Updated: Sunday night...
I've had connection problems thanks to an ancient modem with ADD which keeps losing track of the web; we're waiting on a new one which will, hopefully, resolve the problem and the frustrations of trying to upload anything will be a thing of past. Thankfully I'd uploaded all the pages of 'Caroline Baker' so it was just a case of posting each daily episode. I've another short series of these which I'll post at some point.
Most of the week has been dedicated to putting together the new edition of The Mike Western Story. This first appeared as a little A5 booklet back in 1990 and featured a fascinating autobiographical essay by Mike to which I added a brief running commentary. The new edition will be bigger, brighter and have a lot more information on Mike's career, plus what I hope will be a few very nice surprises. My main problem at the moment has been trying to dig out examples of Mike's forty years as a comics' artist as most of my comics are stashed away in boxes in the attic and not so easy to get at. Lugging even a few year's worth of Valiants around, doubled over, isn't doing my back much good.
The breaking news this week has come from Titan Books, who have signed a big deal with Egmont to reprint a variety of strips. The headline-grabber will be Roy of the Rovers who is to star in a whole series of books, starting with The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1980s (ISBN 978-1845769482) to be released on June 27. It will be a bumper, 208-page collection of classic stories and here's what Titan have to say about the new series:
"He's back! Britain's most famous fantasy footballer, Roy Race, makes his long-awaited return, in this first bumper volume collecting the very best of Roy's thrilling escapades! Featuring the cream of Roy's matches and adventures from the '70s and '80s, this incredible collection will be a must-have for footie fans of all ages! Thrill once more to the roar of the crowd, as Roy and Melchester Rovers face trials and tribulations on and off the pitch! As featured in the recent BBC 'Comics Britannia' documentaries, these are the tales that endeared "Roy of the Rovers" to a generation, and provide the ultimate introduction to the best football comic ever created!"
Titan's deal with Egmont covers quite a range of titles, including Battle Picture Weekly, Action, humour comic Buster and girls' comics Tammy and Misty. Look out for future reprints starring 'Johnny Red', 'Major Eazy' and 'The Rat Pack' from Battle.
Titan will be releasing their next James Bond volume, James Bond: The Paradise Plot, in April alongside the second Jeff Hawke release, Jeff Hawke: The Ambassadors.
As I made a bit of a fuss over the sales figures of Virgin's Dan Dare #2, the latest figure for #3, 10,245 shows a healthy increase over both 1st and 2nd issues. The explanation seems obvious: interest in the first issue has driven orders up—unfortunately, too late to increase sales for issue 2 due to the way orders through Diamond (where these figures originate) are made some months in advance. So sales for #3 are up 31% reflecting the demand for #1.
Tucked away in the back of Diamond's Previews magazine is an announcement from Virgin that they will be releasing the first three issues in a special hardback edition on April 23rd. This 80-page book is in an oversized format (7.4" by 11") which Virgin helpfully illustrate (see above) with a comparison to the original comics size. The book will also include reproductions of the five covers used on the three issues by Bryan Talbot (also the cover for the book), Greg Horn, John Higgins, Brendan McCarthy and Garry Leach. The book retails at £6.99 so this will be a cheap way to catch up on the series so far.
Other news from here 'n' there...
* Philip Pullman is to write for the new DFC comic that is due to be launched on subscription at the end of May. The strip, 'The Adventures of John Blake', is to be drawn by John Aggs. John Freeman's Down the Tubes has more details of the planned line-up and the FP International blog has some additional pics.
* Alex Fitch's Panel Borders has the first part of an interview with Alan Moore.
(* Pics: First sighting of a Wild Wonder drawn by Mike Western © IPC Media; Roy of the Rovers through the years © Egmont UK Ltd. Dan Dare © Dan Dare Corporation/Virgin Comics.)