Friday, September 24, 2010

Comic Cuts - 24 September

It looks like it's going to be a thin year for British comics' reprints. With Carlton publishing only a single volume for the Christmas market—The Best of The Victor—and with no decision reached on whether they will continue publishing the War, Battle and Air Ace titles, the onus of reprinting old British strips has fallen to Titan Books, who appear on paper (or, more accurately, on to have a number of titles still due for publication.

Sadly, this is not the case. A recent editorial shuffle and management restructuring has put a number of projects on the back-burner. This includes The Best of Land Battle and Rat Pack Vol. 1, which were both due for publication in August, The Best of Action Vol.1 (due 24 September) and Major Eazy Vol. 1 (due 26 November). Johnny Red: Falcon's First Flight, which has been pushed back four times since it was originally announced for publication in September 2009, is also currently off the schedule again. It seems very likely that the same applies to The Best of Misty (announced for October). All titles will now be rescheduled for 2011.

The only Titan book scheduled for 2010 that might come out is Darkie's Mob, due 4 November but itself already over a year late (Amazon currently lists no release date). Titles announced in the past, like Roy of the Rovers Archives: Season 1954-55 are unlikely to ever see the light of day.

More bad news: Reynolds & Hearn, who have been reprinting strips from TV Century 21 for the past couple of years (and making a nice job of them, too) went into voluntary liquidation on 6 July 2010. A meeting of creditors was held on 15 July 2010 and an Extraordinary General Meeting on 4 August resulted in a resolution to wind up the company.

There is, however, a silver lining on this front as another company has apparently stepped forward to acquire the company's publishing list. It does seem that the two reprints due, Century 21 Annual 2011 and Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson Vol.5 , are unlikely to appear on schedule, if at all. The Annual was originally due in 2009.

What can I say except support the books that are out or due out shortly. And with older books, well... some books are quickly—and quite heavily—discounted and it's always worth taking a look at recently released books that you've perhaps put off buying at full price to see if they're now more affordable. And with Christmas coming up, why not get someone else to buy you a book?

News on the home front is a bit thin. I've scraped together what might be considered a living wage this week by dint of ignoring the unopened boxes. Not quite true as I did open up and empty a couple—and the shelves are a little more organized as I slowly shuffle books around the house so that they're gradually inching their way towards a permanent home. But I don't see me hitting my deadline to have everything sorted out by the end of the month, although there are circumstances that are partly to blame for that as we're also storing a lot of stuff that isn't ours and a variety of things that we need to get rid of are cluttering up the place (a spare fridge and a spare bed for starters). For someone with a pathological need to know where things are this is not an ideal situation.

By the time you read this, presuming it isn't at five in the morning, I should have the proofing for The Thriller Index finished. Just one last scan through to make sure all the corrections and last minute additions are in place. The final book should run to around 284 pages, full colour throughout. It has been three years in the making and I suspect it's going to be one of the books I'm most proud of in years to come. Above is one of my favourites amongst the covers we're including, a beautifully moody piece by John Millar-Watt from Thriller Picture Library 247. Just one of over a thousand illustrations!

Starting on Sunday we begin Clint Eastwood week at Bear Alley, taking a look at his career, films—illustrated with plenty of covers from movie tie-in editions—and some of the spin-off books his characters have inspired. I have to confess this is taking me a lot longer to put together than I first anticipated, so if you spot any glitches, be gentle, dear reader. A few blurbs are missing because some books are currently lost from sight.

Today's random scan comes care of Rusty in New Jersey, who sent this over a while back. It has been sitting on my desktop nagging me to get around to doing the next Agatha Christie cover gallery. I'm still working on it... picked up another example last weekend to add to the next batch.

This one is from a 1962 edition of Parker Pyne Investigates and is by John L. Baker, who was covered here. Was it really last Christmas I started the Christie cover cavalcade? Where the hell has the year gone?


  1. That's not welcome news. I've been waiting for the Johnny Red book. Red was may favourite series in Battle.

  2. Yes, I've been waiting on this one, too. Not so bothered by Rat Pack or one or two of the other titles, but Johnny Red was one I really want on my shelf, along with Darkie's Mob and The Best of Action.



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