-scenes photos from Eagle Mk II launch!

Okay, so this is nothing more than a shameless cross-blog promo plug for The BRISTLE!

But who wouldn’t want to know about the rare 1990 John Wagner/Ian Gibson ‘Judge Dredd’ strip?

Who would want to be left in the dark about Ron Smith, John Gillatt and Gerry Embleton working on ‘Dan Dare’ designs for the rebooted Eagle?

And who in all honesty isn’t interested in a letter sent by the assistant editor of a British comic to an eleven year old boy in 1988?

So get thee over to The BRISTLE – it’s a Bumper Bonanza of Inky-Fingered Fun!

Great news, chums – new UK comics-related blog The BRISTLE launched!

As part of a slowly-unfolding plan to hive off different aspects of this blog to more focused efforts, I am pleased to announce the launch of my new venture, The BRISTLE!

Devoted to all sorts of stuff connected to UK comics, The BRISTLE will be a handy resting place for musings on the peculiarly British anthology titles – both of yore, and contemporary efforts too.

So whether you were a fan of DC Thomson’s perennials like The Beano and The Dandy, or IPC’s more off-the-wall funnies like Whoopee!! and Oink!; or a boys’ adventure paper junkie revelling in The Victor and Valiant; or a pure child of the 70s with your Battle and Action and 2000AD, I shall endeavour to root around my boxes of delights for rare strips, odd titbits and aged newspaper cuttings to share with you.

Already I have posted up a ‘Judge Dredd’ six-pager by John Wagner and Ian Gibson that was exclusively published in Sinclair User magazine to tie-in to a Spectrum ZX game – so keep your eyes peeled on The BRISTLE for more such treats in the future!


In tangentially-linked news, British comic writer par excellence Pat Mills has endorsed on of my posts about cop-spook-turned-academic Bob Lambert MBE!

The unsung engineer of British comics: Pat Mills – welcome to the blogosphere!

Just a quickie: Pat Mills – probably the comic writer who most inspired, influenced and guided me – has taken up blogging, and his first post, on the genesis of 2000AD and ‘Judge Dredd’, is a corker…


Commando tasked with four new missions…

I got me the latest editions of DC Thomson’s long-running war-themed comic library Commando yesterday, and it seems changes are afoot…

As Lew Stringer notes on his Blimey! blog, from this month Commando adopts a four-pronged assault on the reader. That means each publication cycle there will be two reprints (the ‘Gold’ and ‘Silver’ Collections) plus two new stories, one under the regular strapline ‘For Action And Adventure’, the other under ‘The Home Of Heroes’, and focusing on British characters.

In addition it would appear that the backroom boffins have resolved the problem of recent years and come up with a binding process or new glue that lets the pages lie flat, instead of fanning out as they had previously.

Good work chaps!

Wikipediaphile: The Droste effect

Whilst cruising through excellent comics website 2000AD Covers Uncovered I came across mention of the ‘Droste effect’ in a post about how artist Jock put together one particular cover for 2000AD.

Never heard the name before, but as the Wikipedia page on the Droste effect explains, it’s a pretty familiar concept:

The Droste effect is a specific kind of recursive picture, one that in heraldry is termed mise en abyme. An image exhibiting the Droste effect depicts a smaller version of itself in a place where a similar picture would realistically be expected to appear. This smaller version then depicts an even smaller version of itself in the same place, and so on. Only in theory could this go on forever; practically, it continues only as long as the resolution of the picture allows, which is relatively short, since each iteration geometrically reduces the picture’s size. It is a visual example of a strange loop, a self-referential system of instancing which is the cornerstone of fractal geometry.

The effect is named after the image on the tins and boxes of Droste cocoa powder, one of the main Dutch brands, which displayed a nurse carrying a serving tray with a cup of hot chocolate and a box with the same image. This image, introduced in 1904 and maintained for decades with slight variations, became a household notion. Reportedly, poet and columnist Nico Scheepmaker introduced wider usage of the term in the late 1970s.

The Droste effect was used by Giotto di Bondone in 1320, in his Stefaneschi Triptych. The polyptych altarpiece portrays in its center panel Cardinal Giacomo Gaetani Stefaneschi offering the triptych itself to St. Peter. There are also several examples from medieval times of books featuring images containing the book itself or window panels in churches depicting miniature copies of the window panel itself. See the collection of articles Medieval mise-en-abyme: the object depicted within itself for examples and opinions on how this effect was used symbolically.

I vaguely recall it first making an impression on me on the front of some 1970s Blue Peter annual I picked up at a jumble sale or boot fair…


From a quick google I see that the Blue Peter annual has been axed.


I knew it! Here’s the Blue Peter annual cover I was thinking of (image via Nigel’s WebSpace Galleries Of Annuals) – the tenth one, from 1973.

Gone Rogue! A brief journey through a youth misspent writing lists, and other Genetic Infantryman notes

Firstly, some sad news – it seems comic artist Brett Ewins (Rogue Trooper, Bad Company, Judge Dredd, Deadline etc) has been seriously injured after an incident involving the police.

Reports the Ealing Gazette:

Brett Ewins…received serious head injuries after stabbing a police officer on Saturday morning at his home in Cowper Road. An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is underway.

Police were called to Cowper Road after receiving calls about a man who had been shouting through the night. Officers arrived to find Mr Ewins holding a knife before they were attacked.

During the ensuing struggle, one of the officers received minor stab wounds and the 56-year-old sustained a head injury. Both were taken to hospital.

The officer was released from hospital but Mr Ewins remains in a serious condition at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. The Met informed the IPCC of the incident immediately…

(Tip o’ the titfer: Tony Ingram on the Comics UK forums.)

For me, Brett Ewins’ style represented a shift away from the more staid, traditional styles I was familiar with in the various UK titles of IPC and DC Thomson, and towards something more exciting, more anarchic, more… Well, just more, really. Plus his propensity for gurt big orthopedic boot treads was as instantly recognisable a trademark as Carlos Ezquerra’s cut-and-and-keep-style serrated outlines: much imitated, rarely bettered.

So regardless of the circumstances, I hope Brett makes a full and speedy recovery.

Of course, one of the big name strips Brett first made an impression on was 2000AD‘s future war story, Rogue Trooper. Whilst recently digging through some old cuttings files (a big hoarder, filer and lister I am, and long has it been that way – only after several years of ‘Mr Trebus’ jibes did I relent and dump the twelve foot high pile of unsorted newspaper clippings that I realised I would never really get through), I discovered some interesting notes I had put together when a wiry youth.

Okay, I was neither a wiry youth, and nor will many people find them interesting, but anyhow, they are notes I made whilst reading through Rogue Trooper stories in my 2000AD collection, including the monthly ‘Best Of’ title, annuals, specials, and Dez Skinn‘s Quality reprints. Essentially it’s a glossary of terms used in the Rogue Trooper universe – military slang, characters, plot points and so on. There’s even a bit on the rebooted Rogue ‘Friday’, which Dave Gibbons and Will Simpson had just made a start on when I originally put together these notes.

I post them up here as low resolution jpegs, and as a hi-res PDF; apologies for my barely legible script. The right-hand column indicates reference points: ‘QC’ = the Quality Comics reprints; ‘WS’ = 2000AD Winter Special; ‘SF’ = 2000AD Sci-Fi Special; numbers in brackets refer to The Best Of 2000AD Monthly appearances. All other references should be from weekly Progs, or clearly marked 2000AD annuals.

Oh, and the image at the top of this post is a scan of a quick doodle I made around the same time, which pulls together some of the great Nort/Souther emblems used in Rogue Trooper.

» Download PDF of Rogue Trooper glossary