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Friday, August 28, 2015

Comic Cuts - 28 August 2015

The week has been dedicated to Hotel Business as we have an enlarged issue to produce. I'm slightly in the hinterland between commissioning and waiting for stuff to turn up, so I had a change to do some maintenance, copying files around a couple of external hard drives to make life easier. This included a lot of the images that have appeared as random scans every Friday for the past few years or as part of galleries or illustrations to biographical features or checklists.

I was surprised by some of the numbers: 477 Pan Books covers but only 93 for Panther Books (or 94 if you count the one above); 291 Fontana covers, 185 Corgi Books and 169 Digits... these aren't definitive figures, because a lot of the covers are in folders dedicated to authors, so there are, for instance, another 48 Fontana book covers in my Ngaio Marsh folder. These all need to be sorted out, but it takes hours making sure that I have everything saved and mirrored – I don't want to lose my scans again as happened a few years ago when scans for all the early galleries, like the Larry Niven gallery I put together in 2008, disappeared in a puff of smoke when one of my hard drives crashed, never to recover. All the scans I did for the Sci-Fi Art book... gone; a whole bunch of Chris Foss covers... gone.

Nowadays, everything that I copy off my computer for storage is copied twice. The only thing I'm bad about backing up is my actual main workspace, where I might tinker with hundreds of files over a few months; I really need to back these up more often.

The first gallery I did was back in 2006 when I posted a pile of John Wyndham Penguin covers. (There's also a more formal John Wyndham cover gallery that I compiled in 2012.) I think I've saved all the cover scans I've done since then – or tried to. I've just totted up the number of files I have sitting in the folder Book Covers and the figure is 8,287. There are, in addition, 5,425 cover scans that need to be cleaned-up sitting on my computer. Some of them are probably damaged beyond even the repairing skills of PhotoShop, but I continue to plod through them whenever I get a chance, or just want to relax... and it is surprisingly relaxing! You can listen to music while you're painting out folds and stains (!); better still, it's something that you can see the improvement in immediately, which is great for massaging the ego.

Our tomato total has now reached 141 and we've just had our third cucumber of the year. We're not expecting many more of the latter – it has been something of a failed experiment – but the two we've had have been really crunchy and tasty; there are two flowers on the plant so with luck and a fair wind, we may see some more growth before the end of the season. Come to think of it, when is the end of the cucumber season? I haven't a clue.

Just down the road from ours there used to be a little restaurant called Jardines, which ran for just over three years (August 2010 to December 2013). Bit pricey but nice. It closed a couple of years ago to be replaced in April 2014 by La Cava, a tapas restaurant. Had some mixed reviews to start but improved quickly and was generally considered OK. It closed around June and the former bar is being turned into a branch of Michaels, the property consultants. I can't help but think that we've lost out. Thankfully, Mel makes a fantastic paella.

Today's random scans... well, while I was sorting through all those cover scans I couldn't resist attacking a couple of old fifties covers with what's known as "good girl art". The two Brett Vane novels were published by Curtis Warren; H. W. Perl was the chief artist for these and they are some of the best work he produced – presumably Curtis Warren paid him better than some of the other publishers he worked for. I've also included a couple of Nat Karta novel published by Muir-Watson.

Four different artists tackling the subject of a single woman, none of them featuring a background. Some of these scan collections I put together aren't so random after all!

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