BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Comic Cuts - 2 July

We've had an incredibly busy two weeks here, packing and trying to organise ourselves. Although we're still some weeks away from actually moving, the sheer weight of stuff that accompanies me through my life has meant I had to start the process the moment we were given our notice just so that we can get everything boxed in a timely fashion that won't drive us all insane.

I guess I'm fairly happy with the way things are going... more could have been done but that's always the case: everything always takes longer than you expect. For every box I've packed for the move I really should have packed two, but I've been concentrating on finding books that I no longer need which can safely be disposed of. By safely I mean books that, two weeks after the move, I won't be slapping my head, wondering what on earth made me get rid of them.

I was planning to let you know how things were going last week but ran out of time to write anything. I did, however, keep a running tally, so as of last week I had boxed up 1,380 books to be sold off to a couple of bookshops. The final total came to almost 2,100 books, collected today—it's still Thursday for another ten minutes—of which about 40% were removed from shelves to give me some more breathing space; others have been sitting around in boxes waiting for the day I got around to sorting them out. Well, today's the day... or, rather, the month as it took me the whole of June to scan, catalogue and pack them. I waved goodbye to a wheezing van hunched down on its axles containing 21 large, densely packed boxes of books this afternoon. Now all I've got to worry about is the other 8,000 or so books that I'm keeping!

I'm still in the process of thinning out the clutter that surrounds me. Another 11 bags of paper went out to be recycled today, not all of it mine. I think my running total is something like 43 bin bags of extra rubbish disposed of this month over and above the usual. Most of that old paperwork... lurking in boxes I've found things like a thick folder of payment records for a magazine I edited back in the 1990s, stray newspapers dating back to the same era, a computer mag. from the 1980s (Big K!), stacks of correspondence (which I've kept) and a few oddities that are sure to turn up here (like the Wonder Woman press-out promo that I posted this morning).

This is, of course, all down to the fact that we're moving into a smaller house. It's likely that two desks and four filing cabinets will have to go—onto Freecycle, probably—and there's a large metal shelf that I've had for 30 years but which is now starting to lean so precariously that a couple of overfilled arch-lever files and a pile of comics slid off it the other day. I think the time has finally come to put it out of its misery.

One thing that surprised me is that I've managed to keep blogging with some regularity. Scanning a lot of "junk" before getting rid of it has helped and there's quite a few more bits 'n' bobs in my clippings file that I'll be posting in the coming weeks. Talking of which, I've put up an article entitled "Kinky Comics" over on our companion Bare Alley website. It's not "hot", but we do get some youngsters visiting Bear Alley due to some of the subjects we've covered (comics, including nursery comics). They're unlikely to be looking at this particular column, so treat it as a little bonus for regular readers.

I've had very little time for news gathering but I did receive that latest issues of Spaceship Away (#21, Summer 2010) and Eagle Times (Vol.23 #2, Summer 2010). The latter has some nice features on Eagle fandom, including Alan Vince's memories of taking Frank Hampson to meet space artist David Hardy, more Ron Embleton art, pieces on the Southport anniversary get-together, Frank Humphris, the Lone Ranger, Jim Stalwart, plastic kits from Eaglewall, the Astral Group, Eagle Annuals, alien languages in the Dan Dare strip plus a couple of reviews and a PC49 story. A nicely jam-packed issue.

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

Spaceship Away has an astonishing Don Harley wraparound cover, takes a look at Frank Hampson's TV appearances and offers a tribute to Keith Watson's years on Dan Dare. Tim Booth continues to astonish me, with 10 pages of intricately detailed colour artwork for two DD stories, there's Journey Into Space, Garth, Ex-astris and the return of Our Bertie and Mekki. And I'm going to bring this column to an end so I can go off and read it. Spaceship Away has its own website where you can pick up subscription details.

(* Today's random scan at our column head is the video sleeve for Jane and the Lost City, a romp based on the old Daily Mirror strip starring Kirsten Hughes as Jane alongside Sam J. Jones, Maud Adams (hamming it up as Lola Pagola) and Jasper Carrott as her henchman.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve
Glad the packing/disposing is going well.

I received my ET and SA the other day and wondered, am I right in thinking that Frank Bellamy did one or two drawings for the 60 year old comic? You wouldn't think so by the lack of coverage :-)

ET does feature a review you cunningly avoided mentioning - no doubt due to your world renowned modesty! What a shame Howard was disappointed with the WW1 book as he thought it was going to be a strip cartoon!

[Begin irony] I was extremely disappointed to see St. Frank Hampson's work in the Radio Times wasn't a strip cartoon in the 70s [End irony]

I haven't even mentioned all the other contributors and features that could have had a good word said about them....but perhaps I'm getting to be a grumpy old man! After all Howard has headed up lots of good stuff in the ET over the years! Perhaps I have to wait for the 100th anniversary for Bellamy to be forgiven for taking over Dan Dare!
Take care!