Author Archives: Bruce Hodder (formerly known as ArcaneHalloween)
It is with supreme sadness that we relay the tragic news of the death of one of the UK’s most prolific and innovative artists, the legendary Kevin O’Neill, who passed away last week at the age of 69.
Though most of my comic-book loving life has been consumed with DC Comics, being a Brit I also grew up with the iconic UK anthology comic series – 2000AD, and one of my absolute favourite creators for this compelling compendium was the venerable – Kev O’Neill, the ingenious co-creator behind some of the most treasured character creations to emanate from this small isle, including such luminaries as – Marshal Law, Nemesis the Warlock, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Kev was a titan of the comic scene, a unique and playful storyteller with a style unsurpassed by his peers, an idiosyncratic, quirky artstyle that stood out amongst a sea of artists. He began working within the industry at the age of 16 for UK publisher – IPC, working as help on the weekly brit comic – Buster, he moved into the position of colourer at IPC before moving to the fledgling anthology series – 2000AD, tasked with creating the iconic look of the compendium’s fictional editor – Tharg the Mighty, with his first comic strip project being – Ro-busters, for which he pencilled many stories for 2000AD writer and co-creator – Pat Mills.
During this time, Kev also co-created alien freedom fighter – Nemesis the Warlock, and anti-hero, superhero hunter – Marshal Law, he also worked extensively for DC Comics on projects – Omega Men, and the Alan Moore penned – Tales of the Green Lantern Corps annual, a project that was objected to at the time by the then – Comics Code Authority, who seem to object to Kev’s entire illustration style, the comic was still published by DC, without the CCA approval. In 1999, Kev began work, again alongside brit luminary – Alan Moore, on one of his most fascinating creations – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, originally published by Wildstorm, and later turned into a movie starring Sean Connery.
The comic-book world is left devastated by the loss of one of the most remarkable and incomparable creators, and our thoughts are with Kev’s family and friends at this tragic time. RIP.
Welcome, fellow fans of fantastic freaky fiction, to our haunting Halloween special, a cool, compelling yet chilling compendium of charnel comic cover classics courtesy of the decidedly devilish – DC Comics!
Thank you for convening with us down here in the Precinct’s creepy Comic Crypts for this hellacious Halloween special, so why not pull up a tombstone as we take a terrifying tour of the dark side of DC!
And our blood-curdling beginning for this phantasmic post is none other than DC’s haunting – House Of Mystery. The House of Mystery was an anthology comic first published by DC in 1951. It initially ran for 173 issues and featured terrifying tales of the weird, wild and wacky, set within the ritualistic realms of mystery and science fiction. From issue #174 the lauded series switched to a hardcore horror anthology, presented by Cain the Caretaker and introduced new series such as I… Vampire, which originally started as a back up story but was such a massive success with the fans, it became the ongoing apparitional anthology’s main feature.
The spooky sister title to the House of Mystery was another anthology series that set it’s sights on the macabre and is most notable for introducing us to the character of Swamp Thing, DC’s heroic quagmire residing defender of the green. First published in 1956, The House Of Secrets introduced several other of DC’s supernatural entities including Mark Merlin and Eclipso, Doctor Rocket, and the fantastically named – Moolah the Mystic!
We would be neglecting our darkly devilish duties if we didn’t include, quite possibly, THE greatest supernatural comic book anti-hero of all time, occult detective – John Constantine. First published by DC Comics in 1988, and then subsequently by its adult imprint – Vertigo in 1993, the series followed John as he negotiated his way through heaven, hell and beyond, utilising his innate talent in manipulation, deceit and guile, arguably for the greater good. The series was one of the longest running and most successful of DC/Vertigo’s titles and was a notable stepping stone for many British writers and artists, Brit contributors included – Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano, Andy Diggle, and Pete Milligan.
Justice League Dark malevolently materialised onto the comic scene in 2011, a supernatural superhero team-up series that combined the terrifying titular talents – John Constantine, Zatanna, Etrigan the Demon, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Doctor Fate and, on occassion, the dark and surly one himself – The Batman. Their remit was to investigate mystical threats, and demonic incursions which were deemed outside the scope of the more traditional capes and tights crew of The Justice League of America.
If you’re looking for a suitably creepy but freakishly fun DC Comics read this All Hallows Eve, may I recommend the sublime – Zatanna and the House of Secrets, a spooky journey through the mysterious and magical realm of the mystical mistress of magic herself – Zatanna! and you can read our glowing review Right Here.
Suffering Sappho! it surely can’t be that time of year again, can it? I guess when you’re an immortal 3,000 year old Amazon warrior then time tends to stand still. Yet for us mere mortals, a year is everything. And so once more, fellow transient travellers, we find ourselves upon the golden sacred shores of Themyscira to celebrate Gaea’s graceful goddess, the incomparable – Wonder Woman!
That’s right fellow fans of fantastic female fiction, October 21st commemorates Diana’s first ever appearance in ‘All Star Comics #8’ which released in October of 1941 courtesy of her celebrated creator – William Moulton Marston, and DC Comics. That’s a sensational eighty one glorious years in her illuminating presence!
We love Wonder Woman here in Precinct1313, she’s actually our favourite comic-book creation of all time, and I personally have been reading and collecting Wondy comics, movies and memorabilia since I was a mere nine years of age, she has always been an inspiration to me. Unlike her superheroic peers, Diana doesn’t necessarily rely on her fists… her strength lies within her power to understand, and forgive, to first extend a hand of friendship rather than wield her sword. Diana’s mantra is love and compassion, and in the rather unpredictable world we live in today, she is very much the hero we need…
And so, my astonishing amazonian associates, what will you be doing to celebrate this Day of Wonder? Here in the ol’ Precinct we shall be re-indulging in one of the more recent takes on the Themysciran Titan, the sublime – Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed. The Laurie Halse Anderson penned tale provides a fresh and funky take on Diana’s early upbringing on Paradise Island and first foray into “man’s world” A superb coming of age drama that’s not afraid to delve into the darker recesses of humankind. And you too can idulge your senses in this vaunted volume with our very own review of this classic – Right Here.
Of course, we shall also be revisiting an episode or two of Lynda Carter’s spectacular turn as Wondy in the 70’s and early 80’s terrific television series, and then, once more (probably for the billionth time now) Gal Gadot’s breathtaking 2017 big screen adaptation!
Happy Wonder Woman Day!
Nana, nana, nana, nana, Batma… oh hey there, my bodacious bat-brethren, do please excuse my reciting of the classic Batman theme from Adam West’s sixties extravaganza, now that was a time when the curmudgeonly creature of the night actually enjoyed fighting crime, he even joked and (unbelievable I know) SMILED!
Of course, the swinging sixties was very much a different time and place, in fact Silver Age Batman smiled, joked, cajoled and inherently enjoyed being the Caped Crusader, this variant of the character was a million miles away from the grimdark version of the Dark Knight. Though, sixties Bats was an anomaly caused by the Comics Code Authority that cracked down hard on the various adult storylines contained within comics such as Batman and Detective Comics.
When the sensational seventies hit, ol’ Batsy was reinstalled back to his rightful place as the creepy creature of the night who revelled in hunting down vile villains, and thrashing the dastardly and deadly denizens of Gotham to within an inch of their lives. Yet, there have been a number of lightheated and fun moments since his return to the despair and darkness that envelops his being, so for this particular anniversary post, let’s turn Batman’s frown upside down and celebrate his cute and cuddly side…
Not Sure If Superman Forcing Bats To Smile For A Selfie Counts, Yet Here We Are!
Ah Yes, The Legendary Bat-Smirk, This One Is Particularly Delightful ‘Cause He Just Managed To Relieve Green Lantern Of His Power Ring, Without Him Realising!
Yeah, That Would Creep Me Out Too!
Aww, Harley Loves Batsy Really, Look at Her, Sharing The Cupcakes…
He’s Just A Cuddly Costumed Vigilante Really, He Even Keeps Lollipops In His Utility Belt!
See, He’s Not Scary At All… Unless You’re A SuperVillain, And Then You’re Gonna End Up In Traction For Six Months!
Ok, This One Genuinely Made Me Laugh Out Loud, Maybe Bats Should Take Up Stand Up Comedy!
Love This Exchange Between Batman And Black Orchid From The Justice League Dark Animated Movie, Pure, Dry Batman Brilliance!
Sure, Joker May Be Laughing Right Now, But Just Seconds After This, Batman Kicked The Crap Out Of Him… Again!
So there you go, fellow Bat-Fans, a lighthearted look at the Masked Manhunter in celebration of Batman Day! That said, as jovial as he seems here, one thing you should never, ever do is criticise his choice of transport, he hates that!
Happy Batman Day!
That’s right, it’s been three dynamic decades since the psychedelic psychopath of print was first unleashed onto an unsuspecting comic book universe, much to the chagrin of The Batman, but conversely to the delight of millions of comic book fans, for Harley truly is… one of the greatest comic-book characters ever conceived, and if you don’t agree, then her beloved mallet would like to have a word with you!
Former psychiatrist, Dr Harleen Quinzel was originally an Arkham Asylum intern who, after prolonged psychology sessions with crazed clown The Joker, was coerced into thinking that Batman was the ultimate cause of Joker’s insanely murderous high jinks. Slowly falling in love with the irascible psychotic, Harleen eventually aided the mirthful murderer to escape the asylum and joined him on his insane crusade to dispense madness, murder and mayhem on the populace of Gotham City.
Ms Quinn was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm and actually made her first ever appearance outside of the comic book format, on the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, in an episode titled “Joker’s Favour” which aired on the 11th September 1992.
Actress Arleen Sorkin was Paul Dini’s original inspiration for the clown princess of crime, after he caught her appearance in an episode of Days Of Our Lives, in which she appeared in a dream sequence wearing a Jester outfit. Dini and Sorkin had been friends since college, and he even incorporated certain facets of Arleen’s personality into the character (and, of course – Arleen/Harleen)
Though initially brought in as a throw away character, Harley proved so massively popular with the DC fanbase that she was ultimately ushered into DC Universe continuity in the 1994 graphic novel “Batman Adventures: Mad Love” which recounted her wild and wacky origin tale, written and drawn by her original co-creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm.
Harley of course has, since that time, become a fantabulously fun force to be reckoned with both on and off the comic-book page, starring in both animated and live action movies, and is also without a shadow of a doubt, THE most most popular choice for depiction amongst cos-players across the globe.
Harley and Ivy Discuss… erm, Beavers!
Enough Already! My Ribs are Beginning To Ache!!
And So, Happy 30th Anniversary To That Marvellously Maniacal Mistress Of Mayhem – Harley Quinn!
*Please Note: No beavers were hurt during the production of this post, just tossed, stuffed, kidnapped (beaver-napped?) and made fun of… so that’s alright then!*
They may both be Superheroes, founding members of the Justice League and all round crime-fighting bad-arses, but Batman and Superman aren’t always the best of buddies, and, unsurprisingly, neither are their progeny.
The last time Precinct1313 caught up with Damian Wayne’s rambunctious Robin, and Jon Kent’s Kid of Steel, they were involved in a bout of fisticuffs worthy of their powerful patriarch’s many clashes throughout the decades… like father, like son seems apt. However, again like their respective parents, these two wannabe Superheroes were always destined to fight crime together, and it’s their irrevocably conflicting personalities that makes – Super Sons: When I Grow Up – such a joy to behold!
Written by Peter Tomasi, with art duties falling to the fantastic Jorge Jimenez, Super Sons focuses primarily on this direct clash of disposition between the “lil” costume crime-fighting sidekicks, and it’s glorious. Damian Wayne may be the son of the Batman and League of Assassins’ Talia Al Ghul, a highly trained martial artist and nifty ninja of notable nature, but he’s also a narcissist with severe delusions of grandeur who likes nothing more than to mess with Jon Kent’s mind. Whether it’s secreting himself in Jon’s bedroom, before confronting him after he’s just about to fall asleep, or impersonating Jon’s school bus driver, Damian really does revel in freaking out his prospective ally, much to Jon’s annoyance.
Jonathan Kent is Damian’s polar opposite (well of course, he was raised by none other than that big blue boy-scout Superman) a kind and considerate son, who genuinely wants to help his fellow humans, a responsible, straight laced kid with caring and sensitive parents in Clark Kent and Lois Lane, who have endeavoured to instil into Jon a sympathetic understanding of the world around him… which is in stark contrast to Damian’s own upbringing, I mean, he is the son of the goddamn Batman after all!
Damian’s childhood was vastly different to Jon’s, an isolated upbringing with nary a kind word from his father. Bruce Wayne is a distant and austere patriarch, a solemn guardian of the night, whose only true mission in his life is to fight crime in a desperate attempt to avenge his parent’s death and appease his guilty conscience. Which makes it no surprise that Damian should ultimately reach out to Jon for companionship, even though the only way he knows how to do this is by being an annoying arse!
Super Sons: When I Grow Up is a thrilling trade collection of the original monthly series, a fantastically fun and zany comic that combines perfectly, the burgeoning friendship between these two antithetical heroes, and their relevant parental nurturing’s (or lack thereof) ultimate effect on their prospective psyche. A must buy.
It is with great sadness that we relay the tragic news that legendary fantasy illustrator – Oliver Frey passed away from cancer on 21 August, he was 74.
Originally born in Zurich, Switzerland, Oliver spent most of his life as a resident in the UK, where he became a household name thanks to his varying works on British comic strips and magazines including – White Dwarf, Dan Dare and The Trigan Empire. Oliver studied at the London Film School, whilst he continued freelancing as an illustrator, it was during this time that he met film director – Richard Donner, who commissioned Oliver to create a 1930’s comic-book style opening as a pre-title sequence for the 1978, Christopher Reeve starring “Superman”
For me though, and many other fans, it was his stellar illustrative work on prestigious 80s and 90s British videogame magazines – CRASH and Zzap64 that first endeared us to his awesome artwork. Oliver’s seminal artistic output adorned the various covers and innards of these fantastic ZX Spectrum and C64 based review zines, plus he would also draw portraits of the review staff that denoted their pleasure or dislike of the varying games they would review, giving these classic magazines a wholly unique feel. After the closure of the respective magazines publisher – Newsweek, Oliver continued to work in the gaming art field by utilising his unique style for publications such as – Sega Force and N-Force, amongst many others.
Our thoughts go out to Oliver’s family and friends at this very sad time.
Well hey there, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, and welcome to yet another cool, compelling and creatively compulsory – Comic Cover Of The Week. The star of this week’s post is none other than Canadian artist supreme, the great Yanick Paquette and his rather stunning JG Jones homage for this months Wonder Woman #790.
JG Jones much loved cover classic was the first image that greeted Wondy fans when they got their fevered mitts on the fantastic 2002 Greg Rucka penned graphic novel – Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia. The Hiketeia was a standalone story by Greg Rucka and JG Jones that weaved the tale of a young woman named – Danny Welles invoking the ancestral rite of “The Hiketeia” which found Diana honour bound to protect and care for Danny by ancient Amazon tradition.
But, when Wonder Woman learns that Danny has sought out and killed the drug dealers who murdered her sister, it casts her into a tumult of indecision, which gets even worse when that curmudgeonly creature of the night – The Batman – turns up to bring Danny to justice. Wonder Woman is now faced with breaking her sacred oath to protect Danny or turning her back on injustice.
Though, ol’ Batsy made a huuuuge mistake when he came gunning for Wonder Woman, as he notoriously gets a bit too big for his Bat-boots, and Wondy unceremoniously puts him in his place – face deep in the mud! Moral of this tale – don’t upset the overtly powerful, millennia old demi-god, even if you are The Batman!
Wonder Woman #790 Is Available From Your Local Comic-Book Emporium Right Now!
Wonder Woman’s fondness for ice cream has become a much loved meme for DC Comics and Wondy fans for many years now, and was even featured as a rather lovely easter egg in the 2017 Gal Gadot live action movie.
It’s origin though only dates back to 2011, with the first Justice League story that emerged during DC Comics’ New 52 reboot. Written by Geoff Johns and spectacularly pencilled by the great Jim Lee, Diana is introduced to the cool, creamy snack by a young girl called Raquel, who proclaims it as “the world’s greatest food” Wondy most certainly agrees…
Wonder Woman Is Copyright: DC Comics.
That’s right, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, that mirthful minx of mischief and mayhem – Harley Quinn – has once again sought to disrupt and inconvenience the Bat-family, this time by surreptitiously invading classic Batman covers from his eight decade reign as Gotham’s grim guardian.
The psychedelic psychopath of print looted DC’s vaunted vaults and has returned triumphantly with a fistful of five fantastic covers that spans key moments from the Caped Crusader’s past. Harley Quinn #18 variant pays homage to Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson’s classic illustration from the 1940s – Batman #1. This continues into issue #19, with another timeless piece by Kane and Robinson from Detective Comics #38, which originally showcased Robin’s first ever appearance (but now it’s our Harl!)
Harl’s next big steal is Detective Comics #359, originally from 1967, which featured the inaugural appearance of Babs Gordon as Batgirl (now, yep you’ve guessed it, it’s Harl!) Not content with removing poor ol’ Babs from the DC timeline, the crazy clowness of crime sets her sights on her former puddin’ – The Joker – with issue #21 paying homage to the stunning Brian Bolland cover for – The Killing Joke – from 1988.
Each variant in this fantastic homage series was drawn by the great Ryan Sook, who has done an absolutely amazing job mimicking the varying styles of the original artists. Beautiful work, and you can get your fevered mitts on the first of these stunners this very week when Harley Quinn #18 becomes available at your local comic-book emporium. Rush on down and order five copies… you don’t want ol’ Harl (and her beloved mallet) to find out you didn’t, right?
Harley Quinn Is Copyright: DC Comics
56 years ago – July 1966 – “Batman” was released in cinemas, starring Adam West as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Burt Ward as Robin/Dick Grayson.
“Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”
Tom Taylor’s run on Nightwing’s monthly adventures has been remarkable, his scripts have been both thrilling and full of heart, his love for these iconic characters shines through in every panel and exchange between these beloved heroes and villains.
Though, for this particular Nightwing fan, it’s been the astonishing art of the series artist – Bruno Redondo that has made each and every issue a mesmeric masterpiece, with his covers especially, being an absolute stand-out on the comic-book shelves each, and every month. So why not indulge your senses with some of my absolute favourite comic cover pieces, courtesy of the brilliant, bold and bodacious – Bruno Redondo…
Nightwing Is Copyright: DC Comics
30 years ago, the unimaginable happened… the Man of Steel died fighting Doomsday!
To celebrate this genre defining moment, DC have reunited the original creative teams of Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Roger Stern, and Butch Guice; Louise Simonson, Joe Bogdanove, Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummett for the Death of Superman: 30th Anniversary Special #1.
These compelling creative teams have reunited to tell the tales that showcase how some of Superman’s biggest allies reacted during and after his cataclysmic battle against Doomsday, through four brand new narratives. The Death of Superman: 30th Anniversary Special will be available from your local comic-book emporium from the 8th of November.
Superman is copyright: DC Comics
It is with great sadness that we relay the tragic news that legendary British comic-book writer – Alan Grant passed away on July 20, 2022, at the age of 73.
Alan is one of my absolute favourite comic-book authors of all time, I first discovered his inordinate writing talent through Brit comic anthology – 2000AD, where he regaled the readers with his stunning takes on legendary characters such as Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog. But it was his acclaimed run on DC Comics’ Batman and Detective Comics that sealed him as a personal fave in the wonderful world of comics, alongside mainstay artist, the late Norm Breyfogle, Alan produced some of the my favourite tales of the Caped Crusader, it was during this run that he also co-created the rogues gallery characters – Anarky, Victor Zsasz and The Ventriloquist.
Alan was born in Bristol in 1949, but grew up in Scotland. After fleetingly working in a bank, Alan took a trainee position at a local newspaper. At 18 he joined publisher – DC Thomson, home to another classic Brit anthology comic – The Beano, it was during this tenure that he met lifelong comic-book cohorts – Pat Mills and John Wagner.
He moved to London in 1970, and joined publishing giant – IPC, where he worked as a writer and sub-editor, it was here that he was offered an editorial position on 2000AD. Going forward he became one of 2000AD’s most prolific writers with hard edged, anti-authoritarian tales like – “John Cassavetes Is Dead” and “Letter To A Democrat” his writing was inspired by left wing ideology, anarchism and Eastern philosophy. It was in the late 80s’ and throughout most of the 90s’ that Alan worked for DC Comics on their venerable Bat titles and also wrote the celebrated – Judgement On Gotham, the awesome Judge Dredd/Batman crossover alongside Scottish artist – Simon Bisley.
Our thoughts go out to Alan’s family and friends at this very sad time.
Welcome, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, to another cool, compelling and creatively compulsory Comic Cover Of The Week, and this week’s immaculate image is brought to you by the terrifically talented – Travis Moore!
Superman: Son Of Kal-El is yet another great title from the sensational scribe that is Tom Taylor, I’m highly impressed with Tom’s ability to plot and weave his magic on so many different books for DC each month, alongside Superman, Tom is also knocking it out of the proverbial park with Nightwing and also Dark Knights Of Steel, each and every month… he most definitely gives the energiser bunny a run for it’s money!
On this particular issue though, Tom has handed over co-writing opportunities to Nicole Maines, of whom you may remember as the character – Dreamer from CW’s Arrowverse. The transgender rights activist and actor has proven to have the requisite cognizance and literary skills to help her television character jump mediums and make her first contact with the characters of the DC Universe in a fun issue with lovely art by Clayton Henry, in fact the issue has proven so popular, that DC have commissioned a second printing!