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Friday, July 22, 2016

Comic Cuts - 22 July 2016

I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine. I've been stuck inside for most of it although we managed to get out on Monday when there was an event billed as An Evening With James Henry at Waterstones. For those of you who don't know the name, "James Henry" was the pen-name dreamed up by James Gurbutt when he was offered the change to write a series of sequel novels based around the character of Jack Frost, the creation of R. D. Wingfield.

Gurbutt worked for Wingfield's publisher, Constable, and teamed up with local author Henry Sutton to write First Frost. The resulting novel received the blessing of Wingfield's son, Phil, and presumably sold well enough for two more sequels which took Jack Frost's story up to where R. D. Wingfield's five novels began.

I was a big fan of the latter books. I picked up Frost at Christmas to pass on to my mum, who liked the TV series and, since she retired, has had more time for reading. She loved the book... passed it on to my sister, who loved it too, and it eventually came back to me, by which time I'd picked up other books in the series for mum. After visiting the rest of the Holland family, all five have ended up on my shelves.

The James Henry novels had a similar circular trip back to my shelves but I've read them with much the same pleasure as the Wingfields. I was rather amazed to discover that Gurbutt (who wrote the second  and third Frost novels solo) was not only a local, his partner Sarah works one office away at the same firm Mel does, the same publisher I wrangle Hotel Business for.

Which brings us to our rather shambolic Monday evening. I headed into town to meet up with Mel. The plan was to get to Waterstones for the 6:30 start and then head out to the cinema for an 8:00 showing of Ghostbusters. While we grabbed a pre-event drink we heard from a friend that the 8 o'clock show was in 3D and the nearest 2D showing was at 7:15pm. So we said yes.

The 6:30 start turned out to be 6:30 for 7:00, and we had to slip away at ten to to grab some food before heading to the Odeon. So it wasn't so much An Evening With James Henry, but A Snatched Few Minutes With James Henry. I did, however, manage to get my books signed, including a proof copy of his new novel, Blackwater, and the signature of co-author Henry Sutton, who teaches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, who was down from Norfolk for the evening to act as the Q&A's host.

So the evening was shambolic but not an utter failure—I did meet James and Henry, albeit briefly, and we did get to see Ghostbusters which I found not nearly as bad as some people have found it. Whether it was worth the £11.75 it cost to get in, I'm not sure. We're now paying almost £1.96 in VAT per visit to the cinema, which I like to think is going towards childcare or the NHS, but is probably being spent on stocking the Parliamentary wine cellar or Trident.

On Tuesday we wrapped up the latest Hotel Business issue and sent it winging its way to the printers. Long gone are the days of boards, overlays, colour mark-ups and Red Star delivery... now it's high resolution PDF files.

Wednesday and Thursday... mostly melting and trying to figure out how to get my scanner to work properly with Windows 10. Still not sure if I've managed it... it's currently installing but I don't want to reboot the computer. Guess I'll find out tomorrow whether the new patch works.

I'm working on pulling together all the episodes for another Ace O'Hara storyline, but I also have a couple of time-intensive bits of research underway that are taking up most of my spare moments—the sort of coal-face research where you have to put in the hours. But Ace will return. Meantime, I'm pleased to have returned Bear Alley to the old mix of biographical sketches and cover galleries for a bit. Also rather amazed to think that we're only a few weeks away from Bear Alley's 10th anniversary.

Random scans... well, in honour of meeting James Henry, scroll down for a little James Henry cover gallery.


Paul Flo Williams said...

Steve, is it "Garbutt", or "Gurbutt"? Press releases from his publisher and other articles in the Independent and the Bookseller say "Gurbutt", but Google also shows me more sources of "Garbutt".

Steve said...

Ah... my error, it's Gurbutt. I keep mixing up the name with an old story paper editor who was John Garbutt.