BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
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Monday, September 01, 2008

Comic Cuts

A couple of items that came my way over the weekend.

'Come on, Steve' the DVD! I finally picked up a collection of Roland Davies' animated cartoons featuring the infamouswell, here at Bear Alley, anywayadventures of Steve the Horse. 'Come on, Steve' was a popular comic strip back in the 1930s in the Sunday Express. I've covered Roland Davies before and posted one of the old 'Come on, Steve' animations a year ago (sadly now no longer available on YouTube).

Davies and his little Ipswich-based studio produced six short cartoons in 1936-37. The animation is relatively crude compared to what was to come later and distinctly non-PC (especially 'Steve of the River', Davies' take on Edgar Wallace's Sanders of the River) but the films are still a delight for those who like old animation. I recently received some images of the old studio, which I'll post along with some details of its output, but if you want a copy of the DVD, which also includes a silent French version of 'Steve in Bohemia' entitled 'Bal Costume' as a bonus, send a cheque or PO payable to G. L. Newnham, 22 Warren Place, Calmore, Southampton SO40 2SD. The cost is £12.75 including UK postage.

The latest issue of Book and Magazine Collector (#299, October 2008) has an excellent article of Frank Humphris, artist of numerous strips and illustrator of many books, probably best known for his strips 'Riders of the Range' and 'Blackbow the Cheyenne' in Eagle. A while back I had the opportunity to photograph a few original pages of Blackbow and above is an example from Eagle v.16 no.46.

The new issue of Comics International (#206, August 2008) is now in comic shops and features a nice long piece on strips based on the Gerry Anderson TV shows Supercar and Stingray, my tribute to the late Mike Western and lots, lots more. The last couple of years have seen CI stumble from issue to issue and, whilst the contents have seen some innovations since Mike Conroy took over as editor, the schedule has been all over the place: #201 (Apr 2007), #202 (Jun 2007), #203 (Aug 2007), #204 (Nov 2007), #205 (Feb 2008) and the latest issue, #206 (Aug). Six issues in 21 months.

Inside, a gremlin seems to be at work with regards to Shaqui Le Vesconte's Anderson series: on page 108, the back issues advert reveals (wrongly) that part 1 of the series appeared in issue 204; the latest episode says (correctly) that it is part 2 (p.76); and the Coming Attractions advert (p.103) tells us episode 5 will be appearing next in issue... 206. Picky, picky... I know. I wouldn't have mentioned it if, ironically, Mike Conroy's editorial column hadn't been all about continuity.

Saw my first copy of Against All Odds: War Picture Library Vol. 2 at ACE Comics on Saturday. A fine looking volume. Amazon have had one five star review in from a 'Big Jim' who says: "I was regaling my son only a couple of weeks ago of how I would wait for the War and Battle picture libraries Summer specials to take on holidays and how they would hold me enthralled for hours and of course we all were able to go out and fight pretend battles of our own. I preferred these comics to the slightly more staid Commando books but devour all of them as well as the weekly doses of Victor, Hotspur and the Eagle. Ah those were the days....and by the way my son loves these as well. Achtung Schweinhund! Indeed."

Five stars! And you wouldn't want to argue with someone called 'Big Jim'. Amazon have copies in stock and I'll repost the contents of the volume below.

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