Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books

Friday, March 20, 2009

Comic Cuts

This has been something of a fractured week: I had lots planned but only managed about half of it. The piece I had planned for today I'm having to hold over because I didn't finish cleaning up all the scans. It'll wait. So... here are a couple of odds 'n' sods that I have managed to sort out.

About 18 months ago I wrote a little piece on Reg Wootton and I'm still thrilled whenever I stumble across any of his work. The two pics below are both from the Knockout Annual 1958 and were the front and rear endpapers respectively. Just superb. I don't think Wootton often got the chance to work in colour or this expansively as he spent most of his life on newspaper strips and the single page Sporty, which rarely featured anything but a red overlay when it wasn't in black & white. If there's ever a collection of Sporty strips, at least there's something that could be used as a cover.

Inspired by the passing of Pepe González, I dug out these three Vampirella novels, written by Ron Goulart for Warner in 1975-76. The Warner (US) series ran to six titles, only three of which made it to the UK where they were published by Sphere in 1976-77. I've no idea if the US editions used the same covers but the three here were beautifully painted by Gino D'Achille. The original artwork (which I've used for our column header) for the third book's cover is currently being auctioned (lot 187). The fourth pic. below is the portrait of Vampirella used on the back covers.

I hear from Classic Comics that their latest book, Great Expectations, based on the novel by Charles Dickens, is now available in the usual formats: Original Text (abridged) and Quick Text. Adapted by Jen Green, the 160-or-so pages of artwork are by John Stokes with colour finishes by Jason Cardy. You can find a preview of the artwork at the Classic Comics website. I've read three of the earlier books and they've all been excellent adaptations.

Coming very soon are adaptations of Shakespeare's The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet, each in three formats (original, plain and quick texts).

Also very close to release are the two volumes of Century 21 reprints: Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson Volume 1: Adventure in the 21st Century and Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson Volume 2: Invasion in the 21st Century. I think I'm safe in saying that these are generating quite a bit of excitement... I had people asking me about them on Sunday at the comics fair and ought to point out that they're edited by a guy called Chris Bentley. I don't have a monopoly on editing British reprints. Not yet, anyway. Bwa... bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.

That's enough evil laughter...

Talking of reprints, in May Panini will be publishing a collection of Hugo Pratt's comics from the pages of the British war libraries. Sadly, this is Panini in Spain and if you don't read Spanish, Diario de Guerra probably isn't for you. But it's a reprint of British comics and I feel compelled to mention it. A number of other British strips are going to be appearing in Spain in the near future although I have no details as yet.

There are also some British reprints coming to Britain this summer but I'm still waiting for the OK to talk about them (again, not edited by me... I'm definitely slipping!).

Whilst Carlton seem to have cut back and Titan are on what feels like a go-slow, there are still plenty of things planned, some even due soon. You can't say we don't live in interesting times.


Alex van Koten said...

Hello Steve,

About Reg Woottons Sporty;..

Here in Holland a few artists wanted to publish a small collection but the project was cancelled because we did not find the copyright holders of Woottons work.

Maybe you know more??

Best regards Alex

Steve said...


Sorry to say that I have no news of any Estate who might have rights to much of his work. However, Sporty is copyright IPC Media, so they would be the people to contact with regards to reprinting that strip (it originally appeared in Knockout and Valiant, as originally mentioned here.

Alex van Koten said...

Hello Steve,

We have tried to contact IPC in the past, but never received answer. Maybe a wrong adress or so..