BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Comic Cuts - 19 August 2011

Another great name in British comics has passed away. I spent most of Monday and Tuesday working on an obituary for F. Solano Lopez, who died last Friday (the 12th), aged 82. He had suffered a stroke the previous Sunday and had been hospitalised in the intensive care ward of the Hospital Italiano. On Friday, he tried to get up by himself, slipped and hit his head, causing a brain hemorrhage.

Since The Guardian will be running the piece, I can't really preempt it by writing about Lopez here. I'll put up a link when the obituary appears and say, simply, that Solano played a large part in my childhood comics' reading with his work on strips like Kelly's Eye, Raven on the Wing, Janus Stark and Adam Eterno. I had the good fortune of contacting the artist in 1990 and he very kindly revealed how he was able to keep up such a prolific production schedule with the use of a studio full of assistants. What he described as "broken English" was actually very good written English and I count myself lucky that I was able to correspond with one of my heroes of comics.

I have also been discussing a couple of Bear Alley Books projects with various people which will hopefully come to pass. I won't jinx them by talking about them here just yet, but one is an index and the other a comic strip collection. I still have the Mike Western book in the pipeline but I've not had a huge amount of time recently to work on anything other than earning a living. Believe me when I say Bear Alley Books is a labour of love: even earning minimum wage from the work I put in is a distant dream!

Thankfully, even though I've not had much opportunity to promote the books, orders are still trickling in, including the landmark 50th copy of Eagles Over the Western Front Volume 1. I've had some great feedback on the Eagles books and, as you'll see from the above, I've always thinking of new projects.  Thanks to computer problems and the need to pay off the costs of a new one, I've rather lost the momentum that was carrying me forward with Bear Alley Books... I'd hoped that I would have a new book out every couple of months but, as so often happens, real life often gets in the way of the best laid plans. Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things soon.

I've just realised that Bear Alley is five years old. The first post appeared on 15 August 2006 and after a few months of occasional jottings, we've been posting daily (with the occasional glitch) ever since - somewhat over 2,100 posts. Who'd'a thought it... and me so easily distracted that I rarely stick with anything longer than a few months. This is a good opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed over the years, not just the occasional column but to everyone who comments and sends me feedback.

And so to today's random scans. Last week I ran a cover from an old Panther book - The Veils of Fear by Geoffrey Mark - and asked whether the artist was Barye Phillips. This was quickly confirmed (thanks to Joe Jusko and Rob Matthews) and here's the original appearance of the cover to prove it.

The next pair are covers for the same book, The Paradox Men by Charles Harness (originally published in the US as Flight Into Yesterday). I've read this book three or four times over the years and I'm still amazed by its scale and imagination every time. Harness also wrote The Rose, which is widely praised... I'll have to dig that one out and put it on the scanner.

The latest Paul Temple comes to an end over the weekend so next week should see the return of Bill Lacey's 'The Man Who Searched for Fear'. I'll try to hustle some more galleries together to add a little colour to the week's postings.

(* Kelly's Eye © IPC Media; Eagles Over the Western Front © Look and Learn Ltd.)

2 comments:

Colin Smith said...

Congratulations on 5 years of the blog, which I always enjoy reading.

Richard Williams said...

Yes, many congrats on the 5th year anniversary Steve. As I'm said before, great work on the Eagle books - a real pleasure to read & hugely enjoyable. Sad to hear about Mr Solano Lopez, Kelly's Eye was one of my fav strips back in the day though I no longer have any of the comics themselves. I do have the Albion Origins compilation which reprints some of the Kelly's Eye strips and I was recently given a few old copies of Buster with the Galaxus strip which I believe Lopez drew aswel. When you look back at some of these guys' careers, its amazing how much work they actually produced - staggering!