Tagged: England

Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan condoms

Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan condoms

Yes, I have a bit of history with comic books and condoms. (Go ahead, Google my name with "condom". I’ll wait.)

But even I wouldn’t have thought of this one.

Lord help us, it’s the Dr. Manhattan condom.

No, I don’t know if it glows in the dark.

And we hear another scream from Northampton, England…

Hat tip: Valerie D’Orazio’s new Comic Book Junction.

ComicMix QuickPicks – January 16-18, 2009

ComicMix QuickPicks – January 16-18, 2009

The weekend wrap-up of comic-related news items that might not generate a post of their own, but may be of interest…

* Tom Mason interviews Dan Thompson about his new strip RIP HAYWIRE at Comix 411.

* The Comics Reporter: Dan Vado on the recent changes at Diamond:

…the thing that slaps us up in the face most is the raising of the Purchase Order benchmark to $2500. What that means is that every book needs to generate $2500 of revenue (that would mean a little over $6000 in sales at retail based on the discount we give to Diamond) in order to be listed with Diamond. That does not mean that Diamond is going to cancel or not carry books which appear in the Previews but do not reach that benchmark, but it does mean that if you have a line of books which consistently do not meet that mark, you will not be getting your books listed in the Previews for long…

…what few books we published as floppies will probably not ever see the light of day. While a first issue might sell well enough to meet the benchmark it is more than likely that everything from a second or third issue on will not. Again, I think your average reader might be shocked at how poorly some comics sell. So, if you’re a small publisher or a self-publisher and your plan is to release a mini-series and then collect it as a trade, those plans might change.

It’s a tough spot for everyone to be in. Diamond is in essence asking everyone to sell more in a recessionary environment or find themselves out of the catalog. Short term, a lot of publishers are going to find themselves with no distribution.

Read the whole thing.

* And while we’re getting depressed on comics economics, we have Ilan Strasser of Fat Moose Comics and Games on the Current State of the Comic Market. Via ICV2. Also, who says the Book Business Is Dead? Why, Jason Epstein does… here’s his Autopsy of the Book Business. I’d be slightly more worried if Jason hadn’t been calling the alarm for 15 years… on the other hand, it doesn’t mean he was wrong then or that he’s wrong now.

* It gets even uglier: Anderson News Warns of ‘Implosion’ in Mag Business:

Magazine distributor Anderson News CEO Charlie Anderson is warning of an “implosion in the business” as his company attempts to impose new charges on magazine publishers, according to a report in Folio. Anderson, which represents over 20% of magazine distribution in the U.S., is demanding that publishers pay an additional $.07 per copy distributed (gross, not net of returns) to return magazine distribution to profitability for his company.  “The business has not been profitable and has not been for a very long time,” Anderson said.  “What we are trying to do is give some stability in the channel.  Short of that, there will be an implosion in the business.”  Anderson says he believes that three of the four magazine wholesalers that distribute magazines nationwide are unprofitable.

* Even uglier than that: theBookseller.com reports that book sales were discounted by nearly a billion dollars in England last year.

* Can it get even worse? According to Tom Spurgeon, yes: more newspapers can fold– the Minneapolis Star Tribune just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy– or they could just cut back on their comics sections. And we haven’t even heard about bookstore returns.

* Exhibits examine ties between Jews and comic books — although it amazes me that I find out about an exhibit at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island by reading a newspaper web site in Richmond, Indiana.

* Sir John Mortimer, the creator of Rumpole of the Bailey, has died.

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

‘Hellboy: Wild Hunt’ Preview on MySpace

With Hellboy 2: The Golden Army coming out on Friday, it’s probably no coincidence that Dark Horse just posted a preview of the next Hellboy comics series online.

Head over to MySpace to see the cover (at right) and first six pages to Hellboy: Wild Hunt #1, which is set to debut in December. The series once again pairs Mike Mignola with artist Duncan Fegredo.

Here’s what the story’s about:

When ancient giants begin to rise from their graves across England, Hellboy is invited to join a mysterious group called The Wild Hunt and help bring them down. But the hunt leads to betrayal and death, and Hellboy is forced to face the consequences of his past actions—actions that now threaten the survival of all mankind. "The fading children of the earth" gather in the shadows, awaiting the promised return of the "Queen of Blood" and a chance to shake the trees, crack mountains, and make the daytime world weep for fear."

The Religious Implications of ‘Doctor Who’

Various news sites are reporting that church leaders in England are studying the "religious parallels" between the BBC television series Doctor Who and certain themes of Christianity.

According to Telegraph:

They have been urged to use examples from the programme in their sermons in an attempt to make Christianity more relevant to teenagers.

At a conference last week, vicars watched Doctor Who clips that were said to illustrate themes of resurrection, redemption and evil.

It analysed the similarities between the Doctor and Christ, and whether daleks are capable of change.

The reports mention a few other examples, including The Doctor’s time-travelling TARDIS as a representation of a church and, as Wired blog "The Underwire" pointed out, they both appear in Christmas specials. 

Review: Bryan Talbot’s ‘Alice in Sunderland’

Review: Bryan Talbot’s ‘Alice in Sunderland’

Alice in Sunderland
Bryan Talbot
Dark Horse Books, 2007, $29.95

Even for an artist as hard to pin down as Talbot, [[[Alice in Sunderland]]] is odd and unique: it’s one-half a local history of the town in northern England where Talbot lives now and one-half a popular history of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll) and Alice in Wonderland. And then both of those halves are wrapped up in a metafictional package, since there are two narrators (the Pilgrim and the Performer, both of them Talbot) and one audience member witnessing this performance (the Plebian, who is also Talbot). To make things even more confusing, about half-way through the book Talbot breaks down and admits that Sunderland, the town he claims he lives in, doesn’t actually exist!

Except even that is a trick: Sunderland is a real town in the northeast of England, on the coast near Newcastle upon Tyne. And the various facts Talbot presents, about the history of Sunderland and of Alice, and the many connections between the two? Well, there’s an extensive list of sources in the backmatter, so I think they’re real. At least, most of them. I think.


Jack Harkness to Keep Torchwood Burning?

Jack Harkness to Keep Torchwood Burning?

John Barrowman, the actor who plays Capt. Jack Harkness on the hit BBC series Torchwood, says he plans to stay on the series as long as they’ll have him.

In this interview with SciFi Wire, Barrowman said he hopes to see a few more seasons come out of the darker, more adult-oriented Doctor Who spin-off series. He added that he has no plans to vacate his command of the Torchwood crew, either.

If I was asked to do Jack for the next five or six years I would do it with a big smile on my face, because I absolutely love playing him.

Barrowman also provided a few hints at what viewers can expect from the second season of Torchwood, which already premiered in England, but is set to air its first episode in the U.S. tonight, Jan. 26. SciFi Channel will broadcast the episode at 9 PM ET.

You’re going to also see much more of Jack’s history. Our time travel in Torchwood is different. [In] Doctor Who, the Doctor gets in a Tardis and travels. Our time travel is done through memory.


Happy 44th birthday, Doctor Who!

Happy 44th birthday, Doctor Who!

On this day in 1963 on BBC television at 5:15 pm, viewers saw a notice about the assasination of John F. Kennedy, and then saw something not unlike this:

…and with that, Doctor Who began its 44 year hold on England’s psyche, racking up the title of longest running science fiction television series, and after a brief respite it shows no signs of slowing down. No longer a victim of creative low budget special effects, the show’s addictive formula, excellent casting  and impressive cameos have made it a household favorite across the pond, and a closet favorite at home.

Happy birthday, old man.

The death of the original Mary Jane

The death of the original Mary Jane

Boy, when this Mary Jane was threatened by a villian, he wasn’t kidding around.

Today in England, 1888, marked the death of Jack the Ripper’s last known victim, Mary Jane Kelly. Like most psychopaths, Jack started off killing his victims a certain way and once he got the taste for it just became more and more creatively sick (someone’s been watching too many crime shows). So while the other girls got a punch in the face and had their throats cut, poor Mary was even more brutally murdered. She was found gutted with her intestines pulled out and decorated around the room, and her heart on the bedside dresser.  Her face was unrecognizable. 

It is so compelling a story that it inspired the graphic novel From Hell by writer Alan Moore and artist Eddie Campbell, which was later adapted into a movie starring Johnny Depp, Heather Graham and Ian Holm.



The life of a spy is a cramped, paranoid, fear-ridden thing, not one of derring-do and adventure. Matt Kindt knows that well. His second graphic novel Super Spy is set during World War II, in England, France, Spain, and other places, and features a large cast drawn from all the nations of the European theater. Some of the spies use fancy gadgets and many of them have a mystique about them, but they’re all mortal, all prone to making mistakes, all caught up in something much larger and more deadly than themselves.

The production design of Super Spy might lead the reader to expect one kind of story – the front cover shows a woman, crouching, with circles explaining bits of spy paraphernalia and events in her career. The back similarly depicts a man. Both are obviously cramped, forced into an uncomfortable position, with their hands at the edges of the cover – perhaps the walls are closing in on them? It’s a strong visual metaphor both for the life of spying – constrained, constricted, having ones life shoved into a box – and for the hardships of WW II itself. So far, so accurate. But the cover also hints that this will be a story primarily about these two people. We don’t know their names on the cover, but the tags on “his” picture refer to “her,” and to their shared experiences.

Super Spy is not the story of two people; there are at least six major characters, of whom these two are only the ones we meet first. These two are not even necessarily the most important characters. And, given the dangers of spying in wartime, it’s wise not to get too attached to any character in this book. Kindt knows that spycraft is a very dangerous profession, and he shows us all of those dangers.


Sarah Jane’s Back Revealed

Sarah Jane’s Back Revealed

After a successful pilot was aired at the end of last year, the second Doctor Who spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures, will begin airing in England the end of this month.

Oriented more towards children the way Torchwood is geared towards adults, the ten-episode season will see the return of various Doctor Who villains, including the Slitheen. The production and writing crew will be the same as that for Doctor Who and Torchwood, masterminded by executive producer Russell T. Davies.

Thus far, Sarah Jane Smith is the only continuing human character from the classic series to return to the new Whoverse. Elisabeth Sladen returns to the role she made famous with Doctors three and four, and in nine original audio dramas from Big Finish Productions.