Some weeks I can't help thinking I've got the best job. Here I am scanning an old Air Ace Picture Library drawn by Ian Kennedy and someone is paying me to do it! You can't get much better than that.
It's not all fun and frolics. There are no short cuts with scanning and you can't keep slipping away to do something else. I've had to stop scanning just to write this as my old computer can't cope with multi-tasking, not at the resolutions I'm scanning at. I'm glued to my chair and staring out the window at grey skies with only the traffic for company. But then a gorgeous Ian Kennedy page pops up on the preview and I get to stare at that for a while... it's a real roller-coaster of pleasure and boredom.
For people following the progress of the Haggard book, I've finished one of the strips, which had to be completely re-lettered. It gives me a chance to show you a comparison between the original scan of the board and the cleaned-up version. The problem with strips like Mike Hubbard's "Allan Quatermain" is to remove the damage—in this case the yellow cast that age has brought to the board—without removing the delicate ink wash at the same time. In the original printed version, there was a panel for the text of the last frame, which covered part of the bottom of the house, but I dropped the text down a line so that it didn't cover up the artwork. I've got to admit that I'm really pleased with the results.
An excellent new fanzine has recently been released and it's a real treat: Vworp Vworp! is dedicated to Doctor Who's comic incarnation and celebrating thirty years of Doctor Who Magazine. The first issue is an impressive 80 glossy pages, perfect bound and filled with fourteen features, including interviews with original Doctor Who Weekly editor Dezz Skinn, Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons, writer and artist on the first strip to appear in DWW back in 1979, Alan Barnes, Adrian Salmon, Gary Russell, Scott Gray, Martin Geraghty and Clayton Hickman discuss Cybermen, and contributions from Jeremy Bentham, David J. Howe, David Lloyd, Steve Lyons, Nicholas Pegg, Andrew Pixley, Tim Quinn, Dicky Howett, Nick Miller, Roger Langridge, Ben Willsher, Kev F. Sutherland, Steve Noble, Leighton Noyes, Baxter Sullivan and others. Phew!
I'm still working my way through the interviews, but what I've read so far has been fascinating, probably made more so because I remember having all those early issues of Doctor Who Weekly. Sadly, they were sold off during one of the periodic downturns in my career, so just seeing some of the pages and panels again brings back some happy memories. Seeing extracts from the Pat Mills/John Wagner script of "The Iron Legion" is a joy, as I love seeing all the clutter that goes with comics—scripts, thumbnail sketches, rough... I just wish more of it had survived from the earlier days of comics.
I've not mentioned that there are new Doctor Who strips, too: "Time Leech" by Christian Cawley & Justin Abbot, "Clash of Empires" by Daryl Joyce and "The Master's Life on Mars" by Gareth Kavanagh and John Daiker.
The full line-up can be found at the Vworp, Vworp! Website as can information about ordering a copy. There are two different covers: a wraparound jam from various artists and a variant photo cover featuring Tom Baker. Plus free transfers. The price is £5.99 + £1 p&p (£3 overseas) which you can pay via PayPal via the above website, or by cheque (payable to Gareth Kavanagh) from: Gareth Kavanagh, 46 Venice Court, Samuel Ogden Street, Manchester M1 7DB.
Last, but not least... I mentioned recently having discovered a little more about Lunt Roberts and have subsequently received a photo of the man himself. Don Grant, who has been a long time supporter of Bear Alley, sent me the pic below with a note: "I enclose a snap I took at The London Sketch Club of the silhouettes frieze that goes around the studio, featuring, amongst others, Lunt Roberts, of whom you did a feature a few months back."
(* Our column header is from Air Ace Picture Library #18, "Torpedo Run", artwork by Ian Kennedy, © IPC Media; "Allan Quatermain", artwork by Mike Hubbard, © Look and Learn Ltd.)