I've been working on the Fleetway Picture Library Index volume 2 which covers Cowboy Comics, Thriller Comics and Super Detective Library. The new volume updates some of the earliest lists David Ashford and I produced back in the early 1990s. The listings for the three titles have grown extensively over the years and I think we must have at least 90% of the artists identified now. David and I are working on the introductions now and, talking to Geoff the other day, we should have every single cover illustrated. Like the first book, we're talking about lots of colour for the covers and a lot of examples of internal art.
I'm very pleased to see that The War Libraries has received a very good review on Amazon and five stars. It's always nice to have your work appreciated.
While I was taking a break I took the opportunity to check out the very good overview of D. C. Thomson's Spike that has recently appeared on Down the Tubes. Written by Jeremy Briggs, the article covers all the various characters that appeared, illustrated with panels from the paper. It's well worth a look and I hear that more of these "comic companions" are being planned.
And so to the news...
* To coincide with the upcoming Comics Britannia season on BBC4, the BBC online Magazine is appealing to readers to nominate their favourite comic. You can use the on-line form to post a comment and even submit a picture. Similarly, the Comics Britannia site has a form for readers to vote for their favourite character.
* 'Raff Royal' (above) was one of a number of attempts that Frank Hampson made to launch a new strip following his departure from Eagle in the wake of 'The Road of Courage'. Although Hampson's original samples disappeared many years ago, one enterprising sub-editor at Fleetway took a set of photocopies which, although poor, meant that the strips have survived. Now, Alastair Crompton and Wakefield Carter have posted a version of the strip redrawn by former Hampson assistant Don Harley at their Lost Characters of Frank Hampson website (follow the link and scroll down the page). Harley, they reveal, is doing a similar job of redrawing and clarifying the second page of 'Raff Royal' that survived.
* Richard Sheaf reviews The Bumper Book of Look and Learn for Down the Tubes. Just noticed that the book has jumped to 440 in Amazon's best-sellers list.
* Alan Grant will be one of the speakers at this year's Edinburgh Lectures on 29 January 2008. His lecture is entitled 'Writing Tomorrow Yesterday: How Fiction Became Reality' and described thus: "In the 1980s Alan Grant co-wrote a series featuring Judge Dredd set in the USA around the year 2100. Reality has swiftly overtaken fiction and many of his made-up problems have already become part of everyday life: the ever-increasing fascism of state police forces; society's inane fascination with celebrity; the empowerment of the rich and famous at the expense of ordinary people -- in short, the crushing of the ordinary person as an agent in the world. Can things only get worse?" (link via Forbidden Planet International Blog)
* Steve Flanagan's Gad, Sir! Comics! has pics of statues of Andy Capp and Desperate Dan following the news that Wallace & Gromit are to be honoured with a statue (BBC News 24, 6 September) in Preston, Lancashire -- home town of Nick Park.