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Friday, October 09, 2015

Comic Cuts - 9 October 2015

I'm writing this Friday morning, so it's going to be quick. I would normally write the Comic Cuts column on a Thursday, but I was battling for time yesterday as we're in the final phase of the Hotel Business cycle, with all the last-minute material coming in thick and fast and numerous last minute changes needing to be made where I have to replace some text with advertorial material.

To give you an example: one spread this month contains one and three quarter pages plus a quarter page advert; because our boss likes a busy page, we have maybe seven, eight or nine featurettes on that spread. All were completed and sent into our design studios. But everything went on hold as an advertiser paying for a large ad. asked for half a page of editorial space for a feature – a piece of PR puffery that we call an advertorial. Unfortunately, that's what pays our wages, so we're now waiting for them to send in text and pictures that we can shape into a half-page. At least two of the shorter pieces already written will have to be scrapped. And because each section of the magazine will have a new theme next issue, those scrapped items won't fit, so I can't just hold them over and save some writing time next month.

It's my job to write enough material to fill all that space on the assumption that it will be needed but knowing in my heart that a lot will have to be dropped. We've dropped six featurettes so far and this latest sale will add two more to that figure... and we haven't sorted out our two biggest sections yet, which cover about a third of the magazine.

But that wasn't wholly the reason why I didn't get to write this column yesterday. I actually spent most of the evening writing for the Caught in the Act project. This opens with two threads: gangsters and the white slave trade – in fictional form, of course – and the book will explore how the two eventually fueled the post-war paperback boom. I'm researching the gangster side at the moment and was writing about real-life Chicago racketeers and how British newspapers reported on their activities.

That's what I'm doing for fun! Oh, and watching the new Danger Mouse. And The Martian. Both brilliant.

Random scans. It's not often that I stumble across many pre-decimal paperbacks in town, but I managed to find three on my trek around Colchester's charity shops last week. A bit of a mixed bag, but nice to see them... and a Chris Foss thriller cover that I didn't have, which is our header illustration this week. A pretty good haul and quite amazing for Colchester, which is usually a desert as far as older paperbacks is concerned.

1 comment:

Johny Malone said...

It takes a good gallery of Palma Harcourt's covers.