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By Matt Kamen     October 16, 2006

Mc2 New Comics Stories
© Midland Comics Collective
Can I call you Chris?

With less than a fortnight left before the London Expo, it seems the organisers still have some tricks up their sleeves. As announced on 13th October, the near-legendary Christopher Lee will be in attendance. However, don't start scouring eBay for that elusive Count Dooku replica lightsaber, as the esteemed Mr. Lee will only be signing copies of his new album at £15 a pop. However, attendees buying the CD are then eligible to attend a second event where he will sign other items. That seems a rather elongated process but then, he was an evil Sith lord... Hopefully Mr. Lee will deign to at least speak with fans at the Expo.

Muthing to see here...

In a coincidental trade off for Lee's appearance, Ellen Muth, star of cult (and sadly cancelled) show Dead Like Me, will not be able to attend. Damn.

Comics Show

The Birmingham International Comics Show has opened all sections of its website now, giving an idea of the various events to expect there and taking registrations from both regular attendees and any other working comics professionals who would like to attend. It's great to see events like this showing up outside of London and with enough support it'll hopefully end up being an annual show.

Free booze!

Also taking place in Birmingham soon is the launch party for the debut title from Midlands based independent comics group, The Midlands Comic Collective. Their press release follows:

"Midlands Comics Collective's premier comic anthology launch party

The Midlands Comics Collective will be hosting a launch party for their first anthology title, 'MC²', beginning 6.30PM November 8th at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham. A selection of food and drink will be available, along with a display of artwork appearing in the pages.

The Midlands Comics Collective is a group of established and aspiring comics creators based in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, most of whom met through Hi8us Midlands' highly successful "StripSearch" project to identify and train exceptional local artists. Funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, "MC²" is a 96 page showcase of their talents. Hailing from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds but linked by a passion for creating comics, the Collective's debut anthology presents many different themes and artistic styles, from childhood memories and horror to slapstick comedy and superheroes.

"Virtually everyone has happy memories of reading comics as a child, but as people get older, they often forget the pleasure of sequential art. We in the Midlands Comics Collective never forgot, and now we're giving back this rich and versatile medium the respect it deserves. Our anthology aims to prove that Britain, and particularly the Midlands, has vast (and largely untapped) reserves of talented and dedicated comic creators, and also to send out an important message that comics are for everyone."

Laura Howell (Chair, Midlands Comics Collective)

Contributors include John McCrea (2000AD, Spider-Man), Hunt Emerson (The Beano), winner of the International Manga and Anime Festival awards 2005 Michiru Morikawa, and Asia Alfasi, a rising star among British comic artists.

For more information, contact:

Laura Howell ( - 0121 2448647

Mike Ball (


Notes to Editors:

MC² is funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Most creators involved will be available for interview.

Visit Stripsearch for more about the ongoing StripSearch scheme."

Yes, the event is catered to a degree and no, you CAN'T just go for free food. The evening promises to be a great chance to get a look at the full-size art and meet the creators involved and I'm told the final printed edition should be on sale on the night.

New DVD Picks for 16/10/06

Garth Marenghi's Dark Place: The Complete Series

If the greatest trick the devil ever played was to convince the world he doesn't exist, the the award for second place surely goes to Matthew Holness and Richard Ayoade for so convincingly creating Dark Place, a 'lost' horror series from the 1980s. In reality a slick comedy parodying the horror genre made in 2004, Dark Place follows Dr. Rick Dagless, played by Marenghi, in turn played by Holness as he deals with the bizarre happenings at a Romford Hospital. Smashing together references to Steven King, Lars Von Trier and Twin Peaks, it was severely underappreciated when it originally aired but this DVD set should more than make up for it. Packing in commentary on each episode, deleted scenes, character interviews and more, it's well worth trying to wrap your head around.

Flash Gordon: The Complete Series

There have been many on-screen interpretations of Flash Gordon over the years but (with the obvious exception of the 80s rock opera movie starring Sam Jones as Flash) few are as iconic as the original Buster Krabbe serials. While those serials have been released individually before, this is the first time all three Space Soldiers, Trip to Mars and Conquers the Universe have been released in one singular set. Sadly there are no extras but the low price makes up for it.

Place Promised In Our Early Days

Makoto Shinkai is a one-man anime powerhouse. After debuting in 2002 with the award-winning Voices of a Distant Star, Shinkai has assembled a small crew to assist in the production of his first full length feature but this is still undeniably his own work. The story focuses on three friends growing up in an alternate Japan against a backdrop of social separation and war and is quite possibly the most beautiful piece of animation you'll see this year. The DVD release features Japanese and English audio options and interviews with Shinkai and the Japanese cast.

That's it for this week. Thoughts? Comments? Hatemail? Contact me at


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