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Sunday, January 30, 2011
Mark Gatiss's Lucifer Box
Mark Gatiss may be better known for his work on TV, which ranges from (co-)writing and (often) starring in The League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who and Sherlock, presenting (the recent A History of Horror series about horror movies) and, as a novelist, writing a number of Doctor Who licensed books for the BBC. But my favourites amongst the dozen or so books he's been involved with are the trio that feature Lucifer Box, a foppish artist who is also secret agent. Sexually voracious, ruthless and prone to sardonic humour, he's a James Bond for the Edwardian era. The first book was turned into a graphic novel by artist Ian Bass and there's rumours that the BBC are making a TV series, although that rumour was floating around in 2007, so it may come to nothing.
I especially like the third cover... you'll have seen plenty of similar illustrations here on Bear Alley as it was clearly influenced by the old 1960s Pan Books' editions of old Agatha Christie novels with covers painted by W. Francis Phillips. In fact, quite a lot of thought has gone into the designs... again, I like the hardcover edition of the first book, which ran faux adverts on the endpapers in the style of the time.
The Vesuvius Club (Simon & Schuster, 2004)
Pocket Books 978-074348-379-0, 2005, 240pp. Cover by Ian Bass
The Devil in Amber (Simon & Schuster, 2006)
Pocket Books 978-074348-380-3, 2007, 248pp, £7.99. Cover by Ian Bass
Black Butterfly (Simon & Schuster, 2008)
Pocket Books 978-074348-381-0, 2009, 204pp, £7.99. Cover by Mark Thomas
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Lion King of Picture Story Papers Click here to order "It's a great read in itself and has sent me back to the Lion comic to re-read some of my childhood favourites. The pictures are reproduced crystal clearly and even this old man can read the original art ... It's a gorgeous book and if we are snow-bound as the media has been saying for weeks, I have plenty to keep me amused this chilly January weekend!" - Norman Boyd.
Sexton Blake Annual 1941 Click here to order "If you've been meaning to give Sexton Blake's adventures a try, this would be a great place to start. I've seen the actual annuals go on Ebay for three or four hundred bucks, so this is definitely a bargain too." - Singular Points.
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