Sunday, October 14, 2007

Comic Cuts - 14 October

I'm just back from seeing Run, Fatboy, Run which would have been a lot better if the movie hadn't been been so closely modelled on Rocky and Simon Pegg so closely modelled on me, for, indeed, I am that heavy smoking, unfit, commitment-shy mess of a human being.

However, I draw the line at lazy, which I hope I'm not. And the good news... the first draft of the next index -- to be entitled The Thriller Libraries -- was finished this afternoon. I still need to go through it with a fine toothcomb to check for errors but it's essentially all there. 21,000 words. Some of them good.

Just to show you how far we go to bring you new information, I've just been talking to a guy in Spain about a series of Spanish pocket libraries that reprinted some material from the British libraries. Jose has just begun picking up some of the later issues of Thriller Picture Library and had noticed that some of the covers to Spanish comics in his collection bore a remarkable resemblance to some from the TPL. It seems that swipes were quite common as it reminded me of one I'd spotted a while ago...

The Super Detective cover was by James McConnell (a rare excursion into SF) and the issue of 'Juan Espacio' cover was by Jorge Macabich. Odd that Macabich would be swiping as he was a more than capable artist who drew many episodes featuring the Kansas Kid in Cowboy Comics Library.

With the introduction almost out of the way, the next step is to get to grips with some of the additional material we will be including (various related annuals and books, for instance) which I'll be cracking on with over the next week or so. Also seeing if we can resolve some of those niggling mystery artists that we've still to identify.

Not much in the way of news from elsewhere as I've not had time to look. However, I do think I've been a bit remiss in not mentioning Alex Fitch's Panel Borders podcasts. If you've not heard them, Alex does a show on Resonance FM called 'I'm Ready For My Closeup' which covers a broad range of visual media subjects, including comics. He also does the podcast-only 'Panel Borders' show which has, over the past few months, included interviews with Steve Yeowell, Glenn Fabry, John McCrea, a two-parter with David Hine and Frazer Irving, David Brawn (of HarperCollins) and a two-parter with Andrzej Klimowski (author of the 'silent graphic novels' The Depository and The Secret).

Panel Borders is now being broadcast at 5 pm on Resonance FM on Thursdays as part of a segment called Strip! if you want to catch it live, but if you're lazy like me (damn!) you'll catch the podcast, which you can find on Alex's 'I'm Ready For My Closeup' webpage. The latest show has been an hour-long interview with Leah Moore and John Reppion and, on Monday (15 October, 4.30pm), will be a repeat of an interview with Neil Gaiman about adapting Stardust for the big screen and various other topics.

Alex told me recently that he's planning to stock up on interviews this weekend at the Birmingham show so there should be plenty to look forward to.

* Just spotted a notice on the Forbidden Planet International blog that Knockabout are doing a limited edition hardback of From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell. As my softcover edition is once more out on loan and starting to show a few signs of stress from being lent out so often I'm thinking I need this book. I notice the softcover edition from Knockabout seems to be doing very well from

* More on Robin Hood from Steve Flanagan's Gad, Sir! Comics! blog where he notes some comments by the late Angus Allan about his time writing 'Robin of Sherwood' for Look-In and how he was requested to... lose the bows and arrows to make the strip less violent.

* A tribute comic to the old Fleetway horror title Scream! is in the works and the title is looking for artists according to this message from assistant editor John Owens.

* Neil Gaiman writes about Stardust in 'Happily ever after' for The Guardian (13 October)

* The Observer has been running a competition to create a comic strip short story with the winners just announced (The Observer, 14 October). I've not been able to find the winner posted but the article has led to some discussion about graphic novels on Robert McCrum's Observer Books blog.


  1. Don't know that it explains Jorge Macabich swiping (Ron Turner via) James McConnell but Barry Coker, who was a sub-editor on Super Detective at that time later formed the comic art agency Bardon Press Features with Jorge. (Bardon was a composite of Bar=celona and Lon-don.)

  2. Hi Dave,

    You're right about the cover being inspired by Ron Turner's artwork for the story -- I've just been writing about Turner's Rick Random and thoroughly enjoyed looking through the handful of copies I have. He really was one of the finest SF artists ever in the UK.

    Bardon are just about to celebrate their 50th birthday -- I think Barry has just been over to Spain (but, then, when hasn't he just been over to Spain?). Their first ever commission was from Odhams on 29 November 1957 for a book cover but it was 1958 that they really took off when they started syndicating the rights of Spanish strips into the UK and vice-versa. So Bardon were supplying Ferma with British strips which may or may not be part of the explanation why Macabich was swiping covers -- perhaps producing "new" covers earned more than licensing the British ones? Or maybe the cheap Spanish presses didn't like the fully painted British covers and required something simplified. I'm not quite sure why this would be necessary but it would explain why he redrew what look to be perfectly acceptable covers.




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