Monday, November 03, 2008

Comic Cuts

After a bit of a lazy weekend I'm back with the updated listings for recently released and forthcoming books, which you'll find below. I've split them into two files so just scroll down. I put up the 'recent releases' section a week ago but I've now updated that with some additional information now that I've confirmed that some titles I queried have been released (Doctor Who: The Betrothal of Sontar, The Cream of Tank Girl and Watching the Watchmen) or definitely delayed (James Bond: The History of the Illustrated 007, which, thanks to author Alan J. Porter, we now know is due in mid-November, and Jane: The Misadventures of a Bright Young Thing, pushed back to April).

October was probably the busiest month for classic British comics in years, with almost two dozen books listed. Who'd have thought a couple of years ago that we'd be almost spoilt for choice with reprints in 2008? I suspect 2009 won't be quite so busy—not because any bubble has burst but simply because the cost of paper and transport has pushed costs up during the past year and publishers are going to be a little more cautious with their choices for books in niche markets. That last sentence is not the voice of doom talking: I think that sales on these books have proved that there is a market for reprints of old strips and there will be plenty in years to come, just not so many as we've seen this year. Titan have a good line-up of reprints from Roy of the Rovers and Battle Picture Weekly scheduled and there's a wealth of material available in other titles they are looking at; Carlton definitely have titles coming out next year; who knows what D. C. Thomson might do; Rebellion and Panini UK are still raiding the vaults of 2000AD and Marvel UK...

There will still be plenty of pressure on your wallets in 2009.

I said this was a lazy weekend. Actually I managed to pack quite a bit into it. I've another cover gallery almost lined up. The above pic. will give you a clue who the subject is. It took a little longer than I thought it would—I've a lot of books by Larry Niven and a lot of them have wraparound covers so that's 3 scans for every book and a lot of fiddling around joining up the images and dealing with the curse of faded spines. Damn that sunshine!

I'm planning to put up the two posts (one for novels, one for collections) in reverse order, so don't be surprised that Part 2 precedes Part 1... it'll look better for readers who don't visit daily.

The latest issue of Dime Novel Round-Up arrived Saturday with a fascinating piece on the background of the old pulp character The Shadow and an article about Ralph Henry Barbour and his use of the pseudonym Richard Stillman Powell way back in 1890s. Background to DNRU, as it is known, can be found on Wikipedia. Subs. are available from J. Randolph Cox, PO Box 226, Dundas, MN, United States. $20 per year, with four issues appearing annually.

I used Watching the Watchmen as a header because there are a couple of Watchmen-related things worth mentioning. Firstly, The Guardian ran some images from the book recently, including early sketches, drafts of covers and other fascinating insights into the creative process (can't wait for my copy of the book to arrive!), and Dave Gibbons is giving a talk at the Welwyn Garden City Library this Thursday (6 November) as part of the Hertfordshire Library Graphic Novel Festival. Bryan Talbot is also making an appearance a few days later on Monday 10 November at the Cheshunt Library.

(* Watchmen art © Dave Gibbons.)

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