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Friday, November 15, 2013

Comic Cuts - 15 November 2013


The latest Bear Alley Books book is on sale now!
Follow the link above to the Bear Alley Books website for payment details. 

As promised last week, Worlds of Adventure, a collection of four full-colour stories by Gino D'Antonio, is now available. The proof arrived mid-week and I'm extremely pleased with the way the book has turned out. The colour is outstanding and the artwork superb, as you would expect from someone of D'Antonio's talent.

These stories have never been reprinted in the UK – although I did run a couple of them on Bear Alley a while back. I believe the strips were published in Holland and in France, although I only have details of the latter. Because Tell Me Why had been running for eight months already, only 'Quo Vadis?' and 'Un conte de deux villes' (A Tale of Two Cities) appeared in the pages of Je Sais Tout, so French fans still have 'The Wanderings of Ulysses' and 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' to look forward to.

For those of you who take advantage of the discount usually offered ahead of publication, my apologies. The margins on this one are so tight they don't allow for discounts. However, everyone can head here for a bonus strip by D'Antonio from the pages of Top Spot.

Roger Perry, who has contributed a couple of recent columns to Bear Alley, has been caught up in the recent typhoon Haiyan that swept across the Pacific last week. The category five super-typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, made landfall at the town of Guiuan at 4:40 am, wiping out the homes of 50,000 islanders. With winds of 195mph gusting up to 235mph, this is the biggest typhoon to hit the Philippines since 1969.

The typhoon hit Tacloban City on the island of Leyte, where Roger lives, on the morning of Friday, 8 November, the winds driving a storm surge of 8 metres (25 feet) smashing down on the houses and streets if the city. I last heard from Roger on Thursday when he got in touch after a few days absence, reporting that on 27 October, during a short electrical storm, "a lightning bolt ... travelled down my internet cable, totalled my modem, and f**ked up much of the motherboard, with the result that, despite having replaced the damn thing only seven months ago, I had to buy a new one." Roger had been out of action for nine days.

With typical humour, he included a picture with his last message, of the path of Typhoon Yolanda across the map of the Philippine islands. In large red letters he had added "This is where I live!", an arrow pointing to the precise path of the typhoon through Leyte island;, across the whole message was the word "Oooooops!"

"I've lived through them before so I dare say this one will be no different," he said  in his message on Thursday. "I dare say that I shall be uncontactable for at least 48 hours." He has not been heard from since.

If you have been following the news, you will know that the typhoon has utterly devastated Tacloban City and displaced most of its quarter of a million inhabitants. You can see a few before and after photographs at the BBC website.  A week later, the situation is still utterly chaotic, with aid arriving in dribs and drabs. There has been talk of "bodies in the street" and 10,000 dead. Thankfully, this figure has been scaled back, although the latest numbers involve 4,000 dead in Tacloban City. Not good by any means, but better than 10,000.

I found a contact number for the Foreign Office and phoned on Wednesday to see if there was any way of obtaining news of survivors, but was only able to leave a voice message. A close friend of Roger's, Brian Woodford, has also been trying to discover what news he can but has hit the same brick wall (voicemail, automated email responses) as I have. We're still hopeful and will continue our efforts to get some news from official sources if we can.

As soon as we hear anything, I'll let you know here or via my Facebook page. Mention of the latter reminds me that some folk are putting together a Haiyan Benefit anthology via a Facebook group. They are looking for contributions and have put together a trailer on YouTube. Phil Woodward of INDI Comics has said that a crowdfunding page will go live at IndieGogo on Sunday, 17 November. I hope you'll give it your support.

UPDATE: On Friday, Brian heard back from a Foreign Office source who said that, in contacts with the Philippines government, they have had no reports of injuries to British nationals. "Roger is a tough old bird and I am hopeful he is somehow weathering the aftermath." Don't uncross your fingers, folks, but at this is the first positive news we've received.

Finishing up the D'Antonio book and getting the next two started hasn't left me any time for random scans these past couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll get my act together by next week. In the meantime, we'll be continuing the adventures of Paul Temple.

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