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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Upcoming Books Round-Up

A few images of recently announced or soon to be published titles.

Reynolds & Hearn have announced the publication of Century 21 Annual 2011 next August reprinting some of the best strips from various Gerry Anderson-related annuals. Due any day now is the fourth volume of their reprint series from the weekly TV Century 21 which, to date, has been fantastic. There's a hardback and softback edition.

Titan Books continue with their attempt to complete the full run of Modesty Blaise with Sweet Caroline in August, with art by Neville Colvin, whose work deserves a second and even third look. Previous attempts to reprint Modesty here in the UK have only managed to cover Jim Holdaway and Romero runs on the strip and Colvin tends to be forgotten, undeservedly so.

A month later there's a second volume of The James Bond Omnibus, re-presenting a good chunk of the Bond newspaper strip drawn by Yarolslav Horak based on the original Ian Fleming novels. Interesting that both volumes are famous British strips drawn by Australasian artists, Colvin from New Zealand and Horak born in Manchuria but raised in Australia.

David Fickling Books have announced their next three titles and a more nicely diverse group you couldn't ask for.

Finally, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention Carlton's trio of titles due out tomorrow. I've not seen copies of the finished books yet so I'll wait until they turn up before posting pages for each of the books in which I'll jot down the names of artists and scriptwriters where known. I hope you'll get behind these books: Carlton have slimmed them down to reduce the price for these credit-cruch times and I'm keen to do more in the future. If that's to happen, these books need your support.

All these and more can be found in the listing below. Have a browse... there's a good mix of titles coming up and hopefully there's something for everyone.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A brief note...

As we're approaching Easter and many people will be off on Friday and away over the weekend, I'm pulling forward the recent releases and upcoming releases columns. So, no comic strip this week. I'll try to get something ready in time for next week.

Alistair Paterson

Another "mysteries that have me mystified" column...

Many, many years ago I co-wrote a book called Vultures of the Void about 1950s British science fiction, focusing on the magazines and cheap paperabacks that sprang up during the post-War years of paper shortage. My interest in the subject was inspired by Phil Harbottle, with whom I shared the byline on the book. Phil introduced me to John Russell Fearn and the curiously named Vargo Statten, under which name Fearn wrote over 50 novels in the early- to mid-1950s. At the time I was visiting the Science Fiction Foundation (back in the days when it was in Dagenham) and borrowed copies of a number of Statten novels. The SFF also had copies of the Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine, a magazine I've mentioned here before when I did a two-part cover gallery (Part 1, Part 2).

The original editor of the Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine was Alistair Paterson who shepherded the first seven issues to the presses. After three issues, Scion Ltd., the publisher, went into voluntary liquidation and a new company, Scion Distributors Ltd. was quickly set up to continue the magazine. Eventually, the magazine was passed on to Dragon Press, one of Scion's creditors, who continued to publish but now under the editorship of John Russell Fearn himself.

Alistair Paterson was also an author. As far as I can tell, Paterson began writing in 1952, his first novel appearing in January 1953 as Curves Can Cast Shadows by "Griff", a house name used by Modern Fiction. His first few novels featured the character Gentle Hoggarty and were influenced by Micky Spillane's early novels.

Paterson then began writing for Scion under the name Hans Lugar, a series of novels featuring a new character, Phil Casey. When Scion went into liquidation, Paterson continued writing for both companies, as Hank Spencer, Nat Karta and Blair Johns. Paterson then became one of the main authors behind the house name Ben Sarto. I haven't had a chance to examine every single Ben Sarto (they're as rare as hen's teeth!) but I've found at least eight Ben Sarto's by Paterson, the last appearing in 1958.

The pen-name Blair Johns is a clue to Paterson's identity. After a Western for Scion, Blair Johns switched to writing crime novels for Modern Fiction, which made me certain that it was a personal pen-name rather than a house name. One of the Gentle Hoggarty novels appeared under the Blair Johns byline, as did the character Con Shulman, who also appeared under the Hank Spencer house name.

In all, I've discovered 29 novels by Paterson under 6 different names between 1953-58. By 1958, the paperback boom was pretty much over and the paperback publishers who remained moved away from gangster/crime novels (Brown Watson, for instance, concentrated on war novels under their Digit Books imprint). It seems likely that Paterson gave up writing.

Discovering anything about Paterson has proved to be tricky. It would seem his full name is Alistair John Blair Paterson, his birth in 1935 registered in Croydon, Surrey. The source of his pen-name Blair Johns is obvious, and another pen-name—Armstrong Alexander, used in the first issue of the Vargo Statten SF Magazine—is probably derived (in part, at least) from his mother's maiden name, Alexander.

Paterson was married in 1956 and I believe he may have retired to Devon, but I've never managed to trace any further information on him. It's possible that he wrote more books under Scion and Modern Fiction house names and maybe wrote for others. It would be great to find out more about his writing career.

Publications

Novels as Griff (series: Gentle Hoggarty in all)
Curves Can Cast Shadows. London, Modern Fiction, Jan 1953.
The Poisonous Angel. London, Modern Fiction, Mar 1953.
Night Patrol. London, Modern Fiction, Jul 1953.
Main Street Morgue. London, Modern Fiction, Aug 1953.

Novels as Blair Johns (series: Gentle Hoggarty; Con Shulman)
Tough Hide Tenderfoot. London, Scion, May 1954.
Here Comes the Bribe. London, Modern Fiction, Jun 1954.
Unwise Guy! (Shulman). London, Modern Fiction, Oct 1954.
What Price Adventure?. London, Modern Fiction, Oct 1954.
Sinister Wooing. London, Modern Fiction, Dec 1954.
Enticement. London, Modern Fiction, 1955.
Silas Quelch (Hoggarty). London, Modern Fiction, May 1955.
Naked Souls. London, Modern Fiction, Apr 1956.

Novels as Nat Karta (series: Phil Casey)
The Elusive Corpse. London, Scion, May 1954.

Novels as Hans Lugar (series: Phil Casey in all)
Appointment With Desire. London, Scion, Oct 1953.
Harvest For Harpies. Scion, Nov 1953.
Death By Appointment. London, Scion, 1954.
The Marble Heart. London, Scion, Feb 1954.

Novels as Ben Sarto (series: Gentle Hoggarty)
Tne Viper’s Brood. London, Modern Fiction, Nov 1954.
East Side Exposure. London, Modern Fiction, Mar 1955.
Disillusioned. London, Modern Fiction, Apr 1955.
Dread (Hoggarty). London, Modern Fiction, Sep 1955.
Fear (Hoggarty). London, Modern Fiction, Sep 1955.
Vice Volcano. London, Modern Fiction, Jan 1956.
House of Sin. London, Modern Fiction, Jan 1957.
Stay Out of Menchis. London, Modern Fiction, Apr 1958.

Novels as Hank Spencer (series: Con Shulman)
No Face For A Killer. London, Modern Fiction, Jan 1954.
The Flesh Game. London, Modern Fiction, Mar 1954.
Gentleman’s Relish (Shulman). London, Modern Fiction, May 1954.
Shroud For A Redhead. London, Modern Fiction, May 1956.

Short Stories
The Pendulum of Power (as Armstrong Alexander; Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine 1, Jan 1954)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sid Fleischman (1920-2010)

Sid Fleischman, the Newberry Award-winning author of over 50 children's books and screenplays, died of cancer at his home in Santa Monica on 17 March, one day after his 90th birthday.

Albert Sidney Fleischman was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 16 March 1920, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants Reuben Fleischman and his wife Sadie (nee Solomon). Fleischman was raised in San Diego and, after leaving high school, began touring the country doing a magic act with a friend as the Mirthful Conjurers in vaudeville stage shows in night clubs between 1938-41. in 1939 he wrote his first book on magic, Between Cocktails, selling all rights for $50.

Fleischman served with the U.S. Naval Reserve as a yeoman on destroyer escorts in the Philippines, Borneo and China in 1941-45. In 1942, he married Betty Taylor, the couple having three children.

After the war, Fleischman began writing stories for pulp magazines. At the same time he attended San Diego State College, graduating in 1949, and began working as a reporter for the San Diego Daily Journal. A year later he became associate editor of Point magazine, a position he held until 1951 when he became a full-time writer following his first sale to Gold Medal. As A. S. Fleischman, he wrote hard-boiled crime novels before becoming a screenwriter, adapting his own novel for the 1955 movie Blood Alley starring John Wayne.

Mr Mysterious & Company, Fleischman's first children's book, was originally written for his own children and included his family as characters. His early novels for children were often coming of age stories; others included folklore and tall tales, particularly the McBroom series. The Whipping Boy, a rollicking adventure about a prince and his pauper companion and something of a departure from Fleischman's usual style, won the Newberry Medal in 1987. Fleischman's later novels covered ground as diverse as a parody of the old Wild West in Jim Ugly to the magical adventure of The 13th Floor. For younger children he wrote the Bloodhound Gang of mystery novels.

Fleischman wrote an autobiography aimed at his young readers, The Abracadabra Kid, and a number of non-fiction books over the years, mostly relating to magic and magic tricks but including a biography of Houdini, Escape!

Fleischman won a huge number of awards for his novels and an award, the Sid Fleischman Humor Award, was named for him by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (of which he was a founding member), in 2003.

Fleischman was a popular author with the readers of The Children's Newspaper and Look and Learn, where his novels, usually abridged, appeared as serials, including "Mr Mysterious & Company" (Children's Newspaper, 1963), "By the Great Horn Spoon!" (Children's Newspaper, 1963-64), which was later filmed as Bullwhip Griffin, "Chancy and the Grand Rascal" (Look and Learn, 1967) and, for a second time, "Mr Mysterious & Company" (Look and Learn, 1969).

Official Website: Sid Fleischman.
Obituaries: School Library Journal (19 March); Los Angeles Times (21 March); New York Times (24 March).

PUBLICATIONS

Novels
The Straw Donkey Case. New York, Phoenix Press, 1948.
Murder's No Accident. New York, Phoenix Press, 1949.
Shanghai Flame. New York, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1951; London, F. Muller (Gold Medal 211), 1957.
Look behind You, Lady. New York, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1952, London, F. Muller (Gold Medal 15), 1953; as Chinese Crimson, London, Jenkins, 1962.
Danger in Paradise. New York, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1953; London, F. Muller (Gold Medal 63), 1954.
Counterspy Express. New York, Ace Books, 1954.
Malay Woman. New York, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1954, London, F. Miller (Gold Medal 76), 1955; as Malaya Manhunt, London, Jenkins, 1965.
Blood Alley. New York, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1955; London, F. Muller (Gold Medal 133), 1956.
Yellowleg. New York, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1960; London, F. Muller (Gold Medal 464), 1960.
The Venetian Blonde. New York, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1963; London, F. Muller (Gold Medal 713), 1964.

Novels for Children
Mr. Mysterious & Company
, illus. Eric von Schmidt. Boston, Little, Brown, 1962; London, Hutchinson, 1963.
By the Great Horn Spoon!, illus. Eric von Schmidt. Boston, Little, Brown, 1963; London, Hamish Hamilton, 1965; as Bullwhip Griffin, Harmondsworth, Puffin Books PS301, 1966; New York, Avon, 1967.
The Ghost in the Noonday Sun, illus. Warren Chappell. Boston, Little, Brown, 1965; illus. Peter Sis, New York, Greenwillow Books, 1989.
Chancy and the Grand Rascal, illus. Eric von Schmidt. Boston, Little, Brown, 1966; London, Hamish Hamilton, 1967.
Longbeard the Wizard, illus. Charles Bragg. Boston, Little, Brown, 1970.
Jingo Django, illus. Eric von Schmidt. Boston, Little, Brown, 1971; London, Hamish Hamilton, 1971.
The Wooden Cat Man, illus. Jay Yang. Boston, Little, Brown, 1972.
The Ghost on Saturday Night, illus. Eric von Schmidt. Boston, Little, Brown, 1974; Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1975; illus. Juliet Stanwell Smith, London, Heinemann, 1975; illus. Laura Cornell, New York, Greenwillow Books, 1997.
Kate's Secret Riddle Book. New York, F. Watts, 1977.
Me and the Man on the Moon-Eyed Horse, illus. Eric von Schmidt. Boston, Little, Brown, 1977; as The Man on the Moon-Eyed Horse, illus. Margaret Chamberlain, London, Gollancz, 1980.
Humbug Mountain, illus. Eric von Schmidt. Boston, Little, Brown, 1978; illus. Margaret Chamberlain, London, Gollancz, 1980.
Jim Bridger's Alarm Clock and Other Tall Tales, illus. Eric von Schmidt. New York, Dutton, 1978.
The Hey Hey Man, illus. Nadine Bernard Westcott. Boston, Little, Brown, 1979.
The Whipping Boy, illus. Peter Sis. New York, Greenwillow Books, 1986; London, Methuen Children's, 1988.
The Scarebird, illus. Peter Sis. New York, Greenwillow Books, 1988.
The Ghost in the Noonday Sun, illus. Peter Sis. New York, Greenwillow Books, 1989.
The Midnight Horse. New York, Greenwillow Books, 1990; London, Methuen Children's, 1991.
Jim Ugly, illus. Joseph A. Smith. New York, Greenwillow Books, 1992; London, Hamish Hamilton, 1993.
The 13th Floor. A ghost story, illus. Peter Sis. New York, Greenwillow Books, 1995.
Bandit's Moon, illus. Joseph A. Smith. New York, Greenwillow Books, 1998.
A Carnival of Animals, illus. Marylin Hafner. New York, Greenwillow Books, 2000.
Bo and Mzzz Mad. New York, Greenwillow Books, 2001.
Disappearing Act. New York, Greenwillow Books, 2003.
The Giant Rat of Sumatra; or, Pirates Galore. New York, Greenwillow Books, 2005; as Pirate's Galore, illus. John Hendrix, London, Catnip, 2007.
The White Elephant. New York, Greenwillow Books, 2006.
The Entertainer and the Dybbuk. New York, Greenwillow Books, 2007.

McBroom series
McBroom Tells the Truth, illus. Kurt Werth. New York, Norton, 1966, illus. Walter Lorraine, Boston, Little, Brown, 1981, illus. Amy Wummer, New York, Price Stern Sloan, 1998.
McBroom and the Big Wind, illus. Kurt Werth. New York, Norton, 1967, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1982.
McBroom's Ear, illus. Kurt Werth. New York, Norton, 1969, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1982.
McBroom's Ghost, illus. Robert Frankenberg. New York, Grosset, 1971, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1981, illus. Amy Wummer, New York, Price Stern Sloan, 1998.
McBroom's Zoo, illus. Kurt Werth. New York, Grosset, 1972, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1982.
McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm (omnibus; contains McBroom Tells the Truth, McBroom and the Big Wind and McBroom's Ghost), illus. Quentin Blake, London, Chatto & Windus, 1972, New York, Greenwillow Books, 1992.
McBroom the Rainmaker, illus. Kurt Werth. New York, Grosset, 1973, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1982, illus. Amy Wummer, New York, Price Stern Sloan, 1999.
McBroom Tells a Lie, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1976, illus. Amy Wummer, New York, Price Stern Sloan, 1999.
Here Comes McBroom (omnibus; contains McBroom Tells a Lie, McBroom the Rainmaker and McBroom's Zoo), illus. Quentin Blake, London, Chatto & Windus, 1976, New York, Greenwillow Books, 1992.
McBroom and the Beanstalk, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1978.
McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm and Here Comes McBroom (omnibus) illus. Quentin Blake. Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1979.
McBroom and the Great Race, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1980; illus. Quentin Blake, London, Chatto & Windus, 1981.
McBroom's Almanac, illus. Walter Lorraine. Boston, Little, Brown, 1984.

Bloodhound Gang series
The Bloodhound Gang in the Case of the Flying Clock, illus. William Harmuth. New York, Random House/ Children's Television Workshop, 1981.
The Bloodhound Gang in the Case of the Cackling Ghost, illus. Anthony Rao. New York, Random House, 1981.
The Bloodhound Gang in the Case of Princess Tomorrow, illus. Bill Morrison. New York, Random House, 1981.
The Bloodhound Gang in the Case of the Secret Message, illus. William Harmuth. New York, Random House, 1981.
The Bloodhound Gang's Secret Code Book, illus. Bill Morrison. New York, Random House, 1982.
The Bloodhound Gang in the Case of the 264-Pound Burglar, illus. Bill Morrison. New York, Random House, 1982.

Non-fiction
Between Cocktails. Colon, MI, Abbott Magic Company, 1939.
Magic Made Easy (as Carl March). New York, Croydon, 1953.
Mr. Mysterious's Secrets of Magic (nonfiction; for young readers), illus. Eric von Schmidt. Boston, Little, Brown, 1975, as Secrets of Magic: 21 tricks, London, Chatto & Windus, 1976.
The Charlatan's Handbook. Tahoma, CA, L & L Publishing, 1993.
The Abracadabra Kid. A writer's life (autobiography). New York, Greenwillow Books, 1996.
Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini. New York, Greenwillow Books, 2006.
The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West. New York, Greewillow Books, 2008.
Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World. New York, Greenwillow Books, 2010.

Screenplays
Blood Alley (based on the author's book of the same title), Batjac Productions, 1955.
Goodbye, My Lady (based on a novel by James Street), Batjac Productions, 1956.
Lafayette Escadrille, with William A. Wellman, Warner Bros., 1958.
The Deadly Companions (based on the author's novel Yellowleg), Carousel Productions, 1961.
Scalawag, with Albert Maltz, Byrna Productions, 1973.
The Whipping Boy (as Max Brindle; based on the author's book of the same title), Disney, 1994.

(* Our column header is the Puffin edition of Bullwhip Griffin, a tie-in to the Walt Disney movie featuring Roddy McDowall; the illustration, by Ron Embleton, is from Look and Learn, 20 May 1967, and is © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

David Boutland

David William Boutland was born in Durham on 11 December 1938, the son of John George Boutland and his wife Gertrude Helen (nee Lucas). John, an electrical mechanic, and Gertrude emigrated with their family of three children to Australia in August 1951 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme. Here Boutland became a freelance writer, married, and returned to England with his wife (Shirley Ann Maude Boutland) in December 1960.

In England he continued to write. He was a regular contributor to New Worlds under the pen-name David Rome, his first story, "Time of Arrival" published in the April 1961 issue. He also published stories in Amazing, Galaxy and the anthologies New Writings in SF, New Writings in Horror and the Supernatural, The Second Pacific Book of Science Fiction and elsewhere. Two of his stories were selected by Judith Merril for her Annual of the Year's Best S-F anthologies; one of them, "Parky" (Science Fantasy, 1961), was reprinted in The Best Australian Science Fiction Writing: A Fifty Year Collection edited by Rob Gerrand (Black Inc., 2004).

At the same time he was a regular contributor to Commando, War Picture Library and Battle Picture Library, penning at least 23 volumes in 1964-68.

After a few years living in the UK, he returned to Australia where he began writing novels for the cheap paperback markets, including Horwitz and Scripts Publications as well as contributing to Man, Man Junior and Adam and other magazines as David Rome and Richard Ansvar.

Boutland then turned to writing screenplays for Australian television, contributing to many of the country's popular TV serials, ranging from crime dramas to soap operas, including A Country Practice (which he did not direct any episodes for, despite this information appearing widely on the internet) and Home and Away.

He is now semi-retired, but continues to write.

PUBLICATIONS

Novels as David Rome
Sandra. Sydney, Scripts Publications (PB299), 1967.
Ruby. Sydney, Scripts Publications (PB308), 1967.
Christina. Sydney, Scripts Publications (PB322), 1967.
Wife Swap. Sydney, Scripts Publications (PB349), 1967.
The Cleaver. Sydney, Horizon Publishing (PB359), 1968.
The Cannibals. Sydney, Horwitz (PB377), 1968; as The Depraved, New York, Ace Books, 1968.
The Circle. Sydney, Scripts Publications (PB403), 1969.
Squat. Sexual adventures on other planets. Sydney, Scripts Publications (PB431), 1970.
The Naked Bug. Sydney, Scripts Publications (AO89), 1973.
Sex Scene. Hong Kong, Stag (SP26), 1976.

Collections as David Rome
13 Times Death. Sydney, Horwitz (PB254), 1966.

Non-fiction
The Professional, conceived and produced by Ron Smith; text by David Boutland. Marrickville, N.S.W., Australia, Free Association Press, 1972.

Screenplays

Homicide (TV series, 13 eps, 1968-75)
Division 4 (TV series, 5 eps, 1969)
Crisis (1972)
The Spoiler (TV series, 1972)
Matlock Police (TV series, 1972-76)
Ryan (TV series, 4 eps, 1973-74)
Rush (TV series, 2 eps, 1974-76)
Tandarra (TV series, 2 eps, 1976)
Bluey (TV series, 1 ep, 1976)
A Country Practice (TV series, 20 eps, 1981-85; 2 eps, 1994)
Kings (TV series, 1983)
Five Mile Creek (TV series, 1983)
Alice to Nowhere (adapted from the novel by Evan Green, TV mini-series, 2pts, 1986)
Willing and Abel (TV series, 1987)
The Flying Doctors (TV series, 2 eps, 1988)
G.P. (TV series, 5 eps, 1990-93)
Snowy (1993)
Halifax f.p. (TV series, 3 eps, 1995-97)
__My Lovely Girl (1995)
__Without Consent (1995)
__Someone You Know (1998)
Blue Heelers (TV series, 12 eps, 1997-2003)
Home and Away (TV series; 1998-2002)
Stingers (TV series, 1 ep, 1999)
MDA (TV series, 1 ep, 2002)

Comic Strips
Death at Dawn, art by C. T. Rigby. Commando 125, Jul 1964.
The Lost Squadron, art by Peter Ford. Commando 134, Sep 1964.
Operation Tinfish, art by C. T. Rigby. Commando 150, Jan 1965.
Giant Killer, art by Peter Ford. Commando 153, Feb 1965.
Strong in Battle, art by Fred Holmes. War Picture Library 279, Feb 1965.
Tank Buster, art by C. T. Rigby. Commando 164, May 1965.
Safe Conduct, art by Luis Bermejo. Battle Picture Library 215, Aug 1965.
Man Trap, art by Matias Alonso. Commando 183, Oct 1965.
Fighter Ace, art by Victor Hugo Arias. Commando 206, Mar 1966.
The Last Buccaneer, art by Vittorio Cossio. Battle Picture Library 244, Mar 1966.
Master Stroke, art by Aldoma Puig. Battle Picture Library 245, Apr 1966.
Key Weapon, art by Solano Lopez. Battle Picture Library 267, Sep 1966.
Wildcat Platoon, art by Javier Puerto. Battle Picture Library 270, Oct 1966.
Ghost Squadron, art by Miguel Quesada. Commando 247, Feb 1967.
The Order, art by Escandel. Battle Picture Library 287, Feb 1967.
The Hero's Part, art by Vincente Alcazar. Battle Picture Library 294, Mar 1967.
Red For Danger, art by Carlos Pino. Battle Picture Library 297, May 1967.
The Stolen Lanc, art by Domingo. Commando 271, Jul 1967.
Freedom Fighters, art by A. Redondo. Battle Picture Library 316, Sep 1967.
Scales of Justice, art by P. Martinez Henares. Battle Picture Library 320, Oct 1967.
Toll for the Brave, art by Carlos Pino. Battle Picture Library 321, Nov 1967.
Z Force, art by Ramon de la Fuente. War Picture Library 410, Nov 1967.
Soldier Alone, art by Antonio Lopez. Battle Picture Library 324, Apr 1968.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Comic Cuts - 26 March 2010

Another bitty week. The texts for Volume 11 of the StormThe Collection have been sent off, although there's still some introductory text still to write, the scans for Finland have been sent off; I got some book cover scans needed for a Museum display sent off and I knocked out meta-data for 300 images, which was pretty intense work. What I'd intended doing, re-lettering "King Solomon's Mines" was pushed back, so I've only just started—you can see the first page at the head of the column.

The scans are all from original art boards and it's incredible to see the detail that artist C. L. Doughty put into every frame, quite a lot of which was lost in the original printing. Amazing to think that Doughty was 65 years old when he drew this and was still at the top of his game when most people would be thinking about retiring. One project I'm hoping that we can get together is a collection of some of Doughty's historical strips which are amazing.

There's not often a lot of big news about old British comics but this week Marvel have announced the release, in June, of Marvelman Classic Primer, a commemorative one-shot featuring interviews with Marvelman creator Mick Anglo, Neil Gaiman and others who have been involved with the character over the years, plus pin-ups by Mike Perkins, Doug Braithwaite, Miguel Angel Sepulveda, Jae Lee, Khoi Pham and Ben Oliver. Priced $3.99, the one-shot comes with two covers, one by Mick Anglo and one by Joe Quesada.

Before you get excited, there's still no sign of the revived Marvelman returning. Frankly, that's what everyone is waiting for... the return of the ongoing Neil Gaiman/Mark Buckingham Miracleman series and reprints of the Alan Moore Marvelman. What Marvel are offering, beyond the Marvelman Classic Primer, is July's Marvelman Family's Finest, #1 of an ongoing series reprinting some of Marvelman's greatest adventures for the first time in the USA. There's also the Marvelman Classic Volume 1 hardcover which will reprint Marvelman's earliest adventures in chronological order.

"Now's your chance to learn just why Marvelman is one of the most important characters in comic book history," says the Marvel press release.

This is talking up the original Marvelman way beyond its quality. Marvelman wasn't original—it was an unashamed rip-off of Captain Marvel created only because Captain Marvel folded in the USA—and was often poorly drawn. He was popular in his day back in the 1950s because Britain had virtually no superhero comics due to import restrictions which lasted until the end of the decade. As soon as other superhero comics began distribution, two Marvelman comics, Marvelman and Young Marvelman, only survived using reprints; the third, Marvelman Family, folded immediately.

If you've actually read the originals they can be quite fun but even I wouldn't want to read more than a few at a sitting; there's little continuity and no character growth... that's because they were aimed at little boys of maybe 12 or 13-years old who were looking to swap sixpence for an afternoon's entertainment. I can't imagine any American fan having the slightest desire to see the old Gower Studios Marvelman beyond one issue to see what all the fuss is about.

If this is a first shot across the bows for a second Marvelman revival, I think Marvel are going the wrong way about it. Personally, I'd have done it the other way around: relaunch Marvelman and do the nostalgia magazine once the new character has been established and some curiosity aroused. Come June, I strongly suspect that the arrival of "one of the most important characters in comic book history" will be met with a resounding "Meh".

Taming of the Shrew part 5

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Taming of the Shrew part 1

This week's strip was inspired by the news that a lost play by Shakespeare has been rediscovered. Actually, it isn't Shakespeare at all, but an early 18th century play called Double Falsehood; or, The Distrest Lovers by Lewis Theobald who claimed it was substantially based on a Shakespeare play called Cardenio.

What I find interesting about Theobald is that he claimed to have three original texts of the Shakespeare play. So instead of performing a lost Shakespeare play, he... um... rewrote it and produced it under his own name and... er... told people that it was, y'know, based on a lost Shakespeare that he had copies of, which he... uh... didn't bother to show people as proof. If you believe it's a lost Shakespeare play, drop me a line as I've got some snake oil you might be interested in.

But thinking of Shakespeare and the task I have at hand this week, which involves re-lettering a strip by C. L. Doughty, I remembered a superb adaptation of a real Shakespeare play by Doughty that hasn't been seen for over forty years. This appeared in the magazine Tell Me Why in 1969 and, even if you're not a big fan of Shakespeare, you can still sit back and admire Doughty's talent as an artist.

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Aileen Adair

Emergency Doctor by A. Adair (Digit Book D370, 1960) Cover by R. A. Osborne
A man came into Casualty and asked to have a wart removed. The doctor said this was unnecessary. he produced a gun and said: "Would this make you change your mind, doctor?"
__But such incidents are a rarity. The round of the Emergency Doctor is filled with small acts of kindness and skill to suffering humanity—removing a foreign body from a child's eye, reviving a prostrate alcoholic, examining a car crash victim, and attaching the laconic initials 'B.I.D.'—brought in dead—to a corpse.
__Telling descriptions of human relations in hospital make this a doubly readable book.
Aileen Adair was credited with two non-fiction books published in the 1950s relating to the author's experiences in the world of medicine, the first—The Moon is Full—on her experiences as a psychiatrist in a mental hospital, the second—Emergency Doctor—on her experiences in a casualty ward. I've only seen the latter and the author carefully avoids making any of the institutions or characters recognisable.

Aileen Adair also disguises her true identity: the National Library of Scotland notes that the name is a pseudonym and, as far as I'm aware, her true identity has never been revealed. From reviews we learn that Dr Aileen Adair was the daughter of a prominent Irish doctor who, from an early age, was determined to become a doctor and psychiatrist herself. She was now in her mid-thirties, so it is likely she was born around 1922. Although her first book was reprinted in America, it would appear not to have been registered for copyright.

The Moon is Full by Aileen Adair (Panther 764, 1958) Cover by Glenn Steward

Publications

Non-fiction
The Moon is Full. London, Allan Wingate, 1957; New York, Philosophical Library, 1957.
Emergency Doctor. London, Blond & Wingate, 1958.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Constance Burleigh

(Update: 22 March: Thanks to finding Eric Burleigh on the 1911 census I've now resolved number of problems relating to researching Constance Burleigh. Rather than fully revising the original posting, I'll add some additional material at the end.)

Sometimes the most minor authors can be the most difficult to research, although I thought at first that Constance Burleigh was not going to prove much of a problem. She turns up on the 1901 census which gives some useful information about her and her family, namely that she was born in around 1882/83 in Bedford, Bedfordshire, the second of five children who were living with their parents Charles and Lucy G. Burleigh in Croydon, Surrey. Dad Charles, born in Blackheath, Kent, in around 1863, was the proprietor of a steam laundry and elder brother Eric was a manufacturer's clerk, aged 20.

The first clue that there was going to be a problem was that Lucy G., the mother of the family, was only 35 and was unlikely to have had a 20-year-old son. Not impossible, but unlikely. There was something of a gap between the second and third child and the fourth and fifth child which made me think that Lucy might be the second wife of Charles, married to him around maybe 1887 or maybe 1897. A look in marriage records turned up nothing. Problem number 1.

Nor was there any sign of Constance Burleigh in the 1891 census although I did eventually track down some of her family. Thanks to OCR they were listed as Burlergen on the Find My Past records and Burleyson at Ancestry.com. In 1891 Charles and Lucy (or Gwendoline as she was listed) were boarding at 22 Hanover Crescent, Leeds, with children Maud and Bertram. But no Constance or Eric. Problem number 2.

Working forward from 1901 proved that the family had quite interesting theatrical careers. Maud Gwendolen Burleigh, born in Birmingham in 1889 (and one of only two of the children I could trace a birth record for, although annoyingly listed as Maud Guendolen Burleigh), was later to become a dancer and singer at the Drury Lane Theatre. This little snippet was appended to the IMDB entry of her younger brother, Charles Bertram Burleigh, who dropped his first name and was a prolific actor for many years. Born in Birmingham in 1890, he appeared in dozens of silent movies as can be seen in his entry at imdb. Bertram subsequently retired from acting and turned to management: his later career involved managing theatres, hotels and inns. He was married in 1912 to actress Dorothy Margaret Green, although they divorced in 1924; he re-married in 1946 to Mary E. Reay (the former wife of Herbert M. Sabiston), but died, in Goring-by-Sea, Sussex, only five years later on 24 April 1951. Proving it's a small world, Bertram starred alongside Meggie Albanesi in The Great Day (1922), daughter of Effie Adelaide Rowlands, who was the subject of one of these columns only recently.

Constance Burleigh was also an actress, active in the 1920s and 1930s, and a journalist, contributing to Cinema Chat. In 1925 she penned a book entitled Etiquette Up to Date and in 1939-40 penned a couple of novels for Mellifont Press which would probably not earned her a great deal of money (perhaps the reason she was not a very active novelist).

Miss Constance Burleigh lived at 33 Castlin Road, Paddington, W.9 [1927/36], 131 Grove End Gardens, Maida Vale, N.W.8 [1936/39], 12 Glenilla Road, Primrose Hill, N.W.3 [1949], 611 Maitland Court, Lancaster Terrace, W.2 [1950], 10 Loudon Road, Primrose Hill, N.W.8 [1951/55]. In May 1933, aged 40 according to the ship's passenger list, Burleigh travelled to Melbourne, Australia, her occupation described as actress and her permanent future home to be Australia—presumably it proved to be not a permanent move as she intended, although she is not listed in the phone book for 1933-35.

She died in Holborn, London, on 17 November 1955, aged 73.

The likelihood is that she was born in 1882. But I can find no record for her birth, nor the birth of her elder brother Eric. If dates in census records have been recorded accurately, her father, Charles Burleigh, was still in his teens (around 17 or 18) when Eric and Constance were born. Lucy, who would appear to be the mother of the other three children—Maude Gwendolen, Charles Bertram and Dorothy Madge (b. Croydon, 1899)—was born Lucy Gwendolen Harrison, the daughter of Charles C. and his wife Ruth M. Harrison, in Nottingham in 1865 and was two or three years younger her husband.

All of which convinces me that Lucy was Charles's second wife. It may explain why Eric and Constance were not with the family in Leeds in 1891... could they have been living with their mother and registered under their mother's maiden name? Problem number 3.**

** A small update: the 1911 census reveals that Charles and Lucy had been married for 23 years and presumably married around 1887/88, so Lucy was certainly not the mother of Eric and Constance.

For a two-novel mystery author, Constance Burleigh has proven to be an interesting subject. Her connections with the theatre and the pre-talkie days of cinema might still reveal more... for instance, was Charles Burleigh her father's real name or was he, too, originally an actor using a stage name? In 1891 his occupation was given as "traveller" which tells us very little, although I suspect it means he was a salesman rather than what we nowadays think of as a traveller. In 1911 he was a commission agent.

Update: 22 March 2010

Jamie Sturgeon did me the favour of checking out the family records for the 1911 census where I managed to spot Eric Burleigh, the older brother of Constance. A small difference appeared in his 1911 record compared to the 1901 record... he was born in Oxford rather than Bedford. With this tiny clue, aa number of mysteries can be resolved.

Only two people called Eric were born in Oxford in 1880/81: Eric Otto Winstedt and Rupert Eric Brune. For brevity's sake we'll ignore the former as he's not our man. A search for Rupert Brune in the 1881 census shows 1-year-old Rupert living in Oxford with his father, Charles R. Brune, commercial traveller, born in Blackheath, Kent, in 1857 and his wife Angelina Elizabeth Swifte Brune (nee Broers), born in Lee, Kent, that same year. They were married at Holy Trintiy, Haverstock Hill, in 1879. Charles Rupert Brune was the son of Charles Williams Brune, a government clerk, and gave his age as 21 on his marriage certificate. Angelina Elizabeth Swifte Broers's birth was registered in Lewisham in 1851, although her age on her marriage certificate is only 26.

In 1901 Angelina Brune, still listed as married, was a pauper patient at the Marylebone infirmary. She died in 1936, aged 85.

The couple had two children, as previously surmised: Rupert Eric Brune, born in 1880 and Lena Constance Brune, born in Bedford in 2Q 1882, although her birth was not registered until 1886. By 1901, Constance was living with her father under his new name, Burleigh.

I still can't find Constance in the 1891 census but this might be explained: Angelina, her mother, was born in London but I believe was of Dutch descent and Angelina's sister Emma was living in Holland by the mid-1880s when she married Willem Lodewijk van Grasstek (1855-1905). Perhaps sister Angelina was in Holland at the time of the 1891 census. Just a guess.

Update: 12 September 2012

Stephen Kirkman has dropped me a line to add a little about Rupert Eric Burleigh from his research into his family tree. Rupert married Ellen M. Kirkman in Croydon, Surrey, in 1913. They had a daughter named Erica N. Burleigh born in Croydon in 1916 who, sadly, died that same year.

Ellen M. Burleigh died in 1921 in Croydon aged 43 and Rupert Eric Burleigh remarried to Florence Bevington in Croydon in 1932.

He died, aged 76, at the County Hospital, Redhill, Surrey, in 1957. He lived at Haverbrack, Park View Road, Woldingham and 64 Strathmore Road, Croydon, both in Surrey. His estate was worth £212,850 when he died.

Publications

Novels
A Woman's Honour. London, Mellifont Press, 1939.
A Fettered Life. London, Mellifont Press, 1940.

Non-fiction
Etiquette Up to Date. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1925; New York, G. H. Watt, 1925.

Others

Plays as actress: Dawn (Portsmouth, 1927), The Tragic Woman (Garden Theatre, London, 1928), The Gates of Ur (Arts Theatre, London, 1932), The Wooden Idol (Ambassadors Theatre, 1933), Murder in Motley (Winter Garden, 1934), Having No Hearts (Prince's Theatre, 1934), The Woman (Player's Theatre Club, 1935), Pigs in Glory (Arts Theatre, 1935), High Fever (Aldwych Theatre, 1938), Mice and Men (Fortune Theatre, 1938), King of the Air (Torch Theatre, 1939).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rupert of Hentzau part 6

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Paperback Cover Cavalcade 11

Here's a three-book gallery of covers by Roger Hall.

Calling Doctor Jane by Adeline McElfresh (Corgi T686, 1959) Cover by Roger Hall
She was in love with her future husband, and Doctor Jane Langford eagerly prepared to join him at his remote African medical mission station.
__But then Doctor Paul Hamlin arrived to take over Jane's busy practice. And as they worked side by side, the darkly handsome young doctor made no secret of his growing desire for Jane, his determination to keep her for himself.
__As Jane's warm but errant heart responded to Doctor Paul she was faced with the greatest challenge she had ever known...
__Against the background of the busy, hectic world of modern medicine is told this challenging story of a young, beautiful woman's search for truth and honesty.
Elizabeth Adeline McElfresh (1918- ) was a prolific American romance writer under a variety of pen-names (Jennifer Blair, John Cleveland, Jane Scott, Elizabeth Wesley) who specialised in the Doctor/Nurse romance genre. She also worked as a newspaper journalist for various Indiana newspapers in the 1930s to 1950s and, when the romance market dipped in the 1960s, she became director of public relations for the Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Indiana.

Nurse With Wings by Marguerite Mooers Marshall (Corgi T674, 1959) Cover by Roger Hall
Anne was engaged to marry Dr. "Staff" Stafford, ambitious young New York doctor who demanded that she give up the career she loved.
__Then, one storm-tossed night, her plane crashed in the Canadian wilderness, and the whole pattern of her life was swept out of her control. For as she fought to save her passengers from the burning wreckage, she found a stranger working skillfully by her side. he was Dr. Paul Roy, a young Canadian doctor.
__Back in New York in Staff's possessive arms Anne Austin tried to forget the quiet masterly young Canadian.
__How this passionate and honest young girl settled one of life's greatest problems and found fulfilment is told in this rich and compelling novel by one of the great novelists of the world of medicine.
Marguerite Mooers Marshall (1887-1964) was an American journalist with the New York Evening World, whose "The Woman of It" column appeared in some sixty or seventy American newspapers. She contributed to many leading magazines and wrote regularly for King Feature Syndicate. She began writing novels regularly in the 1930s. She and her husband, Sidney Walter Dean, whom she married in 1916, enjoyed holidaying in Quebec where they kept a summer chalet; the widowed Mrs. Dean went missing in May 1964 and her body was found a week later in the wooded area of Lac Beauport, north of Quebec City.

Sister Brookes of Byng's by Kate Norway (Corgi T663, 1959) Cover by Roger Hall
Shattered after a broken engagement, Helen Brookes returned to Byng's Hospital determined to throw herself body and soul into her career and let nothing stand in the way.
__But Sister Helen could not silence the promptings of her heart so easily. Despite all her efforts her relationship with wealthy publisher Richard Barnett developed into a warmer friendship than is usual between nurse and patient, a friendship which Richard would have liked to lead to marriage and a life of luxury and ease for Helen as his wife.
__And then her first-sight dislike for the arrogant Resident Surgical Officer Hugh Burton-Hall began to change into affection and even love. But Hugh was married...
__Torn between her duty, the glamour of Richard Barnett's proposals and her unhappy love for Hugh Burton-Hall, Sister Helen almost decided that her return to Byng's was the greatest mistake of her life.
Kate Norway was the popular pen-name of Olive Norton (nee Claydon, 1913-1973) who regularly wrote three hospital romances and two crime novels a year, many appearing under pen-names (Norway, Bess Norton, Hilary Neal). Norton could write from experience as she had studied at the Birmingham Children's Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary and was in various nursing posts in the 1930s.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Comic Cuts - 19 March 2010

After last week's scanning excitement, this week has been poor by contrast, tidying up over 600 scans so they can be sent off to Finland. Add a 72-hour cold that I presumably picked up at the weekend which wiped me out mid-week (and is still hanging around) to the dull but heavy workload and I've not been having the best of times. And it started so well, as we went ten-pin bowling and I won (first time in years!), had a nice weekend with friends celebrating a couple of birthdays and picked up a nice little job scanning some book covers (not brilliantly paid, but all money for the pot).

Next week it'll be back work on the Haggard book, re-lettering "King Solomon's Mines", so I should have some samples for you by the next Comic Cuts column.

"Rupert of Hentzau" finishes tomorrow so I'll have a dig around on Sunday for something new to begin Monday. I already have an idea but I'll have to see if I have all the necessary issues.

So that's all for this week... I'm off for a Lemsip.

(* Artwork is from Air Ace Picture Library #53, "Day of Reckoning", artwork by Ian Kennedy, © IPC Media.)

Rupert of Hentzau part 5

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Christie Cover Cavalcade: part 6

This episode of our Christie Cover Cavalcade celebrates the work of Tom Adams. You can find a little more about Adams in a piece that I wrote some years ago for Bear Alley. He also has his own website if you want to learn more about his work.

This is just a selection of the covers he painted for Agatha Christie's books. Adams' work was the subject of Agatha Christie: Cover Story, which appeared from Paper Tiger back in 1981 and is long out of print, but a great book with some fascinating commentary by Adams and Julian Symons if you can find a copy second hand.

Fontana 897

Fontana 950

Fontana 1077

Fontana 1133

Fontana 1418

Fontana 1505

Fontana 1515

Fontana 1729

Fontana 1736

Fontana 1844