Swipe #1

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Swipe #1 Powered By Docstoc
Wait, WAIT! Although I can feel your
excitement about Swipe pulsing through
the page, I think introductions are
in order. This is the first issue after
all, a product of too much caffeine and
too little sleep. I am Neil Thomason,
and I will be guiding you through
Swipe for the foreseeable future.
With this first issue we’ve tailored
the magazine to what we want Swipe to
be - informative, fun and finding ways
to give back to the comic community.
As such we have a feature devoted to
your favourite comic shop on page 16,
the first presentation of our reader
created stories on page 46, insider
tips on writing and pitching from
Mark Waid on page 37, and a look back
to the beginnings of our cover star
John Constantine and the men who made
him... or who he made write him into
reality. Yeah, we’ll let you make your
own mind up about that one on page 32.

             Twitter: @NTDoom

                                     Swipe   3
                                                                           NO COPYRIGHT

    ISSUE 1
 Word On The Street
8 News Round-up
A look at this month’s DC relaunch and reader opinions on it, as well as
a round-up of other goings-on in the industry.
12 Emails, Tweets And Comments
You speak, we listen. No opinion too big or too small!
14 Manchester Comic Con Coverage
All the happenings at this years MCM Expo Manchester Comic Con.
16 Your Friendly Neighbourhood Comic Shop
A look at Travelling Man in Manchester and a quick chat with co-
manager Haroon Mushtaq. Find out how to get your local comic shop
profiled inside!

20 The Rise And Rise Of Internet Comics
We take a look at the stories behind some of the internet’s funniest
comic strips so you can kill time more effectively at work or at home.
24 Best Adaptations
Narrowing the best comic book adaptations across all forms of media
into a top five was hard...
26 Worst Adaptations
On the flipside of the coin, putting the worst comic book adaptations
into a top five was easy.
28 Competition
Enter our competition for a chance to win the items listed in the best
adaptations. Runner’s-up will receive the worst adaptations...
32 Hellblazer
Swipe takes a look back at John Constantine and the three writers who
crafted him into one of the most popular characters in recent memory.

 Creator Corner
37 Pitching Ideas
Mark Waid gives expert advice and insider tips on getting the most out
of your story and pitching your ideas.
40 Evolution Of A Cover
A behind the scenes look at award winning artist Jock’s cover to
Hellblazer: Pandemonium and the process behind the final product.
42 A Conversation With...
Swipe sits down with UK comic book writer Andy Diggle to talk about
this and that (and the other).
46 Subject To Change
Our first in a long line of reader-created, three-page strips. To find
out how you can get involved, check out our website or swing by our
Facebook page.

 The Knowledge
52 A Blagger’s Guide To...
A brief look at the history of The Flash and our recommendation’s on
the Scarlet Speedster’s six best TPB’s.
58 Reviews
A selection of this month’s comics and movies reviewed so you know
what’s what.
66 The Showdown
Reading on digital is something that is on everyone’s mind, but which is
the more convenient way? We pit the tablet vs the phone in a fight for
the reader’s soul!

4        Swipe




                    Swipe   5

THE ‘NEW 52’
The lowdown on DC’s relaunch in
September and what it means to you...

         t is a controversial move that has divided      Barbara Gordon, who will go back to being Batgirl
         comic book fans like no other, and on the       after recovering successfully from the assault that
         31st of August the DCU will be changed, for     left her paralyzed and who (as a recent college
         better or worse, forever. For on that fateful   graduate) will be younger than she was when she
day, only two comics will be released, one of them       was shot.
being Flashpoint #5, the catalyst for this relaunch.        The changes aren’t just specific to the characters
   Coming at the end of Barry Allen’s recent             either, the relaunch is being used as a way to mix
Flashpoint story arc, the relaunch will see 52 DC        it up and explore new means of distribution in the
titles including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman          industry. Pricing of digital editions will be the same
and Green Lantern begin from scratch as #1’s. The        as their physical counterparts on the day of release
changes to the DCU will include rebooted character       but will drop in price after four weeks of being
origins and costume redesigns by co-publisher Jim        available, and in quite a bold move, DC will also
Lee.                                                     no longer be structuring their stories to fit into the
   In the run up to the controversial relaunch, DC       graphic novel format. Writers have instead been
have vehemently reiterated time and again that this      told to write the story they want to write and not
isn’t a reboot or retcon and that everything is here     worry about the trade collecting - therefore if they
to stay: “This is not a reboot,” Bob Wayne, Senior       can tell a well-paced story in four issues, they’ve
VP of sales, said on the recent Retailer Roadshow.       been told not to pad it to make it six issue trade
“It’s a launch. This is a new beginning which builds     standard.
off the best of the past.                                   Needless to say, this is an epic and ambitious
   “For the stories launching in September we have       initiative that will set the tone for storylines and
carefully hand-selected the most powerful and            characters for years to come... but is it a popular
pertinent moments in these characters’ lives and         decision? Casual readers seem intrigued at being
stories to remain in the mythology and lore.             able to get in on the ground floor whereas long
   “And then we’ve asked the best creators in the        term readers seem very annoyed (see sidebar). A
industry to modernise, update and enhance the            group of comic fans even went so far as to stage a
books with new and exciting tales.”                      protest at the recent San Diego Comic Con. Laura
   One of the biggest worries among fans is whether      Hornack, who organised the protest, said that
the stories that have preceded the relaunch will         she was unhappy with the drastic redesigns DC
be rendered completely irrelevant. The retconning        Comics had planned for her favourite characters: “I
of characters and situations seems very deus ex          understand that reboots happen,” the 17-year-old
machina on paper but DC have been smart about            told Newsarama.
picking who, what and when has happened. As                 “I’m not mad anymore. It just feels like DC
always, DC wants to placate two different groups:        Comics is giving up on the diehard fans who have
hypothetical new readers, and those of us who have       been around for years.”
been buying the books already. For the former, the
relaunch promises new takes on familiar characters,      With all this said, surely anything that can generate
including some returning to their earlier roles. For     more interest and bring in new readers to the
the latter - and particularly for Batman and Green       industry is a good thing? And no matter if we find
Lantern readers - comes the reassurance that             our collections irrelevant, we still have some pretty
everything important still happened. Perhaps the         good stories to read. I guess only time will tell if it
two goals collide most dramatically in the case of       will work or be a huge mistake. >>

8         Swipe                                                                                                    NO COPYRIGHT
                 Word On The Street

       What You
D-UP   “I think it’s a good time for
       new fans to get involved and
       read all the origins stories
       again but rebooted. I like

       “As someone gingerly getting
       into comics, it seems a whole
       lot less daunting, though
       I’ve been finding some of
       the arcs easy to understand

       “I just don’t want the Batman
       universe to change, I can’t
       stress enough how much I love
       where it’s at now. Bruce as
       Batman running Batman Inc,
       Dick as Bats, Damien as Robin
       and Drake as Red Robin. I
       just love it and I’d hate
       for all that to amount to

       “I’m glad this is happening
       cause it will give me the one
       chance in life to start fresh
       with the DCU. I’ve always
       wanted to start reading comics
       but all of the stories that
       are there make catching up
       overwhelming. And it’s being
       sold digitally too! Thanks
       DC, don’t let me down.”

       “Demon   Knights   by    Paul
       Cornell? Swamp Thing by Scott
       I’m beginning to like this

       “I’m surprised they are going
       with a same-as-print price. I
       would have hoped there would
       be some discount. Then again,
       if the digital version has
       no ads I’ll happily pay full
       price for the same book.”

       “I thought comic book fans
       would   be  ecstatic   about
       this reboot. I know I am.
       There’s no way DC doesn’t
       have a plan for all of its
       current continuities, so you
       wouldn’t need to worry about

                      Swipe         9
   News Round-up                                                                                                                             NO COPYRIGHT

                                                                                            CASTING    DETAILS  AND
                                                                                            FIRST IMAGE RELEASED FOR
                                                                                            WARNER BROS MAN OF STEEL

                                                                                                       ews on Zack Snyder’s reboot of the Superman
                                                                                                       franchise has started to come thick and fast this
                                                                                                       month, first with the information that Laurence
                                                                                                       Fishburne is set to tackle the role of Perry White
                                                                                            and then the release of the first image of Man of Steel star
                                                                                            Henry Cavill in full Superman mode.
                                                                                               While it’s difficult to tell if the outfit is sporting the
                                                                                            traditional red trunks due to the photo’s lighting, it appears
                                                                                            that the movie costume is mainly influenced by the Man of
                                                                                            Tomorrow’s classic outfit more than Jim Lee’s redesigned
                                                                                               Man of Steel is set for release in 2013, and stars Henry
                                                                                            Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael
                                                                                            Shannon as General Zod, and Kevin Costner as Jonathan
                                                                                            Kent. The movie is being produced by Batman director
                                                                                            Christopher Nolan, with a script written by David S. Goyer.


          he loss of writer/director/executive producer Frank Darabont from AMC’s           JOHNNY STORM ‘THE HUMAN
          hit comic adaptation The Walking Dead shook the internet when word of
                                                                                            TORCH’ SET FOR RETURN?

          his departure emerged just days after an appearance at San Diego’s Comic-
          Con. The exit has been very hush-hush up to now, leaving many unanswered                      arvel released a steady stream of Fantastic
questions about just what happened for AMC to drop the show’s creative godfather.                       Four themed teaser images throughout August,
   A new article in The Hollywood Reporter gets most of the big questions fans have                     though actual details on the project were vague
been asking in its sights, and though the story is chock full of ‘off the record’ quotes,               until the release of the (appropriately enough)
it paints a picture of network versus producer battles on budget almost from day one        fourth teaser image above. With its release, Marvel have
of The Walking Dead’s life.                                                                 formally announced the return of the Fantastic Four in
   According to the report, Darabont was fired from the show while editing an upcoming      November with #600, a ‘quadruple-sized’ issue.
episode whose footage came in “unusable” from the Atlanta production’s set. AMC –             The first teaser image to be released was a shot of Earth
already known for clashing with show runners on Mad Men and Breaking Bad – was              with the Fantastic Four logo imposed over it and a list of
said to start demanding leaner budgets and quicker shoots for the show before the           creative personnel. The second teaser to be released was
first episode even debuted last year. When the series debuted to huge numbers – 5.3         of the Future Foundation, the team set up after Johnny
to 6 million viewers tuned in for each episode, making the series one of the most           Storm lost his life fighting a horde of aliens from the
successful basic cable shows ever – Darabont and producers felt that the terms for          Negative Zone, with ‘November’ and the list of creative
Season 2’s budget would be negotiable. That didn’t turn out to be the case.                 personnel again. The third image to be released was of
   “Ratings have no bearing on this conversation,” AMC’s head of original programming,      the classic Fantastic Four line-up, featuring the same text
Joel Stillerman, reportedly told those involved as the network reduced the show’s           as the others.
per-episode budget from $3.4 million to $2.75 million while also pocketing tens of            While the John Romita Jr. cover art shown above
thousands in tax breaks the show gets for shooting in Georgia. “Joel thinks he is           shows the Human Torch alongside the rest of the FF, it
responsible for the success of shows on AMC, and not the creators,” an unnamed              also includes Spider-Man in his traditional red and blue
source told The Hollywood Reporter.                                                         outfit rather than his Future Foundation uniform, leaving
   Darabont’s departure was said to be a shocking turn for the cast and crew, although      the return of Johnny Storm far from guaranteed. We
fans of the series shouldn’t expect to hear that publicly any time soon as the network      can of course hear the collective groan of Swipe readers
has reportedly come down hard on talent to keep quiet in the press until the show is        everywhere at the thought of Marvel bringing back yet
ready to bow again in October. However, a lack of Darabont may have an impact on            another ‘dead’ superhero but be that as it may, the
the morale of the creative’s, if not the quality of the show itself. S                      reunion of the Fantastic Four should be a great one. S

STOP PRESS What are you thoughts on these events? Get involved in the discussion on our forums at www.swipethemagazine.com

10 Swipe
                                                                                                                         Word On The Street


                                            ew York federal
                                            judge        Colleen
                                            McMahon          has
                                            declared that the
                                  heirs of legendary artist
                                  Jack Kirby had no claim to
                                  copyrights on superheroes
                                  such as Thor, the Avengers.
                                  Hulk, the Fantastic Four and
                                  Iron Man, all of which he co-
                                  created for Marvel Comics in
                                  the 1960s, putting to rest one
                                  of the most closely watched
                                  legal cases in modern comics
                                    The     50-page     decision
                                  details the ins and outs of      2000AD TO BEGIN MASS EXPANSION
the trial, with McMahon spelling out very early what was
                                                                   INTO THE AMERICAN COMICS MARKET

at stake: “At the outset, it is important to state what this
motion is not about. Contrary to recent press accounts
                                                                             K weekly serial 2000AD, the legendary comic that gave birth to such iconic
[including two pieces in the New York Times], this case
                                                                             characters as Judge Dredd and Sinister Dexter, as well as being the breeding
is not about whether Jack Kirby or Stan Lee is the real
                                                                             ground of famous writers such as Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman, will
‘creator’ of Marvel characters, or whether Kirby (and other
                                                                             finally be arriving to American shores starting this month.
freelance artists who created culturally iconic comic book
                                                                     The legendary weekly British title will be featured in Diamond Distribution’s
characters for Marvel and other publishers) were treated
                                                                   Previews magazine as individual issues, known as ‘progs’ – with October’s Prog 1754
‘fairly’ by companies that grew rich off the fruit of their
                                                                   being the first retailers and consumers can order as a single issue.
labor. It is about whether Kirby’s work qualifies as work-for-
                                                                     The previous situation saw overseas readers having to buy monthly packs of four
hire under the Copyright Act of 1909, as interpreted by the
                                                                   or five issues through Diamond Distribution, sometimes costing in the region of $25
courts, notably the United States Court of Appeals for the
                                                                   - not the most cost effective or exciting way of reading a weekly comic.
Second Circuit. If it does, then Marvel owns the copyright
                                                                     With the ‘Dredd‘ movie starring Karl Urban due for release next year, and The
in the Kirby Works, whether that is ‘fair’ or not. If it does
                                                                   Losers creative team of Andy Diggle and Jock (both featured in this month’s issue)
not, then the Kirby Heirs have a statutory right to take back
                                                                   teaming up for ‘Snapshot’ - a brand-new creator owned series due to be serialised in
those copyrights, no matter the impact on recent corporate
                                                                   2000AD - now really is the best time to jump on the band wagon.
acquisition or on earnings from blockbuster movies made
                                                                     “This is a great step forward in 2000 AD’s mission to bring the best of British to
and yet to be made.”
                                                                   American readers and we’re delighted that we are to become a weekly publication
   In the end, the judge agreed with Marvel’s version of
                                                                   in the US, just like we are in the UK.” said Matt Smith, editor of the comic. “Twenty
the events, writing that there were “no genuine issues of
                                                                   dollars for one of the monthly packs is a lot of cash to hand over for a single
material fact, and that the Kirby Works were indeed works
                                                                   purchase, especially for what to many in the US remains an unknown quantity, so by
for hire.”
                                                                   distributing each issue every week we’re hoping American readers will be tempted
   The decision is an undeniable victory for Marvel and their
                                                                   by our blend of high-octane action and first class comics talent.” S
new parent company Disney who can now move forward in
full faith that they control all rights to the Marvel Universe.
  The document also goes into detail on the legal                  DEL TORO’S HULK TV SERIES WON’T TIE
maneuverings both sides went through to state their case,          IN WITH THE MARVEL FILM FRANCHISE

with Marvel taking action to strike down testimony from
witnesses including Jim Steranko and Joe Sinnott (both                           arvel have delighted fans over recent years by carefully crafting an
former artists for Marvel) and experts Mark Evanier and                          interconnected cinematic universe peppered with cameos, all of which
‘Jack Kirby Collector’ publisher John Morrow. While the                          has been building toward the release of the ensemble film The Avengers
publisher was unable to get the first hand accounts of these                     in May 2012. However, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro said audiences
witnesses stricken, the opinions of Evanier and Morrow             shouldn’t expect those threads to extend into television, where he’s developing The
were excluded from the final decision.                             Hulk for ABC along with David Eick (Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica).
   The court saw fit to note that while many witnesses and            “We had a long, long talk about that, and we have been given license,” del Toro
defendants in the proceedings ‘challenged the credibility’ of      told MTV in a recent interview. “I mean, I think the comics, y’know [...] Pak’s Hulk is
Stan Lee, “general attacks on Lee’s honesty or credibility,        great, and Loeb’s Hulk is great, and there’s so many things in the Hulk universe that
without more, are insufficient to raise a genuine issue of         are powerful strands of narrative. They know we are being faithful to those strands,
fact.” In other words, no real evidence suggests that Lee or       and the movies have their own continuity.”
Marvel misrepresented themselves when dealing with Kirby.             Reinforcing the update he offered in late June on how they’ll be focusing on the
   Overall, it was Lee’s testimony as well as Steranko and         love story between Bruce Banner and Betty Ross, and how the two are brought
Sinnott’s that helped seal the case for Marvel. As direct          together and continuously torn apart by the monster within, del Toro said: “David
witnesses to Marvel editorial policy at the time, those men        Eick and I are hard at work. We’ve gone through a lot of iterations with the ABC
had the closest take to how the work was really created.           project and we’re very happy where we are right now. We’re just waiting for the
How this new decision may effect other pending legal action        green light to go to pages.”
against Warner Bros over the rights to Superman in the                “The trick with The Hulk is, how do you accommodate the Hulk in a TV effects
name of Jerry Siegel’s heirs remains to be seen.                   budget?” he continued. “We are finding ways around it. It’s a tricky one to figure out
   Marc Toberoff, who prosecuted on behalf of the Kirby            in the model, but if we are successful at that, then you can go into it.”
heir’s has said that he intends to appeal to the Second               ABC President Paul Lee revealed at the Television Critics Association press tour
Circuit Court. “Sometimes you have to lose in order to win,”       that the network hopes to see The Hulk and AKA Jessica Jones, an adaptation of
he told The Hollywood Reporter. S                                  Marvel’s Alias, in the next pilot season in 2012. S

STOP PRESS What are you thoughts on these events? Get involved in the discussion on our forums at www.swipethemagazine.com

                                                                                                                                 Swipe               11
e  ails
                                                                                NO COPYRIGHT


  weets                          @Swipe_Magazine

and comments   www.facebook.com/pages/Swipe-Magazine/

Never let it be said that we are hard to reach! We crave your feedback,
ideas and desires - after all Swipe is your magazine as much as it is
ours. Here’s some of the funniest, insightful and inane correspondence
received so far...

      DC comics rebooting/restarting/                Loving     the     sneak     peaks
      whatever    all   their    major               into   the   launch   issue,   the
      characters is stupid. How soon                 Hellblazer      article      looks
      before it backfires and they say               SICK! Psyched for its release
      it never happened? @marshthing

       You  need  to  do  a  blagger’s               looking forward to seeing this
       guide to Batman ASAP, the whole               magazine  grow  and  grow! Ive
       Morrison  saga  that  has  been               just joined Creator Corner at
       done recently has confused me!                the website and have started
                                                     collaborating already! @snooki

       every1 always asks who would                      Just  discovered  the   Swipe
       win - Hulk or Thing, when the                     website  and   am  so   happy
       obvious answer is THOR! @reubens                  to see a website out there
                                                         that  caters  to  new   comic
                                                         readers!  Needless   to   say
                                                         I’m really looking forward
                                            to the launch issue of the magazine and
                                            seeing what type of articles you produce.
       just had a great idea for next       What I really want to see as a new reader
       issue - THE PUNISHER’S BEST KILLS!   is a look at the past and beginnings of
       get writing it! @splendiferous       the industry, in particular UK comics.

          Thanks for getting my name                 Just got back from the San Diego
          out  there   again   lads,  a              Comic Con, didn’t know anything
          pint  is  in   order.  Though              about the website or magazine
          FYI the Alan Moore anecdote                but will definitely be checking
          is a load of bollocks ;-)                  both  out.  Nice   meeting  you!

12 Swipe
          COMIC CON?

The inaugural MCM Expo Manchester Comic Con took place at Manchester
Central, aka the G-Mex, at the end of July and Swipe was on-hand and in
the thick of it. But did it live up to its name?

          he last time any sort of       of Kamui The Lone Ninja, Topps                                                        There     was     literally
          event celebrating nerd         Marvel Universe trading cards and               Smashes and sawing                    something for everyone,
          culture took place in          free comic books from Diamond                                                         no matter what your
          Manchester was in 2008         Comics is up for debate.                        could be heard from                   geeky interest. However,
and, for any fact fans out there,           There was fancy-dress and                    anywhere in the hall                  for an event named
was in the same building as this         cosplay as far as the eye could see                                                   Manchester Comic Con
one. With that in mind, and the          just waiting to get in the venue -                                                    I did find myself asking
fact university had finished for the     where else could you walk past a        (Wasteland, Daredevil), Leigh                 ‘where are all the comic
summer rendering Oxford Road a           group of Ghostbusters one minute        Gallagher (2000AD) and John books?!’ Sure, there was the
ghost town, the promoters, Paul          and be confronted by M. Bison and       McCrea (Hitman, Judge Dredd), aforementioned Comics Village
Miley and Bryan Cooney, were             Chun-Li getting ready to throw          the cosplay masquerade, and a with several artists, but there
taking a bit of gamble - especially      down the next? It was great to          handful of new videogames to play was little emphasis on it and that
as this other event was deemed an        see so much enthusiasm and such         including Earth Defense Force, was about all that would appeal to
absolute failure way back when.          a large turnout for the event,          Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, enthusiasts. Very few traders were
And judging by how only one hall         especially as it had had little-to-no   Mario Kart 3DS, and the all-new selling individual comics or graphic
of Manchester Central was booked,        press in the run-up and the MCM         Super Mario 3DS.                     novels and instead the emphasis
it’s safe to say they didn’t have        Expo website had only gone live a          As well as plenty to see, there seemed to be more on the whole
much faith.                              month before. In fact Manchester        was also plenty to buy. Merchants Manga and cosplay scene, whether
   Fortunately, the people of            Comic Con’s success seems very          galore filled the floor offering by accident or design.
Manchester did have faith and            much in spite of itself which is        everything from imported American      The event also featured signings
turned up in droves, with the queue      always great to see.                    food and drink (I spent £1.70 on and talks from sci-fi stars from
to get in reaching out of the entrance                                           Sour Skittles, which I didn’t like television and film including Craig
and down onto the main square an         rammed!                                 but ate out of spite) to the latest Charles (star of Red Dwarf and,
hour after doors opened. I think                                                 manga. From brand new model err, Coronation Street...), Warwick
that’s what is commonly referred         Inside Manchester Central there         kits and toys to a ridiculous amount Davis (Star Wars, Willow, Harry
to as a ‘success’. Whether all these     was barely room to move but plenty      of retro items, including video Potter) and Kenny Baker (Star
people had shown up because they         for attendees to see and do. These      games, Star Wars merch, Dr Who Wars, Labyrinth) which were well
heard that the first 2000 attendees      included the Comics Village, with       cards and Transformers figures received by the crowd, but again
received a goodybag with a DVD           guests including Antony Johnston        (all for cheaper than my Skittles! it was lacking any sort of ‘name’
14 Swipe
                                                                                                                         Word On The Street

 John McCrea sketching
 characters from Hitman

                                                                                  Ga ngsta Sc
                                                                                  da hoooo
                                                                                                                      by mid-afternoon it became a real
                                                                                                                      chore trying to navigate around
                                                                               walked away the winners and go         the hall and the heat and lack
 Supergirl and                                                                 on to the final in Birmingham in       of air conditioning made it very
 Batgirl... kinda                                                              November.                              uncomfortable. But these things
                                                                                                                      can easily be rectified for next year.
                                                                               In Conclusion...                       And I’m very certain it will return
from the comic industry on this        destruction. There was also a                                                  to Manchester in 2012. S
front and I couldn’t help but feel     corner dedicated to DDR (Dance          From the chats I had with attendees,
that myself and any other comic        Dance Revolution) that had its fair     merchants and exhibitors, despite
book enthusiasts had been duped        share of the audience as young          any reservations they may have         Ratings...
by the name of this event.             kids dance duelled to the death         had the event was a resounding
                                       (well, not quite). Outside of the       success. Some of the fine folks in     Venue
Doing Laps!                            aforementioned talks from the           the Comics Village had even sold
                                       special guests, the stage was used      out of their stock way before the      Atmosphere
With that said, there was plenty       for some J-Pop singing and later in     end of the event!                      by mid-afternoon it became a real
of other fun to be had around the      the day was host to the first heat in      For a first event in what, at       chore trying to navigate around
venue. In the far corner of the hall   the Battle of the Bloggers - a quiz     least for the organisers, was a        the hall and the heat and lack
was a huge Robot Wars arena and        whereby bloggers get into teams         risky location, I can safely say       of air conditioning made it very
when that was finally underway         of three or four and have to answer     the MCM Expo Manchester Comic          uncomfortable. But these things
(after some technical difficulties)    questions that cover a wide variety     Con was a huge success. My one          Value For Money
                                                                                                                      can easily be rectified for next year.
the smashes and sawing could be        of topics including TV, film, comics,   major problem (apart from the          And I’m very certain it will return
heard from anywhere in the hall        anime, video games and general          deceiving name of the event) was       to Manchester in 2012.
and provided some eye-catching         geek culture. Blogomatic3000            that there was not enough room -
                                                                                                                                  Swipe               15
                                          hbo ur
                                   yN eig
                         Fr ie ndl      S   h  o
                   You r        i  c
                       o  m

                   4 Dale St, Manchester, M1 1JW                        •0161 2371877•                www.travellingman.com

                    ravelling Man is a great little     you end up having things in common,        Image titles - pretty much any new
                    comic book shop with stores in      or talk about things enough that you’ll    Image title that has come out in the
                    Leeds, York, Manchester and         start remembering their tastes or start    past year has sold out completely.
                    Newcastle, selling all sorts of     remembering that person. I don’t know
           comics, graphic novels, Manga, t-shirts      any other retail establishment that has    Is tabletop gaming still a big part
           and tabletop gaming paraphernalia.           regulars that come back every week,        of the business?
           The store is founded on building strong      outside of a bar maybe.                    Yeah, Travelling Man started as a
           relationships with its customers that                                                   gaming shop and we do cater to
           keeps them loyal and coming back             Have you found an increase in              gamers. We sell all the best board
           again and again. Swipe talked to co-         casual fans due to film and game           games and I think have one of the best
           manager of the Manchester shop,              tie-ins?                                   selections in Manchester.
           Haroon Mushtaq, about what makes             Not so much. The only times it has
           Travelling Man so special and his            been obvious was when Watchmen             What’s        your      thoughts      on
           thoughts on the comic book industry.         came out - the Watchmen trade sold         digital comics and do you see it
                                                        more in that year than it had done in      encroaching into sales?
           SWIPE: How long has Travelling               the five years previously. Unfortunately   It’s only in the past year, with tablets,
           Man been around?                             the movies don’t get more people into      that people have embraced digital. I’m
           HAROON: Travelling Man first opened          the comics... but it makes them aware      for digital comics for the simple fact
           in 1991. We just celebrated its 20th         of it and makes them more socially         that as a collector, the more you read
           birthday earlier this month with instore     acceptable. I think it can be quite        a comic the more it degrades. With a
           parties at all of the locations, featuring   daunting coming into a comic shop as       digital copy I can read Batman #1 to
           DJ’s, cake, giveaways and discounts.         you do have that ‘Comic Book Guy’ off      death and keep my actual copy that
                                                        the Simpson’s stigma, but it’s part of     I want to archive on the shelf. I like
           How many members of staff are                my job to make them feel welcome and       having the physical copy they’re real -
           there?                                       comfortable.                               you own that, it takes up space, you
           Me and Abi are the two full-timers and                                                  can look at it. I don’t think comic sales
           we also have a part-timer who comes How important are monthly titles                    will plummet but I do think mini-series
           in. We each have our little specialist to the shop?                                     will suffer. Batman will always sell,
           areas, mine’s DC and Independent’s.       Standing orders and repeat custom             X-Men will always sell, but a mini-series
                                                     stems from the monthly comics,                about Elektra, people will just download
           Is distribution through the internet that serialization keeps the core                  that. If you look at it economically it’s
           a big part of the business or is it demographic coming back all the time.               obvious that the monthlies fund the
           more shop based?                          People are more willing to drop a comic       ability to print paperbacks and revenue
           No, it’s very shop orientated. We do now because the quality isn’t as good              from that pays the staff. So as an
           have a webstore but it’s something or it has taken a turn in the wrong                  institution, for it to survive, you have
           that we’re very new to, so there’s still direction. Comic fans are habitual             to have monthly comics otherwise the
           teething problems. It’s there, we’re just people. we buy out of habit more than         money is not there. S
           not as good at it as we want to be yet! for the contents and that habit is what
                                                     keeps most comics afloat as that is
                                                                                                   Want to see your favourite
           How important is having a one regular turnover.                                         comic    shop   featured    on
           on one relationship with your                                                           these pages? Email us at
           customers?                                What are the biggest sellers in the           swipethemagazine@gmail.com
           Yeah very much so, because it’s a shop?                                                 telling us where the shop is
           specialist environment. So when Obviously              your     Batman’s      and       and what you think makes it so
           you’re employed to have a skill set of Spiderman’s       will     always      sell.
           knowing your stock and knowing your Independent-wise Walking Dead and
                                                                                                   great. This month’s shop was
           environment it means you end up The Boys do really well. People are                     suggested by Pel Pearcey of
           getting to know your customers because willing to try more now, especially with         Manchester.
16 Swipe
                                                                          Word On The Street

rho od                      Dedicated
                            The Knowledge
                            gaming corner...
                                               Haroon hard at work!

o  p

  City Centre location...

  Wide range of                                Epic selection of Manga!
  graphic novels...

                                                                              Swipe      17

18 Swipe
Swipe   19
                                                                                                                               NO COPYRIGHT

 There was a time when the only way to make a living
 from panel strips was if you had created Snoopy or
 GarfIeld. Thankfully The Internet Has Changed That...

        t may come as a shock to          Questionable Content, he was               received in return were stacks of
        readers of cult webcomic          answering phones for the Valley            impersonal rejection letters. Craving
        Questionable Content (http://     Advocate, an alternative newspaper.        constructive criticism, he began to
        questionablecontent.net/)         A year later, he was laid off and          upload his drawings to a website.
that it is not just a hobby for its       decided to sell Questionable Content         He eventually hit his stride with
creator, Jeph Jacques, it is also his     T-shirts for a few weeks to make           a webcomic called Wigu (www.
full time job. The Boston artist’s        ends meet. “That few weeks turned          wigucomics.com) - about a little
webcomic - about an indie-rock            into a few months, and suddenly it         boy named Wigu Tinkle and his
lover who works in a coffee shop          was a year and I wasn’t even looking       adventures with intergalactic beings
and owns a pet robot - is one of a        for a new job,’’ he says. “I never set     such as Topato, a flying potato. United
growing number that have become           out to make it my living. I kind of fell   Successful Wigu T-shirt sales made
so popular over recent years they are     into it.’’                                 him realize that he didn’t need to be
bucking the trend of strip comics and        Jacques, estimates he earns six         syndicated to make a living drawing
making their creators money without       figures from his webcomic, and             comics.
any sort of mass media exposure.          is among a growing number of                 “If a syndicate came to me and
   Where as webcomics were once           professional webcomic artists. There       offered me a hundred newspapers,
seen as a path to syndication in          are, by some estimates, 36,000             I would probably say no,’’ Rowland
newspapers, this small group of           webcomics in the world but only a          says. “I’d have to answer to an
creators are instead making a             minuscule percentage are making            editor, which I wouldn’t be happy
living through their strips, achieved     money at it. Among them are Zach           with. I’d probably make less money,
mainly through advertisements,            Weiner’s SMBC (www.smbc-comics.            with more work.’’
merchandising and donations. As it        com), Randall Munroe’s xkcd (http://         This is precisely the situation
would go previously, comic artists        xkcd.com) and Mike Krahulik and            Richard Stevens found himself in four
would post their work online and          Jerry Holkins’s Penny Arcade (www.         years ago when his webcomic, Diesel
hope to attract a large enough fan        penny-arcade.com).                         Sweeties      (http://dieselsweeties.
base that syndicates would take                                                      com) - about brightly coloured,
notice, offer them contracts, sell        the_lucky_few                              pixelated robots and humans and
their comics to newspapers, and                                                      their romantic entanglements - was
give them a cut of the profits. But for   These creators all arrived at this         syndicated in 20 newspapers by
Jacques and many other webcomic           profession by various paths,
artists, syndication     is now an        but none originally set out
outdated concept. “There’s no real        to make a living this way.       Syndication is now
money in that anymore,’’ he says.           Jeffrey           Rowland      an outdated concept.
   Jacques, never intended to become      began drawing comics
a professional webcomic artist. Ten       and submitting them to
years ago, when he started drawing        syndicates in 1999. All he

20 Swipe

                                  United Media, which also distributes
                                  Dilbert, Rose Is Rose, Get Fuzzy, and
                                  other strips.
                                                                           was working in Medicaid, billing for
                                                                           an ambulance company and drawing
                                                                           Something Positive. When readers
                                                                                                                      happens next.
                                                                                                                        Terracciano also takes a more
                                                                                                                      hands-on approach than others with
                                    Stevens now says syndication was       complained about the infrequency           his merch, making most of his income
                                  a terrible decision: “It’s nice to have  of his updates, he challenged them         selling self-published compilations of
                                  a syndicate handle things if you have    to donate enough money for him to          his webcomic at anime and comic
                                  1,000 newspapers and your whole          quit his job and draw the webcomic         conventions. Both he and his fans
                                  job is drawing seven days a week.        full time.                                 enjoy and respect the meet and
                                  But if you are committed contractually      “It was very much a shut-your-          greet manor of purchasing books
                                  to draw seven days a week and            mouth post. ‘I make $24,000 a year.        directly - so much so that when he
                                  you don’t have clients, you’re really    If you can match that, I’ll quit my        leaves his booth to use the restroom,
                                  working for free. Even when I was        job. I dare you.’ I really honestly        “the books don’t move.’’
                                  syndicated, I was making 80 percent      thought it would shut people up.
                                  of my money from my website.’’           Instead, in an hour I got $4,000,’’        uncertainty
                                                                           Milholland says.
                                  creative_control                            Now Milholland says he makes            Relying on a webcomic as one’s
                                                                           more than $50,000 a year, the              sole source of income can be both
                                  For some, the decision not to bulk of which comes from online                       terrifying and affirming. The internet
                                  syndicate is creative rather than sales of books, T-shirts, and other               is a playground of creativity and
                                  financial.    Something        Positive, merchandise. Unlike others, whose          webcomic creators are challenging
                                  by     Randal     Milholland      (www. take from advertising is negligible,        the role of producer-publishers
                                  somethingpositive.net),         features Milholland makes up to 35 percent          by directly accessing fanbase’s
                                  characters      with     unwholesome of his income from ads, and claims             online, moving closer to a model
                                  backgrounds, coarse language, and his website averages 215,000 page                 where readers and consumers
                                  unsettling punch lines. In a recent views a day.                                    can be considered their patrons,
                                  comic, two characters fed cyanide to        Michael Terracciano, creator of         and have increasing influence on
                                  children as a ‘public service.’          Dominic Deegan: Oracle For Hire            what is being produced. With this
                                     “Part of the joke of my comic is (www.dominic-deegan.com), knew                  in mind it should also be said that
                                  that none of my characters are nice his fantasy webcomic about a                    the internet can be a very negative
                                  people,’’ Milholland says. He scoffs at grumpy seer who saves the world             place and this consumer influence
                                  the idea of doing a syndicated comic, had a particular niche and wouldn’t           wouldn’t necessarily be a positive. Is
                                  in which ‘not nice’ would mean necessarily appeal to a broader                      alienating fans a risk then?
                                  ‘taking five dollars from somebody.’     audience. With its complete online            Terracciano describes having panic
                                     Seven years ago though, Milholland archive, it also allows him to draw           attacks, dreading a hypothetical
                                                                                      dynamic characters and          moment when he realizes, “It’s all
                                                                                      extended story arcs that        over - the bottom has finally fallen
                                          Hundreds of thousands of                    would be difficult for casual   out.’’
                                          people would need to fIre                   newspaper      readers     to      Stevens on the other hand reasons
                                          us all at once for us to lose               follow. And according to        simply: “Hundreds of thousands of
                                          our jobs.                                   Terracciano, his cliffhangers   people would need to fire us all at
                                                                                      bring an average of 50,000      once for us to lose our jobs. And
                                                                                      people back to his site         that’s the beauty of it.” You can’t
pixelated robots and humans and                                                       each day to find out what       really argue with that logic. S

                                                                                                                                   Swipe              21

                                                                                                                         NO COPYRIGHT

          B E ST COM IC
 Whittling our favourite comic adaptations down to fIve was hard, and
 caused upset and arguments in Swipe HQ. Trying to then number them
 caused one team member to have a brain aneurysm so we left them as is...

                                                                                           Iron Man

Batman: The Animated Series                     The Punisher (Xbox, PS2, PC)

Running from 1992-1995, this show               Look closely at the picture above. That    Ten years ago, it’s safe to say that very
received critical acclaim for its distinctive   should tell you everything you need to     few people on the street would have
animation, cinematic tone and mature            know about this game.                      known who Iron Man was. Not only
writing, as well as the voice work of             Released in 2005, the Punisher was       has that changed since the release of
Kevin Conroy (utilizing two different           a nice mash-up of stories, with an         this movie and its sequel, but it also
voices for Bruce Wayne and Batman)              emphasis on Garth Ennis’s ‘Welcome         made AC/DC cool again - no easy feat.
and Mark Hamill (as the Joker). It says         Back Frank’ arc. Told in flashback from       Featuring a career rejuvenating
a lot for how great this show was that          a prison cell on Ryker’s Island, the       performance from Robert Downey Jr
it not only won Emmy awards but that            Punisher offered a combination of ultra-   as Tony Stark/Iron Man, who gives the
its influence extended into the comics          violent combat and stealth, perfectly      character a likable-asshole vibe, the
themselves: Harley Quinn, a character           capturing the tone of the character,       film was a perfect mix of origin story,
created in the show, has showed up              and featured cameos from Iron Man,         self discovery and greed.
in the pages of many DC comics and              Kingpin, Nick Fury and Bullseye.              It could have all gone wrong however.
games since.                                      With the gravel voice of Thomas          With no script at the beginning of
   The series recreated some famous             Jane as the Punisher (the same actor       shooting, a lot of interactions between
stories such as Daughter of the Demon           who played him in the 2004 film), and      characters was improvised, injecting a
and Broken Bat, but always managed              a plot that slowly escalates, the game     certain amount of humour and a natural
to add their own spin to keep them              has the distinction of being one of only   tone to the film. Luckily, this all led to a
within the feel of the show.                    a few to require BBFC cuts in order        film with huge crossover appeal, that
   Nostalgia can be dangerous, but              to receive an 18 rating. The definitive    was a lot of fun whether you’re familiar
BTAS it is still an enjoyable experience.       Punisher story in our opinion.             with the characters or not.

 24 Swipe

                                                                                       N S
                                                                 T IO
                                      P T A
                 D A
C    A
                                             The Dark Knight

                                            Bit of an obvious choice, but for a film
                                            to earn over $1 billon at the box office
                                            it has to be great for a reason!
                                              Never has a film, game or (quite
                                            frankly) comic so expertly portrayed
X-Men: The Animated Series                  the dual nature of the Batman/Joker
                                            relationship, with District Attorney
                                            Harvey Dent caught inbetween.
Wow, where to begin? The awesome            Taking primary inspiration from The
theme music? Representing and               Long Halloween TPB and the concept
updating some of the best storylines        that Batman’s presence in Gotham is
Stan Lee, Len Wein or Chris Claremont       what attracts villains there, director
created? Or involving almost every          Christopher Nolan used these ideas as
character that had ever appeared in         a backdrop to tell a gripping story of
the comic?                                  Batman being pushed to his limits and
  Standing as the longest running           Harvey Dent’s downward spiral into
Marvel comics-based show, the series        Two-Face - a character encapsulating
ran from 1992 -1997 and featured            aspects of both the Joker and Batman.
a core base of Cyclops, Wolverine,          Go rewatch it now and be reminded of
Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee,       the epic scope of the film, then die of
Jean Gray and Professor X.                  excitement at the thought a sequel is
  Beyond faithfully recreating many of      due for release next year.
the popular storylines and characters
from the comics, the series also openly
dealt with social issues such as the ills
of prejudice, intolerance and racism -
unheard of for a cartoon at the time.
We can’t recommend this enough.

     WO                                                                   NO COPYRIGHT

     ... As we discussed the best
     adaptations, inevitably talk
     of the worst came up. These
     fIlms left a bad taste in
     everyone’s mouth!


                     From Hell

                    It’s fine to change around an
                    adaptation if it plays with the
                    themes of the source material
                    but From Hell completely            From what I remember
                    changes the point-of-view of        of this film, Catwoman’s
                    the piece and thus the point of     super power was colossal
                    the entire story.                   basketball skills and the
                       What was originally a graphic    main plot revolved around
                    novel about the psychology of       killer face cream.
                    Jack the Ripper and the effects       The film is heavily reliant
                    he had on the impending 20th        on special effects which
                    Century became a by-the-            come in two flavours: at
                    numbers whodunit - not for          best eye-strainingly awful,
                    artistic reasons, but to more       at worst a poorly animated
                    easily sell the movie. The script   shitstorm. A typical scene
                    not only removes the nastier        involves Catwoman leaping
                    bits from Alan Moore and Eddie      from roof to floor in a blur
                    Campbell’s dense work, but          of CG accompanied by fitful
                    also loses all its thoughtfulness   editing and an ear popping
                    and ambition. Curiously, they       R&B score. Upon landing
                    also downplay the supernatural      Berry will say something
                    elements except Inspector           uninspired and trite: “Meow”
                    Abberline now gets psychic          or perhaps “That’s purrrrfect”
                    visions from smoking opium...       and then in a flash, she will
                    Maybe it’s better that Alan         kick a goon in the throat,
                    Moore doesn’t watch movies.         gyrate across the floor and
                                                        scrabble up a wall. Ugh.


                                                        P TATIO NS

                                                                                           Batman and Robin

 Captain America                              League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

 Yep, there was a Captain America film        Oh Boy where to begin with this one?         This is a film so woeful that it tanked the
 before this year’s summer blockbuster        The fact it caused Sean Connery to quit      franchise for nearly a decade, ruined
 and Marvel are desperate for you to          movies or that it caused Alan Moore to       careers and even caused director and
 forget about it!                             renounce all adaptations of his work         star to apologise for it.
   Way back in 1990 Marvel were keen to       and demand his name be taken off               Joel Schumacher had two attempts
 enter films with a franchise to rival DC’s   them?                                        at making a Batman film and while
 Batman, so to coincide with his 50th            What began as a cerebral and fun          his first attempt, Batman Forever, is
 anniversary they nominated Captain           literary fanfic on the part of Alan Moore,   an aberration, Batman & Robin is the
 America. They had a journeyman               was developed into a terrible action         worst by being so bad it‘s... well, it‘s
 director, a prescient, eco-minded script     film that got the tone of the comic          just really bad! Undoing the gritty and
 and an all American action hero in the       completely wrong. But that’s not the         gothic sensibilities of Tim Burton’s first
 shape of Matt Salinger... so what went       real problem with this film - the real       two films, Batman and Robin throws us
 wrong? Well the director was a hack,         problem is how on earth did they get         back into awful memories of the camp
 the script was an astounding misstep         a submarine through the Venice canal         and kitsch 1960’s television series.
 and the leading man was an acting            system?! And for the sake of anyone            The catalogue of complaints is too
 black hole. Full of plot holes, idiotic      who wants to use this film as a cheat-       long to list here: a poor script, puns,
 dialogue, poorly staged violence, an         sheet for famous works of literature:        over casting, pantomime grade acting.
 Italian Red Skull and a feeble Captain       showing Dorian Gray his portrait             It all serves as a testament to the
 America, the completed film serves as        won’t kill him, Mina Harker never fully      power of what too much money, an
 a 97 minute insult to Joe Simon, Jack        became a vampire and Mr Hyde isn’t           unlimited cast of characters and a lack
 Kirby and the history of Marvel comics.      the Incredible Hulk. You’re welcome.         of restraint/talent can achieve.

                                                                                                             Swipe            27
                                                         NO COPYRIGHT

With all that said we thought it best you make your own minds up
have fIve copies of the best adaptations and fIve copies of the wor
true Two-Face style, winners and runners-up will be decided by co
of winning/losing just answer this question...
                                                   Who is Two-Face
                                                   TXT or Email yo
                                                   name and addr

p. In conjunction with HMV we
rst adaptations to give away. In
 oin toss. To be in with a chance
e’s alter-ego?
our answer along with your
 ress to +447403369009 or
ine@gmail.com Competition ends 1/9/11

                                                                                                                                              NO COPYRIGHT

 As Hellblazer enters its 26th year in print, Swipe takes a look back at
 John Constantine’s beginnings and the three writers who crafted him
 into one of the most popular characters in modern comics...

    think it’s best to start out this retrospective   the blueprint to Constantine was laid out – he       him develop powers he never had to battle
    by being straight with you. John                  is enigmatic, wearing a trench coat, cigarette       werewolves, vampires and evil cults. Among
    Constantine is not a nice man. He is a            permanently in hand, and with contacts around        the powers Constantine helped Swamp Thing
    chain smoking, magician/con-man who               the world. And in a tense conversation with          develop included the ability to travel anywhere
gets into unpleasant supernatural trouble and         Swamp Thing, he makes sure that you step up          in the world by simply growing a new body
usually solves whatever the problem is at the         and take notice: “I know what you are, mate.         elsewhere and increasing the size of plants in
expense of one of his friend’s lives...               And you don’t.”                                      people’s stomachs after consumption… which
                                                         Looking at the early genesis of John              may be why we have never seen Constantine
                                                      Constantine in Swamp Thing shows the                 eat anything in his 26 years in print!
                                                      importance of giving a character a basic,
                                                      yet interesting, blueprint but letting it grow       blazing his own trail
                                                      organically (pun wholeheartedly intended).
                                                      Speaking at the San Diego Comic Con in 1985,     The enigmatic character’s all encompassing
                                                      Alan Moore spoke of the “big intellectual puzzle”knowledge, contacts and down to earth talk
                                                      – strands that all came together to create the   proved a hit with readers of Swamp Thing and
                                                      endearing rogue. “The character was drawn        in 1988 DC gave Constantine his own title,
                                                      from a number of really good ideas about         Hellblazer. As Alan Moore was in the midst of
                                                      serial killers, the Winchester Mystery House,    creating perhaps the most important comic
                                                      and wanting to draw Sting in a story […] I just  book in history (Watchmen), he had no desire
                                                      wanted this character who knows everything,      to write a Constantine spin-off and took the
                                                      and knows everybody — really charismatic.        decision, with DC Editor Karen Berger, to hand
                                                      Who knows nuns, politicians, and bikers, and     the character over to Jamie Delano, another
                                                      who is never at a loss for what to do.”          British writer. This British ‘DNA’ provided by the
                                                         “Most of the mystics in comics are generally  writers and infused into Constantine, as well
                                                      older people, very austere, very proper, very    as setting the character in London against a
                                                      middle class in a lot of ways. They are not at   Thatcher-ite political landscape, provided a
                                                                                                       furtive well of ideas to get Hellblazer up and
                                                      all functional on the street. It struck me that it
                                                      might be interesting for once to do an almost    running, helping to make the character stand
                                                      blue-collar warlock. Somebody who was            out against other comics that were on the news
                                                      streetwise, working class, and from a different  stands in the 80s. “I think some of Hellblazer’s
                                                      background than the standard run of comic        initial appeal, to the American audience
                                                      book mystics. Constantine started to grow out    particularly, lay in some kind of perceived
                                                      of that.”                                        exoticism of England and also, because it was
Woah, woah, woah squire, I’m only telling it                                                           England we were writing about, we started to
like it is! The contradiction of the character        “I       was          interested              in be able to talk about politics and things like
however is that despite knowing this, you as                                                           that, which didn’t happen in comics. I was
a reader want to be his friend. The reasons           commenting on 1980s Britain. interested in commenting on 1980s Britain.
are pretty simple – he’s an endearing rogue,
cynical and cocky with an edge.
                                                      That was where I was living, That was where I was living, it was shit, and I
                                                                                                       wanted to tell everybody.” Jamie Delano said,
   All of this started innocently enough, with a      it was shit, and I wanted to talking of the early years of Hellblazer
request from artists Steve Bissette and John                                                              With the locale for Hellblazer set, it now fell
Totleben to writer/legend Alan Moore that he
                                                      tell everybody.”                                 upon Delano to flesh the character of John
create a character who looked like the musician                                                        Constantine out. “I took it on thinking, we’ll be
Sting. The year was 1985 and the three were              These early appearances from Constantine lucky if we make more than twelve issues out
collaborating on, and reinvigorating, DC’s            always acted as an omen of things to come, of this but, what the hell, it’s twelve issues, let’s
The Saga of the Swamp Thing. The resulting            generally signifying that the good to evil ratio go for it.” Delano continued. “And I pretty much
creation was John Constantine, a working-             in the world was off balance and it was up to started writing it to entertain myself, basically
class Liverpudlian mage who was tasked with           Swamp Thing to redress it with Constantine’s hoping against hope that it might entertain a
helping the Swamp Thing use his powers to             help. Sending Swamp Thing on trials that few other people as well. Luckily it did.”
greater effect. Making an immediate impact in         helped shape and improve his knowledge              These first twelve issues (collected as Original
his debut in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37,         of who he was and what he could do saw Sins) were a great introduction to >>

32 Swipe
               Delano, Moore and
NO COPYRIGHT   Ennis will always pull
               Constantine’s strings
 Hellblazer                                                                                              NO COPYRIGHT

Constantine’s own little world, as well as letting   Constantine is constantly forced to outwit and
us get to know the man himself in more detail.       whose blood courses through his veins.
The original power and intrigue of Constantine         Delano used Hellblazer as a means of
in Swamp Thing was his role as enigmatic             exploring horror in comics in a nonconventional
catalyst and it fell upon Delano to flesh this       sense, being one of the first (some might
out. Constantine is very much a selfish bastard,     say only) to use tone and mood to scare and
a con-man who for all intents and purposes           disturb readers rather than violence and blood:
should be very dislikeable, but the first person     “I just took elements of reality which scared
narration gives us an insight into Constantine’s     and disturbed me, and spun them through my
charismatic personality and foul-mouthed             imagination, adding a little cosmetic magic and
cynical outlook which is endearing to the            feeding them back in the form of fiction.”
reader. What we are presented with is a very
noire feeling narrative, set in a world of occult    spearheading change
magic and supernatural conflict, which Delano
sets up perfectly with artist John Ridgway.          Delano stayed on Hellblazer for 3 years and his
                                                     run took him to 35 issues, seeing Constantine
“Even if you’re biting off more                      through his continued battle with the demon
                                                     Nergal, a run-in with a serial killer who targets
than you can chew, you have                          families and helping his niece put to rest a
to try and make a splash.”                           ghost who is haunting her, firmly establishing
                                                     the character and his history. In keeping with
                                                     the genesis of the character, the next writer
These introductory volumes see Constantine           to take up the mantle was another Brit, Garth
battling a hunger demon and sacrificing an old       Ennis.
friend to contain it, crashing a supernatural           Leading what would become the second wave
stock exchange that has been praying on              of British writers to invade America, Ennis had
yuppies, and tackling a militant religious cult      his own ideas he wanted to implement in the
to prevent the second coming. They also set          title, the first of which was to give Constantine
up two important aspects to the Constantine          lung cancer. The thinking behind this idea was
mythos that are explored in more detail further      quite simple: “If you’re following an established
down the line – the first is something that was      writer on a book, you’re going out in front of
originally referenced in Swamp Thing and is          a new audience, and it’s like you’re really only
one of the biggest regrets in Constantine’s life,    going to get one shot at this, so you better
the Newcastle Incident: a demon summoning            impress the hell out of them first time, and do
that went badly wrong, ending in an innocent         something extreme, and do something radical
girl being dragged to Hell and Constantine           - even if you’re biting off more than you can
being driven insane by the events. The second        chew, you have to try and make a splash.”
is the introduction of the ferocious demon who       This story arc saw Constantine at his conniving
caused the carnage at Newcastle, Nergal, who         best, moving and shaking in a desperate deal

34 Swipe

                                                time to meet your.. creation?
                                               “One interesting anecdote that I should point out is that one day, I
                                               was in Westminster in London - this was after we had introduced the
                                               character - and I was sitting in a sandwich bar. All of a sudden, up the
                                               stairs came John Constantine. He was wearing the trench coat, a short
                                               cut - he looked - no, he didn't even look exactly like Sting. He looked
                                               exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in
                                               the eyes, smiled, nodded almost conspiratorially, and then just walked
                                               off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar. I sat there and
                                               thought, ‘should I go around that corner and see if he is really there,
                                               or should I just eat my sandwich and leave?’ I opted for the latter;
                                               I thought it was the safest. I’m not making any claims to anything.
                                               I’m just saying that it happened. Strange little story.” – Alan Moore
                                                       launch of Vertigo saw adult orientated comics          character to a new wave of talented writers.
                                                       gain a bigger audience and sales of Hellblazer
                                                       tripled. As such it is with Ennis that a lot of        since then
with the First of the Fallen and the other rulers      readers got their start with Constantine, and
of Hell to save his life, outwitting them all in the   why his version of the character remains the           Since Ennis’ run ended, several writers have
process. In the search for redemption, he visits       archetype.                                             taken over on Hellblazer to varying degrees of
Ireland where he makes a love interest with Kit           Ennis’ exploration of the character also saw        highs (Paul Jenkins) and lows (Brian Azzarello)
Ryan, an old friend. These themes of religion          less of an emphasis on his experiences and             but Constantine has sadly fallen into the mire
and personal relationships are characteristic of       skills as an occult magician. Part of the brilliance   of most comic book characters over the years
Garth Ennis as a writer, and would be explored         of his run on Hellblazer was that story always         – used as a tool to thwart some apocalyptic
further when his run on Hellblazer ended, with         took a back seat to character development -            threat with little done to develop the character.
his brilliant and award winning Preacher series.       something of a rarity in comic book writing. As        Even with this in mind, the Hellblazer monthly
   An important event in the comic industry            such, under Ennis we saw Constantine reach             has continued to be popular across the board
also occurred during Ennis’ run, seeing Karen          his highest highs - celebrating his fortieth with      between hardcore and casual readers of comics
Berger launch Vertigo - a DC imprint marketed          friends (featuring a Swamp Thing cameo) -              and the reason is simply down to the strength
to a late-teen and adult audience. This freed          and lowest lows - ending up as a down and              and uniqueness of Constantine among the other
up the more adult orientated comics published          out drunk on the streets, pissing on the king of       characters out there. He is relatable and of-the-
by DC and allowed them to ‘exist’ in their own         vampires (we’ll let you fill in the blanks there by    people, a flawed but ultimately good guy who
universe away from superheroes and such. By            picking up the Tainted Love TPB), concluding           you wouldn’t mind sitting down and sharing a
having a ‘Suggested For Mature Readers’ label          with him sharing a pint with the spirit of a dead      pint with. And this is all down to the creative
on it and getting rid of the DC logo they also         friend, bringing him closure to his problems.          genius of Moore, Delano and Ennis. S
no longer ran the risk of kids confusing Vertigo          By the time his run on the comic ended after
comics with regular DC books, this in turn made        41 issues, Ennis had evolved the character in a
it a lot easier to get more extreme material           manner that few have achieved since, leaving           For an inside look at the conception and design
approved. The resulting publicity blitz for the        a clean slate and the responsibility of the            of a Hellblazer cover, turn to page 40

                                                                                                                                      Swipe             35
           NO COPYRIGHT

38 Swipe
NO COPYRIGHT ‘Commissioned’ from Mark Waid’s blog http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/search/label/Waid
                                                                                                                                                 Creator Corner

   At Swipe we want to give a helping hand to the comic writers of
   tomorrow, so we asked award winning scribe Mark Waid to lend his
   insight over the next few months to make you the best you can be...

       ‘m Mark Waid, author of the graphic                             other hand, tend to be 22 pages. It’s a totally    same as ‘plot,’ and I’m in no way suggesting
       novels Superman: Birthright, Empire,                            arbitrary number; since their invention in the     that every page you write be weighted down
       The Flash: The Return of Barry Allen                            1930s, comic book stories have been as long        with a hundred lines of dialogue feeding me
       and somewhere just short of 900 other                           as a hundred pages and as short as one. In         more exposition than I can possibly digest. But
comics stories over the past 20 years. Most                            the early 1980s, industry leaders DC Comics        a plot, as I’m gonna presume you already know
recently, I’ve been serving as Editor In Chief                         and Marvel Comics, factoring profits versus        if you’re reading this, is simply what happens.
at BOOM! Studios, an up-and-coming comic-                              creative costs, arrived at 22 as their standard    A story takes a plot and adds emotion, timing,
and-graphic-novel publishing company (www.                             page-count, and other companies settled in at      style and mood, and as loudly as I rail against
boom-studios.com). And in between, I’ve been                           about the same, give or take. (As the E-I-C at     comics that spend an entire page showing a
at various times a publisher, a line editor, a                         BOOM!, I allow 22 pages for first issues and 21    character filling a glass from the kitchen faucet,
colourist, a letterer, a designer, a liaison with toy                  for ensuing issues, leaving room for a “what       I’d still rather read a story that was involving
companies and outside media, a proofreader,                            has come before” text recap after the opening      but breezy for 22 pages than one that was
an artist... I’ve been involved in every phase of                      scene.)                                            dense but dull and unmoving for eight.
comics production short of being the guy who                                                                                 Shorter comics stories are even more of a
staples the things together basically. That, I’m                                                                          bitch to script. Eight pages, six... regardless of
saving for my old age. Right now, while I’m still                                  Convey the maximum                     length, you still need to show me a conflict and
young enough to type, Swipe have been kind                                         amount of story in the                 a resolution or else it’s not a story, and there is
enough to give me a few pages on a regular                                         minimum amount of                      no time to screw around. At BOOM!, I get a lot
basis so I can talk craft about comics and pass                                    space                                  of eight-page scripts that, for no good reason,
along what I’ve learned about how it’s all done.                                                                          burn up the entire first page with a slow zoom
                                                                                                                          into a New York restaurant kitchen. This makes
In the coming months, I’ll be sharing with you                                                                            me homicidal. If your story is about a chef and
excerpts from the various university lectures I                        22 pages is not a lot of space. Believe me.        geography is incidental, just show me the damn
have given around the USA over the years and                           Having written a bazillion comics, I still find    kitchen. Tick, tock. I love Reservoir Dogs, but if
the how-to’s that I’ve formulated during what                          myself more often than nine pages into a script    you handed me a comics script that began with
I bemusedly refer to as ‘my career’, as well as                        and realizing to my horror that I’m only about a   four pages of gangsters debating the merits of
throwing out some points for fierce debate and/                        quarter of the way through the story I wanted      Madonna, I would not only reject it, I would
or arguments.                                                          to tell, and the next thing you know, I’m making   break your keyboard.
                                                                       fresh coffee and tearing up the floorboards to        In a 22-page comic, figuring an average
Economic Storytelling                                                  rewrite.                                           of four to five panels a page and a couple of
                                                                          The best tools in a comic writer’s toolbox      full-page shots, a writer has maybe a hundred
If you’ve set your sights on writing an original                       serve the cause of Economic Storytelling.          panels at most to tell a story, so every panel
novel or a prose piece, you can generally type                         Your foremost task is to convey the maximum        he wastes conveying (a) something I already
to your heart’s content. There’s no hard-and-                          amount of story in the minimum amount of           know, (b) that’s a cute gag but does nothing
fast space limitation. American comics, on the                         space. Don’t misunderstand; ‘story’ is not the     to reveal plot or character, or (c) something >>

                                                                                                                                                   Swipe              37
 Pitching Ideas                                                                      NO COPYRIGHT ‘Commissioned’ from Mark Waid’s blog http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/search/label/Waid

I don’t need to know is a demonstration of           it short. By way of an example, here’s a write-
lousy craft. Comics are expensive. Don’t make        up (done with artist Mike Wieringo and, sadly,                        you’re just exploring
me resent the money I spend buying yours.            declined) that I worked up a few years ago
Every single moment in your script must either       when I was asked to pitch for Aquaman. It is                          an editor or publisher’s
move the story along or demonstrate something        not a perfect example of a Pitch Document if                          interest at this stage.
important about the characters - preferably          what you’re pitching is your own concept - this
both - and every panel that does neither is          document builds on pre-existing knowledge of
a sloppy waste of space. This is one of the          who Aquaman is, basically, and what he can do              about as real and significant as, say, German
reasons why Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’             - but read it for form and feel:                           football stars are to you and me.
Watchmen is so revered; it’s a tour de force
example of Economic Storytelling because                                                                        Yelena’s work is done with grungy old equipment
there’s significance to every word and every                                                                    and spit-and-bailing-wire technology, the best
image.                                                                                                          she has to work with. Her whole world has a
   When I talk to aspiring comics writers,                                                                      gritty feel to it - so when this bright, blond,
they’re often most mystified not by the scripting                                                               shining knight of a man pops out of the water
(there are plenty of script books out there) or                                                                 and into her life, she’s addled simply by the
the language (most anyone who’s interested                                                                      contrast. Their paths cross, and she’s drawn
in doing this for a living already knows what                                                                   into an Aquaman adventure that takes us out
a ‘panel’ is, what ‘balloons’ are, etc.). They’re                                                               on (and under) the water.
freaking out because they don’t know where to
start. Almost no comics editor will read a spec                                                                 Yelena’s not reluctant. To Yelena, this “Aquaman”
script cold; whether you’re angling to sell your                                                                is, yes, mysterious like the sea - but in a warm,
own series or write for an existing property, you                                                               enticing way. To Yelena, he is otherworldly, like
need to start with a pitch.                                                                                     a fairy tale character come to life. He rarely
                                                                                                                speaks (though when he does, he’s staggeringly
The Pitch                                                                                                       charming), he lives in the water, and he smiles.
                                                                                                                Constantly. In fact, at first, Yelena has a nearly
The Pitch is your first chance to demonstrate your                                                              impossible time taking him seriously. He’s like a
understanding of the Economy Of Storytelling                                                                    walking cartoon.
- that you know how to pace a comics story
and have some clue as to how much fits on                                                                       And yet... the more she gets to know him, the
the page. And no editor will have faith that you                                                                further she’s drawn out of her world and into
can squeeze a complete story into a hundred                                                                     his, she’ll come to realize that there’s something
panels if you can’t squeeze your idea into two                                                                  going on behind those wide eyes of his. Looking
pages.                                                                                                          in them, she sees peace and confidence; looking
                                                                                                                through them, she’s gradually introduced to an
                                                     AQUAMAN                                                    underwater world of absolute wonder, a place
        The Pitch isn’t about                        Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo                                    that is far more colourful and in tune with
        story so much as it                          Preliminary Pitch for a One-Shot                           nature than is her own gritty lifestyle. Once
        is about testing the                         August 3, 2003                                             she surrenders to the implausibility of it all,
        waters.                                                                                                 she’s rewarded a thousandfold, and so are we.
                                                     I am so sick of people making fun of Aquaman               Aquaman’s joy becomes her joy becomes our
                                                     that I’m beginning to take it personally. For              joy.
                                                     the last ten years or so, the way we’ve been
                                                     scrambling to combat Aquaman’s “Dork of the                There will be no mocking. NO jokes about
   True story: back when I was on staff at DC, Sea” image - and I’ve been guilty of trying this,                how “dumb” talking to fish is. Anyone with a
a well-meaning but green freelancer sent me too - is by making Aquaman increasingly darker,                     keyboard can make cynical jokes. That’s easy.
his pitch for his creator-owned series. It was grittier, and tougher, the brooding, angry king                  What’s harder is reminding you why, when
62 pages long. Worse, because this writer was beset with trouble. Each incarnation of the                       you were a kid, you thought the idea of living
friends with my boss, I was forced to actually character seems grimmer than the last, to the                    underwater or riding on the backs of whales
suffer through this paper cinderblock, and it was point where all that’s left for us to do is give              WAS cool. We can do that. We can remind you,
arguably the most miserable experience with him two hooks. And a peg-leg.                                       and Yelena’s awed voice will be there to back
fiction I’ve had to this day. I would honestly,                                                                 us up.
truly rather read Moby Dick backwards than Yes, the seas can be turbulent and stormy, but
crawl through a 62 page document that was 61 y’know what? Far more often, the ocean is a                        ******
pages too long, and even if it had been filled to universal symbol for peace and contentment.
the brim with moments of staggering brilliance It’s a calming influence. If it weren’t, Bermuda                 That’s a sample Pitch Document. Breezy but
that would humble Jack Kirby and Alan Moore, I would be deserted and Hawaii would be an                         with some personality to it. Not specific on
still would never have been interested in seeing industrial trade port. It is most people’s “happy              story but strong on concept. Text broken up
it published because I had zero confidence place.” Yes, the ocean is the set piece for “A                       into chunks so it’s more inviting to read. Again,
that the writer could demonstrate any sense Perfect Storm,” but it’s also the world of “Finding                 you’re just exploring an editor or publisher’s
of economy in his storytelling (Footnote: Three Nemo” and “The Little Mermaid.” I have never                    interest at this stage. If they’re intrigued by the
years and four editors later, the series was yet met anyone of any age who didn’t come                          Pitch, they’ll ask you to put together a Proposal.
actually published, and I would swear to this away from Sea World envying the guides who                        But we’ll save that for next month. S
day under oath that its eight relentless issues swim with the whales and porpoises. I propose
actually weigh more than eight issues of any we turn this “grim Aquaman” paradigm around
normal comic.)                                       for a one-shot and see what happens.
   The Pitch isn’t about story so much as it is
about testing the waters (oh, how clever a Our POV character in this story is a female                          Check out more:
metaphor that will appear to be in a moment). marine biologist--and since Aquaman’s turf                        Mark Waid’s website: http://markwaid.com/
A Pitch Document explains, in broad strokes, covers the world, there’s no need to make her                      Follow Mark Waid on Twitter: @markwaid
the characters and the story and the “feel” of it American. (In fact, Russian is preferable - I’ve
all. (Is it drama? Comedy? Crime? Romance?) been doing a lot of reading about the culture
Not too much detail is necessary at this point; of Russian courtship, and that could really play
all you’re really trying to do is gauge the interest in nicely.) At any rate, our biologist - let’s call
of whoever’s reading it. Make it enticing, show her Yelena for now -may have heard the name
confidence, and for the love of Murphy, keep “Aquaman” here and there, but to her, he’s

38 Swipe
 What’s In
                                                                         NO COPYRIGHT ‘Commissioned’ from Jock’s post at http:

Hi guys, Jock here. I’ll be taking you through the design process for the cover
 The cover to Hellblazer: Pandemonium was a long time in the making – I’m
decided upon. In a similar way to the first issue of a series, but possibly even more
shelves for a long time. This led to a number of different ideas and treatments
and DC designer Louis Prandi all worked together up to the final stages to ensure
good as we could possibly make them.
 A big thanks to Pornsak for his patience, and Louis Prandi for his great design.
conceptualized its cover:

    The very fIrst promo
    piece – altered from
    a charity painting
    of        Constantine
                                        2    Then   we
                                                         needed   a
                                             for Amazon etc. cue a
                                             quick b/w drawing and
    I had worked on                          simple colour and logo
    previously. This went                    placement.
    out with the initial
    announcement of the

4   After sending these
    in, DC was keen to
    include our female
    lead, Aseera, in the
                                        5    Pornsak and I came
                                             up with the idea of a
                                             subtle nod towards the
                                             Iraq flag – made up of
    cover and also show                      a red, white and black
    a little more context                    horizontal stripes. I
    than just the close up                   tried this with some
    face/fIgure. Here’s                      detail from the flag
    a designs from that                      too. I liked how the
    time with various                        green worked against
    war elements and                         the other colours, so
    backgrounds.         it                  we decided to carry
    was also felt that                       that through to the title
    we still needed a                        treatment. A green title
    ‘setting’… to show                       against the red would
    the Middle East and                      really pop the logo.
    the Iraq tableau.

 40 Swipe
                a cover?
                                                                                       Creator Corner

      to Hellblazer: Pandemonium, a story that marked the 25th anniversary of the

      guessing the first sketch was conceived at least a year before the final image was
      so, a graphic novel cover has to have specific considerations as it will be on the
      before everyone was happy with the design. Myself and editor Pornsak Pichetshote
      everything – from paper stock right up to varnishes and finish – would look as

      I hope you enjoyed Hellblazer: Pandemonium and this little insight into how we

      3           I began work on the
                  fInal cover wanting to
                  utilize the full wrap
                  around    dust   jacket.
                  I always think this
                  brings a cohesiveness
                  to   a   book    design.
                   I wanted a close shot of
                 Constantine, but rendered
                 in an interesting way, to
                 speak for his depth of
                 character. I also wanted
                 an aesthetic that would
                 sit well in bookstores
                 and I thought a strong
                 headshot, with some nods
                 towards the Iraq theatre
                 of war where the story
                 is set, would work well.

                  As we were losing the
                  flag detail we included
                  the    silhouettes    of
                  temples to evoke an
                  eastern       backdrop.
                  this, coupled with the
                  green of the logo,
                  became the fInal cover,
                  seen here in the full
                  wraparound      version.

                                                                                       Swipe      41
                                                                                                                                             NO COPYRIGHT

A Conversation With...
  Swipe picks the brain’s of one of the
  UK comic industry’s unsung heroes...

          ndy Diggle is a British comic book         you’d get hired by an American company, and         What comic writers have influenced you
          writer and former editor of 2000AD.        I wanted to pay people more but couldn’t get a      the most?
          Currently based in Lancaster, he is        bigger budget. Being editor was really useful, at   John Wagner has been a massive inspiration
          famous for writing on Hellblazer, The      the same time a lot of other editors have gone      to me since childhood, as he has to a whole
Losers and Daredevil. Swipe caught up with him       on to careers in comic writing. Pat Mills is the    generation of British comic creators. Alan Moore
at his office to talk about his career so far, the   famous one but John Tomlinson was an editor         and Frank Miller too, of course – how could they
creative process and where he sees the industry      of 2000AD and he wrote Mercy Heights, and           not be? But really, John Wagner is the man. Ask
going in the future.                                 David Bishop did some writing.                      any British comics writer. His Judge Dredd is
                                                                                                         such a unique cocktail of action, satire, heart,
SWIPE: Were you a big fan of comics                                                                      extreme violence, black humour and absurdism,
growing up?                                                   I’ve       always       found              no-one else can match it.
ANDY DIGGLE: Oh yeah, I was giving Warrior                    deadlines a problem                           That said, I love movies as much as comics,
magazine to my teachers and my English                        because I’m slow. slow                     and James Cameron’s writing style was a big
teacher told me that comics were not literature.              and lazy                                   influence too, The Terminator and Aliens
And my art teacher told me they were not art.                                                            screenplays in particular. In terms of structure,
And my careers advisor told me I should go and                                                           pacing, characterization, theme, subtext, all
work in insurance. Fortunately I ignored all the                                                         within the context of a sci-fi action movie. Brains
advice I got and did it anyway.                      How did you transition from editor to AND brawn, I love it. And I’d have to add Troy
                                                     writer?                                             Kennedy-Martin too. I bought his BBC Edge of
What was it, specifically, that drew you to          I was very into the story side of things and Darkness screenplay while I was in high school,
the writing aspect of comics?                        after I’d been there for a couple of years, David and I still have it.
I’ve always liked telling stories, simple as that,   Bishop, the editor at the time, allowed me to
and I love the visual immediacy of comics. They      start taking over the commissioning of the The Losers, one of your most famous
grab you and pull you in, and you don’t have to      stories, just wanting to get back to the old type works, was adapted into a film in 2010,
worry about the special effects budget.              of vibe the comic had. Eventually in the year were you involved in its production?
                                                     2000 David Bishop left and I became the editor. Hollywood came sniffing around the project
How did you get your start in the industry?          I was only editor for about a year and a half and pretty early on but because I didn’t own it I
While doing an admin job at a university, I was      I’d just had enough – I’d learned everything wasn’t really privy to what was going on. Me
able build a crude website and do an online          there was to learn, changed everything I could and Jock [the artist] became friendly with the
fanzine called Fusion which was basically just       change, I couldn’t increase the budget and I guy who took over the script, James Vanderberg
an excuse for me to interview as many cool           was just really hankering to write. And working who is currently writing the new Spider Man,
writers as I could. I’m a great believer in making   with my childhood heroes like John Wagner was and he would send us the scripts even though
your own luck - like don’t wait for a job, create    brilliant training, I’d become friends with a lot we weren’t involved. Basically it follows the first
a job - and it was through one of the guys I         of the talent, so I knew I’d be able to get work TPB quite closely but there were these huge
interviewed for Fusion that I found out about        for 2000AD at least. So I thought I would spend problems with it because they changed all the
a job going at 2000AD. So I applied for that         a year working for them in order to build up a reasons for everything happening. So they did
and because I was a huge 2000AD fan and had          portfolio that I could then send over to Vertigo, all the same heists in the same way but their
been for ten years by that point and the fact I’d    but it happened a lot quicker than that. I sent reasons for pulling the heists were completely
used a bit of initiative on this fanzine impressed   Lenny Zero, a little short sci-fi crime thing, to different.
them enough that I got the job.                      Will Dennis at Vertigo and he’d really liked it and   It was very frustrating not being listened to, or
                                                     I think Garth Ennis had put in a good word for having a seat at the table. I wrote these detailed
What was your major challenge as editor              me, and he invited me to pitch in really short documents saying ‘here’s what needs fixing and
of 2000AD?                                           order. So I got a Lady Constantine four parter here’s how I’d fix it’ and they just ignored it all
The big problem was always retaining the             and that led to The Losers and Swamp Thing and then all the problems the critics had with it
talent because once you got noticed in 2000AD        and I was like ‘bloody hell that happened fast.’ were all the things I’d pointed out!
42 Swipe

What was it                                            different artist depending on     who       was    of work and they’ve got families to feed and
like to sit in                                          available. It’s nice to know who the artist       don’t want to work for free. At the moment the
a     darkened                                          is gonna be in advance so you can write           system is service trademarks for big companies
theatre with                                             to their strengths. For example, Davide          and get well paid for it or basically do it for
an audience                                               Gianfelice is a great artist who I worked       free and get nothing. And there’s nothing in
and        watch                                          with on Daredevil and who I hit it off with –   between and I’m trying to find something that
your        comic                                         we both like the same stuff, not massively      works in the middle-ground.
come to life on                                     into superheroes – and I requested him on this
the big screen for the first time?                  new thing I’m doing with Marvel [Six Guns – A         Any tips for would-be comic book writers
It was exciting, obviously, but also weirdly        Modern Day Western] and we’re both having a           out there?
bitter-sweet. Jock and I were supposed to           whale of a time and I’m enjoying figuring out         Start by reading scripts. There’s a really good
attend the Hollywood premiere at Grauman’s          what he does best. He is so good at composing         website        www.comicbookscriptarchive.com
Chinese Theatre, but our flight was grounded        a page, so I’m giving him lots of gunfights and       which has lots of professional scripts by people
by the Icelandic volcano ash-cloud. So we           car chases and explosions to draw.                    like Mike Carey and Brian Bendis, it’s by far and
ended up seeing it for the first time at a London                                                         away the best way to learn, you get a sense of
press screening with Idris Elba, who was also       Are there any differences in getting                  how other people do it. I think because of screen
stranded. So of course it was amazing seeing        comics made in the UK as opposed to the               writing software like Final Draft, screenplay
our characters up there on the big screen,          US?                                                   format is starting to make hedgeway into comic
but the movie was, shall we say, tonally very       The process is the same, there are just less          format because it just makes life a lot easier.
different from the comic. That’s just the nature    opportunities, and less money, in Britain. Page          As far as pitching ideas, the bottom line is
of work-for-hire. We didn’t own The Losers,         rates vary, but Marvel currently pay me literally     editors are always overworked and underpaid
so we didn’t have a seat at the table when          twice as much as 2000AD would. That said, I           and stressed and they only do it cause they
those decisions were being made. I’m still very     could probably work twice as fast for 2000AD          love comics. So anything you can do to make
conflicted about the movie, but I think they        because it’s in my blood, so there’s that.            their life easier is good, so keep it really short
assembled an amazing cast for it. They really                                                             and really tight. Never make anything more
cast it for the roles, and every one of them        With the advent of digital formats do you             than two pages, ideally your pitch should be
nailed it.                                          see the comic industry following along                one. Do a paragraph that basically tells the
                                                    the lines of the music industry in regards            whole story and if they like that first paragraph
                                                    to distribution and artistic freedom?                 they’ll read on.
      The diffIcult thing with                      Very much so, yeah, which has got all the
                                                    publishers shit scared. When I finish my Marvel       What’s coming up next for you?
      any independent comic is
                                                    contract I’m going to be going digital, creating      Six Guns, which is a five issue Western set in
      paying the artist                             my own characters. Things like the iPad have          the Marvel Universe albeit with no superheroes.
                                                    kicked the door in as far as distribution goes        There’s one moment where a guy is about
                                                    and of course they’re really expensive at the         to shoot lasers out of his eyes but just gets
                                                    moment but in five years everyone’s gonna             punched before he can. It’s very much informed
What’s your biggest challenge as a writer?          have an iPad or tablet of some sort. As far as it     by Robert Rodriguez films like Desperado. I’m
I’ve always found deadlines a problem               being the end of the physical product, I think        also doing four issues on Captain America in
because I’m slow. Slow and lazy. And I’m            the monthly model will go digital only and that       the near future. S
also a perfectionist. I’m really judgemental        will get collected into a physical TPB that will be
about other people’s work but I’m also really       sold in stores.
judgemental about my own. It’s always nice to         The difficult thing with any independent comic
work with people who you know how they’re           is paying the artist, I can write five pages in a     Check out more:
gonna approach it. When I was on Thunderbolts       day but an artist working flat out can only do one    Andy Diggle’s website: www.andydiggle.com
it seemed like every month there would be a         page a day. So a six issue series is six months       Follow Andy Diggle on Twitter: @andydiggle
                                                                                                                                   Swipe             43
46 Swipe
Creator Corner

  Swipe      47
Subject To Change

48 Swipe
                            NO COPYRIGHT

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                                                                                                                                            NO COPYRIGHT

                      A BLAGGER’S
                      GUIDE TO...

                          Barry Allen or Wally West? Gorilla Grodd or
                          Professor Zoom? If you haven’t a clue what
                          we’re talking about then this article is for you...

       he Flash is one of those strange                 other dimensions.                              It fell upon Barry Allen to make the ultimate
       superheroes in that everyone is aware of                                                        sacrifice, using his speed to create a vortex and
       him and yet they know hardly anything            Zoom                                           stop an anti-matter cannon from destroying
       about him except ‘he runs really fast’.                                                         Earth. In his death, Barry Allen was absorbed
At Swipe, we feel it is our duty to rectify this  Perhaps Barry Allen’s greatest nemesis however       into the speed force from where all super-speed
and spread the word of the fastest man alive      is Professor Zoom, aka the Reverse-Flash.            heroes draw their powers.
to a wider audience, so he seemed the obvious     Originally from the 25th Century, Zoom was a
                                                  criminal who discovered the Flash’s costume in
choice for our first ‘Blagger’s Guide To...’ feature.                                                  Wally West
  The comic was first published in 1940 by All-   a time-capsule, and using a machine to amplify
American Publications, and the first Flash was    the suit’s speed energy gave himself the same        With Barry Allen’s death, it fell upon his
Jay Garrick, a college football star who gained   abilities as the Flash. Using his knowledge of       nephew Wally West, the Kid Flash, to take over
super-speed powers from inhaling heavy water      history, Zoom attempted to replace Barry Allen -     the mantle. Originally less powerful than his
vapours. This Golden Age version of The Flash     not only as the Flash but as husband to Iris West.   uncle, Wally was unable to run as fast and had
was a popular character running for 9 years       This ended in Zoom murdering Iris by vibrating       to eat vast quantities of food to maintain his
facing many trials and tribulations including     his hand into her head. After defeating Zoom,        metabolism. As he has spent more time as the
being a charter member of the Justice Society     Barry took time to grieve before moving on and       Flash, Wally has learned with each challenge to
of America and facing villains such as the Rival. rushing into a marriage with his neighbour, Fiona    manipulate the speed force, to the extent that
                                                  Webb. This only proved to be a red rag to Zoom       his skills have now surpassed those of Barry
Barry Allen                                       who returned at their wedding and promised to        Allen - so much so he has even outran Death!
                                                  do the same thing again. The two battled in a           As with every good man, there is a good
DC comics successfully revived superheroes in race around the world and as Zoom prepared               woman behind him and Wally West is no
1956 and ushered in what would come to be to kill Fiona, Barry trapped him in a chokehold,             different. Linda Park has been behind Wally
known as the Silver Age of superheroes. Rather snapping his neck and killing him. The scope            every step of the way through trials and
than bringing back the same Golden Age heroes, of this event was pretty huge in the history of         tribulations that has seen her memory erased
DC reimagined them as new characters for the comics, murder was something superheroes                  and a different Professor Zoom cause her to
modern age. The Flash was the first revival, in just didn’t do, and the big question was ‘was          miscarry twins. But the bond of true love has
the aptly named tryout comic book Showcase. it an accident or intentional?’. Barry Allen was           seen the two always come through for each
DC’s Flash was a slow and deliberate police put on a lengthy trial for the murder, before              other and keep each other strong through the
scientist, Barry Allen, who gained super-speed eventually being acquitted and relocating to the        thick and thin.
when bathed in chemicals charged by a bolt future.                                                        Recently writer Geoff Johns has brought
of lightning. Based in the fictional American        As with most every superhero, bliss wasn’t        Barry Allen back into the game, repercussions
city of Central City, Barry Allen quickly became to last long. In 1985, DC decided it needed           of which have been felt in full force leading into
one of the most well liked characters in the DC to simplify its 50-year-old continuity and so          this month’s DC relaunch of their titles (see
Universe as he juggled life with his fiance, Iris developed Crisis On Infinite Earths, a 12 issue      News on P. 8). Will this negate everything that
West, his role as police scientist, and his life series involving every significant character          has come before? We’re excited to find out, but
as The Flash, all the while battling a vast array in the DCU and removing the concept of the           if so the stories that have come before should
of supervillains. These ‘Rogues’ included the ‘multiverse’ from its continuity. As Barry Allen         still remain relevant even just for entertainment
hyper-intelligent and aggressive Gorilla Grodd, was one of the few beings capable of travelling        purposes. With this in mind we have compiled
Captain Cold, whose gun can freeze anything to other universe’s at will, he is captured by             the best collected Flash stories for your reading
to zero, and Mirror Master, who has the power Anti-Monitor, a being of immense power wishing           pleasure. Go forth and do damage to your bank
to create mirrors that allow him to travel into to destroy the universe and absorb its energy.         balance loyal reader. >>

52 Swipe

               Swipe   53
A Blagger’s Guide To...
                                                                                                                NO COPYRIGHT

                                                                      If you can only buy one...
                                                                       Flash - The Return Of Barry Allen
                                                                       (£8.50, www.travellingman.com)

                                                                         A real coming of age story for Wally West and when he
                                                                         first begins to emerge from the shadow of his uncle,
                                                                          Barry Allen. Expertly scripted by Swipe contributor
                                                                           Mark Waid, the story arc is a great gateway and
                                                                           introduction to the recurring characters of the
                                                                               The best way to sum up this story is with the old
                                                                             chestnut, “Be careful what you wish for.” When
                                                                             Barry returns, it seems like the greatest thing that
                                                                              could happen. Imagine the man whose memory
                                                                               you wanted to honour returns from the dead...
                                                                                only to find that he is disappointed in you. This
                                                                                is the dilemma facing Wally West. The story
                                                                                 is essentially about the legacy of the Flash,
                                                                                  created by Jay Garrick and immortalized by
                                                                                  Barry Allen, and about the efforts of the heir
                                                                                   to that legacy to rise to the challenge and
                                                                                    become not only a hero, but a man. It’s a
                                                                                    marvellous, touching story.

     One man’s downfall                                      Know your rogues!
     Flash - Blitz                                           Flash - Rogue War
     (£12.99, www.travellingman.com)                         (£11.99, www.travellingman.com)

     Blitz is the type of graphic novel wherein obstacles    This is a great introduction to the Flash’s various
     are thrown continuously at our hero to the point        adversaries as Wally West finds himself trapped
     that by the time you come to end of it, Wally West      in the middle of a turf war between the original
     is so beat down emotionally and physically he           rogues gallery and a new bunch of villains, with
     doubts himself as a hero. The story begins with         the very safety of Keystone City hanging in the
     a battalion of gorilla’s furiously attempting to free   balance. Rogue War feels like a chaotic mess where
     Gorilla Grodd from prison, freeing a plethora of        everything falls apart all at once and Wally can’t
     rogues along the way. Caught in the crossfire is        hope to contain it, but he still tries because of who
     Hunter Zolomon, a police profiler and good friend       he is. It is a story of a hero facing impossible odds
     of Wally West. It is the aftermath of this event and    and wraps up several strands from both Blitz and
     choices made that will haunt both Wally West and        Return of Barry Allen, bringing a sense of closure
     Hunter Zolomon for the rest of their days.              to certain characters.
54 Swipe
                                                                                                       The Knowledge

         Love Will Prevail                                    The trial of the century
         Flash - Race Against Time                            Showcase Presents: Trial of the Flash
         (£9.99, www.travellingman.com)                       (£14.99, www.travellingman.com)

         Mark Waid’s run on the Flash generally concerns      Freshly released just last month, this Showcase
         itself with explorations of the mysterious Speed     presents the epic two year storyline of Barry Allen
         Force from where speedsters draw their power         being placed on trial for the murder of Professor
         and this is one of the best of those stories. Race   Zoom. The story ran for at least 25 issues and to
         Against Time is a follow up to Dead Heat and finds   keep costs low, is printed in black and white, but
         Wally West propelled into the future by Savitar, a   that shouldn’t deter you. This was Barry Allen’s
         cult leader who worships the Speed Force. Trapped    last big arc before he made the ultimate sacrifice
         in the 64th Century, Wally attempts to return        in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Trial of the Flash is also
         home using the loving bond between him and his       important in that it was one of the first real soap
         wife as a beacon, but finds the machinations of a    opera plots in comics and the first to have a long
         new enemy and the complexities of time               planned out story arc and resolution.
         stopping him from getting back.

                                                                           A controversial return
                                                                                    Flash - Rebirth
                                                                                   (£10.99, www.travellingman.com)

                                                                                   It’s hard to overstate the importance of Barry
                                                                                   Allen’s death in the DCU, it was so shocking
                                                                                  and noble that it was deemed sacrosanct.
                                                                                  Universally liked, Batman even once stated
                                                                                 that “Barry is the kind of man that I would’ve
                                                                                hoped to become if my parents hadn’t been
                                                                                murdered.” So when it was decided he would
                                                                               be brought back after 23 years, in the crossover
                                                                               event Final Crisis, everyone was dubious. The
                                                                              task fell to Geoff Johns (writer of Blitz and Rogue
                                                                              War) to justify Barry Allen’s return and provide a
                                                                             satisfying story. And he did. The story concerns a
                                                                             man no longer in touch with time and his struggles
                                                                            reintegrating back into society and understanding
                                                                           the mystery of his resurrection. Things soon begin
                                                                          to go wrong around Barry the more he uncovers and
                                                                         with the help of various generations of speedsters, he
                                                                         realizes he isn’t the only one who has been resurrected.
                                                                        This entire story precedes the Flashpoint arc which in
                                                                       itself precedes this month’s DC relaunch, so is standard
                                                                       reading and well worth your time.

                                                                                                       Swipe 55


                                                                                                                                           NO COPYRIGHT

         Out now
       Joe Johnston
    Chris Evans, Hugo
    Weaving, Tommy
    Lee Jones, Hayley
    Running Time
         124 mins

Marvel’s last Avenger is assembled
        t’s safe to say that Captain America will    stud is played well as he comes to term with       buff and (weirdly) hairless hero. At this point
        help change the association us Brits         dealing with the fairer sex, which makes the       in the film the temperature in the cinema will
        make with the name Chris Evans. No           inevitable Hollywood love interest plot a little   undoubtedly go up a couple of degrees as your
        longer will you think of the squawking       more bearable.                                     female companions swoon, so take a fan with
ginger moron of breakfast television fame,             The CGI of Evan’s as a skinny, pre-super         you or laugh as she lays slumped on the floor
instead that image will be replaced by that of       serum civilian is pretty believable though it      in popcorn and old chewing gum.
a super ripped 30 year old dressed up in red,        does give him an unnaturally big lollypop head        The thorn forever in Captain America’s side
white and blue and kicking Nazis around the          and you may find it hard to resist throwing food   is Red Skull, played with a brilliant mixture
big screen.                                          at the screen in an attempt to drive it from       of slightly camp and decidedly evil by Hugo
   Director Joe Johnson’s version of Captain         your sight. Maybe I over reacted there but         Weaving; just what you want from your Nazi
America brings the iconic hero to life in near       his gawping bird-face did get a bit distracting.   bad guys. However the Hydra salute does not
perfect form. The film, set in World War II, tells   This is rapidly changed when they pump him         translate well from comic to screen, every time
the story of army reject Steve Rogers taking         full of super-serum and turn him into a big,       you see it you expect a cowboy, Indian and
a last chance to enter the war via a German
defectors super-soldier programme. Becoming
the iconic Captain America in the process, he
attempts to come to terms with his new life and
stop a Nazi plot to vaporize the allied powers.
Like a lot of people I was unsure if Evans
would be able to play the super patriotic Cap
properly after two films as the cocky Human
Torch in Marvel’s Fantastic Four, but he does
the star spangled shield proud. A perfect blend
of humble humanism mixed with hardy heroism
come together to produce a version of Steve
Rogers that should see even the hardiest fan-
boy doffing their caps in appreciation. The
transition from weak, geeky patriot to ultra-
58 Swipe
                                                                                                                                 The Knowledge

                                                    and take the dog for a walk, so I’m biased.         However, as is always the way, English accents
         Watching Cap’s shield                        The supporting actors are well cast, especially   in the film were dreadful. Cor blimey guvna,
          bounce around is                          Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Philips.         apples ‘n’ pears, mind the gap etc etc.
               brilliant                            Jones – as always – plays a flawless Tommy             There are parts of the film which were
                                                    Lee Jones. His trademark melting-rubber face        clearly made for 3D viewing in post production,
                                                    and dour demeanour is perfect for the grumpy        a fad in Hollywood that does a disservice to
                                                    officer he portrays and with his perfect delivery   any potential power of 3D and turns it into a
policeman to run in and start a YMCA singalong. of disappointment regarding the super soldier           pointless gimmick, taking away all the pleasure
The history of Red Skull is one of the few minor Cap – “I asked for an army. All I got is you.” –       of traditional movie-going. The slow-motion-
changes to the Marvel canon and to be fair he fits the roll perfectly.                                  bike-riding-death-defying-leaps are clearly
it barely alters the story, certainly not in any The tie-ins with the rest of the Avenger build         designed for a new age of film viewing but for
detrimental way. The one complaint to the up films are nice and help to ramp up the hype.               the eight seconds you view them you’re not
character is that you never really feel any sense Little things like Howard Stark as a supporting       really missing much. So if you’re going to watch
of danger for Cap, there are very few moments character integral to the plot, or the Hydra guns         this film, do it in 2D... unless of course you feel
when you wonder if the Red Skull might making the same sound as Iron Man’s weapons,                     that Chris Evan’s crotch flying at you in glorious
actually win and you wonder if he even has a place the film nicely in the recent storyline              Technicolor and wonderfully framed is worth
bullet with Cap’s name on it. This doesn’t really progression while still keeping it grounded in a      the extra ticket fee, in which case do it live.
matter much however as the satisfying TONK of World War II/1940’s setting. Plus, it was a nice             Captain America is a brilliant piece of geek
vibranium shield connecting with Hydra skulls little nod to the current comic story line to see         cinema - which after the shockingly mediocre
more than makes up for the few inadequacies Bucky – briefly – posing with Cap’s shield.                 Thor was well needed - and is a thoroughly
in an otherwise perfect superhero flick.              The film has an excellent period feel to it,      decent addition to the overarching Marvel
   And watching Cap slam his shield in to shot in and around the Northern Quarter in                    story line, all leading to the ensemble film The
Nazis doesn’t get old. The fight scenes are Manchester last year, and it’s easy to see                  Avengers, due for release next year. As is the
well choreographed and don’t succumb to the the characters as believable World War II                   case with Marvel films, make sure to stay past
recent fad of super speed movements that combatants despite the high-tech Stark/Hydra                   the credits for your latest easter egg/sneak
leave you with a head spinning like you’ve gone influence. It was also nice to see that Johnson         peak. Not to spoil anything but I think, like all
ten rounds with Hulk. Yes, I’m looking at you resisted the wholly American urge to constantly,          nerds, it left me on the edge of my seat for the
Michael Bay. Watching Cap’s shield bounce thematically yell “America, Fuck Yeah” and                    upcoming Avengers film and consider my ticket
around is brilliant but there wasn’t enough of it included the international team of Howling            already bought.
for my liking... but in fairness if had that shield Commandos from the comics to back Cap up,
I’d be using it to turn the TV over, fetch me tea including a nice tip of the hat to our brave boys.

                                                                                                                                 Swipe              59
 Reviews                                                                                                                                       NO COPYRIGHT

The Walking Dead #88                                  Booster Gold #47                                   Scalped #51
Writer: Robert Kirkman                                Writer: Dan Jurgens                                Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Charlie Adlard                                Artist: Rick Leonardi                              Artist: R.M Guera
£2.20                                                 £2.20                                              £2.20
The Walking Dead is in a bit of rebuilding            In the midst of the madness of the “Flashpoint”    This issue sees the beginning of the final arc,
phase at the moment, both in-story and                arc and on the eve of the DC relaunch, Dan         titled ‘Knuckle Up’... which explains everything
creatively. With this issue we are reminded           Jurgens gets to say goodbye to an old friend       pretty succinctly. For a comic that has built
that it is, at its core, a soap-opera, as the boy     in the most eloquent way possible. It’s a little   its reputation on being hard, this issue stirs
who lost a chunk of his head to a close-range         hokey, a little over-the-top, but it works, not    in a few extra shovels of gravel. In only 20
gunshot wakes from his coma with a touch              only for Booster Gold, but also for the entire     pages, Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera light the
of amnesia. How far you’re willing to stretch         DC Universe.                                       fuse on the final set of fireworks for this title.
the suspension of disbelief will determine how           This series is able to close with some          The finale in #60 is months away but at least
you react to this issue. That is the big moment       dignity, which spoils nothing. Jurgens seizes      five characters are given defining moments
of the issue, right at the top, and it could leave    the opportunity of the converging timelines,       on these pages amidst the action and forceful
a sour taste in your mouth for the rest of it.        storylines, and character beats to play this       dialogue.
   Kirkman doesn’t let up on the drama,               story through with excitement and adventure           The underlying emotion in this issue is rage.
though. As Rick leads the cleanup of dead             and just enough teases of what could have          Men are angry with the world they’ve built or
zombies and the rebuilding of the town, we’re         been. He also mixes in an answer of what was       the cards they’ve been dealt or the choices
starting to see some dissension in the ranks.         and how things may have happened. It’s a           that must be made. These men are acting
Given the rough and tumble diversity of town          small, subtle answer, but one that will put a      from a place of hatred, and the result is a dark
residents, this shouldn’t be a surprise. After        smile on the face’s of longtime Booster readers    exploration of how things explode. Each man
this issue you know who to keep an eye on,            and give a sense of satisfaction.                  is lashing out at the world but might as well
and how it is that they got there. Little things         The art on this book is nowhere near as         be tightening the noose around his own neck.
that seemed like simple dramatic cast-away            ramshackle as it could have been, given the           Aaron is known as a great dialogue writer
bits start to make more sense as characters           quartet of visual contributors. Jurgens teams      and this issue is a brilliant example why.
change and begin acting on their perceived            with his frequent collaborator, Norm Rapmund,      There’s nothing false or hollow about the
slights. When those who feel shafted by recent        to draw the final pages of this volume of          way these men interact - each word chosen
changes or who disagree with the leadership           Booster Gold. The duo is given the chance to       is authentic for the tone of the scene and
band together, you know no good is coming.            follow up Rick Leonardi and Don Ho, and their      the heart of the character. The scene in the
And, as usual with The Walking Dead, the              interpretation of the “Flashpoint” universe-       hospital centred around Dash Bad Horse feels
humans might just be more destructive and             based tussle between Booster and Doomsday.         like breakneck television at its finest. This
dangerous than the zombies.                              There are rough spots in the story, to be       isn’t to say Aaron won’t let actions speak for
   Charlie Adlard is the rock of the book. While      certain, but for the most part it provides a       themselves, as Shunka is given two pages in
the story intensity might vary from issue             nice bit of closure, has a “Red Skies” moment      near silence to deliver violence like you don’t
to issue, the art is consistently solid. For a        with the main action of the “Flashpoint” series    want to see again.
zombie-horror soap-opera, there is a lot of           and reminds us all how Booster Gold came to           Scalped has always looked pretty and unlike
subtlety and occasional understatement to             be in this situation.                              any other title on the shelf. The double splash
the emotions on the faces of the main players.           Like most of the issues before it, this issue   at the start of this issue is the sort of artwork
Horror is all about the timing and the hiding.        – this series – was fun. Sometimes Booster’s       that makes your jaw drop in awe as Guera
Adlard knows how to milk a scene out for              missions wore thin; sometimes they went by         infuses a character moment into a silent
maximum suspense, keeping his ‘camera’ up             too quickly. In this issue’s case, the story was   beat of a burning landscape. The violence is
close to hide the surrounding areas, or holding       a little jerky, but the ends justified the means   brutal and real, and the men are sombre and
it back to let the reader see only what the           and the circumstances allowed Booster to           unstoppable.
character your following sees. They’re simple         continue to grow as a character.                      Scalped is a book that will become a rite
little tricks, but they mean the world to a book         Set to play a prominent role in “Justice        of passage - to become a man, you’ll read it
like this.                                            League International” in The New 52, Booster       and then you’ll understand. If this is just the
   This issue is an entertaining story beat, filled   Gold leaves us with a nice set of fun, light-      start of the descent to the end of Scalped,
with dialogue scenes that do more than just           hearted, all-ages appropriate stories. I hope      then I shudder to image what awaits us at the
explain things and zombie scenes that tease           DC give Jurgens another shot in the relaunch,      abysmal conclusion. But one thing is for sure
more than shock.                                      if even for a miniseries.                          - I cannot wait.
VERDICT                                               VERDICT                                            VERDICT

60 Swipe
NO COPYRIGHT                                                                                                                      The Knowledge

The Punisher #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
                                                      Hellboy: The Fury #3
                                                      Writer: Mike Mignola
                                                                                                            The Retro
Artist: Marco Checchetto                              Artist: Duncan Fegredo
£2.90                                                 £2.20                                                 Review...
Greg Rucka clearly has a strong sense of              Mike Mignola and Hellboy aren’t unfamiliar          Batman Knightfall: Broken Bat
who his Frank Castle is, and how he’ll be             with the idea of a cliffhanger ending to a          Writer: Chuck Dixon
portrayed. That clarity helps this issue define       mini-series. Long-time Hellboy fans probably        Artist: Jim Aparo
what will come in the future but the question         remember the nasty conclusion to Hellboy:           (£11.99, www.travellingman.com)
now stands - what will define this run?               The Third Wish and the three year wait for
   We’ve had the force of vengeance initially         its resolution in Hellboy: The Island. So as        1993 was a good year for comics, especially
introduced to fans, then we got years of a war        revealed this month, Hellboy: The Fury ends         at DC and their flagship titles Batman and
that would never end. We’ve been granted              with a rather huge change in Hellboy’s status       Superman. With Superman facing the
Garth Ennis’ sleek crime take and now Jason           quo... to put it mildly.                            genetically engineered Doomsday to the
Aaron’s bizarre retooling of Frank Miller’s              But of course, getting there is half the fun.    ‘death’, it was felt Batman needed a new
“Elektra Saga” with Castle at the centre. The         As the final apocalyptic battle between Hellboy     villain who could stand toe to toe with the
Punisher has been brilliantly written before          and the dragon Nimue rages through England,         Dark Knight too. That character was Bane,
and each run has a hook, a statement of tone.         it’s clear that both Mignola and Fegredo            introduced in spectacular form with the 64
What is Rucka’s intention with this title? Is it a    aren’t holding back. It’s more than just a big      page special Vengeance of Bane.
different tone? Is it an effective tone?              fight, though. The appearance of the little            But this TPB, the first in a series of three,
   Frank Castle is a shadow on these pages            girl Vasilisa (previously in Hellboy: Darkness      is where Bane makes his immediate impact
and yet commands concrete presence as                 Calls) is sad and creepy, and the conclusion        felt in Gotham City. Encompassing all of the
supporting characters for the title are instantly     of the fight between Hellboy and Nimue has          Batman comics and related spin-offs over the
and effectively built up. The cops we follow,         a particularly nasty one-two punch lying in         course of 1993, Bane’s cerebral plan begins
though reminiscent of the detectives in               wait. After all, not everyone is playing by the     with the blowing up of Arkham Asylum and the
“Se7en,” are all great to follow. Castle is merely    same rules, and seeing how that plays out is        release of all its in-mates in order to weaken
an extension that affects the characters and          an extra little kick in the face. And as for poor   Batman, leaving him ripe for the picking.
the narrative; we see nothing from inside the         Alice? She’s a character I honestly didn’t think    Bane is shown to be not only a juggernaut
titular man. It’s a bold move and one that sets       would have survived all the way to Hellboy:         of muscle but with an intellect to match. The
a cold tone. The action set pieces are mostly         The Fury #3, so seeing her move through this        storyline offers a who’s who of villains, with
wordless, the art violent and nasty.                  issue was particularly tense, since death is so     Batman hunting down Scarecrow, Poison Ivy
   The use of the extra sized debut is brilliant.     often lurking around the corner for a Hellboy       and Joker, so is a great allure for casual fans
The first tale shows us the impact of the             supporting character.                               as a jumping off point. Fighting against these
Punisher on the world of these men, while                This is Fegredo’s final issue as artist for      overwhelming odds to protect Gotham serves
the second tale shows us the impact on the            Hellboy, and he brings it to a close with great     to push Batman to his mental and physical
men themselves. The interview transcription           style. Everything looks amazing here: the           limits, alienating both Robin and Alfred in
playing against panels of what actually               monsters raging across the landscape, the           the process and ending with one of the most
happened is a simple juxtaposition to set up,         scales and serpentine form of the dragon,           shocking splash pages in all of comics history.
but used to great effect. Not only is the true        and Vasilia’s tear-marked face as she hands            Broken Bat is vividly illustrated by Aparo,
story made more interesting by knowing how            Hellboy the weapon of destruction needed to         in what now feels like a very retro style, and
others perceive it, but the after-effects from        end ragnarok once and for all.                      expertly written by Dixon, with each showdown
such false knowledge is going to make for                The death of Hellboy really shouldn’t be         emphasising the enormity of the task facing
wonderful character work later on.                    much of a surprise, even though it’s going to       Batman, all building to a crescendo at Wayne
   For all the violence on the pages, this is still   catch a lot of readers unaware. What’s for the      Manor. Chuck Dixon’s stamp is all over the
a pretty comic without ever coming across as          future? Well, knowing Mignola, anything. He’s       best Batman stories from the 90s, but sadly
juvenile or over-the-top. This book looks just        stated this isn’t the end of Hellboy, both the      his run is getting harder and harder to find on
like a Punisher crime comic should.                   character and the comic, even though he’s           the high street due to a falling out with the DC
   With a new #1, The Punisher relaunch               now dead. But considering the manner of his         hierarchy. Nonetheless, Broken Bat, and the
under the ‘Big Shots’ banner is going to be a         death, and the jaw-dropping visuals on what         Knightfall saga, stand as a testament to his
treat. It reads well, it looks just as good, and      happens next, the possibilities are endless. I,     ability to craft a satisfying storyline on an epic
will appeal to a broad audience.                      for one, can’t wait to see the next iteration.      and grandiose scale. Highly Recommended.
VERDICT                                               VERDICT                                             VERDICT

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Next Issue...
Things Get Violent With The Punisher

     Available 26th September
62 Swipe
The Showdown!
  Reading digital is something that is on everyone’s mind. But which
  medium is the most convenient? There’s only one way to fInd out...

                                     THE TALE OF THE TAPE
Type          Tablet                                                                   Type          Phone

Price         £519.99 (www.amazon.co.uk)                                               Price         £397.44 (www.amazon.co.uk)

Display       9.7-inch (diagonal), 1024-by-768-pixel                                   Display       4.3-inch QHD LCD Screen with true widescreen
              resolution. Fingerprint-resistant coating                                              display

Dimension Height: 242.8 mm                                                             Dimension Height: 126mm
          Width: 189.7 mm                                                                        Width: 65mm
          Weight: 0.68 kg                                                                        Weight: 148 g

Battery       Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi,                              Battery       Up to 24 hours of surfing the web, phoning,
              watching video, or listening to music.                                                 watching video, txting or listening to music.

Apps          There are two types of comic app on iPad:                                Apps          There are a bunch of comic readers
              stores and    readers.    ComiXology    (free,                                         available through the Android app store,
              Iconology) is by far the best store. It offers                                         ranging from Comica (£1.99, Spartacus Rex)
              comics from over 30             publishers -                                           which supports CBR and CBZ formats to specific
              from DC, Marvel to smaller titles from                                                 strip readers such as Fast Dilbert Reader (free,
              Top Cow, and Dark Horse. Prices range from                                             Nodjo). Graphicly (Free) is the best store
              budget titles at 69p to new issues at £1.49.                                           to buy from on Android and has a
              There are also trade paperback-style group                                             selection of 36 publishers but their
              discounts for the likes of The Walking Dead.                                           comic reader is in its early stages and crashes.

Readability Reading comics with ComiXology is a joy. Using                             Readability ComiXology is easy to use and even comes
            its guided view technology, you’re able to                                             with a “How to use the app” comic to help
            quickly swipe from panel to panel in the correct                                       you understand the special views and options.
            order or simply view the entire page. However,                                         The size of the screen obviously leads
            as nice as the iPad’s screen is, it’s not quite big                                    to compression and clipping and without
            enough to fully replicate a comic page without                                         using the guide feature it is impossible to
            compression or clipping.                                                               read a comic.

Availability Some older titles and complete runs can be                                Availability Marvel comics aren’t available on Android due
             difficult to find so you have to transfer them                                         to software limitations which is a major blow to
             from your computer. All publishers are                                                 anyone wanting to buy and read on the go.
             represented on iOS.

                                      AND THE WINNER IS...
                                     The iPad wins hands down. Though you may think it unfair to pit a
                                     phone vs a tablet, be safe in the knowledge that what mainly swayed it
                                     for us was the fact Marvel comics are unavailable on Android. Sort it out!
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