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Friday, March 14, 2014

Comic Cuts - 14 March 2014

Another week of solid, if slow, work on the Countdown/TV Action index. I'm very pleased with the way things are progressing: the introduction currently clocks in at 13,000 words, but I still have a ton of information to squeeze in. I'm going to try and have a draft finished and to start on the layouts within the next two weeks and to have the proof in hand by my birthday in mid-April. Now I have a deadline, maybe things will start to speed up.

I have another request of readers: does anyone have a copy of the "Giant Spacefact Wallchart" that was given away with the first issue of Countdown. I need to get scan of it – with or without stamps, I don't mind – and hopefully someone will still have it. The condition is not important but I do need a print-quality scan. If you only have an A4 scanner, a couple of overlapping scans will also do . . . I can photoshop the image back together.

So... um... that's my news... what have you been up to? Well, I can't speak for you all, but Anton Haasnoot sent me a picture of a Charles Garvice novel all the way from the Netherlands. It reminded me that I started off the random scans as a way of forcing myself to clean up a few covers every week. Last Saturday, having picked up a couple of old paperbacks in charity shops and Mel being away at a convention for the weekend, I spent the whole afternoon cleaning up just one cover. I was amazed how relaxing it felt, even when I was tinkering around with some of the most horribly damaged bits for twenty or thirty minutes at a time.

Watching the overall picture being repaired of scratches and folds was hugely satisfying because, unlike the index I'm working on, it was something that I could see improving by the minute. I know the book is heading in the right direction, but it's so slow I can sometimes get to the end of the day and feel absolutely no satisfaction about the work I've put in. The research I've done may pay off a week or a month later – it rarely goes to waste – but there's none of the instant satisfaction of finishing the clean-up on a scan.

Actually, this is the third Chris Foss-covered paperback I've found in two weeks, thanks to our local Oxfam having put out a few new SF titles, including Poul Anderson's Conquests, which you'll find below. These clean-up operations don't always work out. There are some where the colours have degraded so badly – usually on or towards the spine – that they're impossible to fix. To show you what I mean, I'll post a couple of books I have by Edmund Cooper. I had these years ago in almost mint condition but they were disposed of, along with a few hundred other paperbacks, in a moment of madness. The Cooper novels I've subsequently picked up clearly belonged to a heavy smoker, because the spines are all brown and horrible and trying to restore the artwork to how it should look is nigh on impossible. You can see that especially in the last pic where I've not yet touched the original scan. They all looked like this to start with!

Next week should see the completion of our Gerry Embleton-drawn strip about Cecil Rhodes. And shortly after that I'm hoping to launch into a Paul Temple strip that's new to Bear Alley. So that's something you can all look forward to while I'm finishing off the latest index.

1 comment:

Richard Williams said...

God, I loved Chris Foss' giant spaceships - they made me buy lots of sci-fi books when I was a teenager. I still have the 1st collection of his work from Dragon's Dream (or World, can't remember which)!