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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Comic Cuts

By the time you read this I should have the Sci-Fi Art book just about in the bag. I managed to finish all bar one of the captions by Friday and spent the weekend putting together a short article on the Trigan Empire and sticking silver foil to walls (well, not really silver foil—that reflective stuff you put behind radiators). Monday was a bit of a train wreck : the redecorating was finished and much admired; the light fittings were re-fitted and the radiators re-hung. Then, disaster: tested the heating and nothing worked so we had to call in a plumber to sort it out—something to do with the pressure in the system dropping below the point where the boiler automatically cuts off.

That wasn't the first problem we had: the new back door, hung only a couple of weeks ago, has shifted slightly, so we can only close it by giving it a shove and a hefty kick simultaneously. The paintwork was signed off by our landlord's agent yesterday, which leaves the door open (pun intended) for the third lot of builders to come in shortly to rip down the porch and fix the foundations. Oh, joy! Hope they get the back door fixed before they board up the front of the house.

But I've got my TV back. So all's right with the world. I can order food online and they can pass it in through the shiny new windows.

But, back at the book. I now have most of the introduction finished and it should be done before the end of the day, God and builders willing. I'm rather embarrassed to say that I'm the last of the five authors to get their sections finished. But the book has a forgiving editor and it was the biggest section so I don't feel too guilty.

Next up on my schedule is to finish off the translation for Storm book 18 and the introduction to StormThe Collection volume 9. I'm not sure when these are due out. Possibly October, but that's a guess. Next week I'm planning to start work on another comics reprint project (which I'm keen to announce but I need to leave something to talk about later this year!) and probably the next Trigan Empire volume, which I imagine should wrap up my 2008 publications schedule. I don't think I can squeeze any more books in... but never say never! I may have to because my bank balance isn't looking too healthy at the moment.

A quick update on the Eagle dummy #2 that I mentioned recently: the whole thing can be found at Wakefield Carter's Lost Character's of Frank Hampson website. Lovely to see some of those strips—including a full page of colour Norman Thelwell artwork previously unpublished (see above). Hopefully some of the few surviving members of Hampson's team from the early Bakehouse Studio days will be able to comment (Greta Tomlinson and Bruce Cornwell are certainly still around).

And, finally, it looks like the second volume of War Picture Library reprints, Against All Odds, will be out as scheduled. I'm told that the first advance copies have just arrived at the Carlton offices and it looks good. It's officially out a week next Monday. I'll post the usual column with all the details for those of you who like to know who wrote and drew the stories.

News from Around the Net...

* I guess the most exciting thing I've spotted recently is the trailer for Watchmen...

... and the trailer for The Spirit...

Empire have a nice trailer-to-comics comparison for Watchmen. Lew Stringer has been getting into the right mood by re-reading the Absolute Watchmen collection. Meanwhile, Matthew Badham is promising to Send Alan Moore a Fiver if he goes to watch the film. It's scheduled for release on 6 March 2009 so there's still a while to go. Not quite so long before we get to see Frank Miller's take on The Spirit. It's due out on Christmas Day in the USA and on 2 January 2009 in the UK.

* Quite a while back I mentioned that the old D. C. Thomson Starblazer series was to be the basis for a new adventure game. Cubicle 7 have just released a 40-page preview [pdf] of the games' system for Starblazer Adventures at their website. The finished book, by Chris Birch and Stuart Newman, will run to over 620 pages and feature dozens of background features, including lists of major characters—both heroes and villains—who appeared in the various stories, settings, alien races and a lot more. It promises to be an interesting guide to the series even if you're not into gaming.

(* Another picture that didn't quite make it into the Sci-Fi Art book—lovely though it is. Frank Kelly Freas art for Fantastic Universe (April 1955) illustrating Algis Budrys' short story 'Who?', which I thought of using alongside Robert Engle's cover for the novel. Sadly, this one would have required a lot of cleaning up and we already had some very good examples of Freas. Incidentally, the story advertised on the cover is also by Budrys under the pen-name William Scarff.)


Piley said...

I've been having a mini-rant over the Watchmen movie over on my blog this week.

My beef is that when a naff film is released (TLOEG is a great example!), it somehow also taints my enjoyment of the comic. I can never delete my memory of that awful film (no matter how hard i try!)

pop by my blog if you get a moment.


Steve said...

Personally, I can disassociate the two quite easily so a bad movie based on a good comic is just a bad movie and doesn't taint the original work in any way. Similarly, I have no problem with updated characters: if it works, great; if it doesn't, I can always go back to the version I like.

I can understand why it would annoy the creators of the comic (or book or whatever) because a bad movie will have an adverse effect on sales of the original work because people think a bad movie can only derive from bad source material. I don't make the rules: that's how people think. I doubt if anyone watched League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and thought "I really must buy the book to see if it's any better than this lousy movie."

But if I know the source (as I did with League), the movie doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the comic. I still went out and bought the Black Dossier and I'll buy the next one when that comes out (next year, I think).