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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Mildred Violet Woodgate

Credit for solving this little mystery must go to my mate John Herrington, who recently asked me whether I knew anything about an author named Oliver Barton. Barton was reputedly born in Dublin in 1886 and wrote a few novels for boys as well as contributing to boys' magazines. A very brief entry in the 1935 Author's and Writer's Who's Who claimed that Barton's interests were psychology and criminology and that he was educated and lived in London.

However, no trace of Oliver Barton could be found at the address given: 68 South Eaton Place, W.1.

Instead, this was the home address of Mildred Violet Woodgate and her sister Sibyl Grace Woodgate throughout the 1930s. And it was John who made the connection: Mildred was indeed born in Dublin on 20 March 1886.

She was the daughter of Arthur George Kennedy Woodgate (1845-1929), born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and employed as a clerk in the Foreign Office, eventually rising to the position of H.M. Inspector of Factories for the Home Office. Arthur was married in around 1881 to Sylvia Charlotte Elizabeth Barton (1858-1916), the niece of Lord Plunket, Archbishop of Dublin, and they had three children: Sibyl Grace Charlotte Woodgate (1884-1971), Mildred Violet Woodgate and Henry Plunket Woodgate (1888-1955).

Mildred attended Francis Holland School for Girls in London but also spent part of her early life in Northampton where her father was based.

Worked for some years in the British Foreign Office in London, then as a librarian at Bede Library, London. She later worked with youths at Wormwood Scrubbs Prison for fifteen years.

She is known to have contributed articles to Everybody's, Lady and Irish Ecclesiastical Record. The AWWW entry notes that "Oliver Barton" contributed to boys' magazines... but I have an idea that these might have been contributions to some of Amalgamated Press's comics as I have a note that an author named Barton (no Christian name) appeared in the pages of Merry & Bright, Butterfly and Favourite Comic, although these contributions may have appeared anonymously. Under her own name she also contributed stories to The Sketch.

A review of her The City of Death (Dundee Courier, 20 November 1934) says "Mexico is familiary to the author of this story of adventure culminating in an Aztec city and the recovery of ancient treasure. Old boys as much as young ones will enjoy its virile drama and appreciate its instruction in the life and scenery of a country that still retains mystery." The story revolves around an expedition by three friends into the Mexican interior and the discovery of a lost tribe, by whom the three are almost sacrificed leading one reviewer to describe the book as "somewhat grim in parts but should please the boy who likes a blood-curdling yarn."

Pauline's Lady was a mystery novel set in the Victorian era featuring four murders that would "have challenged M. E. Braddon's popular sensations. It has the same rich elaboration of details of time, place and incident, the same motley of interesting characters and the same brooding atmosphere of tragedy, relieved by the social refinement and wistful pathos of its principal portraits. There is nothing old-fashioned about it and its quick vitality will delight moderns" (Dundee Courier, 24 December 1931).

The Two Houses on the Cliff was a similar crime-thriller with romantic overtones, about a Civil Servant named Lawson meeting a strange couple—a Dr and Mrs Medge—whilst on holiday. The latter is soon found murdered and the girl with whom Lawson is in love disappears soon after.

Most of her post-war books were religious biographies.

Mildred died in Honiton, Devon, in 1978, aged 92.

PUBLICATIONS

Novels
The Children of Danecourt Park. London, T. Nelson & Sons, 1924.
The Secret of the Sapphire Ring. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1930; abridged, London, Mellifont Press, 1946.
The Two Houses on the Cliff. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1931; abridged, London, Mellifont Press, 1945.
Pauline's Lady. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1931; as The Mystery of Pauline's Lady, London, Mellifont Press, 1945.
The Silver Mirror. London, Geoffrey Bles, 1935; abridged, London, Mellifont Press, 1945.
The Cross of Twigs. London, Mellifont Press, 1945.

Novels as Oliver Barton
The Eye of the Peacock. London, T. Nelson & Sons, 1928.
The City of Death. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1934.
The Ring of Fate. London, Epworth Press, 1939.

Non-fiction
The World of a Child, with a preface by Laurence Housman. London, Heath, Cranton & Co., 1913.
Pere Lacordaire, Leader of Youth. London, Sands & Co., 1939.
Louise de Marillac: The First Sister of Charity. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1942; as St. Louise de Marillac, Foundress of the Sisters of Charity, New York, Herder, 1942.
Madame Elizabeth of France. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1943.
Jacqueline Pascal, and Her Brother. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1944.
The Abbe Edgeworth, 1745-1807. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1945; New York, Longmans, Green & Co., 1946.
Madame Swetchine, 1782-1857. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1948.
Charles de Condren. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1949; New York, Newman, 1950.
Father Benson, Founder of the Cowley Fathers. London, Geoffrey Bles, 1953.
Father Congreve of Cowley. London, S.P.C.K., 1956.
Saint Vincent de Paul. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1958; New York, Newman, 1960.
Saint Francis de Sales. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1961; as Francis de Sales, New York, Newman, 1961.
Junipero Serra. Apostle of California, 1713-1784. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1966; New York, Newman, 1966.
St Bernadette of Lourdes. Langley, Ballykeeran, St. Paul Publications, 1966.
St. Dominic. Illustrations by the Benedictine Nuns of Cockfosters. Langley, Ballykeeran, St. Paul Publications, 1967.
St Joan of Arc. Slough, St Paul Publications, 1968.
St. Columba. Illustrations by the Benedictine Nuns of Cockfosters. Langley, Ballykeeran, St. Paul Publications, 1969.
Thomas More: A Man for All Seaasons. Illustrations by the Benedictine Nuns of Cockfosters. Slough, St. Paul Publications, 1969.
Thomas Becket, 1118-1170. Slough, St Paul Publications, 1971.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Comic Cuts - 31 October 2014

Farewell then my washing machine. Farewell then my cleaner.
Farewell my rinser, my soaker, the spinner of my laundry.
For no miracles happen, as in this world
Dreams do not come true.*
(* With apologies to Pavel Antokolsky.)
Following on from last week's news that Hotpoint WMD960, our beloved washing machine, had developed an F10 fault, I'm sorry to bring you the very sad news that Hotpoint has gone to the great white goods store in the sky. It was found that the intermittent fault was not a problem with a sensor but a wider problem with the motherboard. The cost of parts and labour was likely to be almost as expensive as buying a replacement, and with the knowledge that Hotpoint had been part of this family for over ten years and was likely to develop further faults in the future, the tough decision was made to look for a new washing machine. Hotpoint was switched off on Monday, 27 October 2014, leaving not only a hole in our hearts, but also a hole in our utility room.

On Thursday I was in the worrying position of processing the first Bear Alley Books' order for 10  days. Things are really quiet just at a time when I need them to be lively. I'm hoping to have another book out next month and for that to happen I have to pay for the license up front, so the first few dozen sales don't make me any money whatsoever. I still need to sell quite a few more copies of Arena before I see a penny and although I'm confident that the book will eventually make a little bit of profit, I can't afford to have too much of my money tied up in fees.

I started Bear Alley Books in November 2010 and published the first two books in March 2011. Twenty-two titles books later, we're still crawling along where I had hoped we would be walking, if not running. All I can do is hope that some of you are going to be asking your partners—wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends, parents or pets—for a Bear Alley Book for Christmas. Remember, it's not just a book... to me it means having clean socks and pants.

... you can read them in November, too! All profits go towards 
the "Steve & Mel need a new washing machine" Fund!

Random scans for today are a little group of books that I used for researching the introduction to Eagles Over the Western Front back in 2011. Those early days of wartime flying I find endlessly fascinating.

We have something about Mildred Violet Woodgate tomorrow and a Dan Simmons cover gallery for Sunday. Next week: monkeys. That's the plan, at least. Ook!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Skentlebery

Another name associated with Commando pocket library is Skentlebery who is credited as the author of the following issues:

Desert Hero (#144, Dec 1964)
The Desperate Hours (#157, Mar 1965)
Achtung Submarine (#182, Sep 1965)
Bullet in the Back (#191, Dec 1965)
Nameless Hero (#192, Dec 1965)
Breakthrough (#196, Jan 1966)
The Lost Army (#222, Jul 1966)
Desert Fury (#232, Oct 1966)
The Phantom Raiders (#257, Apr 1967)
The Terror of Tobruk (#288, Oct 1967)
Desert Monster (#298, Nov 1967)
Forgotten Few (#362, Oct 1968)
War Eagle (#371, Dec 1968)
Common Foe (#375, Dec 1968)
Redcap (#427, Sep 1969)
The Night the Tow Rope Broke (#524, Jan 1971)
The Spy Who Never Was (#534, Mar 1971)
Soldier from Space (#577, Aug 1971)

The spread of these issues makes me wonder whether the author was regularly working elsewhere and only writing for Commando when he had spare time to fill. Unfortunately, I've found no other credits for this author elsewhere, in or out of comics.

Indeed, Skentlebery is a very uncommon surname, with only a handful of people listed in official birth records for the UK and Wales since 1837. Of these, the only likely candidate is Francis Arnold Skentlebery, born in Cardiff in 1909. The more common spelling is Skentelbery [the middle 'le' becoming 'el'].

The alternate spelling opens up a number of possibilities and I offer here two.

Michael Leo Skentelbery, born in Cork on 6 November 1917, was the son of A. H. Skentelbery of Weaver Pt., Crosshaven, Cork, who became an Irish diplomat who worked for the Department of External Affairs, Dublin. He was the Secretary of an Irish Legation who travelled to New York in October 1946 and the Charge d'Affaires in Australia for some years in the 1950s (at least 1952-57).

Skentelbery was subsequently the Irish Ambassador to Argentina, the above photograph showing him presenting his credentials to the President, Sir Arturo U. Illia, on 16 April 1964. (A second photograph from the same event can be found here.)

He is subsequently mentioned in an anthology of rugby anecdotes (Roars from the Back of the Bus: Rugby Tales of Life with the Lions, ed. Stewart McKinney, Random House, 2012). According to Sean Lynch, he was introduced to Skentlebery during the Irish team's 1970 tour of Argentina:
On our arrival in Argentina, the Irish Ambassador, Mr Michael Leo Skentelbery, met us at Buenos Aires Airport. Now, I'm not the best with remembering names, especially after a 16-hour flight and a few in-flight beers with the lads. However, I did notice that the Ambassador had quite a shake and someone said he had Parkinson's disease.
    In between all the mayhem of this tour, I made the biggest faux pas of my life. Two weeks after we had met the Ambassador we were invited to his flat for drinks and I had completely forgotten his name. While in conversation with him, making small talk I became befuddled and tongue-tied when I had to address him. I asked, 'How have you been, Mr... Parkinson?'
    All the boys like Terry Moore and Phil O'Callaghan doubled up with laughter. He tried to ignore me but to make matters worse, delighted that I thought I had remembered his name, I pulled him by the sleeve and said, 'I'm talking to you, Mr. Parkinson. Would you listen?'
    One of the lads advised me to abandon my line of conversation. When I discovered my gaffe, I was never more embarrassed in my life.
Could this be our author? It might explain his irregular appearances in the late 1960s if he was away on diplomatic duties. He was, at least, an author, as he is known to have written poetry—a verse entitled "He Sends Her a Present of Spring" appeared in The Bulletin vol. 76 no. 3957 (14 December 1955).

I can also offer an alternative: David George Skentelbery, born in October 1937, who has been a journalist and director with Orbit News Ltd. for many years. An online biography describes him as:
Warrington's most experienced journalist having worked in the town for 44 years. Started his career on the Knutsford Guardian and also worked on the Warrington Guardian before moving to the Lancashire Evening Post in Wigan and Warrington. Also worked on national newspapers in Manchester, including The Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Express.
    Founded Orbit News in 1968. Born in Birmingham, grew up in the Knutsford area. Son of former Manchester Evening News theatre critic Tom Wildern Skentelbery. Hobbies include cricket and is an active member of Glazebury Cricket Club. Former member of Knutsford and Lymm Oughtrington Cricket Clubs. Part-time Birmingham City fan!
It would be no surprise to find a journalist in his twenties writing comics as a sideline as it was often a useful source of additional income. Given his online presence, I'm hopeful that David might be able to confirm or deny his authorship.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

R. P. Clegg

One of the most prolific authors of war-related pocket libraries in the 1960s was R. P. Clegg, an author based in Chertsey, Surrey, who contributed to both Fleetway and D. C. Thomson. His earliest known work were Battler Britton and Spy 13 stories for Thriller Picture Library in 1958-59, although he may have been writing before that.

I know little about Clegg. I believe his full name was Roger Philip Clegg and that he was born in Erpingham, Norfolk, on 2 September 1906. He was living at 112 Old Park Ridings, Winchmore Hill, Enfield, in 1931. He was married to Brenda Margaret Noble Brown (1917- ) in 1941 and the two were living at 26 Downside Crescent, Hampstead (fl.1946) and 57 Chandos Avenue, Frienr Barnet N.20 (fl.1949-51) after the war before moving to Greenacres, Long Cross, Chertsey, Surrey (fl.1961-82).

Clegg was one of the earliest writers of war pocket libaries, his earliest, 'Tracy of Tobruk' appearing in February 1959 as War Picture Library #11, with art by Renzo Calegari. He began contributing to Air Ace Picture Library and Battle Picture Library as they appeared in 1960-61. He also began writing for Commando Library in 1963 and was able to write 50 issues of Commando, War and Battle between 1963 and 1968.

His last known work appeared in 1970—presumably he retired at 65, although it could equally be that he turned to writing elsewhere.

Clegg died in Bournemouth, Hampshire, in 1999, aged 93; he was survived by his wife who died in Poole, Dorset, in 2007, aged 89.

 
 
(* The pages above are from one of my favourite stories by Roger Clegg, War Picture Library 129, January 1962, with art by Nevio Zeccara; © IPC Media.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Martin Belderson

Martin Belderson is better known as a documentary film maker having made action-adventure, science and natural history documentary films for a wide range of British and international broadcasters including the BBC, The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS, Canal+ & Yorkshire TV’s ‘First Tuesday’.


Born in London in 1961, and before getting bitten by the movie-making bug, Belderson had various jobs, including panning for gold and other strategic minerals in Northern Britain (summer fieldwork for Regional Geological Reconnaissance Programme), as a door-to-door potato salesman, crewing on the Greenpeace vessel ‘Rubicon’ and falling off mountains (unpaid).

As a stage technician, he crewed at Thames TV, the London Coliseum, the West  Yorkshire Playhouse, festivals and on tours. He was also a grip, gaffer, 2nd assistant camera and clapper loader, working on pop promos, and short films for Film Four and Screen Two. He worked in Leeds and in Soho as an assistant film editor before finding work in 1987 as an assistant producer and researcher for the BBC's flagship science programme Horizon, working on 'Britannic Greenhouse' and 'Clive Sinclair: Portrait of an Inventor'.

He worked on 'Wildlife on One' for BBC1 and 'Nature' for BBC2, including filming mink in Britain, black snow in the Czech Republic and dolphins in the Mediterranean. He made a crucial investigative breakthrough for the Natural History Unit's Golden Panda Award-winning special 'The Global Detective' (BBC1), which led to the prosecution of an Italian fashion chain for buying CITES protected caiman skins from violent traffickers in Paraguay and Brazil. Filmed giant otters, hyacinth macaws, anacondas and caiman jacare in the Matto Grosso.

In 1991 he devised 'Defenders of the Wild'—eight one-hour films about endangered wildlife and the people who fight to protect it—for Channel Four/Discovery. The two series involved filming river dolphins in the Himalayas, tigers in Thailand, chasing pirate whalers, Sicilians standing up to the Mafia and the illegal wildlife trade in Brazil.

Worked on the '3D' current affairs magazine show for ITV and on the acclaimed 'First Tuesday' documentary strand (ITV/Discovery).

Since 1994 he has worked as a Director-Producer-Cameraman on over thirty documentary films, of which he wrote twenty-four. He was the Series Producer of three major co-productions: ‘Bonington’s Secret Mountain’ (YMPA/C4/Discovery), ‘UFO: Down to Earth’ (Discovery Networks) and ‘O’Shea’s Dangerous Creatures’ (YTV/C4/Discovery).

"I have devised more than twenty hours of original television," he says. "My documentary credits fall into three categories: science (including 'Rough Science' and 'Horizon: Crater of Death'); action-adventure (inc. the Sports Emmy winning 'Rock Queen'); and natural history (including 'O'Shea's Dangerous Creatures' and the award-winning 'Defenders of the Wild'). I have filmed on every continent save Antarctica from mountaineering in Tibet with Sir Chris Bonington to filming inside the Hot Zone of an Ebola outbreak in the Congo.

"I also produce and edit arts, campaigning and educational digital productions for the public, voluntary & community sectors." He recently started exploring online digital comedy and drama (‘The Buffet Car’, 'Axon' - BBC Wales/Illumina Digital - and 'Sharkfighter').

Currently setting up a feature length documentary for cinematic distribution: ‘The Death of the Dinosaurs’. It’s the story of the asteroid impact that produced largest explosion on Earth in a quarter billion years and the continuing controversy about its role in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

As an author, Belderson contributed to New Scientist in 1986-88 and penned an issue of Commando in 2003. He has since published a dark comedy thriller, Big Cat (Aeolian Press, Apr 2013), under the pen-name Jack Churchill. A second novel, Dinosaur Claw, is due in 2014. Belderson has also written a non-fiction book about the art of the documentary interview, Read Before Filming (2014).

He lives in Leeds.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mepham

Amongst the latest quartet of Commando issues is a reprint of a story credited to Mepham. I don't recognise Mepham as an author of any other comics but I wonder if he might be Clement Roderick Mepham, who wrote With the Eighth Army in Italy (Stockwell, 1951).

I believe Clement Roderick Mepham was born in Hastings, E. Sussex, in 1919, the son of Herbert James Mepham (1888-1952) and his wife Ethel Kate (nee Ransom, 1884-1958). He was the second of three children, his siblings including Phyllis J. (1914), and Ethel A. M. (1922).

I know nothing of his career but he later lived in Margate, Kent.

Whether he was the author behind the recent Commando release "Colonel Scarface" is uncertain—I base my guess solely on the fact that he is known to have written a book about the war. Mepham is credited with only two stories for Commando, one published in 1964 and the other four years later in 1968.

Stripography
Colonel Scarface, illus. by Juan Gonzalez Alacreu (Commando 135, Oct 1964)
Legion of the Lost, illus Eustaquio Segrelles (Commando 311, Feb 1968)

 
 
(* Commando © D. C. Thomson Ltd.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Neal Stephenson Cover Gallery

The Big U (1984)
(no UK paperback)

Zodiac (1988)
Bloomsbury 0747-50262-5, 1988, 283pp, £4.95. Cover by Steve Carver
Signet 0451-45588-6, 1997, vi+308pp.
Arrow Books 0099-41552-6, 2001, 291pp.

Snow Crash (1992)
Roc 0140-23292-3, 1993, 440pp.
Penguin 978-0140-23292-9, [32nd imp.] n.d., 440pp, £8.99. Cover design by blacksheep

Interface, with J. Frederick George (1994)
Arrow Books 978-0099-42775-9, 2002, 641pp.
---- [7th imp.] n.d., 641pp, £10.99. Cover by Cyberlab

The Diamond Age; or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (1995)
Roc 0451-453481-2, 1996, 499pp, £5.99. Cover: photo
Penguin Books 0140-27037-X, [??th imp.] n.d., 499pp.

The Cobweb, with J. Frederick George (1996)
Arrow Books 0099-47885-4, 2005, 384pp.

Cryptonomicon (1999)
William Heinemann 0434-00883-4, 1999, 918pp, £12.99. Cover by Attick
Arrow Books 0099-41067-2, 2000, 918pp, £9.99. Cover by various

Quicksilver (2003)
Arrow Books 978-0099-41068-3, 2004, 927pp, £8.99. Cover by Charles Le Brun/unknown

The Confusion (2004)
Arrow Books 978-0099-41069-0, 2005, 815pp, £8.99. Cover by akg-images/Willem van de Velde II

The System of the World (2004)
Arrow Books 978-0099-46336-9, 2005, 887pp, £8.99. Cover by Giuseppe Bottani/Jan Griffier

Anathem (2008)
Atlantic 978-1843-54917-8, 2008, 981pp, £9.99. Cover by Frank/One Exposure

The Mongoliad (2010-2012)
(no UK paperback)

Reamde (2011)
Atlantic 978-1848-87451-0, 2012, 1044pp, £8.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

Seveneves (due 2015)
.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

R. A. Montague

One of the latest releases from Commando Library was a reprint of a tale by R. A. Montague, a long-time contributor to the series. He receives a mention in George Low's history of the pocket library who mentions him as "a prolific contributor to Commando, working from his base in Diss, Norfolk. He had experience of being in the R.A.F. during the war and then serving with the colonial police after the hostilities. That gave him plenty of experience to call on, and he used it well with a fine spread of air, sea and ground stories. He was certainly a force to be reckoned with."

Montague was the writer of two rather odd issues of Commando. "Fly to Glory" (768) and "The Pharaoh" (781) were written and drawn in Spain by Castello Lucas and offered complete to D. C. Thomson editor Chick Checkley, who had Montague rescript the two stories for British publication.

His earliest script appeared in 1968: Lieutenant Trouble (370, Nov 1968) was drawn by Sanchis Cortes. He continued to draw issues drawn by Victor de la Fuente, Segrelles, Martin Salvador, Amador Garcia, Cam Kennedy, Gordon Livingstone, Jose Maria Jorge and many others.

Montague also contributed 8-page filler stories to Battle Picture Library reprints 1970-71 and at least one full-length story (Honour Bound, BPL 721, June 1973), but his main output was for Commando where he was penning two stories a month by the mid-1970s through to the early 1980s. In the mid-1980s his output had halved but he continued to be a regular, steady contributor until his last appearance with At Ground Level, issue 2456, published in March 1991.

Montague lived at Lakes Farmhouse, Langmere, Dickleborough, Norfolk, from at least 1964 onwards.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Comic Cuts - 24 October 2014

OUT NOW!
Reprinted for the first time: a classic story of one man's fight against
government oppression in the gladiatorial arenas of the near future.
"With reality TV overload and the rise of the risque and the brutality of today’s society, this story ... is more relevant today than it was in 1979." - Colin Noble, Down the Tubes
because it looks like me and Mel need a new washing machine.

I don't have a huge amount to report about my week. Steady progress was made on the next book from Bear Alley Books and I should have a title for you shortly. I had hoped to have the artwork side completed, but I found I was putting some extra time into bringing the pages up to scratch. Working "off the page" rather than from original artwork can easily double the time it takes to put a book together, especially when those pages may not have survived the years very well.

I've also had some distractions that have sidelined me in various ways. One was a curious problem with the washing machine which started acting up at the weekend, switching off unexpectedly and flashing a fault code message. Looking it up online revealed that it related to a sensor and the water levels. I spent a good half hour trying to get through to a human being at various companies advertising in our local Thomsons to talk about the fault.

The first number turned out to be a call centre where I was put on hold while a recorded voice interrupted the soothing music every now and then to tell me how important my call was. I hung up because it clearly wasn't important enough to the company to have someone actually answer. After a selection of other call centres, answerphones and engaged signals, I finally got through to a human voice; he talked me through prices and we booked an appointment for Wednesday morning.

Come the day, he turned up on time and got the job done, which is what you want out of an engineer. It seems to be working OK again (I'll reserve judgement until my smalls are safely on the washing line!). TEN MINUTES LATER: No, the same problem occurred half-way through the wash; it seems to be intermittent, so the washing machine is going to be visiting the engineer's workshop for more tests.

The other distraction was self-imposed. I picked up a copy of The Art of Sean Phillips, whose work I've admired since his first contributions to Crisis. I followed his career as it took him to the USA for Hellblazer and Kid Eternity, lost track of him in the late 1990s when he was going superheroes but spotted him again when he began collaborating with Ed Brubaker—Sleeper, Criminal, Incognito and Fatale are some of the only US comics I've read in the past decade.

Reading the book, I'd forgotten that Sean was also the inker on Scene of the Crime, which was the 4-issue series that reminded me how good comics could be; I'd been falling out of love with them for quite some time and was buying almost nothing. I picked up Scene of the Crime #1 because it looked interesting and it turned out to be the best crime series I'd read in years—probably since the demise of Sandman Mystery Theatre.

 
The Art of Sean Phillips takes the story way back to Sean's early work in girls' comics like Nikki and Judy, inking for Ken Houghton, and covers in great depth his development as an artist in the pages of Crisis, 2000AD, Judge Dredd Megazine and various specials and yearbooks.

Author Eddie Robson narrates the story through interviews with Sean and dozens of writers, editors and fellow artists, weaving together the story of Sean's varied career in the UK and US comics scene. The books is filled with fantastic artwork, some previously unpublished, much from original artwork.

The book was published in late 2013, so it's pretty well up to date with Sean's later ongoing work (Fatale), and I'm pleased to see on Sean's website that—as promised in the book—that he and Ed Brubaker have returned to Criminal to tell more tales. In the meantime, I can recommend The Art of Sean Phillips while you're waiting for the next series if you don't already have a copy. The price (expensive when it first came out) has started to drop a little for us folk whose pockets aren't so deep.

Random scans... were going to be something else, but I'm so caught up in Sean's work I dug out the following cover images for you.

Criminal: Last of the Innocent was the sixth in the series of Criminal story arcs, collected in 2011. Here are the covers to the four individuals plus the original artwork for the collected graphic novel.

 
 
 
 
Next week... um... I'll let you know.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Commando issues 4751-4754

Commando issues on sale 23 October 2014.

Commando No 4751 – Saxon Eagles
The 9th Century AD was a turbulent, violent time. Anglo-Saxon Britons had to fend off constant attacks from marauding and blood-thirsty Scandinavian warriors — the much-feared Vikings.
   Young Cadric was a Saxon — brave and willing to fight to defend his village from Viking hordes. As he did so, though, he had to face an equally deadly, but more sinister, enemy from closer to home.

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: John Ridgway
Cover: John Ridgway

Commando No 4752 – Colonel Scarface
All occupied France went in fear and trembling of him — ruthless SS Colonel Ludwig Bauer — a monster in the guise of a man.
   But one day Bauer went too far with a young Commando lieutenant, Rick Matthews. And Rick stayed behind after a raid in France to teach Colonel Scarface, step by blood-stained step, what it was to be afraid…

Introduction
Despite what Ken Barr’s magnificently menacing cover might make you think, this story isn’t all about the nefarious Colonel Scarface. It’s more the story of Lieutenant Rick Matthews, Commando. What’s more, it’s also a French Resistance story, a type that’s very difficult to make successful as there’s often not a lot of action to play with. The script neatly avoids tense, cliff-hanging moments by being filled with the crash and thunder of battle. All very well drafted by Gonzales.
   Lastly, watch out for the comedy moment on page 55. You have been warned.—Calum Laird, Commando Editor

Story: Mepham
Art: Gonzales
Cover: Ken Barr
Originally Commando No 135 (October 1964); re-issued as No 699 (December 1972)

Commando No 4753 – Royle’s Marines
After firmly putting a bully in his place with a well-aimed punch, young Thomas Markham knew he had to make himself difficult to find. He was helped by Sergeant Ned Royle who suggested joining the Royal Marines and losing himself there.
   While he was now out of plain sight, young Thomas was not out of danger for he was shipped off to fight in the Crimean War. There his mettle would be tested in the heat of battle as one of…
ROYLE’S MARINES

Introduction
2014 is a truly momentous year for the Royal Marines as on the 28th October we mark our 350th birthday, completing three and a half centuries of unbroken service, committed, as an integral part of the Naval Service, to protecting and promoting the United Kingdom’s security, prosperity and reputation, both and home and overseas; truly 350 years of Timeless Distinction.

Formed in 1664 as the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, the Royal Marines, the modern Royal Navy’s “go anywhere force”, have evolved into the United Kingdom’s commando forces, held at high readiness and trained to operate anywhere in the World and carry out the full spectrum of operations, be that peacekeeping, disaster relief, military training/advisory teams, specialist amphibious operations and high intensity combat.

Now, whilst the stories contained in the Commando Comics are obviously fiction, there are numerous common values shared between the characters, the Corps today, and our illustrious forebears who have served the Corps and the Crown so well since 1664.  The Royal Marines Ethos is based on characteristics of courage, determination, cheerfulness in adversity and selflessness and they have stayed true throughout our 350 year history and have enabled the Royal Marines to be involved in virtually every one of the United Kingdom’s conflicts, and notably to have seen active service every year since the outbreak of World War II to the present day, with the sole exception of 1968. 

Today’s Royal Marines remain at the forefront of the United Kingdom’s crisis response force and are a key component of the Government’s conflict prevention agenda. Through our World-renowned brand of understated professionalism we hope to remain there for another 350 years and more.

Lieutenant Colonel Cliff Dare MBE RM

Story: George Low
Art: Benet
Cover: Benet

Commando No 4754 – Night Of Fear
Transylvania — an eerie land of legends, of werewolves and vampires, of hauntings and spine-chilling screams in the dark.
   Not the most welcoming place in the world to crash-land in at dead of night — especially when your Mosquito has been damaged, not by Nazi flak…but by a swarm of thousands of large, black bats!

Introduction
Just imagine…
   A spooky castle in darkest Transylvania —
   The sinister Count who dwells there —
   Waited on a by creepy assistant —
   Swarms of large bats flying out of nowhere —
   Night of Fear may not be the most subtle Commando ever published — but it is certainly a hugely entertaining one. The influences on the plot — Hollywood vampire movies and American horror comics — are actually acknowledged in the text, so, nearly 40 years on this remains a fiendishly fun read.
   So, trick or treat?
   In my humble opinion, this is definitely a treat. Happy Halloween!—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Patrick Wright
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No 984 (November 1975); re-issued as No 2324 (November 1989)

Roger Hall - covers

A partial index of Roger Hall's cover artwork.

Hardcover dustjackets
Cat's Cradle by Simon Harvester  (Jarrolds, 1952)
Kit and the Mystery Man by Mollie Chappell (Collins Seagull Library, 1958)
Wells Fargo by John Robb (Collins, 1961)
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (The Children's Press, 1963)
Pursuit by Nigel Tranter (Collins, 1965)

Arrow Books
271 Paddy - The Next Best Thing by Gertrude Page (Sep 1952)
302J Air Surgeon by Frank G. Slaughter (2nd imp., 1958)
376H Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill (2nd imp., 1962)
417 Exploration Fawcett by Lt.-Col. P. H. Fawcett (2nd imp., 1963)
479 Horn of the Hunter by Robert C. Ruark (2nd imp., 1963)
508 The Count of Grammercy Park by Robert Hayden Alcorn (Aug 1958)
538 Spencer Brade, M.D. by Frank G. Slaughter (Dec 1959)
??? That None Should Die by Frank G. Slaughter (1959)
630 The Jewel of the Seven Stars by Bram Stoker (1962)
644 The Lady of the Shroud by Bram Stoker (1962)
696 Death in the Rising Sun by John Creasey (1963)
699 Sons of Satan by John Creasey (1963)
717 The League of Light by John Creasey (1963)
718 The Man Who Shook the World by John Creasey (1963)
724 Interrupted Journey by James Wilson (1963?)
733 The Wings of Peace by John Creasey (1964)
734 Shadow of Doom by John Creasey (1964)
756 Dragon's Wine by Borden Deal (1964)
807 The Taking Men by Anne Hepple (1965)
??? Evening at the Farm by Anne Hepple (1965)

Corgi Books
T407 The Scarlet Shield by Laurie Andrews (1957)
T440 The Farthest Frontier by Lauren Paine (1957)
T459 Sayonara by James A. Michener (1957)
S472 Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson (1957)
T485 The Brass and the Blue by James Keene (1957)
S531 Night in Havana by Robert Sylvester (1958)
S551 China Station by Donald R. Morris (1958)
S638 The Third Eye by Lobsang Rampa (1959)
T663 Sister Brookes of Byng's by Kate Norway (1959)
T674 Nurse With Wings by Marguerite Mooers Marshall (1959)
T686 Calling Doctor Jane by Adeline McElfresh (1959)
SR721 Ward Nurse by Marguerite Mooers Marshall (1959)
SN786 The Flesh and the Fiends by Allan Norwood (1960)
SC797 The Telemann Touch by William Haggard (1960)
SR936 Night Duty at Duke's by Bess Norton (1960)
SR952 The Quiet One by Bess Norton (1961)
SR1266 Goodbye, Johnny by Kate Norway (1963)
SR1400 Morning Waits by Dorothy M. Cray (1963)
SR1437 Love Letter by Hilary Neal (1963)
SR7082 Nurse Off Camera by Hilary Neal (1964)
SR7311 The Lambs by Kate Norway (1965)

Four Square Books
164 Zeebrugge: St George's Day 1918 by Barrie Pitt (Sep 1959)
262 First Overland by Tim Slessor (Oct 1960)
263 Leviathan by Warren Tute (Oct 1960)
281 The Fleet That Had to Die by Richard Hough (Feb 1961)
321 The Serpent and the Staff by Frank Yerby (1961)
333 The High Place by Geoffrey Household (1961)
347 Kanyoko by Rex Harris (1961)
350 The Man Who Came Back by John Bryan (Aug 1961)
637 Calling Mr Callaghan by Peter Cheyney (1962)
649 You'd Be Surprised by Peter Cheyney (1962)
683 The Typhoon's Eye by Preston Schoyer (1962)
697 Village of Stars by Paul Stanton (1962)

Pan Books
2 Lost Horizon by James Hilton (1953)
245 The Trimmed Lamp by O. Henry (Jun 1953)
249 All Else is Folly by Catherine Gaskin (Jul 1953)
302 Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie (Sep 1954)
309 Time to Heal by Warwick Deeping (Oct 1954)
310 The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (Oct 1954)
326 Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (Mar 1955)
334 Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (Apr 1955)

Panther Books
646 Landfall Tahiti by Alan Burgess (2nd imp., date?)
901 All Rome Trembled by Melton S. Davis (May 1959)
934 Spella Ho by H. E. Bates (Jul 1959)
1005 The Medical Murderer by Rupert Furneaux (Jan 1960)
1049 The Hollow Square by Geoff Taylor (Apr 1960)
1147 One Woman's War by Asja Mercer & Robert Jackson (1960)
1239 The Snatch by Harold R. Daniels (1961)
1283 Something About a Soldier by Mark Harris (1961)
1323 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1962)
1354 Juice by Stephen Becker (1962)
1371 One More Summer by Edward Stephens (1962)
1402 Cleopatra by Carlo Maria Franzero (1962)
1415 Ourselves to Know by John O'Hara (1962)
1522 Villa Mimosa by Jerrard Tickell (May 1963)
1542 Lion in the Sun by G. M. Glaskin (1963)

Scottie Books
J2 Biggles Follows On by Capt. W. E. Johns (1955)
J48 Clipper of the Clouds by Jules Verne (1957)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Roger Hall - Hey Diddle Diddle art

The following illustrations all appeared in the children's comic Hey Diddle Diddle in 1972-73. The artwork is from the Illustration Art Gallery, who have them for sale. See here and here.