Friday, 25 January 2008

Fat Man Preview Online

(Warning: this post contains links to what may be perceived by some as 'adult' content): Thomas Cochrane and Alan Tanner's's The Fat Man graphic novel project has a brand new web site which features a massive 50 page preview of the forthcoming book, due for release in November. Check it out at

The Fat Man, which is also being previewed on ROK Comics, centres on a British MI5 undercover agent approached by himself with proof of the existence of a notorious World War 2 Nazi secret weapon: a time machine, discounted many years previously as German propaganda.

The Fat Man is Scottish writer Thomas Cochrane's first graphic novel. He says he is inspired by such diverse sources as Tin Tin, The Avengers (the TV show) and a fascination with the concept of time travel.

Artist Alan Tanner is a veteran illustrator and designer, who has worked on covers for Time Out and the infamous Oz magazine and what he describes as "various other hippy publications"). He has also created many illustrations for the Radio Times, and worked for CBS and Island on record covers. You can see how the Fat Man "Art Process" has developed over on Flickr.

25 per cent of the profits from this fabulous book will be going to a mental health charity.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Introducing Charlotte Corday

ROK Comics is delighted to announce the addition of a new adventure strip, Charlotte Corday of the Surete, drawn by top British comics artist
Keith Page.

Keith's current work includes Ramsey's Raiders for DC Thomson's Commando and other stories, and a "prequel" of the original Dan Dare for Rod Barzilay's magazine Spaceship Away.

He decided ROK Comics is a good way to present Charlotte Corday in a newspaper strip-style way, at a time when many print newspapers worldwide seem to have abandoned daily, ongoing adventure strips, much to the dismay of millions of fans of the genre.

Written by screenwriter Stephen Walsh,
Charlotte Corday of the Surete: London Calling is set in London in the early 1950's will also be a full length graphic novel, with a few surprises.

"I had the original idea for the character some time ago," Keith explains. "The outline concept was the adventures of a French detective of some sort getting involved in all sorts of arcane exploits in 1950's London which could best be described as "
Brighton Rock meets Quatermass and the Pit".

"This evolved further in defining the motivations of the main character Charlotte Corday and the inclusion of a human-sized "Muffin the Mule" entity, (which had its origins in a strip I did for IPC's
Revolver many years ago.)

"All this might sound strange but I can't reveal anymore without spoiling the plot!

"I drew a number of pages of my initial storyline, together with a lot of characters sketches and then set the whole thing aside for a while," he continues. "At this point I got in touch with script and screenwriter Stephen Walsh who was writing for Commando. Stephen took the original theme and came up with a brilliant graphic-novel length script incorporating a host of new characters.

"We decided to approach some French publishers, so the whole thing was translated into French by my wife. In this version, Charlotte is one of a team of French agents on a mission to London. The thinking was to leave scope for a series of linked books with a different agent's story featured in each.

"To cut a long story short, it proved too difficult to interest French publishers and Charlotte remained on the shelf for a while. Eventually, however, I decided Stephen's script was just too good to abandon , and I had a large amount of period reference material, location photos, so I drew the whole 50 page story.

"It features a variety of themes including the North London Vampire Squad (a little-known division of the Met) and what could have been the inspiration for John Steed of
The Avengers. [Comedian] Tony Hancock and his landlady also put in guest appearances!"

We're looking forward to seeing how this strip develops, and perhaps finding out why a mule-headed character cannot be seen by anyone else except Charlotte. Check it out now on ROK Comics!

Find out more about Keith Page and his work on his blog

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Breaking into comics event this Saturday

Just a quick reminder that downthetubes and ROK Comics Managing Editor John Freeman is one of the guests at a Breaking Into Comics event in Leicester this Saturday, along with 2000AD editor Matt Smith and indie publisher Jay Eales.

"Breaking in to Comics and Graphic Novels" runs from 2 – 4.00pm at the Central Lending Library, Leicester. Whether you are a fan who has always dreamed of making your own comics but don’t know where to start, or a talented writer / artist on the brink of turning professional, this event will help you understand what it takes to break in to the comics industry.

Organisers say this is proving one of their most popular events ever, with plenty of pre-sales and lending numbers for graphic novels at the library way up on their usual numbers.

The event is part of Blam! a season of graphic novel and manga events organised by Leicester Libraries (

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

ROK buys Matchday Stake

ROK Entertainment Group Inc. the mobile technologies, applications and entertainment developer and owner of ROK Comics has announced it has bought a strategic stake in Matchday Entertainment Limited, a China-based subsidiary of Asia Poker Limited, to deploy the first 3D online poker service in China.

Matchdays unique 3D Texas Holdem service is tailored specifically to the Chinese market and only players from China will be allowed to participate on this platform.

Once a simple registration process has been completed players are able to experience the thrill and excitement of playing Texas Holdem in 3D, with local customer service personnel available to provide full player assistance.

The game is based on a football theme where players can choose to wear their favourite teams shirt before joining the table of their choice (all named after famous international stadiums) and play. Players can completely customize their playing figure by gender, ethnicity and even down to the type of jewelry they want to wear.

Tournaments will be a key feature of the game to encourage competition between players and improve their skill levels.

We are really proud to be bringing our 3D technology with the latest gaming advances to the people of China, said Jonathan Kendrick, Chairman of ROK. We have combined the excitement of the big soccer stage with fantastic 3D graphics and all the skill of playing Texas Holdem.

Asia Poker Limited is one of the lead sponsors of the National Traktor Poker Tournament which took place in Guangzhou, China in December 2007. The objective of the tournament is to further promote poker as a sport in China.

Through this sponsorship, Asia Poker Limited created a partnership with the Guangzhou Chess Institute and Guangzhou Poker Game Association and Jupiter Entertainment Limited to promote the new 3D game.

The excitement and interest in online poker tournaments in China is simply immense added Kendrick and, coupled with our plans for a mobile version of the service, we are hugely excited at the potential of the business.

• More information about the 3D Texas Holdem game can be found at

Light at the End of the Tunnel