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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Comic Cuts - 21 April 2011

Click here to pre-order Eagles Over the Western Front
I don't want this to sound creepy, but I like to keep an eye on you all and your visiting habits to Bear Alley, which is why I know quite a few of you sneak a look at the latest postings while you're at work. Good for you. I'm writing this at work—instead of work, in fact—so I heartily approve. I do have the advantage that, working from home, I can keep going long after clocking off time.

So... um... it's Wednesday morning and I managed to blow all my news by posting about it on Monday. After a madcap morning finishing off the last pages of the first two volumes of Eagles Over the Western Front, I started uploading the finished PDF files to the company that prints the books. While they crawled across the internet, I managed to finish the layouts for volume 3 and sent that over on Monday evening. Yesterday it was back to work on the writing jobs that actually pay the rent, which I'll also be working on today and tomorrow. Friday I'm planning to take off... actually Mel and I will probably be heading off to a barbecue, but I already have a treat lined up for the blog for Friday and Saturday, so my weekend visitors have something to look at. I'm loath to call it a lost Hugo Pratt comic strip, but it's certainly forgotten by all but a few hardcore fans.

While I'm waiting for the proofs to turn up, I'm mulling over what to do next for Bear Alley Books. I have a couple of ideas, some of them suicidal projects that will sell about five copies—I may leave them for later in the year once I've got a few more books under my belt. But I reserve the right to put out a few things that I want to see in print, Mean Streetmaps was very much that kind of project. Mind you, I wouldn't call the Hurricane & Champion index a very high profile launch project as both papers are incredibly hard to find these days and there are many, many comics which collectors are more interested in. I'll get around to those eventually, but I thought (and you may or may not agree with me) it was logical to have a 'soft' launch with some titles that I could easily handle just in case there were problems that needed to be ironed out, whether it was with my ability to deliver, the printers ability to deliver or the ordering system.

Thankfully everything has gone very smoothly... well, apart from me ordering the wrong sort of envelopes but that was a minor inconvenience that was quickly resolved.

With the release of Eagles in a couple of week's time, I'm hoping that I can spread the word about Bear Alley Books a little further, so if you have a blog and you want some publicity material, pics or information, let me know. I'd like to make these books a big success and not just because Bear Alley Books is running at a loss (but down to about £110 since last week and creeping slowly but steadily towards zero!). I was anticipating a slow start because the first two books are shouldering all the weight of set up costs. Once I get a few more books out that weight will be spread a little.

Having obsessed over Eagles for the past few weeks, I've rather forgotten about the Hurricane & Champion index, which has been selling slowly but fairly steadily. This is good for a couple of reasons. Forgetting the financial aspect for a moment, the trickle of orders has meant that I've been getting a bit more exercise than normal. It's about a twenty minute round walk to the post office from here and, when the weather's nice, it's a much welcome break. I'm not exactly shedding the pounds but walking is good for my back, which I've had problems with since I was in my early twenties. So when you order a copy of Hurricane & Champion or Mean Streetmaps, give yourself a pat on the back and think of me getting some healthy exercise for the first time in years.

Click the links to order Hurricane & Champion or Mean Streetmaps
Not sure what's going to be happening next week. Hopefully I'll have a chance to run another story featuring 'The Man Who Searched for Fear', and I'll be posting the regular monthly round-ups of recent releases and upcoming releases. I'll see what else I can squeeze in.

Today's random scans are a couple of recent purchases. The first is an old Streamline paperback from 1960 with a nice cover by Ed Blandford. The book, by a former Foreign Editor of the Sunday Express Ian Colvin, concerns the mystery surrounding the death of Leslie Howard, a popular film star, and asks the question: Was Howard a war-time secret agent?

Howard died when his plane, a civil airliner, was shot down over the Bay of Biscay in June 1943. There are two main theories as to the reason for this tragedy: one is that the Germans believed that Winston Churchill was flying home on that flight; the other is that Howard himself was the target of the enemy that day. A third theory, not really explored in Colvin's book, is that it was a mistake and German pilots had not been informed that a civilian aircraft was flying from Lisbon to the UK that day.

Our second scan is a cover missing from the Christopher Priest cover gallery I put together eighteen or so months ago.

See you next week.


  1. I don't know about a suicidal five copies but you'd be assured of at least 1 (one!) copy if you ever produced a Mytek the Mighty compilation or Steel Claw or Kelly's Eye or Legge's Eleven or even the more recent Doomlord which started as a photostrip like the girls' comics of the time (& the problem page 'stories' of some of the red top tabloids nowadays!) Happy Easter.

  2. Hi Mike,

    The problem is copyright clearance. I discussed projects with the rights owners to most of the strips you mention a couple of years ago and the whole thing fell apart. I'm not ruling anything out but I don't imagine the situation changing in the near future. Doomlord, on the other hand, has already appeared, published by Hibernia Books a few years ago and still available at a knockdown price (£2 UK) if you contact

  3. I would certainly like to see a THE MAN WHO SEARCHED FOR FEAR collection published by Bear Alley Books.

    My other choice would probably be a lot more tricky (and expensive?) with clearing the rights and what have you, but a PAUL TEMPLE collection would be great. If there ever has been a collection of these newspaper strips I reckon it must have been a very very long time ago.

  4. I'd love to see Paul Temple back in print, although I suspect tracking down a full run of the strip would tax even the most dedicated newspaper strip fan. And that's before you got into the copyright situation which would involve not only the original publishers of the strip but also the estate of Francis Durbridge, the creator of the character. I wouldn't know where to start.