2014 an eventful year

2014 has been another good year for me on this Blog.

I’ve continued with the comic reviews and received quite a lot of Pdfs from publishers small and large. 2000AD send me quite a few and IDW added me to their Media list, I get previews through an FTP from them. Hibernia Press have sent me several of their marvelous books, both factual regarding comics and reprint collections from the 1980s Eagle, Scream and Speed. Paragon Press also sent me a few Pdfs, also very good quality. I’ve continued to review The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel, now at Issue 4. Plus David Broughton has kindly shared books that he has self published.

By far I prefer comics on paper but obviously as a comic fan to receive preview copies from companies is brilliant. Even more so when the smaller publishers and individuals send them to me.

In February I was asked to be part of a new convention, Lawgiver: A Celebration of Dredd. This was being organised by Rule32, who I backed on Indigogo and had written about. I was thrilled, they wanted me to help with ideas, I was added to the Organiser group, and to run Panels at the convention. I was thrilled. We would be including screenings of Dredd (2012) and Judge Minty. As we would have uniformed Judges on hand I decided to approach Jarred Butler, who provided VO for Judge Minty asking if he would consider doing some VO for the convention so that we had original material that tied in to the theme. Jared very kindly agreed and gave us several adverts and radio calls, including calls from Control for all the official uniformed Judges we would have on the day. He also did a set for Integra Fairbrook, Planet Replica’s official Judge Anderson. Amazingly kind of him.

I continued doing interviews of comic creators, interviewing John Reppion & Leah Moore about Black Shuck, published in 2000AD. I also interviewed Gordon Rennie about Jaegir, a new story set in Rogue Trooper’s timeline and Oliver Hollingdale, Writer and Director of the Dredd (2012) fan series Cursed Edge.

I also continued reviewing books by two of my favourite authors, Alex & Simon Scarrow. On a site very biased towards 2000AD the top read article regarding novels is one about Simon Scarrow’s Macro & Cato (Eagles) series. I also reviewed books by Michael Carroll, one of the current Judge Dredd writers for 2000AD, these were not linked to the comic, he has his own novel series about superheroes, New Heroes.

Oddly with all my trips to Royal Armouries I took my eldest Granddaughter, she was 7 at the time, there on 16th February. There was a Wild West theme and she really enjoyed it. Wandering around finding people from wanted posters, watching a shoot out and panning for gold. Her verdict “That was fun AND cool!”#

In March there were four birthday parties in four cities for 2000AD, the comic was 37 in February. Well actually there were three, the ‘Jock Squad’ (they call themselves that, not me) cancelled. The Southers met up in London, the Welsh Contingent (yeah they need a better name) met up in Cardiff & the Norts met up in Leeds. The Southers and the Welsh had good turn out, we Norts? 3.5 – that was two other guys, me & my son (he doesn’t read 2000AD so he counted as the .5)

I’ve mentioned the Royal Armouries already. I visited several times this year, I don’t write about each visit. I did write about the Easter Joust, An Arthurian inspired stunt show by Atkinson Action Horses and The Last Charge, a WWI themed stunt show by AAH. There was a cool link between 2000AD and the Armouries this year. Jason Kingsley, CEO of Rebellion, became a Trustee of the museum. Jason is a Jouster, I interviewed him in December 2013 about Jousting – Jason becoming a trustee is great news for the museum in my opinion. In August there was a n event called POW!, dedicated to comic and film heroes.

Also in March I had two interviews published in Dogbreath, a 2000AD fanzine about Strontium Dog, one of the long running characters. The interviews were with John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, the creators of Strontium Dog. John and Carlos also created Judge Dredd, they are two of my all time favourite creators so it was a huge honour to be asked by the Editors of Dogbreath to do the interviews.

A very talented artist rose to a challenge I put out on the 2000AD Forum. Neil McClements created a brilliant picture for me, the challenge was for me to write a 500 word story based on the image, within 7 days. His picture was superb and I managed to deliver a story in 7 days, with exactly 500 words. We’ve collaborated this way on four images now, four images and 2000 words.

May brought Lawgiver… That was a huge event for me, my first time helping organise a convention and I ran two panels. One panel was with some of the people who made Judge Minty, including Edmund Dehn, the star, at his first ever convention. Also on the panel were Steven Sterlacchini (Writer & Director), Steve Green (Director of Photography & VFX) and Michael Carroll (Writer). The other panel was about art and featured Pete Doherty, David Roach and Nick Percival. John Wagner, creator of Dredd, was also a guest. It was a fairly small convention, I think there were around 100 people there in total, but it was a roaring success and a second convention is being planned for 2015.

In July Michael Carroll (yes his name pops up a lot on this blog) had a Judge Dredd e-novella published by Rebellion, The Third Law. This book was about Rico, Dredd’s clone brother, detailing his fall from grace leading to him being sent to the prison for Judges on Titan. I was thrilled to find that in a flash back to their time in the Academy of Law they had a Judge-Tutor by the name of Semple. A huge honour to have a character named after my Blog. Michael had dropped a subtle clue at Lawgiver but I hadn’t picked up on it.

Thought Bubble came around in November. This year I again published a Review Booklet to hive away, David Broughton kindly put some on his table for me. I also took a copy round to get as many creators as possible sign it for me, I got over twenty signatures. Quite a few people who I know on the 2000AD Forum or who read this Blog introduced themselves to me, which was great, including Douglas Wolk. Douglas is a comics columnist for New York Times and Times Magazine and he wrote Judge Dredd: Mega City Two for IDW this year.

The fourth installment of Daemonium came out on 12th December, I haven’t written a review yet but I will. I love that series. I also reviewed a couple more internet films,

Articles on Nature also feature on this Blog and the last article I published before this one was about the BBC series Snow Wolf Family and Me. This was from the same team that brought us My Polar Bear Family and Me last year. My review about that Polar Bear series is the highest read and highest searched for article on this Blog. A predominantly comic orientated Blog and my top article is about Polar Bears.

My Blog is varied, with articles about History, Nature, Music, Films, TV, Books, Comics… life is varied as are my interests. Thanks to those who read my Blog, you all make it more fun.

And finally, my list of the top independent, creator owned comics this year. To keep bias out of this I am only including comics that were not given to me, these are ones I popped in to my LCS and purchased. At least one issue was published in 2014 & I am not including Graphic Novels.

Top four independent comics of the year, in alphabetical order:

Death Sentence – Montynero & Mike Dowling
Exit Generation – Sam Read & Caio Olivera
Pretty Deadly – Kelly Sue Deconnick & Emma Rios
The Royals: Masters of War – Rob Williams & Simon Coleby

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