Thursday, 13 July 2023

The Art of Classic Sci-Fi Movies: An Illustrated History Out in November

Speaking of covers, as I was last month in relation to my forthcoming book Marvel Arms and Armour, which is out in the autumn, there's also a cover and info up on Amazon for another book I've contributed to, which is also out in the autumn. Edited by Adam Newell, The Art of Classic Sci-Fi Movies: An Illustrated History is a phantasmagoria of sensational SF poster art culled from across the 20th century, and comes complete with an introduction by Kim Newman and essays by Stephen Jones, Margaret A. Weitekamp, Mark Salisbury and me. As you can see, I'm in rarefied company, so it was a thrill to be asked to contribute, and to get to write about two of my favourite science fiction films. As to what those films are, I'll reveal the titles, and the era I discuss, a little nearer the publication date, which is 1 November 2023.

Friday, 16 June 2023

Marvel Arms and Armour by Nick Jones: Cover and Interior Pages Revealed!

Just a quick note to say there's a rather splendid-looking cover up on Amazon for my next book, Marvel Arms and Armour: The Mightiest Weapons and Technology in the Marvel Universe. Titled, naturally, Marvel Arms and Armor in the US, it'll be out in October, and there are sample spreads on Amazon too. Feast your eyes on this lot, and rest assured I'll be banging on about the book a lot more ahead of publication.

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy The Ultimate Guide New Edition by Nick Jones (i.e., me) Is Out Now!

Or rather, Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy The Ultimate Guide New Edition by Nick Jones (i.e., me) is out now in the United States and on Thursday 6 April in the UK. So actually it's out twice! Except 'Out Twice!' looked a bit weird in the blog post title, hence why I went with 'Out Now!' 

I like to think that one day I'll manage to write a snappy opening to one of my posts, but clearly that day isn't today.

Anyway, the gist of all this is I have a new book out – an updated edition of my 2017 book Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide, revised throughout (by me) and with an additional 16 pages (also by me). On first inspection it might not appear to be radically different to the original edition – its splendid new cover aside – but every page has been revised or tweaked in some fashion and/or shuffled around in the running order so that the whole thing is now a tighter, better read. I always intended the book to be read narratively from front to back as well as in a dip-in-and-out manner, and the updates and changes mean that it now does so even more effectively. Plus, the additional pages allowed me to bring the story of the Guardians in comics up to a more natural – and obviously more up-to-date – stopping point, rather than being curtailed two-thirds of the way through the Brian Michael Bendis run.

As well as James Gunn's much-anticipated third Guardians of the Galaxy film, there's also a new Guardians of the Galaxy comic series imminent, so the timing of The Ultimate Guide New Edition is perfect. Basically, if you want to know pretty much everything there is to know about the Guardians ahead of either the movie or the new comic, grab yourself a copy of Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy The Ultimate Guide New Edition (or borrow it from your local library – either works for me).

Sunday, 5 February 2023

Batman, Detective Comics, the DC Heroes & Villains Collection, and the Rise of Killer Croc

The earliest DC comics I remember reading as a kid were reprints in various British publications, chiefly 'Superman, You're Dead... Dead... Dead!' from Action Comics #399 (April 1971), a shocking story – to an impressionable lad who was unaware that Superman almost certainly wasn't dead – by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson which I either read in a secondhand copy of the 1973 Superman Annual No. 1 or in the 1981 Hamlyn edition of Superman: From the 30's to the 70's (or both); and 'The Secret of the Waiting Graves' from Detective Comics #395 (January 1970), Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano's groundbreaking first Batman collaboration, which I probably read in black-and-white in the October 1980 first issue of The Super Heroes Monthly. But the earliest DC comics I remember reading in their original American comic book format are the ones collected in the latest volume of the DC Heroes & Villains Collection

Batman: The Rise of Killer Croc, namely Detective Comics #523–526 and Batman #357–359 (February–May 1983). I bought most of these comics in a long-since-vanished newsagent opposite Beckenham Rec, most memorably the double-sized Detective Comics #526 (May 1983), an extra-length all-star villain extravaganza by regular writer Gerry Conway and artists Don Newton and Alfredo Alcala. It's still my favourite Batman comic all these years later, but the whole storyline is great, weaving between Detective and Batman – the two titles tied together so closely by this point that they effectively became one fortnightly series, a Conway innovation – featuring fine work by Don Newton's fellow regular Bat-artist Gene Colan, plus guest artists Curt Swan and Dan Jurgens, and introducing not just the new villain of the DC Heroes & Villains Collection edition title – actually my title; this storyline has never had a proper title, so I gave it one – but a Robin-to-be in the shape of Jason Todd.

When I was first putting together notes and ideas for what would eventually become the DC Heroes & Villains Collection, one of the first storylines – if not the first storyline – I put on the list of potentials was this one (titled simply the 'Killer Croc saga' at that point). It remained on every iteration of the list right through to the finished collection itself; I made damn sure of that. I loved these comics as a kid, and forty years later I got to collect them in a discrete volume for the first time (the storyline has been collected once before in full, as part of Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway Vol. 3, but not as its own edition) under a title I came up with. Even better – from my perspective if not necessarily the poor readers' – I got to write a 500-word introduction and 6000-word feature on the Conway/Colan/Newton era of Batman.

I would rest on my laurels here, but the DC Heroes & Villains Collection rolls ever onwards, plus I've got a book to write, so there's no rest for the wicked just yet. But now I have a copy of it in my hands – a freshly printed hardback, with its spot-varnish cover and that inky new-book smell – I will take a moment to leaf through and linger over Batman: The Rise of Killer Croc, a book I reckon 12-year-old-me would have been well impressed by.