Friday, September 01, 2006

Comic Clippings - 1 September 2006

The Look and Learn web site officially launches in a matter of days so if my postings get a bit patchy you'll know why. I'm anticipating a lot of work-related mail and a lot of the kind of message where I answer, "Well, if you read the history of the magazine that's posted here..." and I'll probably be posting a FAQ with one single entry: "No, I don't know how much issue X of XXXXX is worth." There have been a lot of price enquiries recently. I know I used to do the Price Guide many years ago but the prices were the least important bit to me and, having spent years collecting on a strict budget, I always begrudge prices going up -- especially if it's something I want to buy!

The site now has over 11,000 images in the Picture Gallery, so please do take a look. I've been working on another area of the site that we're hoping to launch soon which will include a regular (daily?) comic strip reprint from the archives. They won't be to everybody's tastes as a lot of material is being drawn from nursery comics aimed at young children but, having said that, I hope we can include artwork from people like Ron Embleton, Jesus Blasco and others who will be familiar to anyone with an inkling of British comics' history.

Anyway, a quick round up of odds and ends I've come across these past few days:

  • Frank Wynne, formerly of Atomeka UK and Deadline but who dropped out of sight in 1995 when the 'comics as fashion accessories' boom died, has been working as a translator and was interviewed in the Sunday Times (20 August 2006). Us older folk will recall that Frank used to translate comics like Liberatore's Women and The Rank of the Black Order (Bilal & Christin) for Kitchen Sink and Catalan back in the late 1980s.
  • You can now download The Adventures of Luther Arkwright as a web comic at a very reasonable £5 (or $9.49 US) at The Official Bryan Talbot Fanpage. Bryan has also recently announced that his next book, Alice in Sunderland, will be published by Jonathan Cape (UK) and Dark Horse Comics (US) in around February 2007.
  • Down the Tubes has a little note about Jon Haward's contribution to the Goodwood Revival meeting programme: a series of seven illustrations produced with a nod to Frank Hampson. Two of the images can be found on Howard's web site.
  • An interview with Brendan McCarthy can be found here. McCarthy hasn't drawn a mainstream comic for years, but he's just produced Solo #12 for DC Comics. The interview also discusses what McCarthy has been up to in the fifteen years between dropping comics to design ReBoot and his return last year with the autobiographical Swimini Purpose.
  • You can listen to Mark Buckingham discussing his work with Chris Bachalo on Shade the Changing Man, with Neil Gaiman on 'Feeders' and with Bill Willingham on Fables at the DC Comics downloads site (this link will take you straight to the download). 22 minutes recorded at San Diego Comic Con. Mark recently married fiance Irma -- congratulations! Some pics from the wedding can be found at Neil Gaiman's Journal.

In the Post

Two books I've been involved in arrived in today's post. First through the door was The Best of Girl which is just what it says on the tin: Girl was the companion paper to Eagle founded by Marcus Morris at Hulton Press in 1951 which ran until 1964 before merging with Princess. The book is edited and compiled by Lorna Russell who put together last year's The Best of Jackie. It's the same kind of book, an eclectic mix of adverts, columns, editorials and features but with the added bonus of some very good comic strips, including episodes of 'Angela Air Hostess', 'Wendy and Jinx', 'Vicky and the Vengeance of the Incas', 'Belle of the Ballet', 'Kay of the Courier', 'Claudia of the Circus' and 'Persia's Lady Mary', the true story of missionary Mary Bird.

The publisher is already getting some very good feedback on their reprints and is already planning a number of other titles. Due out soon are The Best of Jackie Annual and a second volume of Commando Library reprints which more titles in the works.

The Best of Girl is published in October (ISBN 1-85375-611-3) and priced £16.99, introduction by yours truly.

And this afternoon, another van brought The Trigan Empire: The Rallu Invasion published by Don Lawrence Collection (DLC), the sixth volume we've produced in a 12-volume set which reprints all of Mike Butterworth & Don Lawrence's 'Trigan Empire' stories. The books are deluxe hardcovers and published with a free print. You can order the books via The Book Palace or direct from DLC via the Worlds of Don Lawrence web site or the Trigan Empire web site.

The four stories in this volume have never been reprinted in the UK since their appearance in Look and Learn back in 1971 so I'm very happy to see them back in print. This is the sixth volume to see print but is actually book seven in the run of the series; the rather bizarre seeming release schedule is due to the availability of original artwork. Rob van Bavel, who runs DLC, has access to something like 800 pages out of the 920 that Don painted; most of the missing artwork was from the early volumes so they were shuffled to the back of the schedule in the hope that more artwork would turn up before the books were produced. And more artwork has turned up, so the early volumes will now be all the better for waiting.

If you're new to the series you can still subscribe to the full set of 12 volumes at the DLC websites linked above. Titles in bold are already available. Approximate release dates are given for the remaining volumes.

1 The Invaders from Gallas. (Oct 2007)
2 Revolution in Zabriz. (Feb 2007)
3 The Reign of Thara. (Nov 2006)
4 The Three Princes.
5 The Red Death. (Jul 2007)
6 The Five Labours of Trigo. (Apr 2007)
7 The Rallu Invasion.
8 The Prisoner of Zerss.
9 The Curse of King Yutta.
10 The House of the Five Moons.
11 The Sun-Worshippers.
12 The Green Smog. (Feb 2008)

The text for the next volume, The Reign of Thara (one of my favourite stories), is already completed and we're just waiting on proofs before it heads off for the printers.

Next up from DLC is Pandarve: The Worlds of Don Lawrence, a 52-page collection of Don Lawrence's artwork from the 'Chronicles of Pandarve' period of the Storm series. Each page is published balloon free so you can see the original artwork in all its glory -- and it is glorious! Pandarve's creator, Martin Lodewijk, is writing an introduction and the book will be available in an English language edition. The book is to be premiered at the Dutch comic festival Stripdagen ('strip days') at the end of this month.

Martin Lodewijk appeared on a long-running Dutch TV show Klockhuis back in January 2006 and the show is still available at the show's website. It's a 15-or-so-minute clip in Dutch which you can find here (the link is in the second column, six items down) and can be played in both Real Player and Windows Player (and, fingers crossed, those links will take you straight to the clip).

The image to the right is a little preview of Pandarve: The Worlds of Don Lawrence, taken from the Storm book The Living Planet.

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