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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Upcoming Books

I spotted a couple of upcoming books in the latest issue of Previews:

Charley's War Vol. 4: Blue's Story by Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun (Titan Books, 30 Oct 2007)
Renowned UK comics writer Pat Mills (Marshal Law, Slaine) and legendary artist Joe Colquhoun (Johnny Red) continue the thrilling, humorous and horrifying story of World War One soldier Charley Bourne. Home from the war thanks to an injury, Charley escapes from a terrifying air-raid, only to run into a deserter from the Foreign Legion - who tells him of the awful siege of Fort Vaux, even as both men run for their lives from the Military Police! Rich in the detailed minutiae of the terror-punctuated existence of a Tommy, this fourth volume of Charley's War features a brand new introduction by Tariq Goddard and director's commentary by Pat Mills, plus exclusive bonus content. Amazon.co.uk.

Cult Fiction by Paul Gravett (Hayward Gallery Publishing, 11 May 2007)
The comic book, the cartoon strip and the single-panel gag are recurring motifs in twentieth-century art, providing a platform for narrative, political critique, graphic clarity, and, of course, fun. Cult Fiction: Art & Comics examines the work of artists who produce comics and cartoons as part of their practice, as well as those who employ the language of the comic in their work, borrowing from stylistic sources across high and low culture. Accompanying a U.K. exhibition tour, and designed by Fantagraphics art director Jacob Covey, this catalogue's bold layout complements the artworks included in its pages. An essay by Paul Gravett, a writer and curator who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for over 20 years, illuminates the long-standing love affair between fine art and comics, emphasizing contemporary practitioners in Britain and the U.S., including Laylah Ali, Glen Baxter, Daniel Clowes, Liz Craft, R. Crumb, Adam Dant, Julie Doucet, Debbie Dreschler, Marcel Dzama, Mark Kalesniko, Kerstin Kartscher, Killoffer, Chad McCail, Paul McDevitt, Kerry James Marshall, Kim Pace, Raymond Pettibon, Olivia Plender, Jon Pylypchuk, James Pyman, Joe Sacco, David Shrigley, Posy Simmonds, Richard Slee, Carol Swain, Stephane Blanquet, Melinda Gebbie, Alan Moore and Travis Millard. Specially commissioned self-portraits and question-and-answer forms filled out by hand by all contributing artists make Cult Fiction one-of-a-kind. Amazon.co.uk.

You can find out more about the latter book and the touring exhibition at Paul Gravett's website.

Not much news to add from here in Colchester. I had the colour sections of The War Libraries book to proof this weekend and as far as I'm concerned it's finished. It's now up to the printers to do their thing and hopefully the book will be in our hands (and from there into your hands) some time towards the end of July. Unbelievable to think that my very first attempt at a list of the old Fleetway war libraries was way back in 1984 and the first published version appeared in The Fleetway Companion in 1991. The years haven't been kind to that book and I'll be glad to see it replaced along with all the other photocopied indexes I did for Bryon Whitworth. The new series of books will be properly printed with flexiback covers (similar to the Commando books published by Carlton); and this volume will contain two 16-page colour sections featuring covers from the various libraries alongside a selection of original artwork as can be seen in the page proof below.

The plan -- if you can call it that -- is to try and get the second volume completed over the summer and the third volume of the Fleetway Libraries series finished for next year. I've also been dipping my toes into some of the other lists to begin upgrading them for republication. I want to do Lion, Valiant and the 'Power Comics' group as a matter of urgency, all as stand-alone volumes. Sun and Comet will probably come out as a joint volume and, once they're done, I'll start looking at some of the other titles in the back catalogue and thinking about what else we can add to the series. The photocopied indexes were always horribly expensive because they were hand-made (Bryon even used to colour the covers himself!); the new series won't be cheap because our deal with IPC/Time-Warner limits us to 250 copies but I think the new volumes will be worth the price.

The latest issue of the Italian magazine Fumetto has come out (#62, May 2007) which includes a nice special section on Franco Caprioli by Caprioli's daughter, Fulvia, concentrating on his British work, plus a 4-page feature on Look and Learn by Paolo Gallinari "in collaborazione con Steve Holland." There's also a second bite at the British comics apple in "La setella e la corona" by Alberto Becattini about some of the westerns that used to appear as strips in British newspapers. It's nice to see examples of 'Gun Law', 'Wes Slade' and 'Matt Marriott', albeit translated into Italian. Fumetto is published by ANAFI (the Associazione Nazionale Amici del Fumetto e dell'Illustrazione) who have a website here with subscription details.

The latest issue of Book and Magazine Collector is out with articles about Tintin by Vic Pratt and Wonder Woman by Mike Gent and a survey of the 100 Most Valuable Children's Books (part 1) compiled by Richard Dalby. The Dandy Monster Book (1939) and The Beano Book (1940) both make the list with estimated values of £4,000, with "slightly defective well-handled copies" fetching £2,000-3,000. Both books make the cover of this issue, as does Tintin.

Some features from elsewhere:

* Bryan Talbot's Alice in Sunderland was reviewed by Michel Faber in The Guardian (9 June).

* Down the Tubes carries news of a limited edition print created by Andrew Skilleter which is "dedicated to the genius of Frank Hampson."

* The Zone has an interview with Sydney J. Bounds conducted by Andrew Darlington in 2005 in which he talked about some of the wide range of stories he wrote over his lifetime.

* Bridgid Alverson says: "I ♥ British girls' comics" (6 June).

* A bunch of interviews (mostly noted from the last couple of days at Dirk Deppey's Journalista): Rian Hughes (Newsarama, 6 June), David Hine (Wizard Universe, 6 June, plus an earlier interview I've not noted before at Pop Culture Shock, May 28), Richard Starkings (Newsarama, 7 June) and Mike Carey (Broken Frontier, part 1, 6 June, and part 2, 7 June). There's also a 9-minute video interview with Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson talking about The Boys (Pop Culture Shock, 7 June) and a 1:45m solo interview with Garth talking about the Preacher HBO series (7 June).

* QuickTime trailer for Eddie Campbell's new book, The Black Diamond Detective Agency.

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