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Friday, October 14, 2016

Comic Cuts - 14 October 2016

After what feels like an eternity, I've finally managed to put some time into what I hope will be the next Bear Alley book. I've spent time over the past couple of months updating my old Valiant index; I've been revamping the actual index since the beginning of August, ironing out a lot of minor errors, adding a ton of reprint info. and trying to figure out what I'm missing and need to get hold of.

I think I'm missing a few of the spin-off annuals—Conquest of the Air 1970 and Valiant Book of Sports 1972, 1973 and 1974 (see above)—so if you have any of them, perhaps you could get in touch. I may need an assist with some of the summer specials, too, but I've yet to dig out the ones I have, so that can wait for another day.

I've made some surprising finds, including one episode of 'The Crows' which was published four times. I was expecting to find that Captain Hurricane had been heavily reprinted towards the end, but the reprints started a lot later—five years later!—than I expected. I'm not going to be able to source every reprint as there was a lot of crossover with Buster, which I've not been a huge collector of, although I have identified a handful of the 'Lazy Sprockett' / 'Hymer Loafer' reprints from around 1960. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who can confirm when artists changed on the strip.

There are a couple of strips where I don't have the artist named, but I'll also come to that, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

Although I've managed to spend most of the week on this, don't imagine that it's going to be finished any time soon. There's still a huge amount of work to do and some of the information (on annuals, for instance) is still on hand-scribbled notes that I made back in the 1980s before I had a computer. I still have to do a second parse of quite a few of the strips to see where they were dropped from an issue, and that's before we get to writing the introduction, sourcing and scanning loads of pictures and laying out the book.

I managed one book in 2016, and that was a 42-pager! Let's hope I can wrangle this next monster-sized one for next year.

Random scans: I picked up one of the Arne Dahl books on Saturday, doubling my collection of Dahl titles. I loved the TV series based on these books, part of the Intercrime series about an elite police unit brought together to solve particularly tricky cases. There was one rather curious character on the TV show, a janitor who was always there to comfort or offer friendly advise. We rather liked him and it's a shame that he doesn't appear in the books—or so I'm told. The covers aren't up to much, sticking to the mysterious silhouette against a desaturated background (usually involving a road or trees or both), which is becoming a rather annoying cliche for crime novels.

But Nordic Noir made me think of The Girl in the Spider's Web, which I'm reading at the moment. It's a continuation of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander novels by another hand, in this case David Lagercrantz. And all I can say at the moment, as I'm only a quarter of the way through the book, is that, while it's a slow moving, I'm thoroughly enjoying revisiting Mikael Blomkvist, Erica Berger, Salander, Plague and other characters from the original Millennium trilogy.

Finally, a couple of other "Girl in" titles that make me regret that most novels nowadays have forsaken painted covers. Here are Pino Del'Orco and Derek Stowe showing you how it should be done. THe simple of subject of a seated man and woman are given vastly different treatments.



  1. Brilliant news Steve! Put me down for volumes 1 and 2 - it will need two volumes won't it? A publishing history of 14-15 years (depending on whose writing!) can't be condensed into one book...or CAN IT?

  2. I managed to squeeze Lion into a single volume, so hopefully I can do the same for Valiant which, thankfully, had a number of very long-running strips.