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Monday, June 06, 2011

The Paul Temple Library

Back in 1964, a little company called Micron published a series of reprints of Paul Temple strips from the Evening News. The series ran to only 10 issues, published at the rate of two a month between March and July, reprinting stories drawn by John McNamara. The issues are now very scarce - I've never stumbled across a single one in thirty years. I do, however, know the editor, Keith Chapman, who worked for Micron back in the early 1960s before swapping editorial work in London for journalistic work in New Zealand. Nowadays he writes novels (as Chap O'Keefe) and runs the Black Horse Extra website.

Keith is a regular visitor to Bear Alley and commented recently on one of the latest Paul Temple episodes, which led to some further comments off-list. Keith then kindly sent over some scans from the early issues of the Paul Temple Library, which I'm about to share with you.

First, some comments from Keith about his time on that particular publication...

When choosing material for the Paul Temple Library I put together for Micron, I tried to pick sets that had given the artist latitude to draw interesting, non-repetitive scenes. Probably you do the same today, assuming you have a selection. Back in the early '60s, I was limited by the old art-paper pulls a big newspaper syndication department was prepared to dredge up from its files. An editor barely out of his teens, working for a backstreet publisher in suburban Mitcham, didn't carry much clout. Nor did I handle the financial side of the deal. Certainly with its freelance contributors Micron was notoriously slow in meeting obligations. "Payment on publication" was frequently "payment after repeated reminder".
__As you know, the Evening News wasn't a national newspaper and circulated only in London and the South-East. This meant a string of provincial and overseas papers had first call on syndication resources. Similarly, I seem to remember Micron wasn't allowed to export PT Library to Commonwealth countries, probably because they were running several years behind with the daily strip.
The first two issues ran back cover features on Paul Temple's creator Francis Durbridge, which I'll post tomorrow, along with some other material I've gathered along the way. For now, here's a checklist of the ten issues of the Paul Temple Library.

01  03-64  Paul Temple and the Magpie Mystery (rpts Evening News)
02  03-64  Paul Temple and the Gun Runners (rpts Evening News)
03  04-64  Paul Temple and the Nerve Gas Gang (rpts Evening News)
04  04-64  Paul Temple in Operation Shrike (rpts Evening News)
05  05-64  Paul Temple Plays with Fire (rpts Evening News)
06  05-64  Paul Temple Meets His Double (rpts Evening News)
07  06-64  Paul Temple and the Safari Mystery (rpts Evening News)
08  06-64  Paul Temple in The Charge is Murder! (rpts Evening News)
09  07-64  Paul Temple and the Q.40 Mystery (rpts Evening News)
10  07-64  Paul Temple and the Missing Van Gogh (rpts Evening News)

P.S. Incidentally, if you follow this link to the latest issue of Black Horse Extra, there's an interesting piece by Gary Dobbs (aka "Jack Martin") on how Richard Stark and 'D-Day Dawson' (of Battle Picture Weekly fame) inspired elements of his latest Western, The Ballad of Delta Rose.

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