BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books

Friday, September 23, 2011

Comic Cuts - 23 September 2011

I'm starting to sound like a stuck record, but I've little to report. Metadata is taking almost every waking moment and everything else is being squeezed into the wee hours of the morning. Correspondence is becoming more monosyllabic. I've only managed to read about thirty pages of the novel I'm reading since last Saturday, although I'm doing rather better with a John Le Carré audio book I downloaded [legally] on Tuesday. I'm about halfway through that. No artwork cleaning since Sunday, although I managed a few covers for today's random scans.

On the positive front, I now have most of the missing Doughty strips needed for the book I'm working on (a sample of which is this week's column header) and the little dummy I put together for another book arrived on Monday and was sent out again on Tuesday. Now it's down to wrangling permission from the copyright holder. I suspect it will be a while before I have any news.

More positive news: restocks of Eagles Over the Western Front are now in, so I can turn around orders a little quicker than I managed last week. Sales are still steady - I even had a couple of orders for the Hurricane/Champion index creep in. There's still a long way to go before I can start lighting cigars with rolled £50 notes, but I'm pleased with the way things are going. Keeping a tight rein on costs is paying off!

The latest issue of Jeff Hawke's Cosmos is another bumper package of stories and features. This issue runs to a magnificent 116 pages and contains four Jeff Hawke yarns: 'The Venusian Club' (1967-68; written by Willie Patterson), 'Daughter of Eros' (1969; written by Syd Jordan), 'Survival' (1960; written by Willie Patterson) and 'Some Day I'll Find You' (1971; written by Syd Jordan). All have artwork by Syd Jordan, with assists from Colin Andrew and Nick Faure, and Syd even appears as himself to introduce the last story. There's also a bonus strip, 'The Devil at Rennes Le Chateau', which originally appeared in A1.

This issue also includes the usual notes on stories and astronomy by Duncan Lunan, plus Andrew Darlington's look back at the Martin Magus stories of William F. Temple, making up another winning package. With around 60 stories reprinted so far - this being the start of the magazine's 7th volume - it should soon be possible to read all of the Jeff Hawke yarns in order!

Subscriptions are £20 for 3 issues, which is excellent value for money, and you can get full details from editor William Rudling by e-mailing william@williamrudling.co.uk; for further details, check out the Jeff Hawke Club website.

Another excellent magazine that landed on our doormat this week  is The Paperback Fanatic, which has reached issue 20, something of a milestone, so congratulations to editor/publisher Justin Marriott (my own best effort at a regular fanzine, PBO, fizzled out after only 9 issues!). This issue is dubbed a Universal special, with most of the articles centred around the US publisher behind imprints Beacon, Award and, in the UK, Tandem and Softcover Library. After an overview, Justin pens a piece on softcore publisher Beacon Books, who published some interesting authors, usually tucked away behind pen-names, including hardboiled crime writers Charles Willeford and Peter Rabe and collectable porn writer Orrie Hitt, who is the subject of another article in this issue. Softcover Library and Tandem's Dollars westerns round out the issue nicely, while a selection of Beacon original artwork and a gallery of Tandem science fantasy novels both make good use of the colour printing.

Justin is considering various options about how The Paperback Fanatic is to be formatted in the future, so for the latest subscription details it's probably best to contact him directly at thepaperbackfanatic@sky.com.

I promised last week that I would dig out the remaining two covers that Carlo Jacono did for Badger Books and, true to my word, here they are. Both are from the 'floating head' school of cover art which Badger regular Henry Fox also liked.

Today's random scans... well, as I was talking about Francis Durbridge and his novels the other week, I thought I'd dig out a couple of covers. The first is a Paul Temple novel that originally appeared not as by Francis Durbridge but as by Paul Temple (Hodder & Stoughton, 1957). 'Paul Temple' was the joint pen-name of Durbridge and James Douglas Rutherford McConnell, who usually wrote under the pen-name Douglas Rutherford, and was used on two novels, the other being East of Algiers (Hodder & Stoughton, 1959; Hodder paperback 1960).

Next up is The Scarf (Hodder & Stoughton, 1960; Hodder paperback 1962), based on a six-part TV series by Durbridge broadcast in 1959. Note that the cover again says "Francis Durbridge presents..." rather than the usual form of byline. Were Durbridge's non-Temple novels also ghosted by other hands?

And, finally, another Paul Temple adventure, this one definitely ghosted (by Tony Hussey).

One thing I find very surprising about Francis Durbridge: you don't see many of his books around. I appreciate that charity shops have no time for pre-decimal books these days, but you would think that the Paul Temple novels at least would have sold in numbers great enough for copies to still trickle in occasionally. But that's not the case around here. I haven't seen a second hand copy in years.

Talking of Paul Temple... the latest mystery will be continuing next week while I get my nose back to the grindstone. I'm planning to get a couple of early nights, so we'll just have to wait and see if I can post anything else. Fingers crossed.

1 comment:

Rob Matthews said...

Lovely Oliver Brabbins cover art on the two Hodder paperbacks - the general composition of the first one strongly reminds me of Gerry Powell's cover for Neil MacNeil's "Third On a Seesaw" published by Gold Medal (844) the previous year.