Friday, December 21, 2012

Comic Cuts - 21 December 2012

My last Comic Cuts column before Christmas. It doesn't feel like Christmas. It feels like a normal week despite the fact that we finally managed to get the decorations down from the loft and put up our little tree on Wednesday. Same day I finally sent off the Lion book to the printers so that I could get some proof copies printed. Same day I took a razor to my chin to remove the beard (a.k.a. the Lion's Mane!) I have been growing since the beginning of the month.

It has become something of a tradition on long projects. Because I have difficulty finishing things – there's always one more thing that I can do or I can ask somebody about this or that – for many years I've reached a point where I stop shaving. I find beards scratchy and uncomfortable so  the quicker I draw a line under a book, the sooner I get to shave again.

We're not talking Alan Moore-style beardage, but it did look untidy, so I cheated a little this time as we were off to visit friends on Monday and had a partial shave. Now I'm feeling nice and clean-shaven again.

As mentioned above, I finally finished the layouts of Lion King of Picture Story Papers which clocked in at a mammoth 262 pages. There are almost 400 pictures and I have been working closely with David Roach and David Slinn to identify all of the artists. I typed up the last artwork caption Wednesday morning and sent off a PDF of the book via FTP to the printers before lunch, which was a massive celebratory bacon sandwich! Spotted the first mistake about five minutes later ... but that's what proofing is all about!

I'm still on target for the book to come out mid-January so I'll start taking orders soon after New Year. I'm already working on the next one, a shorter one just to give myself a bit of a breather. However, I will need some scanning assistance, so if anyone has issues from late volume 1 and from volume 2 of Boys' World, a scanner and a bit of spare time, let me know. I especially need to know some of the contents from the December 1963 issues, volume 1 issues 46 and 49.

I've had my mind fixed so solidly on finishing off the Lion and getting the Boys' World started that I haven't really had much of a chance to relax. Thankfully we don't have any kids to worry about, so Christmas is a relatively easy affair ... after all, we've had fifty Christmases to practice. I finally came out some years ago and admitted that I didn't like parsnips and we're all a bit anti-brussel sprouts. My sister, Julie, prefers lamb to turkey, I rarely win when we pull crackers and my mum is usually the last of us to take off her paper hat. I will want to watch Doctor Who, Julie will want to watch Emmerdale on the other side. We compromise and watch Emmerdale. Families, eh? (I record Doctor Who for later.)

We have a good laugh at the Holland household. I hope you will be having as much fun as we do.

One way I'll be relaxing this week will be to sit back and read the latest issue of Jeff Hawke's Cosmos. This issue seems more "bumper" than the last, with 148 pages of Hawke strips and related features. After seven amazing volumes, the Hawke saga is complete and editor William Rudling is now promising to bring us the adventures of Lance McLane – Jeff Hawke in all but name – in chronological order. The latest volume has some classic Hawke adventures: 'Overlord' (1960), 'The Immortal Toys' (1961-62), 'The Ambassadors' (1962), 'The Hole in Space' (1967) and 'The Woman Who Would Be King' (1977-78)

You can find a list of the majority of the back issues here. More details about the Jeff Hawke Club can be found here, but I'd suggest you contact the editor (william at to get up to date info. about subscription costs in Europe and the rest of the world.

Random scans this week are from Morgan Wallace. Back in around 1949, Martin & Reid published a whole bunch of booklets under a variety of series imprints, including two western series, one under the byline Tex Carter, the other under the byline Buck Rogers. We have two of the latter on display here, both with cover by Nat Long. The series ran for at least seven issues; the Carter books ran even longer, to at least #15. If anyone has any of these, please let me know as I don't have a complete list of titles.

I'm also adding another Martin & Reid title, this one from my own collection. The cover is by K. Lade. George Stanley is an odd one. He was active in the 1930s until at least 1960 but very little is known about him. We did track down an address, 17 Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, Kent, and it's possible that he was really George Newsome, who was on the voter's register in 1947, but I have no way of confirming that. I wrote up what is known about Stanley here.

The last pic is a rarity. I don't have this and I'd love to read it as it's supposed to be utter rubbish. Occasionally it's good to read utter rubbish so you can appreciate the good stuff when you stumble onto it. Maybe that's why I'll watch Emmerdale at Christmas ... it makes watching Doctor Who all the sweeter!

If you want to find a little corner of calm over the Christmas period, I'll be running a new episode of Paul Temple every day, so please drop by.


  1. Steve Happy Christmas and thanks for the great reading found on your blog throughout the year.

    Bill Fleming

  2. Thanks, Bill. It takes some doing, posting every day, so it's nice to know that people appreciate the effort.

  3. Let me be the first to echo Bill's comment, Steve - I know from my own, very occasional forays into the world of blogdom how much work your daily additions to Bear Alley must involve. I'm also very happy to know that the excellent 'Boys' World' is scheduled to be one of the next items on your publishing agenda. I think I have most copies stored away somewhere (though not always in mint condition) so I'll be happy to help in any way I can.

    In fact Boys' World has been my all-time favourite British comic ever since I first encountered it with the second issue way back in 1963. If anybody wants to whet their appetite by reading my reminiscences of this formative experience they can find them (along with some illustrations from the mind-blowing strip 'Wrath of the Gods') on my own blog 'Things That Grip!' via this link:

    - Phil Rushton

  4. Happy Christmas, Steve. Thanks for another year's blog.

  5. keep shaving;0)

    Happy Christmas..and boy you work hard...have some nice time off...

  6. Steve,
    How do you have a partial shave?
    Anyways, Merry Christmas to you and yours and keep up the good work on the blog. Looking forward to The Lion and Boys World books. I do have quite a few issues of that but looks like you're already sorted. Enjoyed Phil's blog entry - I can remember vividly coming back home from the shops with the 1st issue. Happy Days!



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