Friday, October 28, 2011

Comic Cuts - 28 October 2011

Finally... some news. Regular readers will know I've had my nose to the grindstone writing information for images that have been appearing on the Look and Learn Picture Library (specifically this bit of the site) which hasn't left much time for anything else. I was slowly and unsteadily putting together notes for the introduction to the next Bear Alley Books project, collecting some strips by C. L. Doughty and, last weekend, reached a point where I was able to start writing. So, I've written about 2,000 words so far and have broken the back of the research needed to write the rest of the piece. It's always a good week when you can look though hundreds of beautifully drawn illustrations like the above.

I'm also hopeful that another Bear Alley project might now also have, let's say an amber light rather than a green light because one hurdle, getting permission from the copyright holders, has been successfully hurdled. I've still got to figure out the best way to present the material but we're moving in the right direction.

I had to do a little juggling act last weekend when setting up this week's blog features so that I could fit in the regular Recent Releases and Upcoming Releases columns. Next week's 'The Man Who Searched for Fear' is the promised 4-parter and, sadly, it will bring the strip to an end. Some folks have asked whether it can be put together as a collection and I'll certainly give it some thought. The scans I have which look fine on a computer monitor aren't up to scratch for print publication, so it would involve rescanning the whole thing; if it happens it won't be instantaneous.

Back in August I mentioned the passing of Francisco Solano Lopez and said that I had written a piece for The Guardian, which was published this week. Reading that episode of Comic Cuts, I see I also mention "two projects" — the same two projects I've discussed above, which gives you some idea of how slowly these things evolve. In my ideal world there are no such things as rent, bills, expenses... and the days are 48 hours long.

Someone else also wishing the days were longer is John Freeman. Following last week's announcement about the launch issue of Strip Magazine being delayed thanks to couriers not delivering on time, there has been some good news. The last I heard was that the copies destined for Titan Distributors were with them and would shortly be heading into comic shops. The official release date is now 2nd November. A separate pile of comp copies sent via FedEx also went astray... life really does kick you when your vulnerable!

The two graphic novels due from Print Media are also well along the pipeline with Mirabilis Volume 2 heading out of the printers and Frontier almost at the final proofing stage.

Scholarly Resources is a new section of Comics Forum, established in 2009 as part of the Thought Bubble convention in Leeds. The new section has information and papers from the 2011 Comics & Conflicts conference at the Imperial War Museum, including links to various podcasts that were earlier broadcast on Panel Boarders in August and September 2011.

Mind you, not all resources are free and some are far from scholarly, as I found out to my cost this week. Doing some further research into the curious Nictzin Dyalhis, a fellow researcher pointed me to something called as they claimed to have birth records for the author and there was a 7-day free trial. Well, the 7-day free trial button simply led to a pay page and the minimum payment was a 3-month subscription. Searching for other associated names turned up birth records for both of Dyalhis's wives and with what looked like five promising records, I thought I'd stump up the cash. A quick £16 credit card payment later, I discovered that the "birth" records were actually census records, which I'd already described in my original article. In fact, all the records that I found were available free elsewhere on the web.

What a rip-off. I don't know if British or American advertising or trading standards authorities have any juristiction over the company, but they really should be looked at carefully as promising "birth records" when you don't have them is, I suspect, a breach of the law. I pointed this out to them... haven't had a response yet.

Roy of the Rovers was briefly resurrected last Friday (21 October) in the pages of the Daily Mail, where he visited the Manchester derby fought last weekend.

And, talking of football strips, the Striker website at seems to have disappeared. According to a news report on Downthetubes (dated 11 October) this was a temporary measure and would be sorted out "in the next week". Well, it's still down over two weeks later. Striker creator Peter Nash has been hinting at big things to come, responding to concerns about the site by saying "As quiet as everything has been, there is a lot that has been going on with regard to Striker and the other projects, which I and the consortium I am working with hope will come to fruition by the end of the year."

Random scans this week are classic covers from Corgi Books. I spotted an article in one of the broadsheets about Joseph Heller, whch made me think of the Corgi edition of Catch 22 and its classic cover. So I've dug out a few more classic Corgis for you.

Next week... 'The Man Who Searched For Fear' - the final chapter!

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