Clair Walter Huffaker was born in Magna, Utah, on 24 September 1926, the son of Clair Huffaker (1908-1960) and his wife Orlean Bird (1907-1965). Huffaker grew up in Salt Lake City He served in the Navy during World War II in the South Pacific and after the war became an Honours student at Princetown and then at Columbia University in New York. Before going on to study at several continental universities, Huffaker joined Time, Inc. and wrote for both Time and Life. After his return to New York he edited several magazines at one time before becoming a freelance writer.
Author of over 200 stories, numerous feature and magazine articles in pulp and men's adventure magazines. No less than seven of his novels were made into major motion pictures: Seven Ways from Sundown (1960 starring Audie Murphy), Flaming Star (1960 starring Elvis Presley), Posse from Hell (1960 starring Audie Murphy), Rio Conchos (1964 starring Stuart Whitman) and The War Wagon (1967), starring John Wayne. Huffaker also wrote two further John Wayne movies: The Comancheros (1961) and Hellfighters (1968); he also wrote the original screenplay Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966). Huffaker's later screenplays include One Hundred Rifles (1969), Flap (1970 starring Anthony Quinn), adapted from his later novel Nobody Loves a Drunken Indian (1967), The Deserter (1971) and Chino (1976).
Huffaker also wrote for television series such as Rawhide, The Virginian and Bonanza.
Clair was married twice: first to Winifred Dutton Moore in 1951, with whom he had a son, Lance Clark Huffaker (1952-1980); and secondly to Joyce Lousin Rainboldt in 1959. He died of an aneurysm in Los Angeles, California, on 2 April 1990, aged 63.
Rider from Thunder Mountain (Greenwich, Conn., Fawcett Publications/Crest Books 193, Nov 1957)
Frederick Muller/Gold Medal Books 358, 1959, 140pp.
Badge for a Gunfighter (Greenwich, Conn., Fawcett Publications, 1957)
Gold Medal Books 223, 1957, 126pp.
Futura 0860-07040-9, 1974, 126pp.
Gold Medal Books 225, 1958, 128pp.
as The War Wagon, Futura 0860-07037-9, 1975, 128pp, 30p.
Guns of Rio Conchos (Greenwich, Conn., Fawcett Publications/Gold Medal Books 733, Jan 1958)
Frederick Muller/Gold Medal Books 337, 1959, 142pp.
as Rio Conchos, Futura 0860-07038-7, 1975, 126pp.
Cowboy (adapted from the screenplay by Edmund H. North and Reminiscences of a Cowboy by Frank Harris, Greenwich, Conn., Fawcett Publications/Gold Medal Books 736, Jan 1958)
Gold Medal Books 271, 1958, 143pp.
Gold Medal Books 362, 1959, 137pp.
Futura 0860-07168-5, 1975, 124pp, 35p.
as Flaming Star, Futura 0860-07039-5, 1975, 126pp, 30p.
Seven Ways from Sundown (Greenwich, Conn., Fawcett Publications/Crest Books 398, 1960)
Futura 0860-07105-7, 1974, 124pp.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Norman Harold Lee was born in South Norwood, 1898, the son of John James Lee, a gardner, and Mary Lee. Lee grew up in Leatherhead, and served as a private with the East Surrey Royal Engineers during the latter months of the Great War, having joined for duty in June 1918. A keen writer, he had his first story published at the age of 12.
His date of birth is given as 10 October 1898 at the BFI website, which notes "Checked birth and dead (sic) at Family Records Centre, London." A check of birth records would reveal only the quarter/year of birth and where the birth was registered. On the latter subject, the entry says "Born in Croydon", but then lists the birthplace as Sutton, Surrey, whilst the birth was registered in Croydon, 3Q 1898. South Norwood, given as his place of birth in the 1911 census and in the Author's and Writer's Who's Who, is an urban district in the Borough of Croydon. The IMDb also lists his birth as 10 October 1898 in Sutton, Surrey.
Lee reputedly spent most of the 1920s in South Africa where he became involved in the film industry. A preface in one of his books refers to travelling to Africa twice. "On the first time I went with a filming party to make De Vere Stacpoole's The Blue Lagoon." Hal Erickson's All Movie Guide notes: "Lee also kept busy in the theatre as a director and revue writer until his permanent return to England in 1928, when he signed with Elstree Studios."
Lee began writing and directing silent movies. One of his earliest films - uncredited - was as a writer on Alfred Hitchcock's The Farmer's Wife (1928). Lee then wrote and directed various documentaries – The Lure of the Atlantic (1929), The Streets of London (1929), The Night Patrol (1930), The Song of London (1930) – mostly concerned with life in London. It is mentioned in one of his later books that Lee also wrote pseudonymous articles in Daily Chronicle, Film Weekly and London Opinion in this (1929-30) period.
Lee founded one of the earliest independent companies to capitalise on sound in the cinema, although Lees Novelty Sound Films Ltd. produced only one film, The Lady of the Camellias Big Moments from Big Books (1930).
After the war, Lee was less prolific, his directing/writing credits including The Monkey's Paw (1948), co-written with Barbara Toy, with whom he had earlier collaborated on the play Lifeline (1943, both employing the pen-name Norman Armstrong) and The Case of Charles Peace (1949). His last known movie credit was The Girl Who Couldn't Quite (1950), about a girl tought to smile by a tramp (played by Bill Owen).
In the war and immediate post-war years, with the film industry in a much reduced state, Lee took up the suggestion of his agent and turned to writing books for boys, his titles including Action on the Rolling Road and The Hoodoo Ship. His entry in 1948-49 edition of Author's and Writer's Who's Who notes that he has written "thrillers and adventure stories" and contributed to Theatre & Cinema and The Screen Writer (USA).
His assignments, both private and for U.S. Intelligence, take him around the world with adventures taking place in England, north Africa (Tangier, Casablanca, Egypt), France and Venice.
As Raymond Armstrong, writing for John Long, Lee penned a series of novels featuring Laura Scudamore, known as the Sinister Widow, and her ongoing battle with Chief Inspector Dick Mason.
In June 1954 a rather odd notice appeared in various Australian newspapers:
MELBOURNE. June 1 – British author Norman Lee, who has written 36 novels since 1943, has arrived in Australia "to write four or five more."Lee stayed in Australia for some time, writing up his escapades as Australian Adventure (by Mark Corrigan). Australia also became the setting for many of his books over the next few years: The Big Squeeze, Big Boys Don't Cry, Sydney for Sin, The Cruel Lady (all by Mark Corrigan), The Sinister Widow Down Under (by Richard Armstrong) and the two investigations of Inspector Grant Vickary, The Case of the Shaven Blonde and Dangerous Cargos, under the byline Robertson Hobart.
Mr. Lee, who came in the Strathnayer, said that British readers were tremendously interested in novels with an Australian background.
Neville Shute's novels about Australia had been a great success in England.
The author of Killers in the Sun is an Australian who made up his mind at an early age to see the rest of the world first. He has travelled since he was fifteen; has been twice round the world and, since he was twenty, has each year visited at least one foreign country. J.E.D. lives on the Blue Mountain ridge, near Katoomba, where exists, he says, one of the most exciting views in New South Wales.Whether this claim of three wives also related to Lee is unknown. At that time the entry for Author's and Writer's Who's Who was being compiled, around 1947-48, Lee was married to Bobbie Hunter and had three sons. I haven't been able to trace a marriage between a Norman H. Lee and anyone called Hunter. It may be that the name was a nom-de-theatre. It is possible that Lee married three times and that one marriage was to Rita M. Booker in Surrey in 4Q 1949.
J. Earle Dixon writes of insurance because he knows it; he began his working career with a South African insurance concern in his youth. He has been married three times but isn't working at it now; he claims women are unpredictable and unreliable.
He has two paramount desires: to direct films and write for the Saturday Evening Post.
The 1962 Author's and Writer's Who's Who mentions Lee's use of the names Robert Armstrong and Mark Corrigan but not of Robertson Hobart or J. Earle Dixon. It is known that Lee also co-wrote a play as Norman Armstrong and it seems plausible that he used other pseudonyms, with suspicion falling on Norma Lee, whose byline appeared on four novels from T. Werner Laurie in 1953-54. Like Mark Corrigan (who was also published by T. Werner Laurie at that time), Norma Lee was both author and character, known as Norma "Nicky" Lee, the beautiful gunner.
Norman Lee died in Surbiton, Surrey, on 2 June 1964, aged 65.
The "Four Winds" Mystery. Dublin, J. J. McCann & Co., 1945.
Action on the Rolling Road, illus. S. Drigin. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1945.
Deputy Wife. Dublin, J. J. McCann & Co., 1946.
The Hoodoo Ship, illus. A. E. Morley. London, Hollis & Carter, 1946.
Peril at Journey's End. Hounslow, William Foster, 1947.
The Terrified Village. A tale of the Kent and Sussex smugglers. London, Lutterworth Press, 1947.
Ship of Adventure. London, Charles Skilton, 1948.
The Ship of Missing Men, illus. Arnold Bond. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1948.
The Legion of the Eagle. London, Lutterworth Press, 1948.
The Phantom Buccaneer. London, Lutterworth Press, 1949.
Johnny Carew, Youngest Agent in the Secret Service. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1951.
Seaway to Adventure. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1956.
Novels as Raymond Armstrong (series: Insp. Dick Mason; Laura Scudamore; J. Rockingham Stone)
Dangerous Limelight (Mason). London, John Long, 1947.
Sinister Playhouse (Mason). London, John Long, 1949.
The Sinister Widow (Scudamore). London, John Long, 1951.
They Couldn't Go Wrong. London, John Long, 1951.
The Sinister Widow Again (Scudamore, Mason). London, John Long, 1952.
The Sinister Widow Returns (Scudamore, Mason). London, John Long, 1953.
Midnight Cavalier (Stone). London, John Long, 1954.
Cavalier of the Night (Stone). London, John Long, 1956.
The Widow and the Cavalier (Scudamore, Mason, Stone). London, John Long, 1956.
The Sinister Widow Comes Back (Scudamore Mason, Stone). London, John Long, 1957.
The Sinister Widow Down Under (Scudamore, Mason). London, John Long, 1958.
The Sinister Widow at Sea (Scudamore, Mason). London, John Long, 1959.
Murder of a Marriage. London, John Long, 1960.
Novels as Mark Corrigan (series: Mark Corrigan in all)
Bullets and Brown Eyes. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1948.
The Green Chateau. London, Lutterworth Press, 1949.
Sinner Takes All. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1949.
The Golden Angel. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1950.
Lovely Lady. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1950.
The Wayward Blonde. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1950.
Madame Sly. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1951.
Shanghai Jezebel. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1951.
Baby Face. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1952.
Lady of China Street. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1952.
All Brides are Beautiful. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1953.
Sweet and Deadly. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1953.
I Like Danger. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1954.
Love for Sale. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1954.
The Naked Lady. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1954.
The Big Squeeze. London, Angus & Robertson, 1955.
Madam and Eve. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1955.
Big Boys Don't Cry. London, Angus & Robertson, 1956.
Sydney for Sin. London, Angus & Robertson, 1956.
The Cruel Lady. London, Angus & Robertson, 1957.
Dumb as they Come. London, Angus & Robertson, 1957.
Honolulu Snatch. London, Angus & Robertson, 1958.
Menace in Siam. London, Angus & Robertson, 1958.
The Girl from Moscow. London, Angus & Robertson, 1959.
Singapore Downbeat. London, Angus & Robertson, 1959.
Lady from Tokyo. London, Angus & Robertson, 1960.
Sin of Hong Kong. London, Angus & Robertson, 1960.
Danger's Green Eyes. London, Angus & Robertson, 1962.
Riddle of Double Island. London, Angus & Robertson, 1962.
Why Do Women...? London, Angus & Robertson, 1963.
Riddle of the Spanish Circus. London, Angus & Robertson, 1964.
Novels as J. Earle Dixon
Killers in the Sun. London & New York, Abelard-Schuman, 1960.
Novels as Robertson Hobart (series: Insp. Grant Vickary)
Case of the Shaven Blonde (Vickary). London, Robert Hale, 1959.
Dangerous Cargoes (Vickary). London, Robert Hale, 1960.
Blood on the Lake. London, Robert Hale, 1961.
Death of a Love. London, Robert Hale, 1961.
Money for Film Stories, with a foreword by Sydney A. Moseley. London, Sir I. Pitman & Sons, 1937.
A Film is Born. London, Jordan & Sons, 1945.
Landlubber's Log: 25,000 Miles with the Merchant Navy. London, Quality Press, 1945.
Amateur Dramatics, with decorations by Kris. London, Oxford University Press, 1947.
I Want to go to Sea: Careers in the British Merchant Service. London, Jordan & Sons, 1947.
My Personal Log of Stars (mostly glamorous) people (famous and infamous) and places (of the world). London, Quality Press, 1947.
Log of a Film Director. London, Quality Press, 1949.
Non-fiction as Mark Corrigan
Australian Adventure. London, Robert Hale, 1960.
Lifeline: a play of the Merchant Navy in three acts (with Barbara Toy both as by Norman Armstrong; produced 30 November 1942). London, Samuel French, 1943.
?Novels as Norma Lee (ascription uncertain; series: Norma "Nicky" Lee)
The Beautiful Gunner. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1953.
Lover—Say It with Mink!. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1953.
Another Woman's Man. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1954.
The Broadway Jungle. London, T. Werner Laurie, 1954.
Friday, May 17, 2013
These dreamers have drawn from the well of science fiction (and it is a very deep well) to bring us – the readers, the viewers, the players – some of the most startling, imaginative, visionary art ever conceived and created...
Science fiction art and design has played an important role in the perception of science fiction among the wider world of non-SF fans, for both good and bad. In the world of Blade Runner, nobody questions the visual futurism of the movie (the crowded, neon lit streets, outsized floating advertising, etc.) or the functionality of flying cars, leaving the viewer free to concentrate on the important questions the movie raises about what it means to be human.
At the other end of the scale, science fiction has been dismissed as nothing more than "that crazy Buck Rogers stuff," referring to the popular comic strip that ran for over 50 years in hundreds of newspapers. While Buck Rogers is used as a term of derision by critics, at what point does it become fine art? Roy Lichtenstein's painting Emeralds – an oversized version of a 1961 Buck Rogers panel by George Tuska – sold in 1999 for $1.6 million, so the answer could be as simple as "two feet wide or more."
Extract from the Introduction to Sci-Fi Art: A Graphic History (2009)
I thought I'd begin with the above extract today because it touches on a subject that is in the news at the moment. Roy Lichtenstein. The premise that making something big can turn it into fine art doesn't apply only to science fiction. When I wrote that the definition of fine art was "two feet wide or more" it wasn't an original notion, although I did check on the size of the painting with someone who knew Lichtenstein's work before I came up with that "two feet" figure.
The idea that Lichtenstein has just made things bigger isn't new. At least as early as 1963, Douglas McClellan said "Lichtenstein has seemingly rearranged nothing, he has stayed reverently close to the originals except for greatly enlarging the scale." McClellan clearly despised comics, calling them a "cripple for a target" and a "ritual art form, it is merely one of the ways we have found to turn absolutely anything into entertainment." "The world of human happenings is comfortably simplified by flaccid drawing," he continues. "The only dimension is conveyed by mechanical dots, and life is represented by triumphant balloons of platitudinous speech rising from the mouths of the characters. It is like shooting fish in a barrel to parody a thing that has so long parodied itself."
If only he'd thought of drawing a bit bigger. Instead of a tiny little "Whaam!" in the pages of All-American Men at War #89, he could have taken his original (flaccid) drawing, stripping it of context and redrawn it ... bigger! The drawing wouldn't have to be as good – almost as if it's a parody of a parody of a cripple – but you can measure quality by size, as fine art has proven time and time again. I refer you, sir, to the two foot rule.
Novick had encountered Lichtenstein during World War II, later recalling that he had found the young artist on his bunk weeping and complaining about the menial work he had to do. Novick got him a better job. Lichtenstein had shown him some of his artwork – "rather poor and academic," was Novick's opinion. "Later on, one of the first things he started copying was my work. He didn’t come into his own, doing things that were worthwhile, until he started doing things that were less academic than that. He was just making large copies of the cartoons I had drawn and painting them."
And I think everyone would have admired him if Lichtenstein had just produced the one painting.We might be able to admire the transforming effect of turning a tiny panel into something huge. But he did it without crediting the original source. And he did it again. And again. And again. And again.
Isn't this appropriation getting a little too much?
And he did it again. And again. And again. And again.
This can't be right, surely?
And he did it again. And again. And again. And again.
No credit to the original artists or the original comics?
And he did it again. And again. And again. And again.
At what point does being inspired by an image become theft?
And he did it again. And again. And again. And again.
Seriously: at what point does redrawing other people artwork and selling it as your own become theft?
And he did it again. And again. And again. And again.
Celebrate Lichtenstein all you want ... but if you do, the least you can do is put the original panels next to his artwork. David Barsalou's wonderful Deconstructing Lichtenstein website identifies not a few, not a handful, but dozens of example for you.
now download an mp3) a pair of presentations by Richard Reynolds FRSA and graphic designer Rian Hughes given at the 2013 Spring Comiket, Central St Martin's School of Art. Reynolds looks at the influences that various works of fine art have had on comic books over the last hundred years while Hughes explores the many comic book panels that Roy Lichtenstein used in creating his works of art.
And as of yesterday (May 16) you can visit Image Duplicator, an exhibition of artwork at Orbital Comics (8 Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JA) including works by Dave Gibbons, Howard Chaykin, Garry Leach, Carl Flint, Shaky Kane, David Leach, Betty Boolean, Salgood Sam, Jason Atomic, Mark Blamire and others. You can see a preview here. More information on the background of the exhibition can be found here along with more examples of artwork.
Prints of artwork will be available from Print-Process, with profits going to Hero Initiative. The exhibition runs until Friday, 31 May.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
The name first came to my notice in Lofts & Adley's The Men Behind Boys Fiction where "R. Russell Mallinson" was described as a pen-name of Russell Stannard. Mystery solved, one would think. Unfortunately, no.
P. Russell Mallinson was born Percy Wilfred Mallinson in Wandsworth in March 1891, the son of John Mallinson, a solicitor's clerk. John Mallinson had been born in Masbrough, a suburb of Rotherham, Yorkshire, in 1860, but was living in Wandsworth, London, by 1886 when he married Mary Ann Coombe. The Mallinsons had two children: Ethel Maud, born in 1887, and Percy Wilfred, born in 1891. Percy was baptised at St. Michael's, Battersea , on 19 April.
His military service was performed under the name Percy Russell Mallinson, but it is possible to link Percy Russell and Percy Wifred through his home address (P. Russell gives 13 The Grove as his home address in 1916) and the 1918 absent voters list which notes that Percy Wilfred is a Lieut. in the R.F.C. Percy Wilfred returns to The Grove in 1918-22 and then disappears from the London Electoral Roll.
It is known that Mallinson wrote prolifically under pen-names and the majority of his work remains untraced. Only one novel appeared under his own name, War on Wings from cheap paperback outfit Mellifont Press – a reprint of a story serialised in Boys' Magazine in 1927 which was also published as Wings o' War in the Boy's Friend Library (#2/179, Feb 1929).
Immediately after the war there appeared a string of short (usually 48-page) pocket library novelettes written for Popular Fiction. According to Barrington Gray, whose father was the manager of Popular Fiction, Mallinson was a regular writer for his father's earlier publishing companies (Gramol) and may have written novels under many other bylines. His known pen-names include Michael Burke, Sinclair Russell, Dawn Tempest, Cynthia Russell and, possibly, Richard Russell.
According to Gray, Mallinson lived in Ireland, which may explain why no record of his death has been found.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Having a bank holiday on Monday didn't help speed things up and my Mum was over on Tuesday. We also have a persistent slow leak from a water pipe under the kitchen sink. We're soaking up the puddles with towels and waiting, waiting, waiting for the f*cking plumber to arrive. Let's see how much of this post I can write before he turns up. [I've finished the whole thing and cleaned up three paperback covers... and I'm still waiting!]
We went to see Iron Man 3 last weekend, which was a fantastic film. Thoroughly enjoyed it, as I had the first two films in the series. I'm not a huge Marvel fan but the recent run of films has been terrific. Even films I was not looking forward to, like Thor, turned out to be a lot of fun.
When I read American comics I was always more of a DC fan, having followed artists like Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland and writers like Alan Moore into the growing number of comic shops that sprang up in the UK in the 1980s. My pal John Clark drove us over to Colchester from Chelmsford and we visited a tiny shop called Ace Comics, tucked away near Colchester Castle.
There I was directed to Swamp Thing when I said I read 2000AD and aimed at a couple of other titles that 2000AD creators had worked on. My memory isn't perfect these days, but I'm pretty sure I picked up two or three issues of Swamp Thing that day (a Friday). And then took the train back to Colchester the next day to buy the rest of the run. It was a few years later that I moved to Colchester, but that was for work purposes, not so I could live nearer a comic shop. Honest.
Ray has featured her on Bear Alley a couple of times thanks to Jeremy Briggs, who penned a series about his comic strip appearances in the UK. You can read part 1 and part 2 by following the links. Obituaries have appeared in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and on BBC News.
Random scans today are a trio of titles from thriller writer Robert Vacha. He only wrote eight novels in total; the five he wrote for Star Books all featured Colonel Robert Craig of British Intelligence, a couple of them set in the near future. Is it just me or is the guy on the cover of The Proton Plot a dead ringer for Six Million Dollar Man actor Lee Majors? [Update: Thanks to Shaqui, who has identified the original source, which is indeed Lee Majors... and, in fact, comes from another Star Books title! I've added a cover pic.]
A call-back to Iron Man 3: if you've never seen it, go out and beg, steal or borrow a copy of Shane Black's previous film with Robert Downey Jr., Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which is just brilliant. You won't regret it. Guess how I spent my lunchtime!