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Friday, February 20, 2015

Comic Cuts - 20 February 2015

I began tackling the last of the scanning and clean-up for the Don Lawrence Scrapbook this week. Most of this was done over December and January—interrupted by Christmas and New Year, which is why it has taken so long. I had thought I was finished but discovered that the scans I had for one of the key bits of the book, the 'Herod the Great' strip from Bible Story, weren't really up to scratch. I had an alternate source but when I took a closer look it became clear that they had been trimmed, so that part of the picture was missing.

The solution was to scan the strip again, which shouldn't take too long, or so I thought. Of the seven episodes, the copies of three were badly water damaged, the pages stained and wrinkled. Still usable, but another frustrating delay to completing the book. The introductory pages are all laid out and I'm working on layouts for the other sections, but I've spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday working on 'Herod'.

I haven't figured out a way of doing a time-lapse video showing how a page can be restored thanks to Photoshop—even by an untrained idiot like me!—but I did save these three versions of one page: the original scan, a halfway point and the finished page.

Each page requires four scans, subsequently layered and then merged in Photoshop, which can mean spending two or three hours on a page. The result should be the best possible reproduction when the book is printed, so it's worth putting the hours in.

Today's random scans are four Panther covers by Josh Kirby. Kirby was a prolific and popular cover artist for many years, so it has taken some time to build up a checklist of his output. David Langford has been key to this endevour, having worked with Kirby on compiling information. However, Kirby didn't like to acknowledge a lot of his early non-SF/fantasy work, so I compiled a list of his known Panther Books' covers, which David published here.

Two of the covers below are additions to the list. You'll find Lunch with a Stranger and The Jungle and the Damned listed as Panther 767 and 801 respectively; the two new titles are To Heal the Sick by Dr. Jonathan Rodney (Panther Books 923, (Aug) 1959, 159pp, 2/6) and Come Like a Storm by E. G. Cousins (Panther Book 995, (Dec 1959), 2/6).

Incidentally, the only two later Kirby covers that I know of not acknowledged on my list (Seed of Light by Edmond Cooper, Panther 1094, Aug 1960, 2/6, and The Twenty-Second Century by John Christopher, Panther Books, Dec 1960, 190pp, 2/6, were in David's original listing.

However, there are two additional titles that I don't have scans for, namely Doctor at War by Ian Ferguson (Panther Books 650, (Mar) 1957, 159pp, 2/-) and Cass Timberlane by Sinclair Lewis (Panther Books 820, (May) 1958, 318pp, 3/6). That brings Kirby's total output for Panther Books up to 54 covers.

Hopefully more news of the book's progress next week. I've also compiled an annotated listing of the recent British Library Crime Classics series, which should be up over the weekend but maybe not until Sunday as we're heading off to see Richard Herring on Friday night.

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