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Welcome to the Comic Book Alliance
The CBA is a not-for-profit organisation, primarily run by volunteers, dedicated to the promotion of British comic books, graphic novels, webcomics and sequential art in its many forms, and British-based and ex-pat comic creators—be they artists, writers, colourists, letterers or editors. The CBA is a completely non-partisan and impartial organisation.
The organisation arranges a wide range of activities from press launches, exhibitions, gallery shows, fund-raising events, educational programs, publications and other events, for professionals and the public.
The aims of the alliance are:
- To be the public face of the British comics industry and present a cohesive and unified voice while representing the needs of creators, editors, publishers, distributors and retailers, regardless of their individual specialised sectors.
- To promote the comic book industry in the UK and the medium of comics as a whole to the general public via educational and recreational events and initiatives.
- To help distribute comics in the UK and assist publishers with distribution concerns and problems.
- To help independent publishers and retailers survive and to grow.
- To address concerns about censorship.
- To offer support and legal advice and services to creators, retailers, publishers or individuals.
- To raise the funds to help achieve all of the above aims with fundraising events, publications and subscriptions.
- To form various strategic alliances with key organisations that are mutually beneficial to the aims of Comic Book Alliance.
- To promote the British comics industry abroad via international alliances with similar organisations.
- To supply sequential art services to educational and social schemes and various corporate and governmental agencies.
The CBA Blog
The Comic Book Alliance, in association with Sheridan Covers, is very proud to announce an extremely limited edition First Day Cover commemorating the Royal Mail’s launch of their comic book stamps on 20th March 2012. The stamps are celebrating 75 years of British Comics.
The First Day Cover features the Comic Book Alliance logo and stamp, plus all 10 of the Royal Mail’s 1st Class comic book stamps:
Desperate Dan and The Dandy
Dennis The Menace and The Beano
Dan Dare and Eagle
Beryl The Peril and Topper
Tiger and Roy Of The Rovers
The Four Marys and Bunty
Buster and Buster
The Steel Claw and Valiant
Twinkle and Twinkle
Judge Dredd and 2000AD.
Ms Sheridan, of Sheridan Covers, said, “I have produced similar First Day Covers for 11 years now… and I have had the pleasure to produce covers featuring organisations such as the William Morris Society, The Mary Rose Trust, The Historical Maritime Society and Friends of the Earth.”
Tim Pilcher, Chair of the Comic Book Alliance, agreed, “This is a really special day for British Comics, getting the recognition they deserve from the Royal Mail. The Comic Book Alliance are extremely pleased and excited to be involved in what is an important of part of both philately and comic book history. Sadly, only three of the publications featured are still being published (2000 AD, The Beano and The Dandy), but there are new titles on the newsstand to replace them including the recently launched The Phoenix and Strip Magazine, proving that the British comics industry is alive and thriving.”
Produced on best archival paper the first Day Covers come with an insert card and protective pocket and cost just £15 (plus postage and packaging) and part of the proceeds go towards supporting the CBA.
You can pre-order this exclusive First Day Cover, featuring all 10 of the comic stamps now, until 12th March 2012, from P. Sheridan, P.O. Box 99, Widnes, Cheshire WA8 0NN firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0) 7939 832 184
Father/daughter relationships can be fractious at best of times. Either the former is too protective of the latter, becoming inadvertently overbearing and prescriptive or, conversely, too immersed in work or personal projects and thus aloof and distant. It’s rare the father that can tread this tightrope successfully. It’s this relationship that Mary Talbot examines in her new graphic novel, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes. Juxtaposing her own relationship with her father, James S. Atherton, a noted Joycean scholar, with that of James Joyce and his daughter Lucia, Talbot has created a bittersweet drama that will resonate with anyone who has a parent.
For a debut graphic novel Mary’s writing is incredibly confident and assured. This may be partly due to her being an established, published scholar in her own right, and partly due to the fact that the book is drawn by her husband, Bryan, one of the UK’s most accomplished masters of the art. Bryan’s artwork mellifluously transports us up and down the timeline so effortlessly that we simply go with the flow. He very cleverly uses highly simplified, full-colour Julian Opie-like characters for the present day and Mary’s life story; a washed out sepia tone for Mary’s post-war childhood; and finally, a more rendered reality in a blue-wash to recount the tale of Lucia.
The majority of this collaborative endeavour is incredibly smooth, but there are a couple of points where Mrs. Talbot has to highlight her husband’s inaccuracies (such as how her classroom was laid out) in margin notes. While this is an endearing insight into the creative process, it feels like too much fourth wall breaking to sit comfortably, instantly reminding the reader that they are reading a graphic novel, rather than being engrossed in the fascinating tale.
Perhaps it is unsurprising that Mary’s academic career has focused on gender politics and power, once you have read this story. Being the only daughter with four elder brothers; a domineering father; the appalling repression and treatment meted out to women in the pre-Feminism era; and that she had two sons; all indicate a natural, and understandable, desire to readdress the balance somewhat. Yet despite the obviously painful, and joyful, recollections, and analysis of her relationship with her father, Mary never descends into mawkishness or hand-wringing self-pity, and remains refreshingly clear of the mire of the “misery memoir” that the book could so easily have become. Mary’s writing remains constantly engaging, and brings every character to vibrant, empathic life, as she contrasts her coming-of-age with that of Lucia’s. Where Mary’s father seems distant yet authoritarian, Joyce appears weaker, agreeing with his wife Nora’s more bombastic and conservative views on womanhood, as both girls are belittled for failing to live up to their parents’ expectations. Thankfully, Mary’s tale ends happier than the tragic Lucia’s, but both resonate long after the final page has been turned. This is destined to become a set text for graphic novel scholars.
I’ll confess my ignorance when it comes to Joyce, but this book sparked an interest in his life and writing and I started actively searching out further information, and no greater compliment can be paid than that. Fortunately there’s a comprehensive bibliography in the back.
Most fathers remain enigmas to their children, and it’s this attempt to understand her father’s motivations and moods—to get behind both his public and home personas, and in turn closure—that makes Mary’s writing so intriguing. Like the title’s pun suggests, Mary Talbot is wrapping up her father’s business, his memory and legacy. Dotting his eyes and crossing his tease.
Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Bryan Talbot is published by Jonathan Cape on 2 February 2012, £14.99 (hardcover)
Forest Gump famously said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Well, that’s true if you don’t read the packaging, but even the simplest of souls can navigate their way around a tin of Quality Street. Life is, in fact, a random series of events, chance encounters and apparent non sequiturs that, when taken individually, have little meaning, but as a totality, have greater significance. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The same could be applied to Blank Slate’s new anthology, Nelson. The book is a masterstroke of the “Exquisite Corpse” concept as it follows the life of Nel, a young day-dreaming girl, born in 1968; developing into a passionate, frustrated artist and young woman searching more out of life; and finally through to an almost resigned, yet comfortable, middle age. We see her develop friendships; gain and lose lovers; and lose and gain family members, while all being set against a historical background that anyone aged 35-45 will find overwhelmingly familiar. It’s a book that demands rereading several times, as hindsight provides the connections easily missed first time round, as well as the historical touches, such as I-Spy books, 70s’ beer glasses, ice-lollies and comics, that all give a subtle sense of place and time.
There are times when I actively didn’t like Nel, particularly her angry, self-obsessed teenage years (hey, we’ve all been there), but this only made her more real.
“Anthology” seems like a dirty word for this opus, as it implies lots of creators working on pet projects that have all been shoe-horned into one publication, but Nelson the book is as complex and as rich as Nelson the character. Each of the 54 creators were given one day in a year of Nel’s life and – within certain parameters – were free to do what they liked to progress the titular protagonist’s life.
The diverse range of artistic and literary styles is both a boon and a burden. Occasionally, the transition from artist to artist jars, as their individual visual interpretations of Nel wildly differ, but it’s the mark of their skill that they manage to immerse the reader so utterly into their segment, in less than five pages, that the previous story already feels like the past, before you are whisked onto the following year and creator. With multiple contributor projects there are invariably a few sections that won’t ring true for some, yet I could only find three strips that didn’t work for me artistically, which is pretty incredible out of a 230-page story. With so many excellent creators, it would be unfair to highlight anyone in particular, but honourable mentions must go to Rob Davis for creating the concept in the first place (and topping and tailing the story with two strips) and Woodrow Phoenix who came onboard as co-editor and contributor.
It reminded me a lot of the TV dramas like Our Friends in the North and William Boyd’s Any Human Heart, in the way that it follows a serious of people through their life experiences, and how that shapes them and their destiny. In Nelson, as in all these types of stories, the journey is more interesting that the destination (which, let’s face it, is ultimately death). The book finishes in 2011, and I for one, would love to see the continuation of Nel’s life in a second volume, around 2051!
Throughout the book there’s a pervasive threat of some terrible personal tragedy on the horizon—although one already permeates the book with its ghostly presence. There’s also the promise of neat and tidy resolution to some of the problems plaguing Nel. In a Hollywood movie there would be a big cathartic scene where everything tidies up neatly and we’d leave the cinema in a “feel good” mood. But life isn’t like that. Life isn’t even like a packet of Revels. No, life is more like Nelson.
Nelson features the cream of British Comic creators including: Paul Grist, Rob Davis, Woodrow Phoenix, Ellen Lindner, Jamie Smart, Gary Northfield, Sarah McIntyre, Suzy Varty, Sean Longcroft, Warwick Johnson–Cadwell, Luke Pearson, Paul Harrison–Davies, Katie Green, Paul Peart–Smith, Glyn Dillon, I.N.J.Culbard, John Allison, Philip Bond, D’Israeli, Simone Lia, Darryl Cunningham, Jonathan Edwards, Ade Salmon, Kate Charlesworth, Warren Pleece, Kristyna Baczynski, Harvey James, Rian Hughes, Sean Phillips & Pete Doree, Kate Brown, Simon Gane, Jon McNaught, Adam Cadwell, Faz Choudhury, JAKe, Jeremy Day, Dan McDaid, Roger Langridge, Will Morris, Dave Shelton, Carol Swain, Hunt Emerson, Duncan Fegredo, Philippa Rice, Josceline Fenton, Garen Ewing, Tom Humberstone , Dan Berry, Alice Duke, Posy Simmonds, Laura Howell, Andi Watson, and Dave Taylor
Nelson is out now (RRP £18.99 softcover/£24.99 hardcover) and is available from www.blankslatebooks.co.uk and all good comic shops.
Yes, it’s true. As from today, postage is free on all UK orders of The Spirit of Hope! Don’t delay, order today!
COMICS LAUNCH PAD is a new and exciting event brought to you by International Comic Shows, the organisation behind the long-running British International Comics Show, and the Comic Book Alliance will have a major presence there.
A one-day conference aimed at professionals, aspiring professionals and those with a serious interest in the business of making comics, Launch Pad promises to be an enlightening and fascinating experience.
With emphasis on the digital revolution that is sweeping the industry, there has never been a more exciting and challenging time for the medium. Launch Pad will examine and embrace these changes which affect not just how we create comics, but also how we deliver them to readers. All aspects of traditional and digital methods of creating and distributing comics, as well as the ever growing and diverse self-publishing movement, will be covered in depth.
The Comic Book Alliance will be on hand to chat to delegates about the work we’re doing to promote the cause of UK comics, plus we’ll be launching our charity anthology, The Spirit of Hope, during the event. Comic Book Alliance chair Tim Pilcher will also be giving a talk on how to succeed as a comics pro in a global market, something not to be missed.
The Comics Launch Pad takes place on Saturday June 18th 2011 at the The Studio, 7 Cannon Street, Birmingham, B2 5EP. For more details, head over to the Comics Launch Pad site.
Good news! If you live outside the UK, you can now pre-order the Spirit of Hope anthology. Just go to the Spirit of Hope page, and order away!
The Comic Book Alliance’s new anthology dealing with the impact of disasters on people’s everyday lives, the Spirit of Hope, now has it’s own mini-site. Find out more about this wonderful book and even pre-order it by going to the Spirit of Hope page or choosing the link in the drop-down menu above (under ‘press’). More information and images will be going up as we get nearer to the release date, so do please check it out!
If you want to pre-order the Comic Book Alliance’s new charity anthology, The Spirit of Hope, you can now download an order form to fill out and send back to us. We hope to offer electronic ordering and payments soon. Please check back soon for more information.
To download the form, please right-click the following link and choose “Save as…” DOWNLOAD SPIRIT OF HOPE ORDER FORM
Our “Bunny Smash” T-Shirt, kindly created exclusively for us by Genkigear.co.uk, made it into the pages of April’s Bizarre Magazine (No. 174). Modeled by the magazine’s very own Alix Fox, the caption reads:
“£2 from every top goes to The Comic Book Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of British comics, graphic novels and webcomics. They don’t actually smash any rabbits. They leave that to Foxy and her super-powered, pink-pubed, lady-cookie of glory.”
Please don’t ask us to explain the caption, as we’re not sure what it means ourselves.
STOP PRESS: Genki Gear have just reduced their prices and the T-Shirts are now just £13.99 for both the men’s and women’s T-Shirts, with £2 still going to the CBA. Now you really don’t have an excuse not to buy one for you and every member of your family. Including the rabbit.
Featuring guests from here and abroad, the expo takes place at the Ramada City Inn and the Mercure Holland House Hotel. Apparently, it’s already 90% full, so make sure you pop across to the tickets website to book now!