Friday, June 13, 2014

Comic Cuts - 13 June 2014

I'm pleased to begin this week's column with more good news. I've now completed the layouts for the main introduction of the Countdown to TV Action index plus two sidebar features, which make up the first 141 pages of the book. And I'm racing through the main index and trying to get my imagination around what page 157 could look like given the choice of pictures we have.

Regular readers of this column will know how painfully slow I am at this part of the job. I'll be the first to admit that when I started the research on the book—way back in November 2013!—I thought this one would be a breeze. Hah! I should know better by now as I've been fooled by that before... having spent some months on the Lion index back in 2012, I thought I'd knock out a couple of shorter books, only to find that both Ranger and Boys' World took far longer to research and piece together than I had imagined. And so has this latest tome, although when I started I had no idea that the introduction would balloon into an epic 40,000-worder.

Another factor in my slow progress is the simple fact that I'm not a designer by trade and have never claimed to be. What little skill I have I picked up from working with some good people back in my days at Aceville and Trinity. The man to blame is probably Graham Baldock, designer on a number of titles I worked on over the years. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't know how to use cross-headings, pull-outs, runarounds... knowledge I've put to absolutely no use whatsoever in the book! It's not that kind of book.

That's a conscious choice. Rightly or wrongly, I think a book of this kind demands clarity of layout. And even without using all the tools available to designers, I think this is still a good-looking book. That's one of the advantages of writing about a medium awash in action-packed artwork. It makes my job a lot easier.

There was a brief pause in work earlier in the week as I put together an obituary for Joy Laurey, creator of Mr Turnip. I had written about her a year or two back but I'll update the column and repost it in the near future. Meanwhile, the Guardian has posted the piece online and it should appear in the paper shortly.

Mr Turnip appeared in Mickey Mouse Weekly around 1951 and in TV Comic around 1954. Both versions of the strip were credited to Joy Laurey and I've yet to find any credit for the artwork. Perhaps it was by Laurey herself, although a part of me wonders whether the TV Comic artwork was by another hand.

Today's random scans are a random selection of war stories in honour of the recent celebrations. I don't really have any comments to make on these, just that I'm amazed how diverse the covers of books were back in the 1950s and 1960s.

Next week... I'm not sure. I have a couple of galleries that need updating and a few new ones that need finishing off. Tomorrow is the last of the Robert Ayton galleries and I'm planning to put together some more of these Ladybird-related posts. I've had about 50 Ladybird books cluttering up my shelves for years... it's about time I did something with them.

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