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Friday, August 20, 2010

Comic Cuts - 20 August 2010

Box Mountain as of Thursday, 19 August.

If you could see our lounge you'd think that there hadn't been any unpacking over the past couple of weeks at all. But I promise you that I've been emptying at least a couple of boxes a day. The problem with accumulating a collection of stuff is that it grows organically: I spent 15 years in the old house buying a book here and a comic there and somehow there was always the right book- or comic-shaped hole for it to live in.

Now we're faced with trying to decide where everything is going to live in the new house and condense 15 years of organic growth into a few weeks. Some of it is obvious: I need to get my reference books into the office where they're close to hand. But what about, say, the third edition of The Comic Book Price Guide? I don't want to get rid of it—I worked on it, after all—but I don't need it on a daily basis and the information it contains was thoroughly updated in later editions. So where do I put that book? On some other shelf out of the way but where it's still accessible? Bury it in a box in the attic, maybe?

Eventually I've got to go through this process with every single book in the house and it's not an easy decision to make. So I'll take my time and hopefully get it right so that when I need to find a book in the future I'll know exactly where it is.

I'm slowly and steadily catching up on e-mail, but you'll have to forgive me if you haven't heard back on a query that you've sent me directly. Some messages were irretrievably lost when we moved; some (132) we've managed to recover from the old server but I've yet to get them on the computer; and currently I have 369 messages marked unread. Most of these pre-date the move and contain bits of info. that I've not transferred elsewhere, but I'm still catching up on recent mail. I'm reasonably up-to-date on things I have to sort out immediately but with older messages I'm running about 10 days behind at the moment and maybe 15 days on messages that involve any sort of research. Have patience.


R.I.P. Crikey!. A couple of years ago, Crikey! seemed to be doing pretty well. Launched by Brian Clarke back in 2007, it seemed to find the right, often lighthearted tone to promote the history and collecting of old British comics to an audience that thought of them as nostalgic relics of the past. No bad thing, although old fusspots like me complained that some of the features were little more than fluff and cried out for longer, more in-depth articles and interviews. I wasn't the audience. I was, on the other hand, a contributor on a couple of occasions and enjoyed working with Brian, Glenn and Tony.

From humble black & white beginnings, the magazine added colour and even managed to get high street distribution through Borders. Sadly, that proved to be their demise—Borders collapsed and Crikey! took a huge financial hit. Issue 16, due shortly, will be its last. Glenn made the announcement on the Crikey! website along with details of the contents of the final issue, which will include an interview with Mike McMahon and various features. At the website you can also order back issues and I'm sure a few extra sales would be appreciated.

Over at  the Frank Bellamy Checklist Blog, Norman Boyd has discovered a cover by Bellamy that's new to me. In 1965, he painted this cover for the Corgi edition of Richard Sale's Not Too Narrow... Not Too Deep, a story of a group of convicts trying to escape from a tropical island prison. Norman has subsequently tracked down the original artwork and a preliminary sketch for the cover.


With "The Lost World" coming to an end on Monday, next week I'm planning to run some cover galleries of TV tie-ins. It will be a bit of a random selection as the choice of what to scan depended on what came out of the boxes first but hopefully you'll like it... it might be a trip down memory lane for many of you. It certainly was for me!

And finally... today's random scan is... Monsters of the Movies by Denis Gifford. Published by Carousel Books (an imprint of Transworld, who also published Corgi Books) in 1977, this was a slim, 95-page paperback which featured an A-Z of movie monsters from Alligator People to Zombies. Denis, of course, loved horror movies—the old ones: Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff and other classics from the 1930s. Most of the examples he puts in the book are from the 1920s and 1930s, with only a smattering from later decades. As this was aimed at children, I'm not sure if they would have shared his appreciation for the classics—Denis may have sneaked in to see The Invisible Man as a youngster, but we were sneaking into cinemas to see The Exorcist and the world of horror films was dominated by Hammer in my youth: Christopher Lee was Dracula, not Bela Lugosi.

Still, I couldn't resist picking it up when I saw a copy the other day.

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