An American Werewolf In London has been one of my favourite films since I was a teenager and while I’ve seen it countless times on TV and video, I’ve never seen it on a big screen. So when I got the chance to see it introduced by director John Landis at horror movie festival FrightFest in London this month, I jumped at the chance. It is being released on Blu-ray in September so this is a new print, remastered and cleaned up, and I have to say it was amazing to see it on the big screen, especially at the Empire, one of the best screens in the UK. Rick Baker’s makeup and special effects look stunning and Landis’s choice of incidental music is so perfect (I still get chills down my spine whenever I hear ‘Bad Moon Rising’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival). There was a brief Q&A with Landis afterwards and (you’ll be shocked to hear) I did get a few photos of him and some of the crew of the film who were also there. Of course, he also directed Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video and he talked a little bit about that. We are planning a Landis feature in the next issue of TRIPWIRE which may be out by the end of the year. Here are a few of my photos…

You may have noticed that I haven’t been updating this blog as frequently as I used to. This is partly because we have been putting content up on the Tripwire site. But to address this, here are a few photos I took when I walked with Andy C and Leon from Teddington to Hampton Court, attempting to do it all via the River Thames. This is the furthest western stretch of what you can still call London by the river as the further west you go from Hampton Court, you are into the beginning of Surrey, which doesn’t count. I first became obsessed with walking the river a few years ago and when I upgraded my camera, I wanted to revisit certain stretches I had done before. But I had never walked from Teddington to Hampton Court. It was a very interesting walk, taking us through pretty Teddington, more urban Kingston and unfortunately because we stayed on the south bank of the river at Surbiton, it took us away from the river when we hit Thames Ditton, although Thames Ditton is a very picturesque and appealing place. So here are some photos I grabbed on the walk, which took about four hours or so…

Steven Grant at was kind enough to review us in his Permanent Damage column this week:

By the way, if you’re still into that print magazine paradigm, do yourself a favor and track down the TRIPWIRE ANNUAL 2009. Very nicely designed with top-notch articles on film, tv and comics (modern and historical, “mainstream” and independent, Brit and American and elsewhere) whose interest doesn’t demand your pre-existing interest in (and knowledge of the subject), from Joe Kubert to 70 years of Marvel Comics to the new Vertigo crime comics line, Guillermo del Toro, HEROES and BEING HUMAN, and that’s only skimming the surface. Plus a variety of good original comics and my favorite annual joke piece, The Comics Power List AKA the most powerful people in the comics business. (No, pretty sure they don’t intend it as a joke, but it’s always pretty funny nonetheless.) TRIPWIRE was one of the casualties of recent Diamond policy changes, though Diamond has comfortingly offered to take another look (no promises, though!) next year, so reportedly the magazine has cut itself a different distribution deal, through Barnes & Noble, so do yourself a favor and track it down there.

Sales have been brisk in the UK so far with UK comic shops doing well with it. If you’re based here, you can still get it from Diamond UK, item number code APR097907

Richard Bruton on his FPI Blog has been kind enough to review the TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 and it’s a fantastic review:

It’s always appreciated to get continued support from the likes of Richard and John Freeman at downthetubes. Reception to the Annual has been fantastic.


If you head over to, you’ll find my review of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Is it a return to form or an unmitigated disaster? Read my review to find out what I thought…
We’ve already put up a few posts at the TRIPWIRE website and we’ll be ramping up what’s there with graphic novel reviews, show reports and much more.
I saw Terry Gilliam’s Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus yesterday, so I’ll be putting up a review of that there in the next week or so too.


Two of our regular supporters, Forbidden Planet International Blog and John Freeman’s downthetubes, have run plugs for the TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 and John’s even reviewed us:

In Review: Tripwire 2009 Annual… Simply Awesome!

magazine_tripwire_annual200.jpgRegular readers of downthetubeswill recall that as a result of distributor Diamond’s recently-introduced minimum order levels, this latest edition of ace comics and genre magazine Tripwire is not being distributed in the US. (See news story).

While not the only victim of distribution changes brought on by the recession and, we assume, an attempt by Diamond to focus on promoting releases from bigger companies on the assumption they are to be of higher quality than material published by small independents, in the case of Tripwire this decision was a mistake, because the editorial team led by Joel Meadows have really pulled out the stops with this Annual and delivered a jaw-dropping publication well deserving of purchase and wider (that is, US, availabilty).

The magazine’s stunning “Samuel l. Jackson as Nick Fury” cover by Jeff Carlisle (prompted by an in-depth look at Marvel Comics and its 70th anniversary) is the first indication of the title’s quality. Design throughout is also superb, with strong text carefully counter-balanced with no shortage of great visuals – both art and photographic. (I’d argue for a consistent three-column layout and same point size throughout in future issues, but this niggly editorial view shouldn’t diminish the worth of this product).

Editorially, the annual offers an incredible range of features including an exclusive interview with award-winning genre master Guillermo Del Torodiscussing his new novel The Strain as well as a few tidbits on Hellboy 3and upcoming movie projects; a guide to the critically-acclaimed low budget British sci-fi movie Moon starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones; a Bongo Comics interview with Bill Morrison; an exclusive and beautifully illustrated interview with comics veteran Joe Kubert, a guide to the rise of Tintin and a look at European comics, a handy retrospective to 30 years of Alien films – handy, given news that director Ridley Scott is to return to the franchise; and much, much more, including an eclectic ‘Stripwire’ section that features comic strips from the likes of Roger Langridge, Declan Shalvey, David Hitchcock and others..

When the project was announced earlier in the year it was described as the best Tripwire yet, and I can only concur – and how. Anyone who argues print is dead should be shown this top-notch, high-quality magazine, to show not only how print still has its place in terms of promoting the comics industry, but also as a template for future magazine publishing in a more digital age. 

This is a truly awesome edition of Tripwire – buy it now! 

So if you’re a UK retailer or based in the UK and still haven’t bought the Annual 2009, you can still get it from Diamond UK, item number APR097907

Friday was spent mostly at the TRIPWIRE table, selling copies of the TRIPWIRE Annual 2009. I did get to do a Disney roundtable with Pixar’s John Lasseter and Japanese superstar director Hayao Miyazaki plus I also did a roundtable with Toy Story 3 director Lee Unrich. They were both very enjoyable if a little too short and I gave Lasseter a copy of Studio Space and the latest Annual. I also went to an Angel of Death roundtable in the evening with its writer Ed Brubaker, stars Zoe Bell, Ted Raimi, Doug Jones, director Paul Etheredge and producer John Norris, which was a lot of fun actually although it meant I had to sprint to avoid missing dinner. So Friday was a little bit exhausting but a pretty good day. I only did one press thing on Saturday and that was a Solomon Kane roundtable with its director Michael Bassett and star James Purefoy, Marc Anthony in HBO’s Rome. The advance word on the film is very positive and it would be great for a movie like this to do well. I also got a few photos of James Callis, aka Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica, when I went to find someone else. Weirdly, even though this was the Saturday at the show, there was no queue for Callis. So the busiest day of the show ended pretty decently…

So Wednesday started with us dropping off copies of TRIPWIRE at the conference which took place at the Marriott. We gave out copies of 2008 and 2009’s Annuals and saw Jeph Loeb give a keynote speech, watched Robert Venditti and Chris Staros discuss the Surrogates‘ move from comics to the big screen, which was fairly interesting when you consider that this was Venditti’s first comic and his day job is helping Staros out at Top Shelf. Jeff Smith talked about how he has resisted a cinematic version of his series Bone, which was pretty funny. I admit we didn’t stick around for the second half of the conference as I was still tired and trying to adjust to the time difference. So we set up for Preview Night and got a decent amount of foot traffic by our table, making a few sales of the new Annual. I saw Richard Taylor from Weta briefly on Wednesday too, which is always a pleasure. I don’t remember where we went for dinner on Wednesday. Thursday was a decent day as we kicked it off with the TRIPWIRE panel, which Rich Johnston and Kody Chamberlain came for, and we even had a good turn out for the audience. Myself and Andy G also met with our Barnes & Noble buyer, James Killen, which went well, I did a press conference with Tim Burton about Alice in Wonderland and I got to do a Terry Gilliam roundtable about Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. I got some great photos of him and he came across as very approachable. To be honest, if all I did at the whole show was do the Gilliam thing, I would have been satisfied. The weirdest thing about Burton is that, the older he gets, the more he looks like Bob Dylan. Myself and Andy G met with Bill Schanes at Diamond Comic Distributors regarding the whole benchmark thing and, while he was very pleasant, they wouldn’t change their mind, which is their prerogative. So we are looking at other options. I didn’t get to do the James Cameron interview or Peter Jackson but I did a Kick-Ass roundtable that evening and got to see its producer Tarquin Pack again, which was cool. I saw lots of people throughout the show and gave them copies of the magazine and don’t remember looking back which day I actually saw them. Sales on Thursday were steady. So here’s another selection of photos from Wednesday and Thursday…