Friday, December 11, 2009

Comic Cuts - 11 December

I've not had much time to devote to Bear Alley this week and that situation may continue on the run-up to Christmas as I was asked to write five articles for a book with a deadline only weeks away. The book's in Spanish, so some poor sod is going to have to translate it and I'm sure they'll need all the time they can get trying to make sense of my English, which is rapidly turning into my second language behind the grunts, squeaks and gasps that have taken over. I've reached the age where I can't get in or out of a chair without a sigh or a groan. If I vocalise at any time during the day, nine times out of ten it's "eh?" or "huh?" The world beyond my window makes me go "tsk".

I find myself in a bizarre "coals to Newcastle" situation writing about Jesus Blasco for this Spanish publication. Not that I'm complaining. I'll cheerfully write about Jesus Blasco 'till the cows come home. Unfortunately, the cows are expected to arrive before the month is out, and with 15,500 words to hack out plus the work I need to put into Eagles Over the Western Front, things have been a tad busy.

The good thing about getting back to writing rather than cleaning up artwork is that it requires research and we continue to discover all kinds of things about the history and the people behind the comics that entertained us all as kids. Just this week we—by which I mean David Roach and I—have identified one of the main artists who drew Dogfight Dixon and Jet-Ace Logan for the Thriller Picture Library. This was actually a three-way discovery, as it was Keith Chapman—a long-time supporter of Bear Alley—who got the ball rolling. Keith writes westerns, runs the Black Horse Extra website, and has just set out on the dusty trail of self-publishing with Misfit Lil Cheats the Hangrope, published in July and a new book, Liberty and a Law Badge, out any day now.

Oh, and the artist who did those episodes of Dogfight Dixon and Jet-Ace Logan was Allen Pollack. Now all we have to do is find out something about Allen Pollack.

Next week should see the return of an old favourite... long-time readers will recall that I ran a whole bunch of Clarks Commandos yarns some while back but they've not been seen on Bear Alley for about 18 months now. Well, I've turned up another series drawn by the wonderful Tom Kerr. If all goes to plan, the first episode should appear on Tuesday. And on the run-up to Christmas, I'm hoping to have a few more treats in store. If I get the work finished. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

(* For no other reason than the fact that he get's mentioned above, a piece of original Dogfight Dixon cover art by Allesandro Biffignandi. Gorgeous!)


  1. Thanks for the mentions, Steve. I wasn't able to contribute much about Alan Pollack, except that he also drew a "Nigel Hawke, Pioneer Air Fighter" series for Micron's Combat Picture Library, which I edited for a while in the early 1960s. Pollack, whom I never met, was represented by agent L. H. Veness and had a brother, John, who painted some fine book jackets for James Hadley Chase thrillers from Robert Hale Ltd who are also the publishers of 23 of my Chap O'Keefe westerns.

  2. >>Oh, and the artist who did those episodes of Dogfight Dixon and Jet-Ace Logan was Alan Pollack. Now all we have to do is find out something about Alan Pollack.<<

    I'd say that's a pretty good call - my copy of TPL 402 certainly looks like his work. Pollack did, of course, draw a lot of strips for Express Weekly during the late 1950s / early 1960s.

    - Phil Rushton



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