Tag Archives: Rebellion

Rebellion Specials 2020 – Part 1: Action 2020/ Cor!! Buster / Smash!

Rebellion’s Treasury of British Comics line has a whole line of specials this year, along with new titles like Action and Smash are returning favourites from previous years; Misty & Scream, Cor!!Buster and Tammy & Jinty. They are certainly getting more ambitious, though I do wonder if they are throwing a lot out just to see what will stick, so it will be interesting to see what specials return next year.

When they announced the 12 specials they would be releasing throughout the year, starting in March, there was definite must haves for me, but others that I may not have bothered with, if not for the special bundle subscription offer. I have so far received nearly half of the titles, which are a bit of a mixed bag (I’ll get into that more later!) but I am glad that I got subscription, as it has introduced me to new interesting characters and has certainly kept me entertained. Also the service by Rebellion is great, every month since March my new special has arrived right on time in my letterbox, which has been a real treat. If you are buying online I would recommend for any of their books to buy directly from their website. https://treasuryofbritishcomics.com/

The first special I received was Action 2020 which came with a smaller facsimile of the famously banned issue of Action from 23 October 1976. So this wasn’t the strongest starts for me personally. It’s not the type of stories that appeal to me, even the 1970s issue, while I can see its merits, it wouldn’t be something I want to read more of (except perhaps The Probationer a story  with a protagonist wrongly accused of crime, who is looking after his disabled mother and also has to deal with being blackmailed, which wouldn’t be out of place in a girls’ comic!). In the new Action 2020, there are 5 stories; Kids Rule O.K.,  Hellman, Hook Jaw and Dredger (which all appear in the older issue too) and a new story Hell Machine. As I only have vague knowledge of some of these characters, I came into it with no nostalgia influence (nostalgia being double edged sword sometimes with these titles). So while I’ve seen criticisms elsewhere, my favourite story here was Hookjaw. The whole lead up is to have vicious shark Hookjaw face off against polar bear Shako (though we do not see how that battle ends), comics are a visual medium but the visual and words compliment each other, so it is hard to tell a story with no dialogue. That is why I am impressed with this silent 7 page strip which capture everything we need to know with thrilling art by Dan Lish. Hell Machine (Script & Art: Henry Flint, Art: Jake lynch, Letters: Simon Boland) is the other story that worked best for me, at 15 pages it’s the longest story and therefore has the advantage of doing more world building. While this type of dystopian future story is not groundbreaking, it does follow the tropes well taking fears from present and taking it to the extreme (e.g. the system being rigged so poor people can never escape debt). So while not my favourite special it still had a few stories I enjoyed.

The next special was quite the opposite of the previous Cor!!Buster returning from last year, is a jam packed humour comic with 15 strips. I enjoyed last years special and overall this one is stronger still. There are 9 stories that get a 2nd round including Ivor Lott and Tony Broke and Faceache which both have improved since last year. Some highlights for me this year,  “new” strips Buster and Delbert (script: John Freeman,art:  Lew Stringer & letters: Leila Jess) which felt like a classic Buster story and was jam packed with character cameos. Then Birdman and Chicken (script: Keith Richardson,  art: Edward Whatley, letters: Ward West)  doing a perfect Batman parody with arch nemesis The Giggler, that had me chuckling aloud. Daisy Jones Locket (script: Olivia Hicks, art: Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb,  Letters: Amber Cee) , maybe isn’t the strongest story in the issue, but I just loved the art. Ivor Lott & Tony Broke with Milly O’Naire & Penny Less,  are still favourite characters of mine and like I mentioned this strip improved on last years, so I enjoyed Ivor and Milly’s attempt to bring Jurassic Park to the mansion and of course it going wrong!  While these were my highlights, I really enjoyed every one of these strips and l look forward to it presumably returning next year.

    

Next was the Smash! special like Action I had little knowledge of any of these characters, but this was far more appealing to me. This British superhero comic was a lot of fun, I noted its printing size and style was in line with American style comics, which I again commend Rebellion for not making a one size fits all when putting together these specials, just shows the extra thought that goes into producing them. Like Cor! Buster I found something to enjoy in every one of these strips and a definite plus was before each story was a one page background summary of the hero. Here we get 7 stories The Spider, Thunderbolt the Avenger, Johnny Future, The Steel Claw, Mytak the Mighty, Cursitor Doom Jason Hyde and The House of Dolmann. If I had to pick a favourite it would be The House of Dolmann (story: Simon Furman, art: Chris Weston, letters: Jim Campbell), in the story we see a now aged Dolmann, he is enlisted to help catch a doll thief with the help of his mechanical puppets. He uses ventriloquism to give the varied puppets personalities, though the strip brings up some questions when Dolmann is knocked unconscious and his puppets still talk! The Steel Claw (story: Charlie Higson, art: Charlie Adlard, letters: Simon Bowland) is a bizarre concept where secret agent Crandell, can turn invisible except for his prosthetic steel claw, the strip has a lot of fun with the villains overuse of acronyms for their organisations!  Thunderbolt the Avenger (story: Helen O’Hara, art: Valentina Pinti, colours: Jim Boswell, Letters: Ozvaldo Sanchez), this incarnation Mary Lansden I was familiar with from The Vigilant,  so I quite liked seeing her origin her and how she got the powerful wristwatch from her predecessor. The Spider (story: Rob Williams, art: John McCrea, letters: Simon Bowland) I also found interesting as he has played both hero and super villain, the mystery in this strip is where has he been since helping British Intelligence lock away supervillains.

So a quarter way through and overall a positive start to these specials.

Tammy & Jinty Special 2019

The eagerly awaited Tammy & Jinty Special 2019 has arrived! Since acquiring the IPC back catalogue, Rebellion has been steadily releasing reprints of old favourites and also seem eager to try out some new material for these characters too. We’ve already had horror and humour specials, and is nice to see girls comics getting attention as well. Similar to the Cor!! Buster and Scream!Misty specials, although this is titled as Tammy & Jinty, they are not restricting themselves to just characters that appeared in those comics, but taking a look at the whole catalogue. The name Tammy & Jinty most likely was chosen as the most recognisable and adding Sally, Sandie etc. wouldn’t make for the most catchy title!

There are 9 stories in total in this special and we’ve got a mixture of old and new characters here. Returning favourites are: Justine Messenger of Justice, Maisie’s Magic Eye and Bella at the Bar, although they may not be quite as you remember them. Justine and Maisie origins are retold with how they got their powers. Justine (who first appeared in Sally with the title “The Justice of Justine”) has a few changes to her origins, such as the Greek Goddess Athena now being the one who gives Justine her magical items, and each of these items are tied to a Greek God – the winged sandals of Hermes, the golden bow of Hypnos and spyglass of Odysseus. Justine’s first job as a hero is to stop a Minotaur and at the same time she is trying to navigate her everyday problems,such as her difficulty talking to boys. This story seems ripe for continuation, especially with the good set up the story uses with Pandora’s box.

Bella at the Bar of course is so synonymous with John Armstrong work, that it would be hard to live up to and I think they’ve down the right thing with not trying to imitate his work and instead have a new, more stylised version. Cardinali’s art might not be to everyone’s taste, but it does well in capturing the energetic movements of Bella and I think Rachael Ball has succeeded in getting the tone of Bella right, as I could hear Bella’s voice clear in my head. It did feel things wrapped up a bit quickly but that is often the case with the limited space in Summer Specials (as was the case in the past too). Again Bella is another character that seems to have lots more stories to tell.

Another not so new character, is Rocky of the Rovers, sister of the famous footballer, Roy Race. The new updated Roy of the Rovers seems to be doing well, and this story shows Rocky stepping out of her brother’s shadow. The character has also recently had an online serial Rocky of the Rovers: France 2019  which coincides with this years Fifa Women’s World Cup, which means any new fans, will have some other material to check out. The last five stories are all new characters for the book, and there is the wonderful  mixture that you would expect in a girls comic, with cursed objects, sci-fi, sport, ghosts, time-travel and lonely schoolgirls. Of these, the two standouts for me were, The Enigma Variation and Duckface, though the others Affirmative ActionIn the Cold Dark, and Speed Demons are all solid stories in their own right too (I would like to see more of the roller derby team from Speed Demons). Duckface is a classic moral story, with a good message of not judging someone, the difficulty of loneliness, and to be careful about what you write about someone on the internet. This seems a very relevant story for young girls today and it is charmingly told, and it really worked as a short complete story. The Enigma Variation was an unexpected delight as a tribute to Alan Turing and the codebreakers of World War II and also featuring a smart protagonist, Beck and gorgeous art by Dani.

Rounding off this special, we get some words from the creators, and they really have put a lot of work and heart into this, it can be a daunting task especially when reviving characters people know and love, and I think they have done a good job. There is of course nostalgia value to these, (and some people may not be happy about how their old favourites have been re-imagined) but more importantly this should appeal to young girls today. If we are to see more of these specials it needs a new audience and I’ll be very interested to see how they react to it. I certainly would love to see these new stories continue.

The special will be available in selected shops from 27th June or can be purchased from the 2000AD website: https://treasuryofbritishcomics.com/catalogue?edition=print

UPDATE: Also worth a listen to hear from some of the creators behind this special, check out interviews here:  https://soundcloud.com/2000-ad/the-tammy-jinty-special

Misty: Moonchild & The Four Faces of Eve – Review

mistyThere has already been quite a few reviews of this new Rebellion reprint of Misty Stories, which is great to see it’s being well received.  This isn’t the first Rebellion book I have got and I was pleased to see the quality I expected continues for this reprint. It’s glossy paper, well bound (which having had books where the pages fall out the first time you open them is an important factor!) and (for the most part) faithful reprinting of the material.

The two stories chosen are certain to be among favorites. Moonchild – inspired by Stephen King’s Carrie and written by Pat Mills with art by John Armstrong was one of the first stories printed in Misty. It follows Rosemary Black a girl with a crescent moon scar on her forehead who develops strange powers. Her oppressive, abusive mother claims it is wickedness in her, while she also has to deal with nasty bullies in school.  The reprint is taken from the 1983 Misty annual rather than the original issues, but unless you’re familiar with the original it is hardly noticeable and doesn’t take away much from the atmospheric story. John Armstrong’s art is great and certainly I am fan of the bigger splash pages he does. Unfortunately because of the use of thin lines the art appears faded in some places, it may distract a little, but it is a minor quibble and Rebellion have done well in reproducing the story.

moonchild       4-faces

The second story is The Four Faces of Eve written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Brian Delaney, it is a mysterious story about Eve, a girl who has amnesia, but then has nightmares about a girl dying. As she tries to unravel the mystery she also finds she has a connection to two other dead girls too. Although it is a close call, this is my favorite of the two stories, the mystery, the questionable parents, the suspenseful build up and the gorgeous art by Brian Delaney. This reprint is more faithful, including the title and recap box for every episode.

Along with the stories there are two crafty features which are a nice addition, a foreword from Pat Mills and profiles of the creators in the back, including Shirley Bellwood who was responsible for the art of cover girl Misty. Although the book may look thin, there is a lot packed in and all of it is good quality (and certainly it’s no thinner than a lot of other trade-paperbacks). It will entertain fans of old girls comics or people who like a good supernatural story and appreciate fantastic artwork.

[Misty: Featuring Moonchild & The Four Faces of Eve. Rebellion Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781781084526]

Read comixminx review focusing on publishing choices here:

Misty: Moonchild & The Four Faces of Eve (2016)

Robina Hood

  • Robina Hood–  Bunty:   #1461 (11 Jan 1986) – #1488 (19 July 1986)
  • Writer: W. G. Ede
  • Artist: Rodney Sutton

Plot

The female descendants of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, follow in their elders footsteps to stop injustice in Nottingham. When Robina, Little Jane, Flo Tuck and Winnie Scarlet see the Deputy Sheriff, Alan Dale, and his men evicting people from their homes, they stand against him. Alan says he will return in a few days with a proper warrant from his Sheriff Uncle, for eviction. Robina goes to her grandsire Robin Hood to take arms against the Sheriff, but he tells her he is too old to fight but he agrees to train the girls.

robina hood_01

When Alan returns, Robina snatches the warrant from him and the girls force his men back. Alan swears she will regret this day. The Merry Maids continue their work helping those in need and punishing the greedy. They seek advice from their elders at times, but sometimes this does not work out. Like when Robin Hood advises them to take a key piece from a dam to restore a dry village, they end up flooding the village. Luckily Robina figures the flood will have drained the Baron Crookleg’s moat, so they are able to cross and raid the Baron’s castle. They then steal tax money to help the flooded village.

robina Hood_1a

Alan Dale and his Uncle try to be craftier than the girls, securing an armoured wagon to collect taxes in. The girls set up a trap for them but when it looks like they will evade it, they improvise by clattering pans on the armour causing such ringing inside that the guards give up the money.  Another adventure sees Alan Dale helping the girls. When the Sheriff’s men decide to check if Master Mervin, an old alchemist, practices magic by tossing him in the river to see if he floats or sinks, the girls confront the men. When Alan Dale comes across them he says he had no part in this and that he knows Mervin is harmless. Mervin is to be taken to Nottingham prison over night and Alan tells the girls he will keep the streets free of guards that night if they wish to save him. They do save him with help of explosives they learn to make from Mervin’s “magic” book.

robina hood_02

Alan helps them again to save their elders homes from a forest fire. He also begins to give them inside information, such as his Uncles plan to trap them. Winnie thinks he has a soft spot in his heart for Robina.  When they try to rescue a friend from Nottingham prison they accidentally land their elders behind bars. The girls are forced to stop their attack on the castle. Alan advises Robina that in order to free Robin, the Merry Men and their friend Sam Small, she must find knights to champion their cause at the jousts held at the castle the next day. According to the laws of chivalry, any knight that defeats the King’s champions can ask for prisoners to be pardoned. Having no knights to ask, the girls dress themselves in old armour they find and enter. They compete in a merry free for all but although they put up a good fight, the old armour they use is rusting, too big for them and the weapons are falling apart.  Just when it looks like they will be defeated, another Knight dressed in black comes to their aid. After they win the knight reveals himself to be Alan Dale. Robina is impressed by his gallantry and skill. He says his courage came from the wish to be her knight. The elders and Sam are pardoned from prison and Alan joins the outlaw band.

robina_hood_03

Thoughts

This isn’t the first Robin Hood themed story to appear in Bunty. Previously “Maid Marion” followed Marion leading the Merry Men, while Robin is away. In some ways that actually seems more progressive than this story, a woman leading a team of men. Here Robina and her team are a bit more of a novelty, as female equivalents to the Merry Men. Rather than having any major developments, they can be summed up with a few characteristics, i.e Flo is heavy and loves food. Also “Robina” as a name reminds me more of a drink’s name than an actual name!

Still the girls are shown to be smart, brave, fighters and honourable. So they are good role models. I also like that they are descendants of the original Merry Men and that they still ask their elders advice. Although it seems Robin Hood and his men are now more bumbling in their old age often played for comic relief. I do wonder where Maid Marian is, maybe writer/editor thought having an older female role model would take away from the girls achievements?

robina hood_06

The story ran for 6 months and appeared in several annuals so it must have been quite popular. It is a lot of fun and while there isn’t a lot of develop for the girls (in just one issue they are experts in using bow and arrow!)  the story does well concentrating on the adventures, which is the  point of a lot of Robin Hood stories. The adventures are fun and the girls are crafty and brave, it is satisfying to see them outwit the Sheriff and the greedy Barons. Alan Dale is an interesting character as he actually has a story arc, going from antagonist, to showing his softer side and finally joining up with the outlaws. I like the development of Alan Dale to hero. It even works that he comes to Robina’s rescue, without diminishing her achievements. The girls have already proved themselves  to be brave and strong, while Alan has helped before, now he physically fights and it is Robina that has given him to courage too do that. (Side note: I do wonder if he is a descendant of Alan-a-Dale,  as he has been depicted to be both with and against Robin Hood at times)

robina_hood_04a robina_hood_04

The art is gorgeous throughout, there is so much detail, in the backgrounds, costumes and expressions. The action flows well, the movement seems fluid.  The girls look great and I am particularly impressed by the aged Merry Men. The story may leave some questions such as; where is Maid Marian and the girl’s parents? But overall it is a fun, action and adventure story, with a bit of romance thrown in as well.

List of Appearances

  • Robina Hood –  Bunty:   #1461 (11 January 1986) – #1488 (19 July 1986)

Other Appearances

  • Robina Hood –  Bunty Annual 1987
  • Robina Hood –  Bunty Annual 1988
  • Robina Hood –  Bunty Annual 1991
  • Robina Hood –  Bunty Annual 1992
  • Robina Hood –  Bunty Picture Story Library: #333

“Father Must Go Free!”

Plot

After the Battle of Culloden in 1746. the victorious Redcoats searched the Scottish Highlands for rebels. Although Kenneth MacRae had not taken part in the rebellion, he had been arrested and taken to Fort Augustus. His children. Morag and Ian MacRae, a were seeking Campbell of Mamore, the commander of the Government troops in the West. Campbell knew that Kenneth MacRae was not a rebel and Morag and Ian hoped that he could save their father’s life.

Notes

Appeared

  • “Father Must Go Free!” – Mandy: circa #178 (13 June 1970) – (?)