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Friday, July 24, 2015

Comic Cuts - 24 July 2015

I've been wearing my editorial hat this week, so there's little to report of note as my main research this week was into whether people were increasingly holidaying in the UK—and before it becomes a burning question in your life, the answer is yes, searches for hotels in seaside resorts jumped after the hot weather we had at the beginning of the month. You heard it here first.

On the side, I'm trying to find out more about the import of American magazines in the 1930s and the kind of numbers that arrived on these shores. It's proving difficult to get numbers, although I have found some examples that I might be able to use. My digging has also turned up the name of the guy who ran Atlas Publishing and Distribution, who had quite an important role in the history of British reprint editions of magazines and the distribution of comics in the UK, as well as publishing a few annuals. All will be revealed at some point.

While I'm still trying to maintain a level of research, I'm also trying to keep up with my exercise, although I seem to be stuck at the same weight for months on end. I didn't put on any weight during the winter (unlike the situation in 2014), but I've only lost a couple of pounds since March and I'd ideally like to be losing a pound a month.

That said, I'm still almost two stone lighter than I was two years ago, so... Yay! Go me!

I'm keeping up with the walks, which means that I'm watching the ever-changing, ever-developing landscape around my home. Although I'll walk in different directions—a poor attempt to keep things fresh—I do end up walking the same bits of roads every day or every other day. You become attuned to them and any changes seem more important than they probably are. For instance, a couple of months ago, the road around the corner had been deteriorating so badly that a hole had appeared near one of the drains. The drain cover was threatening to fall into the sewer below. Fixed now, but it took a couple of months.

I don't think I've ever been so aware of changes. Maybe it's something that comes with age. I don't remember noticing anything so trivial when I was a kid. They built a car park and shopping centre in the middle of Chelmsford... that I remember; I remember them building the new library and knocking down Hoffmans, but now I'm attuned to notices popping up all over the place:

My world has seemingly grown smaller over the years. I used to want to change our lives for the better. Nowadays, trying to figure out what the difference between a footpath and a footway is will fill most of one of my walks. Old age has crept up on me and turned me into a grumpy old man.

Our tomato count is currently: 9 Tumbling Toms, 5 Marmande Beefsteak and 8 Rosella Black Cherry. We have a second cucumber almost ready to pick and some beans starting to grow. For a pair who have always said we have the black finger of death rather than green fingers of gardners, Mel and I aren't doing too badly!

As I have been thinking about American magazine imports, I thought I'd use today's random scans to cover some American books that had British editions. Edward Ronns is today better remembered under his real name Edward S. Aarons, which he used for a long-running series of spy thrillers known as the "Assignment" series. His early hardboiled novels as Edward Ronns and Paul Ayres are little known these days, although they were often published in the hugely popular Gold Medal line of detective thrillers.

Two of the early covers here are based on the Gold Medal covers. The Decoy (originally Gold Medal 194) is an almost straight lift of the Barye Phillips original, but Passage of Terror (originally Gold Medal 217) has been extensively reworked from C. C. Beall's painting—which you can see at the top of this column—by a British artist.

Also below are a couple of others of slightly later vintage: the WDL (with a nice cover by Ron Smethurst) and the two Red Seals all date from 1960. The second has a signature, J. Coppin. Well, that's what it looks like to me (you can see it between the guy's legs).

Posts will probably be a little more patchy next week. We're heading towards the editorial deadline!

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