Sunday, 27 September 2009

Been a while - Don't attempt to buy a house...

So, it is now the end of September, and I've been away from the blog for quite some time. I'm sure that quite a few of you will now be wondering how the house move went, have I unpacked everything, and when the Blog will be back up and running again.

Well guys, the Blog will be returning to normal shortly. But as for the House Move? It didn't go so well. I don't want to dwell on it too much, because it isn't really the type of thing I set up this Blog to discuss. But as a few people have been asking I thought I'd tell you all in one go. Unfortunately, having packed up the whole house to move, and given notice to our landlord, the move fell through. Annoyingly not until very late in the day. I'd had a survey, and my solicitors had contracts ready to exchange with the guys who we were buying off. But at that stage an outstanding debt on the property, which they had not declared, came out of the woodwork. And two months worth of stalling us suddenly made sense.

As a result the vendor has now pulled the sale and the house will probably be repossessed in due course. Not much help to us right now, mind. And it doesn't get us back the better part of £1000 which has been spent in getting to that point, with solicitors and surveys. But am just glad that we have now got things sorted with our landlord. For a couple of weeks there it genuinely did look like we might be homeless, and have to put our stuff into storage for a while.

It was a close thing.

So... You may remember that before all this craziness began I was doing a Marvel UK A to Z. We were up to 'C' which stood for Lew Stringer's marvellous Combat Colin. Well, I do have the rest of the list thought through. The problem is that having spent bloody ages plotting the future entries in a little Black & Red notebook (Coincidentally the same notebook which had last Christmas' Marvel UK Cocktails in it) I allowed myself to pack it.

And can I remember which box I packed it in? No.

It's in here somewhere, and as we are now unpacking everything slowly it should reappear soon. If not in the next week then stuff it, I'll do it over again. I can remember a lot of the final list, anyway, and it might be kinda fun to go through it all again, too.

Now, while I have been cut off from my longboxes for a few months that doesn't mean I've allowed the spirit of Marvel UK to be evicted from my head any more than I nearly got evicted myself. Oh no. The Twitter feed has continued to flow (Although I will apologise to you all for my lengthy live review of "Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus" with Debbie Gibson. Alcohol may have been involved...) and I've remained pretty active over at Comic Book Resources' forum, where I've been joining the ever faithful fans who have been keeping alive Britain Prevails - the Captain Britain & MI13 Appreciation thread, as well as being quite active in this long term Death's Head thread also.

I did wonder if that with the conclusion of Captain Britain & MI13 interest in Marvel UK properties, and the general number of questions I had been receiving about them, might begin to quieten. Not so. In fact I've actually been receiving more than usual - which is both a great thing and also a sad thing at the same time.

Great, because people are finding out about these characters and wanting to find more.

But Sad, because while they want to find out more it's not always so easy to point out where they should go next. Because collections wise while Panini have been doing a Stirling job here in the UK - collecting Captain Britain, Death's Head, Dragon's Claws and the upcoming Knights of Pendragon - a lot of the guys asking me for help are based in the USA. And Stateside Marvel have not collected these.

This really is a great shame. It certainly seems that from my experience there is a demand. It may not be the kind of demand that Marvel's big properties have, but it is a demand nevertheless. Hmmm. Maybe I aught to find out if there's somebody I could contact at Marvel about that?

In the meantime, while I cannot supply you with brand new content of my own I have been browsing around the internet for Marvel UK images and information.

Firstly, in case it slipped your attention, next weekend is this year's British International Comics Show, at Millennium Point in Birmingham.

Some of you will doubtless remember last years', and my bothering Mark Buckingham to do me a sketch of Mortigan Goth? Link

Well, we'll be there again this year, and I'll doubtless do a bit of a round up from the show, again. Former Marvel UK people who will be guests this year include:

Charlie Adlard, Mark Buckingham, Alan Davis, Gary Erskine, Gary Leach, David Lloyd, Liam Sharp, Lew Stringer, and others.

Captain Britain & MI13 writer Paul Cornell will be there, and other guests include Howard Chaykin, Andy Diggle, Pasqual Ferry, Tony Lee, Bryan Talbot, Hunt Emerson and Rufus Dayglo.

All in all a pretty bloody good line-up. And don't worry if you're a little confused by the name. BICS is now the 'British' International Comics Show, replacing 'Birmingham'. It's now Arts Council of Great Britain backed, and making a real effort to spread the word of comics to people here in the UK. I had a great time last year and would very much recommend it.

For more info visit . A one day pass for next weekend costs £12 for adults and £6 for kids, and a full weekend pass is £20 for adults and £10 for kids.

Now, here's something you might not have seen before...

A few days back Death's Head II artist Liam Sharp put up some pages on his DeviantART page, which had never been shown before - the original (rejected) fight between Minion and Death's Head from Death's Head II.

Lost original DH vs.DH II end by LiamSharp

The pages are a little faded by time, and Liam himself admits that he can't quite remember why they changed them, but it's quite interesting to see. The fight certainly seems a little more equal, this way.

For those who'd like to see more of Liam's work check out the rest of his DeviantART folder at

I've also been on a bit of search around the internet recently for Marvel UK related artwork, both fan created work and obscure commissions from professionals. I've been putting together a bit of a collection. Over the next few Blogs I'll be posting a few select examples up here on-site for you all, during the time I unpack my life.

Here's a great place to start.

Now, a little while ago I had a conversation with a guy over at Millarworld about Jim Cheung. Many people might not be aware but Jim is actually British born, and while I believe his work didn't get published before Marvel US pulled the plug he was also briefly on the books of Marvel UK. The guy I was speaking to (and I'm really sorry that I don't recall your username, mate) had no idea of this, and was wondering if Jim had ever drawn Captain Britain. At the time I told him that as far as I knew he'd only drawn Brian on the cover to Civil War: The Initiative - Where Cap's head appears amongst a myriad of other Marvel heroes.

Although technically he shouldn't really be there. He's a British Citizen. He wouldn't be eligible. But that's not the point. I figured Jim Cheung drew him as a tip of his hat to his Country of origin, or something similar. But like I say, as far as I knew this was the only time that Jim Cheung had drawn Captain Britain.

But then I found this:

This con sketch is owned by one Art Shotton, who put it up on A larger image can be found here Link

And I happen to think it's pretty bloody brilliant! Captain Britain, Jaspers, Roma, Saturnye and The Fury. The classic Moore and Davis period of Captain Britain. I've been a huge fan of Jim Cheung since the mid-90s, when he was working on Maverick with Jorge Gonzales.

This is great work. I would love to see Jim drawing Brian in an actual issue or series some day. This one became my desktop wallpaper at work.

While still on a Cap tangent I also found this slightly unusual take on Brian and sister Psylocke courtesy of The Twelve's Chris Weston:

This one was posted up by Mamtor's John Bamber, and you're going to want to look at the full detail of a painted piece like this. It really is quite impressive - Captain Britain meets Western. Here's the link: Here

Time for one more?

Course you have.

This mocked up cover was found on DeviantART, by one Steven O'Brien, who goes by the username of Super-Nashwan.

Of all the epic battles you can possibly imagine, how about?

Oh, yes! Bounty Hunter vs Bo- Freelance Peace-keeping Agent - In a battle to the death.

Hell, back in the 80s it was a licensing concept which COULD have happened.

That's all for now folks. I'll be back in the week, with any luck.

Thanks for sticking with It Came From Darkmoor. As always, comments welcome.



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