BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Comic Cuts - 21 October 2016

I've had another week of reasonably solid work on the new Valiant index, although I've had to put in some hours on Hotel Business as we're at the stage when commissioned features are starting to trickle in, I need to write a couple of columns myself and some people need reminding that the deadline is this Friday... including me, as that's usually when I need to have most of my editorial writing finished.

The cycle on the magazine then kicks into overdrive next week as we start pushing stuff through to our design studio, articles that should have been in on Friday turn up and need a quick turnaround, and new advertorial material trickles in as our ads team tries to flog enough space to pay our wages. This is always the hardest part, as I have to commission on the basis that I'll have to fill every page. Every advertorial means disappointment for some poor soul in PR who has been relying on us for some free promotion and frustration for me as the work I've put in commissioning, chasing up, subbing and submitting has all gone to waste.

To keep myself cheerful, I've started on my second parse of Valiant in order to compile information on where strips were missing from various issues. This was particularly prevalent in the early 1970s where you could have eight, nine or ten humour strips all running at the same time, but which seemed to disappear for an issue or two every few weeks. The colourful chart above covers some of the strips (others, like 'Billy Bunter', 'The Nutts', 'The Crows', etc., were tacked in the first pass) that were appearing in late 1972/early 1973. In the left-hand column you'll also spy some odd notations, which I'm using to identify reprints of the 'Soccer Roundabout' feature, although whether I'll include all of that data in the final book, we'll just have to wait and see. There are limits, even to my obsession. In this instance it's a case of, I've got the issues open anyway, so I may as well try to identify when new material stopped and reprints began, which will probably be mentioned in passing in the introduction. Even the most casual mention of something can take hours or even days of research.

To celebrate the unprofessional idiots I have to work with, today's random scans are on the topic of lateness. We have some nice fifties painted covers beginning with a nice 'Ferrari' cover for a Duke Linton novel written by Steve ("Hank Janson") Frances. I'm not sure who the artists were for the Rex Richards and Bart Carson titles. Johnny Come Lately proves that the artists weren't overdoing things in the, er, chest department as models really do look like that.

And to close we have two SF Masterworks editions of Kate Wilhelm's Hugo Award-winning Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. Personally, I prefer the first of the two painted by Jon Sullivan. The picture might not say "It's about clones," but that's what the quote from Locus is for. The later version has lots of clones but looks a bit bleak to me.


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