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Friday, August 02, 2013

Comic Cuts - 2 August 2013

The last week has been very productive and I'm something like 50 pages into the design of the Boys' World book. I might also add that I'm very pleased with the look of the pages... I do, after all, have a pool of some of the finest comic strip artists and illustrators to draw from.

The only down side is that the printing of the original comics left a lot to be desired. Perhaps not the printing but the paper on which they were printing. Modern scanners are unforgiving and every page I've scanned has been marred by being able to see the lettering and images that seep through from the reverse of the page. Every single image needs touching up and a spread can take anything up to an hour to clean up. If only they had drawn everything in lovely, uncomplicated line art rather than line and wash... I can knock out a line art page in a couple of minutes if it's not especially grubby.

I'm hoping to start taking orders in a couple of week's time. I can't promise but it would be nice to have everything finished by the 15th as that will be the seventh anniversary of Bear Alley. Yes, it's our birthday again and we're rapidly approaching 3,000 posts since BA launched on 15 August 2006. If I can get my act together for long enough, I'll hopefully have something surprising and silly for that Friday's Comic Cuts. All I need to do is find some spare time between now and then.

The latest issue of Jeff Hawke's Cosmos has touched down. Volume 8 no.1 (Apr 2013, but released July) steps out into the unknown as editor William Rudling begins a chronological reprinting stories that originally appeared under the name Lance McLane in the Scottish Daily Record, but which were syndicated under the original name of the character, Jeff Hawke. 

The stories in this volume follow immediately on from the story 'The Woman Who Would Be King', included in the previous issue, in which Hawke found himself in an alternate reality. The Earth is in the grip of a new Ice Age, and Jeff and the crew of the Hope attempt to use an alien artefact to burn through to some of Earth's ancient scientific centres in 'The Ice Burner', This issue also contains the stories 'Chalk Circle', 'Sorcerer's Apprentice', 'The Song of the Charioteer' and 'The Little People', all from 1978.

In addition to ten month's worth of the daily strip, you'll also find Andrew Darlington's feature on an obscure Syd Bounds space hero, an obituary of Colin Andrew and Duncan Lunan's always fascinating story and space notes in this 88-page issue. Subscription rates are £26 for three issues here in the UK and £31/38/41 for overseas subscribers, payable in a variety of ways. You can find more details (and back issues) at the Jeff Hawke Club webpage or by contacting william AT

Also out in July was Illustrators issue 4 from Book Palace. There's a fantastic lead feature by Bryn Havord on Michael Johnson, whose work epitomized a style of illustration that came to the fore in the swinging sixties. Johnson sculpted his artwork so that some pieces look like they were chipped out of wood with a chisel. For someone who likes his comic strips and illustrations to look realistic and highly finished, I should have problems with Johnson's rough-hewn daubings. But, thanks to an education in romantic art by my pals David Roach and Roger Berry these past couple of years, I'm more able to appreciate the subtlety and beauty of his work.

Other features this issue include a long, rambling interview with Chris McEwan, a look at the cover artwork and artists behind the Pan Book of Horror Stories (a chronological gallery of which can be found here) and a nice piece on Bear Alley favourite L. Ashwell Wood's cutaway drawings.

Together they make another superb issue of this quarterly magazine, which you can order from Book Palace. Full subscription and ordering details can be found here.

Above is a painting by Michael Johnson for a Corgi Books cover. I love this because the model is Sue Longhurst who was one of the Sues that I fancied in my early teenage days. Sue Longhurst, Susan Penhaligan, Susannah York, Susan George... there was just a lot of fanciable Sues whose films were turning up on TV at a time when I was starting to take notice of such things.

No time for any random scans today. I have posts lined up for the weekend but I'm not sure what will be running next week. I want to find a strip but I also really need to be working on the Boys' World book. We shall just have to see what happens.


Bedrock Son said...

hi Steve, a little trick to make the back-side page less visible through when you scan a page: you put a complete black sheet bihind the page you are scanning, it's hard to explain, but it works (apologize my poor language , I m french ! best regards!

Steve said...

Hi L.C.,

It's a trick I already use. Unfortunately, it only works up to a point and if you're trying to get the best results, it still requires a lot of Photoshop 'painting' using the erasing and copying tools.