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Friday, April 02, 2010

Comic Cuts - 2 April 2010

After last week's efforts to catch up on various odds and ends, I've been working solidly on the H. Rider Haggard volume and completed the lettering on "King Solomon's Mines" on Wednesday evening. I'm taking a break from the artwork side (I've still got to clean up "Montezuma's Daughter") and started writing the introduction Thursday, although that was mostly gathering together information and making a start on reading Haggard's autobiographical writings. Today being a bank holiday won't make any difference to me... I'll hopefully get my scheduled 1,000 words written; mind you, I often fail when we have a house full of people so we'll just have to see how it goes. Anyone who has read my articles and introductions (or even the pieces written on this blog) will know they're pretty densely packed with facts, but I'm determined not to let the Haggard introduction run away with me, unlike the Wells Fargo introduction, which long-time readers may recall escaped my clutches and turned into a 12,000-word epic of the Wild West. (I'm pleased to say that the publisher has let it through intact, so you'll get to read it in all its... glory? Maybe that's bigging it up a bit too far.)

It has been a good news week as I heard from Don Lawrence Collection that we will definitely be doing a twelfth volume of Storm--The Collection. This will include the 'lost' Don Lawrence book, Commander Grek. A few of you probably know this already, but when Lawrence left "The Trigan Empire", he was immediately offered work by the editors of the Dutch comic Eppo. A scenario was dreamed up by Martin Lodewijk and Eppo editor Frits van der Heide and Lawrence brought in a writer called Vince Wernham, who had worked on his adult 'strip', "Carrie". Lawrence set to work on the story, but after thirty-or-so pages he and his editors realised that it wasn't going as well as they had hoped.

Commander Grek was abandoned and a new writer, Phil Dunn, brought in retool the idea and "The Deep World", the first volume of Storm was the result. Commander Grek languished for five years before an ending for the story was dreamed up and the last handful of pages completed. for publication in Eppo in 1982. Followers of Storm will recognise some similarities between Grek and "The Deep World" but it soon heads off in its own direction.

So that's something to look forward to.

There are a few other possible projects and features on the horizon, which I won't jinx by talking about them as they're likely to be a long way off if they ever happen at all.

The latest issue of Eagle Times has landed, entering its 23rd year of publication, which is incredible for any magazine, let alone a fanzine dedicated to a single subject. Truth to tell, this issue drifts off the topic of Eagle fairly regularly—a little odd since this issue celebrates the Eagle's 60th birthday. Subjects for articles include "Jim Stalwart", the space captain from the pages of Junior Mirror, cowboy hero "Billy the Kid" from Sun, a review of a 60-year-old issue of Champion and the recent biographical meanderings of Peter Dyer, the ongoing pop music feature (part 19) and a look at the Space Patrol Official Handbook, published back in 1952. Eagle-related-but-still-not-Eagle articles include a selection of artwork by Ron Embleton, a feature on Paul Trevillion, and brief looks at Ladybird books and a PC49 stage play. Apart from an obituary of Geoffrey Bond, the only article that tackles an Eagle strip is Steve Winders' comprehensive look at "Sergeant Bruuce, C.I.D.", which was published in the post-Hampson/Morris years of the paper.

I've always asked for more diversity in Eagle Times, so this is far from being a complaint. I'm just surprised that nothing in this celebratory issue celebrates the early Eagle.

Subscriptions (4 issues/year) are £23 (UK) and £34 (overseas), from Keith Howard, 25A Station Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 2UA.

I had to dig out some images for a Spanish publication I did some work for (due out in May, I think), one of which was taken from a photocopy of an original Steel Claw page. While I had the copies out I thought I'd scan up a second one to publish here. Just a random scan too good to have it sitting unused on my hard-drive.

1 comment:

Will Grenham said...

Steve, although you make some fair comments on the latest Eagle Times, I think you underemphasise the Eagle connections!

The cover celebrates the 60th anniversary, including on the rear the creators of Eagle, Marcus Morris and Frank Hampson.

Although you reflect that there may not be much inside ET directly relating to Eagle's specific contents the connections with Eagle are there:

'Jim Stalwart' was drawn by Bruce Cornwell between his two stints as a 'Dan Dare' artist. As you know, he was one of the original 1950s Dan Dare Studio team in Southport, and later teamed with Don Harley in the early 1960s.

The 'Billy the Kid' article is one of an ongoing series on the 'Rivals of Jeff Arnold' and makes comparison with Jeff Arnold's encounter with The Kid in Eagle as told by Charles Chilton.

The article on Paul Trevillion addresses the fact that we have not previously had anything on this artist who drew for Eagle in the early 1960s, but whose reputation lies elsewhere, with sports illustration.

The article on Champion provides an (IMO) interesting take on Eagle's anniversary, reviewing what boys might have been reading the week before Eagle hit the newsstands 60 years ago.