Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hwyl Llyfr Mawr

With thanks to Alistair Moffatt, we bring you some pages from Hwyl! Llyfr MawrHwyl! (Fun!) being a Welsh-language comic begun in 1949, and the Llyfr Mawr being the 'Big Book'. This 1952 annual was published, and partly drawn, by Ivor  Owen.

"This was the first children's comic to appear in the Welsh language and had a very sketchy, naive (perhaps amateurish!) charm to the illustrations," says Alistair, "although Owen did contribute some well-crafted lino-cut illustrations depicting famous Welsh figures."

"Among the characters to be found within the pages of Hwyl! were Captain Llewellyn Glyn, Detective (and his young assistant Iolo), Plancton Jones (a kind of Welsh superhero) Mister Mostyn the  schoolteacher and Porci (Pig). It also featured the cowboy/Western series Y March Coch (The Red  Horse) by Bryn Williams."

The 'Big Book' was an occasional publication published in 1952 and 1972; a third volume was published undated and possibly pre-dates the edition seen here.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Comic Cuts - 29 June 2012

We're coming up for the final day – tomorrow – for our pre-order discount on the latest Bear Alley Books' releases. Order will start shipping next week.

I must say a big Thank You to everyone who pre-orders. I'm sure 99.9% of you are wanting the discount, but knowing that I have a bunch of orders under my belt helps tremendously, especially as, in the case of the Sexton Blake Annual series, I've had to pay a hefty fee up front. Sales of the 1940 annual have partly paid this off, but I'm unlikely to see any earnings from these books until volume three and maybe as late as volume four. At least with the Peter Jackson book I pay royalties only on those copies I sell. Meanwhile, I still have to pay rent and keep myself in food.

The next book off the production line from me will be the long-awaited (by me at least!) Mike Western: A Life in Comics. This dates back to a fanzine I published back in 1990 called The Mike Western Story. When I was cut loose from Look and Learn back in 2008, one of the first things I intended doing was to revise the latter. Sadly, Mike was far from well and died that May. It rather took the wind out of my sails, although I picked up the threads of the book again in 2009 and then again in 2011 – the last time it took my computer dying to stop me. Thankfully I'm not a superstitious man, and I've started writing again.

As of today the text clocks in at around 18,000 words, a mix of some finished sections and some in extrensive note form that are close to finished. I need to knit all the bits together so that it tells a coherant story. Plus there's Mike's original biographical essay from the original book, a stripography of Mike's work and an extensive selection of illustrations.

I'm going to be working on this during July and hopefully it'll be out in August. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. Maybe I am superstitious after all!

One happy discovery I've made this week is the earliest copy of Valiant I own that I bought at the time – so it's over forty years old. Actually, it looks a bit battered and there's a huge tear in the cover. But you can see from the note at the top, this was the copy that was held for me at our local newsagents, which I used to pick up on a Saturday morning whilst taking the dog for a walk.

This is the first post-strike issue after a break of some months – Valiant had been off the newsstands since November due to a strike, but the "Holland calls" note clearly indicates that I had already been buying the comic for some time prior to the strike. All my pre-strike copies were given away by my Mum, as were other comics that I bought around that time – including all my copies of TV21 and Joe 90. I suppose I ought to give a shout out to my sister, Julie, because she looked after these precious copies of Valiant for years after I gave up buying it and even after I'd moved out of the family home. It was only when she decided to buy a flat that I was reunited with them.

Random scans this week are a pair of war titles sent over by regular reader David Ainsworth, to which I've added a couple of Digit Books.

We have some Welsh comics tomorrow and some more smutty books for Sunday's Paperback Cover Cavalcade. And next week's posts will depend on what I can get together by way of scans over the weekend. I'm hoping for some more World of Wonder galleries, but we shall just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recent Releases: June 2012

JUNE 2012

Absalom: Ghosts of London by Gordon Rennie & Tiernan Trevallion.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781080429, 21 June 2012, 96pp, £10.99. [£8.35 on Amazon]
Veteran copper, Inspector Harry absalom, heads a special squad that enforces The Accord - a diplomatic treaty made in the sixteenth century between the throne of England and Hell. If any demonic entities step out of line, Harry and his team will track the infernal offenders down and sort them out for good. A miserable old bastard with a knack for finding trouble, Harry was the perfect man for the job. But years of strife are starting to catch up with him, and now Harry also has to contend with the fact that he is dying of terminal cancer...
Order from Amazon.

The Complete D.R. & Quinch by Alan Moore & Alan Davis.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1906735883, 21 June 2012, 128pp, £11.99.
By the most successful comics writer of the past twenty-five years, Alan Moore, comes his funniest and most endearing anti-heroes, D.R & Quinch. There’s nothing like them.
__Ernest Errol Quinch and Waldo ‘D.R.’ Dobbs (the ‘D.R.’ stands for ‘Diminished Responsibility’) are a pair of psychotic alien students, less interested in their college work than in the sort of thing young people like to get up to – you know, military ordnance, picking fights, destroying entire star systems...
Order from Amazon.

Major Eazy Vol. 1: Heart of Iron by Alan Hebden & Carlos Ezquerra.
Titan Books ISBN 978-1848564411, 15 June 2012,  128pp, £14.99. [£8.79 from Amazon]
Major Eazy is a maverick soldier in a dirty war, caught up in the Allies’ invasion of Italy in 1944 and determined to see justice done. Even when that means taking on villains on his own side, he doesn’t pull any punches! More movie star than military, Eazy was the most laconic and indeed British officer ever to grace the pages of a comic. This volume starts from the very beginning of Eazy’s story.
Order from Amazon.

Mean Machine: Real Mean by John Wagner, Greg Staples & Steve Dillon.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1907519758, 21 June 2012, 176pp, £14.99. [£11.30 from Amazon]
Born and raised in the Cursed Earth as a member of the notorious Angel gang, “Mean Angel” (aka the Mean Machine) is one of the most dangerous criminals to ever plague Judge Dredd’s Mega-City One.
With his mechanical claw and head dial, which amps up his anger and aggression from Mean to Brutal, Mean Angel is one of Judge Dredd’s toughest adversaries – a headbutting psychopath with a penchant for destruction!
Order from Amazon.

Slaine: The Horned God by Pat Mills & Simon Bisley.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1907519741, 21 June 2012, 208pp, £24.99.
Sláine The warrior barbarian Sláine, master of the warp spasm, wielder of the mighty axe Brainbiter, Celtic warrior king - faces his greatest challenge: the existence of his world is at stake as he prepares to follow the ways of the Horned God. It is a path that can give him control over nature itself or unleash a new age of witchcraft and dark forces. A premium hardcover edition, with dust-jacket, of the classic book.
Order from Amazon.

Slaine: Treasures of Britain by Pat Mills, Dermot Power & Steve Tappin.
Rebellion ISBN, 21 June 2012, 128pp, £14.99. [£9.74 from Amazon]
Slaine MacRoth - Celtic warrior and High King of the tribes of the Earth Goddess Danu, has been summoned through time to the age of Camelot. King Arthur has fallen in battle and a curse has caused darkness to fall upon the kingdom. In order to heal the land, Merlin and Morgaine la Fee need Sláine (accompanied by his unfaithful sidekick Ukko the dwarf) to retrieve the lost 'Treasures of Britain' — magical artefacts also being sought out by the Saxon plunderer Hengwulf. These powerful items are defended by the demon-like Cyth who harvest human misery in order to revive their masters — the Dark Gods of Cythrawl!
Order from Amazon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paperback Cover Cavalcade: Horrors of WWI

The Lousier War by W. A. Tucker
New English Library 0450-01972, Jul 1974, 125pp, 30p.

A paperback original. W. A. Tucker joined the Territorial Army soon after the outbreak of war and then, in November 1914, joined the 15th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, known as the London-Welsh, before shipping to France with the 38th  (Welsh) Divisional Cyclist company. He was captured by Germans in April 1918 and was held as a P.O.W. until the war ended.

The author may be William Albert Tucker born in Dalston, London, on 27 March 1897, the son of Alfred Tucker (a saddler) and his wife Alice Gemma, who died in Walthamstow, London, on 29 July 1987.

Lice by Blaise Cendrars
Translated from the French La Main Coupee (Paris, Editions Denoel, 1946), first published in Great Britain by Peter Owen Ltd., 1973
New English Library 0450-01964-0, Sep 1974, 191pp, 40p.

For more information on Blaise Cendrars see Wikipedia.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dredd movie trailer

Movie trailer for the new Dredd movie. Hopefully they'll show it in 2D because I really want to see this...

Near Myths

by Jeremy Briggs

Way back in the pre-history of the Forbidden Planet International chain of stores, and in the early history of British comic shops in general, there was a little shop with a rather high ceiling in an Edinburgh backstreet called descriptively, if rather unimaginatively, Science Fiction Bookshop.

The shop definitely punched above its weight with national advertising, using artwork by Graham Manley, and organised signing sessions that included international guests such as novelist Jerry Pournelle and comics writer Chris Claremont. Indeed Claremont even worked it into issue 218 of The Uncanny X-Men, dated June 1987, when Juggernaut punched Rogue hard enough to send her soaring from Princes Street, through the battlements of Edinburgh Castle to land in the road outside a familiar shop front, albeit renamed for commercial considerations. While enjoying the accuracy of the shop and its surrounding street, Edinburgh natives would point out that artists Mark Sylvestri and Dan Green obviously didn’t appreciate that Rogue would have need to make at least a 90º turn in mid-air to land at the trajectory that they portray.

Today that physical shop at 40 West Crosscauseway sells musical instruments but in the 1970s and 1980 it sold books, magazines and comics. Known to locals simply as "SF", it would expand its novels into a small narrow shop on the opposite side of the street and eventually combined the two shops into one when it moved the short distance to Teviot Place, where it stopped being "SF" and became "FP" as part of the Forbidden Planet Scotland group. It then finally moved to South Bridge, hidden behind a normally busy bus stop as part of the Forbidden Planet International chain where it remains today - even if, confusingly, it does not have "International" on its frontage or use the FPI 'house colours' of black and silver.

Back in the 1970s Science Fiction Bookshop was run by Rob King who, for a while at least, was also an editor and publisher. The comic magazine that he published under the Galaxy Press imprint was called Near Myths and, while it only ran for five issues, it has achieved near mythical status itself as the first home of Bryan Talbot's Adventures of Luther Arkwright as well as Grant Morrison's earliest published work. While four of the five issues had the tag “For Adults” on the front cover, the magazine described itself inside as “primarily for adults although it is suitable for older children.”

Near Myths was an A4 size comic magazine printed on newsprint paper with a full colour cover, similar to Dez Skinn's later Warrior, with a mixture of science fiction, fantasy and humour strips. In addition to Bryan Talbot’s science-fiction/alternate universes The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, the first issue dated September 1978 had Kraimer, a fantasy quest tale written by Mike Wilson with art by Graham Manley, Graham Manley’s own space opera Tales From The Edge, the science fiction/underground comix style humour of Radio Comix by Bonk (Alecks Waszynko), John Eunson’s space opera The Star Run Saga, and two Chris Haddon humour tales, Softly Caught Above Clouds Of Brittle Cream and Good Grief Stories.

Planned as a monthly title, the second issue was dated October 1978 and retained Luther Arkwight, Tales From the Edge, Kraimer, The Star Run Saga and Radio Comix. It also added Magor the Mage, a fantasy humour strip written by John Taylor with art by Chris Haddon, and the one-off science fantasy Time Is A Four Letter Word written and drawn by Grant T Morrison.

Issue 3 slipped slightly to December 1978 and in addition to Luther Arkwight, Tales From the Edge, The Star Run Saga, Radio Comix and Magor, Graham Manley illustrated novelist Brian Lumley’s poem City Out Of Time while Grant T Morrison began his Jerry Cornelius-like Gideon Stargrave. Rob King’s editorial stated that Graham Manley had to drop Kraimer to concentrate on Tales From The Edge but that they intended for another artist to take over drawing Mike Wilson’s scripts, while The Star Run Saga in this issue was the last as John Eunson “wishes to pursue his theatrical career”.

Issue 4 had a major slip to September 1979 with Luther Arkwight, Tales From the Edge, Magor, and Gideon Stargrave returning in the company of Tony O’Donnell’s dragon fantasy Thiirania, Rob Norman’s space opera The Elder Gods and Les Scott’s fantasy Haan. Two chapters of Morrison’s Gideon Stargrave appeared in this issue concluding The Vatican Conspiracy storyline.

There wasn’t quite such a long wait for Issue 5 which was dated April 1980 and had Bryan Talbot as the editor and art director. Luther Arkwight, Tales From the Edge, Thiirania and The Elder Gods returned along with the beginning of a Grant T Morrison science fiction/thriller The Checkmate Man, Alan Hunter’s supernatural Private Eye, Trina Robbins’ fantasy Song Of The Sleepers and Hunt Emerson’s underground humour Large Cow Mix. It was to be the last issue.

Bryan Talbot and Grant Morrison (having dropped the ‘T’) may now be the best known of Near Myths’ regular contributors, but its other alumni also moved on to better known titles with Graham Manley working on an eclectic mixture of Beano, Dandy, Diceman and the Judge Dredd Megazine as well as Darkhorse UK and DC Comics titles, while Tony O'Donnell worked on the DC Thomson digests Starblazer, Star Romance and Football Picture Story Monthly.

In 1997 Rainbow Orchid creator Garen Ewing interviewed Tony O'Donnell about his career during which O'Donnell talked about his work on Near Myths. "I was a frequent visitor to the SF Bookshop in Edinburgh, so when I heard that they were going to publish an adult SF comic I was very keen to get involved. I showed my portfolio to Rob King at the bookshop, but although he seemed quite impressed with my work, he stressed that he was looking for comics that he could publish - and I didn't have anything that could be used. As I recall this was June 1978. My four year stint as an art student was over and I'd just been informed that I hadn't been accepted into the National Film School. I was working as a dish washer in an Italian restaurant in order to clear some debts, and my drawing time was now severely restricted. Eventually I got my act together and produced a six page strip called 'Thiirania'. I took the pages to Rob King and I was delighted with his reaction - 'These are great! I'll print them!' I walked out of the shop on Cloud Nine - I'd done it! Eager for more praise I returned a week later only to find that Rob had discovered a young genius in Glasgow called Grant Morrison, and I have to admit I was suitably impressed by the pages he showed me - especially when I was told he was only 17. Graham Manley was the artist who proposed the idea of publishing an adult SF comic to Rob and he also recommended that they should try and get Bryan Talbot to contribute a strip, and that's how Near Myths became the first publisher of 'The Adventures of Luther Arkwright'."

In 1987 Bear Alley’s own Steve Holland interviewed Grant Morrison about Near Myths in an interview that was published in After-Image 6 in January 1988 during which Morrison says, “Near Myths was being produced in Edinburgh and I met up with the editor, Rob King, at a comic convention in Glasgow. I'd done these sketches which I showed him, and ended up doing some work for him. It was £10 a page, script and art. I thought that was it - my career was made and I'd be a millionaire before I was twenty! Stargrave was originally based on the lead character in J. G. Ballard's 'The Day Of Forever'; everyone thought he was ripped off from Jerry Cornelius, but it was Ballard. The Stargrave stories were completely off the wall... we were given the freedom to do anything we wanted and everyone had ambitions to raise comics up out of the gutter and into the realms of High Art. In the end, though, the lack of discipline resulted in self-indulgent and impenetrable stories that made no attempt to communicate to the average reader. Having said that, there is a lot of real personal stuff in there and it's probably closer to 'Art', with a capital 'A', than anything I've done since. Looking back, I can see that there was a lot of value there. I think if we'd managed another couple of issues... everyone was finding their feet by issue five, when Bryan took over editing and I think another couple of issues would have really established us."

In 2009 Pádraig Ó Méalóid interviewed Bryan Talbot on the Forbidden Planet International blog and when asked how the Luther Arkwright strip fared in Near Myths Talbot replied, "Very well, in that it was the most popular strip in there. Near Myths was very sporadic though. We produced five issues in about a year and a half. I’ve no idea how many copies were sold but we had national distribution and it was available in newsagents all over the UK. I edited issue 5 and 6, the one that was never published. In many ways it was the forerunner of Warrior and featured the first published work of Graham Manley, Tony O’Donnell and Grant Morrison (who drew his strips as well as scripting them). When the publisher did a moonlight flit to avoid debt, he left all the back issues in his flat. After six months the landlord dumped the lot in a skip so they’re a bit rare!"

Near Myths was a title for mature readers which, based on the various editorials, did cause them problems at the time with the late 1970s United Kingdom not used to a publication that was both a comic magazine and not aimed at children. While publication was initially aimed at a monthly schedule, that soon slipped and, as King's editorials showed, many of the problems that they encountered could still perceived as problems for British comics today.

Bryan Talbot wrote in the editorial in the fifth and (at that point unknown to him) final issue, “Near Myths is now, and has been for over a year, Britain’s only alternative comic – excluding fan magazines and political propaganda. This is a terrible state of affairs, especially after the adult comic boom of the late 70’s and considering that a large proportion of our print run is sold abroad. How long will we be lagging behind in comic consciousness? ALBION AWAKE!” It would be another two years before Dez Skinn’s Warrior appeared on newsagents’ shelves.

With thanks to Bill Lindsay for the magazines and the photo of Science Fiction Bookshop, Garen Ewing of The Rainbow Orchid, and Joe Gordon and Pádraig Ó Méalóid of the Forbidden Planet International Blog.

Near Myths © Galaxy Media and the individual creators.
The Uncanny X-Men is © Marvel & Subs


Issue 1, September 1978
44 pages
Editor: Rob King
  • Wraparound Cover: Tales From The Edge (art by Graham Manley)
  • The Yacht Race (1 page pin-up – art by Bill Reid)
  • Kramer Part 1: From Night’s Velvet Wings (4 page strip – script by Mike Wilson, art by Graham Manley)
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright: Chapter One: Napalm Kiss (7 page strip - script/art by Bryan Talbot)
  • Cosmic Jester (1 page pin-up – art by Graham Manley)
  • Tales From The Edge: Phase 1 – Darkness And Bright Shadow (10 page strip – script/art by Graham Manley)
  • Radio Comix (4 page strip – script/art by Bonk)
  • The Star Run Saga (5 page strip – script/art by John Eunson)
  • Softly Caught Above Clouds Of Brittle Cream (5 x 0.5 page strip – script/art by Chris Haddon)
  • Good Grief Stories! (3 x 0.5 page strip – script/art by Chris Haddon)
  • Future Scene (1 page pin-up – art by Bill Reid)

Issue 2, October 1978
52 pages
Editor: Rob King
  • Wraparound Cover: Kramer (art by Graham Manley)
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright: Chapter Two (7 page strip - script/art by Bryan Talbot)
  • Magor The Mage And The Lady of The Crystal (6 page strip – script by John Taylor, art by Chris Haddon)
  • Tales From The Edge: Part Two (6 page strip – script/art by Graham Manley)
  • Kramer Part 2: Twilight Lingering (4 page strip – script by Michael Wilson, art by Graham Manley)
  • The Star Run Saga Chapter 2: Dusk Over Dreddon (10 page strip – script/art by John Eunson)
  • Radio Comix: Invasion Of The Radio-Men (4 page strip – script/art by Bonk)
  • Time is a Four Letter Word (5 page strip – script/art by Grant T Morrison)

Issue 3, December 1978
52 pages
Editor: Rob King
  • Front Cover: The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (art by Bryan Talbot)
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright Chapter Three: The Treaty of St Petersburg (10 page strip - script/art by Bryan Talbot)
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (1 page text supplement)
  • Magor The Mage: The Lady of The Crystal Part 2 (6 page strip – script by John Taylor, art by Chris Haddon) 
  • The Star Run Saga Chapter 3: Beneath The Masks, Beneath The Smiles (5 page strip – script/art by John Eunson)
  • Breakout On Kattalus (8 page strip – script/art by Graham Manley)
  • Radio Comix (4 page strip – script/art by Bonk)
  • City of Time (2 page strip – script by Brian Lumley, art by Graham Manley)
  • The Vatican Conspiracy (7 page strip – script/art by Grant T Morrison)
  • Rear Cover: Crashed Spaceship (art by Graham Manley)

Issue 4, September 1979
60 pages
Editor: Rob King
  • Front Cover: Thiirania (art by Tony O’Donnell)
  • Thiirania (6 page strip – script/art by Tony O’Donnell)
  • Prelude To Ragnarok: The Vatican Conspiracy II, Oct 1970 (7 page strip – script/art by Grant T Morrison)
  • The Fenris Factor: The Vatican Conspiracy III, Oct 1970 (7 page strip – script/art by Grant T Morrison)
  • The Elder Gods Part 1 (4 page strip – script/art by Rob Norman)
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright: Point.Counter.Point (8 page strip - script/art by Bryan Talbot)
  • Haan (6 page strip - script/art by Les Scott)
  • Double Cross At The Death Factory: Tales From The Edge Part IV (6 page strip – script/art by Graham Manley)
  • Magor The Mage: A Winter’s Tale (6 page strip – script by John Taylor, art by Chris Haddon)
  • Rear Cover: Thiirania (art by Tony O’Donnell)

Issue 5, April 1980
68 pages
Editor: Bryan Talbot
  • Front Cover: Spaceship (art by Tony O’Donnell)
  • The Checkmate Man Part One (10 page strip – script/art by Grant T Morrison)
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright: Chapter 1b (2 page strip – script/art by Bryan Talbot)
  • An Invitation To A Mystery Dance: Tales From The Edge Chapter 5 (8 page strip – script/art by Graham Manley)
  • Private Eye (4 page strip – script/art by Alan Hunter)
  • Song Of The Sleepers (8 page strip – script/art by Trina Robbins, letters by Orz)
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright Chapter 2b: Affair Of Honour? (3 page strip – script/art by Bryan Talbot)
  • Large Cow Comix (2 page strip – script/art by Hunt Emerson)
  • The Elder Gods Part 2 (8 page strip – script/art by Rob Norman)
  • Thiirania: The City Of Towers Chapter 1 (8 page strip – script/art by Tony O’Donnell)
  • The Adventures of Luther Arkwright Chapter 4b (3 page strip – script/art by Bryan Talbot)
  • Rear Cover: Black

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paperback Cover Cavalcade 16: Emmanuelle and O

"Pauline Réage" and "Emmanuelle Arsan"

Two of the most famous creators of erotic literature are Pauline Réage and Emmanuelle Arsan. Anne Cécile Desclos (1907-1998) penned the notorious Histoire d'O after a remark by her lover Jean Paulhan, who said that women were incapable of writing erotic novels. Paulhan, a critic who had revived La Nouvelle Revue Française, worked for Éditions Gallimard where Desclos was a secretary and (as Dominique Aury) author. Desclos rose to the challenge by writing Histoire d'O, a controversial, graphic novel of sadomasochism which won a French literary prize, the Prix des Deux Magots, but was soon after branded as obscene in its native France. The case was eventually thrown out but a ban on publicising the book existed until 1967.

A sequel, Retour à Roissy, was published in 1969 as by Pauline Réage, but according to Angie David's Dominique Aury: La vie secrete de l'auteur d'Histoire d'O (2006), this was not the work of Anne Declos, although it was published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, who had published the original in 1954.

The fact that Desclos was the author remained a secret even with the publication (by Pauvert again) of Régine Deforges' O m'a dit, Entretiens avec Pauline Réage [O told me, Conversations with Pauline Réage] (1975); it was not until 1994 and the publication of an interview in The New Yorker that 'Aury' was outed as the author behind Pauline Réage.

Emmanuelle Arsan was also a pen-name. For many years it was thought to be the pseudonym of Marayat Rollet-Andriane, born Marayat Bibidh in Bangkok in 1932, who had married French diplomat Louis-Jacques Rollet-Andriane in 1956. The novel, Emmanuelle, originally appeared anonymously in 1959, although subsequent editions were credited to Emmanuelle Arsan. A sequel appeared in 1960 – Emmanuelle L'Anti-vierge – from the same publisher, Eric Losfeld, who reissued both books in the 1967-68 under the imprint Le Terrain Vague, along with a new volume Emmanuelle: Nouvelles de l'érosphère (1969).

Marayat Andriane had a brief career as an actress, appearing as Maily in the Steve McQueen movie The Sand Pebbles (1966) and in an episode the American TV series The Big Valley (1967). Her movie career did not take off; however, the Emmanuelle novels did when, in the 1970s, they were filmed as Emmanuelle (1974), Emmanuelle: L'Antivierge (1975) and Goodbye Emmanuelle (1977) starring Sylvia Kristel. (An earlier Italian movie, Io, Emmanuelle (1969) starred Erika Blanc in the title role.)

New books continued to appear from the pen of Emmanuelle Arsan, including Laure (1976), Néa (1976) and Vanna (1979). In 1976, Maryat appeared in the film version of Laure (a.k.a. Forever Emmanuelle), supposedly also scripting and directing the film. However, producer Ovidio G. Assonitis subsequently admitted that it was her husband, Louis-Jacques Rollet-Andriane, who directed the movie and who wrote the novel from which the screenplay was developed. By now, it seems, it was widely known (at least in the French film industry) that the true author behind the books was Louis-Jacques, and Marayat was a front, appearing in Laure as Emmanuelle Arsan to continue the myth that she was the author of the (semi-autobiographical) books.

Story of O by Pauline Réage
Corgi Books 0552-08930-3, 1972, 173pp, 50p.
"Story of O – notorious as an underground novel, remarkable as a rare instance of portnography sublimed to purest art – appeared first under mysterious circumstances in 1954 . . . Story of O is neither a fantasy nor a case history. With its alternate beginnings and endings; its simple direct style (like that of a fable); its curious air of abstraction, of independence from time, place and personality, what it resembles most is a legend – the spiritual history of a saint and martyr . . . Commencing with the simplest of situations, the story gradually opens out into a Daedalian maze of perverse relationships – a clandestine society of sinister formatlity and elegance where the primary bond is mutual complicity in dedication to teh pleasures of sadism and masochism..." – New York Times Book Review.
"A remarkable piece of work" – Harold Pinter.
"I do believe Pauline Réage has confounded all her critics and made pornography (if that is what it is) an art" – Brian Aldiss.
"A highly literary and imaginative work, the brilliance of whose style leaves one in no doubt whatever of the author's genius . . . a profoundly disturbing book, as well as a black tour-de-force" – Spectator.
"The style is cool, terse, with a remarkable paucity of expression: each scene is managed with highly professional skill and variations of pace; the descriptions – of clothes, of rooms – are vivid and excellent" – Sunday Times.
"Cool, cruel, formalistic fantasy about a woman subjected – at the price of the great love of her life – to the gamut of sado-masochistic urges" – Birmingham Post.
"Here all kinds of terrors await us, but like a baby taking its mother's milk all pains are assuaged. Touched by the magic of love, everything is transformed. Story of O is a deeply moral homily" – J. G. Ballard.
Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan
Mayflower 0583-12573-5, 1975, 190pp.

"Emmanuelle Arsan is the pseudonym of a beautiful young Eurasian, Maryat Rollet-Andriance, the wife of a member of the French delegation at UNESCO who had previously served at a diplomatic post in Bangkok. Her frank, liberated view of the human sexual impulse has brought her international fame and has turned her into a controversial figure on both sides of the Atlantic. At the time she completed Emmanuelle II she also addressed an "Open Letter to Pope Paul VI Concerning 'The Pill'" which caused a great deal of controversy in the French press.
__"Distinguished critic Francoise Giroud of L'Express wrote of her that she "preaches the 'erotic revolution' as seriously as others preach in today's China 'the cultural revolution'." The best-selling Emmanuelle novels have been turned into films that have broken box-office records all over the world and set new standards for the erotic cinema."

The Further Experiences of Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan
Mayflower 0583-12574-3, 1976, 270pp, 80p.
---- [2nd imp.] 1976; [3rd imp.] 1976; [4th imp.] 1976; [5th imp.] 1976; [6th imp.] 1977; [7th imp.] 1977; [8th imp.] 1977; [9th imp.] 1978; [10th imp.] 1978; [11th imp.] 1979; [12th imp.] 1979; [13th imp.] 1980; [14th imp.] 1981; [15th imp.] 1982; [16th imp.] 1982
Panther Books [17th imp.] 1984, 270pp, £1.95.
The first Emmanuelle – shameless, shocking and frankly sexual – fired the public imagination both in Europe and across the Atlantic. Now comes its eagerly awaited sequel, as scandalous and sensual as its predecessor. Few novels have ever managed to push a philosophy of eroticism to the frontiers of myth. The further experiences of Emmanuelle does just that.
Carry On Emmannuelle by Lance Peters
Arrow Books 0099-18220-3, 1978, 191pp, 75p.
For Emmannuelle, wife of Emile Prevert, the puny, weight-lifting French Ambassador to London, sex is like an English cup of tea – to be enjoyed twenty-four hours a day.
__Aided and abetted by her faithful Embassy staff – Loins the butler, Leyland the chauffeur and Mrs Dangle the only sexagenarian sexpot – Emmannuelle seeks to spread warmth and lust throughout the British establishment...
__Nelson's column takes on a new look . . . The Guards forget their duty . . . Wimbledon is treated to some expert 'ball control' . . . and for the first time in soccer history the entire Manchester team score, again and again...
Lance Peters also wrote the screenplay for Carry On Emmannuelle (note the spelling). A New Zealander, Peters (Peter Lichtenstein, 1934-2007) wrote primarily for television and film and, according to IMDB, had seven published novels in the 1980s-90s and had "5 more in the works". My question is... what was the seventh? I've found the following: Carry on Emmannuelle (1978), The Dirty Half-Mile (London, Mayflower, 1981), The Red-Collar Gang (London, Mayflower, 1982), Cut-Throat Alley (London, Granada, 1982), The Civilian War Zone (North Ryde, NSW, Angus & Robertston, 1988) and Gross Misconduct (Sydney, Pan Macmillan, 1993).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Flo Lancaster

(Originally published 15 May 2010. I was recently contacted by a family member who has confirmed a couple of bits of speculation in the original. I have also added some additional information, hence the re-post.)

A couple of years ago I failed to locate any information on Flo Lancaster when I was writing up artist H. M. Talintyre. At the time I said...
Flo Lancaster was a pseudonym; the British Library list her works under the heading of "Ellen Wallis, later Lancaster" but I'm pretty sure this is not correct as I think it refers to Ellen Wallis (1856-1940) who was an actress and stage manager. 'Flo Lancaster' would appear to have been the working name of Mrs. F. Edwardes-Jones. She was, apparently, a prolific author of stories for girls' and women's magazines who began writing before the Great War and she was writing Oojah stories for Jack and Jill in the 1950s when actress Ellen Wallis had been dead for some years.
Well, a couple of days ago I received a comment from 'Cas' who mentioned that Ellen Wallis had a daughter named Flo E. Lancaster, and a little bit of digging located her in census records.

Actress Ellen Wallis married John Lancaster and had a daughter, Florence Ellen Lancaster, born in Buxton, Derbyshire, in 1877. She was Christened at St. John with St. Ann in Buxton on 22 September 1877; her birth was subsequently registered in Chapel-en-le-Frith in 4Q (Oct-Dec) 1877.

During the 1881 census, Ellen and her daughter were at the Grosvenor Hotel in Manchester; in 1891 they lived at 57 Lancaster Gate, Paddington, the family now consisting of Ellen (34), Florence (13) and her younger sisters Norah Wallis (8) and Gladys (4); another resident, Ellen Wallis (66), was listed as "mother-in-law", but as the former Ellen is "wife" this would appear to be Ellen's mother. The younger children were probably Norah Emily Wallis, born in 1883 and Gladys Emily Wallis born in 1888.

By 1901, Ellen — now given the middle initials M. W., widowed and aged 47 — was living at 11 Steeles Road, Hampstead, with daughters Florence E. (23), Norah W. (18) and Gladys (14); all are now given the surname Lancaster.

Now it gets a little interesting: Wikipedia reveals that "The original Shaftesbury Theatre was built by John Lancaster for his wife, Ellen Wallis, a well-known Shakespearean actress. The theatre was designed by C. J. Phipps and built by Messrs. Patman and Fotheringham at a cost of £20,000 and opened with a production of As You Like It on 20 October 1888." An obituary notice in The Standard (14 November 1896) reveals:
A Coroner's inquiry was held yesterday on the body of Mr. John Lancaster, printer and bleacher in Manchester, and owner of the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, whose body was found on the sands at Blackpool on Thursday. Evidence of identification was given by Mr. A. J. Tobias, of Manchester, son-in-law of the deceased, who stated that Mr. Lancaster had lived at the Royal Hotel, Blackpool, for some time, having no permanent address. Six months ago Mr. Lancaster was seized with illness, and since then he had been weak, and occasionally depressed, and expressed fear that he might lose his mental balance. On Thursday [12 November] he partook of tea with the Witness and two daughters, and soon afterwards he was missed from an adjoining room.

The physician who had been attending the deceased, said that Mr. Lancaster never left the hotel unaccompanied. His theory was that the deceased heard the waves breaking, and became seized with an uncontrollable desire to cease to exist.

A juryman surmised that the deceased slipped as he was watching the waves, pointing out that his hat was found on the stones. Eventually a verdict of found drowned was returned.
Following his death, Ellen Maria Wallis Lancaster issued a notice of opposition to her husband's final will, drawn up in July 1896. The two had separated before Lancaster's death and she was left out of his will almost completely. (Mr Justice Barnes at the Probate Court approved the will in May 1897.)

Working backwards, we discover that Ellen Maria Wallis Cook was married to John Lancaster in Brighton in 3Q 1876. She was the daughter of Charles Cook (an artist) and his wife Ellen, born on 17 August 1853 and baptised at St. Mary, Islington, on 23 October 1853, which means the commonly accepted birth year of 1856 is wrong. She subsequently remarried, to Walter Reynolds (also a theatrical proprietor) at St. Pauls, Hampstead, on 14 May 1902. Her daughter, Florence Ellen Lancaster was one of the witnesses.

Ellen Reynolds' death was registered in Surrey in 1940, aged 86, which ties in with her birth in 1853.

Although this tells us a little about actress Ellen Wallis, it doesn't reveal much about her daughter. Florence Ellen Lancaster was married at St. Pauls, Hampstead, on 19 July1902. She was married to John Kirkham (an agent) and was living at Maisemore Mansions, N.W. when their son John Lancaster Kirkham was born on 5 May 1903. (John Lancaster Kirkham became an actor, married to Charlotte May Kirkham.). Further children followed: Kathleen Ellen Kirkham (b. Hampstead, 1906) and Richard Wallis Kirkham (b. Hampstead, 1910).

John, Florence and their family were living in Hendon at the time of the 1911 census; their fourth and final child, Denis George Frank Kirkham, was born in Hendon in 1913.

And that's where I lose track of Florence Ellen Kirkham until the following notice appeared in a newspaper (possibly the News of the World) on 17 February 1963:

It's worth noting that I can find no trace of Florence's death under the name Edwardes-Jones, Jones, Kirkham or Lancaster. Although she was not the Flo Lancaster of Uncle Oojah fame, it would be nice to tie up this loose end.

Why her mother is listed as the author of Uncle Oojah is a question I can possibly answer. The British Library have simply conflated publications by two different authors called Florence Lancaster. Actress Ellen Wallis was almost certainly the author of the comedy sketch The Prior Claim, first produced at Steinway Hall, London, on 3 May 1898 and subsequently published in book form by Samuel French (The Prior Claim. Comedietta, French's Acting Editions 2167, 1898?). This was bylined Florence Lancaster.

To find the real  Flo Lancaster, we have to look elsewhere.

On 1 March 1921, Pauline F. L. Edwardes-Jones was born in Gillingham, Kent, her mother's maiden name being Lancaster. If you check back to the beginning of this incredibly long ramble, you'll see that I made the claim that 'Flo Lancaster' was the working name of Mrs. F. Edwardes-Jones, based on payment records made for "Jerry, Don and Snooker" stories written for Jack and Jill in 1954-58. Pauline's full name was Pauline Flo Lancaster Edwardes-Jones – I'm told that she was given her mother's full names so that she could reproduce the Uncle Oojah stories if she ever had the opportunity.

With thanks to her daughter, I have been able to track backwards to discover that "Flo Lancaster" who wrote the stories of Uncle Oojah was Pauline's mother, Hilda Florence Edwardes-Jones.  Hilda was born Hilda Florence Collins in Bristol on 27 January 1881 and was adopted by George and Eleanor Knight Lancaster.

She grew up at Hill Path, Banwell, Somerset, where George worked as a miller's carter. Born in Banwell in 1854, George was also a local Methodist preacher in the 1880s and 1890s. He married Ellener Knight Neades (born in Banwell in 1851) in 1875 and the couple adopted Hilda Florence Collins when she was a young girl. The family moved to Coombe House, Winscombe, Woodborough, Somerset, in the 1890s, George working as a coachman. He died in 1920. His wife, who had the unusual name of Ellener, died on 3 June 1925 in Hornsey, Middlesex.

Hilda – by now known as Hilda F. Lancaster – married Paul Jones in 1917 (the marriage registered in Axbridge probably took place in Banwell). Paul, who also styled himself Paul Edwardes-Jones, was Irish, born around 1878. It is thought that he came to England because of poor health, although he survived the Great War. He died in 1941, aged 62.

Hilda continued to write Oojah in the 1940s and 1950s. She lived in Hammersmith, London, where she eventually died in 1963, aged 82.

Pauline married William Wiffen Robert Clotworthy in 1956. They lived together until William's death in 1988; two years later Pauline moved from Boscombe to Chingford, London, where she died in August 2001.


Books by Flo Lancaster
Little Dots Annual 1915-1923.
Meadowsweet Farm, illus. H.M.R., London, Charles H. Kelly, 1920?.
Oojah House. The story of Flip-Flap's Little Mansion, illus. Thomas Maybank. London & Manchester, E. Hutton & Co., 1922.
Uncle Oojah's Big Annual / The Oojah Annual. London & Manchester, E. Hutton & Co. / Daily Sketch & Sunday Graphic, 1922-51.
Oojah's Treasure Trunk. London, Daily Sketch & Sunday Herald, 1926.
Meadow Sweet Farm. London, Epworth Press, 1926 [1927?].
The Princess of Persia, illus. Thomas Maybank. London & New York, F. Warne & Co., 1938.
Uncle Oojah's Ostrich Farm, illus. Thomas Maybank. London & New York, F. Warne & Co., 1938.
Uncle Oojah, illus. H. M. Talintyre. Glasgow, Collins, 1944.
Uncle Oojah's Alphabet, illus. H. M. Talintyre. London, Haverstock, 1946.
Uncle Oojah Annual, ed. Peter Pitkin; illus. H. M. Talintyre. London, H.A. & W.L. Pitkin, 1948?

Books as Florence Weston
Ragamuffin's Friend. London, Epworth Press, 1920??. 

The Prior Claim. Comedietta (produced at Steinway Hall, London, 3 May 1898). London, Samuel French (French's Acting Editions 2167), 1898?. 

(* The photograph of Ellen Wallis is from Wikipedia Commons. My thanks to Sandy for sharing many details about her family.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Comic Cuts - 22 June 2012

A somewhat topsy-turvy week finishing off some last-minute tweaking to the Peter Jackson's London Is Stranger Than Fiction book, which can now be pre-ordered. This work has overlapped with my attempts to get the next book underway... actually a return to my Mike Western biography project which came to a grinding halt just over a year ago when my computer went belly-up.

Actually, 2011 was my second attempt to complete the book; the first time was in 2008, but the wind was rather taken out of my sails when Mike died. Given its history, I'm almost tempted not to admit that I've done any work on it at all and just keep my mouth shut and my fingers crossed.

The first of our Sexton Blake Annual reprints should start shipping at the end of next week, which will allow people who get paid at the end of the month to grab a copy with the discount. The discount will end on 30 June. Click the above link and scroll down if you haven't ordered your copy yet.

Working on the project I'm not talking about, I had a great time yesterday reading episodes of The Wild Wonders. I haven't read them for years and had forgotten that the story begins with British athletes arriving at Worrag Island in order to train for the Tokyo Olympics. Can you imagine Team GB 2012 heading off to the Outer Hebrides to train?

Random scans. For no reason other than I found a couple of these only recently, a trio of Panther Books. I'm not sure who did the first (The Whispering Master); the second (The Endless Years) is by Cy Webb, a.k.a. Heade; and the third (Shaka Zulu) is by Mortelmans. The last scan is a not especially good copy of Terror Cradle by Duncan Kyle. This was the first (1976) paperback edition from Fontana with a Chris Foss cover.

Next week we have our regular Upcoming Releases and Recent Releases columns. I'll think of something for Monday and Tuesday.


Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books