Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Today, Ubisoft and Nadeo announced that ManiaPlanet games and services, including the upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter, ShootMania Storm, will be accessible via Valve’s Steam service. TrackMania² Stadium, the racing game phenomenon with more than 12 million registered users also makes its debuts on Steam. BothShootMania Storm and TrackMania2 Stadium open betas can now be accessed via Steam. Steam users can also download the full TrackMania2 Canyon game via Valve’s platform.

ShootMania Storm is currently in open beta, inviting gamers of all levels from around the world to have a try the fast-paced competitive shooter. The open beta will allow Nadeo to fine-tune and refine the experience thanks to the feedback of the open beta testers, as well as to test servers and progressively introduce additional features and possibilities. Several updates are already planned until ShootMania Storm reaches its final version on April 10, 2013.

This partnership with Steam’s worldwide publishing platform allows us to introduce ShootMania Storm and all of theManiaPlanet games and services to an even wider audience of PC gamers in the world. As a matter of fact, it is key to us that as many players as possible join the actual growing community so that everybody gets maximum fun with the game” said Anne Blondel-Jouin, Nadeo Publishing Managing Director.

Through Steam, we’ll make "competition for everyone" a dream come true for more gamers and map-and-mod makers who all create the user-generated content and activity that make ShootMania Storm so attractive and innovative on the FPS PC competitive field,” Anne Blondel-Jouin added. "I want to take the opportunity to thank whole-heartedly the players who have already joined ShootMania Storm frenzyness and to welcome warmly the new comers: we're looking forward to seeing all of them on the servers."

Both ShootMania Storm and TrackMania² Stadium are now available to pre-order on Steam with a 10% discount until release, as well as on the official website of the ManiaPlanet platform: The games can also be downloaded and played right away in their Open Beta versions on

Developed by Ubisoft’s Nadeo studio, ShootMania Storm is a fast-paced, multiplayer first-person shooter designed from the ground up for online and eSports competition.  With multiple game modes and diverse play styles, ShootMania Storm is an innovative twist on familiar multiplayer gameplay that focuses on skill, speed and strategy.  The game also offers stout community support and interaction, with an easy-to-use map-maker and sharing elements that to date have produced more than 15 player-made game modes as well as more than 20,000 player-made maps.

ShootMania Storm, TrackMania² Stadium and TrackMania² Canyon are part of the ManiaPlanet system and follow in the footsteps of TrackManiaTM, Nadeo’s successful arcade racing game.  ManiaPlanet is a flexible and robust development, gaming and community platform that pushes cutting-edge graphics, enables limitless game types, and encourages incredible community participation and user-made content.  

New from Commando!

The info on the latest issues from the award winning Commando comic have been released. These issues are on sale 28th February 2013

Commando No 4579 – The Regimental Spoon

Soldiers’ lucky charms and mascots come in all shapes and sizes — from medallions to pet goats and all things in between. But surely one of the oddest objects to become a talisman of good fortune was a spoon. Yes, that’s right, a humble spoon.
   Don’t believe it? Well, between these covers is the story of how this kitchen utensil went to war with generations of the same family — and returned home safely every time.
   Make up your own mind if the tale is true.

Story: Mac MacDonald
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

Commando No 4580 – Burma Vengeance

In the dense Burmese jungle, British troops were being driven back towards India, their spirits sapped by a series of defeats at the hands of the advancing Japanese.
   Corporal Dan Farley had been left in command of a group of fearful survivors. They expected to be killed at any moment…but then a grizzled veteran Sergeant – ruthless and tough – came of out of nowhere to save their skins.
   Dan wanted to be like this lethal newcomer, but the mysterious NCO was on a mission of his own. He had a score to settle with a brutal Japanese Colonel. This quest was personal and it could only end in death…but whose?

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Vila
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando No 4581 – Hero From Hollywood

Almost every man has a hero…the one bloke in all the world he’d give his right arm to be like. Corporal Joe Brent’s number one he-man was the big, granite-fisted American film-star – Chet Marvin.
   In the days before the war, Joe queued up to see every movie he made, and marvelled at the sheer guts of the man.
   Then, one day in 1941, against a background of exploding German bombs and throbbing aero-engines, Corporal Joe Brent and his celluloid hero met face to face. It should have been the greatest day in Joe’s life.
   But this was no Hollywood film set. This was war! And when the shot and shell are no longer blanks, it’s easy to sort out the men from the boys…


A little bit of “conspiracy theory” never goes amiss in Commando and author Eric Hebden takes full advantage here with his invasion that never was. The main thrust of the story, though, is a hero with feet of clay — or a bad case of the jitters — and he manages that with equal aplomb.
   The art is strong, inside and outside, by two men who handle the drawing of horses with the same skill as Hebden handles the story. And horses, as the best of artists will tell you, are tricky beasts to capture.
   Giddy-up and get reading!

Calum Laird, Editor

Hero From Hollywood originally Commando No84 (August 1963), re-issued as No559 (June 1971)

Story: Eric Hebden
Art: Jones
Cover: Alvaro

Commando No 4582 – The Secret Tanks

The French Char-B tank was one of the best fighting vehicles of the Second World War. But France had surrendered in 1940 so why were there a lot of them in the desert in 1943? And why did they have enemy markings? It was a secret which the Germans were determined to hide but which the Allies were equally determined to uncover.


This solid tale features a story-telling device that works well in Commando – the linking of World War II with the Great War which had ended a little over twenty years previously. Here, the connection is a fighting father and son, and the dependable sergeant that served alongside them both.
   Then, of course, throw into the mix the “Secret Tanks” of the title – great, clanking French Char Bs – and we have a classic in the making.
   Commando legend Gordon Livingstone’s art is up to his usual high standard here, and shows his versatility in drawing action and adventure, whatever the conflict.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

The Secret Tanks, originally Commando no 2210 (August 1988), re-issued as No 3708 (April 2004)

Story: David Heptonstall
Art: Gordon Livingstone
Cover: Jeff Bevan

Monday, 25 February 2013

Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges review

Review by Steve Hargett
Writers:John Wagner & Alan Grant
Artists:Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson, Ron Smith
Tom Frame
Previously published in Progs 149-151, 224-228 & 416-427
The most widely known villains outside 2000AD fandom, Judge Death has been an inspiration for many things. Most notably Dredd and his deathly nemesis have appeared on many Anthrax albums and t-shirts.
This collection brings us the stories Judge Death, Judge Death Lives and Four Dark Judges. These stories are reprints so I am assuming most readers will be aware of the general thrust of the stories. There are spoilers below but due to the fact they are reprints I’m tagging them as light. If you have never read these stories maybe they are medium. There is only one heavy spoiler if you haven’t read Judge Death.
I’m reviewing the Kindle version of this book and all pages are black and white. It does suffer slightly from the fact that famous double spreads are cut in half. However the story is still easily read and brought back good memories.

Judge Death

Dark Judges 01
As well as Judge Death this sory introduces us to Judge Anderson and the Psi Division.
Judge Death is an inter-planar travelling mass murderer  A Judge on his home world, where Judges were more brutal than they have been in Mega City One at all times other than perhaps Chief Judge Cal’s tenure of office. They were brutal in life but when Judge Death took charge of their world they descended into madness sentencing the whole planet to death.
Death is a psionically powered spirit creature  able to take possession of a living person or enter a specially prepared corpse to take physical form. His hand pass through flesh without damaging it, only to squeeze the heart within the chest cavity until it bursts. He is stronger than a living human and able to sustain a large amount of injury without affect.
His Judge uniform is a macabre version of Dredd’s own. We later see that is less different to the Judges of his own world in ‘Boyhood of a Superfiend’ (published in Judge Dredd Megazine first volume issues 1-19).
Dark Judges XX
Death embarks on a rampage through the city and is ‘killed’ by Dredd. Anderson interrogates the corpse and is later possessed by possessed by his spirit but due to her own strong will is able to resist him enough to keep other Psi Judges aware of Death’s plans.
Anderson gives the Judges her own plan to defeat Death. Dredd and a team of Judges follow the information Anderson has managed to get to them without the knowledge of Judge Death. Death’s body destroyed, he re-enters Anderson and she sacrifices herself for the good of the city and was sealed in Boing! (see prog 136) and was put on display in the Justice Department Hall of Heroes for all to show their respects.
This story is well crafted and the creation of Judge Death is a masterstroke. Though he is later misused in some people’s opinion as a more comedic character this strip set him up as a very chilling creature.
The art of Brian Bolland is amazing and gives real menace to the villain and true charm to the heroine.

Judge Death Lives

The first episode shows a tourist in the Hall of Heroes leaving a tour and later cutting open the Boing! sarcophagus that housed Anderson and Death. Death possesses the man and he returns to his apartment where we find he had agreed to free Judge Death to safe his wife, though he had been double crossed and she was dead. Who had made this deal with him? Three allies of Judge Death.

Dark Judges 03

Judges Fear, Fire and Mortis all drawn for the first time by Brian Bolland so there is a clear connection between the uniforms of these three and Death. Only Fear’s uniform is devoid of the pterodactyl, though Fire’s isn’t obvious in the picture opposite. I’ve always assumed this mean Fear was not a Street Judge on his home-world but that is mere speculation.
The three Dark Judges prepare their erstwhile Human accomplice and Judge Death again has physical form.
The four Dark Judge soon embark on a Judgement-spree. Killing all those that break their law; Life is a crime and the sentence is death. They seal themselves within a block with a psionic shield that fries anyone trying to cross it.
Anderson, freshly out of the Boing! sarcophagus warns Dredd that there are three others with Death. Anderson can get herself and Dredd through the shield but they have to destroy the shield generator to get more Judges inside.
Dredd famously resists the powers of Judge Fear and they destroy the generator. The Dark Judges retreat to their home-wold but with Fear’s body vacant his corpse is left behind and Anderson and Dredd can follow.
Reading this story in 1981 I was transfixed from Prog to Prog. The artwork again is very powerful. The script is excellent, it was a joy to read.

Four Dark Judges

This was the first strip to be given the title of Anderson Psi Division and was published in 1985. This was the last appearance of Judges Fear, Fire and Mortis until their return in Chaos Day.
The Dark Judges lure Anderson back to Deadworld and force her to help resurrect them using mummified Judges. Though she had been able to partly resist Judge Death’s control she was unable to fight the combined Psionic power of the four Dark Judges.
We learn that their Grand Hall of Justice had been re-named the Necropolis, Brett Ewins’ version of the building created a much more perverse structure than we had seen Bolland draw. Within that building they had access to all of their equipment and returned to Mega City One leaving Anderson presumed dead.
Dark Judges 04
Anderson however had shielded herself from them enough to feign death and returns to the city. Chief Judge McGruder suspends her for unleashing the Dark Judges on Mega City One. Anderson considers her fate.
The Dark Judges again went on a killing spree. This time they had teleport devices so that they could leave any place where Judges were attacking them and continue their mission.
Again Anderson puts together a plan that sees the Dark Judges vanquished.

More to come…

Not part of this book but it has been revealed that Death is coming back…

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Day of Chaos The Fourth Faction review

Review by Steve Hargett.

Previously published in progs 1700-1704, 1740-1751, 1753-1758 & Judge Dredd Megazine 307, 308, 310.
I picked this up in Travelling Man in Leeds. I missed Staz Johnson signing on Saturday 9th February due to work but Travelling Man hooked me up with a signed copy on the following Sunday.
There are spoilers below but as it is a reprint I’m saying they are medium as I expect most readers know something of the story. In more recent reviews of Judge Dredd reprints I’ve tried to keep the spoilers very light, this is because the stories, The Cursed Earth Saga andThe Day The Law Died are much older and new readers are perhaps less likely to know much about them. Of course if you haven’t previously heard anything about this story the spoilers are heavy; in fact they get that way in my intro in the second paragraph following this, so beware.
Revenge is a dish best served cold. It’s an old saying, much quoted. This is a cold day for Mega City One, or rather this is the start of the build up to a cold day.
This story has its roots in 1981 when John Wagner and Alan Grant decided Mega City One was just a bit too big. Starting with Block Mania in Progs 236-244 where East-Meg assassin Orlok poisoned the water supply to several citi-blocks turning them in to warring factions. Then we entered the Apocalypse War in progs 245-270 when East-Meg One invaded following the chaos their agent had caused. Seeing his city devastated, Dredd led a hand picked band of Judges and in the end wiped the enemy city from the Earth with its own missiles.

30 years later…
Here we have a slow increase of threat to the city. There has recently been a change in Chief Judge, the outgoing Sinfield. sentenced to life on the Titan penal colony. The incoming Chief Judge Francisco, returned to the post after being poisoned by Sinfield. Dredd has been forced to be on the Council of Five, to all intents and purposes not only the leaders of the Judges but the Government of Mega City One, their Mayor being a symbolic leader only.
In an attempt to avoid what Dredd sees as tedium in the Council of Five meetings he initiates a policy of Zero Tolerance and starts with a crackdown in Sector 50. in The Skinning Room. This episode doesn’t have a great deal of plot linked to the main story of revenge. However it is essential for background of what state the city is in at the time. Every spare Judge is drafted in to Sector 50 and senior Cadets are also put on the streets. There is an interesting new element of Justice Department are seen, specialist snipers with unique uniforms and hover bike as a platform. This story centres on a Resyk employee with a murderous intent. Watch out for a cheeky cameo of the Justice Department’s Eagle symbol in one picture involving a female Judge strapped to an operating table.

Hot Night in 95 sees the tension on the streets increase as terrorist attacks take place throughout Sector 95, Where Dredd is temporary Sector Chief. This story re-introduces Judge Logan, who previously worked with Dredd in The Satanist, Total War, Origins and Tour of Duty. It also re-introduces Judge Hershey, a very longstanding character first introduced on The Judge Child and later rising in the ranks to become Chief Judge, replaced by Judge Francisco in his first term.
The Further Dasterdly Deeds of PJ Maybe sees the serial killer, a fan favourite, locked up in a high security iso-cube. He had been hiding in plain sight as Mayor Ambrose, oddly the best Mayor the city had probably ever had, now publicly assumed to be dead. He was considered such a threat that his very existence was supposed to be secret. If you know PJ you can guess what happens…
Nadia is the next episode, named after  mysterious woman who has recently arrived in the city. Nadia meets with a sleeper cell to arrange something big. Dredd meanwhile is now avoiding his duties on the Council of Five by teaching at the Academy of Law three times a month, when able. A PSI Cadet, Hennessy, brings him details of her precognition that some dorm of devastation was going to hit the city on the day of the upcoming Mayoral Election, to replace the ‘dead’ Mayor Ambrose. Hennesy leads Dredd slowly towards Nadia. Nadia’s sleeper cell successfully kidnap a scientist from the city.
The Fourth Faction, the eponymous episode of this graphic novel, reveals the enemy to be East-Meg One survivors  led by Colonel Borisenko. The kidnapped scientist is a bio-engineer that had developed a deadly virus that he had refused to turn over to Mega City One’s Special Weapons Division. Now Borisenko wants the same organism.
The final episode in this graphic novel is Elusive. PJ Maybe gets revenge on political rivals as well as finding a new safe place to hide from the law.
There are continuity flaws in Judge Dredd if you look at it closely but to a greater degree the continuity is rather good given the 36 years the strip has been going, not only weekly in 2000AD but monthly (more or less) in the Megazine. And past stories can easily come back to haunt Mega City One.
As ever John Wagner has pulled together an interesting cast of characters, old and new. The wealth and depth of material in Dredd cannot be underestimated.
The artists all do wonderful work, with some interesting tweaks to many of the uniforms Judges other than Street Division wear. Interestingly the fact that the same colourist has worked on all the stories it gives this collection a uniform feel while still allowing each artist to use their own style. I really have nothing to criticise in the layout or delivery. Colin MacNeil sneaks in a visual reference to the Judge Dredd fan chat-room – Colin is often found in there, so am I.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bubble! A new tool for comic writers.

Comic writer Chris Lynch has come up with a rather spiffing new thing that other writers will find very useful.

So, here's a quick pretend interview with Chris all about the marvelous Bubble.

What is Bubble?

Bubble is an attempt to create a plain text format for writing comic book
scripts that is readable to the human eye and readily converts into the
"approved" comic book format (whenever someone decides what that is).

It was born out of my immense frustration with "screen writing" software
that does comics badly and the poor mobile versions that even the best of
these offer (Celtx, I am looking at *you*).

How do you use it?

The idea is that you can write Bubble format in any text editor you like, then convert it at the end. Right now you can only convert via my website, but I will be releasing the source code that does the conversions online and creating an API so that people can embed Bubble in their websites or applications.

What is the point?

The point is that I know far too many people who have spent good money on screen writing "applications". I myself have wasted far too much time trying different ones out, only to run aground on something I didn't like. All of that time should have been spent on *writing*.

I guess Bubble is there to lower the entry bar for new writers by giving them a simple tool that will take a drudgery out of blocking pages and panels in a word processer, and save them the money on Final Draft or anything like that. Not that Bubble is just for new writers, I'd love to hear from anyone established in the comics world who starts to use it and likes it, but I remember how the formatting of scripts haunted me in my early days. Maybe I have laid those ghosts to rest now...

You can find out more about Bubble at* 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Judge Dredd: The Day The Law Died review

Review by Steve Hargett.
Judge Dredd: The Day The Law Died graphic novel published by 2000AD
Writer:John Wagner
Artists:Mick McMahon, Ron Smith, Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Garry Leach
Tom Frame, John Aldrich, Jack Potter, Peter Knight, Tom Knight, Dave Gibbons
Previously published in Progs 86 to 108 of 2000AD in October 1978 to April 1979
This story follows on straight after The Cursed Earth Saga and the first episode was in the first issue of 2000AD and Starlord following the merger of the two titles. There were four strips, Dredd leading supported by Ro-Busters, Flesh Book II  and Strontium Dog.
Dredd is given given a parade through the city to mark rescuing Mega City Two. Sat in the car with him is his mentor, Chief Judge Goodman, and the Deputy Chief Judge, Judge Cal. This is the first appearance of Cal and this story introduces the Special Judicial Squad, SJS. These Judges judge the Judges, they investigate and punish crimes committed by Judges. Judge Cal is clearly modeled upon Caligula, the third Emperor of Rome who history depicts as increasingly insane throughout his reign. There are subtle hints in the first part – during the parade Cal questions the cost of the mission Dredd had just been on; during a Triumph, a parade for a victorious General in Rome, someone stood behind the General would whisper that they are only human, to curb the General’s ego.
The SJS uniforms vary throughout the story, mostly due to the amount of artists involved. However it is also reasonable to accept that the uniforms do actually alter. The SJS are Cal’s men, as Deputy Chief Jusfe it seems he was also the Head of SJS. As such it is only reasonable o accept that as his ideas about himself become grander so his closest supporters would be affected.
There are some spoilers following, as this is a reprint I don’t think I am revealing much more than an active reader of 2000AD who hasn’t read this story before might realistically have come to know. I will try to keep the spoilers light.
Judge Cal frames Dredd and sent to the prison on Titan and has Chief Judge Goodman killed, seizing power for himself. Overwhelmingly the Judges of Mega City One support Cal, to the surprise of Dredd. Before his death Goodman gives Dredd a clue that the SJS are behind his murder, Dredd survives an assassination attempt only to be sentenced to death by Cal.
Dredd isn’t alone, however, and his one-time Rookie, Judge Giant, comes to his rescue. Together with Giant Dredd goes on to fight a guerilla war against Cal with a group of Judges mostly comprising Tutors from the Academy of Law.
Giant is the son of John ‘Giant’ Clay, captain of the Harlem Heroes jet-ball team from the strip of the same name. Not essential knowledge for this story but I’ll briefly give some more details, given that 2000AD doesn’t have one shared universe how this fact fits in with continuity. Harlem Heroes was set in a futuristic USA, sometime after 2050. In Prog 8 the home city of Harlem Heroes is referred to as Mega City One, where Artie Grubber is in intensive care (oh I loved Artie!). A sequel to Harlem Heroes, Inferno, was set in 2078, the year before Dredd graduated from the Academy of Law. One of the team members, Rip Venner, was an ex-Judge. So the links are clear and credible, indeed the current Judge Giant met his Great Grandpappy in ‘Whatever Happened to John ‘Giant’ Clay in the the Megazine, that story was set in 2126.
Back to the story in hand. This story introduces some other giants of Dredd continuity, pun intended, such as: Judge-Tutor Griffin; Fergee; the alien mercenaries race of Kleggs and also involves Walter the Wobot, Maria and Max Normal. Again, as in the Cursed Earth Saga an interesting cast of supporting characters.

Of these Fergee has proven to be hugely popular, a huge fellow with low intelligence many forget he isn’t a mutant or a Trog (a denizen of the Undercity). Fergee was born in Mega City One but by his own admission he did a few (well lots) of bad things. Given what seems to be his inate kindness one would assume that his enjoyment of violence was probably taken advantage of by some perp or other – but there are no explanations in the story. Fergee’s name was misappropriated in the Stallone film and used for the bumbling robotics expert who was a comedy sidekick for Dredd in that film. The 2012 Dredd 3D film makes mention of a riot in Fergee Memorial Park.
The fact that supporting characters like these become so important to the reader is a great reflection on the craftsmanship of the creators. Not only John Wagner but many of the script writers over the years.
Returning to Judge Cal and Caligula. There are so many comparisons it is easy to overlook them. Deputy Chief Judge Fish can be compared to Caligula making his horse a senator. Other comparisons include wild building projects and random death sentences. Bringing in the alien mercenaries, the Kleggs, could be compared to the barbarian mercenaries, Germans, that Caligula used as body guards. Oh and pickle jars, but I stray too near spoiler territory with this one.
This story reinforces the importance of Dredd in Mega City One. Even the experienced Judges that have become Tutors at the Academy of Law look to him for leadership. Of course he is a clone of the first Chief Judge, Fargo, and Judge Goodman had clearly been grooming him as a successor.
As noted earlier the amount of different artists on this story do give a lack of visual continuity. At times we see Dredd wearing  the more modern straight sided helmet and at other times the more rounded Ezquerra original. I don’t find that a distraction and as I said earlier the changes in SJS uniforms can easily be explained. You may note that only the head of the SJS, Judge Slocum, has the Deaths Head helmet insignia.
Interestingly this collection credits only John Wagner as writer but the creator panels show the names John Howard and T B Grover. These are pseudonyms that were used by John Wagner and Alan Grant when working in partnership. I assume as the credit here is for John Wagner alone that Alan Grant was either not involved or was involved only in part, perhaps talking through the plot. Certainly the plot is fluid and yet consistent.
A true classic, if you haven’t ever read this and still fail to… someone might have to get heavy with you.
Easy! The Ferg!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Family Troll Uses Sketches To Reach New Heights

I think I must be getting soft in my old age... this is two posts in a row about Kickstarter appeals..!

The Family Troll is a heart warming tale of an abandoned young troll who blesses the lives of a young couple in the most amazing way!

The Family Troll is a story book written by Jill Kirkham and drawn by Tyler Kirkham (DC comics' Green Lantern Corps, New Guardians, Red Hood) and is on Kickstarter with only 16 days left to go:

In order to raise both awareness of this truly unique venture as well as trying to reach new targets in funding, Tyler Kirkham has promised a Custom Sketch for ALL Current Pledgers who will add either $50 (for a torso) or $100 (for a full body) to their current pledges. This is a true feat since normally Tyler will only sketch at conventions and is now enabling this new opportunity to fans of his artwork!

The Family Troll is loosely based on Tyler and Jill's real life experiences as they struggle to have a child of their own. The Family Troll takes place in a fantasy world, and follows the lives of a young couple as they experience that very same struggle, albeit in a different surrounding. 

They choose to consult a wizard in the hopes of receiving a magic spell or potion to solve their problem. The Wizard agrees, but only if they will watch over his newly rescued, adopted baby troll. The Wizard must travel the land to gather the ingredients for the spell and cannot take care of this infant troll himself.

The couple raises the troll over the course of a year and grow very close to him. He blesses their lives in numerous ways, and also ends up helping the couple forget their worries and live life to the fullest.

This blissfull year eventually leads the couple to even have a child of their own!

They end up adopting the troll and live happily ever after!

The story of The Family Troll seems simple, but it surely is more then just that, just based on the endeavors of the Kirkham's themselves.

Lavishly illustrated in between Kirkham's full-time DC Comics exclusive, this fantasy tale is surely to touch the hearts of both children and adults alike.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Brickstop - LEGO!


Now, while this is not strictly comic related, it is a fantastic idea, and one that will be of interest to fans of that greatest of toys: Lego.
It is a Kickstarter (No! Don't run away) appeal to help get this site up and running.
Mark Bassett, one of the guys behind it, explains, "I realised that the sites Lego fans use to buy and sell Lego pieces are incredibly outdated and really clunky to use, often making it really complicated and time consuming for Lego fans to buy the pieces they want. I want to change that!

"Introducing! It’s a kickstarter project that I am working on with a group of friends (we have worked on several big website projects together including Assassins Creed Unlock the Animus, Hacked History, Zombiu comic book website and many more!) to try and make a website for Lego fans to buy and sell Lego pieces and their custom instructions very easily and all on one website.

"It’s a massive project and is going to take a while to complete, but the first step is to try and get as many people hearing about it as possible (and hopefully pledging)!

"So please check out our video, share it with your friends and family if you can, and if you’re feeling really generous and are a Lego fan please pledge!"

so please check out the Kickstarter page.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Coming soon: Nemesis the Warlock. The Deviant Edition

2000 AD is to collect the extremely rare coloured Nemesis the Warlock stories for the first time in September.
This special limited-edition hardback is the first ever collection of the Eagle Comics editions, with Kevin O’Neill (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) colouring his original artwork. It will also include the very hard-to-find Nemesis Poster Prog strip, The Tomb of Torquemada.
Written by 2000 AD creator Pat Mills (Marshal Law) and also featuring artwork by Jesus Redondo (Star Trek: Voyager), the collection will be available in two editions - ‘Deviant’ and ‘Termight’, with the latter only available through the online shop.
In the far future, Earth is known as Termight and it sits at the heart of a cruel galactic empire, its citizens living deep in the bowels of the Earth and in constant fear of their leader - the diabolically evil Torquemada. Determined to rid the universe of all ‘deviation’, the Grand Master and his army of Terminators slaughter alien life across the galaxy. But one being leads the resistance to Torquemada’s despotic rule - the legendary alien freedom fighter, Nemesis the Warlock.
Insane, visceral, mind-blowingly imaginative, political, satirical, and unlike any comic before or since - Nemesis the Warlock is one of 2000 AD’s most successful and famous characters by two of its greatest
Black-and-white bestsellers for decades, this colour limited-edition collection of the original Nemesis stories is an absolute must for new and old fans alike.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Cursed Earth Saga review

Review by Steve Hargett.
Pat Mills, John Wagner
Mick McMahon, Brian Bolland
Tom Frame, Peter Knight, John Aldrich
Previously published in Progs 61 to 85 of 2000AD in April to October 1978
What hasn’t been said about this epic?
I’m reading this in Kindle, the version is manga sized and all black and white and available from Amazon, this edition is also available in paperback.
Before this the largest story had been Robot Wars in Prog 10 to 17, though the story followed directly on from Prog 9. The Cursed Earth is the first real epic for Judge Dredd and is rightly considered a classic. This story shows us the Cursed Earth in the greatest detail so far. We are introduced to a wide range of possibilities of what lies outside the confines of the great Mega City.
Anyone familiar with the printing history of this epic will be aware that there were copyright issues over the use of Ronald McDonald, Burger King, Jolly Green Giant and a number of other characters. Four parts of the epic have therefore never been reprinted. There is a synopsis of these episodes in the foreword of the graphic novel. You need Progs 71, 72, 77 & 78 to enjoy these parts of the story. I have them, but obviously can’t go in to further detail. I am displaying images from the saga, with kind permission from 2000AD PR Droid Molch-R, understandably no images from the embargoed parts.
If you haven’t read this story there are spoilers, I’m tagging this as ‘light’ as it is a reprint, but certainly I won’t be mentioning anything that will ruin your enjoyment if you have not read this wonderful saga before.
We are introduced to the story by Red, who we are told is an old friend of Judge Dredd. Red is a pilot that runs trips between the two big Mega Cities, Mega City One and Mega City Two. He is a Mega City One citizen and though it is never stated I would guess by the uniforms  Red and his men wear he could be an Auxiliary of some form certainly he is never referred to as a Judge. Red’s craft Strat Bat, has the Law Eagle on, this could denote a Mega City One registered ship but I think more likely backs up my theory that he is an Auxiliary.
This is the first mention of Mega City 2, sister city to Mega City One on the Western seaboard of USA. Ruled by its own ruling council of Judges. The uniforms are more or less identical in this story,  I think it is artistic licence that makes them seem a little lighter in colour.
Mega City Two is in the grip of a deadly plague, left over from the ‘Great Germ War’. The airports are all closed so the only way to get an antidote to Mega City Two is by land. Dredd is assigned t o lead the mission and is given a two-part armoured vehicle, comprising the personnel carrier Land Raider and the tank Killdozer. He is accompanied by three Judges, including Judge Jack who partnered him in the Robot Wars. Rounding off his crew is the convicted bike gang leader Spikes Harvey Rotten. It is not confirmed if this is the same character as the one of the same name from an earlier story Mega City 5000 from Progs 40 & 41. Due to lack of resemblance between the two and the earlier version being presumed dead (though he could just be unconscious) at the end of Prog 41 many assume the characters are not connected.
The journey between the Two Mega Cities shows us that the wasteland outside their walls is not devoid of life. In fact it is populated by a variety of people and creatures that rivals that within Mega City One. We are introduced to townships of un-mutated humans that for one reason or another live outside the supposed safety of the Mega Cities. There are mutant clans, Alien Slavers, deranged Robots, flying rats, dinosaurs… one could almost say ‘what isn’t in the Cursed Earth?’
The saga stretches the suspension of disbelief, but that is often when Dredd is at its best. Of course the other end of the spectrum, when Dredd gets close to reality, can also give us great stories.
The stories are varied and have the right mix of action, drama and of course dark humour. All aspects that have been seen throughout the history of 2000AD as much as the pages of Dredd alone. And as I said at the top of this article, this saga sets the scene for almost everything from Dredd stories in 2000AD or the Megazine when it comes to the Cursed Earth.
Pat Mills ties Judge Dredd to one of his creations, Flesh!, in part of the story, bringing us the genetically recreated Satanus, son of Old One Eye. 2000AD doesn’t have a shared universe, unlike other famous publishing companies. However Pat Mills often links his stories together. While some links have been more or less written off or forgotten Satanus is firmly embedded in Judge Dredd history.
For me it is as much the supporting cast as Dredd himself that makes this story thoroughly enjoyable. Spikes is a changed man at the end, he has grown through this hellish road-trip. Tweak, a rock eating alien, shows us more humanity than many humans have ever shown in the pages of Dredd. Both characters are still among my all time favourites, I’ll talk about another later this month when I review Judge Dredd: The Day The Law Died.
Now as I said I have been reading the latest edition of this story on Kindle. I have also read the same version in paperback. The Kindle version didn’t work so well on my android phone but looks great on my PC. The pages have been reduced well, all the lettering is easy to read. Some lettering has been re-positioned where required. I’m not certain how technical it is to make the colour pages black and white but if I didn’t know what pages were affected I wouldn’t have known about the alteration.
As for the artwork, two of the series giants turned in these pages. They are as fine as anyone can expect to see. You won’t see the now famous chin, it wasn’t quite as defined as it is now. But Dredd is as obviously Dredd as ever in the history of the comic.
If you have never read this – get a copy. If you have read it but no longer have a copy – get a copy.
And just remember, Alex Garland planned to take us in to the Cursed Earth in a sequel to Dredd (2012). We may not get a chance to see that come about but the fan film Judge Minty does deliver on that.


 This is the latest release for the brilliant independent publisher Time Bomb Comics. They always put out superb products, and we have no hesitation in recommending this one too!


ISBN 978-0-9561822-6-5

Writer: Alex De-Gruchy

Artists: Gorgio Iannotti & Mike Bunt

56 pages, US format, perfect bound, full colour cover, full colour interior.
Retail price £6.99/$10.99

Since 2007, Time Bomb Comics has regularly been publishing an eclectic range of one-shots and graphic novels from both brand new and established comic creators. 

Their latest release “The Last Ride Of Henry Holden” is a grim tale of Old West redemption set in the year 1871, written by Alex De-Gruchy with artwork by Giorgio Iannotti and Mike Bunt, colouring by Owen Watts and lettering by Nikki Foxrobot.

A 56-page full-colour graphic novella, “The Last Ride Of Henry Holden” 
Is available to order in the the UK section of the current issue of Previews priced £6.99.

For more information on this and any other Time Bomb Comics please contact