Moore & Reppion 2000AD signing at Manchester Travelling Man, Sat 25th February

2000 AD is to celebrate its birthday weekend in style with signings across the country!

With the massive success of the sold-out 40 Years of Thrill-power Festival in London last weekend and with its actual birthday of 26 February fast approaching, 2000 AD is delighted to announce new signing events in Manchester, Birmingham, and Scotland.

Earthlets who missed out on the historic event in Hammersmith will be able to meet just some of the incredible creators who’ve made 2000 AD the galaxy’s greatest comic.

The perfect tome to launch these celebrations is Thrill-power Overload, a whopping 300+ page hardcover containing the updated official history of 2000 AD, from its earliest days to its current success, from creator clashes to near-cancellation.

On Saturday 18 February, Biggar Library and Scottish independent Bookshop of the Year Atkinson-Pryce will host a Thrill-power Overload signing with artist Colin MacNeil (Judge Dredd: America) and former 2000 AD editor David Bishop from 1pm.

Then on Friday 24 February, Waterstones West End in Edinburgh will host Thrill-power Overload authors David Bishop and Karl Stock for a signing at 12.30pm.

At 1pm on Saturday 25 February, signings will take place at the Travelling Man comic book store in Manchester and the Nostalgia and Comics store Birmingham with topflight creators Steve Yeowell (Zenith), Leah Moore (Storm Warning), John Reppion (Storm Warning), Nick Percival (Judge Dredd), Ian Edginton (Scarlet Traces), D’Israeli (Scarlet Traces).

This year the legendary weekly British anthology comic 2000 AD celebrates forty years of innovative, provocative, and original sci-fi, fantasy, and horror action from the cream of comics creators. It has brought the industry some of its biggest talents, from Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and Mark Millar, to Jock, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, and many more. Published in print and digital every Wednesday, 2000 AD is the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic and remains at the industry’s cutting edge.

Full signing details:

18 February

Colin MacNeil, David Bishop – Biggar Library, Biggar, Scotland , 1pm

24 February

David Bishop, Karl Stock – Waterstones West End, Edinburgh, 12.30pm

25 February

Steve Yeowell, Leah Moore, John Reppion, Nick Percival – Travelling Man, Manchester, 1pm

Ian Edginton, D’Israeli – Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham, 1pm

Spirits of Place in the Independent online

Recently I spoke to David M. Barnett about psychogeography and Spirits of Place for the Independent online.

Not far from where I live there’s a landscape that’s soaked in apocalyptic imagery. Thornton is a wild and sometimes bleak place, on the hills above Bradford, where the Brontë sisters were born before moving to Haworth, the place they’re more usually associated with, six miles away.

Thornton is farmland and scrub, beautiful in the summer sun, foreboding and often impassable in the depths of winter. There’s a place called World’s End View, from where you feel it really is possible to sit out the apocalypse. There are scattered communities with Biblical names… Egypt, Jerusalem, and Jericho, which even had its own monstrous walls in the Victorian era, massive ramparts that edged the road through and held back the mountains of waste from the stone quarries.

Read the full article at independent.co.uk

Spring Heeled Jack Visits Liverpool, from Fortean Times #238

Today Dr. Karl Bell has posted an very interesting article entitled Spring-heeled Jack: The Terror of Victorian England over on the #FolkloreThursday website.

This reminded me of my own small Spring Heeled Jack piece, originally from my book 800 Years of Haunted Liverpool, later published in Fortean Times #238 in 2008. I thought I may as well post it here for Folklore Thursday interest.

I should say that Jack’s visit to Liverpool was investigated by none other than the Great Detective himself, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, in our 2012/2013 Dynamite Entertainment series The Liverpool Demon.

The entity we now call Spring Heeled Jack first made its self known late in the summer of 1837 when a curious shape changing creature – reported variously as an imp, a white bull, a ghost, an armour clad man and a bear – terrorised the satellite villages of the capital. By January 1838, these reports had grown so numerous that the then Lord Mayor of London, Sir John Cowan, convinced that pranksters where to blame, vowed that those responsible would be caught and punished. London was in the grip of a sort of mass hysteria with the thing – now christened Spring Heeled Jack because of the immense leaps it seemed capable of – being sighted all over the city, yet somehow always evading capture.

It was at the height of this panic, on the evening of the 20th of February 1838 that an eighteen year old girl by the name of Jane Alsop was startled by a furious knocking at the door of her family home in the district of Bow. Jane answered the door to an excited gentleman who claimed to be a police officer. He breathlessly informed the young lady that he believed he had successfully apprehended non-other than Spring Heeled Jack himself and implored her to fetch a lamp. When Ms. Alsop returned however, the lamp’s light revealed the caller’s peculiar attire “he was wearing a kind of helmet, and a tight fitting white costume like an oilskin. His face was hideous; his eyes were like balls of fire. His hands had claws of some metallic substance”.i The man attacked Jane, tearing at her clothes with his talon-like hands but vanished into the night when, alerted by her screams of terror, members of her family came to her assistance. In a statement given to the Lambeth police Jane swore that the caller had “vomited blue and white flames” during the assault. Only five days later another eighteen year old girl, this time named Lucy Scales was walking with her sister on their way home from visiting their brother. As the women travelled along the thoroughfare known as Green Dragon Alley a figure sprang from the shadows and attacked Lucy, apparently breathing fire into her face. The assailant then strolled calmly away as Lucy’s sister tried desperately to tend to her sibling, calling out for help from anyone who might hear. Lucy was rendered insensible by the attack and fell into violent spasms which lasted several hours.

These reports and others like them cemented Jack’s reputation as a kind of fiendish cultural icon for the new Victorian age, a position which he held up until his more vicious namesake Jack the Ripper began his reign of terror. Penny Dreadfuls, the day’s version of pulp fiction magazines, telling of the phantom’s exploits were published and plays bearing his name were staged in many of the city’s fleapit theatres. Soon however, the attacks became less frequent and slowly but surely Spring Heeled Jack faded from real life terror to urban myth. Over the next few decades periodic sightings of the entity came from as far afield as Sheffield, Northampton and Lincolnshire. On one occasion he was even shot by a soldier when he appeared at an army barracks in Aldershot, the bullets apparently having no adverse effect.

It was in 1888 that Jack made his first appearance in Liverpool; members of Everton’s Saint Francis Xavier’s Boys’ Guild were passing an evening playing games in the school room when a frightened lad rushed in and announced that the creature had been sighted on nearby Shaw Street. The boys rushed outside in search of old Jack but found nothing although, it is alleged that a crowd of people had gathered outside Saint Francis Xavier’s church, claiming that the thing was clinging to its steepleii.

Some sixteen years after his first visit, it seems that Spring Heeled Jack decided to drop in on the citizens of Everton for a second time. Or did he? On the 21st of September 1904 an article ran in the Liverpool Echo under the heading An Everton Ghost Story.

Considerable commotion was caused yesterday in William Henry-street, Everton, on a rumour that a sort of “spring-heel Jack” was pursuing his antics in that neighbourhood. The story, as it was passed from mouth to mouth, reached sensational dimensions. It referred chiefly to the annoyance of the inmates of a certain house by means of various missiles being thrown in a mysterious manner and without any visible agency. The annoyance is said to have been so great that the tenants left the house to-day, but the police have been unable to find any ground for the suggestion that a “ghost” was at work, and believe some foolish person has been playing pranks.

Three days later, the Echo reported the case of a boy who had been arrested for breaking the window of the residence in question.

“[…] the people of the neighbourhood had for some reason voted the house haunted. Several hundreds of the denizens yesterday swarmed about it and the prisoner determined upon the self-imposed task of interviewing the ghost. He climbed the back wall and entered the house, having to break a pane of glass to unfasten the window-catch. Great excitement prevailed among the juveniles in the crowd as to the fate of [Hugh] Morgan, but in the midst of it a constable arrived and arrested him for breaking the window, which proved a humiliating discounting of the youth’s heroism.

Presently, the local press seemed to lose their interest in the curious events of William Henry Street. This was not the case elsewhere in the country however; the spirit of Spring Heeled Jack had been invoked and, in the South of the country, his was still not a name to be spoken lightly. On the 24th of September in a short piece about the incident, the London Star reported that

Lurid stories of the doings of the notorious Spring Heeled Jack who some years ago frightened half the women and children of the city were recalled by present scenes”. The following day, evidently heeding the old adage that the facts should never be allowed to get in the way of a good story, the News of the World printed an article entitled Spring Heel Jack – Ghost With a Weakness for Ladies.

Everton (Liverpool) is scared by the singular antics of a ghost, to whom the name of ‘Spring Heel Jack’ has been given, because of the facility with which he has escaped, by huge springs, all attempts of his would-be captors to arrest him. William Henry-street is the scene of his exploits, and crowds of people assemble nightly to see them, but only a few have done so yet and, ‘Jack’ is evidently shy. He is said to pay particular attention to ladies. So far the police have not arrested him, their sprinting powers being inferior.

This journalistic game of Chinese Whispers has long since clouded the facts concerning the events of September 1904 and many a Fortean folklorist will happily tell stories of the devilish creature bounding up and down William Henry Street as crowds of onlookers watched. In truth, since Spring Heeled Jack’s heyday of the late 1830s, his name had become analogous with the Bogeyman, especially in areas which he was reputed to have visited such as Everton. Children were warned that if they did not behave they would be carried off by the creature. Therefore, it is not surprising that missiles raining down from a rooftop, thrown by unseen hands should soon lead to at least one individual exclaiming “It’s Spring Heeled Jack!” or something similar. In fact, a Liverpool Echo interview with a Mrs A. Pierpoint from the 19th of May 1967 offers another explanation for Jack’s association with the case. Mrs. Pierpoint was of school age in 1904 and remembered the facts surrounding the case quite clearly. When asked about Spring Heeled Jack she replied

He was a local man slightly off balance mentally. He had a form of religious mania and he would climb on to rooftops of houses crying out: ‘My wife is the Devil!’ They usually fetched the police or a fire-engine ladder to get him down. As the police closed in on him, he would leap from one house roof to the next. That’s what gave rise to the ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’ rumours.”

Interestingly though, Mrs. Pierpoint was quite emphatic in her interview when questioned about the reality of the haunted house itself.

The poltergeist which haunted the house in Stitt Street was no myth. That existed right enough, as any Everton resident of those days will confirm. The people who lived in that house were awakened night after night by furniture and other things being thrown about the rooms, with no human hand doing the throwing. It got so well-known that people from all over Liverpool used to go and stand outside and look at the place often enough in fear and trembling. Eventually the tenants gave it up and moved out. The windows and doors of the house were boarded up and it was left to its ghost”.

Certainly, the original account of “various missiles being thrown in a mysterious manner and without any visible agency” does sound altogether more like the modus operandi of a poltergeist rather than the old flame belching, flesh scratching terror of London town. Sadly, Stitt Street no longer exists having been demolished sometime during the 1970s or 80s; perhaps the other residents had grown tired of the nuisance caused by the neighbourhood poltergeist (which does, after all, translate from German as “noisy ghost”) and simply left. The other locations involved in the incidents – William Henry Street, Saint Frances Xavier’s collage and church – are all still very much in existence however. As for Jack himself, he still crops up now and again; most recently in South Herefordshire during the late 1980s when a Mr. Marshall was slapped by a strange, jumping figure that bounded away across open fields cackling after the attackiii. Some one hundred and seventy years since Spring Heeled Jack’s first appearance it seems we are no closer to solving the mystery of whom or what it actually is. The creature’s appeal endures however and, in recent years Jack has made a return to the Penny Dreadful, now reborn as the comic book, in David Hitchcock’s highly acclaimed Springheeled Jack series (see David’s website davehitchcock.blogspot.co.uk for more information). In Hitchcock’s tale, Jack is portrayed as an inhuman, parasitic, insectoid creature but, as far fetched as such ideas might seem, I would remind you that, according to some at least, the real life terror of old London town began his career as a bear!

*Thanks to Mike Dash for all his help with this piece. Mike has written extensively about Spring Heeled Jack and many other peculiar subjects, details of which can be found at www.mikedash.com.

i http://living.scotsman.com/people.cfm?id=1465132006

ii “Liverpool Colonnade” by Richard Whittington–Egan, 1955, Manchester.

iii http://www.highlanderweb.co.uk/haunted/haunt1.htm

From Spirits of Place: The Palace Built Over a Hellmouth by Maria J. Pérez Cuervo

Fresh for #FolkloreThursday, Greg Taylor has posted Maria J. Pérez Cuervo’s Spirits of Place essay “The Palace Built Over a Hellmouth“, about El Escorial on the southern slopes of Mount Abantos, over on the Daily Grail website.

Only a king or a queen has the power to move the capital of their kingdom to their preferred location. For King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598), this place was at the very centre of the Iberian Peninsula, not far from the city of Madrid, in an area called El Escorial on the southern slopes of Mount Abantos. Here he vowed to build his life’s plan: a royal residence that would also be a pantheon, a monastery, a library, a museum and a centre of studies. To bring it to life, he hired a group of architects, experienced masons and theologists, who evaluated the terrain positively but, given the monarch’s interest in esotericism and alchemy, probably warned him of an ancient legend: that the Devil himself had lived in a cave at the foot of the mountain, after he was expelled from Heaven and before he opened up seven doors to enter his new abode in the Underworld. The location of one of these doors was El Escorial.

Read the rest at www.dailygrail.com

Haunted Futures coming soon from Ghostwoods Books

A new Greenwood story (first two published in Black Wings V and Uncertainties Vol 1) will be part of Ghostwoods Books’ forthcoming HAUNTED FUTURES anthology.

It’s a treacherous region, the future.

You can’t see far, and the footing is uncertain at best. Ghosts and phantoms stalk the haze around you, and their chittering will lead you astray. There are no maps to this territory, but sometimes a brave soul strides out ahead into the haunted shadows. Those who return to the campfire of the now often bear tales of the visions seared into their minds while they were out there, in the mists.

We have scoured the earth for these most daring of travelers – the ones who have ventured out into the future and returned wraith-laden. Fifteen of them agreed to share their stories. Their enthralling accounts will seize you, and you might find it difficult to fight free of them afterwards, but any risks are overshadowed by the dazzling wonders that await. So muster your courage, and dive into the pages. Haunted Futures of all kinds await you, with open arms and suspiciously toothy smiles.

Leah to contribute to upcoming feminist anthology Femme Magnifique

We’re very pleased to announce that Leah will be working with Alison Sampson on a story for the forthcoming Shelly Bond helmed anthology FEMME MAGNIFIQUE.

Crafted by writers and artists who have been inspired by 30 trailblazers of yesterday and today, FEMME MAGNIFIQUE features stories about women from the worlds of pop music, politics, art, and science. From astronauts and archaeologists to muckrakers and mathematicians, FEMME MAGNIFIQUE will stimulate and educate.

Originally conceived by Shelly Bond, former Executive Editor of Vertigo Comics, Bond explains that “the idea came about immediately after the election. It was the perfect time to take a missed opportunity for women and channel our collective energy into something insightful, full of positivity, that we can pass on to future generations. FEMME MAGNIFIQUE is a graphic novel anthology designed to salute not only the fearless women who toppled the status quo, but also the outstanding writers and artists who infuse their personal stories of ambition and discovery onto the comic book page.”

Along with Shelly Bond, FEMME MAGNIFIQUE’s stories are being curated by Hi-Fi Colour Design founders Kristy Miller and Brian Miller. The husband-and-wife team are no strangers to working with top-tier talent in the comic book industry. Kristy tells us, “We have been lucky enough to work with amazing creators for years, and now we have this opportunity to come together and showcase women in a variety of ways. It takes the support of both men and women to help move women to the forefront, their rightful, equal place.”

THE CREATIVE TEAM
FEMME MAGNIFIQUE is being created by acclaimed and best-selling comic book writers and artists including:

  • Michael and Laura Allred (iZombie, Madman),
  • David Barnett (Calling Major Tom, The Guardian)
  • Marguerite Bennett (Animosity, InSEXts)
  • Corinna Bechko (Star Wars, Invisible Republic),
  • Aditya Bidikar (The Skeptics),
  • Philip Bond (Kill Your Boyfriend, The Invisibles),
  • Tamra Bonvillain (Doom Patrol, Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur),
  • Chuck Brown (Rotten Apple),
  • Paige Braddock (Jane’s World, Stinky Cecil),
  • Mark Buckingham (Fables) and Irma Page,
  • Mike Carey (Lucifer, The Girl with All the Gifts),
  • Cecil Castellucci (Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure, Shade, The Plain Janes),
  • Elsa Charretier (Harley Quinn),
  • Johnnie Christmas (Angel Catbird),
  • Jamie Coe (Art Schooled),
  • Tyler Crook (Harrow County),
  • Rob Davis (The Motherless Oven, Doctor Who),
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet, Pretty Deadly),
  • Ming Doyle (Girl Over Paris, The Kitchen),
  • Kelly Fitzpatrick (Shade, the Changing Girl, Bitch Planet),
  • Chynna Clugston-Flores (Blue Monday),
  • Tess Fowler (Rat Queens),
  • Tee Franklin (Nailbiter: The Outfit, Love Is Love)
  • Karrie Fransman (Death of An Artist, The House that Groaned),
  • Kieron Gillen (Star Wars: Darth Vader, The Wicked + The Divine),
  • Che Grayson (Rigamo)
  • Sanford Greene (Power Man Iron Fist),
  • Peter Gross (Lucifer, The Unwritten),
  • Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets),
  • Betsy Houlton (New York Daily News),
  • Megan Hutchison (Rockstars),
  • Tini Howard (The Skeptics),
  • Lucy Knisley (Relish, Something New),
  • Eugenia Koumaki (Womanthology),
  • Teddy Kristiansen (It’s A Bird, The Sandman),
  • Alisa Kwitney (Token, Convergence: Batgirl, Till the Fat Lady Sings)
  • Sonny Liew (The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, Doctor Fate),
  • Shawn Martinbrough (Luke Cage Noir, Thief of Thieves),
  • Shawn McManus (Fables, The Sandman)
  • Leah Moore (Albion),
  • Kristy Miller (Birds of Prey),
  • Brian Miller (Harley Quinn, Star Wars, Ziggy Stardust),
  • Hope Nicholson (The Secret Loves of Geek Girls),
  • Laurie Penny (The Guardian),
  • Rori! (100 Women/100 Days) and Gibson Twist (Pictures of You),
  • Jim Rugg (Street Angel, The Plain Janes),
  • Steven T. Seagle (It’s A Bird, Big Hero 6)
  • Paula 7bergen (Window Pains, contributor to Bust),
  • Alison Sampson (Winnebago Graveyard, Jessica Jones),
  • Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra: Assassin),
  • Gail Simone (Batgirl, Clean Room),
  • Jill Thompson (Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, Scary Godmother),
  • Matt Wagner (Grendel),
  • Gerard Way (Doom Patrol, My Chemical Romance)
  • Maris Wicks (Science Comics),
  • Annie Wu (Black Canary)
  • Ron Wimberly (Prince of Cats),
  • Marley Zarcone (Shade, the Changing Girl)
  • and more to be announced…

SUPPORT THIS PROJECT
Join the FEMME MAGNIFIQUE mailing list today to be notified when the crowdfunding campaign launches. Sign-up at: http://eepurl.com/cv84Oj