Sunday, 28 May 2017

On Fandom And Little Cliques..and sharing!



I have said before that I put a lot of work, time and effort and money into collecting British Platinum (1796-1938) and Golden (1939-1949) Ages comics and story papers. Not just because I like them and love discovering new things and identifying creators where ever possible, but because I want to share.

know that it is a very -very- small group in the UK but why shouldn't they get a chance to see the comics I have discovered?  Most of those I know who are interested cannot find or afford the price of the comics  and even when fairly priced it is finding the comics.  So I do the work and publish the collected Gold books or the complete collection which works out cheaper.

I will never ever make my money back!  But I never thought that I would. Unlike in, say, the United States where, were even a 350+pp b&w collection of US Golden Age available then it would sell to real fans or collectors, in the UK...obviously not. I won't even go into why as I have done so before and the lack of interest was overwhelming.

But the books are there for anyone really interested in UK comics of those periods.  There was the British Golden Age and UK Golden Age Heroes & Comics blogs.  The first has had 23, 834 views since it was set up in 2011. The second has had 6, 112 views since set up in 2013.

the Yahoo! British Comic Books Archives group was set up on 31st January, 2007 and has thousands of images over several album pages and a lot of interesting posts.  It has 55 members -and the majority are not even in the UK.

February, 2005...38 members and the Class magazine I bought out...2 copies sold.

Sales of the Collected book, and I need to point out that not one of the slimmer volumes has ever sold...3 copies.  Once you take into account what I finally receive financially, those three sales do not even pay for one of the comics I purchased to go in it.

Now, in the old fanzine days it was common to find fans sharing photocopies of old comics (none of us had scanners or internet until the 1990s!) or swapping information. Initially, fans started to do the same thing over the internet but that more or less stopped years ago now. There are books fans are looking for and we know other 'fans' have copies.  Will they scan and share? No.  Why? "Because no one else here has a copy so it's mine and I'm not sharing!"  And that was actually said on one of my Yahoo group members.  These people tend to like to steal the work I have done and add it to sites so they get credit but simply state "original scanner unknown"....I guess the scans just appeared miraculously on their computers then?

When I have used material in a book scanned and sent to me by someone I name them.  But I do not credit people using silly, anonymous internet names.  And I have made it clear that I cannot (there are very sounds legal reasons why no one ever should) credit "anonymous" or some internet name.  Why on earth are these people scared to take credit for their scan work?

That adds something else to the mix.  Groups where scanners of Silver Age UK comics go into all their scanning details (which is pointless) and call themselves "comic editors".  Weird.  They are scanners and not comic editors!

And...allowing 95% of members on their groups to be anonymous is fine.  After all, MI5 would love to track them down  -seriously, you are on a fecking comic 'fan' group so why do you need a different internet name on that and 4-5 other groups??  The world's security services are not after you for reading comics.  Unless it's so there is no come back on them when they take part in petty sniping at other members? It's why I left those groups.

But, that anonymity....you offer scans over the internet on your groups but then get angry (and "angry" does not really cover it!) when someone has compiled all of those scans into a collection on CD to sell on Ebay.  Screeching -"Without given credit to me!" and "Profiting from group scans and contributing nothing back!" but this is the very funny part of it: they "all" want to know who this person is (I was actually accused once but that stopped as soon as I asked them to repeat the remark and get sued, stupid little infants) but how can you when you let all these people join anonymously? Any how could this person contribute back to the group?

Financially? Oh, well, how do they know this person has NOT contributed scans (I suspect he has and I think I know who he is and it is quite obvious unless you are a "comics editor" on a Yahoo group!)?  Who gets money?  And best of all is the idea that, somehow, their copyright and editing work has been infringed upon.  Firstly, a scanner has no copyright claim.  You offer a free scan on the internet it gets used....tell me about it...sob sob...just two of my Eros books have been illegally downloaded by the millions. I don't lose sleep over it or bleat on.

And now the "elite Platinum 'comics' clique".  I ask about certain characters or titles.  "Oh yes. That is in the (my) collection".  Any chance of a scan?  "I am rather busy.  Ask me in a couple months" and the one I always laugh at: "Oh, I had no idea that one had not been catalogued.  I've had that for years."  Seriously, this is what I call "a load of old bull crap".  So you are one of this studious elite and read everything there for years but this just slipped by?  You never knew?  Rather, you do not have a copy because other than that line nothing else is contributed.  Scan and you will solve all the problems and answer all the questions but no, just the  "Oh, I had no idea that one had not been catalogued.  I've had that for years." End of story.

And don't get me started on the fella (in the US) who joined my Face Book Golden Age group to find out WHO from his group was a member and banned them and very rudely told me I was banned from his group, too!

This is not fandom. It's rather like, when you were a kid and played "conkers" and there was always some lad claiming he had a "Twentier" (smashed 20 other conkers in a game) but would never produce it or bring it to a game. Or a "Hundredsy" marble -same thing.  If they are true fans they share for the love of the comics medium.  My collection was always open to be read (and sadly I paid the price for that) by other fans.  share and you get to talk about the characters, comic or creator -it IS fun.

But I see it with comic people from Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany and even France: most have no knowledge of comics prior to the 1980s.  Almost as though comics appeared in the 1980s and there was nothing before.  Worse are the snooty comic 'experts' who say with 100% confidence "France has always had more eye brow comics -never super heroes!"  And I, CBO, have shown that this is just an ignorant statement based on no knowledge.  "Germany never had comics during World War 2 -the Nazis forbade them!"  Same thing.  Proven false.

We need a good fanzine in the UK -most countries do- and we also need to get real, genuine comic fans to chat.  I say that with a 100% failure rate at the Golden Age blogs and on CBO comments are rare enough.

It seems to be more about snooty cliques or little cliques following bully boys in the UK.  On my Yahoo! groups you can join and use a pseudonym on the group BUT I need to know who you really are because I learnt the lessons.

think about it -what has your experience as a comic fan been like and what do you miss or feel is needed?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

There Are Some Great Books Out There -IF You Care

Apparently, 102 people checked out the closing notice last November.  Not surprising.  What is surprising is that 1766 people (without me doing the usual social media shares) clicked on to view a Black square.

A black square.  Nothing else.  It was just put there to signify closing of the site.

So why am I posting again?  Well, I doubt this will be permanent though that would be fun. You see, there is a very under rated British comics creator named Ben R. Dilworth. He keeps checking my blog stats (I don't) and told me of the number of recent views.

"Post something. See what happens" he said. Well, I had a headache and my joints were in pain so I was not doing much else so why not?

And a good few people visited the blog -and the UK Golden Age blog.  But this is the problem.  You see, I take time to scan and post here. The whole point of doing this was for fun but also to sell some of my books because, and people do not realise this, I need to eat and pay bills.

With my Comic Bits Online blog, Google+ and all the sites that pick up items as they are posted "I" have had around 8 million views. That is since 2010.

Now that takes a LOT of work and I normally do not care but no one ever comments. Items I post are stolen and used by others as 'their' work.  People pop on to whichever blog, read then go.

This I don't care about. But someone said "unknown,un-named faceless people read and take and probably do not give a crap about you and go".  All the viewshave resulted in sales for other publishers -they tell me how sales rise after a review or whatever on CBO. Me? I think I've sold ten books since 2010 due to a posting.

So, though this is fun, if only 4 people (who ordered those 10 books) out of 8 million buy...well, I think it makes my point to Mr. Dilworth. You cannot argue with the facts.

And you cannot force people to buy your books on a subject -say UK Golden Age comics- if all they want is to grab something free off the internet. I have books on the UK Golden Age with HUNDREDS of pages and Penguin Flight Osaka has mixed some in with its Come On! Comic. Also Black Tower super Heroes mixes Golden, Silver and modern strips. But to see that material people need to buy.  People will not buy.  They want free.

That doesn't work for me as I struggle to save my company (though it may be past saving) and earn money. This is how well I am doing: due to ill health I depend solely on a government benefit. Yet I have thousands of comic book pages covering different genres readily available for people to buy.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk

Without the support of people who view these posts -you- via book sales then that's it. Look at it from my point of view: work like a maniac while rotting away on a low benefit or simply stop. No one is interested. What would you do because, after 40 years, I'm all burnt out.


ps. Yes, I know, "So what?"

Friday, 22 April 2016

Books! Comic Albums! Graphic Novels! We Got 'Em!

And the books include...

The Amazing World Of Alan Class

The Amazing World Of Alan Class


A4
Paperback
24pp
B&W
Price: £5.00 (excl. VAT)
Marvel, Timely, Atlas, Charlton, ACG, MLJ/Archie Dennis the Menace (US) -one man published them all. Alan Class. Who? Class is legendary for bringing black and white reprints of US comics to a country starved of the medium thanks to a certain war! From 1959-1989 Suspence, Sinister, Astounding and Uncanny gave us a comic fix for a few pennies. Learn more about the man and how Class Comics came about in the long awaited print version of Terry Hooper's exclusive interview!


 The Hooper Interviews

The Hooper Interviews!  

 To celebrate, at the time of publication, over 25 years of interviewing comic creators -writers, artists and publishers- this 365 pages book was produced.

Interviewees included Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman, Dave Ryan, John Cooper, Mike Western, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Sonia Leong, Emma Vieceli, Pekka A. Manninen, Alan Class, Karen Rubins, Kate Glasheen, Ron Fortier, Jon Haward, Franco Francavilla, Rick Geary, Tania Del Rio, The Etherington Brothers, Olivier Cadic (Cinebook the 9th Art), Holly Golightly and MANY others.

Profusely illustrated with art and photographs!

Reduced in price until October to £16.80 -an odd price but it's what the printer and lulu.com earn -I get zilch!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/terry-hooper-scharf/the-hooper-interviews/paperback/product-22078000.html


All Black Tower comic albums (that is A4 format) are in black & white.  Once you've had black and white you won't go back to colour, baby.

BTCG has specialised in presenting original material covering super heroes, crime, adventure, sci fi, horror as well as illustrated prose -not to mention ground breaking books on "world mysteries" and wildlife.  Oh, and even a huge book of interviews with comic creators and publishers.

All the books are, naturally, available for overseas licence -but we cannot translate work: that will be up to any licensed publisher.

What follows is a brief glimpse at some books but you can visit the online store to see more details and books at:



http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk

You  can also find some on Amazon and other sources but they do not make me much money so, come on, buy from the online store and remember that at least these books will be collectibles! 




To contact me please check out "About" at the top of the page -thanks!

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Black Tower Comics began in 1984 as a Small Press publisher of A5 (US -Digest size) titles such as Adventure,Presents,Windows and Hanley's Garage.  Then came the news, reviews, previews and interviews publication backed up by the mart and mail order service -Zine Zone (later Zine Zone International).

In 2009, with the innovation in publishing of Print On Demand (POD), Black Tower jumped in head first!

One of the first titles to see print in the new comic album format (A4) was The Bat Triumphant! This saw the complete story, begun in Black Tower Adventure vol. 1.  William A. Ward's long lost 1940s character once again saw print as he fought a host of  enemies in an attempt to reclaim his homeland.


THE BAT TRIUMPHANT!

And while The Bat may have fought fist and nail to reclaim his homeland, another 1940s Ward creation, Krakos the Egyptian, seemed far from willing to claim a new Egyptian Empire as promised to him by the Gods.  Tackling a number of foes and even encountering the Many-Eyed One, Krakos turned his back on the gods and the final panel of Krakos -Sands Of Terror, delivered a true twist!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror!


Of course, the flag-ship title had to return!  And so Black Tower Adventure -eventually reaching new heights when the legendary Ben Dilworth jumped on board!  Volume 2 consisted of  ten issues. Just look at these covers....

Black Tower Adventure 1Black Tower Adventure 2BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3Black Tower Adventure 4Black Tower Adventure 5Black Tower Adventure 6ADVENTURE 7Black Tower Adventure 8BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 9Black Tower Adventure 10

And, with something like 40 years worth of files and investigation reports could all that much delving into UFOs, lake and sea creatures and many other mysteries not result in a book or two...or three? Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister as well as Pursuing The Strange and Weird: A Naturalist's Viewpoint set a precedence.

Whereas for decades those involved in "UFOlogy", "Cryptozoology" and "Forteana" declared many mysteries, that photographs were lost "to history" and so on, these three books swiped away the false claims.  Alleged lost photographs -found.  'Mysteries' solved by doing actual research work and reading the sources -something others had never done.
Some Things Strange & SinisterSome More Things Strange & SinisterPursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint

And, of course, mention natural history and Black Tower Books broke new ground with that in The Red Paper: Canids.


The Red Paper: CANIDS

But not all the prose books covered mysteries and wildlife.


And if there is one thing "Herr Professor" loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring 'Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume " Black Tower Gold" albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager -The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!



The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

Another great love is Centaur Comics from the United States.  Right at the very start of the American Golden Age of Comics Centaur had creators who were ahead of the others!  Before Plastic Man there was Plymo!  Before The Human Bomb there was TNT Todd!  Before Green Arrow and waaaaaaay before Hawkeye there was the mysterious red hooded archer called The Arrow!  And, to just break your comic mind world there was even a Black Panther -decades before Kirby came up with his character of the same name.

The Eye Sees All.  The Owl. The Iron Skull.  Amazing Man. The King of Darkness.  The Invisible Terror. The Blue Lady. The Shark. Mini Midget & Kitty.  Mighty Man. Super Anne.  The company may have been short-lived but it's characters -oh boy!

The two volume Centaur Heroes Collection has been compiled into one sweet 140 page comic collection!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection 2011

Horror. Ghost stories.  The twist-in-the tale.  Did you think that a publisher who is a big horror comic/film fan would ignore these?

Nope.  Each year since 2010, BTCG has published a Tales Of Terror anthology album and 2014s included some fun and spooky lost Swan Comic strips.  I mean how can you go wrong -even Ben Dilworth is in these!

 Tower Tales Of TerrorTales Of Terror 2TALES OF TERROR IIITales Of Terror 4

The Church Of England has it's own basher of dark forces in the Reverend Merriwether -"God's Demon0-Thumper" as the press billed him.  From an ancient Egyptian demon to a village of the damned and Varney the Vampyre, werwolves and a final confrontation with Satan himself -Merriwether pulls no punches and offers no compromise.  And in those last few seconds between life and death, Merriwether's mind recalls past cases -thanks to Ben Dilworththe Tall Man of Osaka.

Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper and Merriwether: The Test Of Satan are available as individual comic albums or in one swanky book The Collected Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper.

 Merriwether:God's Demon-ThumperMerriwether:The Test Of SatanMerriwether: Gods Demon Thumper

Oh, did I forget to mention Dene Vernon -British comics' first investigator of the supernatural and strange mysteries?  I did? Unbelievable since Gavin Stuart Ross drew the 1948 based Dene Vernon: The Thing Below!

 Dene Vernon:The Thing Below


 And did you know Ross also drew the two adventures of Victorian mystery man Chung Ling Soo? Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon and Chung Ling Soo: The Case Of The Thames Serpent were two cracking tales of magic, adventure, murder and deception -still available as single comic albums or collected together to form The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo!

Chung Ling Soo 1Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery





THE CASE BOOK OF CHUNG LING SOO

Ben Dilworth is no slouch either!  Chung Ling Soo's police "counter-foil" isnone other than old London "Jack" (police man) Inspector Wilberforce and when Dilworth says "Here's a Wilberforce one-off: PUBLISH IT!" you do not argue!

Wilberforce



And did you know you can be a Gold Master of Japanese Haiku?  Well, neither did I -but guess what?  Ben Dilworth is such a master and his Osaka Brutal features his Haiku in English!

 Osaka Brutal

Old saleman that he is, Dilworth just keeps on going.  He produced Aesop's Fables -a darker version of the childrens tales and then went on to write two well illustrated prose albums looking at spirits and demons -Dilworth's Japanese Yokai and Dilworth's Western YokaiOsaka and the Yokai books were combined with Aesop's Fables into the one volume The Collected Ben R. Dilworth -though the single volumes are also still available.

The Collected Ben R. DilworthDilworth's Japanese YokaiDILWORTH WESTERN YOKAIDilworths Aesop's Fables


Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in...Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories but for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective!
Dilworth's Horror & Ghost StoriesTHE COMPLETE PHANTOM DETECTIVE



And could anyone forget the sensational Iron Warrior Versus Big Bong:When Giants Fought? But add to that the various Iron Warrior strips from Adventure and you get The Iron Warrior Collection -When Giants Fought!  In the 1940s, William A. Ward's creation was to be the most graphically violent comic strip seen until the 1970s.  That is some legacy. It continues....with a touch of fun!

The Iron Warrior Vs Big BongTHE IRON WARRIOR COLLECTION

In case you are wondering, yes, obviously there are super heroes.  Mix in ancient pantheons of gods, giant robot, alien invasion, Lovecraftian dark ones and so much more that the book runs to over 320 pages then you have part 1 of Terry Hooper-Scharf's Invasion Earth Trilogy" or as it is titled Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes!  And epic ending with the words: "Dr Morg has killed us all" -and if you have never read the mind altering counter actuality that is The Dr Morg Trilogy you may be saying "What? Who-?"

And part 2 of the trilogy The Cross Earths Caper ought to get you in the mood for 2015s big 31st Anniversary third part of the trilogy The Green Skies.


 The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super HeroesTHE CROSS EARTHS CAPERJourney Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

If you pass the ESTC (Epileptic Seizure Test Cover) on Dr Morg well, you are fit and healthy enough to read it and to check out all the Black Tower Comics and Books at the online store -see why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics!