Friday, February 10, 2012

Comic Cuts - 10 February 2012

6:00am, Sunday morning

I'm happy to announce that all orders for Pages from History have now been dispatched and I have been getting some very nice comments coming through about the book. All I can say is that a lot of effort went into it and I believe the results show. I have been mulling over some ideas for future projects along similar lines and I'm hopeful that I may be able to get started on something soon so there isn't the same six month gap between books as we had following the publication of Eagles Over the Western Front.

Between filling orders and desperately trying to keep up a reasonable rate of paid work, I haven't had much of a chance to do anything else — which is becoming something of a mantra of mine these days. The cold weather (and Mel's cold) has kept us indoors, catching up on various TV programmes like The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Whitechapel that we've had sitting on the recorder, unwatched, for some while.

Random scans: from our "When Science Fiction Goes Wrong" file... four covers by Gerald Facey. Now, Facey was not a bad artist, but his reputation has been somewhat sullied by his association with John Spencer's early 1950s SF magazines. Published in paperback form, Spencer put out four titles, the first of which was Futuristic Science Stories, paying the rate of 10/- a thousand words. The fee attracted a number of writers who had zero notion about SF plus one or two who had sold SF in the past but knew that Spencer wanted unsophisticated action yarns and could hammer out five or six thousand words in a day. So, despite the presence of Norman Lazenby and Syd Bounds (who had both sold to New Worlds), the Spencer SF magazines are generally considered amongst the worst ever published.

And Facey's covers did nothing to dispel the notion that these magazines were unsophisticated junk. I suspect he was probably paid around £8 per cover and would not have spent much time on them. The four below were signed in a variety of ways: Facey, FAG (his initials reversed) and GF and the best that can be said about them is that they were colourful... which does mean they make for a nice gallery, even if my copy of issue four is especially poor (if anyone can send me a better scan, that would be much appreciated). I will try to dig out some examples of Facey's better work some time in the future.

Next week: Paul Temple returns on Monday.

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