Yesterday's ABC Show turned out to be another excellent day with everyone for the most part happy with the number of people through the door and many folks finding gems that they've been looking for. Including me!
Although I've been in the privileged position for the past couple of years of being a guest and getting to sign books at these shows, it's still 90% about rooting around in boxes trying to find magazines and comics to fill holes in my collection. I wanted to concentrate this year on later Sexton Blake titles as I realised the other day that I wasn't far off having a complete run of the 4th series. I managed to put a dent in my wants list and I'm now missing about thirty in total. Hopefully a few more shows and I'll be able to boast a full set, all (bar one or two) in fairly good condition.
Top buy of the day for me was a copy of Braddock and the Flying Tigers paperback 'written' by George Bourne—actually a pen-name as Sergeant George Bourne is the navigator for Matt Braddock who, over the years and numerous stories in the pages of Rover, flew most types of aircraft during his exploits in World War II. This particular adventure originally appeared as a serial in Rover in 1956. I've often wondered who the anonymous authors of the Braddock stories were. I believe Gilbert Dalton, a prolific writer for D. C. Thomson's story papers was one of the authors, although whether this book was one of his is anybody's guess.
Thankfully I managed to get to the show nice and early so I did my rooting around before the crowds started to gather, by which time I was stuck in a corner of the room to field questions about various reprint books that have come out in the past month or so. I'm pleased to say I got to sign quite a few copies of books; High Noon seemed to go down well... if you look in the pic at the top you'll see a solitary copy left on the table and that was only because it had been damaged in transit (there was a nasty crease on the back). The Frank Bellamy's King Arthur and His Knights book earned some high praise and this time we'd managed to ship in enough copies so that make sure that everyone who wanted one managed to get one. The various war books sold steadily as did The Art of the Trigan Empire catalogue once people realised that it contains every page of Ron Embleton's two Trigan Empire strips, all shot from the original artwork, with lettering intact. Not even I'd spotted that until I actually had a copy in my hands.
I wasn't the only person pushing new books. Norman Wright and David Ashford were also on hand with their new book, Masters of Fun & Thrills, which I now have a copy of. Readers of Book and Magazine Collector will be familiar with the series of 'Great British Comics Artists' that David and Norman have been producing for the past few years. This new volume gathers up fourteen essays covering a nice wide range of British artists in depth and with a nice selection of black & white artwork. The real bonus is an eight-page colour section and photographs the often anonymous talents who created so many classic comic strips between them.
The full line-up of artists featured includes Geoff Campion, Roland Davies, Ron Embleton, Derek C. Eyles, David Law, Hugh McNeill, John Millar Watt, Patrick Nicolle, Eric Parker, Reg Perrott, Ken Reid, Septimus Scott, Ron Turner and Dudley D. Watkins. As you'd expect from Norman and David, each essay is packed to the gills with details of obscure strips and cover artwork produced by each of the artists covered. This is hugely recommended and a snip at £18.50. I'm not sure if that includes p&p so your best bet is to order it directly from Norman (wrightnorman AT hotmail DOT com) or go visit the Book Palace website and scroll down their 'What's New' section.
I'll leave you with something else I picked up today (pre-ordered but it saves on postage to have these things hand-delivered!)... The Eye of the Dragon by G. H. Teed, one of my favourite Sexton Blake authors. This one actually features a Blake rival called Nelson Lee but, frankly, the two are interchangable when Teed was writing them. I've now got to talk myself into not reading this—or the Braddock—before I finish the last novel I started.