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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Comic Cuts

Spent the weekend working on the new Trigan Empire collection, finishing up the introduction and proofing the story pages; there's still some work to do on the volume once the intro material has been laid out but we're 90% there. Above you can see a page taken from original artwork, unlettered. The original is in colour but as I receive proof copies in black & white that's all I can offer for the mo.

The introductions can take some time to write and, with ten volumes now completed, I was staggered to find that I'd written 37,000 words in all. Plus another 16,500 words of other introductory material for the dossiers that most volumes include, looking at various aspects of the Trigan Empire. The grand total will easily top 60,000 words once we've completed the 12 volumes. That's almost a book! Hmmmm...

For a little light relief, I've been checking over the next section of 'The Crime Fighters'. This little project started back in 2005 when Allen J. Hubin, compiler of Crime Fiction Bibliography, mentioned that he had been given the unpublished manuscript to a Bill Lofts/Derek Adley book by Bill. When Derek died in 1991, almost all of the research notes that he and Bill had compiled over a period of forty years were destroyed and, as the original MS for 'The Crime Fighters' has never come to light, it is likely that Allen's photocopy is the only record that the work exists.

The MS contains hundreds of entries for detective characters and other crime solvers, many of them culled from early British story papers and dime novel reprints; as most bibliographies of crime fiction concentrate on novels, this adds a unique quality to the Lofts/Adley 'Crime Fighters'. It was obviously written around 1970, perhaps intended as a follow-up to The Men Behind Boys' Fiction which appeared that year.

With posterity in mind, Allen and I began putting the whole thing online and, after a long interruption -- Allen has been working on updating Crime Fiction and my energies have been aimed elsewhere -- we've finally gotten the next section done. Apart from weeding out a number of errors and adding authorship information on anonymous stories where I was able to, the online version is pretty much as was written.

At present only A-F is available but part 4 (G-H) should be up shortly.

If you've visited the site before, it has moved since it was set up, so please change any bookmarks you have. The same applies to the Story Paper Index which, although it hasn't been updated for some time (the last update was just before I joined Look and Learn full time), still has a lot of information, with nearly 17,000 magazine and pocket library issues indexed.

A couple of bits of news...

* The Carol Day website, dedicated to the strip drawn by David Wright, has added two more complete stories (bringing the total to four) as well as a story guide, a showcase of some of the best of the original artwork and more artwork for sale.

* The latest issue of Book and Magazine Collector contains a couple of articles by David Ashford and Norman Wright, one on the 100th anniversary of Billy Bunter and another in their long-running series on British comics artists, this time putting the spotlight on Mike Hubbard.

* Meanwhile, Lew Stringer celebrates Eric Roberts' brief run on the 'Billy Bunter' strip in Knockout. Roberts was on the strip for about 18 months following the death of Frank Minnitt, who had drawn the strip for nearly 20 years. Roberts was already a Knockout veteran himself, having drawn 'Mike' (later 'Mike & Dimps') for the paper since 1945; later he drew 'Sinbad Simms' for Knockout (1957-60) and 'Winker Watson' for Dandy (1967-79). Lew has some examples of Roberts' original art boards on view.

* Death visits Alan Moore (link via Journalista).

* And finally, Dan Dare advertises Mobil Oil on TV. These ads date from 1987 and, to date, mark the only live appearance of Dan and Digby on the small screen. Thanks to Peter J. Inns (of, and for posting these.

Rocket to Nowhere

Passage to Delmik

Mekon Ahoy!

(link via Eagle Times blog)

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