Friday, September 30, 2011

Comic Cuts - 30 September 2011

With plenty more to look at today - just scroll down if you're after the upcoming releases listings and the latest episode of Paul Temple - I'm going to keep this short.

Work: going OK. I'm still doing the same job - I've done about two and a half thousand images over the past couple of months and I've no idea how many more I still have to go.

Bear Alley Books: I managed to sort out a few more pages including the one you can see at the top of this column. I've still to make a final decision but I'm 90% certain the collection will be called The Black Pirate and Other Stories. C. L. Doughty is the artist and, to my mind, he's one of the finest artists to have worked in British comics - also a fantastic painter and illustrator. I'm hopeful that this little collection will earn Doughty a few more well-deserved fans.

With Commando earning a few column inches in newspapers during its 50th anniversary celebrations, I thought I'd mention another D. C. Thomson related reprint project: the Comic Art Website has been producing screenprints based on various Thomson characters for about eight years. Former Rover and Victor reader John Patrick Reynolds, who runs the site, tells me he is in the process of producign a new series of Victor prints to celebrate that title's 50th anniversary, the first of which you can see pictured above, based on an image from a 1960s Victor Book. John has little prints, big prints and canvas prints on offer, so you should be able to find something to fit any gap on your wall you need filling.

And so... this week's set of random scans is a whole series of books. The Mortal Engines quartet (also known as the Hungry City Chronicles) is an award-winning series by Philip Reeve, a childrens' book illustrator turned childrens' book writer. I spotted them in a charity shop last weekend and took a peek at Chapter one of Mortal Engines, which opens with a mobile city of London hunting a small mining town across the dry bed of what was once the North Sea. After an opening paragraph like that I couldn't resist buying the lot!

Reeve is certainly worth checking out and there are plenty of bargains to be had at Amazon where you can buy sets of the four original books and copies of the series' prequel, the Fever Crumb quartet, of which three books - Fever Crumb, A Web of Air, Scrivener's Moon - have currently been published.

The covers of the four titles show below are by David Frankland.

Next week: a hopefully less cluttered blog and more Paul Temple.

Paul Temple and the Affair of the Tired Tiger part 15

(* © Evening News)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Strip Magazine sneak preview

John Freeman has announced that a sampler of the first issue of Strip Magazine is now online. The new British anthology comic will be on sale in UK comic shops from 20 October 2011.

Strip Magazine launches with a 68-page first issue, priced £2.99, featuring nine strips, a plethora of features and a free poster. The strip lineup includes:

Cosmic Patrol by Mauricet & Janssens
Black Ops Extreme by John Freeman & P J Holden
Hook Jaw by Pat Mills & Ramon Sola [a classic reprint from Action, remastered by Jim Campbell & Gary Caldwell]
Hush, Hush by Stephen Walsh & Keith Page [a prequel to Print Media's recent graphic novel release Iron Moon]
Recovery Inc. by Dean Deckard & Michael Penick
Warpaint by Phil Hester & John McCrea
Strip Challenge: Ex-Agent by David & Graham Stoddard [winning competition entry]
Age of Heroes by James Hudnall & John Ridgway
Autospy & Ape by by Jon Rushby

Features in the strip sampler include a look back at Action and an interview with P J Holden.

Strip Magazine will not initially be available on news stands but, should the magazine prove successful, plans are afoot to widen the distribution in early 2012. Future strips will include 'Lawless' by Ferg Handley & Kev Hopgood and 'Crucible' by John Freeman & Smuzz.

Paul Temple and the Affair of the Tired Tiger part 11

(* © Evening News)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Victor Canning... plural

Some while back I ran some columns headed "Mysteries That Have Me Mystified" and this could have been one of them... but I've managed to resolve it.

When I was running names for the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (shortly to appear online) one that I planned to return to was Victor Canning. Although both his birth date (16 June 1911) and death date (21 February 1986) were known, I had failed to turn up a record for his birth. Most frustrating.

Well, there's a reason. The family name was actually Cannings, as if it were a plural. His parents, Frederick Harry Cannings (a taxi driver), and mother, Mabel Jessie Goold, were married in 1910 and Victor, registered as Victor Cannings, was born in Plymouth the following year. A sister, Dorothy, followed in 1914; another sister, Sylvia Jean Cannings, was born in Plymouth in 1918. Sylvia – better known as Jean – married John H. C. Tearle; this excellent website about Canning notes that she died in 2010, aged 92.

Birth, marriage and census records confirm that Victor's father was called Cannings and that Victor and his sisters were born with that surname. However, when Frederick H. Cannings died in 1968, aged 82, his death was registered in Hemel Hempstead as Frederick H. Canning; Victor's marriage in 1935 (to Phyllis McEwen) and Sylvia's marriage in 1937 were also registered under the name Canning, which makes me think that the whole family changed their name officially some time between 1918 and 1935, and possibly earlier.

Canning's earliest published stories may have appeared in the late 1920s in boys' magazines; the earliest traced was published anonymously in 1932. His first adult story appeared in the Evening News in 1934, the same year his first novel appeared, both credited to Victor Canning.

When the Cannings family changed their name to Canning is perhaps unimportant... at least I've managed to solve the reason why I couldn't find his birth record.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Comic Cuts - 23 September 2011

I'm starting to sound like a stuck record, but I've little to report. Metadata is taking almost every waking moment and everything else is being squeezed into the wee hours of the morning. Correspondence is becoming more monosyllabic. I've only managed to read about thirty pages of the novel I'm reading since last Saturday, although I'm doing rather better with a John Le Carré audio book I downloaded [legally] on Tuesday. I'm about halfway through that. No artwork cleaning since Sunday, although I managed a few covers for today's random scans.

On the positive front, I now have most of the missing Doughty strips needed for the book I'm working on (a sample of which is this week's column header) and the little dummy I put together for another book arrived on Monday and was sent out again on Tuesday. Now it's down to wrangling permission from the copyright holder. I suspect it will be a while before I have any news.

More positive news: restocks of Eagles Over the Western Front are now in, so I can turn around orders a little quicker than I managed last week. Sales are still steady - I even had a couple of orders for the Hurricane/Champion index creep in. There's still a long way to go before I can start lighting cigars with rolled £50 notes, but I'm pleased with the way things are going. Keeping a tight rein on costs is paying off!

The latest issue of Jeff Hawke's Cosmos is another bumper package of stories and features. This issue runs to a magnificent 116 pages and contains four Jeff Hawke yarns: 'The Venusian Club' (1967-68; written by Willie Patterson), 'Daughter of Eros' (1969; written by Syd Jordan), 'Survival' (1960; written by Willie Patterson) and 'Some Day I'll Find You' (1971; written by Syd Jordan). All have artwork by Syd Jordan, with assists from Colin Andrew and Nick Faure, and Syd even appears as himself to introduce the last story. There's also a bonus strip, 'The Devil at Rennes Le Chateau', which originally appeared in A1.

This issue also includes the usual notes on stories and astronomy by Duncan Lunan, plus Andrew Darlington's look back at the Martin Magus stories of William F. Temple, making up another winning package. With around 60 stories reprinted so far - this being the start of the magazine's 7th volume - it should soon be possible to read all of the Jeff Hawke yarns in order!

Subscriptions are £20 for 3 issues, which is excellent value for money, and you can get full details from editor William Rudling by e-mailing; for further details, check out the Jeff Hawke Club website.

Another excellent magazine that landed on our doormat this week  is The Paperback Fanatic, which has reached issue 20, something of a milestone, so congratulations to editor/publisher Justin Marriott (my own best effort at a regular fanzine, PBO, fizzled out after only 9 issues!). This issue is dubbed a Universal special, with most of the articles centred around the US publisher behind imprints Beacon, Award and, in the UK, Tandem and Softcover Library. After an overview, Justin pens a piece on softcore publisher Beacon Books, who published some interesting authors, usually tucked away behind pen-names, including hardboiled crime writers Charles Willeford and Peter Rabe and collectable porn writer Orrie Hitt, who is the subject of another article in this issue. Softcover Library and Tandem's Dollars westerns round out the issue nicely, while a selection of Beacon original artwork and a gallery of Tandem science fantasy novels both make good use of the colour printing.

Justin is considering various options about how The Paperback Fanatic is to be formatted in the future, so for the latest subscription details it's probably best to contact him directly at

I promised last week that I would dig out the remaining two covers that Carlo Jacono did for Badger Books and, true to my word, here they are. Both are from the 'floating head' school of cover art which Badger regular Henry Fox also liked.

Today's random scans... well, as I was talking about Francis Durbridge and his novels the other week, I thought I'd dig out a couple of covers. The first is a Paul Temple novel that originally appeared not as by Francis Durbridge but as by Paul Temple (Hodder & Stoughton, 1957). 'Paul Temple' was the joint pen-name of Durbridge and James Douglas Rutherford McConnell, who usually wrote under the pen-name Douglas Rutherford, and was used on two novels, the other being East of Algiers (Hodder & Stoughton, 1959; Hodder paperback 1960).

Next up is The Scarf (Hodder & Stoughton, 1960; Hodder paperback 1962), based on a six-part TV series by Durbridge broadcast in 1959. Note that the cover again says "Francis Durbridge presents..." rather than the usual form of byline. Were Durbridge's non-Temple novels also ghosted by other hands?

And, finally, another Paul Temple adventure, this one definitely ghosted (by Tony Hussey).

One thing I find very surprising about Francis Durbridge: you don't see many of his books around. I appreciate that charity shops have no time for pre-decimal books these days, but you would think that the Paul Temple novels at least would have sold in numbers great enough for copies to still trickle in occasionally. But that's not the case around here. I haven't seen a second hand copy in years.

Talking of Paul Temple... the latest mystery will be continuing next week while I get my nose back to the grindstone. I'm planning to get a couple of early nights, so we'll just have to wait and see if I can post anything else. Fingers crossed.

Paul Temple and the Affair of the Tired Tiger part 10

(* © Evening News)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

John Le Carré cover gallery

I published a selection of John Le Carré's covers back on January 2nd 2010 but I've since dug out some others. The new gallery is still far from complete but I thought that it would be nice to repost this to celebrate the release of the superb new film by Tomas Alfredson starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley.

I re-read some of Le Carré's best novels in 2009, prompted by the showing of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People (both starring Alec Guinness) and the Radio 4 adaptations of the entire Smiley canon starring Simon Russell Beale. They did a damn fine job - I'm listening to one of them as I type this.

John Le Carré is one of the few authors whose entire output is still in print... with very good reason. There was a recent re-release of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to tie-in with the movie's release, which is as good a starting place as any if you've not read any of his books before. Hopefully it will prompt a reissue of the whole of the Karla trilogy (the story continuing in The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People). Add The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and you have four of the best novels about spy tradecraft you could wish for.

If you prefer something a bit more modern, Le Carré has adapted magnificently to the fall of the Berlin wall and the supposed end of the Cold War; you could do a lot worse than try The Constant Gardner (made into a very good movie) or his latest, Our Kind of Traitor.

Call for the Dead
Penguin Books C2066, 1964, 157pp, 2/6. Cover by Romek Marber
----, [2nd imp.] 1964
----, [3rd imp.] 1964
----, [4th imp.] 1965
----, [5th imp.] 1966
as The Deadly Affair, [6th imp.] 1966, 157pp, 3/6. Cover: photo. Movie tie-in.
Penguin 0140-02066-7, [7th imp.] 1972
----, [8th imp.] 1975
----, [9th imp.] 1976, 157pp, 50p. Cover photo by Robert Hollingsworth
----, [xth imp.] 1979, 157pp.
----, [xth imp.] 1982. Cover: design
Coronet 0340-55969-1, 1992, 157pp.
Sceptre 0340-93755-2, 2006, 159pp.
Sceptre 0340-99372-3, 2009, 168pp.

A Murder of Quality
Penguin Books 2271, 1964, 156pp, 3/6. Cover by Keith Burns
----, [2nd imp.] 1965
----, [3rd imp.] 1966
----, [4th imp.] 1969
Penguin Books 0140-02271-6, [5th imp.] 1971
----, [6th imp.] 1972
----, [7th imp.] 1974
----, [8th imp.] 1974
----, [9th imp.] 1975
----, [10th imp.] 1976, 156pp, 50p. Cover design by Robert Hollingsworth
----, [11th imp.] 1978
----, [12th imp.] 1979, 156pp, 75p. Cover design by David Quay & Peter Horridge
A Murder of Quality: The Novel & the Screenplay, Hodder & Stoughton 0340-55551-3, 1991, 271pp, £6.99. Cover photo by Murray Close. TV tie-in.
Coronet 0340-55444-4, 1991, 176pp.
Sceptre 0340-76647-6, 2000, 191pp.
Sceptre 0340-99373-1, 2009, 180pp.
Penguin Classics 0141-19637-8, 2011, 176pp.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Pan X364, 1964, 240pp.
----, [2nd imp.] 1964
Pan M107, [3rd imp.] 1965
----, [4th imp.] 1965, 240pp, 5/-. Cover: design. Movie tie-in.
Pan 0330-20107-7, [xth imp.] 1976, 240pp.
Coronet 0340-51307-1, 1990, 219pp.
Sceptre 0340-73964-9, 1999, 229pp.
Sceptre 0340-99374-X, 2009, ix+256pp.
Penguin Classics 0141-19452-9, x+257pp.
Penguin 0670-01939-X, 2011

The Looking-Glass War
Pan M210, 1966
----, [2nd imp.] 1967, 237pp, 5/-. Cover by unknown
Pan 0330-20210-3, [2nd imp.] 1967, 237pp, 5/-. Cover: still. Movie tie-in. *Recover of Pan M210
----, [xth imp.] 1976. Cover: photo
----, [14th imp.]1979, 237pp, 90p. Cover: design
Coronet 0340-55446-0, 1991, 287pp.
Sceptre 0340-75034-0, 1999, 287pp.
Sceptre 0340-93758-0, 2006, 288pp.
Sceptre 0340-99375-8, 2009, 318pp.

A Small Town in Germany
Pan Books 0330-02306-9, 1969, 319pp.
----, [2nd imp.] 1970, 319pp.
----, [xth imp.] c.1980
Coronet 0340-55445-2, 1991, 342pp.
Sceptre 0340-75035-9, 1999, 336pp, £6.99. Cover photo by Seth Greenwald

The Naive and Sentimental Lover
Pan Books 0330-23293-2, 1972
----, [14th imp.] 1981, 431pp, £1.95. Cover by unknown
Coronet 0340-51592-9, 1990, 462pp.
Sceptre 0340-93760-2, 2006, 556pp.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Pan Books, 1975
----, [12th imp.] 1979, 317pp, £1.25. Cover photo by John Timbers. TV Tie-in.
Coronet 0340-51308-X, 1989, 367pp.
Sceptre 0340-93761-0, 2006, 382pp.
Sceptre 0340-99376-6, 2009, 422pp.
----, [xth imp.] 2011.
Sceptre 1444-72818-0, 2011, 422pp. Movie tie-in.

The Honourable Schoolboy
Pan Books, 1978
----, [14th imp.] 1983, 543pp, £2.50. Cover by unknown
Coronet 0340-49490-5, 1989, 602pp.
Sceptre 0340-73963-0, 1999, 575pp.
Sceptre 0340-99377-4, 2009, 686pp.

Smiley's People
Pan Books 0330-25272-6, 1980
----, [14th imp.], n.d., 335pp, £2.95. Cover photo by John Timbers. TV tie-in.
Coronet 0340-55917-9, 1992, 384pp.
Sceptre 0340-73962-2, 1999, 395pp.

The Little Drummer Girl
Pan Books 0330-28256-5, 1984
----, [2nd imp.] n.d., 522pp, £2.50. Cover by Kevin Tweddell
Coronet 0340-61845-0, 1994, 576pp.
Sceptre 0340-76649-2, 2000, 572pp.
Sceptre 0340-93764-5, 2006, 572pp.

A Perfect Spy
Coronet 0340-39313-0, 1987, 607pp.
Sceptre 0340-76650-6, 1999, 704pp. Cover: photo
Sceptre 0340-93765-3, 2006, 704pp, £7.99. Cover: photo

The Russia House
Coronet 0340-51121-4, 1990, 426pp, £4.50. Cover by unknown
Sceptre 0340-76651-4, 2000, 460pp.
Penguin 0141-19635-1, 2011, ix+452pp.

The Secret Pilgrim
Coronet 0340-55205-0, 1991, 352pp, £4.99. Typographical cover
Sceptre 0340-937670-X, 2006, 348pp.
Sceptre 0340-99379-0, 2009, 408pp.
Penguin 0141-19636-X, 2011, 409pp.

The Night Manager
Coronet 0340-59765-8, 1994, 718pp.
Sceptre 0340-766522, 2000, 624pp.
Sceptre 0340-93768-8, 2006, 624pp, £7.99. Cover photo by Corbis

Our Game
Coronet 0340-64027-8, 1996, 414pp, £5.99. Cover by unknown
----, [2nd imp.] n.d.
Sceptre 0340-76653-0, 2000, 408pp.
Sceptre 0340-93769-6, 2006, 408pp.

The Tailor of Panama
Coronet 0340-68479-8, 1997, 288pp.
----, [3rd imp.] n.d., 460pp, £6.99. Cover by Bob Warner
Sceptre 0340-76654-9, 1999, 460pp.
Coronet 0340-79370-8, 2001, 448pp. Movie tie-in.
Sceptre 0340-93770-X, 2006, 416pp.

Single and Single
Coronet 0340-73899-5, 2000.
---- [10th imp.] n.d., 415pp, £6.99. Cover by Larry Rostant
---- [19th imp.] n.d., 415pp, £6.99. Cover photo by Tony Stone Images
Sceptre 0340-76655-7, 2000, 351pp.
Sceptre 0340-93771-8, 2006, 351pp.

The Constant Gardner
Coronet 0340-73339-X, 2001, 570pp.
Hodder 0340-83709-8, [8th imp.] 2005, 570pp, £6.99. Cover: still. Movie tie-in.
Sceptre 0340-93772-6, 2006, 506pp.

Absolute Friends
Coronet 0340-83290-8, 2004
----, [10th imp.] n.d., 383pp, £6.99. Cover design
Sceptre 0340-92368-5, 2006

The Mission Song
Hodder 978-0340-92199-9, 2007, 392pp, £6.99. Cover photo Tim Flach/Lynsey Addario

A Most Wanted Man
Hodder 978-0340-97709-5, 2009, 418pp, £6.99. Cover photo by Daniela Lombard/Colin Thomas

Our Kind of Traitor
Penguin 978-0141-04916-8, 2011, 309pp, £7.99. Cover photo by Andreas Hempel/Gallery Stock

A Delicate Truth
Penguin 978-0241-96518-4, 2014, 342pp, £7.99. Cover design by

A Legacy of Spies (London, Viking, Sep 2017)
Penguin 978-0241-98161-0, (May) 2018, 353pp, £8.99.

Agent Running in the Field (London, Viking, 2019)
Penguin 978-1241-98654-7, 2020, 366pp, £8.99. Cover design by Superfantastic

(London, Viking, Oct 2021)
Penguin 978-0241-99453-5, Apr 2022, 255pp, £8.99. Cover design by Superfantastic


The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories From My Life (2016)
Penguin 978-0241-97689-0, 2017, 343pp, £8.99. Cover photo by Richard Bailey

Novels (series: George Smiley)
Call for the Dead (Smiley) London, Gollancz, 1960; New York, Walker, 1962; as The Deadly Affair, New York, Penguin, 1966.
A Murder of Quality (Smiley). London, Gollancz, 1962; New York, Walker, 1963.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Smiley). London, Gollancz, 1963; New York, Coward-McCann, 1964.
The Looking Glass War. London, Heinemann, 1964; New York, Coward-McCann, 1965.
A Small Town in Germany. London, Heinemann, 1968; New York, Coward-McCann, 1968.
The Naive and Sentimental Lover. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1971; New York, Knopf, 1971.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Smiley). London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1974; New York, Knopf, 1974.
The Honourable Schoolboy (Smiley). London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1977; New York, Knopf, 1977.
Smiley's People (Smiley). London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1980; New York, Knopf, 1980.
The Little Drummer Girl. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1983; New York, Knopf (New York, NY), 1983.
A Perfect Spy. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1986; New York, Knopf, 1986.
The Russia House. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1989; New York, Knopf, 1989.
The Secret Pilgrim. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1991; New York, Knopf, 1991.
The Night Manager. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1993; New York, Knopf, 1993.
Our Game. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1995; New York, Knopf, 1995.
The Tailor of Panama. London, Hodder & Stoughon, 1996; New York, Knopf, 1996.
Single and Single. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1999; New York, Scribner, 1999.
The Constant Gardener. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 2001; New York, Scribner, 2001.
Absolute Friends. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 2004; New York, Little Brown, 2004.
The Mission Song. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 2006; New York, Little Brown, 2006.
A Most Wanted Man. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 2008; New York, Scribner, 2008.
Our Kind of Traitor. London, Viking, 2010; New York, Viking, 2010.
A Delicate Truth. London, Viking Apr 2013;  New York, Viking, May 2013.
A Legacy of Spies. London, Viking, Sep 2017;  New York, Viking, Sep 2017.
Agent Running in the Field. London, Viking, 2019; New York, Viking, 2019.
Silverview. 2021.

The Incongruous Spy: Two Novels of Suspense (contains Call for the Dead, A Murder of Quality) London, Gollancz, 1964; New York, Walker, 1964.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Call for the Dead, A Murder of Quality, The Looking-Glass War, A Small Town in Germany. London, Octopus, 1979.
The Quest for Karla (contains Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, Smiley's People). New York, Knopf, 1982; as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, Smiley's People, London, Octopus, 1988; as Smiley versus Karla, London, Coronet, 1991; as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, Smiley's People, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1994; as John Le Carre: Three Complete Novels, Avenel, NY, Wings, 1995.
Three Complete Novels (contains The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, A Small Town in Germany, The Looking Glass War). New York, Avenel Books, 1983.
The Russia House, The Secret Pilgrim, A Murder of Quality. London, Chancellor Press, 1993.

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life. London, Viking, Sep 2016; New York, Viking, Sep 2016.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, adapted by Michael Thomas. London, Hutchinson (Bull-eye Books), 1974.
Heart of Darkness. Photographs by Don McCullin, introduction by John Le Carré. London, Secker & Warburg, 1980.
John Miller: New Horizons, introduction by John Le Carré. Beaconsfield, Bucks, David Messum, 1982.
The Clandestine Muse. The G. Harry Pouder memorial lecture delivered at Johns Hopkins University on May the 20th 1986. Portland, Oregon, C. Seluzicki, 1986.
A Murder of Quality: The Novel & The Screenplay. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1991.
Nervous Times. An address given at the Savoy Hotel at the annual dinner of the Anglo-Israel Association on 10th November, 1997. London, Anglo-Israel Association, 1998.
Sarratt and the Draper of Watford, by John Le Carré and others. Sarratt, 1999?
Conversations with John Le Carré, edited by Matthew Bruccoli & Judith Baughman. Jackson, Mississippi, University Press of Mississippi, 2005.
John Le Carre: The Biography by Adam Sisman. London, Harper, 2015.


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