Monday, February 23, 2009

Comic Cuts

Not exactly twitter—believe me, you'd be bored to tears if you followed my day minute-by-minute—but here's a bit of me news: I've been spreading myself thin over a number of books so Bear Alley was a little patchy last week and things may continue that way for a little while. I'm pleased to say that I'm still managing to post things as I stumble on them but posts may be a bit hit and miss while my attention's elsewhere.

I've pretty much completed work on a book that will zip up all of Frank Bellamy's work for Swift comic into one volume, which will include his work on "The Fleet Family" and "Paul English", along with some new introductory material. There's a second, related Bellamy project in the works which I'll have to skip over just now. Don't want to jinx it!

The other book is the Art of Ron Embleton book that was first mentioned way, way back. The first big chunk of research has been done on this—checklisting all of Ron's astonishing work for Look and Learn and tieing that list in with what original artwork we know to have survived so we can get the best-looking book possible. There's still a long way to go on this one but I'm hoping to knuckle down to work on it from next week once the Musketeers intro is out of the way.

That little lot hasn't left much time for anything else, but I did take some time off to read the latest issue of Paperback Fanatic (#9, February 2009), which is a must-read for anyone who collects old paperbacks. Editor Justin Marriott concentrates on the 1970s/1980s boom period when genre fiction spilled off the shelves and paperback originals could still become million-sellers. I'm especially fond of this period—it was the era I grew up in and one I explored a little in the pages of PBO, a fanzine I put out many years ago.

This issue takes a look at the Skinhead novels of Richard Allen (James Moffatt), the sexy spy capers of The Man from O.R.G.Y., the Specialist horror yarns of Errol Lecale (Wilfred McNeilly) and the artwork of Dick Clifton-Dey, plus interviews with Peter Berresford Ellis and Chris Lowder. It's a solid line-up, crammed into 44 pages behind a superb collage of Clifton-Day artwork. The next number also promises to be a packed issue and #11 should include my interview with Peter Leslie (conducted way back in 1996), so there are plenty of goodies still to come.

For more information, prices and back issues, go visit the Paperback Fanatic website.

Talking of fanzines, there are a couple of titles upcoming that will be worth looking out for. The 2000AD fanzine Zarjaz will be publishing a Pat Mills Special in May (issue #7). You can find out more about the issue, plus information about the companion title Dogbreath, at the Quaequam Blog, which also includes a mini-interview with Pat.

And the next issue of Crikey! is due to appear in early March, featuring interviews with Enrique Badia Romero, David Lloyd and... Pat Mills (always a good man to interview), plus articles on Top Secret Picture Library, Walt Howarth and the British Marvel.

Last item for now: the next National Collectors Marketplace and London ABC Show will be held at The Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, Russell Square, London, on 15th March. Free admission and a chance to while away a few hours chatting to fellow collectors and banish those economic downturn blues with some retail therapy. See here for a location map.

Now... where was I...


  1. Ron Embleton's daughter married Ian Robinson who for about 10 years was the Rupert Editor at the Express. In fact he was the final one following names such as James Henderson (1925 - 2005) & Freddie Chaplain (d 1981).
    Ron , of course, illustrated a couple of Trigan Empire stories.

  2. Hi Steve

    Once I realised that "del Castillo" was Arturo del Castillo, who I know best for his westerns in Look And Learn/Ranger and various pocket libraries in the seventie's, I upgraded Three Musketeers from might buy to must buy. I'm looking forward to it.

    David Simpson



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