Friday, February 28, 2014

Comic Cuts - 28 February 2014

I'm finally back to work on the Countdown/TV Action index, having taken a rather longer break than I had intended to complete The Man Who Searched For Fear and getting some material up onto Kindle. The index section was pieced together last November and I started writing the introduction around the same time. As we approached Christmas I had about 7,000 words written but I must admit I wasn't completely happy with it.

Some bits I liked, but it was taking too long to introduce some of the main protagonists – the editorial staff hadn't been introduced and I was already writing about the strips that appeared in the early issues. Nor had I written anything about the publisher . . . and there was a rather clumsy link between two areas that I was trying to cover. If I have any talent at all – and thats a debatable point! – it's that there's usually an underlying structure to my work that leads you through the history of these old comics in a way that's easy to follow. Sometimes that means breaking away from a straightforward and chronological account and darting off down some side road to explain a bit of history. I think I'm pretty good at leading people through the main narrative without getting them lost.

Picking up the threads of the introduction meant spending time moving around some bits of the story already written and inserting new bits so that it all made sense. I'm now far happier with the way it is going and at the last count we were up to 9,000 words, which isn't a huge increase but this has been a week of quality control rather than quantity.

I've only posted one feature to Kindle since last week, and a rather short one entitled "Let Me Die In Drag": The Crime Fiction of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (you should be able to click through to your local Amazon via that link). Only 3,500 words, hence the £1.00 price tag. This one concerns the king of terrible movie-making, Edward D. Wood, who wrote, directed and produced such classics as Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda? and Bride of the Monster. Not so well known is that he also did a couple of juvenile delinquent films and wrote a slew of porn novels. The article takes a look at a couple of his books: Black Lace Drag and Let Me Die In Drag . . . drag being a particular concern of Wood as he was a transvestite.

The cover can be seen above left. It wasn't the first one I came up with: my first  attempt (above right) used a picture of Wood and his then girlfriend Dolores Fuller in a scene from Glen or Glenda?, but although prints of the film seem to have been issued by a variety of people, I wasn't sure what the copyright situation was with the photo. Although it's the stronger cover, I thought I'd err on the side of caution . . . so this is the only place you'll see it!

Hibernia Comics have stealthily published another book containing one of the finest strips from the early days of the New Eagle, launched in 1982. I haven't seen a copy yet, but if it's anything like their other titles it'll be an excellent little production. It's available via Comicsy at a very reasonable £7.00. Here's what they have to say:

From the New Eagle comes the classic story by Alan (Meltdown Man) Hebden and Jose (13th Floor) Ortiz. The Tower King tells the tale of Mick Tempest and his struggles to survive in a London plunged into Medieval anarchy by the complete loss of electricity. Brilliantly written by Alan Hebden, and the artwork by Ortiz is among his best.
    76 pages plus cover, soft cover, saddle stitched A4. B&W/greyscale, and artwork is at the size as original publication. This is the first time this story has ever been reprinted, and this first print is limited to 200 individually numbered copies.

Today's random scans are related to one of the features I put up on Kindle last week. The first pic is the cover for the paperback edition of Paul Renin's Sinners in the Sun, published by Beacon as part of their exclusive deal with author Richard Goyne. The almost photo-realistic cover reminds me of one of the Ben Sarto covers I used last week, Dames For Hire, also published by Beacon. Same artist? Probably.

The Renin and the following Ben Sarto covers are rather poor because they're taken, for the most part, from tiny scans/photos intended for eBay rather than reasonable sized scans. I would love to have replacements for any of these and I'm more than happy to receive scans of any old British paperbacks – I have broad tastes and enjoy seeing them and, eventually, I might even find time to clean them up for a cover gallery or a gathering of random scans.

The three Sarto titles date from 1948 – Dames Can Be Poison with a cover by H. W. Perl – and 1953 – both Gorilla's Moll and Gangsters' Lady, both of which have covers by Leonard Potts. Rather poor quality scans, for which I apologise. I've done the best I can.

I have a couple of cover galleries set up for the weekend inspired by comments. Firstly, a mystery artist who signed his work 'Curtis' . . . but who he was I don't know. And on Sunday an extension to the China Mieville gallery published a couple of weeks back. And coming soon, a little celebration of Spitting Image.


  1. 'Gorrila's Moll' might not have been banned for immorality but it ought to have been prosecuted under the rules of correct spelling! (and I'm not too sure about that apostrophe in 'Gangsters' Lady' - who looks suspiciously like an inflatable doll by the way).

    The guys that edited these things weren't exactly Mensa standard were they?

  2. If you look at the cover I posted for Some Rats Have Two Legs you'll see the quality control over spelling didn't improve. "It's going to make your nerves shreak like rusty nails on glass..."



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