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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Rebellion Releases (2000AD) - 12 August 2020

Rebellion have a busy week, with two regular releases and a summer special, the delightful Tammy & Jinty Special 2020, hitting the newsstands.

2000AD Prog 2194 
Cover: John Burns.

Judge Dredd: End of Days by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Out by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Full Tilt Boogie by Alex de Campi (w) Eduardo Ocana (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Land of the Free by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Sinister Dexter: Stay Brave by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Jim Campbell (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 423

Cover: Cliff Robinson / Dylan Teague (cols).

Judge Dredd: Grand Theft Royale by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) Jim Boswell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Tales from the Black Museum: The Obsidian Ingress by David Baillie (w) Anna Morozova (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Devlin Waugh: When I Was A Young Demon (I Did A Bad, Bad, Thing) by Aleš Kot (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Pippa Bowland (c) Annie Parkhouse (l) 
Lawless: Boom Town by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Jim Cambell (l)
Features: Jimmy Broxton interview, Rok of the Reds
Bagged collection: HAVN by Si Spencer (w) Jake Lynch, Henry Flint (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Tammy & Jinty Special 2020

Following the gloom and despair of a spring spent in lockdown, summer is here again and with it a brand new Tammy & Jinty Special! These two spectacular tales of courage and awe are guaranteed to chase the blues away, with work by Rachael Smith (Wired Up Wrong), RAMZEE (Zorse), Yishan Li (Hellboy & The B.P.R.D.), and Elkys Nova (Roy of the Rovers), and a cover by Marguerite Sauvage (DC Bombshells).
    In Boarding School, Tabatha and her little brother Richard are the only pupils in a mysterious old building. The only other people they have ever seen are the Governesses - four teachers who fawn over the younger sibling but treat Tabatha very badly. Does it have something to do with Richard’s special power? When Tabatha finds a new friend in the outside world, her old life quickly starts to unravel.
    An old favourite from the pages of the Sally returns as fourteen-year-old Claire finds an old cat costume in her mother’s wardrobe and wears it to a social media star’s party, unaware that she has just donned the magical mantle of the super-sleek crime fighter, Cat-Girl!
    Finally, we get an inside scoop on what it was like to write for girl’s comics in their heyday, as Alison Fitt (known then as Alison Christie) talks about her experiences working for Jinty and Tammy on such strips as Heart of Stone, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Ping Pong Paula.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Comic Cuts - 7 August 2020

I had a bit of a late night last night, so I'm going to keep this a little shorter than last week's podcast chatter. I've had some good feedback on the upcoming magazine, which I think I'm definitely going to have to call BAM! as that's how I and others have been referring to it... and I now can't get my head around calling it anything else. It was tempting to try and bring back the Comic World title, but as I'm hoping to focus on British comics, that would probably require a title change to British Comic World

Now, old folks like me will know that there has already been a magazine with that title. It was written and published by two young lads (back in the day when I was also a young lad, I might add) called Alan and David Coates. Alan I remember as a regular at the Westminster Comic Marts back in the 1980s. He was part of a group of us who would wander back towards the station and go into Granny Lee's, which had a fairly expansive seating area where we could sit around, drink tea, eat cakes, and show off what we'd been buying.

Holding court would be Denis Gifford, with Ray Norton and his son, and Dave Giacardi. Then there would be John Allen Clark, Sue (his wife), myself and Alan Coates—I think that was the hard-core of regulars, although we were often joined by others who might have only been able to attend Westminster irregularly.

I wish I had a TARDIS so I could go back in time and record those conversations. Or, at the very least, a camera so I had some photographs of that merry bunch as we munched through teacakes and pulled out new purchases from bulging carrier bags.

Happy Days!

I'm trying to keep a lot of balls in the air at the moment, writing, proofing, subbing and trying to keep up with e-mail and trying to get in touch with a number of people to ask for articles, assistance with scans, opinions on specialist subjects and generally trying to draw them into my web of insanity. There are already people trapped in it... I can see legs kicking feebly... In fact, I already have a couple of articles in and others due. The first couple of issues are likely to be a real mix, but further down the line there should be some themed issues. I'm looking at reprinting some comic strips in the mag and wondering just how obscure I should go! I have feelers out for possible interviews, but nothing confirmed as yet.

I want to give a quick tip of the hat to Jacques Gauthier, who responded to my plea last week and... well, I'll just say we could have our BAM! logo. Thanks, Jacques.

Keeping the weekend clear for writing meant that I didn't get far with the Longbow proofs. However, I'm now well into the second volume with not too many corrections to make to the first. I will have the payment pages up and running next week and, unless something goes horribly wrong, a firm release date.

Ideas and thoughts are always welcome, by the way, but I can't always respond immediately. If I'm trying to finish something off I might not look at my e-mail or my Facebook page for 24 hours. Don't panic, I will get back to you.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Commando 5355-5358

Action-packed issues 5355-5358 are out today! We've got Crusader tanks in North Africa, a Luftwaffe Judas in a Junkers 88, a coward with a twenty-five pounder gun, and paratroopers versus a Panzer in Algeria!

5355: Bullseye Bruno

There was something wrong with Bruno Neumann — something his nemesis Matthias Schenk couldn’t put his finger on. No matter how easy the shot was, or how neatly his ducks were in a row, Bruno couldn’t hit anything — not one single Allied aircraft. Even his ironic nickname “Bullseye Bruno” did nothing to stir the Jerry airman into finding his target and shooting it down. Fool me once, thought Schenk, fool me twice, but fool me three times and I smell a rat — or worse a TRAITOR!

Story: Steve Taylor
Art: Vicente Alcazar
Cover: Keith Burns
 
5356: The White Feather

“NO GUTS!” That’s what they said about young Harry Bishop when he froze in action. And if that wasn’t bad enough, to add insult to injury, Bishop was then demoted from being in charge of his own twenty-five pounder crew to being a driver in another crew! But don’t give him the white feather yet, because when Bishop’s back is against the wall you’ll soon see this coward has bite!

Story: Brunt
Art: Martin
Cover: Ken Barr
Originally Commando No. 142 (1964).
 
5357: Raging Metal

Written by Commando’s resident Aussie writer, Brent Towns, ‘Raging Metal’ is a brilliant romp for fans of Desert War issues. Towns creates tension under the hot rays of the burning sun between two Aussie Sergeants, Bob Andrews and Simon Meredith. A misunderstanding in the heat of a battle soon leads to Bob getting hot under the collar — and inside a boiling tank it’s hard for tempers to cool off!

Story: Brent Towns
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: Neil Roberts

 
5358: Hold the Bridge!

It’s a race against time in this Silver era reprint as Captain Robert Sutton and his men parachute into enemy‑held territory in Algeria to destroy a Nazi-held bridge! Written by the Commando team in the 1980s, with a cover by British comic artist legend Ian Kennedy, this isn’t one to miss!

Story: Staff
Art: Carrion
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1553 (1981).

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Rebellion Releases (2000AD) - 5 August 2020

A quiet week for Rebellion with just the one release this week.

2000AD Prog 2193
Cover: Mark Harrison.

Judge Dredd: End of Days by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Out by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Full Tilt Boogie by Alex de Campi (w) Eduardo Ocana (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Land of the Free by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Diaboliks: Profundo Rosso by Gordon Rennie (w) Antonio Fuso (a) Jim Campbell

Friday, July 31, 2020

Comic Cuts - 31 July 2020

I've had quite a productive week working on the magazine, which is increasingly likely to be published as BAM! with a subtitle to explain that it's "A magazine about British Comics" or somesuch. Anyone have any thoughts for a logo?

As of the weekend I had a lengthy piece on the history of British pocket libraries almost finished. On Monday I was subbing an article written by someone else (yes, I had my first outside contribution!) and writing a short companion piece, and on Tuesday and Wednesday I was writing another piece that will run in issue two.

It's now Thursday and I've had to take a break as I'm proofing copies of the two Longbow books. I've found a few niggling errors that have crept through—for reasons unknown to mankind (or at least editorkind) you can proofread a book to within an inch of its life, but the moment you get a printed copy, a mistake will leap out of the page at you. As I proudly showed off the printed copies to Mel and she flicked through them, she paused at a random page to read and inside of five seconds was pointing out a little mistake.

I'm taking a break from volume one at the moment, and will hopefully get it and volume two finished next week. The publication date should be within the first two weeks of August.

With another project finished, I was thinking back on a couple of things that I started but that for one reason or another never got past the finishing post.

Way back in the summer of 2015, I was working up some of my notes that I had for a project I called "Caught in the Act", which was intended to overhaul all my writings on old post-war paperbacks. I posted a few pieces between August and November, but not a great many.

The seeds of my later Forgotten Authors series were sown at that time, and one of the notions I came up with was a podcast about (surprise, surprise!) lost and forgotten writers. I had been writing about some of the authors who appeared on my list of early hard-boiled yarns that had appeared in the UK in the 1920s and 1930s, which preceded the gangster boom of the post-war years but which had already inspired the likes of Peter Cheyney and James Hadley Chase to produce hardboiled novels in the late 1930s. As I was researching the career of a long-forgotten writer named John Wallace, author of Millionaire Gangster (1937), he seemed a suitable subject and I set about turning my notes into something that I could narrate.

The idea was to do a series of two or three authors at a time, with each author covered in a number of episodes of about 15 minutes length. I think I'd already noticed by then that podcasts were starting to get longer and longer, and some that had started out at a jaunty half hour were now running to an hour or even two. Too long to give my full attention to. This is still true today. One podcast I  had been listening to regularly since 2012 I kind of gave up on in 2019 because they had bloated from an hour—with the occasional one that ran up to, say an hour fiftyto regularly running longer and only occasionally coming in at the shorter length. There are others where I have a dozen episodes that I haven't listened to, and one music podcast that runs to three hours per episode where I have three dozen episodes to catch up with.

So my idea was to keep 'em short so that they could be listened to in spare moments. You'll notice that the majority of my videos—the ones without interviews—were also around 13 or 14 minutes long, so as not to outstay their welcome.

Back to John Wallace... I wrote up my notes over a period of a few days until I had an article that was  about 6,500 words and, on 13 November 2015, recorded myself narrating it. I did the narration and the edit in the same way that I would later do the videos: just keep talking and, if you stumble over a word, go back to the beginning of the sentence and keep going. It meant that I ended up with two lengthy audio files, but editing was simply a case of removing all the audio where I'd made a mistake.

Because I was reading from a script, there was no problem of not being able to cut the audio together. The videos were rather more free-wheeling, although that never really came across as I edited out a lot of chat that went wildly off-topic. I was able to do that quite quickly. The next step took a little longer, which was to source some royalty free music that I could use to liven up my rather dull narration, and figuring out how to put that together with the audio. Here I took the advice of Adam Buxton who mentioned that he had used a programme called Audacity. This was free, and very easy to use. So I used it.

By the 15th I had a finished episode... and that was the end of it. On the 19th I wrote: "I spent a long weekend recording some audio for a project I'm trying to get off the ground but which won't be ready for some while, so I can't really go into details. As usual, I'm my own writer, narrator, sound-recordist, editor and music director, which is why everything I do takes so damn long."

I seem to recall that I started doing some research into another writer and began writing that up. Between that and other distractions, including Christmas, I never got around to putting music to the second episode of the podcast and the idea died. I needed to make some money to pay for the festivities and doing a podcast wasn't going to pay off my credit card! I also have a feeling that, in January 2016, I started doing the research that eventually resulted in the Iron Mask book.

Ah, well.

If the above has piqued your interest, you can now listen to the results and make up your own minds whether I was right to abandon fame and wealth as a podcaster and instead stick with blogging—which we all know is where the money is. I've had to convert the audio file into a little video, about 15 minutes in length, in order to upload it to Blogger. I hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Rebellion Releases - 29 July 2020

Rebellion have their regular weekly 2000AD prog out this week. It was also originally planned that the Tammy & Jinty Special 2020 would be out today, but the release has been delayed by a fortnight until 12th August. However, I thought you might enjoy a little preview...

Tammy & Jinty Special 2020

Following the gloom and despair of a spring spent in lockdown, summer is here again and with it a brand new Tammy & Jinty special! These two spectacular tales of courage and awe are guaranteed to chase the blues away, with work by Rachael Smith (Wired Up Wrong), RAMZEE (Zorse), Yishan Li (Hellboy & The B.P.R.D.), and Elkys Nova (Roy of the Rovers), and a cover by Marguerite Sauvage (DC Bombshells).

In Boarding School, Tabatha and her little brother Richard are the only pupils in a mysterious old building. The only other people they have ever seen are the Governesses - four teachers who fawn over the younger sibling but treat Tabatha very badly. Does it have something to do with Richard’s special power? When Tabatha finds a new friend in the outside world, her old life quickly starts to unravel.

An old favourite from the pages of the Sally returns as fourteen-year-old Claire finds an old cat costume in her mother’s wardrobe and wears it to a social media star’s party, unware that she has just donned the magical mantle of the super-sleek crime fighter, Cat-Girl!

Finally, we get an inside scoop on what it was like to write for girl’s comics in their heyday, as Alison Fitt (known then as Alison Christie) talks about her experiences working for Jinty and Tammy on such strips as Heart of Stone, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Ping Pong Paula.

2000AD Prog 2192
Cover: Richard Elson.

Judge Dredd: End of Days by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Out by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Full Tilt Boogie by Alex de Campi (w) Eduardo Ocana (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Land of the Free by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Diaboliks: Profundo Rosso by Gordon Rennie (w) Antonio Fuso (a) Jim Campbell

Friday, July 24, 2020

Comic Cuts - 24 July 2020

Welcome back to Comic Cuts in writing rather than on video. After blogging for fourteen years, the last fifteen weeks have been my first attempt at a vlog (video blog). Whenever I've had the urge and the energy, I've toyed with quite a few different ideas of how to bring Bear Alley kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, although they've inevitably fallen by the wayside.

This is the first time I've had an opportunity to act on an idea, and I started doing the videos as it was something different to do during the lockdown. I enjoyed doing them and there's a good chance that I'll be doing more in the future, but it seems apt to bring them to a close—or, rather, put them on pause—as lockdown eases.

With no video to film on Thursday morning, I've knuckled down to some work and managed to leave myself with almost no time to write this. I can round up the week's news fairly quickly. I mentioned in the last video chat that I had the two Longbow volumes laid out and all the text written. I had the book out with a couple of people who had contributed (David Slinn and Steve Winders) and took on board some of their advice and suggestions. I did a little bit of rewriting, which was finished on Monday, and that was that... except the moment I opened the PDF I'd spot something, or decide that I wanted to change something. Better to sleep on it rather than rush, I thought.

It was Tuesday evening before I managed to stop myself tinkering with the books and, with the covers sorted, I was able to send them winging across the internet to the printer... and that's where we are at the moment, waiting on printed proofs.

Wednesday was a bit like the first day of the school holidays. I had plans to do so much, but also had an appointment at the doctors. Nothing serious, just a follow-up to some testing that was done earlier in the year which had thrown up some concerns about diabetes and my kidneys not working properly. The good news is that a recent blood test shows that things are back to normal. I'm still overweight, but I've lost a stone over the three months of lockdown, thanks to regular walks and a better diet—with Mel working from home, I'm making more stews for lunch, for instance, rather than just throwing together a sandwich. The cheese-level in my bloodstream has dropped considerably and it looks like I'm going to be around for a few more years.

As of Thursday I'm working on an article that I hope will be appearing in the first issue of this new magazine thing I've been talking about. Once I have that together and can show some people the kind of thing I'm after, I'll hopefully be able to start planning the contents of the first few issues. As I'm planning on writing some longish articles, I need to plan ahead so that everyone, including me, will have time to write rather than find themselves with an overnight deadline. I'm twenty-five years older than I was when I did Comic World and I don't have the energy to stay up all night like I did back in the 1990s.

I'm keen to run some reviews of comics—British comics preferably, although I'll stretch to British creators elsewhere in the world. I've always thought that the reviews of independent comics was one of the best things in Comic Scene, so I'd be happy to continue that kind of thing. And, while I'm thinking aloud, I'm not sure whether to run news pages or not. I might run one or two bigger news items and some previews of upcoming books or events. We will just have to wait and see what's coming up because the current situation is making predicting release dates almost impossible.

There's no fixed schedule at the moment because I have a staff of one and he's notoriously lazy. I'm aiming for bi-monthly, but that will depend on whether I can off-set some of the work to others. I've edited magazines before and the one thing I know I will need is a small team of reliable writers who can deliver good copy on time. There may be other tasks I can pass to others but, as I said, at the moment the staffing level is just me and a whole lot of woolly ideas that need teasing out into firm proposals.

In summary, we have a long way to go, but the first issue is actually being written and that hopefully means this will be one of my ideas that actually sees the light of day sooner rather than later. More news next week.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Commando 5351-5354

Commando travels through some of the major ages of war on land, air, and sea in the latest set of Commandos:  issues 5351-5354 — out today!


5351: V for Vitoria

45th Regiment of Foot are back! Wellington intends to meet Napoleon’s forces near the town of Vitoria, but when Tom and Captain Haythorn find themselves captured by French forces, Sam finds he has a great deal to learn about the local camp followers — and manners — if he wants to rescue his friends. Featuring Manuel Benet’s exquisitely detailed interiors and cover art, bringing the Napoleonic era to life.

Story | Andrew Knighton
Art | Manual Benet
Cover | Manuel Benet
 
5352: Blood in the Sand

Hank Hale may be small, out of his depth on parade, and unable to salute properly, but there aren’t many as fierce a fighter as he is! When White Fox troop are wiped out by the Germans in the middle of the Western Desert, he manages to rescue only one man — his sergeant. But as he fights for survival under the blazing sun, it kindles a fire so hot in Hank that the Nazis will never know what hit them! A story of bravery and ingenuity like no other, with all the hallmarks of a classic Commando.

Story | Wilding
Art | Zata
Cover | Sanfeliz
Originally Commando No. 128 (1964).
 
5353: Outgunned!

Jackie Jones ran away to sea from his Falkland Islands home and with the outbreak of WWI, is transferred to the Royal Navy to serve on the HMS Glasgow. Hopelessly outgunned, the HMS Good Hope is burning, taking their comrades to a watery grave. After the Royal Navy’s first defeat in over 100 years, Jackie and his shipmates are steeled for revenge — and the fight of their lives against the best of the Imperial German Navy.

Story | Richard Davis
Art | Morhain & Defeo
Cover | Keith Burns
 
5354: Demolition Squad

Pilot Roy Raven is bored of being a taxi in the war in Burma and hopes for a little more excitement before it all ends. Well, he’s in luck! With old rival Captain Gavin Digby out to destroy a tunnel, he finds himself in the thick of things when they crash deep in the jungle. With the fate of their crew unknown, the pair must trust to local superstition and the indomitable chindits to help them complete this vital mission.

Story | Staff
Art | Philpott
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1545 (1981).

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion have a quiet week, with just the release of 2000 AD.

Rebellion has released a little more information about the team-up between Rebellion Publishing and the Judge Dredd Megazine over the exclusive tie-in comic still available in the current issue.
Everything’s for hire – even magic!
The Judge Dredd Megazine has teamed up with Rebellion Publishing to present a brand new and exclusive tie-in comic book to the new SF novel - The Chimera Code!
     With art by Sygnin, the comic book ties into the debut novel by Wayne Santos and comes in a separate bagged collection with Judge Dredd Megazine #422, which is out now.
     This brand new comic book story features Manga stylings and a fast-paced story, making it an ideal primer for plunging into Santos’ fresh cyberpunk world!
    The Chimera Code novel is out from Rebellion Publishing in eBook format on 23 July, and available in paperback from November 2020.
     If you need something done, Cloke’s one of the best; a mercenary with some unusual talents and an attitude to match. But when she’s hired by a virtual construct to destroy the other copies of himself, and the down payment for the job is a new magical skill, she knows this job is going to be a league harder than anything she’s ever done.
    Dharma’s dead, disembodied and recreated in virtual reality. He doesn’t remember the last six months, but Cloke went to his funeral; and now they’ve got to navigate how exactly this is all going to work.
    And Zee’s been snatched out of danger and installed in luxury as a hot-shot console jockey. They aren’t sure who created them or why, and they can’t trust anyone – but that doesn’t matter, because they’re only in this for the money. Aren’t they?
    Assisted by a virtual reality superstar, a magic sword, a combat cyborg, weather mages and the backing of the largest corporation in the world, the Chimera Team has to find and destroy a resource that their enemies will go to any lengths to protect…
2000AD Prog 2191
Cover: Alex Ronald.

Judge Dredd: End of Days by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Out by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Full Tilt Boogie by Alex de Campi (w) Eduardo Ocana (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Land of the Free by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Diaboliks: Profundo Rosso by Gordon Rennie (w) Antonio Fuso (a) Jim Campbell

Friday, July 17, 2020

Comic Cuts - 17 July 2020



There's news of the finalized pagination for the Longbow volumes in this, the last Video Comic Cuts for at least a couple of weeks while I get down to work on the next Bear Alley Books project. If you don't know what that is, you've not been watching these videos.

All my books continue to be available from Bear Alley Books and Comic Cuts will return to it's former written format at Bear Alley next week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Rebellion Releases (2000AD) - 15 July 2020

Rebellion's releases this week include both 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine, which has a feature on Smash! to tie in with the recently released special. And, yes, I'm quoted quite heavily in this one, too (as I was in the Lion article last issue). The issue also has an exclusive strip tie-in to the upcoming novel The Chimera Code by Wayne Santos, due from Rebellion on 23 July as an eBook, and then in paperback on 12 November, described as "the ultimate action-packed techno-thriller with a side of magical realism."

2000AD Prog 2190
Cover: Cliff Robinson / Dylan Teague (col).

Judge Dredd: End of Days by Rob Williams (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Out by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Full Tilt Boogie by Alex de Campi (w) Eduardo Ocana (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Land of the Free by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Diaboliks: Profundo Rosso by Gordon Rennie (w) Antonio Fuso (a) Jim Campbell

Judge Dredd Megazine 422
Cover: Paul Williams / Chris Blythe (col).

Judge Dredd: Extraction by Rory McConville (w) Ben Willsher (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Tales from the Black Museum: The Cackle by Alec Worley (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Devlin Waugh: The Wolves of St. Vitus by Aleš Kot (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Pippa Bowland (c) Annie Parkhouse (l) 
Blunt III by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Lawless: Boom Town by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Jim Cambell (l)
Features: Smash!
Bagged collection: The Chimera Code by Wayne Santos (w) Sygnin (p) Petitecreme (i) Petitecreme (l)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Eagle Times v.33 no.2 (Summer 2020)

It'll take more than a pandemic to keep Eagle Times out of your letterbox. Now in its thirty-third year, the magazine continues to delight and entertain, with features and stories centred around the famous Eagle comic of the 1950s and 1960s.

This issue launches into a nostalgic look at the (New) Eagle Annual, with a rundown of the highlights from the ten colourful annuals that appeared in the Eighties and early Nineties. I remember buying most of these as they came out, so happy memories of the contents are somewhat dampened by the reminder that a lot of them were printed in such a way that the pages perforated at the binding and fell out.

Jeremy Briggs' articles on obscure contributors are always welcome, and this time he looks at the career of Kenneth McDonough, artist on the 'Heroes of the Clouds' feature but more widely known as a painter of aviation scenes, a scale modeller and box artist for Airfix. If you didn't know anything about McDonough before beginning this article, you'll know plenty by the end of it and enjoyed a lot of good art along the way.

David Britton's 'The Story of a Train that Went Nowhere' picks up steam with part two, based on an unused outline for an article on the Canadian Pacific Railway by Christopher Mayer submitted to Eagle in 1958. Introduced last issue, the outline forms the bulk of the text here, with additional background and detail by Britton, who has a second piece in this issue describing the White Funnel Fleet, the subject of a promotional offer in Eagle. His third continues the story of Charles Chilton and the Indian Wars, studying how Chilton treated real-life incidents in his 'Riders of the Range' strip. Well researched and well illustrated with artwork by Frank Humphris, the series here reaches the war with Geronimo.

Shorter features include another look into the lost sketch books of the Dan Dare Studio, an episode of 'In and Out of the Eagle' which seems to have suffered a loss of signal (you'll get the joke if you buy the issue!), a reminiscence of visiting W. H. Smith's by Kevin O'Donnell, an episode of the magazines' regular P.C. 49 short stories, plus a look at the career of pop musician Donovan. Oh, and (full disclosure) a rather nice review of my Rocket: The First Space-Age Weekly book.

The issue is 25% bigger than normal, clocking in at 52 pages, plus covers, and includes two prints featuring Dan Dare by Bryan Talbot.

The quarterly magazine is the journal of the Eagle Society, with membership costing £29 in the UK, £40 (in sterling) overseas. You can send subscriptions to Bob Corn, Wellcroft Cottage, Wellcroft, Ivinghoe, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 9EF; subs can also be submitted via PayPal to membership@eagle-society.org.uk. Back issues are available for newcomers to the magazine and they have even issued binders to keep those issues nice and neat.