Recommended Reads for Halloween 2017!

n-jan-17-studying-hammer-horror G - Mar - The Walking Dead Vol 27

 

Another day of the year or time to dress up and party? Whatever your take,, Halloween can’t be far from anyone’s mind as the end of October approaches conjuring for many of us, amongst other thoughts, the notion of shutting the door on the dark outside and curling up with something appropriately… spooky? Eerie? Macabre? Chilling?

Well whether you’re a book reader or a book seller, we think we’ve got all of that covered with some of the great publishing from the latter half of the year for your at-home and in-store shelves and tables: Fiction, Graphic Novels… and Non-Fiction as well – we hope you like!

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November and December 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for November, plus a couple added from the quieter (in publishing release terms only!) December.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

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September 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for September.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

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July 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for July.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

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Rebels and Empires: The Future of the British Comic – Panel Coverage of the London Book Fair 2017

11.30 on Day 3 of the London Book Fair 2017 and we’re at the Rebels and Empires: The Future of British Comics panel. I arrive as host Bleeding Cool’s Richard Johnston notes that in the panelists left to right we have a “history of British comics right here”.

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Graphic Novels: The Last Ten Years (and the Next) – Panel coverage at the London Book Fair 2017

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the Cross Media Theatre is so packed – this is only one of two panels ton comics / graphic novels this year. But SelfMadeHero MD Emma Hayley, writer David Hine, Nibbies Bookseller of the Year nominee Gosh!’s Steve Walsh, and host Panel Borders broadcaster Alex Fitch recline rather more comfortably and are ready to go.

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April 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for April.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

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March 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends
C - Mar - The Devil's Paintbox
B - Mar - The Djinn fall in Love
NF - Mar - Sound System
B - Mar - The Erstwhile
B - Mar - Wild Chamber

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for March.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

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The 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival!

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival

We’re here at the Mega-City Block-esque Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith, lately arrived and soaking up the setting of the 40th Anniversary festival of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic 2000 AD!

There’s been some build up mind: do check out our February 2017 Book Highlights which includes the celebratory THE GALAXY’S GREATEST, a creator selected collection of the greatest one-off short stories, and ex-Tharg David Bishop’s THRILL POWER OVERLOAD, the forty year history of 2000 AD. On a similar note, from not so long back, there’s also ‘golden era’ Tharg Steve MacManus’s autobiography THE MIGHTY ONE from September 2016 – details here (scroll about halfway down to The Fact Behind the Fiction section). Oh and the creator of 2000 AD itself, first Tharg and writer of numerous flagship characters Pat Mills has just released with frequent collaborator Kevin O’Neill his darkly comedic crime satire about a comic editor SERIAL KILLER – and we’ve got a preview with title info and more here!

Right, back to the #2000ADFest (twitter link) itself. Looking forward to some cracking panels later and catching up with various folk but will be sharing a few things as we go – scroll down for more…

Splundig vur Thrigg people!

 

Opening Shots…

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (1) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (2)
Entrance guarded by a Genetic Infantryman (Rogue Trooper to the uninitiated) and a bloke with a lanyard. Strangely synchronised in their security sweeping… 😉

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Immediately drawn to this corner: the stall of the Dog House, makers of the unofficial but officially Zarjaz films of Judge Minty and now Strontium Dog! So looking forward to the screening of that later…

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (3) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (5)
2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (4)

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Dredd film props: freeze creep – don’t ruin your photo!

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (7) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (6)

 

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (9) The main area: more artists and writers of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic than you can shake a Lawgiver or axe at!

 

The 4th Generation Panel

Great little session with comparatively newer additions to regular 2000 AD contributors in the Tir Na nOg room (Slaine reference). Hosted by CBR’s Steve Morris, there’s artists Tom Foster (Storm Warning, various Future Shocks), Eoin Coveney (The Alienist, also various shorts), Dani (Fiends of the Eastern Front) and writer Alec Worley.

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (10) Steve’s first checking in on their first experiences as readers of 2000 AD. Alec was a rather late starter but was blown away (as were we all) by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s SLAINE: THE HORNED GOD. For Tom it was through those random issues bought by family members while he was ill as a kid. Dani very much came straight in as a creator, developing a love and knowledge of the comic since then, while Eoin started with Prog 2 after there was such a buzz about the first Prog at school the week previous.

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Of course (whatever the comic’s alien editor Tharg may or may not approve of) few people have been regular readers and not drifted away from the comic at some point. But what drew them back?

For Owen it was the ultraviolence, the art and the humour. He remembers Pat Mills being interviewed emphasising that kids are smart and that you can’t fool them. It reinforced to him that 2000 AD is a quality product with insightful thinking behind it.

For Alec in part it was that it got referenced in Spaced: that alone said to him that, yes, 2000 AD certainly was cool.

As to how to get into the comic as a creator, well they’ve all got their own quite unique stories. Eoin was an early starter but admits not giving his first outing on a John Wagner script the attention it deserved, having understandably if falsely built his self-image as a creator after getting a gig with Moebius. It’s been more recently that he’s finally got in properly as a regular contributor.

Alec notes seeing an interview with ex-editor Andy Diggle in which he says how everyone asks how to get into comics / 2000 AD – no one asks how to get better at what they do. Focusing on the latter is more likely to actually achieve the former. It’s something of having a zen-like mental attitude as Alec puts it. Both he and Eoin emphasise the importance of properly taking on feedback from rejections, and that they both ultimately got in from developing a whole campaign of submissions.

Dani had been working on her own comics and was essentially talent-spotted at a convention where she had a stall. Tom on the other hand submitted work to a competition at Thought Bubble, coming second two years running then, when the prize was actually being given a script to illustrate, coming first in its third year. He’s yet to work for one of the American publishers but feels he’ll be far better placed to work in the more expansive scheme of their strips having honed his craft in the more compressed approach of 2000 AD than the other way round. On a similar note Alec praises the scripting of Gordon Rennie and Rob Williams for being ‘so on point’ and ‘muscular writing’.

And right now? Tom’s got his first Dredd story coming up and something in a few weeks on ‘From the Drawing Boards’ on YouTube. Alec has a US one-shot of the Dredd movie version of Judge Anderson. Owen is working on the next series of The Alienist while Dani is working on her own comics with a Dirk Gently filler coming for IDW and something that can’t be mentioned for 2000 AD’s special issue for Free Comic Book Day.

Cheers all – smashing panel!

 

More to come…

 

 

 

A Chat with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC Part 3: On Self Image, Depression, and the Good Coming from the Bad (and Michael Jackson?!!!)

DMC - In Forbidden Planet

Part 3 of my interview with Darryl McDaniels. If you haven’t already you can read Part 1 here or Part 2 here.

When I was first planning a series of casual interviews with creators I had a mind – in keeping with the thought behind this website – to covering something of the fantastical, of the musical and of the ethical-slash-charitable. In Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC I could hardly have a better person to sit down with on all scores. We’d talked music of course and his comic’s enterprise, but I was aware also of his charitable work and was keen to find out more.

A bit of context first though, and partly we’ve already covered this in Darryl’s early love of superhero comics. Much of the rest is perhaps best explained by Darryl’s autobiography which he’s promoting while over: Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide, his memoir from the 80’s to the present day.

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A Chat with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC Part 2: On DMC the Comic, Commercialism and Creator Responsibility

DMC #1 Part 2 of this interview with Darryl McDaniels. If you haven’t already you can read Part 1 here; link to Part 3 at the end of this page.
So DMC the comic.
What I knew already was that it’s set in an alternate 1985, the difference being that superheroes and supervillains are real and, in the tradition of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, seem to be rough analogues of those Marvel / DC characters you know and love. The difference to those universes is that while the villains are actually villainous, more than a few of the ‘good guys’ are pretty shady as well. Enter alternate Darryl McDaniels, teacher and stand-up superhero on the street.
So how did it come about? Well it’s kind of refreshing to hear, genuine comic fan as he was and is, that it really hadn’t been Darryl’s intention.

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February 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends
B - Feb 17 - Norse Mythology
B - Feb 17 - Anno Dracula 1899
N - Feb 17 - Thrill Power Overload updated
B - Feb 17 - A Conjuring of Light
G - Feb 17 - Haddon Hall

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for February.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

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A Chat with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC Part 1: On the many meanings of DMC, Hip Hop, and the appeal of Marvel Comics…

Darryl McDaniels by shoutoutny (Instagram) At about the time I launched this site Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC was making his entrance into the world of comics and, given the idea for Carabas was to cover music and comics along with other aspects of alternative culture, I kept a special eye out for what was happening with Darryl’s DMC. In November Darryl was over promoting his memoir Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide along with his comic work and I dropped by to his signing at Forbidden Planet. The next afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting him for a casual interview at The Grosvenor, on his comic, his music, depression, his charitable work and much more besides. DMC #1

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Here’s that very interview in three parts.

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Preview & Review: SCOTLAND YARDIE by Bobby Joseph and Joseph Samuels!

cg-jan-scotland-yardie Plenty of sites review books and graphic novels. When I created Carabas I wanted to do something wider, using a few decades of industry experience to intuit upcoming best reads and preview them as recommends. I was waiting for something a little special before writing my first personal review.
On just seeing the title ‘Scotland Yardie’ coming from veteran indie graphic novel publisher Knockabout I was grinning my backside off, then again perusing the summary. Carabas is much inspired by Deadline, a 90s counterculture music and comics magazine: discovering Scotland Yardie debuted in Bobby Samuel’s contemporaneous Skank magazine, I was sure, for numerous reasons, I’d found that particular title I was after.
Now just published, here are some preview pages courtesy of Knockabout and the creators, preceded by my first personal review as to why you should be parting with your retail or personal budget and grabbing yourself a stash of Scotland Yardie… As ever, enjoy!

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Press Release & Preview: Fighting Fantasy’s Freeway Fighter comes to Titan Comics!

ca-freeway-fighter-original We just had to shout about this the moment the news came in – especially as we’ve got interior art to share! Well we loved the old Fighting Fantasy Books back in the day, and of course are entirely pleased that Wizard / Icon Books returned them to print. But a story with original creator, the legendary Ian Livingstone from the fab Titan Comics? Stop everything, hold onto your Mad Max, hit the nox and get shouting! Full press release, preview pages and Youtube video below… ca-freeway-fighter-wizard-books

 

From Titan Comics:

 

TITAN COMICS TAKES FREEWAY FIGHTER OUT FOR A SPIN TO CELEBRATE 35 YEARS OF FIGHTING FANTASY!

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Extraordinary London Books in 2016!

Extraordinary London Books Jan-Jun 16 Just what is it about London? The number of people? A history so rich it becomes a mythos also? That it’s the capital? Well all of the above and more – including the fact they say ‘write what you know’ and there’s more than a few writing types in the Big Smoke.
Somewhere between highlights and exhaustive compilation, here’s our compilation of extraordinary London titles: fantastical and speculative, the cultural, subcultural and political, historical and mythological, steampunk and urban fantasy, the mercurial and the liminal… Title copy is the publishers; just click the hyperlink in the month field to see what we had to say on the title and other (non-London) titles published that month.
Here’s to the Big City – Enjoy!

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