Monthly Archives: March 2017

Retro Gaming History


It’s hard to believe that it’s been 35 years, but in 1982 black and green suddenly burst into technicolour. Or at least that is how I choose to remember this time and that day in April when Sir Clive Sinclair launched what would become the start of the home computing revolution with his ZX Spectrum. This would go on to sell over five million units, covering eight different versions. It was the beginning of the colour revolution in computing: when most computers still had the green screen, this was full colour. Admittedly you needed to connect it to your colour TV, but it was a huge step forward in technology.

This tiny little keyboard with its rubber keys was the birth place of the computer game. I, along with many other kids and ‘bedroom coders’ were tentatively taking those first steps to programming by entering line after line of code to bring the TV to life as a game. This was as glorious as it was frustrating; at times as I would type code for hours, only to recive an error and have to search for the incorrect piece of code before being rewarded with my game. This gave rise to companies like Ocean and Codemasters, etc, which started the gaming world and gave rise to Rockstar, EA Games and Blizzard, which we enjoy today.


So, as it approaches its 35th birthday, I think it’s only right we reminisce and say thank you to Sinclair and all those coders who have given us something amazing that many youngsters take for granted today. Without them, who knows where the gaming industry would be now.


Thank you, Clive, and Happy Birthday.

Marius Comics (PAPERBACKS AND INKSTAINS)

UH OH!

Just when you thought it was safe.

MADIUS COMICS IS BACK AGAIN!

THEY’RE HITTING KICKSTARTER AGAIN AND THIS TIME THEY’RE GOING BIG!

Hot off the heels of the hugely successful GRIFF GRISTLE campaign, they are back and they are bringing you something special.

This is easily the biggest thing they’ve ever attempted and fact is, THEY NEED YOU! 

They REALLY need you because…

The wait is over…

PAPERBACKS AND INKSTAINS IS HERE!

That’s right! For the first time ever the critically acclaimed MADIUS COMICS is putting together a collected volume of the entire run of PAPERCUTS & INKSTAINS which will clock in at well over 200 pages of awesome. Whether you’ve been a longtime fan of MADIUS COMICS or are completely new to all things orange, this kickstarter is for you!

Papercuts and Inkstains has been a brightly shining beacon of silliness, stupidity and Madius’ flagship comic for the past two years. Still not convinced? Want to know what people have been saying along the way? Well here’s a TREASURE TROVE of reviews to dive into:

– “a fantastic showcase for some of the most exciting talent on the UK scene.” Pipedream Comics

– “The high quality of storytelling we’ve come to expect has been maintained, while the humour that makes this magazine so memorable has never been sacrificed or compromised.” Starburst Magazine

– “laugh out loud” Big Comic Page

– “excellent short stories” DownTheTubes

– “I can’t help but love it” Garbage File

– “a great anthology comic, with such high production values and professional standards.” Pop Culture Bandit

– “The thing that makes them so popular is that their stories are so utterly ridiculous.” Curiosity of a Social Misfit

– “Consistently Madius Comics have given me more enjoyment than all the books I’ve read in the past year from The Big Two.” Other Worlds Than These

– “quick witted dialogue and eccentric narratives result in a truly enjoyable read.” Snap Pow

-“This is an exuberant, inventive anthology from some great talent. It’s energetic, clever and immense fun. Definitely worth the papercuts and absolutely worth the inkstains.” Travelling Man

YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE!

From the bumbling minds of Rob Jones and Mike Sambrook, and the occasional mish-mash of a certain Dr The Nick Gonzo, comes a heaving behemoth of a book containing just about every genre and every kind of story imaginable. Covering everything from westerns, sci fi and horror right through to fantasy, nostalgia and everything in between. Featuring yarns that run for multiple shorts to tales that are entirely self contained, this collection has it all. Featuring art from:

Dan Butcher

Kevin Pospisil

Stephen Weafer

Nick Gonzo

Rory Donald

Jim Lavery

Angela Sprecher

Rosie Packwood

Brian Burke

Paul Moore

Bob Turner

Darren Smith

Mike Smith

Darren Stephens

Ceri Hanvey

If you’ve already been reading from the start, and you’re wondering why you should double dip? Well, let us yell at you why. Paperbacks and Inkstains will see every strip collected into one, glorious book, remastered, rejigged and presented in glorious, CMYK COLOUR-O-RAMA. COLOUR! You asked for it and they listened. The entire book will be in FULL COLOUR for the very first time, See the stories you already know and love brought to an all new level of visual brilliance. Let the sweet, sweet colours melt all resistance from your soul. Give in to it, you know it makes sense.

Currently working their magic colouring the pages are:

Nick Gonzo

Angela Sprecher

Rosie Packwood

Rory Donald

Darren Smith

Jim Lavery

Ceri Hanvey

Bob Turner

The campaign hits KICKSTARTER MARCH 15th and will run for 30 days. Give in to the festive spirit. Don’t make them send the various festive ghosts after you. Don’t be a scrooge this year. Make sure to get involved in the best thing to happen in 2017!

PAPERBACKS & INKSTAINS!

DELICIOUS!

They know they can count on you.

Included in this press pack is a work in progress PDF of where are currently at, and promo images. All is subject to change, but we wanted to show you all just how epic everything is looking!

Want to know more and keep up to date with all things Madius Comics? Make sure to check them out on Twitter (@madiuscomics) and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/madiuscomics for regular updates and don’t forget to keep a close eye on the Kickstarter webpage to see the campaign land on MARCH 15th.

Contact Details:

Email: madiuscomics@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/madiuscomics

Twitter: @madiuscomics

SEE YOU THERE!

Freeway Fighter


This interview covers a subject that is very close to my heart. As a kid, there were a few specific things I was into:- Games Workshop figures, comic books and Ian Livingstone’s choose-your-own-adventure books. I still remember them fondly, with my favourites of the Livingstone books being Caverns of the Snow Witch and the futuristic Freeway Fighter. 
Now, as this amazing series of books reaches its 35th birthday, Titan Comics is releasing a comic based on the Freeway Fighter book, featuring the talents of Andi Ewington, Simon Coleby and Len O’Grady. I am excited to say that I managed to grab a word with Andi Ewington and asked him a bit about himself and the project. 

1) So, to start with the basics, can you tell us how this wonderful idea for a collaboration came about?

Pure luck. I had pitched the idea of a story around Freeway Fighter or Deathtrap Dungeon to Ian in 2012. Ian loved the idea but the stumbling block was budget; we needed a lot of backing to make it happen. At the time, I had done an interview for Jonathan Green’s You Are The Hero Fighting Fantasy compendium, and talked about the lack of funds hampering our efforts to make a comic. By chance, a Canadian chap (Matt Mastracci) read about the comic and contacted me through Twitter, and said that he wanted to invest everything we needed to make the project a reality. I was initially sceptical, thinking it was an elaborate scam, but Matt proved to be the genuine article. I gave him the script – he loved the story so I introduced him to Ian and contracts were signed. I then set about courting several comic publishers until I found a home for Freeway Fighter with Titan Comics. I should ask Matt to pick my lottery numbers from now on – he’s become my +1 luck charm!


2) How much did you know about this particular project and the original book before you decided to take it forward?

Plenty! I owned the original when it was first released in the mid-80s. As a huge fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, it quickly became one of the stand-out titles for me, along with Deathtrap Dungeon and City of Thieves. I knew the original story pretty well, but needed to dip back into it when I started toying with the idea of a Freeway Fighter comic. When I approached Ian back in 2012, I pitched a concept based around the origin of the I-400 Interceptor and why/how it wound up in New Hope. This is a totally new story that fits neatly into the existing canon with some subtle references that die-hard fans of the original gamebook will spot and hopefully appreciate.


3) Will there be a certain number of issues produced, or is it an ongoing story line that could carry on for the foreseeable future?

Initially, the plan is for four issues, but who knows?! If the fans really embrace the idea of Freeway Fighter I’d love to see this carry on further, or perhaps a new Fighting Fantasy title being given the comic treatment.


4) For those readers who are unfamiliar with the original book, could you give them a brief synopsis?

Freeway Fighter was set in 2022, six months after an unknown virus had wiped out most of the world’s population. Those who were left banded together in isolated settlements, surviving any way they could. In the gamebook, you take the role of a road warrior who must traverse the lawless wastes of America to get to precious fuel from San Anglo. It was a challenging adventure, which saw you constantly searching for petrol. The interior art was illustrated by Kevin Bulmer and the cover art was by Jim Burns.

5) Can you give us an interesting but little-known fact about yourself?

My nan was a huge inspiration to me growing up. When she was a child, she survived the invasion of Berlin even though she was shot several times and had her foot nearly blown clean off by a Russian grenade. She died a while back, and I miss her a lot.

6) When and where will our readers be able to get their hands on a copy of this new project?

Pre-orders are available now (MAR172048, MAR172049, or MAR172050). All good comic retailers should be able to pre-order for you, as I ssue #1 is due for release on 17th May 2017. There’s even going to be a big signing with Ian Livingstone, Jim Burns and the comic team in attendance at Forbidden Planet London on 20th May 2017.


7) Can you tell us a little about the creative team behind this new project?

Simon Coleby has been a regular art partner for a while now; we work really well together, and I absolutely love his work and dedication. He totally understands how to interpret my script and bring the best out of it. Len O’Grady is the colourist and a great guy, he’s been working with Simon for as long as I can remember and injects life into Simon’s inks. Jim Campbell has the task, as letterer, to add the drama into the written words on the page. When it comes to SFX he’s invaluable! Jonathan Green is a great writer in his own right, so is an excellent fresh set of eyes on the script;  he’s also a canon-smith so can spot a lore problem from a thousand yards. Matt Mastracci has financed the project himself, and without his passion and belief in Freeway Fighter none of this would have been possible. Finally, there’s Ian, but what can I say that hasn’t already been said? Ian is a living legend and a big reason why I got into creative writing in the first place.


8) What other projects have you been involved in, prior to this one?

I’ve been working extensively with Michael Bay’s new comic imprint, 451 Media Group. I’ve worked on some awesome titles, such as S6X, which I wrote with George Pelecanos, Sunflower with Mark Mallouk, Red Dog with Rob Cohen, and Exmortis. I also co-wrote the Dark Souls II one-shot with Rob Williams, and a Just Cause 3 one-shot for Square Enix.

9) What led you into the field of writing for comics?

After an intense computer game session where I had put over 120 hours into a game, I was left with a hollow victory as the credits rolled on-screen. I felt I could have been more productive with my time, perhaps even written a book. It was my lightbulb moment. I set about writing a novel, it was a mammoth 250,000 word magnum opus that probably was a book ahead of where I needed to be. After some positive rejection letters I thought my chance had passed. Then by a quirk of fate, I joined a design company that had a comic-publishing arm. I was introduced to the comic medium and realised I had a second bite at the cherry. I pitched a new concept centred around the birth of a child in a superhero world.  That story was called ‘Forty-Five’ and went on to be my debut graphic novel. The rest, as they say, is history.

Iron Fist Review


This week sees the release of Iron Fist, the latest in the Netflix-Marvel partnership. It seems that this team of TV-streaming service and comic book company is back on track and hitting its stride nicely after it stumbled (and very nearly fell) with its last show, Luke Cage.

Let’s take a look at the story behind the latest offering, which introduces the last of the Marvel Defenders, Danny Rand aka Iron Fist.


Imagine a rich, privileged white guy, a Marvel equivalent of Bruce Wayne or Oliver Queen. This young boy is traveling with his parents when the Rand’s flight crashes, leaving only a young Danny Rand alive on a cold and snowy mountainside, where he is rescued and taken in by monks. There, they train him in various martial arts.


Cut to 15 years later, and a barefoot Danny Rand is walking through New York City. Dressed in a homeless hipster style, he makes his way to the family business – The Rand Corporation. However, his attempts to enter the building are halted because no one recognises him and they believe that Danny died with his parents. The Danny that has returned is not the same boy from years ago, he’s a very different person in the same body. But I t would seem that there are people and forces that are hell bent on stopping him from taking back what’s rightfully his. 


After watching the first four episodes, I’ve found that this show has gone back to the same winning formula that it used for Daredevil and Jessica Jones but which sadly missed the mark with Luke Cage. Hopefully, these three will be strong enough to carry the other character when Marvel’s Defenders hits our screens within the next year or so. 

Recommended Read March


This month I have gone for a recommended read that is the origins story of a character that I’m particularly fond of. So, back we go to the beginning, with Batman Year One.

This book is two tales in one really. It’s much more than a tale of Jim Gordon’s beginnings in the mythology, starting with his arrival in Gotham alongside the return of Gotham’s favourite son, Bruce Wayne. They both return to a city of corruption. The Commissioner is in the pocket of the local mob bosses, as are a great deal of the GCPD. Gordon is one of the few honest cops who are trying to clean up the city and rid the department of dirty and corrupt cops. The two main characters in this story are trying to achieve the same thing, but don’t really see eye to eye until the end. It’s a story of how the relationship between Batman and Gordon was forged – two good men trying to save a city.


Gordon’s part of this story is an illustration of the crime and corruption in Gotham, how it’s perceived from a man on the streets fighting the scum and villainy on a daily basis. Where Batman’s story is more of the transition from Man to Myth and how the horrific events that played out in this city forced Wayne to become the Batman. Together, they make for a brilliant telling of the origins of the Batman mythology.


Written by the great Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, this is one book that true Batman fans won’t want to miss.

If you have a suggestion for our recommended read or any other features, please email us at Southdevongeeks@gmail.com