Friday, 30 August 2013

who is... octobriana?

if you've never heard of octobriana (star of up-coming project 'the new amazons' - due out in the next ten days or so!) writer john short has put together the following article on her...
..."Who is Octobriana? In 1971 a large format, hardback book was published in Britain, West Germany, the United States and possibly other countries. OCTOBRIANA AND THE RUSSIAN UNDERGROUND by Czech writer, Petr Sadecky told the story of an secret society behind the Iron Curtain that believed in free love and free speech. This group, the P.P.P., created the comic strip adventures of an anti-authority, communist superwoman called Octobriana (named for the 1917 October revolution.) You might say she was the superheroine equivalent of Pussy Riot. Sadecky explains how, if these underground comics creators had been caught they would have been sent to forced labour camps in Siberia! It's a great story... And almost certainly isn't true. Although Sadecky's book was believed in Britain and the US for decades, it was soon discredited in West Germany. The Czech originators of the comic strip material that Sadecky had used in his book took him to court over using their work without permission or payment and apparently won the case. West Germany's STERN magazine blew the whole story wide open in late 1971. It seems the original strips of a character called AMAZONA by Boluslav Konecny and Zdenek Burian (and maybe others?) were taken and altered by Sadecky to create the supposed underground Russian comic strips. Sadecky had replaced Amazona's orange triangle tattoo with a red star on her forehead to change her into a communist superhero (and effectively creating a new character.) It's thought Sadecky passed away in the early 1990s, but we would love to hear from anyone with more information. Sadecky greatest legacy is that he claimed the character of Octobriana stood for communist ideals and so therefore shouldn't owned by one person... that she should belong to everyone. This effectively makes Octobriana a public domain character... copyright free. This has allowed lots of different comics creators over the years to use the character and give her their own spin. Most famously Bryan Talbot used her in his epic THE ADVENTURES OF LUTHER ARKWRIGHT, but she has also appeared in 2000AD and dozens of other places over the years. Writer Stuart Taylor and myself used her in the OCTOBRIANA mini-series from Revolution Comics (which won an award for Best New British Comic back in 1997.) I obviously have a thing about public domain characters, having used Robin Hood (in LOXLEY) and comics books' original masked hero, the Clock (in THE CLOCK STRIKES!) in the last few years. So it should be no surprise to anyone to find that I have returned to the Russian She-Devil yet again! Inspired by her status as a female hero who represents her country, I thought she should have a team of similar icons around her... So the New Amazons were born! John A. Short 2013" now we all know!

Monday, 19 August 2013

crazy summer t-shirt sale!

while it's still summer (well where i am anyway!) i've decided to slash the price of the 'spliffy the stoner chick' t-shirts. it breaks down like this... in the uk they used to cost @£13.50 but now they're down to only @£6! in europe they were @£14.50 but are now only @£8! and out side europe they were @£15.75, now are only @£10.50! (all price include postage!) get them while IT'S hot!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

here's a review of "savage: jungle princess"

Here's terry hooper's independent review of 'savage: jungle princess' from the comicbits online blogsite... “On the Saturday afternoon of the Bristol Expo I noticed a rather dodgy looking geezer tucked away behind a pillar. As I tried to walk past he moved forward and opened his jacket to reveal a comic. “Oy, guv'nor -wanna buy somethin' for the weekend, heh? Heh -know what I mean?” followed by a nudge and a wonk. I realised it was 'Spliffy' creator John A. Short. John, of course, did not just write 'Spliffy' but also 'The Clock Strikes!' comic – which like this book can be found on the Kult Creations site. I grudgingly accepted the review book (actually, I'll take anything if it's free.) Later that day, as I tried to relax after hours of chatting I decided I'd read what I thought would be a bit of 'fluff' reading. After tea I read it again. I also read it again at around 0200 hours. So what is this story that so captivated me that I've just read through it for the fifth time and exiled it to a shelf because I don't want to read it again? Well, in June 1940, a German U-boat approaches the unexplored... Death Island. They spot a British vessel and torpedo it. And so Friday Robinson, an 'H-dropper' agent of 'em-eye-five' is cast ashore. And then she meets the dinosaur. It's not on the cover, but believe me there is a dinosaur. So who saves Friday? Why a scantily clad, blond-haired American Arabella Adelaide -the Jungle Princess!! Apart from fighting a dinosaur there are, of course, the Nazi invaders -all female; the Valkyries- led by the one-eyed Countess Karla who are looking for John Dee's Philosophers Stone. They have the, uh, female natives to contend with. Which is all I'm going to tell you about the plot which has enough in-jokes to keep anyone happy. In point of fact this made me VERY happy which is a bit odd. But it reminded me of being a teenager and waiting up for the late night horror movie (Hammer or otherwise) because someone had mentioned it got a 'bit racey' at some point or you got a flash of flesh. Despite the skimpy underwear (John tells me there is a rubber tree on Death Island from which comes invisible rubber which is used for garment fastening. I believe him. He's a scientist) and the shower scene -did I mention the shower scene?- you don't get to see anything really, naughty 'bit' wise. However, this comic was sheer, unadulterated FUN from cover-to-cover. Gabrielle's art adds that bit extra with some superb colour work -especially the, uh, shower scene. I was recommending it to anyone I met over the weekend -the book having been launched there. I seriously cannot recommend it enough. It's just fun and cheery, often tongue-in-cheek humour and I never expected the UK to come up with a new jungle character after decades and that the character would be so... fun! In a world of grim comics this is a beacon of hope and one of my hopes is that we see more. Why have I hidden the book on a shelf? Because I don't want to read it too much and spoil the fun I'll get when I come across it again. Out of all I saw over the weekend 'Savage! Jungle Princess' is my Expo comic highlight. Really: buy a British comic, but make sure it's this one!!”

Thursday, 15 August 2013

here's some art not by me!

here's some art not by me. we had some help on the designs of the characters for the forthcoming 'New Amazons' project. artist susan fenn did some work on the series... here's one of her improv sketches that lead to the creation of the finnish superheroine character - arctic.

Friday, 9 August 2013

the new amazons preview special is coming!

the new amazons preview special which features an exclusive comic strip adventure for the world's most powerful super-heroines should see publication in the next month (or less!) here's a preview of the preview...