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Saturday, August 18, 2018

H M Paget

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

H.M. Paget was best-known for his work with illustrated papers such as The Graphic and The Sphere between around 1880 and the outbreak of the First World War. Like many of his contemporaries, he also painted in oils and watercolours, exhibiting widely and regularly, and he was also a versatile book illustrator, remembered now for his illustrations for five of G.A. Henty’s boys’ novels. To some extent, his work (along with that of his brother Walter) has been overlooked in favour of that by another brother, Sidney, who was famous for his Sherlock Holmes illustrations in The Strand Magazine between 1891 and 1904.

H.M. Paget was born on 31 December 1856 at 41 Cumming Street, Clerkenwell, and baptized, as Henry Marriott Paget, on 20 June 1869 at St. Mark’s Church, Myddleton Square, Finsbury, alongside two of his younger siblings. His father, Robert Paget, born in Rodborough, Gloucestershire, in 1820) was the Vestry Clerk at St. James’s and St. John’s churches in Clerkenwell. His mother, Martha (née Clarke), born in Atherstone, Warwickshire, in 1830, was a Professor of Music. They had married on 2 June 1853 in London, and went on to have ten children between 1854 and 1872, including the future artists Sidney Edward Paget (born in 1860) and Walter Stanley Paget (born in 1862).

While the Paget family spent many years in Pentonville Road, Finsbury (they were living at no. 60 at the time of the 1861 census, and at no. 42 ten years later) Henry was educated for a while at Atherstone Grammar School, in Warwickshire, presumably staying with his maternal grandparents. He then attended the Middle Class School of London at Cowper Street (known locally as Dr. Wormell’s School), before going on study at Heatherley’s School of Art in Newman Street, Fitzrovia (alongside Samuel Butler) before entering the Royal Academy Schools in 1874. He went on to exhibit at the Royal Academy 11 times between 1879 and 1894, after exhibiting his first painting at the Dudley Gallery, Piccadilly, in 1878.

On 4 September 1879, at the Holy Trinity Church, Bromley, Kent, he married Henrietta Farr, born in 1852 and the daughter of Dr. William Farr, an epidemiologist and one of the founders of medical statistics. They moved from Henry’s address at 17 Fitzroy Street, Fitzrovia, to Milton Lodge, 5 The Avenue, Acton, Middlesex, where they had two children: Gladys Mary (1880) and Dorothy (1882). They subsequently moved to 1 The Orchard, Bedford Park, Ealing, where they had two more children: Ferrand (1888) and Geoffrey Walter (1890).

In the meantime, Henry had spent five years with the 20th Middlesex (Artists’) Rifle Volunteer Corps, joining in 1879 (when it was the 38th Middlesex Corps – it became the 20th in September 1880), being promoted from Sergeant to Second Lieutenant and finally to Lieutenant before resigning his commission in February 1885.

His career as an illustrator began in 1879, when he illustrated his first book (a re-issue of Martha Macdonald Lamont’s historical novel The Gladiator). In 1881 he joined the staff of The Graphic, remaining there until 1910. His black and white illustrations covered a wide variety of themes – scenes from plays and operas, Royal events, celebratory dinners and ceremonies, political events and portraits. His work also appeared in other periodicals throughout the 1880s and 1890s, including The Pictorial World, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, The Illustrated Naval and Military Magazine, The Quiver, The Woman’s World, The Illustrated London News, Harper’s Bazar, The Boy’s Own Paper and The Windsor Magazine.

He also illustrated a wide variety of books, perhaps becoming best-known for his illustrations for five of G.A. Henty’s novels between 1882 and 1898. In 1891 he began an association with The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, illustrating at least 15 of its novels between 1891 and 1895. He was also chosen to illustrate three of A. & C. Black’s re-issues of Walter Scott’s Waverely novels (Kenilworth, The Talisman and Quentin Durward). He also had a long association with Cassell & Co., providing illustrations for part-works such as Cassell’s Illustrated Bible, Cassell’s History of England and A History of Modern Europe, and books such as The Plays of William Shakespeare.

He continued to exhibit paintings – for example at the Grosvenor Galley (1882), The Fine Art Society (1884), The Glasgow Institute of Fine Art (1885), The Dublin Art Club (1886), and the Berlin Jubilee Art Exhibition (1886 – he was one of 50 artists chosen to represent Britain). In 1888 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists. He also regularly had his work exhibited in Cassell & Co.’s annual black and white exhibition of original drawings.

There is very little in the way of critical analysis of Paget’s work, although James Thorpe, in English Illustration: The Nineties, commented that he “was an efficient illustrator, using black-and-white in the manner of the water-colour artist.”

As a resident of Bedford Park, which had become something of an artistic and literary colony, he became closely involved in local activities, for example acting and designing costumes and scenery with the Bedford Park Club, and becoming a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, an organization founded in 1887 dedicated to the occult, and whose members included W.B. Yeats, Algernon Blackwood, Bram Stoker, Arthur Machen, Sax Rohmer, Edith Nesbit, and his wife and her sister Florence (a well-known actress).

On 22 August 1891 the entire Paget family, around 20 in number, were holidaying at Hayling Island, near Portsmouth. Some members of the family were on board a yacht, and Henry’s sisters Helen and Edith, along with two other young women, were in a small boat taking them out to the yacht when it capsized. Henry and his brother Arthur, who had been watching from the shore, immediately swam out to try and rescue them, but sadly Helen, along with the boatman, drowned. A few months later, in January 1892, the Hampshire coroner presented Henry and Arthur with a Bronze Medal from the Royal Humane Society in recognition of their bravery.

In 1898 Henry and his family moved to 76 Parkhill Road, Hampstead. For some reason, Henry’s work as a book illustrator almost ground to a halt – between 1898 and his death some 38 years later he only illustrated 10 books, although he continued working for The Graphic, and his work also began appearing in The British Workman, The Pall Mall Magazine, Little Folks and The Field.  Most importantly, however, in 1908 he joined the staff of The Sphere, for which his brother Walter had been working since its launch in 1900. In 1909 he was sent to Canada, and in 1912 he was sent to Constantinople to cover the Balkan War, and was the only artist in the city when Nazim Pasha, the Chief of Staff of the Ottoman Army, was assassinated on 23 January 1913 – Paget subsequently produced a double-page drawing of the event which was published in The Sphere on 8 February 1913.

In 1916 he joined the Royal Engineers as a Temporary Captain, and served in France organizing camouflage work. After leaving in 1919, he appears to have settled into retirement, remaining at 76 Parkhill Road until his death, which occurred on 27 March 1936. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 1 April. He left an estate valued at £1,527 (around £95,000 in today’s terms).

His wife was also a painter and illustrator, although only a very small scale. She is credited with illustrating at least one book, Little Margit and Other Stories by M.A. Hoyer, published by Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, in 1887, and she exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1906 and 1907. She died at 3 Talgarth Road, Ferring-on-Sea, Sussex, on 4 October 1947, leaving £2,703.


Books illustrated by H.M. Paget
The Gladiator: A Life Under the Roman Empire in the Beginning of the Third Century by Martha Macdonald Lamont, C. Kegan Paul, 1879 (re-issue)
The Princess: A Medley by Alfred Tennyson, C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1880
British Ballads, Old and New selected by George Barnett Smith, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1881 (with other artists)
Winning His Spurs: A Tale of the Crusades by G.A. Henty, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1882
Castle Warlock: A Homely Romance by George MacDonald, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1882
Bedford Park, Harrison & Sons, 1882 (with other artists)
Cassell’s Illustrated Bible, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1882 (part-work) (with other artists)
The Royal Shakspere, Cassell & Co., 1885 (with other artists)
Through the Fray: A Tale of the Luddite Riots by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1886
The Bravest of the Brave, or With Peterborough in Spain by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1886
Cassell’s History of England, Cassell & Co., 1886 (part-work) (with other artists)
Home Again by George MacDonald, Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1887
Our Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria by Thomas Archer, Blackie & Son, 1887 (with other artists)
To the Lions: A Tale of the Early Christians by Alfred John Church, Seeley & Co., 1889
Micah Clarke: His Statement as Made to his Three Grandchildren, by Arthur Conan Doyle, Longmans, Green & Co., 1889 (with H.R. Millard)
Shakespeare Pictures, Ernest Nister, 1890 (with W. Paget)
Jan by Mrs Newman, S.P.C.K., 1891
A High Resolve by Cecilia Selby Lowndes, S.P.C.K., 1891
The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold, Chatto & Windus, 1891
Darby and Joan by Frederick E. Weatherly, Castell Brothers, 1891
Pickwick Pictures: A Series of Character Sketches from Pickwick Papers, Ernest Nister, 1891
Burns Pictures by Robert Anning Bell, Ernest Nister, 1891
The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses by Robert Louis Stevenson, Cassell & Co., 1891 (re-issue)
A History of Modern Europe by C.A. Fyffe, Cassell & Co., 1891 (part-work) (with other artists)
Another Man’s Burden: A Tale of Love and Duty by Austin Clare, S.P.C.K., 1892
Julie by Alice F. Jackson, S.P.C.K., 1892
The Conroy Cousins by Edward N. Hoare, S.P.C.K., 1892
A Life’s Labour: A Story of West Yorkshire by Emily Margaret Mason, S.P.C.K., 1892
Twilight: A Story of Two Villages by Annette M. Lyster, S.P.C.K., 1893
Jennifer’s Fortune by Amy Key Clarke, S.P.C.K., 1893
The Plays of William Shakespeare edited and annotated by Charles & Mary Cowden Clarke, Cassell & Co., 1893 (with other artists)
Kenilworth  by Walter Scott, A. & C. Black, 1893 (re-issue)
Master Molyneux: A Tale by Lady Dunboyne, S.P.C.K., 1894
Enchanted Ground by Catharine E. Smith, S.P.C.K., 1894
Was it in Vain? By Gertrude E.M. Vaughan, S.P.C.K., 1894
Quentin Durward by Walter Scott, A. & C. Black, 1894 (re-issue)
The Talisman by Walter Scott, A. & C. Black, 1894 (re-issue)
The Man in Black by Stanley John Weyman, Cassell & Co., 1894 (with W. Paget) (re-issue)
Crossing the Ferry, or From Old England to New Brunswick: A Tale by George Robert Wynne, S.P.C.K., 1894
A Silver Cord by Alan St. Aubyn, S.P.C.K., 1895
Richard Kennaway’s Wife by Annette M. Lyster, S.P.C.K., 1895
Pictures from Dickens with Readings, Ernest Nister, 1895 (with other artists)
Annals of Westminster Abbey by Emily Tennyson Bradley, Cassell & Co., 1895 (with other artists)
Captain Bayley’s Heir: A Tale of the Gold Fields of California by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1896
Merry Hearts: A Volume of Stories by various authors, Ernest Nister, 1896 (with other artists)
Simple Stories from English History, Longmans, Green & Co., 1896 (with other artists)
With Moore at Corunna: A Tale of the Peninsular War by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1898
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith, Ernest Nister, 1898 (re-issue)
South Africa and the Transvaal War by Louis Creswicke, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1900-01 (part-work) (with other artists)
In Strange Company and other stories by various authors, Ward, Lock & Co., 1901
Christmas: Its Origins and Associations by W.F. Dawson, Elliot Stock, 1902 (with other artists)
Sketches in Verse by H.R. Richardson, privately published, 1904 (with other artists)
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens, G.D. Sproul, 1904 (re-issue)
The Wolf Patrol: A Story of Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts by John Finnemore, A. & C. Black, 1908
A Brotherhood of Heroes: Being Memorials of Charles, George and William Napier selected and arranged by Stephen Gwynn, A.R. Mowbray, 1910
Letters to the New Island by W.B. Yeats, Harvard University Press, 1934

Friday, August 17, 2018

Comic Cuts - 17 August 2018

On Monday, I'd planned doing a quick conversion of my "Iron Mask" book so I could put it out on Kindle, but what I thought would be a couple of day's work at most sprawled over into the rest of the week and is still ongoing if you're reading this on Friday.

For newcomers, this isn't the historical character made famous by Dumas, but a later adventurer who planned to walk around the world while hiding his identity behind an old knight's helmet. I first stumbled across the story at a local historical exhibition, the man behind the Mask having once lived in Wivenhoe in the 1930s.

I wrote up the story a couple of years ago and put together a 42-page A4 booklet. Since then I've had some correspondence with various people who have been able to offer a few clues. A few more resources have also appeared online since the book was written in 2015, so I thought it a good opportunity to dig around and see what else I could find.

I'm the first to admit that the original is densely written. There's a lot of family information regarding births, marriages and deaths, where people lived, and how they interconnected or were involved with the "Iron Mask" saga; there's a confusion of names because families often name children after parents or grandparents; and there is also some speculation over people's identities which required a lot of explanation. It's a book that not only throws in the kitchen sink but also a full-length instruction manual of how the sink fits together, how you can attach it to the wall, what plumbing requirements you need and how to keep it working in all circumstances so you get the best results from it.

Because I knew it was confusing in places, I created a couple of family trees and a map to help people find their way around. These needed to be resized, but rather than just shrink them down I thought I'd redraw them. Big mistake. Switching from landscape to portrait – a wide image to a tall image – meant breaking the trees in two. I also needed to expand them to fill the extra space at the top and bottom of the new pages.

After a couple of failed attempts on Tuesday, I finally managed a quite simple tree on Wednesday that I was happy with. Now all I have to do is draw another three and I'll be finished. I still haven't figured out what to do with the map... it might turn into a list, which will be a hell of a lot easier to cope with!

There are positives from all this: I've ironed out a couple of problems with the original, correcting a couple of minor errors that had crept into the earlier draft, and added a riot and another court case to the text that I was previously unaware of.

I'll hopefully have it all wrapped up by next week.

I've been following the various reviews that people have written for The Vigilant, Rebellion's re-launch of a whole bunch of characters from their newly acquired British comics' archive.. When I wrote my review (scroll down if you haven't read it) I was wondering if I was being too harsh, but it seems that other reviewers agree with me. John Freeman sums it up best when he says, "having been handed a massive toy chest of characters, strips and concepts, the creative team involved on The Vigilant were a bit overwhelmed by the choice offered to play with, and, at times, used too many of them within this opening story."

What is also clear is that even those of us who have reservations over this particular story want The Vigilant to continue and for more stories to be told about these characters. I'm very happy to see Rebellion putting so much effort into not only bringing some of the old characters back, but reprinting the original strips. The choice has been eclectic – everything from Marney the Fox to Von Hoffman's Invasion – and the line is probably the better for it.

The latest announcement is the revival of Roy of the Rovers... or, rather, the ongoing revival of the character as he began a 12-week run in the pages of Match of the Day magazine back in early June. The redesigned (by Ben Willsher) Roy, drawn in MotD by Lisa Henke, is now set to star in a couple of books due out in October/November. One (Scouted) is a children's novel, written by Tom Palmer and written by Henke, the second a graphic novel (Kick-Off) written by Rob Williams with art by Willsher.

Rebellion have yet to announce them officially, but there are collections from the comics Wildcat and Jinty in the works for early next year, as well as a second collection for M.A.C.H.1 and a debut collection for Billy's Boots, Fred Baker's masterpiece of schoolboy soccer. For more details, scroll down, as I'm updated my Treasury of British Comics listing of upcoming titles.

The one thing I've not covered – because it's not a book – is the Scream! and Misty Special. To be published on 31 October, the second annual Hallowe'en special will again feature more adventures of "The Thirteenth Floor" by Guy Adams, John Stokes & Frazer Irving and "Black Max" by Kek-W and Simon Coleby. "Black Beth" by Alec Worley and DaNi reunites the team who brought you "Fate of the Fairy Hunter" in the last special, and two complete stories, “Best Friends Forever” by Lizzie Boyle and Yishan Li, and “Decomposition Jones“, by Richard McAuliffe and Steve Mannion, complete the issue.

The cover (left) is by Ohio-based American artist Kyle Hotz, formerly the artist of Nightman (Malibu), Ghost Rider 2099, The Hood, The Agency, and others for Marvel. There is also an alternate cover (right) by Lenka Šimečková, best known for the Czech comic "The Sorrowful Putto of Prague". The latter cover will be an exclusive available through the 2000AD web shop.

No book scans this week as I spent too long compiling the listing immediately below. So much to do, so little time... So instead, here's the cover of the upcoming special limited edition of Stephen James Walker's expanded The Art of Reginald Heade. Pricey, but I'm sure it will be worth it. Due out 31 August.

Treasury of British Comics upcoming releases

Updating the 2018 releases for the Treasury of British Comics and other British comics tie-ins from Rebellion.

Von Hoffman's Invasion Book One by Tom Tully & Eric Bradbury
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086261, 23 August 2018, 128pp, £12.99. Available via Amazon.
Created by Tom Tully and Eric Bradbury, and appearing in Jet in 1971, after spending 25 years in prison following World War II the evil Nazi genius Dr Von Hoffman has sworn revenge against Britain. Having perfected a gas that allows him to enlarge and control all manner of creatures, Von Hoffman has embarked on his one-man invasion. Now every church fete, army camp and national monument is in dire threat! The only thing that stands in his way are the plucky young brothers Barry and Joey Drake…

Misty Vol. 3: Wolf Girl & Other Stories by Eduardo Feito, Jordi Badia Romero et al
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086513, 20 September 2018, £13.99. Available via Amazon.
FULL MOON FEVER! As sunlight slips away, making room for the night, the children of the mists venture forth from the shadows and seek out new stories to weave into the tapestry of the dream world. In this shiver-inducing anthology, Misty presents a series of tales that are bestial nature, such as.... WOLF GIRL
    After her parents die in a car crash, a baby girl is rescued by a wolf who had recently lost a cub of her own. Two years later, soldiers on a military exercise find the child and bring her back to civilisation. Now in her early teens, the girl (called Lona) discovers all about her wild origin from her adopted parents. As Lona’s bestial nature starts to resurface, she finds herself increasingly alone and at odds with the world around her…

Black Max Volume One Ken Mennell, Frank Pepper, Eric Bradbury & Alfonso Font
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086551, 4 October 2018, £10.99. Available via Amazon.
Ace fighter pilot Baron Maximilien Von Klorr is the scourge of the skies, menacing the Allied forces during the bloodiest battles in WWI. Skilled, ruthless and in possession of two giant, mutated kingbats who fight by his side, Von Klorr AKA Black Max is almost unstoppable. Only the brave pilots of the Royal Flying Corps, including Lieutenant Tom Wilson, oppose the Black Max’s complete dominance of the air…
     Thrilling supernatural war comics from the pages of classic British comics Lion and Thunder!

The Thirteenth Floor Vol.01 by John Wagner, Alan Grant & Jose Ortiz
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086537, 18 October 2018, £14.99. Available via Amazon.
Maxwell Tower is a state-of-the art tower block – a bold, experimental council tenement, run by an A.I. called Max. As building superintendent, Max’s primary function is the welfare of his tenants, which he takes very seriously. And if anyone threatens either the residents or the building itself, they can expect a visit to the thirteenth floor – a place where nightmare and reality become one!
    This beautifully illustrated, darkly comical first volume includes the complete run of the strip from the legendary boy’s comic, Scream!

El Mestizo by Alan Hebden & Carlos Ezquerra
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086575, 15 November 2018, £14.99 (hardcover). Available via Amazon.
1862 – a time of great turmoil. As the American Civil War tears a nation in two, dangerous men prosper through bloodshed. El Mestizo was once a slave who managed to escape to Mexico. Now he’s come back over the border - a mercenary for hire. But is he really allied to neither side?
     High-octane revenge Western from the co-creator of Judge Dredd.

Ken Reid's Creepy Creations
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086605, 29 November 2018, £16.99 (hardcover). Available via Amazon.
The creatures contained within, are some of the most bizarre, hilarious and hideous ever to haunt the pages of a comic!
For the first time ever, marvel at The Many-Headed Monster from Monmouth! Tremble at the sight of Terry the Tellible! Recoil in horror from The Fork-Eating Spaghetti Spook! And much more besides!
     A testament to Ken Reid’s artistic genius and his hugely creative imagination, these illustrations have been collected and lovingly restored in all their (creepy)
    Spine-tingling humour horror comics from Ken Reid, the British comics master behind Faceache!

Turbo Jones by Barrie Tomlinson, Ian Kennedy, John Sanders & Vanyo
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781086650, 10 January 2019, 144pp, £14.99. Available via Amazon.
In 2488 Earth history professor, Turbo Jones predicted that the planet would be destroyed in 2500 by a vast meteoroid storm. Ridiculed by the world’s leaders, Turbo spent the next twelve years constructing a huge spaceship and employing a group of volunteers to help him leave the Earth and find a new home in the stars…
    After months in space, Turbo and his senior staff including former mercenary Loner, the mysterious  Kitten Magee and the last survivor of Xgangbe-4, Joe Alien, have found a potential new home.  Now they need to get down onto the planet.
    Post-Earth pulp space opera of discovery and adventure!

Billy's Boots Book One by Fred Baker & John Gillatt
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086711, 7 February 2019, £14.99 (hardcover). Available via Amazon.
Fantasy meets football in the magical story of a boy and his enchanted boots! William’s Wish Wellingtons meets Roy of the Rovers
Young Billy Dane was one of the most passionate football fans at Bingley Road Junior school…unfortunately he was also one of the worst players! Then, one afternoon, Billy’s grandmother got him to clean out her attic and Billy finds a pair of old fashioned football boots that belonged to ‘Dead-Shot’ Keen – a famous centre forward who once played for England.

Fran of the Floods by Alan Davidson & Phil Gascoine
Rebellion ISBN  9781781086728, 21 March 2019, £12.99. Available via Amazon.
Due to increased climate change, the sun starts to melt the ice caps and evaporates the world’s oceans, causing an onslaught of never ending rain. At first young Hazelford resident, Fran Scott, finds the whole thing amusing, but as the town begins to disappear underwater, the desperation of her predicament becomes all too clear.
     After losing her parents in the chaos, Fran decides to seek out her sister June, who recently moved to Scotland. But as the situation gets worse and society begins to crumble around her, Fran must overcome a vast array of dangers, including disease, wild animals, marauding gangs of vicious thugs and most bizarre of all, the self-proclaimed king of Glasgow!
     Science fiction comics of ecological disaster and survival from the pages of legendary comic Jinty.

M.A.C.H.1 Book 2: Close Encounters by Pat Mills, Scott Goodall, Alan Hebden, Steve McManus, Nick Landay, John Cooper, Ramon Sola, Trevor Goring, Jesus Redondo & Kevin O'Neill
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086742, 18 April 2019, £16.99 (hardcover). Available via Amazon.
When terrorists, super-weapons and other-worldly forces plot destruction, the British Secret Service need John Probe – their number one super-agent. But when Probe begins to question the motives of his superiors and the ruthless logic of his cybernetic brain, he finds the service has dark secrets up its sleeve… including failed prototype, M.A.C.H. Zero!
     The agency will find out what happens when they try to control Men Activated by Compu-Puncture Hyperpower!
     Super-spy action thrills in 2000 AD’s answer to James Bond and The 6 Million Dollar Man!


Rico Dredd: The Titan Years by Michael Carroll
Abaddon ISBN 9781781086483, 4 April 2019, 480pp, £8.99. Available via Amazon.
The story of Judge Dredd’s evil twin Rico’s years on Titan, finally revealed.
    You know about me. I’m Rico Dredd, Joe Dredd's big brother.
    I'm the clone that went bad, that brought shame on Judge Fargo's legacy.
    I was a Judge, the best the Academy of Law ever turned out. The very best. But after less than a year on the streets of Mega-City One, I was brought down, taken in. It was Little Joe who caught me; second-best Judge there’s been.
    Broken, sentenced, stripped of office, I was shipped out to the brutal moon Titan, to do my twenty years' hard labour. Yeah, you know about Rico Dredd.
    But do you know what really happened? Why I did it? What it was like, out there on the edge of space, doing time in the Bronze?
    Truth is, mister, you know stomm about me.


Scouted by Tom Palmer, illustrated by Lisa Henke
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086988, 4 October 2018, 160pp, £6.99. Available via Amazon.
Roy Race is totally normal 16 year old – he just happens to be the best footballer his age in Melchester, too.
    Trouble is, he’s so good that he’s not playing against kids his age any more. He’s playing in the Under 18s, and that means rough tackles, tough games, and not as many goals as he’s used to scoring.
But the scouts from Roy’s beloved Melchester Rovers are on the lookout for new talent, and now’s the time to show what he’s made of.
    But is he big enough? Fit enough? Talented enough? Somewhere in between looking after his poorly dad and keeping an eye on his wild little sister, he’s going to find out. It’s not going to be easy, but if he’s going to become Roy of the Rovers, young Racey better get his boots on and show what he can do…
    Illustrated middle grade fiction title starring Roy of the Rovers, the classic British children’s football hero rebooted for the 21st century!

Kick-Off by Rob Williams & Ben Willsher
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086520, 1 November 2018, 56pp, £9.99. Available via Amazon.
Roy Race is sixteen, obsessed with football, and in possession of the best left foot in Melchester. All he has to do now is convince the scout from his beloved Melchester Rovers he was what it takes…
    But the legendary Rovers aren’t what they once were. No money, few fans, and barely any hope, the team is languishing in the lower leagues. Melchester Rovers is a club in need of a saviour, a goal-scorer… a legend.
    Can Roy overcome intense rivalries, tough training, and the pitfalls of a club on the verge of collapse to become the next football sensation?
     The landmark and highly anticipated Roy of the Rovers 21st century rebooted in this thrilling original graphic novel series!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 15 August 2018.

Judge Dredd Megazine 399
Cover: Adam Brown
JUDGE DREDD: BRAIN DRAIN by Rory McConville (w) Staz Johnson (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer  (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
DEVLIN WAUGH: KISS OF DEATH by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)
CHOPPER: WANDERING SOUL by David Baillie (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Len O'Grady, Brendan McCarthy (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
STRANGE BRIGADE by Gordon Rennie (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Features: How To Write A Future Shock, Strontium Dog miniatures game
Bagged reprint: JUDGE DREDD: THE LOST CASES by Alan Grant (w) PJ Holden, Anthony Williams, David Roach, Paul Marshall, Nick Dyer, Karl Richardson (a) Ellie De Ville, Simon Bowland (l)

2000AD Prog 2094
Cover: Kei Zama / Kelly Fitzpatricck
JUDGE DREDD: A BETTER CLASS OF CRIMINAL by Rory McConville (w) Leonardo Manco (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE ORDER: THE NEW WORLD by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THARG'S 3RILLERS: APPETITE by James Peaty (w) Andrea Mutti (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
MECHASTOPHELES // TRUE FAITH by Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie (w) Karl Richardson (a) Simon Bowland (l)
GREY AREA: THE LAUNDRY ROOM by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

The Vigilant
Cover: Simon Coleby
Lost in the mists of time, home-grown British superheroes once entertained and enthralled millions of kids...
    Now, the likes of Adam Eterno, Blake Edmonds, Thunderbolt the Avenger, and The Leopard from Lime Street are coming back to make summer 2018 blazing hot!
    The Vigilant will be a special one-shot title this August which resurrects classic heroes from the Fleetway/IPC comics of the 1970s – reborn and updated for a new generation to enjoy!
    Written by Simon Furman (Transformers) with art by Simon Coleby (Jaegir, Judge Dredd) and other guest creators, when the evil forces of Von Hoffman and Dr Mesmer team up and pluck the immortal Adam Eterno from the winds of time, all of reality is under threat!
    Only The Vigilant – a mighty team composed of super-beings, warlocks, warriors and monsters – stand between civilisation and total chaos! Join The Leopard from Lime Street, Steel Commando, Dr. Sin, Pete’s Pocket Army, Blake Edmonds, Yāo and Thunderbolt the Avenger on their premiere adventure! The ‘Rebellion-verse’ begins here!

THE VIGILANT: MAELSTROM by Simon Furman (w) Simon Coleby (a) Simon Bowland (l)
YAO: THE DEMON TOUCHED "HOME"? by Bruce Leslie (w) DaNi (a) John Charles (c) Sam G (l)
DEATH WISH: KIDS RULE! by Karl Stock (w) Henrik Sahlstrom (a) Simon Bowland (l)
STEEL COMMANDO: IN BETWEEN WARS by Aaron Stack (w) Warwick Fraser-Coombes, Staz Johnson (a) John Charles (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Vigilant #1 (August 2018)

When Rebellion purchased the old Fleetway Publications archive of characters, they promised to make the most of the material they had purchased and they've lived up to that promise. We've had collections of strips from Scream!, Misty, Jinty, Tammy, Thunder and Buster in book form and a Tornado strip turned up bagged with the Judge Dredd Megazine not so long ago.

Then, last year, the Scream! and Misty Special reintroduced a bunch of characters, many of whom had not been seen for over forty years. In "Death-Man: The Gathering", an oversized group of heroes were brought together by the not-so old Death-Man (2016) and Doctor Sin (2015), who were presumably required by HR to add a bit of diversity to the group. Oh, and Thunderbolt the Avenger is now a girl.

This story introduced The Vigilant, who (with the addition of another new female character) are the stars of their own title. I was not a fan of the earlier story – nor am I a fan in general of shoehorning disparate characters into the same comic universe. Inevitably the results are not the sum of their parts; rather, everything muddles along as characters you don't know and don't care about do things you don't understand because you don't know their character quirks.

But with a script by Simon Furman and art by Simon Coleby I feel we're in safe hands here, so let's give it a chance...

And, you know what? It's not so bad. The story motors along at a terrific pace and the central McGuffin – the entrapment of Adam Eterno – is intriguing, albeit a little throwaway. Where there is interplay between the characters it is fun and the tone is definitely more MCU Avengers than DCEU Justice League.

However, the main strip still suffers from the same problem that the last British comics' universe team-up, Albion, also failed to solve. There are nine main protagonists here, not counting Pete's alien army or the bad guys (Von Hoffman, Iron Major, The Dwarf, Dr. Mesmer) in a 24-page story. With other elements or characters added along the way (the first, the Prisoner of Zenga on page 2), by the time Death Man calls in ultra-obscure reinforcements The Esper Commandos (Pow Annual) and Crabbe's Crusaders (Buster), readers, especially newcomers, are going to be feeling overwhelmed.

But my main complaint is actually a story point. Despite having all these heroes in play, they do not resolve the plot. Instead, two alchemists are introduced at the last minute (one of whom has never been previously mentioned). They wave their hands around for a couple of panels and solve everything.

The strip does end on an intriguing note, with the introduction of Beth Rogan, who, with her brother, was a ghost-hunter from the pages of Scream! ("The Nightcomers"). And why stop with her... I can't wait to meet up again with the Carrie-like Moonchild, now a mother of two and using her telekinetic powers to make sure she gets a parking spot on the school run, and Bella, former gymnast, now a masked vigilante.

Of the other strips, two occur when characters disappear from the main storyline into other realms. "Yao" serves as a proper introduction to the character (she turned up in a couple of panels of the "Death-Man" story) and Blake Edmonds, the danger-obsessed burns victim with a "Death Wish",  is sent to the world of Action's "Kids Rule UK", a desolate alternate dimension where Blake has to save... well, that would be telling.

The last strip explains how the Steel Commando ended up on the team in what is my favourite of the three stories as it is genuinely quite moving. It only goes to emphasize that The Vigilant should have been created in reverse, with the various characters (the new versions of those old Fleetway stars) introduced in stand-alone stories/serials and then brought together once readers had got to know them and their related characters (both friends and enemies). I mentioned the Marvel Cinematic Universe a minute ago, and that's the way you introduce a team: a few standalone stories before you slam everyone together. I fear that without the backstories and a period of getting to know the characters so that readers give a shit about them, The Vigilant might follow Albion into obscurity.

The Vigilant. Rebellion, August 2018, 52pp, £3.99. Cover by Simon Coleby.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

W H Overend

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

W.H. Overend was one of the foremost maritime artists of his era, producing paintings and illustrations for periodicals and books, including many children’s books, although his career only lasted for 26 years, being cut short by his premature death at the age of 46.

He was born on 5 October 1851 in Coatham, near Middlesbrough, and baptized, as William Heysham Overend, on 16 November 1851 at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Darlington. His father, James Overend (born in 1821 in Bentham, Yorkshire) was a flax spinner; his mother, Martha née Hodgson (born in Hawkshead, Lancashire in 1824) was the daughter of Braithwaite Hodgson, a wealthy landowner. Prior to having William, James and Marthas had had twin sons, James and John, in 1849.

After living in Priestgate, Darlington, throughout the 1850s, the family moved to 3 Buccleuch Terrace, Hackney, London, with James becoming a railway contractor. In 1863, William spent a year as a day boy at Charterhouse, then in Smithfield, and he then became a pupil at Bruce Castle, a progressive school in Tottenham. He went on to study art under the painter Alexander Davis Cooper, developing a particular interest in maritime subjects.

In the 1871 census, he was living in a small lodging house at 14 Clapton Terrace, Hackney, described as an artist, along with ha relative, Edward Overend, a former flax spinner and now an unemployed naval engineer. He exhibited his first painting at the Royal Academy in 1872 (giving his address as 3 Buccleuch Terrace), going on to exhibit there again in 1880, 1885, 1893 and 1898.

His career, as both an artist and illustrator, developed slowly throughout the second half of the 1870s. He exhibited with the Society of British Artists in 1875 and 1876, and at London’s Dudley Gallery in the same years, and in Liverpool in 1877. In 1875 he began working for The Illustrated London News, a relationship which lasted until his death 23 years later. He also worked with The Penny Illustrated Paper and The Sunday Magazine. His earliest book illustrations appeared in Thomas Frost’s The North Pole, and How Charlie Wilson Discovered It, in 1876.

In the 1881 census, Overend was recorded as a lodger at 64 Guilford Street, Bloomsbury, along with his wife Sophia (recorded as having been born in London in 1851). However, there is no record of a marriage, and there is no trace of Sophia Overend after this. Overend also had a nearby studio at 39A Queen Square.

His career really took off in 1880, when he contributed illustrations to Frederick Whymper’s 4 volume book The Sea: Its Stirring Story of Adventures, Peril and Heroism, published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin. He also began contributing to The Boy’s Own Paper in 1880, continuing to do so until 1894; he also contributed to London Society and St. Nicholas. In 1882 he travelled to New York, having been commissioned to produce a painting celebrating Admiral David Porter’s naval conquest of New Orleans during the American Civil War in 1862. While there, Overend also painted An August Morning with Farragut: The Battle of Mobile Bay, commemorating another Civil War engagement from 1864.

On his return to England he moved into Wychcombe Studios, Belsize Park. He began contributing to a wide range of other periodicals, including The Illustrated Naval and Military Magazine, The Graphic, The Magazine of Art, and The Leisure Hour. In 1884 he began illustrating books for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), mainly children’s books, many of which had a maritime theme. In 1889 he illustrated G.A. Henty’s One of the 28th: A Tale of Waterloo for Blackie & Son – he went on to illustrate three more of Henty’s historical and war novels. He also illustrated a number of boys’ adventure stories by Harry Collingwood, Gordon Stables, John C. Hutcheson and George Manville Fenn. He also illustrated nine of the early seafaring novels of the Irish author Frank Frankfort Moore.

In January 1886 Overend was elected a Member of the Institute of Painters in Oil Colours, and later that year he exhibited at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts. He also regularly painted in watercolours, and was a member of the Arts Club. In 1887, he painted one of his most famous pictures, “A Football Match: England v Scotland”, portraying a scene from the international played in March the previous year. Two years later, he painted a picture of the 1890 FA Cup Final between Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers, simply called “The Football Match.” Both pictures were subsequently engraved by Lionel Smythe, and prints, in both black and white and colour, were widely sold.

At the time of the 1891 census he was living, as a boarder and with no wife, at 37 Fitzroy Square, St. Pancras, described as an engraver and sculptor, although in truth he was working full-time as an artist and illustrator. He continued contributing to periodicals, now including The English Illustrated Magazine, Chums, The Sunday at Home, The British Workman, Good Words, McClure’s Magazine, The Pall Mall Magazine, Cassell’s Family Magazine, Lika Joko, Young England, The Navy and Army Illustrated, The Rambler and The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News.

In 1892 he illustrated re-issues of three of Herman Melville’s novels (including Moby Dick), and he continued illustrating children’s books, although not all had a naval or historical theme. In 1893 he moved to 17 Southampton Street, Fitzroy Square, and in the same year he produced two sets of cigarette cards, Cinema Stars and Radio Celebrities, for Wills’s Cigarettes. Three years later, he began illustrating 22 re-issues of Frederick Marryat’s novels for George Routledge & Sons, a feat for which he appears to have received no recognition.

He was, however, recognized by the Navy Records Society, who elected him to their Council in 1897.

After completing the illustrations for an edition of Robert Southey’s The Life of Nelson, for Routledge, he died at his home in Southampton Street, on 18 March 1898. The death certificate gave the cause of death as “Locomotor Ataxy” (i.e. a nervous disorder caused by syphilis, which leads to a loss of control of bodily movements – he had apparently suffered from this for 10 years, although it did not seem to affect his ability to work); “Catarrh of the bowels”; and “Albuminuria” (a kidney disease). He was buried in Tottenham Cemetery along with his father and mother (who had died in 1875 and 1886 respectively) and his brother John (who had died in 1861). He left an estate valued at £3,105 (around £330,000 in today’s terms), with probate granted to his other brother James, a civil engineer (who himself died four years later). 

Just over a week after his death, The Army and Navy Gazette (26 March 1898) published a glowing tribute:
By no-one more than by his many friends and admirers in the Navy will the sudden and untimely death of Mr W.H. Overend be deplored. By them he was recognized as the foremost exponent of naval art, the only man who could at once satisfy his brother artists, the student of naval history, and the professional seaman. A Londoner and a Carthusian, his enthusiasm for the sea and sailors was unbounded, and although the pages of the Illustrated London News and numerous books prove his capacity in many other branches of his art, it was in all that concerned shipping and seamen that he was at his best. Working chiefly in black and white his paintings are not many in number, but what he might have accomplished in this direction had he been able to devote more time to it is demonstrated by his spirited pictures, “Farragut at Mobile Bay,” “Boarding a Prize” and “Nelson on the Quarterdeck of the Victory.” His knowledge of the detail of the old ships was unequalled, and his accuracy in matters naval, both archaeological and of the present day, was proverbial. Modest, unassuming, and amiable, no man was more cordially liked by his professional brethren, while the high appreciation in which he was held by those who cherish naval art and literature was shown by his election to the council of the Navy Records Society.


Books illustrated by W.H. Overend
The North Pole, and How Charlie Wilson Discovered It by Thomas Frost, Griffith & Farran, 1876
Gipsy Life by George Smith, Haughton & Co., 1880 (with Herbert Johnson)
The Sea: Its Stitrring Story of Adventure, Peril & Heroism by Frederick Whymper, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1880 (4 vols) (with other artists)
Canal Adventures by Moonlight by George Smith, Hodder & Stoughton, 1881
British Ballads, Old and New, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1881 (part-work) (with other artists)
The Good Ship Barbara: A Story of Two Brothers by Samuel Whitchurch Sadler, S.P.C.K., 1882
The Forging of the Anchor: A Poem by Sir Samuel Ferguson, Casell & Co., 1883 (with other artists)
The Mutiny of the “Albatross” by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1884
On Board the “Esmerelda”, or Martin Leigh’s Log: A Sea Story by John C, Hutcheson, Cassell & Co., 1885
The Fate of the “Black Swan”: A Tale of New Guinea by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1885
A Woman of Business by M. Bramston, S.P.C.K., 1885
Cairnforth and Sons: A Tale by Helen Shipton, S.P.C.K., 1885
The Children’s Sunday Hour (Sermons) by Benjamin Waugh, William Isbister, 1885 (with other artists)
Will’s Voyages by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1886
Dr. Maynard’s Daughter by Laura M. Lane, S.P.C.K., 1886
The Master of the Mine by Robert Buchanan, Chatto & Windus, 1886
Geoffrey Bennett by Sydney Mary Sitwell, S.P.C.K., 1886
Queer Chums: Being a Narrative of a Midshipman’s Adventures and Escapes by Charles H. Eden, S.P.C.K., 1887
Tre, Pol and Pen: A Tale by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1887
The Missing Merchantman by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1888
Tom’s Adventures in Search of Shadowland by Herbert S. Sweetland, T. Fisher Unwin, 1888
Harry Wilde: A Tale of the Brine and the Breeze by Gordon Stables, S.P.C.K., 1889
Jungle Jack, or To the East after Elephants by Charles H. Eden, S.P.C.K., 1889
A Modern Don Quixote by E.M. Alford, S.P.C.K., 1889
St. Anne’s Court by C.E.M., S.P.C.K., 1889
One of the 28th: A Tale of Waterloo by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1889
Afloat at Last: A Sailor Boy’s Log of His Life at Sea by John C. Hutcheson, Blackie & Son, 1890
A Chapter of Adventures, or Through the Bombardment of Alexandria by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1890
Coral and Cocoa-nut: The Cruise of the Yacht “Fire-Fly” to Samoa by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1890
Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep: A Tale of the “Salt, Salt Sea” by Gordon Stables, S.P.C.K., 1890
A Message from the Sea by A. Eubule Evans, S.P.C.K., 1890
A History of Modern Europe by C.A. Fyffe, Cassell & Co., 1890 (part-work) (with other artists)
In a Conning Tower, or How I Took H.M.S. “Majestic” Unto Action: A Story of Modern Ironclad Warfare by H.O. Arnold Forster, Cassell & Co., 1891
The Sea Service by Charles N. Robinson, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1891
My Danish Sweetheart by William Clark Russell, George Robertson & Co., 1891
The Ice Prison by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1891
Travels Amongst the Great Andes of the Equator, by Edward Whymper, John Murray, 1891 (with other artists)
Gil the Gunner, or The Youngest Officer in the East by George Manville Fenn, S.P.C.K., 1892
From Greenland’s Icy Mountains: A Tale of the Polar Seas by Gordon Stables, S.P.C.K., 1892
Born to Command: A Tale of the Sea and of Sailors by Gordon Stables, S.P.C.K., 1892
Ulf, the Norseman: A Tale of the Fiords by Mary Onley, George Cauldwell, 1892
Sailing and Sealing: A Tale of the North Pacific by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1892
Captain Japp, or The Strange Adventures of Willie Gordon by Gordon Stables, S.P.C.K., 1892
A Strange Elopement by William Clark Russell, Macmillan & Co., 1892
Moby Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville, Dana Estes & Co. (USA), 1892 (re-issue) (with other artists)
White-Jacket: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas by Herman Melville, Dana Estes & Co. (USA) 1892 (re-issue) (with other artists)
Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas by Herman Melville, Dana Estes & Co. (USA) 1892 (re-issue) (with other artists)
From the Bush to the Breakers by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1893
Sail-ho! or A Boy at Sea by George Manville Fenn, S.P.C.K., 1893
A Lady Born by Ella Edersheim Overton, S.P.C.K., 1893
The Pirate by Walter Scott, A. & C. Black, 1893 (re-issue)
The Vast Abyss: Being the Story of Tom Blount, His Uncles, and His Cousin Sam by George Manville Fenn, S.P.C.K., 1894
The Cruise of the “Esmerelda” by Harry Collingwood, S.P.C.K., 1894
The Two Clippers by Frank Frankfort Moore, S.P.C.K., 1894
Afterthought House by Evelyn Everett Green, S.P.C.K., 1894
Rick Ralton’s Reconciliation by Edward N. Hoare, S.P.C.K., 1894
Indian Pickles by F.C. Beames, S.P.C.K., 1894
Ralph Clifford: A Tale of Country Life in Virginia After the Civil War by G. Robert Wynne, S.P.C.K., 1894
The Story of the Sea, Cassell & Co., 1894-1895 (part-work) (with other artists)
Two Gallant Rebels: A Story of the Great Struggle in La Vendée by Edgar T. Pickering, Blackie & Son, 1895
The Pirate Slayer: A Story of the West African Coast by Harry Collingwood, S.P.C.K., 1895
Oakshott Castle and the Grange Garden by Henry Kingsley, Ward, Lock & Bowden, 1895
Master Val: A Tale by Nellie Hellis, S.P.C.K., 1895
Roscoria Farm by Mrs Henry Clarke, S.P.C.K., 1895
Jerry and His Dog by Beech Wood, S.P.C.K., 1895
Anchor and Cross by Marion Clifford Butler, S.P.C.K., 1895
Ten Talents by Helen Shipton, S.P.C.K., 1895
Battles of the Nineteenth Century, Cassell & Co., 1895-96 (part-work) (with other artists)
Cassell’s Illustrated History of England, Cassell & Co., 1896-7 (re-issue – 8 vols.) (with other artists)
On the Irrawaddy: A Story of the First Burmese War by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1896
Through Russian Snows: A Story of Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1896
Jack at Sea, or All Work and No Play Made Him a Dull Boy by George Manville Fenn, S.P.C.K., 1896
A Harbour Light by Catherine E. Smith, S.P.C.K., 1896
Devil’s Ford etc. by Bret Harte, Chatto & Windus, 1896
Beside the Guns by Mary Shipley, S.P.C.K., 1897
The Homeward Voyage; A Book of Adventure for Boys by Harry Collingwood, S.P.C.K., 1897
A Seaside Story by Catherine Mary Macsorley, S.P.C.K., 1897
Benin, The City of Blood by Sir Reginald Bacon, E. Arnold, 1897
The Life of Nelson by Robert Southey, George Routledge & Sons, 1898 (re-issue)
How Soldiers Fight by F. Norreys Connell, James Bowden, 1899 (with other artists)
Chimney Corner Stories, McLoughlin Bros. (USA) 1899 (with other artists)

Re-issues of Frederick Marryat’s novels (published by George Routledge & Sons, 1896 onwards)
Masterman Ready, or The Wreck of the Pacific
The King’s Own
Mr Midshipman Easy
Frank Mildmay, or The Naval Officer
Newton Forster, or The Merchant Service
The Little Savage
Jacob Faithful
The Children of the New Forest
Percival Keene
The Pirate and the Three Cutters
Japhet in Search of a Father
Rattlin, the Reefer
Poor Jack
Olla Podrida
Valerie: An Autobiography
The Privateersman: Adventures by Sea and Land, in Civil and Savage Life, One
Hundred Years Ago
The Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet in California, Sonora and Western Texas
The Mission, or Scenes in Africa
The Dog Friend or Snarleyyow
The Pacha of Many Tales
The Settlers in Canada
The Phantom Ship

Friday, August 10, 2018

Comic Cuts - 10 August 2018

After managing to resolve a couple of little mysteries last week, I thought I'd go back to an old one... who was Lee Stanton, the author of the very first issue of Authentic Science Fiction? There is no indication in that first issue that Authentic was to last 85 issues – in fact, there was no number or date or anything else that you would normally associate with a magazine (an editorial, departments and features) and editor Gordon Landsborough only put "Authentic Science Fiction Series" on these full-length novels in the hope that it would engender a little loyalty in readers, who would come back next month for more.

This lasted only for those first two novels. Issue 3 was the first to be numbered, dated (Feb 1951) and contain a list of editorial staff (L. G. Holmes, editor, was the name adopted by Gordon Landsborough; and there was a technical editor, H. J. Campbell and associate editor, James McCormick). It also changed title, to "Science Fiction Fortnightly", with new issues published on the 1st and 15th of the month.

The title "Mushroom Men From Mars" will give you a rough idea of the quality of the novel, although I must say that it is better than the bulk of the science fiction being published in paperback by some of its rivals. There is not much contemporary criticism of the series, although Ken Slater, writing in 1952, noted that the first four or five issues were "not too good, but an honest endeavor has been made by the publishers and editors to improve the standard, with the result that many of the tales subsequently used, have been of a much higher standard."

It seems very likely that the earliest efforts were the work of Hamilton regulars tasked with switching from gangster thrillers or westerns to science fiction. The first three issues introduced regular writers Lee Stanton, Jon J. Deegan and Roy Sheldon, who would be responsible for 13 of the first 25 issues, with H. J. Campbell (who became full-time editor in 1952) responsible for another 6. As Campbell was also the author behind the Roy Sheldon pen-name, his output was doubled to 12 – almost half the novels published by Authentic in January 1951 to September 1952.

Lee Stanton was responsible for three novels: "Mushroom Men of Mars" (#1), "Seven to the Moon" (#5) and "Report from Mandzo" (#15).

They show the same lack of scientific knowledge that Campbell was there to weed out (but probably too busy to do so): one of the first letters published in Authentic pointed out that the Martian in Stanton's first novel had "flown millions of miles through inter-stellar space to reach the earth" when, of course, Mars and Earth were both planets in the same system, so interplanetary rather than interstellar. In "Report From Mandazo" (RFM), another alien comes through "millions upon millions of miles of inter-stellar space from a remote galaxy to visit your Earth" – so not interstellar, but intergalactic. (Both Deegan and Sheldon used the word correctly.) Later in "Mushroom Men" (MM) it is noted that Ra had flown across interstellar space "in an aircraft more scientifically advanced than anything Earth could boast."

The same two books use "helio motors" as a form of motive power, a "telemitter" as a form of communication and "telarscreen" as a viewing screen; in both books, one or other race is at risk from machine "radiations"; in MM, Zaro has a "theta-ray crystallograph", while Mandozans use a "theta-ray sounder" to test Earth's atmosphere. Both books have a "radio-microscope". Korve (RFM) "homed on to the landing beam" while the Great Leader (MM) "homed down on the arrestor beam"

Faces show "puzzlement" and people start to "gabble"; . The Great Leader stops "fiddling" with his seal ring (not a euphemism) in MM while the chief announcer was "fiddling" with his wristwatch in RFM. A "mumurous babbling" in the former becomes a "confused babble" in the latter. And there are alien life forms out there that are "fungoid" in both.

The repetition of odd words makes me certain that these two books—"Mushroom Men From Mars" and "Report From Mandazo"—are definitely by the same author. But the above terms do not appear in "Seven to the Moon". Both MM and RFM share a common kind of theme of aliens coming to Earth and trying to interact and understand humanity. "Seven to the Moon" (STTM), on the other hand, is set in the near future (1958) and doesn't involve alien technology, which may explain the change in language.

There are, however, a number of other odd turns of phrase that link the two books. Describing people as "ginks" for instance appears in both STTM and RFM and is an Americanism I've not found in any other issue of Authentic and there are some similarities in tech, e.g. STTM has a recordaphone while MM has a cordo-phone. In both novels someone's speech is described as "he boomed," "he croaked," "he snapped," (also used by F.G.. Rayer and Roy Sheldon, although Shelden preferred "he snapped out") and "he grunted."

I think I'm on reasonably safe ground to say that all three Lee Stanton novels are written by the same person and also that the author behind that name was not the author of any of the other full-length novels that I've been able to check. So, not Clem Macartney, for instance, nor Rick Conroy. There are a few crossovers with other authors. For instance, there's a mention of molybdenum in STTM, which was a favourite metal of the early Jon J. Deegan novels, but there are few other similarities that connect these authors, and it could be that having a strong editorial hand (Landsborough and Campbell) might have had more to do with it than coincidence.

Now I have to keep an eye out for similar quirks in other contemporary novels and maybe one day we will be able to put a real name to the author behind Lee Stanton.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Commando issues 5147-5150

Brand new Commando issues are out now! Find the mole in the French Resistance, fight alongside the ghost of your Lieutenant, escape from an American POW camp, and aim your sights with sure-shot Sam!

5147: Walking the Line
Bailing out of his Stirling Mk. III bomber over Nazi-occupied France, Flight Lieutenant Alan Freeman knew his wits would only get him so far.
But, lucky for him, the French Resistance were ready to lend
a hand and get him back to Blighty. However, not everything was rosy in the Resistance, and there was talk of a traitor in their midst.
    Would Alan make the journey to Spain in one piece?
Or would those helping him turn him over to the Gestapo?
    First taking us over the trenches in World War I, then across the Spanish border in the Napoleonic Wars, Andrew Knighton’s third issue for Commando is every bit as exhilarating, this time tackling a French Resistance escape line! Matching this with bold interiors from Morhain and Rezzonico, and a marvellously tense cover from Neil Roberts, this issue will keep you guessing until the final pages!

Story: Andrew Knighton
Art: Morhain & Rezzonico
Cover: Neil Roberts

5148: The Fighting Phantom
Bert Graham is 50. Serving as a major in the army, he’s nearly as fit and tough as he was way back in the war when he was a sergeant.
    He has some really great stories, but none match the one when he and his mates were stranded behind enemy lines – and Bert took his orders from a ghost!
    It’s always a pleasure to find an other-worldly issue of Commando, and ‘The Fighting Phantom’ is no exception. With a cracking story from Allan, dynamic art from CT Rigby and a truly spectral cover from Penalva, when we talk about the best supernatural issues of Commando, this one ranks high every time!

Story: Allan
Art: CT Rigby
Cover: Penalva
Originally Commando No. 552 (May 1971).

5149: Course for Freedom
When Jurgen Schwer joined the Luftwaffe in the Second World War, he had no idea that he would become a prisoner of war in the barren Nevada Desert, or even still — a fugitive on the run in Mexico and Colombia!
    It seemed that the only way Jurgen could get back to Europe and his family was to help pilot a rogue mission to destroy the Panama Canal. Only then could he begin to plot his course for freedom!
    With a quintessential combination of a classic George Low story, with an Axis hero whose conscience takes his arc beyond borders, expressive illustrations from Jaume Forns, and an instantly identifiable Ian Kennedy aircraft cover, this is one heck of a Commando for any collection!

Story: George Low
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: Ian Kennedy

5150: Sure-Shot Sam
Private Sam Smith was a bit of a misfit. Nobody in his infantry company pushing up through Italy in 1944 knew quite what to make of him — but nobody could say that he wasn’t a crack shot with his beloved Lee Enfield rifle!
    And when some petty crooks tried to frame him, they soon discovered — like the Germans — that it wasn’t safe to fool with sure-shot Sam!
    The titular Sam Smith is one of Burden’s greatest creations: a seemingly cold-blooded killer, whose only pleasure is from his rifle — but just what is his game? Find out in this silver era reprint with art from Vila and a cracking cover from the great Ian Kennedy!

Story: Burden
Art: Vila
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2834 (February 1995).

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 8-9 August 2018.

2000AD Prog 2093
Cover: Karl Richardson
JUDGE DREDD: A BETTER CLASS OF CRIMINAL by Rory McConville (w) Leonardo Manco (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE ORDER: THE NEW WORLD by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THARG'S 3RILLERS: APPETITE by James Peaty (w) Andrea Mutti (a)
MECHASTOPHELES: TRUE FAITH by Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie (w) Karl Richardson (a) Simon Bowland (l) Eva De La Cruz (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
GREY AREA: 86 by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Judge Dredd: Mandroid by John Wagner, Kev Walker, Simon Coleby and Carl Critchlow
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08630-8, 9 August 2018, 162pp, £6.99 / $9.99. Available via Amazon.
Veteran space commando Nate Slaughterhouse is mortally wounded on an alien battlefield and the only way to save his life is to reconstruct his body, turning him into more machine than man – a ‘mandroid’. Struggling to deal with his new existence, Nate is sent back to Mega-City One where
his family are subject to a vicious attack. He decides to take the law into his own cybernetic hands, but there’s only room for one law in the Big Meg… and Judge Dredd’s on the case!
     A brilliant slice of classic Judge Dredd in the popular digest format from the master writer John Wagner and no-holds-barred action from Kev Walker (Mandroid) and Simon Coleby, and Carl Critchlow (Instrument of War).

Slaine: The Brutania Chronicles Book Four: Archon by Pat Mills & Simon Davies
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08632-2, 8 August 2018, 104pp, £15.99 / $23.99. Available via Amazon.
Albion. Celtic warrior SLÁINE united the tribes of the Earth Goddess and became the first High King of Ireland, but is now a wanderer. Having journeyed to Monadh to rescue Sinead from the Drune Lords, he’s discovered that they have been experimenting on their own creations, much to the displeasure of the Cyths’ jailer, the Archon Yaldabaoth. Now, the Archon has awoken and destruction will surely follow…