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Friday, April 11, 2014

Comic Cuts - 11 April 2014

The problem with writing a weekly column that is intended to round up some of my personal news is this: I live a life that barely changes from one week to the next. If my life was to be filmed and sped up so you could watch a whole day in a minute, or a week in an hour, I would be a solitary, still figure in the middle of the screen, blurring occasionally as I left my chair before returning a half-second later with a fresh cup of coffee.

I would appear as if by magic. Light would crawl across the wall and crawl away as the sun rolled across the heavens and I would disappear for the night.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not unhappy with this situation. I enjoy piecing together the stories of the old comics I write about, I occasionally get to talk to interesting people and I'm always rooting around after some fact or other, the result of which can vary from disappointing to so fascinating I lose the rest of the day.

So... there isn't much news. Again. What I can tell you is that we're over the 30,000 words line—the latest count was 31,500, with around 21,500 in the correct order. (Just to explain: by this I mean that I have the bulk of the material written up in a fashion I'm happy with plus another 10,000 words of material that I'm still pulling into shape; most of this additional wordage is a precis of each of the storylines of each of the strips which I'm weaving into the introduction; there's also notes to myself about things that I've got to remember to talk about, footnotes, a lengthy precis of the 'Countdown' comic strip that I'm thinking of doing as a section on its own.

There are also notes that probably won't make it into the final draft, such as this paragraph charting the rise of television viewing, which I've decided I didn't need:

The nine-day Apollo/SOYUZ mission in 1975 was broadcast to more than one billion people (a quarter of the world’s population at the time) and the 1978 world cup in Argentina was watched by about a billion people in 42 countries as the host nation beat the Netherlands; a record viewership surpassing the 1976 Olympics. Three billion had access to the Seoul Olympics in 1988, four billion (Sydney Olympics in 2000) and 4.8 billion (London, 2012).

There, that's a cut scene from the book that might be reincorporated if I ever do a Director's Cut.

So let's dive straight into the random scans. I spent Saturday cleaning up a couple of pics for you, including another pair of Fred Gambino's covers for Ted Tubb Dumarest series. The Terra Data was published by Arrow in 1985, five years after it first appeared in the USA, and five years after the UK appearance of  Prison of Night, which was last week's random scan. Nectar of Heaven was another from 1985. Fred Gambino has a book out in a couple of month's time: Dark Shepherd: The Art of Fred Gambino, which should be well-worth looking out for.

I haven't read anything by Dan Simmons for years, so I grabbed up Olympos when I saw it in a charity shop. Unfortunately, it's a sequel and I don't have Ilium. But I love the cover. I couldn't read the signature, but I believe it is the work of Gary Ruddell, who was nominated for a Hugo Award for an earlier cover for a Dan Simmons book.

Finally, a return to the kind of artwork that appeared on paperbacks when I was trawling the shops every week for the latest SF titles—although this one is a non-fiction book on weapons. But who's the artist? I wonder if it's Tony Roberts. Anyone?

Next week: we're continuing the latest adventure of Paul Temple. Hope you're enjoying it.

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