Friday, October 05, 2012

Comic Cuts - 5 October 2012

Oh, boy... October already...

Or maybe I should be saying... YES! October already!

I'm pleased to say that proofs for both Not Forgotten 2009-10 and the Sexton Blake Annual 1941 have both turned up and they both pass muster. Anyone who pre-ordered a copy of Not Forgotten should be receiving their copy next week and I'm opening up shop to take pre-publication orders for the Blake... just follow the link in the announcement underneath the picture.

You'll also have noticed that at the beginning of the week Bear Alley and the Bear Alley Books blog both had a bit of a makeover. I have been meaning to do something for a while but haven't had a chance. I have noticed that my links to Amazon haven't been generating the same amount of click-through as was happening a couple of years ago. As a regular reader, you'll know that I earn a few pennies from Amazon Associates for recommending stuff – so if you want to buy something on Amazon, come to Bear Alley and use the search box over on the left – which goes a small way to finance the blog.

But it's the visitors who turn up at a page from weeks, months or years ago that I need to be pushing Amazon's way. One thought I had on this was that with so much of the sidebar dedicated to Bear Alley Books, people were suffering from click-through boredom by the time they reached any Amazon links. Is there such a phrase as "click-through boredom"? There is now.

I may be a victim of my own success! I've managed to get 10 books out from Bear Alley in the past two years and by the time any reader has clicked on three, four, five links and looked at the ordering information on the Bear Alley Books website, they're in no mood to keep clicking. Thus "click-through boredom".

I shall no doubt tinker around with the layout, but hopefully this will work. I don't want to lose visitors to Bear Alley Books, but there's still that massive banner above this column to remind you about that. And the latest titles released in 2012 are all still lurking in the left-hand column.

Talking of Bear Alley Books... This is your last chance to pick up Not Forgotten 2009-10 at the discount price. Copies will start shipping early next week. This is a collection of 35 biographical sketches of writers, artists and cartoonists who died in 2009-10, all of whom contributed to British comics. Some of the names may not mean much to you, but we have a rich history of employing talent from around the world – so you will find Giorgio Bellavitis contributed to Eagle, Jose Casanovas to 2000AD, Ricardo Garijo to Starblazer and Victor de la Fuente to Lion. The talents listed here contributed to everything from Victor to Oink! and created Modesty Blaise, Captain Pugwash, Buster and Luck of the Legion.

Random scans. Goat Island is another cover by John Vernon. The Dollar Instinct is a cover that definitely requires you to look again. Click on the cover to get the larger version and take a look. Look at how carefully the clothing has been painted, the folds and shading on the dress and the shirt. Look at the expression on the guy's face, the wry smile on his lips. Look at the girl and her weirdly arched right eyebrow. Then look at the other eyebrow, set two inches lower on her face and how her left eye appears so low it must be resting on her cheek.Weird. I mean, it looks like Osborne but it's an odd mistake to miss.

And finally, Secrets of our Spaceship Moon by Don Wilson "proof positive" (!) that our Moon is a cosmic Noah's Ark. This was a follow-up to Our Mysterious Spaceship Moon, which you might think, given the title, would reveal secrets of the spaceship moon... but apparently author Wilson left out enough for a second book. "NASA now privately admits the overwhelming proof for believing our moon is no more and no less than a GIGANTIC ALIEN SPACESHIP..." (!) Do they? This was published in 1980 by Sphere, both books having previously been published in the USA by Dell in 1975 and 1979 respectively. Given the claims of the book, it is probably no surprise to learn that this was Wilson's last effort.

And finally, a bit of a novelty as our final random scan this week is a book that has only just become available. The cover artwork is by Martin Baines who did me a great favour recently when I was stuck for a graphic on the Not Forgotten book. My talent for drawing is such that the horse I see in my imagination has turned into an elephant by the time the thought has travelled down my arm and through the pencil to the page. I'm crap. Even a simple image like a quill and a brush had me beat.

I asked Martin if he wouldn't mind helping out and got just what I wanted before the day was out.

So this is a shameless plug. You can find more of Martin's work at the Smudge Pencil website. He has most recently drawn a couple of covers for Sam Stone's Vampire Gene series of novels published by Murky Depths. The latest is out now and you can order it at the Murky Depths website or via Amazon.

Tomorrow we have the next in our series of Commando interviews. After that, probably another in our Mews cover galleries. Beyond that will depend what I can get done on Sunday between guests and the garden.

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