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Friday, September 02, 2011

Comic Cuts - 2 September 2011

Some good news to start off with: Bear Alley Books is definitely going to to be publishing another collection of comic strips. The book was okayed on Tuesday and I've started working on the artwork. This doesn't mean I've forgotten about the Mike Western book; unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to concentrate on that since I ran into problems with the computer a couple of months ago and, subsequently, have been trying to pay off the new computer I had to buy.

This one will be a collection of three historical stories by C. L. Doughty that I can work on in evenings without interrupting the daily grind. Two of them will be reproduced almost entirely from original artwork.If all goes to plan, the three stories will be 'The Black Pirate', 'Pott's Progress' and 'A Sword for the Stadtholder' and whilst historical strips may not be to everyone's tastes, I can assure you that the artwork is absolutely superb, as you can see from the example above. The text still needs a bit of restoration but, with luck on my side, I should be able to clean up the artwork over the course of September and have the book out in October. That's the plan, anyway. Keep your fingers crossed.

This week's random scans... hawk-eyed commenters soon identified the original source of the William Ard cover by Victor Kalin I posted last week as Avon T296 and a dig around the net turned up a scan of the cover, which you'll find below.

As a treat I thought I'd dig out a bit of British good girl art, albeit for an American reprint. It has a terrific blurb on the back which deserves reprinting here:
In Hot Spot Steve Fisher has burned on to paper his impression of Hollywood, that fabulous offspring of the film industry. In prose that punches, against a background of arc-lights and film sets, he tells a tale of murder.
__Here is all the heartbreak and heaven of the studio, vivid and realistic. Gaudy Hollywood nights, the million coloured lights of Christmas, the hurrying steps of the crowded Boulevard; then star horror, running feet... escape to the waterfront. The sound of ships, the rumble of lorries, the bustle of people. Whispers in the dark. A man and a girl, afraid, hiding, running, behind them the long shadow of the relentless pursuer.
__There have been many stories of Hollywood, but few more real and dramatic than this. It is a bittersweet story, filled with laughter and tears - and terror. it is a story you will long remember.
Fisher was chiefly a screenwriter for movies and TV but had begun as a writer for pulps, selling to Black Mask, Doc Savage, The Shadow and dozens of others. Hot Spot was one of two dozen novels he wrote and was originally published as - and better known as - I Wake Up Screaming. The movie Hot Spot was released in 1941 and starred Betty Grable Victor Mature and Carole Landis. It was filmed again as Vicki in 1953 with Jeanne Crain, Jean Peters  and Elliott Reid.

The scan is actually from an eBay sale and rather small, so if anyone has a copy that they could scan and send me it would be much appreciated.

And finally I mentioned Charles Harness a couple of weeks ago and I said I'd have to dig out a copy of his excellent novel The Rose. It's actually a novella rather than a novel and had something of a checkered history. When he wrote the story, Harness could not find a publisher and, eventually, it appeared in the British SF magazine Authentic Science Fiction (#31, March 1953) and disappeared from the newsstands a month later and would probably have remained a lost classic had it not been for Mike Moorcock who remembered the story and, during his time as an editor at Compact Books (who were publishing the Moorcock-edited New Worlds) arranged for The Rose to be reprinted, along with a couple of shorter stories to bring it up to book length, as Compact F295 (1966), for which edition Moorcock wrote an introduction.

The same selection was then published by Sidgwick & Jackson in hardback in 1968, with Moorcock revising his introduction; it was then reprinted by Panther Books (0586-02879-X) in 1969 with a cover by Michael McInnerney. That same year it received its first US edition (Berkley, 1969). It subsequently became the lead story in the massive NESFA Press collection An Ornament of His Profession (1998). Moorcock was not the only British author to champion Harness: Brian Aldiss was responsible for the reprinting of The Paradox Men.

Next week: a 4-part 'Man Who Searched for Fear' serial, plus whatever else I can cram in. Tomorrow, I'm handing over to Steve Winders for a review of Charles Chilton's autobiography, Auntie's Charlie, and Sunday we should have a Brian Aldiss gallery.

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