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BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Comic Cuts -13 April 2012

Last chance to take advantage of our special 10% off offer

The new Bear Alley Books book, Gwyn Evans: The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet goes on sale today, so if you preordered a copy, you should be seeing it some time next week. This will be your last chance to get the book at the cheaper price... but I will hold the offer open over the weekend as it was a bit of a late announcement. If you're a fan of old pulp-style illustrations, I think you'll like the book, whether you've heard of Evans or not.

To those of you who have never heard of Evans, he was a writer of crime and detection yarns in the 1920s and 1930s, probably best known for writing Sexton Blake yarns and creating the character Hercules Esq. The latter earned Evans a fortune, which he blew in two weeks of wild partying in London's Bohemia. This book is based in part on the memories of Gwyn's contemporaries who paint a portrait of a man who wasted his talents. His handsome looks and generous nature were lost to drink and, at the age of only 39, so was his life. Gwyn Evans: The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet tells the full, tragic story.

It has been a while since I ran any news about British comics, and this seems an opportune time to do it as we will shortly be seeing the relaunch of no less than two comics.

First, CLiNT. Come May 9th, we shall be seeing CLiNT 2.1 released, a 100-page bumper issue with a new look, new logo and four new stories. The new line-up will include Supercrooks by Mark Millar & Lenil Yu, the story of a group of failed supercriminals who head to Spain for one last heist. The strip is already in production as a movie at Universal, co-written, produced and directed by cult-favourite Spanish director, Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial). Next up is the much anticipated The Secret Service by Millar & Dave Gibbons which is also likely to be heading to the big screen soon via director Matthew Vaughan.

Aside from Millar, the new line-up also includes Death Sentence by Monty Nero & Mike Dowling and a new chapter of Rex Royd by Frankie Boyle.

As if that isn't enough the following issue will see the launch of Kick-Ass spin-off Hit-Girl by Millar & John Romita Jr. and, waiting in the wings is Jonathan Ross's new collaboration with Bryan Hitch, America's Got Powers.

Then there's the relaunch of Strip Magazine. The comic has had a bit of a rough ride getting into comic shops, with lengthy delays occurring due to problems shipping the magazine from Bosnia where the paper is printed. The first issue (due 20 October 2011) made it into comic shops on 2 November; issue two, rescheduled for 1 December arrived 14 December. There have only been two issues of the monthly released so far in 2012, the latest arriving in comic shops only on 4 April.

In January, editor John Freeman announced that the magazine was going to be available on the news stands from issue 7 in May. "The initial plan for the title's news stand presence is to target a selected range of top high street stores, but not supermarkets at this time," John announced. However, heavy snow has caused delays in the release of issue four, so to enable the magazine to relaunch on time, the next issue will be a double issue number five, wrapping up a number of storylines; there will be no issue 6 and instead of issue 7, I believe Strip's debut on the news stands will be with a new issue one.

The relaunch is planned for the end of May and will include at least two new strips: "Black Dragon" by Richmond Clements & Nick Dyer and "Crucible" by John Freeman & Smuzz.

I managed to let the 2000AD anniversary slip by without any mention at all. All I can really say is that 2000AD seems to be in good condition for a comic that is not only thirty-five years old and has had the same lead character for the same length of time. The latest Judge Dredd epic, "Eve of Destruction", is by John Wagner, who is also writing Strontium Dog with Carlos Ezquerra drawing; Pat Mills has been writing Flesh recently and Nikolai Dante is being drawn by John M. Burns; and Brendan McCarthy seems to be chanelling Gong in "The Zaucer of Zilk". Meanwhile over in the Megazine I'm waiting on a new Anderson Psi Division yarn. So that's me happy.

Richard Herrero has produced a fantastic video featuring every single Prog, every annual, special and a variety of related publications, fanzines with interviews and odds 'n' sods related to the weekly. It's a long and fascinating trip, well worth watching all the way through.


Random scannery: As this has been a week for backwards glances at my past, it seems apt to run with some old science fiction paperbacks from the post-WWII  era, as that was what I became known for even before the comics' indexes. My fascination came about because of the amazing names under which  these books appeared, chief amongst them Vargo Statten and Volsted Gridban... but let's not forget Vektis Brack, Bengo Mistral, Drax Amper and a few dozen others.

The first weird name I wanted to explore back in... oh, it must have been about 1979 or 1980... was Astron del Martia. Astron was of particular interest because the name was created by Stephen D. Frances (a.k.a. Hank Janson) and the first novel was written by John Russell Fearn; the other three novels that appeared at the time were clearly written by an author who had little idea about what science fiction was; two were first person narratives and were written in the faux American style commonly used in crime novels of the same period. Interstellar Espionage was a sequel to Spawn of Space by Franz Harkon, published by Scion in 1951, both featuring the adventures of Security Officer 'Dog' and other members of the Space Express Company. Space Pirates is certainly by the same author while Dawn of Darkness could be by another hand entirely.


Before I go, a quick update on my attempt to cut down on my smoking habit. You'll be pleased (maybe even amazed) that I've not had a cigarette for a week. I had the final half of a cigarette around 1:30 pm, just after lunch, on Thursday the 5th April. I've been aided by the use of one of those battery-powered electronic cigarettes and it does seem to be working. I'm not out of the woods yet — I still feel the urge to smoke twenty times a day — but I am finding that the cigarette substitute is helping. And after a couple of days when I went a bit mad with it, I'm now starting to ween myself off that before it, too, becomes an addiction.

So how's the Kindle Fund doing? Well, the electronic cigarette cost £42.98 — as much as a week's worth of cigarettes! — but I'm still making a saving. If I change the accounting period (so to speak) so that it runs Friday through Thursday, as it was on a Thursday that I gave up, I can bring the figure right up to date and cover the whole of the period between  31st March to the 12th April. The figure's not so good as I have to take into account the purchase of the e-cigarette... but it's still almost doubled since I last took account and I expect it to leap next week.

Kindle Fund: £27.22

Talking of next week. We'll have a "mystery that has me mystified" tomorrow and a cover gallery for Sunday. I'll sort out something for next week over the weekend... at the moment it'll be a nice surprise for me, too.

1 comment:

Mikeodee said...

Steve,

Happy 50th for whenever it may be. Thanks for continuing to provide a fascinating and informative blog - long may it continue!

Regards,

Mike