Friday, May 18, 2012

Comic Cuts - 18 May 2012

I'm writing this Wednesday night rather than last thing Thursday, as I normally would. Nothing dramatic is happening — I'm just going to have limited access to the net tomorrow night. I've spent the week sorting out the text that I started last week and I now have — or, hopefully, will have by the time you read this as there's still some way to go — a roughly 17,000-word short history of London.

This is part of my attempt to generate text that might be published in e-book form that will also include some reprint fiction. I was hoping to announce things this week but I've spent so much time trying to get all my ducks lined up that I've not had time to sit down and work out which duck goes where. All I know is that they're facing in the right direction.

One of the projects is a reprint collection of Peter Jackson's classic Evening News strips 'London is Stranger than Fiction' and 'London Explorer'. That might not be the final cover above, but I rather like it. More news on that one shortly.

One quick bit of news: William Rudling of Jeff Hawke's Cosmos fame is one of the finalists of Radio 4's 'So You Want to be a Scientist?' challenge, which began on the Material World radio show last September. William submitted a theory that people who look the same also often sound the same; he is now involved in experiments to see whether one's facial structure has an affect on the tone of one's voices.

The experiment is being run through the University of Leeds and you can find out more about it — and get involved — by clicking here. More information about the radio show can be found here.

Today's random scannery has a story paper theme to it. The first character on show, Invisible Dick, was the star of Rover in the 1920s. In an odd move, perhaps showing just how popular the character was, some of the stories were reprinted in a hardback collection by D. C. Thomson in 1926. The experiment seems to have been unsuccessful as there were no more reprints until after WW2. Frank Topham is almost certainly a pseudonym created just for the reprints; the true author remains unknown.

Morgyn the Mighty was also from Rover, first appearing in 1928. Morgyn became a comic strip in the early issues of The Beano and later reappeared in Victor. He was almost identical to Strang the Terrible, who debuted in text form in Adventure in 1931 and also appeared in comic strip form in the Beano. This hardcover reprint was undated but appeared in 1951, according to the British Library, although while I was digging around the internet, I noticed that one dealer has a copy for sale which he claims has a dedication dated 1949. The hardback includes black & white illustrations and a dust-jacket drawn by Dudley D. Watkins.

And, finally, Wilson, the world's most mysterious athlete. The Truth About Wilson originally appeared in Wizard in 1943 and was subsequently reprinted in book form in paperback in 1962 as part of the Red Lion Library series. The Truth About Wilson is credited to W. S. K. Webb, the name of the first-person narrator of the book, a reporter for the London Daily Clarion, but the true author was almost certainly Gilbert Dalton.

Next week, we continue with The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, adapted by Bill Baker.


  1. Hi Steve

    The cover to your reprint collection of Peter Jackson's classic Evening Standard strips 'London is Stranger than Fiction' and 'London Explorer' isn't appearing. Might be my computer, of course, but I thought you'd want to know.

    I did a quick Google on the strips -- what little I could find suggests I'll be buying this colection.

    David Simpson

  2. Hi David,

    I'm not sure what's up with Blogger today. For some weird reason it (a) posted one but not both the posts I had lined up for this morning; (b) pushed all previous posts back to page 2 and beyond when I posted the Comic Cuts column manually. And, if you're still experiencing the problem, (c) glitching as far as images are concerned.

    These problems may resolve themselves later... Fingers crossed. If not, I'll see if I can get some help from their support team.

  3. You slipped the Peter Jackson book news in there very quietly. I remember reading about how he was a great collector (and obviously illustrator) of London memorabilia so I'm really looking forward to this one Steve.

  4. Alastair Crompton19 May 2012, 20:15:00

    The Truth About Wilson. Would you believe... My all-time favourite
    character in a comic until Dan Dare
    (and even now I still admire Wilson). This book is currently on sale on Amazon for £2,000. I don't suppose there's any faint possibility that someone, somewhere is going to reprint it?
    Occasinally I buy an old Wizaard, in the hope of finding a Wilson story. I now realise I must go back
    to the forties, to find him. Many thanks for the memories.

  5. William Rudling20 May 2012, 10:09:00

    Wonderful news Steve, about the Peter Jackson book. Even though I have the original books, I'll order a copy of your new edition when it's published.
    His work brings to life all the historic streets of London. A lovely man and a great talent.
    I remember His beautiful comic strip in the Daily Express-Mark Fury.

    Thank you also, for lending a hand and encouraging people to part in the Faces and Voices experiment.

  6. re the book The Truth About Wilson published 1962 by Red Lion Library. I'm not sure if the price listed on Amazon can be correct, I hope it is though as I purchased a copy 3 years ago for £50!

  7. I doubt anyone will be buying the book at £2,000 ... or even £2,200 as one seller has it for. I suspect this is one of those prices that are generated depending on other prices found across the internet... or in this case not found.

    The first price was pure speculation because at the time, no other copies were being offered. The next time someone else has a copy for sale, they imagine the book must be particularly collectable because of the high asking price. Other copies come in, each slightly lower in order to attract a quick sale. Then a half-dozen copies sit on the lists for sale because nobody in their right mind is going to pay that sort of price.

    Some prices of generated automatically. So there's one copy currently on offer for £730.26 which is a third of the highest price. There's a chance that whoever is offering this hasn't even got a copy of the book but is relying on someone having a copy priced at 25%; if someone is daft enough to buy the book from them, they quickly snap up the cheaper book, sell it on and pocket the difference, about £180. Until then they've never had to buy a copy, store a copy, or see a copy.



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