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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.

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