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Saturday, February 07, 2015

Philip Wilding

Philip Wilding received a mention yesterday as a cover artist for Banner Books, an imprint of Len Miller & Co. which published a slew of reprints in the period 1957-60, including quite a few collectable titles from the USA. There were at least two covers signed 'Wilding' which, when I did a little digging, turned out to be on books written by Philip Wilding under his own name or a pen-name.

That Wilding was both an author and artist is proven by the publication of The Book of American Frontier History, which he wrote and illustrated.

Wilding has been credited in various library listings as having written under a variety of pen-names. Unfortunately, due to the similarity of one of his names (Logan Stuart) to the pen-name of American author Leslie Savage Jr. (Logan Stewart),  he is often also credited with many of Savage's novels. A similarly-named journalist and author has written books on bands (The Verve, The Cure, Rush) and a crime-noir novel, Cross Country Murder Song (2010).

It would seem that Wilding started his career as an artist. A catalogue was issued by the Brook Street Art Gallery to accompany an exhibition of landscapes, flowers and still-life paintings by Wilding held at 14 Brook Street, London, between the 17th and 29th of April, 1939.

Wilding then went on to write at least three dozen novels, mostly westerns but also including a number of unremarkable science fiction novels and thrillers. He painted covers for a number of books, including at least two for Pan Books' in early 1952, namely Don't Get Me Wrong by Peter Cheyney and Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie, and covers for his own titles when they were reprinted in paperback by Banner Books in 1959/60.

It appears that Wilding hit a bad patch around 1959, and may have been unable to find a regular publisher for his novels, thus turning to Banner Books to publish two crime thrillers. His last novel seems to have appeared in 1960, although there may be other pseudonyms yet to be discovered. Wilding was, however, still writing, and I have found his name dotted around various comic libraries, beginning with Pearson's Western Picture Library where he wrote the early adventures of Jim Bridger. He also wrote war stories for Commando, Air Ace (as yet unidentified), Giant War and War.

What happened to Wilding after that is unknown, nor do I know the full extent of his comics output. If I were to make a (semi-)educated guess, I would say that Wilding retired in the 1960s, which is why his output diminished. Along with the knowledge that he had an artistic career prior to the Second World War, it seems likely that he was the Philip Wilding who, in the 1939 Register, is described as a commercial artist. Born on 26 August 1913, Wilding died in 4Q 1971 in Sutton, Surrey, without leaving a will. In 1939 he was listed as married and working at LCC Wandsworth Secondary School, Sutherland Grove. He contributed cartoons to The Sketch during the war, including the one below which might just be a self-portrait.

However, I should add that much of the above is guesswork on my part and hopefully someone who knew Wilding will get in touch with confirmation or a correction.


Spaceflight Venus. London, Hennel Locke, 1954.
Shadow Over Earth. London, Hennel Locke, 1956.
Johnny Reb. A novel for young readers. London, Hennel Locke, 1959.
Murder with Merit. London, Banner Books 103, 1959?
Murder with Honor. London, Banner Books 116, 1960.

Novels as Jefferson Fraser
Guns of Willow Creek. London, Quality Press, 1948.
Down the Trail. London, Partridge Publications, 1952.
Fightin' Outlaw. London, Partridge Publications, 1952.
Buckskin Breed. London, Rich & Cowan, 1952.
Lawless Valley. London, Hennel Locke, 1952.
Rawhide Rand. London, Rich & Cowan, 1953; as by Logan Stuart, Long Preston, Dales Large Print Books, 2006.
Renegade Ambush. London, Rich & Cowan, 1953.
The Oxbow Brand. London, Hennel Locke, 1953.
Rebel from the South. London, Quality Press, 1953.
Sombrero Ramrod. London, Rich & Cowan, 1954.
Feud at Broken Wheel. London, Rich & Cowan, 1955.
Brand of the Tomohawk. London, Rich & Cowan, 1955.
Fast With a Gun. London, Rich & Cowan, 1956.
Roughshod. London, John Long, 1957.
Stage City. London, John Long, 1957; reprinted, Banner Books 100, 1959?.
The Alamo Kid. London, Frederick Muller, 1958.

Novels as John Robert Haynes
The Scream from Outer Space. London, Rich & Cowan, 1955; reprinted Panther 852, 1958.

Novels as Lloyd Marshall
Trail of the Horse Thief. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1954.

Novels as Erle Russell
Dust Over Warpath. London, Hennel Locke, 1953.
Bitter Trail. London, Hennel Locke, 1954.
Savage Country. London, Hennel Locke, 1957.

Novels as Borden Stanton
Marshal's Badge. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1954.
The Gentle Gunman. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1955; as by Logan Stuart, Long Preston, Dales Large Print Books, 2006.

Novels as Logan Stuart
Hold-up at Hondo Bend. London, Rich & Cowan, 1954.
Justice in the Saddle. London, Rich & Cowan, 1954.
Brady of the Cimarron. London, Rich & Cowan, 1955.
Apache Fury. London, Rich & Cowan, 1956.
The Man From Spanish Creek. London, Rich & Cowan, 1957.
The Bandit Hunter. London, John Long, 1957; reprinted, Banner Books 109, 1960?.
Tough Outfit. London, John Long, 1958; reprinted, Banner Books 104, 1959?.
Outlaw Bunch. London, Robert Hale, 1960; Brown Watson W222, 1963.

Landscape, Flowers and Still-Life Paintings by Philip Wilding. London, Brook Street Galleries, 1939.
The Book of American Frontier History, written and illustrated. London, George G. Harrap & Co., 1958.

Comic Strips
By Wagon to Santa Fe. Western Picture Library 6, Nov 1958.
Jim Bridger's Wilderness Fort. Western Picture Library 12, Feb 1959.
Jim Bridger Rides the Danger Trail. Western Picture Library 14, Mar 1959.
Jim Bridger and the Enchanted Mesa. Western Picture Library 16, Apr 1959.
Jim Bridger Meets the Son of Red Cloud, illus. Bernal. Western Picture Library 18, May 1959.
Jim Bowie and the Massacre of Medicine Bow, illus. Bob Webster. Western Picture Library, Jun 1959.
Blood in the Sand, illus. Manuel Zatarain. Commando 128, Aug 1964.
Fighting Fury, illus. Martin Salvador. Commando 159, Apr 1965.
Man the Guns, illus. Edmond Ripol. Giant War Picture Library 62, Sep 1965.
Ring of Steel, illus. Bielsa. Commando 201, Feb 1966.
Traverse and Fire, illus. Pat Nicolle. War Picture Library 418, Jan 1968.

(* In its original form, I had taken a guess that Wilding was  Philip Charles Wilding, born 23 October 1897, who married Elsie M. Robinson in Fulham in 1942. They lived together at 66 Talgarth Road. Fulham W.14 after the war until at least 1957 and later retired to Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, where Elsie died in 1968, aged 70, and Philip died in 1970, aged 72. Thanks to John Herrington I now believe the above Philip Wilding is a better fit.)

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