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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Comic Clippings - 17 May

Sad news reaches us: Angus McBride, one of the finest artists to work on Look and Learn, died on 15 May following a heart attack. McBride was one of the artists I wanted to interview when putting together the history of Look and Learn, although a letter sent to an address in South Africa got no response... possibly because McBride had, in later life, moved to Ireland. (D'oh!)

There's a small tribute to McBride on the Look and Learn blog which I hope you will visit as it is the gateway to over 500 images by McBride that we have on the website... and there are many more to follow.

McBride was primarily an illustrator but he did do one or two comic strips, including a retelling of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' in Look and Learn and delightful rendition of Aladdin for Once Upon a Time.

Another bit of passing history: Tharg's spaceship has been deserted. After 35 years in the same building, IPC Media have been moving to snazzy new offices at The Blue Fin Building down the road in Southwark Street. The move, which began on 2 April was completed with the arrival of Decanter and Wallpaper magazine on 17 May. Andrew Sumner asks for a moment's silence: "IPC Media is now 100% officially moved out of King's Reach Tower -- Tharg's spaceship, home of 2000AD and the place where Dave Gibbons was almost blown off the roof while dressed as Tornado's Big E."

The Blue Fin Building
  • Education Secretary Alan Johnson has published a list of 160 recommended books drawn up by librarians from the School Library Association as part of a £600,000 project to encourage 11-14-year-old boys to read. Various reports (The Times, The Guardian) state that 78% of girls read for pleasure whilst the figure is only 65% for boys. Some boys lose the reading bug after changing schools at the age of 11. A handful of comics-related books have made the list, including (19) Kidnapped, adapted by Alan Grant (Barrington Stoke), (37) Mirrormask by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean (Bloomsbury), (53) Coraline by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury) and (96) The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean (Bloomsbury). Other comics include (30) Calvin and Hobbes: Scientific Progress Goes Boink by Bill Watterson (Time Warner) and (105) Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books).
  • Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future: A Biography is the intriguing title of an upcoming book by Daniel Tatarsky, to be published by Orion on 17 September 2009 but already listed at According to the synopsis: "Dan Dare, pilot of the future, was the creation of Frank Hampson, a young artist who cut his teeth on Meccano Magazine. Beginning in April 1950, Dan Dare was the lead strip in the hugely successful Eagle magazine. The strip would only run to a couple of pages, but stories (and their weekly cliffhangers) could run for over a year. The majority of the strips involved Dan, a suave, natural leader, doing battle with all manner of alien lifeform to preserve the future wellbeing of Earth. Hampson's bold use of colour and figurative style (he used real-life models) were groundbreaking in post-war austerity Britain. In Dare Dare, the Biography, Daniel Tatarsky, with the entire Eagle archive open to him, researches the adventures of Dan Dare (and his co-pilots), and brings Britain's favourite space hero to life. Talking to the original writers and illustrators, Tatarsky tells the story of Dare and Eagle magazine, and paints a portrait of a nation emerging from world war II, ready for life on other planets." Tatarsky is the editor of the upcoming Eagle Annual of the 1950s (ISBN 978-0752888941, 20 Sep 2007) but otherwise is known only for a history of Subbuteo entitled Flick to Kick (2004).


  1. Sorry to hear about Angus McBride's death. He had a wonderful ability to bring those often dry-as-dust pictures of armour and uniforms in the Osprey books to life, without sacrificing accuracy and detail.

  2. Hopefully I'll have a longer tribute to Angus and his work appearing shortly. Plus as comprehensive a list of books he worked on as I can compile.