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Sunday, November 28, 2010

E-mail woes - UPDATED

I'm currently having problems receiving e-mails. It's not a problem at my end but with Demon, through whose services I've been e-mailing merrily for the last 15 years... I guess there's a first time for everything. Anyway, they're aware of the problem (it isn't just affecting me) but, 12 hours on, they've still to resolve it.

So, if you've sent an e-mail and were expecting a response, please bear with me while Demon sorts the problem out. If it continues into tomorrow, I'll set up another temporary mailing account and post the address here.

UPDATED
The e-mail address via Demon is up and running again.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jonathan Latimer

Jonathan Latimer was the master of the screwball hardboiled novel, his Bill Crane series a classic of booze, babes and bullets, although Latimer would eventually tire of the hard-drinking PI. He's one of the forgotten masters: Hammett, Chandler and Cain have found their place with the literati, but a few others have escaped attention, Latimer being one (and Howard Browne being another).

Latimer, born in Chicago on 23 October 1906, produced only a few novels as he was in the main employed first as a journalist in the 1920s, then as a film and TV screenwriter, yet in his small canon of books there lies at least one classic: Solomon's Vineyard. It was originally considered too hot for publication in the USA It appeared in the UK uncut but had to wait 15 years before it appeared in the States in a bowdlerised version.

Latimer's movie credits began with adaptations of his own novels The Westland Case (1937; from Headed for a Hearse) and The Last Warning (1938; from The Dead Don't Care), but moved into original territory with The Long Wolf's Spy Hunt (1939). Other movies include Topper Returns (1941), The Glass Key (1942), They Won't Believe Me (1947), The Big Clock (1948), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), and numerous others.

In the  late 1950s he switched to writing for TV, including 26 episodes of Perry Mason (1958-65), 6 episodes of Markham (1959-60) and an episode of Columbo (1972).

Latimer died of lung cancer on 23 June 1983 in La Jolla, California.

Murder in the Madhouse (Crane; New York, Doubleday, and London, Hurst & Blackett, 1935)
No Exit Press 0948-35329-5, 1988.

Headed for a Hearse (Crane; New York, Doubleday, 1935; London, Methuen, 1936; as The Westland Case, New York, Sun Dial Press, 1938)
Pan Books G373, (Jul) 1960, 190pp. Cover by Henry Fox
No Exit Press 0948-35331-7, 1988, 190pp.

The Lady in the Morgue (Crane; New York, Doubleday, 1936; London, Methuen, 1937)
Pan Books G204, 1959, 219pp. Cover by Sam Peffer
No Exit Press 0948-35322-8, 1988, 219pp.

The Search for My Great Uncle’s Head (as Peter Coffin; New York, Doubleday, 1937)
Note: No UK editions.

The Dead Don’t Care (Crane; New York, Doubleday, and London, Methuen, 1938)
No Exit Press 0948-35308-2, 272pp.

Red Gardenias (Crane; New York, Doubleday, and London, Methuen, 1939; as Some Dames Are Deadly, New York, Spivak, 1955)
No Exit Press 0948-35340-6, 1989, 288pp.

Dark Memory (New York, Doubleday, and London, Methuen, 1940)
Note: No UK paperback editions.

Solomon's Vineyard (London, Methuen, 1941; bowdlerised, as The Fifth Grave, New York, Popular Library, 1956; later published complete)
Pan G456, (May) 1961, 159pp, 2/6. Cover by Sam Peffer
----, 1961, 2/6. *alternate cover.
Xanadu 1854-80076-0, 1990, 160pp.

Sinners and Shrouds (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1955; London, Methuen, 1956)
Pan 436, (Nov) 1957, 188pp. Cover by Sam Peffer

Black Is the Fashion for Dying (New York, Random House, 1959; as The Mink-Lined Coffin, London, Methuen, 1969)
as The Mink-Lined Coffin, Four Square Books 776, 1963, viii+195pp. Cover: photo

Friday, November 26, 2010

Comic Cuts -26 November 2010

The cold bug I mentioned last week has proved to be a persistent little blighter and is still hanging around, although I have manage to pick up the pace and get some work done this week on a project to be announced shortly.

There isn't really much in the way of news. This week's mini-essay for the Illustration Art Gallery blog was on animator/artist Mike Arens who, despite being American, actually did do some original British comic strip work back in the early 1960s for the Huckleberry Hound comic, and there are more historical bits and bobs on the Look and Learn blog. 2010 could be the first year where I'm writing more online than for paper publications.

I've expanded Bear Alley's annotated Recent Releases column to include November and I've been working backwards to cover titles published in 2009, although it's slow going as, back in August, there was a glitch that wiped out all my information on 2009 releases. So don't expect the full list to be appearing anytime soon, but it's something I'll dip into and the results will be posted when I think I've a reasonable number of titles listed.

The Upcoming Releases list can also be found below. You'll notice that Darkie's Mob has been pushed back again to next February but we can at least now take a look at the final cover design (above). Still no firm dates for most of Titan's other reprints, which is a shame as they have some good titles.

The latest Charley's War collection has just come out and I noticed a couple of copies ordered via Bear Alley were dispatched a couple of weeks ago. So I was quite surprised when I stumbled across this...

The description of the product seems perfectly fine to me: "In September 1917, Charley is caught up in the mutiny by troops against harsh treatment at Etaples and faces divided loyalties as the rebellion gathers pace. Eventually, back on the front line, he faces death once more as a stretcher bearer...This seventh volume of "Charley's War" is rich in the detailed minutiae of the terror-punctuated existence of a Tommy." That its a comic strip is also pretty obvious from the "product details" listing where it holds various positions in Books>Comics & Graphic Novels. You can still buy it via Amazon for a knockdown £8.49 + postage as other dealers can supply copies, just not from Amazon until this hiccup resolves itself.

Over the weekend and into next week there's more Paul Temple as "Death Sitting Down" heads towards its climax. And whatever else I can squeeze in.

Today's random scans... Bear Alley reader Tony sent over today's fabulous column header, which is from the original cover artwork for Starblazer 177 by the peerless Ian Kennedy. If anyone else wants to share original artwork from old British comics, drop me a line.

On a sadder note, this week saw the passing of Ingrid Pitt, a stalwart of memorabilia and collector's shows where I bumped into her (and hubby Tony) on a few occasions when I was editing Model & Collectors Mart magazine; after leaving the mag, I continued to write one or two articles a month for the new editor and, for a couple of years, Ingrid was also a regular contributor, covering a broad range of film and TV related subjects. She turned out to be quite an entertaining writer. During the recent move I stumbled across copies of a couple of novels she'd written: Cuckoo Run (1980) and The Perons (1982). She wrote at least one other novel, Katarina (1986), which I don't think ever appeared in paperback, and a children's book, Bertie the Bus (1981). We're not talking the kind of celebrity fluff you get nowadays: these were actually proper novels, not ghost-written, and ranged in subject from thriller (Cuckoo Run featured a female James Bond type) to contemporary history (The Perons, reprinted as Eva's Spell in paperback, was about Eva Peron) and the holocaust (Katarina), in part drawing on her own experiences growing up in a concentration camp.

The broadsheets have all published obituaries if you want to learn more: The Guardian (24 November), Daily Telegraph (24 November) and The Independent (25 November).

(* Starblazer artwork © D. C. Thomson.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

November releases

A round-up of this month's releases relating to or reprinting British comics and cartoons, along with some selected original graphic novels and related items. Some titles announced for recent release but which have yet to be appear can be found in the Upcoming Releases column, whilst a list of releases for the year to date can be found in the Recent Releases column, below. A fully illustrated and annotated version of the listing of releases for 2010 can be found here.

NOVEMBER 2010

100 Months by John Hicklenton.
Cutting Edge ISBN 978-0956544520, 11 November 2010, 200pp, £19.99. Cover by John Hicklenton
Johnny Hicklenton was one of Britain's leading comic book artists, who took his own life in March 2010 with the assistance of Dignitas in Zurich. 100 Months is an apocalyptic parable of environmental devastation written and drawn in fore knowledge of his own impending death. An intense, hallucinatory story with overtones of Dostoevsky's 'Legend of the Grand Inquisitor' and artwork of breathtaking intensity, it is the crowning achievement of a brilliant career, a true graphic novel that engages ultimate themes of life, death and salvation. Controversial, haunting and tortured in all senses, it will inevitably fuel debate around the issues of taking one's own life. Includes a foreword by Pat Mills.
500 Manga Villains & Heroes by Yishan Li.
Ilex ISBN 978-1905814947, 1 November 2010, 528pp, £14.99.
Manga is now well established as one of the worlds most popular genres of illustrated books. Many millions of readers, all over the world, thrill to the exploits of heroic boys and girls, monstrous villains, brave warriors, robots, monsters and aliens. Many of these readers are inspired to create their own Manga art and stories, using one of the many available digital arts programs. 500 Manga Villains and Heroes is the third title in Ilexs successful 500 series for digital manga artists. The CD contains custom-drawn layered files which can be used by leading graphics programs: the characters can be used by amateurs and professionals alike to populate their stories. The book acts as a visual catalogue, offering colouring suggestions and advice on integrating the figures into your work. With royalty-free art from one of professional mangas most exciting names, this is sure to be an essential resource for todays mangaka.
Charley's War: The Great Mutiny by Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun.
Titan Books ISBN 978-1848567412, 9 November 2010, 112pp, £14.99.
In September 1917, Charley is caught up in the mutiny by troops against harsh treatment at Etaples and faces divided loyalties as the rebellion gathers pace. Eventually, back on the front line, he faces death once more as a stretcher bearer. Rich in the detailed minutiae of the terror-punctuated existence of a Tommy, this seventh volume of Charley's War features a brand new introduction and directors commentary by Pat Mills, plus exclusive bonus content examining the Mutiny that inspired the acclaimed and controversial BBC TV series The Monocled Mutineer.

The Complete Al's Baby by John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1906735494, November 2010, 240pp, £17.99. Cover by Carlos Ezquerra
The mobsters govern the city of Chi-Town and the toughest of the tough is Al Bestardi, also known as Al the Beast. Al gets an offer he can't refuse and the hardest hitman in town has to get pregnant. Machine guns mix with morning sickness in a classic comedy sci-fi tale from the pages of 2000 AD!
Meltdown Man by Alan Hebden & Massimo Belardinelli.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1907519291, 11 November 2010.
Whilst on a mission in the Persian Gulf, SAS Sergeant Nick Stone is blasted by a nuclear explosion into the future, where the last remaining humans, such as the predatory Leeshar, rule over the eugenically-modified animal castes known as 'Yujees'. Accompanied by catgirl Liana, bullman T-Bone and the vicious cobra King Seth, Stone has discovered that this bizarre world is his own - the continent he roams being South America, its poles mysteriously inverted.
The Rupert Companion by Ian Robinson.
Egmont Books ISBN  978-1405253307, 1 November 2010.
A complete history of Rupert Bear, this beautifully presented book is the fascinating story of how one little bear became a national treasure. It begins with Rupert's first appearance in "The Express" newspaper and charts his journey to the present day, paying particular attention to the writers and artists who have brought him to life over the years. In his ninetieth year, Rupert Bear is still one of the most popular characters in literature, beloved by generations of children. This book gives a unique insight into the secrets of his success.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Georgette Heyer: Crime Novels

    Footsteps in the Dark (London, Longman, 1932)
    Granada 0246-12760-0, (Feb) 1987, 304pp.
    House of Stratus 0755-10895-7, 2001, 290pp.
    Arrow 0099-49369-1, 2006, 328pp.
    Guests spending the summer at an ancient priory mansion find it has a charm all its own--no modern conveniences, but it does have a resident ghost. In this case, however, the things that go bump in the night are flesh and blood . . . and deadly!
    Why Shoot a Butler? (London, Longman, 1933)
    Penguin 429, 1943, 220pp.
    Panther 1577, 1963, 219pp.
    , 2nd imp., 1964; 3rd imp., 1967; 4th imp., (Nov?) 1967.
    , 5th imp., 1969, 220pp, 5/-. Cover: photo
    , 6th imp., 1973.
    Panther 586-01577-9-2, 7th imp., 1977.
    , 8th imp., 1979; 9th imp., 1982.
    , 10th imp., 1984. Cover: photo
    Grafton 0586-01577-9, 1987, 298pp.
    House of Stratus 0755-10891-4, 2001, 277pp.
    Arrow 0099-49372-1, 2007, 312pp.
    Every family has secrets, but the Fountains' are turning deadly . . .
    On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence, and Amberley believes her-at least until he gets drawn into the mystery and the clues incriminating Shirley Brown begin to add up . . .
    In an English country-house murder mystery with a twist, it's the butler who's the victim, every clue complicates the puzzle, and the bumbling police are well-meaning but completely baffled. Fortunately, in ferreting out a desperate killer, amateur sleuth Amberley is as brilliant as he is arrogant, but this time he's not sure he wants to know the truth . . .
    The Unfinished Clue (London, Longman, 1934)
    Penguin 428, 1943, 220pp.
    Panther 1642, Mar 1964, 207pp. 3/6.
    , 2nd imp., 1965; 3rd imp., 1967; 4th imp., 1967.
    Panther 2693-2, 5th imp., (Feb) 1969, 208pp, 5/-. Cover: photo
    Panther 586-02693-2-2, 6th imp.(?), 1974. Cover: photo
    , 1977.
    Panther 0586-02693-2, 1984. Cover: photo
    Grafton 0586-02693-2, 1987, 288pp.
    House of Stratus 0755-10889-2, 266pp.
    Arrow 0099-49373-X, 2006, 306pp.
    Everyone had a reason to hate the late Sir Arthur Billington-Smith. His arrogance and abrasive manner had alienated his wife, her sister, his houseguests, his wayward son, even a desperate friend. Of course, his attentions to one attractive young guest in plain view of her husband simply multiplied the possible suspects in his murder.
    Death in the Stocks (Hannasyde; London, Longman, 1935; as Merely Murder, New York, Doubleday, 1935)
    Penguin 378, 1942, 204pp.
    , Xth imp., 1950.
    Panther 1495, 1963, 174pp.
    , 2nd imp., 1964; 3rd imp., 1965.
    , 4th imp., Mar 1966, 177pp, 3/6. Cover: photo
    Panther 2694-0, [5th imp.] 1968. Cover: photo
    , 6th imp., 1971; 7th imp., 1972; 8th imp., 1973.
    , 9th imp., 1975, 175pp, 40p. Cover: photo
    Grafton 0586-02694-0, 1987.
    House of Stratus 0755-10887-6, 2001, 262pp.
    Arrow 0099-49362-4, 2006, 298pp.
    Beneath a sky the colour of sapphires and the sinister moonlight, a gentleman in evening dress is discovered slumped in the stocks on the village green - he is dead. Superintendent Hannasyde's consummate powers of detection and solicitor Giles Carrington's amateur sleuthing are tested to their limits as they grapple with the Vereker family - a group of outrageously eccentric and corrupt suspects.
    Behold, Here's Poison (Hannasyde; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1936)
    Pan 75, (Jan) 1949.
    , 2nd (?) imp., 1951. Cover by Stein
    Panther 1532, 1963, 191pp.
    , 2nd imp., 1964; 3rd imp., 1965.
    , 4th imp. 1967. Cover: photo
    Panther 2723-8, [5th imp.] (Mar) 1969, 192pp, 5/-. Cover photo by Dennis Rolfe
    , Xth imp., 1971.
    586-02723-8-2, Xth imp., 1975.
    Grafton 0586-02723-8, c.1987.
    House of Stratus 0755-10894-9, 2001, 272pp.
    Arrow 0099-49364-0, 2006, 311pp.
    Inspector Hannasyde faces the deadliest test of his career when members of the wealthy Matthews clan begin to die, one by one. With motives everywhere, it is no easy case for the inspector to solve. Heyer is one of the best known writers of the "cozy" subgenre of mysteries and her whimsical dialogue and fascinating characters abound in this black comedy of a thriller.
    They Found Him Dead (Hannasyde; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1937)
    Bernard Tauchnitz 5318, c.1938, 241pp.
    Panther 1188, 1961.
    , 2nd imp., 1962; 3rd imp., 1964; 5th imp., 1965; 6th imp., 1966
    , 7th imp., 1967, 203pp, 5/-. Cover: photo
    Panther 2667-3, 8th imp., 1968;
    , 9th imp., (Jan) 1969.
    , Xth imp., 1972
    Granada, 1981.
    Grafton, c.1987.
    House of Status 0755-10890-6, 2001, 270pp.
    Arrow 0099-49363-2, 2006, 310pp.
    It is the morning after wealthy Silas Kane's sixtieth birthday party - a celebration that brings to light a number of familial controversies. When Kane he is found dead at the foot of a cliff, the assumption is that he simply lost his way in the fog and fell by accident. But the subsequent death of his nephew and heir and threats on the life of the third Kane, the newest heir, raises obvious suspicion, and the redoubtable investigative skills of Superintendent Hannasyde prove critical once again.

    A Blunt Instrument (Hannasyde; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1938)
    Pan 105, Aug 1949. Cover by Stein
    Panther 1282, 1961, 189pp.
    Panther 2669-X, 1968, 190pp.
    , 1969.
    , Xth imp., 1973.
    Grafton, c.1987.
    HarperCollins 0586-02669-X, 1993, 270pp.
    House of Stratus 0755-10892-2, 2001, 254pp.
    Arrow 0099-49365-9, 2006, 293pp.
    When Ernest Fletcher is found bludgeoned to death in his study, everyone is shocked and mystified: Ernest was well liked and respected, so who would want to kill him? Enter Superintendent Hannasyde who, with consummate skill, begins to uncover the complexities of Fletcher’s life. It seems the real Fletcher was far from the gentleman he pretended to be.
    No Wind of Blame (Hemingway; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1939)
    Panther 1614, 1963, 219pp.
    Panther 2766, (Apr) 1969, 220pp.
    , Xth imp., c.1984.
    Grafton 0586-02766-1, 1988, 318pp.
    House of Stratus 0755-10893-0, 2001
    Arrow 0099-49367-5, 2006, 348pp.
    Tragedy befalls the Carter family following an eventful visit from a Russian prince and a scandalous blackmail letter. The murder of Wally Carter generates a bewildering mystery - how does one shoot a man crossing a narrow bridge without being near the murder weapon when it is fired? The superlatively analytical Inspector Hemingway reveals his unnerving talent for solving a fiendish problem.
    Envious Casca (Hemingway; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1941)
    Panther 1265, 1961, 216pp.
    , 2nd imp., 1964; 3rd imp., 1965.
    , 4th imp., 1967, 217pp, 5/-. Cover: photo
    , 5th imp., 1967.
    Panther 0586-01265-6, 6th imp., (Feb) 1970.
    , 7th imp., 1972; 8th imp., 1973; 9th imp., 1975; 10th imp., 1980.
    Granada 0586-01265-6, 11th imp., 1982. Cover: photo
    Grafton, c.1987
    House of Stratus 0755-10888-4, 2001, 332pp.
    Arrow 0099-49366-7, 2006, 379pp.
    It is no ordinary Christmas at Lexham Manor. Six holiday guests find themselves the suspects of a murder enquiry when the old Scrooge, Nathaniel Herriad, who owns the substantial estate, is found stabbed in the back. For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, ‘tis the season to find whodunit but it’s a real conundrum how any of the suspects could have entered the locked room to commit this foul deed in the first place.
    Penhallow (London, Heinemann, 1942)
    Panther 1689, 1964, 239pp.
    , 2nd imp., 1965(?).
    , 3rd imp., 1967.
    Panther 2767, 4th imp., (Apr) 1969, 240pp.
    , Xth imp., 1971.
    Panther 02767-X, 1976.
    Grafton 0586-02767-X, 1987, 239pp.
    House of Stratus 0755-10896-5, 2001, 379pp.
    Arrow 0099-49368-3, 2006, 431pp.
    Adam Penhallow’s death seems, at first, to be by natural causes. But Penhallow wasn’t well liked — so bad tempered, that both his servants and his family hated him. It soon transpires that Penhallow was murdered, poisoned, in fact, on the eve of his birthday celebration, and there are more than a dozen prime suspects.
    Duplicate Death (Hemingway; London, Heinemann, 1951)
    Pan 287, May 1954. Cover by Carl Wilton
    Panther 1407, 1962, 191pp.
    , 2nd imp., Feb 1964. Cover photo
    , 3rd imp., Mar 1964.
    , Xth imp., 1967
    Panther, 1970, 192pp.
    , Xth imp., 1975.
    Panther 0586-01407-1, 1978, 192pp.
    House of Stratus 0755-10885-X, 2001, 288pp.
    Arrow 0099-49375-6, 2006, 352pp.
    A civilized game of Duplicate Bridge ends in a double murder in which both victims were strangled with picture wire. The crimes seem identical, but were they carried out by the same hand? The odds of solving this crime are stacked up against Inspector Hemingway. Fortunately, the first-rate detective doesn’t miss a trick.

    Detection Unlimited (Hemingway; London, Heinemann, 1953)
    Pan 363, Jan 1956. Cover by Sax
    Panther 1244, 1961, 222pp.
    , Xth imp., 1964; Xth imp., 1966.
    Panther 2558-1, 1969, 223pp.
    , Xth imp., 1971; Xth imp., 1972.
    Panther 586-02558-1-2, 1975.
    Grafton 0586-02558-1, 1988.
    House of Stratus 0755-10886-8, 2001, 308pp.
    Arrow 0099-49374-8, 2006, 348pp.
    Slumped on a seat under an oak tree is old Sampson Warrenby, with a bullet through his brain. He is discovered by his niece Mavis, who is just one of ten people in the village in the running for chief suspect, having cause to dislike Warrenby intensely. Only Chief Inspector Hemingway can uncover which of the ten has turned hatred into murder.