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Friday, May 01, 2015

Comic Cuts - 1 May 2015


I'm coming to the end of one of an incredibly hectic week. Regular readers will know that I've taken on some regular work, editing a trade magazine for a local publisher. The previous editor left (having given notice—I don't want anyone to think it was without warning!) last Friday, so this has been my first week in charge.

The magazine is Hotel Business, which has been around for over 25 years, ten of them under that title. Previously known as Hotel Proprietor and Hotel, the current publisher took it over in around 1996; meanwhile, I was working for the same company, but on consumer magazines rather than trade magazines. The consumer side of the operation was  sold to Trinity Mirror in 1997 and I (along with four other editors) went with it.

I've worked for the company three times since, once only briefly as sickness cover for someone who had broken their leg; the last time I worked there was in 2002 when I put together a dummy for a new magazine that sadly didn't make it any further.

By then I had been working for the same company on and off for ten years, having first joined in December 1991 to launch Comic Collector, later renamed Comic World. When I went for my interview I remember the building seemed ancient and rickety. My first office was a garret at the back end of an office on the third floor. The office was so narrow that you had to lean over the desk to get around it if you wanted to avoid banging your head on the sharply-angled roof. I dug out this photo (probably the only one) of me in the original office.

This dates from 1992. You can see a chromaline of the first cover on the far left and a black & white of James Bond which became the cover to issue five.

The two little figures on the back are a mammoth, which was from Tundra (remember them?), and a squirrel with a pine cone which we found amusing because it looked like it was clutching its generously proportioned cock. Being the hoarder that I am, I still have the damned thing... and here he is!

His right ear was chipped off during one of our moves, but he continues to glare at me from a shelf twenty-three years later. And it still looks like he's playing with himself.

Squirrel is watching me working my way through press releases. At the moment we're getting about 50 a day and I've just spent two days weeding out any that are irrelevant to the mag. from those that might be useful and those that suggest feature material that I respond to immediately. Or when it's late in the day, I mark it up for dealing with tomorrow. I've subbed up a couple of features for the next issue that were already in; commissioned about eight or nine pieces so far for this and next issue.

All this and I still haven't a clue what I'm doing. It's a good thing that I have what looks to be a very good support team around me.

Other news from this week... well, the Complete Captain Future proof arrived and I have to say that I'm very happy with it. I need to adjust the cover very slightly to allow a little more trim, but apart from that I should have copies heading out on time. I'm still offering a big discount for people who order ahead of publication. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much of a response to the book—it's a collection of a very obscure character, after all—so it's nice to see that people are reacting so positively to the announcement. And following through with orders, which is even nicer!

Here are this week's random scans from the days of good girl art on cheap British paperbacks. These three are from the pen of the pseudonymous Steve Markham, who may have penned top-line gangster yarns, but "he" certainly wasn't American, and he wasn't always a he!

I'll post whenever I get a chance. I do have a couple of things lined up, including a look at the cover art for The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey and biographical sketches of a couple of Look and Learn nature artists to go with the author sketches published a couple of weeks ago.

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