I've spent most of the week doing high-resolution scans of original art boards for the upcoming H. Rider Haggard volume I'm working on for Book Palace Books, with a mid-week pause to write a piece about Fortunino Matania for the Drawing from History book that was announced ages ago before things went wonky—various family troubles and endless problems caused by one of the books. Geoff and Stuart, the other two-thirds of Book Palace Books, are now working on the book, which will include some stunning artwork by one of the finest illustrators to ever work in the UK.
Similarly, I'd say that we have a superb line-up for the H. Rider Haggard book... Jesus Blasco, C. L. Doughty and Mike Hubbard, three of the best artists to ever work in British comics. The three strips are "Montezuma's Daughter", "King Solomon's Mines" and "Allan Quatermain" (the sequel to "King Solomon's Mines"). I promised I'd post a couple of pages... so here's the first pair of pages from "Montezuma's Daughter", which is possibly the best thing Blasco ever drew. The Steel Claw is still my favourite strip—for me the greatest combination of art and story ever!—but you really begin to appreciate the astonishing quality of his work when you see his original art boards. Blasco drew his artwork twice-up so I'm having to do scans in two halves and stitching them together. It takes ages, but I promise you won't see the join!
There's the added problem of line-and-wash—I prefer line art to work with as it's easier to clean up—and, at the moment, two of the strips don't have any lettering, so it's going to be a while before I have these finished. I'm planning to take a break and work on Storm—The Collection volume 11 to give my life a bit of variety next week, but I'll try to get some example pages of "King Solomon's" and "Allan Quatermain" finished in time to post next week.
Good news for people waiting on the Frank Bellamy's World War 1 and Frank Bellamy: Complete Swift Stories: the ship docks tomorrow! It will be another week before the books pass through customs and are shipped across to Crystal Palace but, with luck and a good tail wind, the advance orders will start to be fulfilled the first week of March.
Not much news from elsewhere (I've not had much of a chance to look!). Mike Dempsey has posted a piece about the rural illustrations of Ronald Lampitt, who was covered here (briefly) last weekend.
The new issue of Spaceship Away, resplendent in its Don Harley cover, is out and can be ordered via the Spaceship Away website. I've only had a chance to glance at the new issue and it's up to the usual high standard, with two ongoing Dan Dare stories, "Green Nemesis" and "The Gates of Eden", the fifth and final episode of "Nick Hazard", the first episode of a new "Ex-Astris" story and ongoing reprints of "Journey Into Space" and "Garth"; there's also a gorgeous cutaway drawing of the Anastasia by Graham Bleathman. Rod promises new artwork by Ian Kennedy, Chris Weston, Graham Bleathman and Don Harley next issue, so that's something worth looking forward to.
And that's me out of here. If I can get it together, we should have another strip starting next week. I can't say what it is because I haven't actually decided what to run. But it'll be good, I promise.