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Friday, July 26, 2013

Comic Cuts - 26 July 2013

I'm back!

I hope you've all had a good week. I've been on a staycation, doing very much the same kind of thing that I do from one week to the next, except this week I've had Mel to keep me company—she had a week's holiday that needed using up. We've had quite a fun week, going for walks, catching up on some TV and suffering multiple cattacks (n. the act or an instance of attention seeking by a cat) from a neighbour's cat by the name of Scatterpuss. Scatterpuss is a summer cat—we've never seen her during the cold weather—who turns up at all times of the day. I have the back door open and usually the first we know of an imminent cattack is a plaintive meow as Scatterpuss wanders through into the kitchen. Wednesday evening we were watching TV and, having dozed on the floor for a while, she jumped up onto the sofa, rolled over and fell asleep, belly-up, paws occasional twitching as she chased dream birds. Spark out for the next hour.

Now, this is the same cat we'd seen fast asleep in the window of her own home only a half hour earlier. I imagine she was turfed out while her owners had their dinner and decided to trek a whole nine houses down the road to ours just so she could continue her snooze.

The fact that I'm talking about this will tell you that I'm feeling nicely relaxed. I haven't stopped working and I've kept up with my three-miles-a-day walks, the results of which are beginning to show... in both cases. At my last weigh in I'd lost half a stone, although my tummy doesn't seem to have shrunk any. The scales don't lie which means there's 2½ percent less of me than when I started two months ago.

Of greater interest to most of you, the second draft of the Boys' World introduction was finished Tuesday and I have been playing around with layouts for a couple of days. I've a nice opening spread that I'm quite proud of, based around the way the comic itself was laid out in its early days. I've also started laying out the introduction.

Above you'll see the cover I'm planning to use on the book, based on the cover for issue nine. There's a special reason for picking that particular cover, but you'll have to buy the book and read the introduction to find out why.

The back cover is very likely to be an example of a feature called 'Ticket to Adventure', which appeared for a few months on the back cover of Boys' World in colour. At the moment I'm thinking of one that was written by Mike Moorcock and painted by Brian Lewis. But I've yet to make a final decision. For fans of Mike—and of Harry Harrison—this should be a book of special interest. There's solid information in here about their contributions to the magazine, much of it revealed for the first time.

The 'Ticket to Adventure' theme is also reflected in the title of the introduction, which is called 'Ticket to... Adventure!' I thought you might enjoy seeing how the opening two pages of the piece came together...

The whole spread is built up in layers using a number of different elements from the actual comic. The 'Ticket to Adventure' symbol had to be quite extensively cleaned up and was scanned at 1,200 dpi to give me the size of image I wanted— the spread is over 43cm wide and 30cm deep with a roughly ½cm bleed all around to allow the book to be trimmed. The title lettering is 132 pt Impact!

The image of the diver was scanned at 600 dpi in colour; there was a lot of text and two small panels that had to be removed before the image was converted to black & white, brightened up and dropped into place. The blank area at the top of the page was a section of artwork blown up to fit the width of the spread. At that point I dropped in some text to see what it might look like. The results are OK, but I thought the final page needed something down the left hand side to balance the image on the right. Thankfully, the Brian Lewis original provided the perfect elements, although, again, it required a good deal of work to remove extraneous bits of artwork and text. I altered the shape of the text box so we have a single, wide column rather than two slimmer columns. It's a format I used on the C. L. Doughty book and one that I like the look of. Finally I put in a couple of bits of furniture—a logo—at the top which will be repeated throughout the book. Depending on how the next few pages look, I may add something to underline the text box, but we shall just have to wait and see how the design progresses.

If I can keep up the pace over the next couple of weeks, we're looking at publication some time in August. Not the best month to launch a new book but I need to get it out so I can get on with the next one. And the next one will be... it's probably going to be Valiant, but in my relaxed state this week I had an interesting idea for another title that I haven't previously covered. It's fun for me to look into the history of papers that I've never explored before even if Valiant is my all-time favourite.

Today's random scans are recent additions to past cover galleries. Firstly, and quite surprisingly, I found a Colin Forbes novel (Whirlpool) in a local newsagent that I hadn't visited before. We had run out of milk and would normally go to the Co-Op, but they don't open until ten on a Sunday... hence the visit to this newsagents who, it turns out, has a shelf full of second-hand books. I shall be visiting them regularly from hereon!

Next up, a couple of additions to the recent Nebula Awards galleries. The Gene Wolfe... I'm annoyed with myself because I saw three of the 'Book of the New Sun' series on sale recently, including the first in the series. Unfortunately, it had a massive crease down the front cover and, to be honest, I'd overspent on books and DVDs that week, so I didn't pick them up. That was when I decided to do the Nebula galleries and, fortunately, one of them was still there... so I now have part two of the series but not part one.

And, finally, Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312. Set 300 years in the future when it was released... somehow it has less resonance as a title when it's 299 years.

I'm hoping to get back up to speed after my week off and should have material to post for next week. We will certainly have the monthly recent and upcoming releases lists, plus whatever else I can squeeze in.

1 comment:

Norman Boyd said...

and of course we need to mention Frank Bellamy's contribution - partially illustrated above - to Boy's World Annual 1971, pp.23-27 "Johnny Boyland and the quail hunters" by J. T. Edson, which was reprinted in "GOLD STAR GIFT BOOK FOR BOYS" published in 1972 by the Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd on pages 33-37. That book contained material from other BO Annuals making your indexing work murder! But if anyone can do it, it's you Steve!