It's from Strang in the Underworld (by Dudly Watkins, I believe, more famous for Oor Wullie) and I think it's probably best left without too much explanation.
My brother, Murray, has started blogging again - good writing and interesting views and reviews can all be found at the revamped Mewsings. I'd also recommend his excellent Violet Apple website for an example of how good a website about an author (in this case, David Lindsay) can be.
Accent UK are hoping to raise the profile of their new themed anthology, Western, in light of recent benchmark restrictions introduced by their distributor, Diamond. Year after year Dave and Colin have been producing some of the most interesting UK indie comics within these books (and they are books - Western runs to 192 pages) and if you have yet to try one, you really really should. Ask your local comic shop to get some in!
There's a new publisher on the block, though from someone who has been involved in comics for many years, bringing much experience and an enormous comics knowledge to the cause. Steve Holland (of the essential Bear Alley blog) has launched Bear Alley Books. The first two collections will be Cursitor Doom and The Phantom Patrol, available this August, and I can't wait.
Lastly, there's been some internet stuff about British comics artist Ron Smith recently (still alive in his eighties), and it reminded me how much his work meant to me as a child. I was a 2000AD reader on and off in the late seventies, but one of the first stories that really hooked me onto the comic was The Judge Child Quest, and though I was already a head-over-heels devotee of Brian Bolland's exquisite line, it was Ron Smith that really engaged me on this story. I would spend ages studying his pages, bursting as they were with crowds of unique characters. His work was alive, fleshy, and technically brilliant. He's sometimes a little forgotten, hidden amongst the giant shadows of Bolland, McMahon and Ezquerra, but along with Colin Wilson (another favourite thanks to his amazing futuristic vehicles and guns) he deserves his place among the greats.
Would you like a bed-time story read to you by the author? Viviane Schwarz has filmed herself reading her excellent and highly original There Are Cats In This Book. I guarantee you will watch and enjoy it with a big grin across your face, and then probably watch it again. (And then you could go and buy yourself a copy too).
What else? So much else! Neill Cameron has bravely started Neill's A-Z of Awesomeness, inspired (he generously says) by my own A-Z of Comic Strip Characters. Go and join the Facebook group and join in the fun!
So much more I wanted to waffle on about, but I must rustle up some dinner. So I'll just end off by checking - have you visited the Super Comics Adventure Squad recently? Always some lovely stuff going on there.
Sarah launched the competition last week and it's been great fun (if slightly bizarre) to see all the great entries. You can see the full hairy display here, here, here and here, and the choosing ceremony here. Thanks Sarah!
And a huge thanks to everyone who entered - I'm sorry you couldn't all have prizes just for entering! There will definitely be more competitions to come.
And talking of competitions, Sarah McIntyre decided to celebrate the 40th of June by holding her own competition - you have to draw a suitably extravagant moustache on this terrific portrait she's drawn. See Sarah's blog for details - and again, the deadline is Sunday evening (7 June). What a great idea!
The 40th June turned out to be a very successful day thanks to all the wonderful supporters and friends of The Rainbow Orchid. I don't know how many people sent out emails to tell their friends about the book (enormous thanks if you did), but I can mention some of the blog posts that I was alerted to - please give them all a visit and check out the rest of these wonderful sites...
I must also share this brilliant piece of artwork by Simon Doyle with you. Thank you Simon - that's going straight up into the Readers' Art gallery (where you can also read the hilarious text that accompanies it).
And so I'm going to be very cheeky and ask you, my dear Rainbow Orchid readers, if you'd be so kind as to give me a little present! On my birthday, which is this Thursday, 4th June, I would be most grateful if you would do something to spread the word about The Rainbow Orchid and its approaching publication. If you have a blog, perhaps you could write a line and give a link, or maybe you could post something on a forum, or tweet on Twitter, or even just email a couple of friends who you think might be interested in giving the comic a look. You could point them to the online preview, or maybe the shop. No obligation, just a little awareness raising. It would be enormously kind of you!
In return, I am offering up a little competition to win one of the two cover proofs I received from Egmont a few weeks ago - signed by me and with some original little character drawings down one side. To enter, log in to the members' area (anyone can enter as long as you're a registered reader - it's free to sign up) and click the 'competitions' link, where you will find three simple questions to answer in order to have a chance at owning this unique Rainbow Orchid goody.
In addition to all this, to continue with the Fortieth of June celebrations, a new interview has gone up online, though this one is a little different in that it is my first audio interview (so please be gentle with me, I know I get a bit rambly sometimes!). I talked to researcher and author Linda Wada for her first Table Chat podcast, and the result is a one hour and fifteen minute wander through the creation of The Rainbow Orchid, from Imagination to Print, as Linda has titled it. If you give it a listen, I hope you enjoy it!