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Thursday, 28 July 2016


About covers it.  With CBO other people and companies are getting sales.  Many thousands see the postings about what I publish and do.

I have tried "apparel" design, T-shirt, mugs, pins and other designs, comic albums, graphic novels, real books with lots of real words in them. I've even tried single art illustrations like the Maakika Art.

NOTHING sells.

A few thousand a day see the postings and other items and while that seems to get other people or companies (yeah, like those companies REALLY need that money to survive).
Can't even get a table to sell stuff at the Bristol Comic Expo.

I get it. I'm one of the artists and writers who'll die poor. As my mum and grand mother said: "Born poor. Live poor. Die poor"! Seriously, if my stuff even sells moderately whgen I am dead I am going to (maybe) get very pissed!

I am not up-dating social media nor wasting more time on new art or books. There is plenty available and not selling.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Time To Just Make A "Thank You" And A Comment

It seems odd considering how Black Tower Comics and books has been in the UK comic scene since the early 1980s, but as I've noted before, UK comic events, blogs and so on have never supported us the way we've supported them.

Even sales come from outside the UK.  Below is just a snap shot of where the views for this blog are coming from right now.  See the UK anywhere?

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United States
South Korea
New Zealand

The UK is rarely noted as providing views to this blog. 

One of the reasons I gave up on the UK for 2016/17 is because EVERY UK comic event was 'fully booked' as soon as they announced bookings for tables were open.  Yes, Black Tower never even got onto the 'bidding lists' -Ebay applied to comic events is a very bad thing.

Not to worry, though, the same traders and guests get on to every event list and have tables.  Not fixed? Work out the odds of this EVERY event.  EVERY year. For TEN YEARS.  Fixed.

Couldn't even get a table at the up-coming Bristol Expo -not even a guest pass. That's life.

So sales and views of this blog (as well as CBO) are mainly from non-UK sources. My plan was to try to attend at least two German comic events in 2017, however, following the moronically stupid "Brexit" vote, it appears that even someone with German family and as pro-Europe as you can get has been tarred with the same "English rats running off" attitude. Not heard anything back from the German conventions despite emails sent.

Where does this leave BTCG and me, as a publisher?

Really, in limbo. Unless I can get out and sell books and meet people I have to rely solely on people buying from the online store and I've always been honest in stating sales from that are not enough to live on (and the US now hits me for taxes on sales!).

So I really, really do appreciate it that you visit this blog or buy a book. Because this is a very lonely place to be right now.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

MORE Online Goodies!

Now with a preliminary selection of caps, mugs and badges(buttons).

Who says this is not the Age of THE TOWER OF POWER?!!

Black Tower Store -T-Shirts!

Currently working on a few more Men t-shirts but also including designs for Women t-shirts.

Yes, now the Black Tower T-shirt online store is open!

Monday, 11 July 2016

I Created Germany's FIRST Super Hero and Super Team

This is being re-posted because of trouble-makers else where.

Who Was The FIRST German Super Hero And Which Team Was FIRST?

I had to try to find some dates for a piece I'm writing on D-Gruppe. I really had to try to remember the rough date for creating the characters that went on to form D-Gruppe.

Well, I know we lived on the farm in Dalborn, which is a tiny village stuck between Detmold, Blomberg and Lemgo, in the mid 1960s. Germans are/were bigger on traditional folk tales than, say the English, and if you've ever seen the Narri Narro festival you'll know what I mean! But our monochrome TV (which I can only remember as being more brownish and white) was filled with faery tales and so I learnt of Rumpelstiltskin and the Singing Ringing Tree, Beauty and the Beast and so on.

I quite liked "dwarves".  I hate that term these days even though people who I knew who were classed as such used the term. But I did wonder why they always seemed to be portrayed as crafty or evil? Now, I can't even remember which TV show or story it was but I watched this blond-haired small person and he was quite acrobatic and clever.  That image always stuck with me and that, in the late 1960s, was the concept of the character who became Klaud von Happe -Kopfmann. Leader of D-Gruppe.

Now, as I've posted before on CBO (and probably here somewhere!), the first super hero to hit German comics was Superman in the early 1950s. Baron Munchhausen was a fantastical character and I saw a few versions of the story in picture books. But not a super hero. Later Batman and the other DC heroes and those of Marvel -and briefly Archie comics- hit the shelves. There were also a lot of Franco-Belgian comics and in these Wastl (or "Jerome" in Suske und Wiske) was the nearest thing to a costumed super hero and later still Mykros joined the ranks (I've posted a good few times on Mykros on CBO but no actual homegrown super heroes.

On the old Droster farm I had to entertain myself and so I began drawing and the un-named D-Gruppe composed of a mixed bag of characters and were based in the nearby forest.  Today, of course, they are still based in the state of Lippe.  And do I wish I'd kept those early efforts but that was out of my hands.
So I can place Kopfmann and the initial spark of creating D-Gruppe as the late 1960s and early 1970s.

I soon found that in the UK no one was interested in German characters (I should have thought that through).  So when did the published D-Gruppe appear?

Well, I produced a "trash can" comic in 1983. I sent it out to some Small Pressers in Germany and I know copies even got to East Germany and I know that because I got some of the smuggled out East German comics!

The first printed glimpse of D-Gruppe was around 1984 and then in an issue of Zine Zone in which it was announced the first officially published story -Revenge of the Ice Queen- was to be printed in my Previews Comic -a favourite amongst comic professionals at the time. So 1985/86.

Around the same time I decided that the evil, semi deformed, psychotic "Soviets" and Chinese who were still featuring in Marvel and DC comics really needed more realistic counterparts!  I knew Chinese people and some Russians.  They were not inhuman monsters waiting to destroy democracy. So Red Star Squadron and the PRC Phoenix Team clashed but then cooperated on the Soviet-Sino border against...The Evil of The Salamander...actually the title of the strip which was later reprinted in Black Tower Adventure vol. 2 nos 1-3. Which got a lot of us laughing because some idiot, I can't even remember his name, wrote in a fanzine that I was glorify Communism and that I must be "a commie"! It was funny because no British person seriously ran around Commie bashing in the 1980s.

It was a mad period of creativity because, before Task Force Justice League there was Task Force Europe -Belgian, French, Spanish, Luxembourg and other countries providing heroes for the team and so I pretty much had Europe covered!

Watcher Das Internationale magazin fuer Phantastik was a photocopied fanzine of sorts published by Chris Dohr from Trier, in Germany.  It covered movies -such as The Fly (original), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Willow, the TV series UFO as well as fantasy literature and comics.

There were some great single illoes by American Dave Fontaine, from Attleboro who even did a couple D-Gruppe illoes -where is he now?? The third issue of Watcher contained a lengthy strip by David Stepheson (from the UK -another “Where is he now!?”) The Master Of Mengerheim (a strip originally published in Black Tower Previews Comic.

But earlier in 1989, Chris published the first story featuring D-Gruppe  Rache Der Eis Konigin. By 1989 “Gruppe D” as it was titled in the magazine, was a well known strip in Germany amongst fans. Helge “Herod” Korda had already parodied it in a mini comic titled D-Suppe (“D-Soup”) which I no longer have sadly. Helge, of course, was creator of the parody Heroes From The Lost Lagoon comic strip and later comic album.

I was not very impressed by the way the strip was presented by Watcher (crooked printing on some pages) but where I had a big problem was…the translation.  Ice Queen is feminine so it should have been “Die” rather than “Der” (?). I was also surprised that the name of a German national monument such as Externsteine was miss-spelt as “Externen Steinen”!

Although I was not too keen on this German version I was surprised to learn that it had been copied and distributed to comic fans in East Germany where there was a strong underground zine scene.

But what the heck -here, unedited, is the story from Watcher. Helge "Herod" Korda  -if you see this PLEASE tell me you still have a copy of “D-Suppe”!!!

It was interesting to see the rather nasty responses to D-Gruppe on some German comic forums. "Super heroes" was a dirty word and "They have no place in German be fair neither did German creations because most things being published were Franco-Belgian and even British!  But there was some support and getting that was good.

I've covered the whole history on CBO so I'll not go into that here.  However, it shocked me to realise D-Gruppe has been with me nearly 50 years! Bloody hell.

But the team has not only featured in its own comic, trade but also in Return of the Gods: Twilight of the Super Heroes and the up-coming Green Skies.  And Stransky & Labbat have featured their ow darker, parallel Earth versions in their EP 667 strips.

I guess D-Gruppe were Germany's first and so far longest running team of super heroes!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

It Had To Happen. First The Comic Then The T-Shirt (Somehow we missed the movie and TV series!)

I always prefer to stick to books rather than merchandising but....times are very bad and so I thought why not get a couple T-shirt designs featuring Germany's first super heroes and team...D-Gruppe? The full story of the team you can find in this post:

Yes, you, too, can now show your support for Germany's first ever super hero team, D-Gruppe, by buying the T-shirt!   
Can't get easier than that, can it?

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Return Of The Gods and Cross Earths Caper!

It's five years to the day since Black Tower Adventure (vol. 2) No. 7 was published and featured part 1 of The Cross-Earths Caper.

FIVE years??


The story, the second part of the Invasion Earth Trilogy, was published to coincide with the original, much shorter version of The Return Of The Gods:Twilight Of The Super Heroes book. That version is still available but, seriously, 130pp compared to the full 300+pp....which would you go for?

And right now I'm going off to work on some pages for the pre-Green Skies build up -that being the final part of the Trilogy.

In the meantime, why not take a look at Black Tower's online store because there are many goodies on there you ought to enjoy!

Stay good.