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A NEW DIGITAL TRIP THROUGH THE WIRES
After months of preparation and development, the TRIPWIRE bimonthly app will be available for people to buy from iTunes this month. We shall be producing a new edition every two months so issue two will be out in Feb, issue three will be April and issue four will be June. It will give us the opportunity to cover material from the worlds of comics, movies, genre and related fields with the same approach we have always taken: quality, intelligent journalism. The first issue includes a piece looking at how mainstream superhero films are killing quality Hollywood, what’s wrong with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD show and an audio interview with Ian Rankin, talking about his new Rebus book and much more. To tantalise everybody, here’s the cover image to the first issue. We are all excited at the future opportunities digital has to offer and we’ll be taking full advantage of them. I have neglected this blog over the last few weeks but I shall be back with a vengeance over the next couple of weeks. Come back here to see my review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug this week. But in the meantime, TRIPWIRE digital app is available from iTunes as of now. Please visit the following URL (the app is free but each edition only costs £1.99)
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tripwire-magazine-comics-film/id717140470?mt=8&ls=1

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TRIPWIRE 21 IN PREVIEWS

It’s taken over a year but TRIPWIRE 21 is listed in this month’s Previews. Unlike TRIPWIRE 20 in 2012, the book has been printed so we’re now able to offer it to the US market with stock already available. This 180 page paperback retails at $24.99 US and contains everything for the comics and genre aficionado including:
•new and rarely seen art from a who’s who of comics and genre artists including
Tim Bradstreet, Howard Chaykin, Dave Dorman, Garen Ewing, Duncan Fegredo, Henry Flint, Phil Hale
, Jon Haward, Michael Kaluta, Joe Kubert, Roger Langridge, David Morris, Mike Mignola, Mike Perkins, Sean Phillips, Frank Quitely, Greg Ruth, Walter Simonson, Drew Struzan, Dave Taylor, 
Ben Templesmith, Chris Weston  
•A look at the good, bad and indifferent of the comic movies out between 1992 and 2013
•My 21 favourite covers from the history of TRIPWIRE•A dip into the archive of the magazine, representing warts and all, the pick of our graphic novel and comics and music reviews from 21 years of TRIPWIRE
•Retrospectives on the history of Image and Valiant Comics
•Highlights of TRIPWIRE interviews with Alan Moore, Mike Mignola and Michael Moorcock plus the choicest quotes from a stellar cross-section of the biggest names in comics and genre like Brian Michael Bendis, Peter Milligan, Jim Lee, James Robinson, Matt Groening, Joss Whedon and many more
“TRIPWIRE really is a breath of fresh air. Its layouts are superb, with great well-written features perfectly set off by the pictures, adding clarity and intelligence to every page. And it keeps on doing it. Amazing, Gratifying. A pleasure to look at, a pleasure to read…”  MICHAEL MOORCOCK, fantasy legend (Elric, Hawkmoon) “TRIPWIRE is pop-culture champagne, the one-stop must-have magazine for all that’s cool and classy in comics, film & TV. I’d be an uncultured loon without it.”-  CHRISTOPHER FOWLER, writer, Bryant & May, Roofworld 
“TRIPWIRE is essential reading — one of the best on the market!”-  MARK VERHEIDEN, TV writer, Falling Skies
“TRIPWIRE has been, for more than two decades the touchstone of comic book culture in the UK and one of the leading periodicals dedicated to this narrative art form. Incisive, smart and always relevant.”- Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim
TRIPWIRE 21’s item code is JUN131448 and is listed on page 378 of June’s Previews.Here’s a few pages to tantalise everyone…



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A TRIP BACK THROUGH THE WIRES
In 1992, I was still at sixth form college up in Barnet but it was the year that I started TRIPWIRE. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the magazine and so I thought, just like back in 2002, that we should do something special to mark this milestone. TRIPWIRE 20th Anniversary will be a must-buy book featuring art, rarely seen and new, from the likes of Frank Quitely, Mike Mignola, Walter Simonson, Phil Hale, Howard Chaykin, Drew Struzan, Dave Taylor, Duncan Fegredo, Chris Weston, Jon Haward, Henry Flint and more. It will also represent the cream of the interviews and features of two decades of TRIPWIRE, with everyone from Alan Moore to Frank Miller, Mike Mignola to Guillermo Del Toro featured in its pages. Additionally, TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary will include the best writing on subjects and trends that have shaped and influenced comics and its related media from 1992 to now like the best and worst comic movies, digital comics, creators who have left us, the 20 most iconic TRIPWIRE covers and the best graphic novels 1992 to 2012. Whenever I put a book together, I try to make it the sort of book that, if I wasn’t doing it, I would buy myself.
And we are putting it out in a different way to the recent Annuals and magazine issues. I had been following Unbound for a few months as I was curious about the crowdfunding model. Unbound is crowdfunding just for books, so it allows writers, authors and creative people the opportunity to get their work out there without the traditional trappings of big monolithic publishers.
TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary is up on Unbound now and we can’t publish it without people’s support. Pledges start at a very reasonable £10 for UK pledgers. That’s only about three cups of coffee these days and you’d be supporting us;). The more you pledge, the more unique collectibles you get. We are planning a Foyles event in September to commemorate this with special guests and panels.
Here’s a work in progress version of the cover design, a few interior images from some of the great artists we have in the book and a few classic TRIPWIRE covers.

If you’re at the Bristol Comic Expo this weekend (12th -13th May), then we’ll be set up so you can come by and pick up our exclusive anniversary print by Duncan Fegredo (his magnificent painting to TRIPWIRE Annual 2007)

Don’t forget: We can’t do it without you…


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SAN DIEGO: THE LAST WORD
I know San Diego ended a few weeks ago but the last three weeks have flown by. Every year I put up huge posts on Comic-Con but this year I thought I might do it a little bit differently. 2010 is the twelth year in a row that I have been there, first just as a fan and then as a journalist. In the middle of this decade, it was fantastic as I would go there, do lots of interviews and then sell them to magazines in the UK. But things have changed over the last two or three years: San Diego Comic-con is now such a well-established show that the publications who used to rely on journalists like myself to provide them with copy are now sending their own editorial staff to cover it themselves. So while this year, I did get to do interviews with people like Frank Darabont (Walking Dead), Zach Snyder (Sucker Punch) and Mark Verheiden (Falling Skies), the outlets I would have sold them too already had people there. So San Diego Comic-Con 2010 may be the last one I attend for a while, unless we can get increased investment for TRIPWIRE so that I attend it to cover just for ourselves. The show has gotten far too unwieldy for one person to cover now anyway as each year that I go, the size of the floor increases and the amount of TV and Film content continues to grow. I am not knocking it as a show as, if you’re a fan of genre on the big and the small screen, there are few events like Comic-Con, attracting people like Kenneth Branagh, Harrison Ford, Ryan Reynolds, Jon Favreau and scores of others. So here’s a few photos I took at the show of various people in costume and the hall itself. I’ve broken it up into two posts just because of the sheer number of photographs…

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A ROCKY END?
I went to see The Expendables last week at Empire, Leicester Square in London’s West End. I admit that I was a sucker for some of those stupid Eighties movies starring Stallone and Schwarzenegger, so I was hoping that perhaps the film may have provided a little bit of unchallenging entertainment. Stallone, while not the world’s greatest director, has made a few solid films in the past and is a competent if unremarkable actor. The Expendables of the title are a group of mercenaries who go around the world battling villains like Somali pirates and evil South American dictators. Stallone leads the group which also includes Dolph (Punisher) Lundgren, Jason Statham (Crank, Transporter and Death Race) as the humourously named Lee Christmas and Jet Li (Hero, Romeo Must Die). Also part of the group is Mickey Rourke as their mechanic, the imaginatively-named Tool. So the group is hired by Mr Church (a cameo from Bruce Willis) to take out General Garza, the tyrant who runs fictional Central American island Vilena. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger has a small on-camera appearance. So cue soft-rock and long lingering camera shots of a plane over the sea. The Expendables isn’t the worst film you’ll see this summer as it rarely outstays its welcome with a tight 90 minute running time but the problem is that it takes itself far too seriously, Stallone looks a little weird and Rourke looks stranger and more freakish with each film he appears in. Only Statham and Li work here and they’re significantly younger than Stallone and Lundgren, who is as wooden and stiff as he was in his Eighties heyday. This is a film that will come and go pretty briefly at the cinema and is only really worth watching on a Saturday night with a few beers on satellite TV.