Saturday, March 14, 2015

Volume Five, Number One

VOLUME FIVE                                                                  NUMBER ONE

                                                     from the
                                              GREAT WHITE NORTH!
                                                Jonathan A. Gilbert
                                        Copyright-Jonathan A. Gilbert: 2015
                                                         All Rights Reserved.


    After finally have gotten myself into some kind of routine since I moved back to London Ontario (Canada) on April 30th 2013 I decided at the beginning of this year to revive this column. I've always enjoyed writing E-Dispatches as, except for "Did you know about...?" which I wrote for the Middlesex Banner newspaper back in 2004-2006 I never had a publisher dictating to me what I should or should not write about. I've always found that to be a drag as a writer and often cramping my creative process.
     This time out (meaning volume 5) I plan to take a broader approach to the subjects I will be writing about. As well as discussing comics and pubulp history plus reviewing comics sent my way as I have in the past I also plan to discuss my decades as a published writer (since 1974) and occasional editor and publisher; not only in the comics industry but also in newspaper and magazines. Not only will I be mentioning all the weird and wonderful stuff that has happened to me during my career but I will some of the difficulties I have gone though. Oh yeah; and expressing my opinion on lotsa stuff.
     My hope is that this will end up being an enjoyable ride for everyone. I've never really taken the time to side down and reflect on my life as a writer and as I will be 59 this coming April I guess it is long overdue. Sure beats writing an autobiography. Those take forever to work on and I am too busy having  fun doing other stuff.
       So stick around folks. For the time being this column will only be a monthly but as time permits I will start increasing its frequency. Talk with ya next time.
Jonathan A. Gilbert is a freelance writer and lives in London Ontario Canada. He can be contacted by email at

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: She Is...Silkie

SeajayVentures is pleased to announce the release of its first graphic novel, SHE IS...SILKIE. Co-written by Jonathan A. Gilbert and Laurie Wright with cover and interior art by Seppo Makinen SHE IS...SILKIE is a post World War Two tale of mystery and intrigue on an island off the southwest coast of Great Britain where the lines between myth and reality are blurred.
Currently only available in digital format (with a print version slated for a July 2012 release) SHE IS...SILKIE is exclusively available at for $5 under the listing of our packager, CE Publishing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

E-Dispatches Summer Surprise!

Despite my long absence from this space I have not given up on writing "E-Dispatches from the Great White North!". Basically, these past few months I have been busy as heck with work. As well as trying to get Red Lion Publications up and running-a daunting task by any one's standards I'd like to believe-I have been developing and negotiating new endeavours for Red Lion's parent company SeajayVentures and working on some freelance writing assignments.
One assignment I have been working on is for my buddy Ryan Crouse's company, Starverse Comics. Titled "Techstorm: New Friends, Old Foes it is a two-issue story set in the Techstorm Universe that teams up my and Lloyd Smith's Destiny character from our Blue Moon Comics Group days and Techstorm plus introduces a character i developed some years back for Starverse named SwiftStar. The pencils are by David Johnson Jr. with the inks and letters by Ryan Crouse. We haven't get a release date set as yet but we done have some t-shirts and other accessories available online. They can be purchased either at or through the Starverse website at or through Ryan at .
Another freelance assignment I have been working on is "Kendra: Dracula's Daughter" for Red Leaf Comics and is currently being sold at . Created and written by me with art and letters by Seppo Makinen the comic is set in 1967 during the "Summer of Love" and deals with the exploits of a young woman who was adopted by Dracula as a child and in later years turned against the Lord of the Undead. The online version of the comic sells for 99 cents and the print version for $1.99.
So as you can see I have been quite busy. My hope is that once things slow down a bit I will be able to return here on a more regular basis. 'Til then though I will try to periodically drop by and bring everyone up to date. Until next time, take care.
Jonathan "A" Gilbert.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Volume Four, Number Sixteen

Over the past couple of decades that I have been a comic book writer and editor I have worked with some very talented people including Susan Dorne, Lloyd Smith, Steve Skeates, Nathan Massengill, Seppo Makinen, Dick Ayers, Scott Chantler and Dan Parsons just to name a few. One artist though who especially stands out in my mind that I have had the pleasure of doing comics with is Dave Owens of London Ontario Canada.
Dave and I go back to around 1996 when I was making my first attempt at starting up a comics publishing company.(a story for another day) While that endevour didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to Dave and I kept contact  and over the years worked on a wide range of projects together including Team-Omega (for the disaster riddled Silver Griffin Comics), Mister Chameleon, Solomon Wyrd, Tales of This Magic Earth and a little thing called Id the Gorilla Ghost with Honcho the Head-Cheese Dog.
Dave also worked as my art director when I was editor at Silver Griffin Comics and Blue Moon Comics Group as well as my go to character designer and all around "bounce ideas off of guy". All in all Dave was and is a great talent. He and I also developed a real good friendship over the years and while we don't work together on comics projects these days-something I miss very much-we still keep in touch via snailmail, email and other methods of communication.
Dave also has done some great stuff outside of comics including some fantastic Christmas cards, pet portraits and all sorts of other neat stuff. His most recent project is a self published book called "The Art of Dave Owens" in which Dave showcases his work including a couple of characters he and I developed together.
This definately is a book worth picking up to give someone as a Christmas gift and for six bucks it can be yours either via email or snailmail orders. You can contact Dave directly by email at or write him at...
Dave Owens/Nebula Studio/1349 Glenora Drive/London, Ontario/N5X 1T6/Canada.
Like I said, this would make a great Christmas gift and also a great addition to your personal collection. So order today.And be sure to tell Dave I sent ya.
Next time out; well, not sure yet what I will be writing about next time out. Guess you will have to come back and find out. See ya.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Volume Four, Number Fifteen

While I have settled into my new town pretty nicely, I've yet to get an internet connection at home. So while I won't be able to post on a daily basis until that happens, I will from time to time start putting up a few short pieces.

This time out I'm going to review a comic that I have had since I was living in Formosa, Ontario, many a moon ago. Enjoy...or maybe not. lol

GRAVE TALES #6 (VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2) 2009. Published by Cemetery Dance Publications. 40 pag. b&w horror anthology with full colour cover. Cover Price $3.95 U.S.

I really had high hopes for this comic. After all, Cemetery Dance Publications is one of the best horror publishers in the business so why WOULDN'T I expect their horror comics to be top notch.

But they aint' or at lest this issue sure as heck wasn't.

From cover to cover the contest are at best unreadable and at worst a total piece of garbage. Poor art, poor layout, blotchy use of shading, wordy, plodding dialogue and stories that were dull, dull, dull.

In short, it is a total piece of junk, folks, so don't buy it. The only horror here is the fact that they would actually charge money for this pathetic excuse for a comic; horror or otherwise. Cemetery Dance should know better. For shame.

As for the other stuff they publish that gets two thumbs up and you can check their website out at . But don't, and I really mean it, DON'T BUY THIS COMIC. It is so bad it will make you go blind.


That's it for this short piece. I will be posting periodically-whatever the heck that really means-until I get hooked up at home and then I will be back online here at E-Dispatches daily like before. Take care; jag

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

E-Dispatches Special Announcement!

I'm on the move again!!!

How many times is this now since last November? To be honest with you I've lost count. I can though tell you that this will be the last big move for some time to come as I am relocating in my old stomping grounds; southwestern Ontario.
I will spare you all the gory details as to the reasons for this move-but they will one day be revealed in my long talked about memoirs-but the move is for the best both with regards to my ongoing health issues and personal state of mind.

It is going to take me a few weeks to settle in to my new digs so for the next little while E-Dispatches from the Great White North is going to be on a bit of a hiatus. Meanwhile though you can get lots of comics-related reading pleasure by visiting the blog of my buddy The Groovy Agent at . Tell him The Jazzy One sent ya.

See you in a few weeks everyone. Take care and be safe.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Volume Four, Number Fourteen

As well as being a fan of comics and pulps of the 30s to the 50s I am also a fan of the old movie serials.

For those of you who are familiar with movie serials (also known as chapter plays), what they are basically is low budget movies divided into 12 or more chapters or episodes with each chapter ending with a cliffhanger (called this because quite often the hero, his or her aid, or some damsel in distress is hanging from a cliff).

Movie serials have been around since the early 20th Century with the first appearing in Europe. They were quite popular there and the American film industry quickly began producing them with the first being "What Happened To Mary" which appeared in 1912.

During the silent film era there were dozens and dozens of serials including The Perils of Pauline, The Son of Tarzan, Tarzan the Tiger and an endless number of westerns. All were made on the cheap and were one of the main attractions that drew people to the theatres week after week.

When the sound era came in many of the companies that produced the silent serials were not able to make the transition to producing chapter plays that worked with sound. Eventually there were only three main studios that produced serials; Columbia, Republic and Universal. There were minor studios that also dabbled in serials but these three produced the bulk of them.

Westerns continued to be big as did police yarns and jungle tales. As time went on though comics became a major subject of the serials. Comics series that were featured over the years include The Vigilante (DC), Congo Bill (DC), Captain Marvel (Fawcett), Captain America (Timely/Marvel), Superman (DC), Batman (DC), Spy Smasher (Fawcett), Blackhawk (Quality at the time of its release) and Hop Harrigan (DC). Comic strips and radio programs were also the subject of chapter plays including Flash Gordon (comic strip), Brick Bradford (comic strip), The Lone Ranger (radio), Green Hornet (radio), Dick Tracy (comic strip) and Buck Rogers (comic strip). And last but not least there were the pulps including The Shadow and The Spider.

Some of the serials were well done while others, well, had problems. The biggest problems were the very low budgets that were allocated to each serial. In some cases the studios would use footage from previous serials to cut corners and in the case of Superman whenever the Man of Tomorrow went into flight the shot cut to one of the Fletcher Superman cartoon scenes of Superman flying.

Depending on who you talk the general belief is that movie serials began to lose audiences when television came on the scene in the late 40s, early fifties. At one point to draw audiences in producers would even use characters from TV shows in their serials; the most notable being Captain Video.

But it didn't help and the last movie serial came out in 1956 from Columbia and was a western titled "Blazing the Overland". Don't think though that was the end of the serials. While the studios were no longer producing them fans of this film genre began making their own. Writer, movie and comic fan Don Glut fpr example used to make his own "backyard films" in the 1960s including The Aventures of the Spirit (featuring Will Eisner's Spirit), Captain America Battles The Red Skull and he even revived the serial superhero Rocketman in a serial entitled Rocket Man Flies Again.

Of all the amateur movie serials that have been produced most agree that the best one is a superhero chapter play titled Wildcat that was released in 2006 by Lamb4 Productions. And while only fans of the format have been releasing serials since 1956 chapter plays have still had an influence on other mediums; particular television. The chapter format has been used in cartoons since their earliest days on TV with the best known user of it being Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. On the original Mickey Mouse Club (1955-1958) original serials used to appear and on Walt Disney Presents movies were divided into episodes and were aired over a series of weeks.

The best known serialized TV series are probably Dr. Who and the 1960s Batman and in 1979 NBC aired a series called Cliffhanger which aired new serials. While Doctor Who is still popular today Cliffhanger was a flop lasting only half a season.

The movie serials had other influences too such as the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises who made use of the fast paced action and cliffhanger formulas in their stories.

My first encounter with movie serials was in 1967; April 8th to be exact as it was on my birthday. Back then some theatres were still airing movie serials from the past and some friends of mine and I went to a theatre in London Ontario called The Hyland Theatre which continued that practice. I don't remember what the main feature or the cartoon or the movie short was but I do recall the serial; it was Nyoka and I immediately fell in love with the format due to its fast paced action and adventure.

During the 70s I used to watch a show on TVO-the province of Ontario's provincially run publicly owned television network-called Magic Shadows which every Friday night would run a chapter of a movie serial. Over the years I got to see more Nyoka, westerns-lots and lots of westerns-and Captain Marvel just to name a few. And when I couldn't watch an episode because I had to work my mother would watch it for me, take notes and then tell me all about it the next day.

One doesn't get to see many-if any-movie serials these days on television. There are dvds available featuring many of the old serials and I have a couple of video tapes with serials (Green Hornet and Batman). Movie serials probably won't catch on today but one never knows. In this fast paced age maybe they might just be what the viewing audience is looking for. Tons of action, sharp and snappy dialogue and a cliffhanger ending; all in fifteen minutes. What do you think?