Friday, January 31, 2014

Comic Cuts - 31 January 2014

A twelfth of the way through the year already!

I'm pleased to announce that the latest title from Bear Alley Books is now out: The Man Who Searched For Fear is officially released today. If you ordered ahead of publication, your copy of the book should be with you next week — unless you're in Europe or Scandinavia, in which case it will probably take a little longer.

I spent the week tidying up a few odd jobs that I'd had sitting around, including backing up some of the files on my computer. I'm edging towards having to buy at least one more enormous external hard drive to replace the 1 tb or 1½ tb drives I have currently. Thankfully, the cost of these things keeps falling and I can probably buy a 3 tb hard drive for the price I paid for my first 250 mb drive.

My first computer, bought way back in April 1989, was a PC with a 30 mb hard drive. The guy who sold it to me told me "It will take you a lifetime to fill that much space!" Well, it didn't! It was rapidly filling up when it was replaced by another PC three years later. The hard drive on the old machine was falling apart even as we were copying files to the new machine. When we felt sure that we'd recovered all we could recover, we reformatted the hard drive on the old PC: it was 35% corrupt . . . so we reformatted it again. This time it was 50% corrupt. I'd paid £750 for it three years earlier and I threw it away.

Nowadays, I'm scanning pictures that are bigger in size than the first PC I had and the latest Bear Alley book wouldn't fit on that first external hard drive, even in PDF form. It's amazing how far we've come in so short a time. When I started working with a publisher back in 1991, we were still dealing with typesetters and sticking strips of printed text onto boards using wax. Twenty years on and I was able to start my own little enterprise writing, designing and publishing books from the comfort of my own office.

And from the comfort of my office I'm slowly releasing the contents of the MeanStreetmaps book onto the Kindle. The book collected together a bunch of essays I was quite proud of (and still am) but the format, while it looked nice — hardback with a gorgeous dustwrapper — was too expensive.

Three of the articles have been available on Kindle since last October. They're not exactly setting the publishing world on fire, only three or four copies sold so far, but I'm pleased that they're available. On Tuesday I uploaded another one, Hard-Boiled, which was originally the title feature of the collection — I've changed it to make sure nobody gets the feature and the book mixed up.  The article is available via, and around the world at other Amazon sites. I'm working on a second article, this one an expansion of a piece about the queen of the gangster writers, Dail Ambler. I've discovered quite a few little tid-bits about her, and added about 30 books to her CV of published work.

Once it registers, I'll post a link on the Mean Streetmaps page at Bear Alley Books. The links take you to the UK version of Amazon, but you should, I hope, be able to link through to different territories from the UK pages.

Next week I'll be knuckling down to Countdown/TV Action again. A little warning: Bear Alley might be a bit patchy while I get up to speed — so if you visit and there's nothing new, you'll know that I'm neck-deep in copies of Countdown.

A member of the Dan Dare Yahoo Group spotted a video of Frank Hampson that I haven't seen before, so I'm pleased to present it here. The video is dated 28 November 1975 and runs for 10m 14s. It dates from shortly after Hampson was awarded the Yellow Kid for Prestigioso Maestro at Lucca and shows Hampson at work at Ewell Technical College and at home at Bayford Lodge in Epsom. There's some fascinating shots of ephemera that Frank kept from his Dan Dare days and, at the end, even an example of Frank's drawing talents as they were twenty-five years after Dan debuted in Eagle. He was still superb.

More scans sent over by Morgan Wallace, although these were tiny, so I've not been able to clean them up to nearly the standard I would like. These are four titles from Brown Watson, whose distribution was poor even at the time, making these titles particularly scarce nowadays. The first cover below (Crime Passionel) is by Rik, a.k.a. John Richards. After that, it's guesswork. Paris Model is probably Len Gard and Don't Sell Me Cheap could also be his. I've no idea who provided the cover for Crooks' Honeymoon.

As mentioned above, Bear Alley might be a bit spotty next week. The only thing I know for sure is that I have a China Mieville cover gallery lined up for the weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Got my Lacey classic today - Saturday morning post. It looks like a great collection with brilliant art Steve - well done, This should make for a great read for a Sunday with a nice cup of filter coffee and digestive biscuits!



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