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1. What’s in a fairy tale?–Birds

Birds seem to represent nearly everything. They are world travelers, stay-at-homers, tiny, gigantic, fast, slow, flying, grounded, swimming, meat eaters, seed eaters, friendly and not-so-friendly. They are gorgeous and plain, intelligent and dull, mysterious and in-your-face. They have been deemed messengers of the gods, departing souls, and guides to the spirit world. Myths and legends are […]

The post What’s in a fairy tale?–Birds appeared first on Cathrin Hagey.

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2. Watch What Happens: Kids Pick out Books for Summer Reading

“This is the best day I’ve ever had!”
“This is the book I’ve always been looking for!”

These are the typical responses heard when Book Harvest comes to a school with their Books on Break program.

Book Harvest seeks to address periods of vulnerability in a child’s literacy development by ensuring books are easily accessible. Summer is one of the most challenging times to keep kids’ reading skills on track.

Once a year, Book Harvest takes over school libraries throughout Durham, North Carolina and covers every surface of the library with books. Each child is given a string backpack preloaded with information for parents about the program. It even includes an invitation for the students to come back over the summer and choose more books.

The children explore the variety of books in the library, filling their backpacks with ten books to take home and read over the summer.

Watch what happens when they pick out their books to take home for summer reading:

The post Watch What Happens: Kids Pick out Books for Summer Reading appeared first on First Book Blog.

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3. Happy Little Family (1947)

Happy Little Family. Rebecca Caudill. 1947. 107 pages. [Source: Bought]

I loved, loved, loved Rebecca Caudill's Happy Little Family. I bought this one because it was marketed for "those who love Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books." In fact, Rebecca Caudill was a contemporary author of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Happy Little Family was published in 1947, just a handful of years after These Happy Golden Years.

Happy Little Family is set in the Kentucky Mountains. The main character, for the most part, is a little girl named Bonnie who is about five years old. Bonnie has lots of siblings: Debby, Emmy, Chris, and Althy. (Readers also get to know the Mother and Father.) Each chapter is set in a different season of the year.

It opens in January with "Crack the Whip" a story about Bonnie wanting to go skating with her siblings and Father. She's "five" now--just turned five--and she wants to do everything her older sisters do. But skating isn't as easy as it looks, and, being the youngest has its advantages and disadvantages.

"The Pink Sunbonnet" is the story set in spring. Bonnie is jealous of her sisters who get new hats. She doesn't exactly want a new sunbonnet even if it is pink. She thinks only "little" girls wear sunbonnets. One really gets a sense of the family in this story. Even more so than in the first chapter. By this point, it was LOVE for me.

"The Arrowhead" is the story set in summer. The theme this time is BRAVERY.

"The Red Toboggan Cap" is the story set in fall. It is a lost and found story....

"The Journey" is the story set in December. Though she's not quite ready for school full-time, Bonnie gets to visit school for the very first time in this one. It is a bit about bravery too, I suppose, and a lot about growing up or trying to grow up! This story had its precious moments. Like when Bonnie thought she'd be brave enough to cross the oh-so-scary bridge by herself if only she could learn how to read and write the word CAT.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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4. Review: The Mouse Who Saved Egypt by Karim Alrawi and Bee Willey

The Mouse who Saved Egypt, written by Karim Alrawi, illustrated by Bee Willey (Tradewind Books, 2011)

The Mouse Who Saved Egypt
written by Karim Alrawi, illustrated by Bee Willey
(Tradewind Books, 2011)

One day in Ancient … Continue reading ...

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5. High School Musical 4 Dream Cast

HSMWildcats everywhere, wave your hands up in the air!!

If you, like me, are a High School Musical SUPER-FAN, you are probably SUPER-PSYCHED that High School Musical 4 is in the works. That’s right, everyone: we’re going back to East High! While Gabriella and Troy graduated some time ago (from college now, too), the new generation of East High students are just sliding into their seats in time for the first bell. What we can expect: A whirlwind of new musical numbers, wow-worthy dance sequences, and heartwarming moments. What’s still up in the air: Who’s going to be the new girl? Who’s going to be the star athlete? Who’s going to be the diva-in-charge??

Disney is looking for brand-new actors and actresses to star in this latest sequel. (There is an open audition in Anaheim, CA on May 15.) but we thought it couldn’t hurt to come up with the perfect cast based on the stars we already know and love. Behold: our very own dream cast for High School Musical 4!

The Star Athlete – Blake Michael. If you’ve ever seen Dog with a Blog or Lemonade Mouth, you already know that Blake is incredibly likeable and charming . . . and he can definitely sing! He’d be perfect to play the role of the fun-loving, all-around popular dude, and Troy would be proud to pass the baton to this (really handsome) star on the rise.

The New Girl – China Anne McClain! If you were a fan of A.N.T. Farm, you KNOW this girl can sing (and dance, and play a lot of musical instruments. Is there anything she CAN’T do?). Of course, she was meant to star in a musical! And while she’s more outgoing than Gabriella from the originals, China has her sweetness and a really fun, exciting attitude that would bring fresh energy to the role.

The Queen Bee – Sabrina Carpenter of Girl Meets World. This talented singer-songwriter is already on her way to musical stardom, and she totally has that star quality pizzazz—a lot like Sharpay from the original movies! She’d bring loads of humor and fun, with a healthy dose of heart.

The Shy Genius – Louriza Tronco of Make it Pop. It would be really cool to see Louriza take on a role like Ryan’s from the original High School Musical movies, since she’s a great dancer and is passionate about style—much like Ryan was!

The Loyal Bestie – Jordan Fisher from Teen Beach 2. In addition to wowing us in Teen Beach 2, Jordan also did an AMAZING job in Grease: Live! He can definitely take on a role like Chad’s: a high-energy, super-passionate bestie who can motivate anyone, from his buddy to an entire stadium of basketball fans.

The Supergirl – Sofia Carson from Descendants. While her character Evie in Descendants was not exactly the biggest fan of following the rules, Sofia definitely has the great sense of humor it takes to play the part of the driven, super-smart yearbook editor/scholastic decathlon team captain/class president/BFF the new girl needs to keep her grounded—just like Taylor!

What do you think? Who would be in YOUR dream cast of High School Musical 4? Let us know your thoughts and picks in the Comments below.

Yours in singing High School Musical songs all day, every day, until the new movie comes out,


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6. Star Wars Day

I painted this a couple of days ago  to celebrate May the Fourth.  It's painted in acrylic and mixed media on watercolor paper.

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7. 3000 chairs

Because... of this poem by Children's Author Nicola Davies, and the #3000chairs project.
It's worth every second it takes to read.

My husband and I had the opportunity to spend time in Kosovo with war survivors - refugees who returned to their homes carrying life-wrenching scars of war, with stories that ached in the hearing, and burned in the telling.

I wish a chair for every child running from war.
I wish refuge.
and hope.
and light.

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8. My Daughter Loves Care Bears

Growing up as a little girl I always loved the Care Bears.  So cute and cuddly with those cool symbols on their chests to represent each character’s unique traits and personalities.

I bring these bears up because my daughter age 3 is OBSESSED with the Care Bears right now! Can’t get enough.

Her favourite is Cheer Bear whom she lovingly refers to as….Cookie!

CARE BEARS: ADVENTURES IN CARE-A-LOT  -- features funny, colorful bears, each with a special way of caring and a belly badge to match.  Cheer Bear, Funshine, Share Bear, Grumpy and Oopsy live in the beautiful cloud world of Care-a-lot.  They use caring hearts and their powerful belly badges to help each other and to thwart the evil plots of Grizzle, a bad bear with his own flying lair.  Through it all the Care Bears help kids understand caring and feelings. ©2007 American Greetings Corp

I guess now that I look back on it, I might have had the same obsession.  I used to watch the show like my life depended on it.  I collected as many plush characters as I could possibly convince my parents to buy for me, ran around the house pretending to be Grumpy Bear whenever I was in a bad mood.  So I guess my little Princess takes after me a little more than I realized.

In all fairness her new and updated version of the Care Bears is very similar in values and storylines, but the big difference is in the updated CGI animation and the readily available episodes and stories featuring Care Bear Cousins and such which are available on Netflix for her to enjoy at her leisure.

It is such a wonderful feeling to see your kids growing up and enjoying things that remind you of your childhood and days gone by.  It gives us something in common from her perspective and allows us to bond over a common theme.

One major difference is that my very favourite Bear of all time is Grumpy, well because i’ve always found him to be really funny for someone who is perennially in a foul mood.

My Daughter thinks Grumpy is the worst of the bunch because he is always “mean” as she says.  Very true young lady but also a normal feeling that everyone goes thru, which is the parenting lesson i turned it into!!….Score one for the Momma Bear!!

Now if only I could get this kid to get outside and play in the sprinkler system or something fun outside of the house!

As always, thanks for checking out my spot and please feel free to leave a comment or contact me here.

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9. Giveaway: Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz (US Only)

RETURN TO THE ISLE OF THE LOST by Melissa de la Cruz In storesMay 24th      ABOUT THE BOOK Mal’s an expert at intimidating her enemies, but she’s broken the habit since leaving her villainous roots behind. So when she and her friends Evie, Carlos, and Jay all receive threatening messages...

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10. Featured Review: Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach

About this book: Taco's mom always said, "Today is the best day of your life, and tomorrow will be even better." That was hard to believe the day she died of cancer and when Taco's dad had to move up north for work, but he sure did believe it when Maggie...

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11. Ready for the DANCE?

I just finished the artwork for an upcoming book, FOOTLOOSE by Kenny Loggins. The book is being published by Moondance Press/ Quarto Publishing Group. I'm really excited about this one and I think a lot of people are going to be putting on their dancin' shoes in October. The original song (FOOTLOOSE) has been re-written to become a fun story that takes place after hours, at the zoo. The art is full of animals, color, texture, fun and a whole lot of DANCIN'!

Plus, while painting these illustrations, I listened to Kenny's Return to Pooh Corner CD. Pure magic. I usually don't work directly with the author but I spoke to Kenny about his vision for the story. His input made the story telling more complete.

So, this October...


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12. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Illustrating Lonnie Johnson's Story: Whoosh! from Don Tate. Peek: "...unlike many other subjects I’ve written and/or illustrated about...Lonnie Johnson is still living. He lives and works today in Atlanta, Georgia, at his company, Johnson Research & Development Co. For that reason, being just a phone call or email away, I thought illustrating his story would be easier. Well, it was. And it was not." See also Don Tate on Whoosh! Researching & Texting with Lonnie Johnson.

Writing Suspenseful Fiction: Reveal Answers Slowly by Jane K. Cleland from Jane Friedman. Peek: "Writing that engenders reader questions creates suspense."

Writing as a Small Sturdy Boat by Bethany Reid from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "What does writing feel like to you?"

Vulnerability by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "It will get the reader on the character’s side. Just like in real life, in fictional life, an apology or owning up to a mistake go a long, long way."

Linda Camacho: Agent Looking for Diversity from Lee Wind at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?  Peek: "I’d love a fantasy set in a non-European setting and, of course, a story featuring a plus-size protagonist (contemporary is fine, but bonus points for another genre!)." See also New Literary Agent Alert: Alexandra Weiss of Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency by Chuck Sambuchino from Writers Digest.

Teamwork: Pictures in My Head by Ann Rider from The Horn Book. Peek: "Do I always see pictures in my head when I read a picture-book manuscript? Yes, pretty much. If I don’t, it is often a sign that I might not be the right editor for the text. " Note: "Ann is an executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt."

10 Favorite Titles of American Indians in Children's Literature by Debbie Reese from VOYA. Note: Honored to see Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith (HarperCollins, 2001) included in such distinguished company.

Writing from Color and Native Voices: "This contest will feature queries and the first 300 words of completed, polished manuscripts written by Native authors and authors of color. The entry window will be open from 12 a.m. (midnight) Eastern June 12 until 11:59 p.m. Eastern that same day."

Author Interview: Anne Bustard from Austin SCBWI. Peek: "I love Hawaii. So it was incredibly difficult for me to cast it as the antagonist at the beginning of the novel. I was most relieved when that changed by the end." See also SCBWI Student Memberships.

SpeakLoudly: Book Banning & Justifications by Teri Lesesne from The Goddess of YA Literature. Peek: "...confronting difficult topics and situations in books is so much safer than having to confront them in real life. In addition, books can be a comfort in a time of grief or distress."

Diversity 102: Ageism in Children's Literature by Laura Reiko Simeon from Lee & Low. Peek: "As increasing numbers of people live healthy, vibrant, active lives ever later in life, we need more of these types of picture books that reflect the true gamut of roles older adults play in our society."

Umaking the White Default: Writing About Race by Vicky Smith from Kirkus Reviews. Peek: "...I’ve felt more and more that naming race and identity is one of the duties of a reviewer. Parents and caregivers of children of color want books that reflect their children, as do librarians and teachers serving children of color." See also Vicky on The Road to Heck: Misreading Race in a Children's Book from Kirkus Reviews.

Author Interview: Julie Berry on The Passion of Dolssa from Sarah Johnson at The VCFA Launchpad. Peek: "I’ve seen a handful of bloggers say things like, 'Julie Berry is unafraid to make her characters suffer.' Another curious accolade. Is sadism a superpower? I know what they mean, though, and I guess I’ll take it."

Most Diverse? Verse! Five Easy Steps for Promoting Diversity with Poetry by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong from CBC Diversity. Peek: "Poetry is the ideal vehicle for promoting diversity in children’s literature.I It can be read in just a few minutes, but holds great depth, beautiful language, and much feeling."

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

More Personally

Happy Children's Book Week! Between the Austin SCBWI Regional Conference, the Asian Festival of Children's Content, VCFA grading and working on my novel, May is jam packed. Fortunately, I have a lot of help.

Personal Links

Definitions: "Native Americans" vs. "People of Color"
M.T. Anderson on What's Next?
Off the Reservation: A Teachable Moment 
Using Family Diversity & Structures to Teach Empathy

Learn more about the AFCC

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13. Giveaway: The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman by Robin Gregory (US Only)

The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman by Robin Gregory Release Date: November 1, 2015   About the Book Set at the turn of the nineteenth century, THE IMPROBABLE WONDERS OF MOOJIE LITTLEMAN is a heartrending, coming-of-age story, with a dose of humor and mystical realism. After his mother dies in a...

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14. Medieval vignette. #gouache #penandink #makeartthatsells...

Medieval vignette. #gouache #penandink #makeartthatsells #matsbootcamp2016

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15. Tattoo

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16. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e May 6th, 2016

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

Plumb the Emotional Depth of Your Setting (Kathryn Craft)

How to Improve Written Dialogue in 6 Steps (Maria Vicente)

7 Quick Journaling Exercises That Will Improve Your Fiction Writing (Danielle Lincoln Hanna)

Tips on Query Letters (Rachelle Gardner)

The 5 Most Common Mistakes I See in Beginners’ Manuscripts (Jerry Jenkins)

Vulnerability (Mary Kole)

Staying Focused Enough to Write (Janice Hardy)

Concept vs. Premise (Larry Brooks) [Jon’s Pick of the Week]

The 5 Biggest Fiction Writing Mistakes (& How to Fix Them) (James Scott Bell)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2015, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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Well, okay it isn't a National event but it is Friday and I am selling books!
 The Cross Earths Caper
 See why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics.

That writ, I've just noticed book orders from the United States.  Thank you, whoever you are.

The Hooper Interviews

The Hooper Interviews!  

 To celebrate, at the time of publication, over 25 years of interviewing comic creators -writers, artists and publishers- this 365 pages book was produced.

Interviewees included Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman, Dave Ryan, John Cooper, Mike Western, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Sonia Leong, Emma Vieceli, Pekka A. Manninen, Alan Class, Karen Rubins, Kate Glasheen, Ron Fortier, Jon Haward, Franco Francavilla, Rick Geary, Tania Del Rio, The Etherington Brothers, Olivier Cadic (Cinebook the 9th Art), Holly Golightly and MANY others.

Profusely illustrated with art and photographs!

Reduced in price until October to £16.80 -an odd price but it's what the printer and lulu.com earn -I get zilch!


All Black Tower comic albums (that is A4 format) are in black & white.  Once you've had black and white you won't go back to colour, baby.

BTCG has specialised in presenting original material covering super heroes, crime, adventure, sci fi, horror as well as illustrated prose -not to mention ground breaking books on "world mysteries" and wildlife.  Oh, and even a huge book of interviews with comic creators and publishers.

All the books are, naturally, available for overseas licence -but we cannot translate work: that will be up to any licensed publisher.

What follows is a brief glimpse at some books but you can visit the online store to see more details and books at:


You  can also find some on Amazon and other sources but they do not make me much money so, come on, buy from the online store and remember that at least these books will be collectibles! 

To contact me please check out "About" at the top of the page -thanks!


Black Tower Comics began in 1984 as a Small Press publisher of A5 (US -Digest size) titles such as Adventure,Presents,Windows and Hanley's Garage.  Then came the news, reviews, previews and interviews publication backed up by the mart and mail order service -Zine Zone (later Zine Zone International).

In 2009, with the innovation in publishing of Print On Demand (POD), Black Tower jumped in head first!

One of the first titles to see print in the new comic album format (A4) was The Bat Triumphant! This saw the complete story, begun in Black Tower Adventure vol. 1.  William A. Ward's long lost 1940s character once again saw print as he fought a host of  enemies in an attempt to reclaim his homeland.


And while The Bat may have fought fist and nail to reclaim his homeland, another 1940s Ward creation, Krakos the Egyptian, seemed far from willing to claim a new Egyptian Empire as promised to him by the Gods.  Tackling a number of foes and even encountering the Many-Eyed One, Krakos turned his back on the gods and the final panel of Krakos -Sands Of Terror, delivered a true twist!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror!

Of course, the flag-ship title had to return!  And so Black Tower Adventure -eventually reaching new heights when the legendary Ben Dilworth jumped on board!  Volume 2 consisted of  ten issues. Just look at these covers....

Black Tower Adventure 1Black Tower Adventure 2BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3Black Tower Adventure 4Black Tower Adventure 5Black Tower Adventure 6ADVENTURE 7Black Tower Adventure 8BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 9Black Tower Adventure 10

And, with something like 40 years worth of files and investigation reports could all that much delving into UFOs, lake and sea creatures and many other mysteries not result in a book or two...or three? Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister as well as Pursuing The Strange and Weird: A Naturalist's Viewpoint set a precedence.

Whereas for decades those involved in "UFOlogy", "Cryptozoology" and "Forteana" declared many mysteries, that photographs were lost "to history" and so on, these three books swiped away the false claims.  Alleged lost photographs -found.  'Mysteries' solved by doing actual research work and reading the sources -something others had never done.
Some Things Strange & SinisterSome More Things Strange & SinisterPursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint

And, of course, mention natural history and Black Tower Books broke new ground with that in The Red Paper: Canids.

The Red Paper: CANIDS

But not all the prose books covered mysteries and wildlife.

And if there is one thing "Herr Professor" loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring 'Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume " Black Tower Gold" albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager -The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!

The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

Another great love is Centaur Comics from the United States.  Right at the very start of the American Golden Age of Comics Centaur had creators who were ahead of the others!  Before Plastic Man there was Plymo!  Before The Human Bomb there was TNT Todd!  Before Green Arrow and waaaaaaay before Hawkeye there was the mysterious red hooded archer called The Arrow!  And, to just break your comic mind world there was even a Black Panther -decades before Kirby came up with his character of the same name.

The Eye Sees All.  The Owl. The Iron Skull.  Amazing Man. The King of Darkness.  The Invisible Terror. The Blue Lady. The Shark. Mini Midget & Kitty.  Mighty Man. Super Anne.  The company may have been short-lived but it's characters -oh boy!

The two volume Centaur Heroes Collection has been compiled into one sweet 140 page comic collection!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection 2011

Horror. Ghost stories.  The twist-in-the tale.  Did you think that a publisher who is a big horror comic/film fan would ignore these?

Nope.  Each year since 2010, BTCG has published a Tales Of Terror anthology album and 2014s included some fun and spooky lost Swan Comic strips.  I mean how can you go wrong -even Ben Dilworth is in these!

 Tower Tales Of TerrorTales Of Terror 2TALES OF TERROR IIITales Of Terror 4

The Church Of England has it's own basher of dark forces in the Reverend Merriwether -"God's Demon0-Thumper" as the press billed him.  From an ancient Egyptian demon to a village of the damned and Varney the Vampyre, werwolves and a final confrontation with Satan himself -Merriwether pulls no punches and offers no compromise.  And in those last few seconds between life and death, Merriwether's mind recalls past cases -thanks to Ben Dilworththe Tall Man of Osaka.

Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper and Merriwether: The Test Of Satan are available as individual comic albums or in one swanky book The Collected Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper.

 Merriwether:God's Demon-ThumperMerriwether:The Test Of SatanMerriwether: Gods Demon Thumper

Oh, did I forget to mention Dene Vernon -British comics' first investigator of the supernatural and strange mysteries?  I did? Unbelievable since Gavin Stuart Ross drew the 1948 based Dene Vernon: The Thing Below!

 Dene Vernon:The Thing Below

 And did you know Ross also drew the two adventures of Victorian mystery man Chung Ling Soo? Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon and Chung Ling Soo: The Case Of The Thames Serpent were two cracking tales of magic, adventure, murder and deception -still available as single comic albums or collected together to form The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo!

Chung Ling Soo 1Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery


Ben Dilworth is no slouch either!  Chung Ling Soo's police "counter-foil" isnone other than old London "Jack" (police man) Inspector Wilberforce and when Dilworth says "Here's a Wilberforce one-off: PUBLISH IT!" you do not argue!


And did you know you can be a Gold Master of Japanese Haiku?  Well, neither did I -but guess what?  Ben Dilworth is such a master and his Osaka Brutal features his Haiku in English!

 Osaka Brutal

Old saleman that he is, Dilworth just keeps on going.  He produced Aesop's Fables -a darker version of the childrens tales and then went on to write two well illustrated prose albums looking at spirits and demons -Dilworth's Japanese Yokai and Dilworth's Western YokaiOsaka and the Yokai books were combined with Aesop's Fables into the one volume The Collected Ben R. Dilworth -though the single volumes are also still available.

The Collected Ben R. DilworthDilworth's Japanese YokaiDILWORTH WESTERN YOKAIDilworths Aesop's Fables

Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in...Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories but for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective!
Dilworth's Horror & Ghost StoriesTHE COMPLETE PHANTOM DETECTIVE

And could anyone forget the sensational Iron Warrior Versus Big Bong:When Giants Fought? But add to that the various Iron Warrior strips from Adventure and you get The Iron Warrior Collection -When Giants Fought!  In the 1940s, William A. Ward's creation was to be the most graphically violent comic strip seen until the 1970s.  That is some legacy. It continues....with a touch of fun!


In case you are wondering, yes, obviously there are super heroes.  Mix in ancient pantheons of gods, giant robot, alien invasion, Lovecraftian dark ones and so much more that the book runs to over 320 pages then you have part 1 of Terry Hooper-Scharf's Invasion Earth Trilogy" or as it is titled Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes!  And epic ending with the words: "Dr Morg has killed us all" -and if you have never read the mind altering counter actuality that is The Dr Morg Trilogy you may be saying "What? Who-?"

And part 2 of the trilogy The Cross Earths Caper ought to get you in the mood for 2015s big 31st Anniversary third part of the trilogy The Green Skies.

 The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super HeroesTHE CROSS EARTHS CAPERJourney Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

If you pass the ESTC (Epileptic Seizure Test Cover) on Dr Morg well, you are fit and healthy enough to read it and to check out all the Black Tower Comics and Books at the online store -see why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics!

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18. Trailer Reveal: Captain America Civil War

Today we're bringing you a final look before Captain America Civil War takes over theaters this weekend!      Here at YABC, we cannot wait to see the Civil War between two of our favorite fictional characters: Captain America and Iron Man! And we also don't think you can go wrong...

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19. My thoughts on the great Mark Haddon's new short story collection, in the Chicago Tribune

Mark Haddon, a name that needs no introduction, has a devastating new collection of short stories debuting next week.

I was lucky enough to review the book for the Chicago Tribune Printers Row.

Click the link to read the full review.

0 Comments on My thoughts on the great Mark Haddon's new short story collection, in the Chicago Tribune as of 5/6/2016 11:23:00 AM
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20. Stain

My jacket has a little stain
So should I wear it? I'll refrain
Except on days I babysit;
My grandkids will not mind one bit.

In fact, I really do suspect
(But can't be sure - I never checked)
That where this blotch first took its bow
Was in the place I'll wear it now.

A garment's lifespan must depend
On how it's treated 'til the end,
So what one wears with babes along
Will never really last too long.

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21. Grove #100daysofoilcrayon #sennelier #oilpastels #lisafirke...

Grove #100daysofoilcrayon #sennelier #oilpastels #lisafirke #the100dayproject

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22. ‘PoliticTalk: Mayors’ by Native to Noise

An animated op-ed piece about this weekend's elections in the Philippines reminding Filipino voters what they should expect from their mayors.

The post ‘PoliticTalk: Mayors’ by Native to Noise appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

0 Comments on ‘PoliticTalk: Mayors’ by Native to Noise as of 5/6/2016 5:11:00 PM
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23. It's Live!! Cover Reveal: Inked by Chris Ledbetter + Giveaway (US Only)

Hi, YABCers! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for INKED by Chris Ledbetter, releasing July 1, 2016 from Evernight Teen. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Chris: Dear Readers, I really hope you like the cover of Inked and furthermore, I hope you enjoy...

0 Comments on It's Live!! Cover Reveal: Inked by Chris Ledbetter + Giveaway (US Only) as of 1/1/1900
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24. Giveaway: The Haters by Jesse Andrews (US Only)

THE HATERS by Jesse Andrews, narrated by Michael Crouch Release Date: 4/5/16 Publisher: Listening Library   About the Book From Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about...

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It was good to hear that Dave Gordon and Chang3lings made some good sales at the Edinburgh comic Con.  
It also seems that the UK may be a bit later in catching on but more events seem to be organised around vintage toys of the 1970s and 1980s.  Unfortunately for the Ebay sharks, the aficionados are not gullible and are ignoring the excessive prices asked for common and CHEAP figures and toys. Sadly, I can't get to Warp Zone in London this month. Might be a good thing as an old man rolling about the floor clutching his wallet and screaming "I have no more money!" is a very, uh, embarassing sight.
Remember that there is a link to Chang3lings on the right.

I love Winged Greenie below -over 2 feet tall which has an option for bird-like feet/claws.
Above: A little over 2 feet (60cms) tall with resin wings.  EVERYTHING hand-crafted by Chang3lings.

 Above the cover to the Chang3lings catalogue.  As you can see, they do not just make one off exclusive dolls but also sell quality vintage action figures -Cyborg, Muton, Android and my favourites -Micronauts!

Check out the unique figure below.

 Chang3lings is one of the most under-rated UK pop culture businesses and you can meet up with David Gordon, who is also a very talented graphic novelist (check out Cosmic Oddity).

When you talk about investment potential it usually involves comics.  Comics produced in their thousands and 99.1% of all those copies of a book will need to be destroyed before yours is worth anything.  But the action figure and doll market is strong.  
Guess what? all of Chang3lings dolls are unique.  Just one of each. One of each.

In case that did not sink in let me explain it.  Chang3lings will make a custom made figure or sell a figure of which there will only ever be one.  Not replicable..

You would own the only one of its kind.  Hopefully treasure and love it but, if you ever had to sell then that figure is unique.  No "Oh, well I think I saw one cheaper at---" because there are no other copies/duplicates.

But look at it another way, and I've seen some of these first hand and no photo really does them justice.  There are different scale sizes and you can see the much chunkier me of a few years back at the Bristol Comic Expo at David Gordon's table with a display of dolls.

Remember that there is a link to the right of page for Chang3lings and they have now been named "The UKs Premier Exclusive Figure" company!
Now, back to the real delights!

When I met Dave, Lesley and Lynsey at the Bristol Expo I got to see how carefully the dolls were put together -everything from eyes (different colours), hair and right down to the clothing and extras that were amazing to see.  Things have moved on since the day of Action Man (GI Joe) outfits and weapons!

The display piece below (NOT completed in this photo) has raised a few comments and interest and resulting in some good sales so it just goes to show what a bit of creative display work can achieve.
or how about this......
Yes, the fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith and some bald crook off the TV...but I think the Doctor is far more interested in someone else!  Now come on you Star Wars fans what do you think?
Below: more classic figures. If there is one place you need to go if you are into any scale figures/dolls this weekend it HAS to be Chang3lings at the Edinburgh Comic Con!
And I did say that Dave was an incredible graphic novelist. His Cosmic Oddity was such a revelation to me that I just sat there after finishing reading it.  So, you see a copy grab it because, as I wrote earlier this month, the book deserves an award.
In case you missed that item:
My Excess: Dave -A Cosmic Oddity

Black & White
106 Pages
Price: £12.99
The biography of Dave Gordon, often called the Uk's Manara. Detailing Dave's origins and relationships, this is an insight into one of UK comicdoms creators.

I got this book handed to me by the postman (mailman if you are American) at 1300 hrs and by 1500 hrs I had read it through.

This is David Gordon -the UKs very own Milo Manara- telling his story.  From his birth and adoption three days later through family life, school, university, work and later trying to contact his birth mother -the outcome of which is still currently open.

Dave takes us through his life and troubled relationships with himself (2014) narrating and flashback images and sequences of events.  The style he uses in this book, being honest here, I saw at a glance and thought "not sure about this".  However, I realised the clever way the art had been designed and drawn -photos, etc.- actually worked. Even the cartoony flashback-to-situation pages (see below).

What can I write about this?  Gritty -yes.  Factual and being brutally honest and to be equally honest here I do not think I'd have the guts to quite literally open up my chest and let some of these experiences out.  Being pushed away by his adopted family is bad enough but then having to go through his (adoption) father dying of cancer -bad enough.  But we then learn about the abusive relationships (physical and emotional).

There is still the matter of his birth mother and how that might end.  However, Dave is now happily in a relationship with Lesley (I've met her and she seems quite nice for a prison officer -not even a moustache!) and that gives us a sort of happy ending.  But, oh boy, what happened before.

Let me tell you something.  For years I was also an agent for comic creators.  You see good art, you know the writers or artists are reliable so, as an agent you put a spin on things to sell the work.  I've read and reviewed comics and graphic novels for publications and online now for over 30 years.  I see a couple hundred books of one sort or another a year -the crammed bookshelves and floors attest to that.

I cannot think of one book where a creator has taken us through his personal life and things have been so dark and gut-wrenching -even preparing for suicide- that I have said out loud "F***!" so many times. My sister even said "What are you swearing at?"

If this were an independent film it would be getting some award.  A publisher should be paying Gordon to allow them to publish this!  This is superbly written -and it must have taken a lot of thought to put this together without going over the top or exaggerating.  To make it a sequential story interspersed with illustrated text pieces....this is truly what Will Eisner described what graphic novels should be: telling a true and honest story that grabs the reader and pulls them in.

You people out there deciding who gets nominated for an Eagle Award should read this book.

This book should NOT be ignored. If you think "I'll buy just one Independent book...." then PLEASE make it this.

The book has surprised and shocked me - I have heard some snippets over the years but never the whole story.  In fact, you really need to read it yourself because nothing I write here can even adequately do it justice.

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