Friday, September 20, 2013

Comic Cuts - 20 September 2013

I'm pleased to say that the next Bear Alley book is well under way. Writing the introduction has taken a little longer than I anticipated—and this from someone who has said in the past that if you estimate how long something will take, you should double it. And then double it again.

My excuse is that a lot of the material I'm drawing on for research and reference is in Italian, because the next book will collect together some stories by Gino D'Antonio. I've run a couple of them here on Bear Alley in the past, where they were warmly received. But they deserve to be put between covers, so I'm taking a bit of a gamble as they're all in colour and the book is going to be a bit expensive. I'm a one-man operation and I don't have the benefit of a distribution network, warehousing or the finances to print the kind of print runs that would drag the cost price down.

I'll have more news next week.

Sales of Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure have been a little slower than I'd hoped. Forget those extravagant summer holidays and putting your kids through school... you've got a starving writer to support!

Bizarrely, the book that seems to have benefited the most from the release of the Boys' World book has been the previous Ranger book! Go figure...

Autumn has settled in really quickly and my little exercise regime has changed. I'm still walking, although usually only once a day rather than the three-times-a-day I was doing over the summer. Instead, I've dragged out an old exercise bike that used to belong to my Grandma. It's like a family heirloom... passed down from my Nan to my Mum, then to my sister, then to me, then to a friend as I wasn't using it. It then lived in our friend's garage for years until they had a clearout during the summer and asked if I'd like it back.

Well, yes, I would. With the morning's now quite chilly and rain forecast for later—to take today as a for instance—I can now sit astride this skeletal, 1980s-vintage bike in front of the TV and whiz along a few miles while watching a movie. I'm a sucker for old black & white war movies, so I've managed to re-watch The Cruel Sea and Carve Her Name With Pride as well as catch up on the Channel 4 drama Blackout since I started "cycling".

I'm exercising different muscles, so I had a bit of back ache for the first couple of days but, as of Thursday, I have to say that I'm feeling pretty good. I'm not sure how my weight is doing as I'm only measuring my weight once a month and my weight loss plan has been to lose the weight slowly by making lifestyle changes rather than trying a quick-fix diet. They rarely seem to work long-term. I'm due a weigh-in tonight, so wish me luck.

A friend of mine was clearing out some of his collection and as I always welcome donations of magazines, I was rather pleased when a huge box of magazines arrived. They were a bit of a mish-mash of titles, from Men Only to Woman's Pictorial, and for the most part there were only one or two copies of each, but it means I have a few samples of some nicely illustrated mags. So I'm hoping that I can scan anything of interest in their pages over the coming days and weeks. It might mean Bear Alley becomes a bit patchy as far as posts are concerned, but hopefully it will mean that something interesting is on the way.

I was rather sad to read that Jon Manchip White had died and that his passing on 31 July 2013 hadn't been recorded in any British newspapers until The Independent ran a piece on Wednesday. His is a name that I've stumbled across numerous times for all sorts of reasons—he had paperbacks published by Pan, Corgi, Digit, Sphere, etc., wrote for radio, TV (including an episode of The Avengers) and film. As far as I'm concerned, his name will always be associated with Camp on Blood Island, the 1958 Hammer movie. As a little tribute, I'll be running a piece I wrote about the film and its novelisation here tomorrow.

After that, we shall just have to wait and see. Which is my way of saying I haven't a clue.

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