Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion Releases for 30 November and 1 December.

2000AD Prog 2009
Judge Dredd: Cube Root of Evil by Arthur Wyatt (w), Jake Lynch (a), John Charles (c), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l)
Future Shocks: Return of the Revolutionaries by Rory McConville (w), Eoin Coveney (a), Ellie De Ville (l)
Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l)

Fink Angel: Legacy by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Mick McMahon, Peter Doherty, Carlos Ezquerra, Tiernen Trevallion
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08497-7, 1 December 2016, £14.99. Available from Amazon.
THE ANGEL GANG ARE THE MEANEST, MOST DERANGED VILLAINS EVER to come out of the Cursed Earth. The all-male family of psychopathic criminal hillbillies first encountered Mega-City One’s greatest lawman Judge Dredd when he was on a quest to find the Judge Child. Having despatched Pa, Link, Junior and Mean, Dredd later came face to face with Fink Angel, the eldest sibling of the clan who visited Mega-City One in search of vengeance for his fallen kin folk. The latest member of the Angel Gang is Fink’s son Ratfink – a Cursed Earth-dwelling fiend who preys on passing helltrekkers. Just like his father, Ratfink has a love of poisons, rodents and mayhem…

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 28
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08433-5, 1 December 2016, £19.99. Available from Amazon.
THE BAD AND THE MAD IN MEGA-CITY ONE! Mega-City One is plagued by a group of rebelling Jimmy Dean clones, underground murder clubs, a Sexmek serial killer and a revenge-filled taxidermist, back from the grave and looking for justice!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Martin Aitchison (1919-2016)

The obituary for Martin Aitchison appeared in the Saturday edition of The Guardian (26 November 2016). For those of you who missed it:

If you're like me and your eyesight isn't as good as it used to be, you can read the text online here at the Guardian website, where it appeared back on 10 November.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Bungle Brothers

Working on the Valiant index means trying to nail down a lot of artists that were still unidentified when I did the original version back in 1994. I'm rather poor on humour artists, but I know there are experts out there who may be able to help. If you know someone who might be able to help, send them a link to this post. I'll be eternally grateful.

I'm reposting the "Tatty-Mane" column, which you'll find if you scroll down. Here we take a brief look at "The Bungle Brothers", which first appeared in Valiant on 18 November 1972 and ran, with a few gaps, until 10 March 1973.

But who was the artist?

(* The Bungle Brothers © Rebellion Publishing Ltd.)

Tatty-Mane King of the Jungle

The funny animal strip was no stranger to Valiant by 1966. The paper had, after all, been running ''The Crows' since its first issue. Most of the humour strips in Valiant were by recognisable names (the mighty Roy Wilson even had a strip in early issues), but one or two names have eluded me.

Who, for instance, was the artist for 'Tatty-Mane King of the Jungle', which ran for almost two years in Valiant in 1966-68. It could be one of the Spanish artists who began filling the pages of British comics with slickly drawn humour strips in around 1960, most notably Angel Nadal who drew 'The Nutts' for Valiant for almost a decade and Martz Schmidt who, I believe, drew a couple of early Valiant strips.

Here are a few early strips featuring Tatty... hopefully someone will be able to identify the artist.

(* 'Tatty-Mane' © Time Inc. (UK).)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Comic Cuts - 25 November 2016

I'm happy to report that the trip to see James Acaster – trailed in last week's column – was hugely and hilariously successful. He has a very dry wit that will dart off on some very unexpected tangents, as anyone who has seen him on Mock the Week and other shows will have gathered.

As far as I can recall, I first heard him on the Josh Widdicombe radio show, which feels like a very long time ago, but which can only be three years, four at most. He's a storyteller, with loosely threaded themes running through the show – in this instance a desire to be able to reset ones life back to some earlier point, whether by time travel or being relocated into witness protection.

Fast forward to Tuesday, and we're in the same venue for a very different show: Alex Horne and the Horne Section, which had a far higher energy and was equally as utterly daft and surreal in places. I've had to use a photo from the Horne Section website as I only snapped a couple of the backdrop and neither of them were in focus. I've stopped taking photos when people are on the stage – I used to with my old camera, but with the new camera the bright light used to focus is very obvious to the person on stage. Hence the lack of photos from my recent reviews. The above will give you just a hint of what the show was like. All I'll say is that the whole audience was dancing at the end.

The rest of the week has been relatively quiet. I binge watched a series called Sense8 over the weekend, which is the perfect way to watch that particular show. Compared to most terrestrial TV it's a very slow-burning tale; by offering it to download via Netflix, you can watch multiple episodes at a sitting (these days two is my limit before I need to get up, stretch and do something else... I used to watch 24 four episodes at a time and then I only stopped because the DVD needed changing!). I managed to watch all 12 episodes of the first season over four days.

As a fan of both the Wachowskis – although they vary from utterly brilliant (Bound, The Matrix) to utterly awful (The Matrix Revolutions, Jupiter Ascending) – and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, lots of comics), I had high hopes for the show. And I wasn't let down. The story is about eight people from around the globe who find themselves developing a psychic connection which allows them to see, then feel and then interact with each other. This 'sensate' power makes them targets for a mysterious figure known as Whispers.

I don't want to spoil it, so I'll say no more. It tackles gender politics and there are some quite graphic scenes (childbirth and some of a sexual nature), so it won't be for everyone. But I enjoyed it.

I've also dipped into science fiction at the other extreme. We've been rather spoiled of late with big-budget SF drama (we're also watching Westworld), so I chose this week to start watching (or re-watching) BUGS, the BBC series from the mid- to late-1990s. Oh, boy, does it look cheap! It was a bit of a guilty pleasure even when it first appeared, but I'm watching it now thinking, "Why is there no security in that supposedly super-secure building?" Seriously, the lead characters just walk into anywhere they want and sit down at a computer... which is running something that wasn't even top of the range in 1995. And there's a countdown every few minutes. You'd swear the scriptwriters wrote (URGENTLY) "You only have..." fifteen times and then tried to figure out what to put in between in order to link to the next bit of dialogue without spending too much cash.

Anyway, in honour of Alex Horne, I've tried to create my own "horn section" in today's random scans. To start with, there's the C. S. Forester cover gallery featuring many a Hornblower novel.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 23 November.

2000AD Prog 2008
Judge Dredd: Cube Root of Evil by Arthur Wyatt (w), Jake Lynch (a), John Charles (c), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l)
Counterfeit Girl by Peter Milligan (w), Rufus Dayglo (a), Dom Regan (c), Ellie De Ville (l)
Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spaceship Away #40 (Autumn 2016)

Spaceship Away completes its 13th year of publication with issue 40. Also coming to a close is Tim Booth's 'Mercury Revenant' after 8 issues and 18 episodes. One of the earliest episodes was set around Christmas, and the tale ends on a similar festive note. Sandwiched in-between has been one of Dan's hottest adventures on the surface of Mercury and a very satisfying old-school Dan Dare yarn it has been, too.

Tim Booth is also responsible for the longer-running 'Parsecular Tales', with episodes 26 and 27 appearing here. In all Booth has produced over 80 episodes of various stories and he's definitely Starship Away's star discovery. One hopes that he can keep up the pace in 2017 and beyond.

Concluding this issue are Jet Morgan's latest reprint from Express Weekly – or, in this instance, one of the annuals – and Nick Hazard's previously unpublished adventure 'Planet of Doom', based on an old 1950s Vargo Statten paperback yarn.

David Ashford leads off a trio of articles this issue with a look at a long-forgotten space hero drawn by Syd Jordan. Hal Starr first appeared (drawn by other hands) in a obscure series of comics published in the 1950s to promote body-building. Syd drew some schoolboy adventures featuring one Dick Hercules before jetting off into space with Starr. He drew only seven stories, although he revived the name for a series reprinted in Spaceship Away issues 8-15, originally published as John Stark in the Dutch weekly Eppo Wordt Vervolgd in 1987-88.

Next up, Jeremy Briggs introduces the people behind the scenes at the new B7 Media's Dan Dare recordings that are soon to be released on CD. As well as meeting the actors and production staff, we get a look at the various stories that are being adapted – the first set of three stories (released in December) are the first three that appeared in Eagle, but the second set (released February 2017) are stories eight, four and five.

Busy Jeremy is also behind an interview with Dave Gibbons who discusses his time drawing Dan Dare in 2000AD, strips recently reprinted by Rebellion. It's a good, insightful interview and I never knew that Dave met Frank Hampson... but you'll have to buy the issue to find out how that went.

You can find out more about the magazine, buy back issues and subscribe to the latest issues at the Spaceship Away website.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Space Ace volume 7

Ron Turner's Space Ace returns with a new serial story from the pages of Lone Star that was originally curtailed in favour of a rather more action-packed yarn: "Trouble on Titan" ran for only three episodes before Turner, feeling nervous that SF was on the downturn, decided to increase the emphasis on Ace's Space Patrol activities, just in case, and wrapped up the 6-part storyline with a new direction for part four and a new 2-part conclusion, "Slaves of the Zirkons".

Turner had nothing to worry about, as the strip would run for quite a few years. However, it means that this is a somewhat fragmented story, with the disappearance of the research ship Pandora from Saturn's moon, Titan, resolved with no real explanation.

But it's the artwork that most will be buying the magazine for, and that doesn't disappoint. Turner's designs for the Titan natives and wildlife is up to his usual high standards and while the story is slight (and you can easily see the point where Turner gave up on the original storyline), it is engaging enough to carry you through to the end.

This issue also contains a back-up tale from Lone Star Annual in which Space Ace and Bill track down a time-travelling inventor who has found himself trapped in the past with an invading alien race.

As always, the original black & white strips are enhanced by John Ridgway's colours, which take full advantage of what modern computer colouring can do whilst retaining the spirit of Turner's own colour palette.

You can get hold of this latest volume for £8.95 (UK) or £12.50 (Europe) and £14.50 (International) including p&p — and that's pretty much at cost, I can assure you — with payments through Paypal via spaceace.54 AT or by cheque or postal order to John Lawrence, 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Beds. LU5 4RB.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Comic Cuts - 18 November 2016

What a mixed week it has been. There has been moments of hilarity and one or two of agony, and times where I think I'm doing pretty well and one major moment of idiocy. On the plus side, there have been some nice surprises along the way.

Let's untangle this. The research on the Valiant index is going well. I completed another lengthy trawl through copies of the paper to check where some strips appeared or dropped out, completed my checklist of The Crows reprints – somebody had to compile one... turns out that poor sod was me – and I'm now working my way through Captain Hurricane. For the latter I now have a reprint index, and I'm working alongside David Roach and David Slinn trying to spot who was doing fill-in art on some episodes. It's quite a long haul but more fun than I expected. Roylance, Captain Hurricane's main artist, wasn't one of my favourites even as a kid, but I'm starting to appreciate the effort he put into the strip.

So the good news is that Rebellion have already started work on collecting some of the material they've recently bought from Egmont, and one of the first books out of the gate will be a collection of One-Eyed Jack from the very pages of Valiant that I was flicking through over the weekend. The book will be out next July and that's the promo art for it at the top of the column.

More good stuff: We went to see Gary Delaney at the Arts Centre on Tuesday. He's an incredible joker, a master of the one-liner, as you can see from this little snapshot from his twitter feed:

I'm not the greatest fan of one-liner comedians, and whilst we have seen (and I've thoroughly enjoyed) Milton Jones and Stewart Francis in the past, I tend to prefer something a little more structured. However, by breaking his stride so it's not pun after pun, Delaney managed to hold everyone's attention for a full hour, making good use of a Mac and a big screen to show off some funny photos and Wikipedia trolling, and a clipboard or two of new jokes that he was trying on the audience (well, that's what he told us).

This week's big surprise came on Wednesday night when Mel announced that we'd managed to secure tickets to see James Acaster on Thursday. We were caught out by how quickly his gig sold out earlier in the year, but had our names down for any returned tickets. And it worked. Was it worth it? You'll have to wait until next week to find out as I'm writing this before we go so it can be lined up for posting first thing in the morning.

On the negative side... my feet hurt. Or specifically my left foot hurts. I thought it was just wear and tear on one shoe that was causing it to rub, perhaps, but the problem wasn't solved by insoles, switching back to an old pair of shoes with which I'd never had any problems, or even buying new shoes, which, if I'm honest, I needed to do anyway.

As the problem hasn't gone away I finally took a trip down to see our GP, where the problem was diagnosed as Morton's Neuroma. This turns out to be a bit of a misnomer as it is not a neuroma (a non-cancerous tumour); what it is is a thickening and swelling around the nerve that runs between the bones of the foot and toes.. Nobody's 100% certain what causes it, but it appears that pressure on the nerve plays a part.

I'm hoping the new shoes will help, although I was walking for roughly 14 months in the previous pair without any signs of a problem; I'm using high-impact insoles and also a pad which is, hopefully, relieving the pressure on the nerve. It doesn't seem to have had much effect so far, but I'll keep using it.

I'm still able to take my daily walks, which, as it's the only exercise I get these days, I don't want to give up on. I did get a bit of a run on Wednesday as, half way around my walk, at about ten past eight, I suddenly remembered that I had a dental appointment at nine. I was 15 minutes from home and the bus takes 25 minutes to get into town, plus it's a 10 minute walk to the dentist. Add that up and I realised there was a chance I could actually make it in time – or not long after.

I checked in at three minutes past nine!

And there I had my teeth cleaned without an anaesthetic and a small filling, so I was aching at both ends by the time I left.

Guess what the subject for this week's random scans is going to be...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Commando issues 4967-4970

Commando issues on sale 17th November 2016.

Commando – 4967 – Goulash Grenadiers
Wrong time, wrong place and wrong soldiers. Mistaken for S.A.S., Abe, Cyril and Mike were in trouble. Being captured behind enemy lines was a nightmare for any British Soldier. But these men weren’t just any kind of soldiers…they were cooks.
    Pressed working alongside Wehrmacht cooks, Abe, Cyril and Mike were left in a sticky situation. Tensions were close to boiling point until the power of Yorkshire puddings helped six men, enemies by war, become friends in catering.

Story: George Low
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

Commando – 4968 – Hoodoo Ship
At long last, Sub-lieutenant Roy Palmer and merchant captain Brian Miller had found the island supply base from which U-boat packs slipped anchor to attack Allied convoys in the South Atlantic.
But, only after they’d been adrift for days with two boatloads of tired, unarmed men. They didn’t even have a radio to pass on the vital news.
    What could they do? Not much at all it seemed, until Roy found an ancient cannon and remembered a tale about red hot cannonballs…

Powell’s thrilling storytelling, coupled with the unusual title of this issue, makes Hoodoo Ship an exciting and rambunctious read!
     Playing on the classic trope of a suspicious seaman, Powell invokes the tense atmosphere of a ship with more than a little hoodoo going on. Objects go missing, the boilers are sabotaged and the crew is attacked by an unseen, ghostly assailant…or so it seems.
    The star of the script is Powell’s perfect villain, Oberleutnant Franz Von Reitz. He’s unforgiving, merciless and calculating – everything you love to hate in a Commando villain. He keeps our hero on his toes and makes Hoodoo Ship a truly bewitching book!—The Commando Team

Story: Powell
Art: C.T. Rigby
Cover: Ken Barr
Hoodoo Ship, originally Commando No 255 (April 1967)

Commando - 4969 – Yuri: On the Run
Yuri Murayev, ex-Spetznaz Commando, thought that his troubles were behind him. But he hadn’t reckoned on Anatoly Speck, the sinister Russian billionaire who had made it his business to destroy the former commando.
    Framed for murder, and on the run, Yuri finds himself in a deadly cat and mouse game, wanted by both the Russian underworld and his old friends in the S.A.S. With bullets flying, and the casualties mounting, it’s up to Yuri to clear his name before it’s too late!

Story: Stephen Walsh
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

Commando - 4970 – The Diamond Smugglers
When you want an agent to penetrate an enemy-occupied country and stay free long enough to do a tricky job, you ned someone who’s used to getting around without attracting attention. Who beeter than a man who smuggled diamonds in and out of that very country for years?
    But there’s a difference between peace-time and war. Before, the worst that could happen to him was to be put in jail. Now, if he was caught, he faced certain death!

This brilliant adventure follows two friends divided and reunited by war and adversary shapes us, and is brought to life with stunning visuals by classic interior artist, Llops. For our heroes, Jan and Tom, the Second World War offers them a restored friendship, and a renewed sense of heroism and purpose. For ferocious Nazi officer Driebrick (another brilliantly drawn, snarling Commando villain), however, the war is a gateway to greater treachery.
    Add to this thrilling rivalry and riveting artwork, another atmospheric cover from master artist Ian Kennedy, and you have a recipe for a truly gripping yarn!—The Commando Team

Story: Bernard Gregg
Art: Llops
Cover: Ian Kennedy
The Diamond Smugglers, originally Commando No 1138 (June 1977), reissued as No 2468 (May 1991)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 16 November 2016.

2000AD Prog 2007
In this issue: Judge Dredd: Cube Root by Arthur Wyatt (w), Jake Lynch (a), John Charles (c), Annie Parkhouse (l); Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l); Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l); Counterfeit Girl by Peter Milligan (w), Rufus Dayglo (a), Dom Regan (c), Ellie De Ville (l); Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l).

Judge Dredd Megazine 378
In this issue: Judge Dredd: Psicho by Peter Milligan (w) Jake Lynch (a) Tiernen Trevallion (c) Annie Parkhouse (l); Blunt by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l); Angelic: Home is The Hunter by Gordon Rennie (w) Lee Carter (a) Simon Bowland (l); Anderson: The Deep End by Alec Worley (w) Paul Davidson (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l). Features: interview with Glyn Dillon, obituary of Steve Dillon, Thrill-power Overload. Bagged reprint: Sinister Dexter: Pros and Cons.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Comic Cuts - 11 November 2016

Like Boris Johnson, I've written two versions of this blog. One is a deeply heartfelt and anguished essay on why we now live in a post-truth world run by post-factual politicians and how disconnected I feel from a majority of people. The other is a short, rather more lighthearted piece hinting at post-truth by using a handful of images with "Post" as their theme.

I'll let you guess which one I'm publishing.

It has been a sad week for fans of the old Eagle comic. I mentioned the passing of Howard Corn, a central figure in the Eagle Society and editor of the Eagle Times magazine for twenty-nine years. And artist Martin Aitchison died on October 22nd, aged 96. I spent Monday morning putting together an obituary, which The Guardian have taken. I'm not sure when they're using it, but I'll put up a link to it as soon as it appears. Update: published in today's edition, online here.

I've had to spend some time on Hotel Business but the cold weather and a general low level of enthusiasm have meant a lot of doodling around on the computer and not really doing anything. The piece on Mrs. Frances Campbell I finished on Sunday, so that will start tomorrow and run over the next few days. It was meant to be three parts but expanded to five! The final part covers her daughter, Phyllis, who was also an author. I was having so much frustration trying to keep track of everyone that I even put together a little family tree.

This is where I call time. I only had enough for three 'post'-themed covers, so I hope you'll forgive me in what has been a trying week.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 9 November 2016.

In this issue: Judge Dredd: Act of Grud by Rob Williams (w), Henry Flint (a), Annie Parkhouse (l); Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l); Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l); Counterfeit Girl by Peter Milligan (w), Rufus Dayglo (a), Dom Regan (c), Ellie De Ville (l); Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l).

Monday, November 07, 2016

Howard Corn (1943-2016)

Howard Corn (left) with one of his favourite authors, Geoffrey Bond
I'm sorry to report that Howard Corn, Chairman of the Eagle Society and editor for nearly thirty years of the Eagle fanzine Eagle Times died in hospital on Wednesday morning, November 2.

Howard was a regular visitor for many years, first when I lived in a little flat in Chelmsford and later at various houses in Colchester. Although Howard lived in Duston, Northants., he drove around the country selling books to Christian bookshops for Bookwise and I always seemed to be on the route. I hope he welcomed the cup of tea I always provided him with; I know I always welcomed the copy of Eagle Times and was more than happy to help out with bits of information. "What do you know about so-and-so?" he'd ask. "Hang on, I'll go and have a look," I'd reply, and nip off to my office to look up so-and-so on my computer.

He was hugely knowledgable about the paper and its creators and penned many features for Eagle Times about Eagle and other contemporary papers, including Express Weekly and Lion. He wrote extensively on 'Riders of the Range' as Cowhand Horn. He was also a very good promoter of the Society, contacting and talking to many provincial papers over the years, which kept a steady trickle of new members coming in. He was involved heavily with Eagle Days get-togethers and the Society's annual dinner.

Howards interests extended to other areas of boys' fiction and I believe he was a member of the Cambridge Old Boys Book Club.

Howard was born in Crewe, Cheshire. He was married twice: to Sandra Berryman in 1972 and to Rosemary Inwards in 1992.

My sympathies to his family and my best to the team putting together Eagle Times hereon.

(* Photo from Eagle Times v23n1, 2010.)

Saturday, November 05, 2016

The Case of the dozen or more Don Campbells

A question came up recently about an assertion  in Crime Fiction Bibliography that the author Don Campbell was born in 1883. I had the same information in my own notes about the author... but it didn't take long to discover that the date is actually associated with a different Don Campbell.

We need to exclude this guy before we can start looking for the author we're after. The date comes from the Author's and Writer's Who's Who which gives the following information, which I'll paraphrase:

CAMPBELL, Donald Edward Henry. born 1883. educated privately and at Oxford. Occupation: Medical practitioner. War Service: special Des: wounded twice and shipwrecked once. Address: Phoenix House, Sutton Oak, St Helens, Lancs.

He was a writer of history, specialising in biographies of Scottish adventurers and soldiers and the life-stories of the great Arabic scholars of the Middle Ages. He was the author of Arabian Medicine and its influence on the Middle Ages (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 2 vols., 1926). US copyright records also show that Campbell wrote the novel The Call of the Jungle (illus. W. E. Wrightman, London, Simpkin, Marshal & Co., 1926) under the name Robert Noel Rivers. He died in St Helens in 1949.

Anyone trying to track down information about anyone else named Don or Donald Campbell has also to resolve the elephant in the room that is Sir Donald Campbell, most famous for holding various land and water speed records. He was Donald Malcolm Campbell, born in Kingston upon Thames on 23 March 1921, the son of Sir Malcolm Campbell, who also held similar records and made he Bluebird cars and boats famous. Sir Donald Campbell famously died on 4 January 1967 when his boat cartwheeled across Coniston Water, the wreckage remaining unrecovered until 2001.

There are two American authors named Don G. Campbell. The older, who wrote on real estate and consumer issues, died in Phoenix on 3 August 1991, aged 69 (he was born 7 June 1922). His books included Let's Take Stock (1959), What Does Daddy Do All Day (1963), Understanding Stocks (1965) and The Handbook of Real Estate Investment (1968) and his 'About Real Estate' column was syndicated to about 50 newspapers.

The younger Don G. Campbell (b. 27 December 1946) was an authority on music, best known for his books The Mozart Effect  and Healing at the Speed of Sound (with Alex Doman). He died on 2 June 2012.

We can also eliminate two Australian authors. Donald Campbell (1886-1945) was the author of Wayfarings Among the Pharaohs (Adelaide, W. K. Thomas & Co., 1923), which described his travels in Egypt. Donald Gordon Campbell (1925-1995) wrote poetry and stories as Don Campbell.

The Don Campbell we're after was active in the 1920s and 1930s, so this rules out a number of British authors, including Donald Campbell (1928-2001), author of So You Want to Join the Police (Meilsham, Venton, 1975), Sir Donald Campbell (1930-2004), a professor of anaesthesia at the University of Glasgow and president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and Donald Campbell (1940- ), playwright author of The Jesuit (1976) and other plays.

Of an age that puts him in the frame, is Donald Francis Campbell, born 1867, who wrote A Short Course on Differential Equations (New York & London, Macmillan, 1906), but he seems a very unlikely candidate.

In Scotland, Captain Donald Campbell wrote a number of plays in the 1930s, including Kirsty's Surprise (1930), Uncle Andie. A Doric play (1931), Bamboozled. A comedy in 3 acts (1932), Exploding a Rumour. A one-act comedy (1932) and Six Months' Hard. A Scots comedy in three acts (1935). I managed to find a photo (below) of Campbell appearing in the latter play in 1936.

At the same time Donald Marr Campbell (1904-1974) was a prolific writer for American pulp magazines including West, Golden West, Detective Fiction Weekly, Flying Aces, Spy Stories, Two Gun Western Stories, Western Trails, Eagles of the Air, Gangland Stories, etc. I suspect he may have continued writing into the 1940s, appearing as Don Campbell in Fight Stories and Dime Detective Magazine after the Second World War. Campbell died in Texas on 29 April 1974.

Although "our" Don Campbell was also active in the British equivalent of the pulps—namely boys' papers and the cheap paperback market—I don't believe it could be Donald Marr Campbell. The earliest stories I have found by him appeared in 1919 in Boys' Realm under the pen-name F. Delmere. The character Jack Bain was known as Useful Jack, and it was under the latter title that some of the stories were brought together in The Nugget Library in 1920. Donald Campbell then contributed to the same publisher's Sexton Blake weekly The Union Jack which was running a 'Detective Supplement' series of short non-fiction articles. Here Campbell wrote about everything from 'Military Punishments in Prisons' and 'Transported to Australia' to 'The Crime Hunters of New York' and the six-part 'Six Crook Close-ups', between 1924 and 1926.

Campbell's first novel, The Golden Snake, followed soon after. In the early 1930s, Campbell—under his own name and the name F. Delmere—contributed to the cheap paperback market, writing for Gramol, London Publishers Agent and Mellifont Press. At the same time, he was writing articles and stories for newspapers under the names F. X. Delmere and Francis X. Delmere, some of which were syndicated abroad.

It seems likely that our Donald Campbell was a journalist who dipped into writing fiction on occasions. A search of census records for "Donald Campbell" and "journalist" turned up two names, one in the 1881 census for Donald A. Campbell, a 29-year-old Scotsman boarding in Manchester, and one in the 1911 census for Donald Frederick Campbell.

The latter was born in the City of London and, in the 1891 and 1901 census returns, was listed as a book publisher, aged 38 and 49 respectively, living with his extensive family in Lewisham. By 1911 he was a journalist for newspapers, now aged 58 and living in Peckham Rye.

I'm not convinced by either if these. Donald Frederick was born in 1853 and died in 1916, too early (and, frankly, too dead) to be our man. Donald A. Campbell at first looks more promising, reappearing in the 1901 census, now listed as a 49-year-old "journalist and author", living at 28 Wilson Road, with his wife, Rebecca (nee Rooke), and children Donald Archibald P. M. (6) and Thomas Kirnan G. (4). I believe he is Donald Archibald Campbell, born 17 January 1852 in Stoneykirk, Wigtown, Scotland, the son of John J. Campbell and Eliza Earle Paul. Unfortunately, he can't be out author because he died shortly after the census in 1901, aged 49.

Having eliminated our best two options, we need to tackle the question from another angle. In payment records Campbell was listed with the middle initial 'B'. This offers a fairly wide range of possibilities. Looking at death records, we find a number of Donald B. Campbells:

Donald B. Campbell: born c.1856, died 3Q 1917 West Derby
Donald B. C. Campbell: born c.1876, died 4Q 1942 Pancras
Donald B. Campbell: born c.1885, died 2Q 1968, Chelsea
Donald B. Campbell: born c.1941, died 1Q 1964, Oxford.

We can eliminate the last of these immediately and finding information on the other three is proving tricky. None appear in UK census records with that initial, but searches elsewhere may help us trace information. There was, for instance, a Donald B. Campbell born in Dunbartonshire, Schotland in c.1876, the son of John William Campbell and his wife Christina, and a Donald B. Campbell served with the Cameronian (Scottish Rifles) during the Great War. (Not, I believe, Donald Burns Campbell, who was born 10 February 1894, and saw service in the Navy at the Battle of Jutland.)

A Donald Brown Campbell served as a private with the Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, and as a Lieutenant with the Reserve Regiment of Cavalry. After the war he went on to join the Watling Street Lodge of the Masons in Stony Stratford in 1921, at which time his occupation was described as "Manager". He was aged 35, so born around 1886.

In the 1939 Register there is a Donald Campbell (b.2 August 1886), retired journalist, living at the Common Lodging House, 16-20 Duval Street, Stepney. He seems quite a likely candidate and I'm tempted to link him to the following, who is another tempting candidate for "our" Don.

Donald Bayly Campbell was born in Paris France in 1886. He volunteered for service during the Great War in May 1915, at which time he was 28 years and 9 months old, making August 1886 his likely month of birth. At the time of the 1901 census, Campbell was attending Haileybury College, Great Amwell, Haileybury, Hertforshire, where his education included the Officer Training Corps. Before the war he was a journalist living at 24 Rue de la Republique, Saint-Germain-on-Leye, a commune in the suburbs of Paris.

Most of the information known about him comes from his patchy service records. He was attested at Havre, France, on 9 May 1915 and became a Pioneer in the Royal Engineers having been attested as a journalist. Two days later he was transferred due to the heavy need for infantry soldiers, Campbell electing to be sent to the Royal Fusiliers (City of London) Regiment. On 8 July he was given 13 days detention for being absent without leave before being posted on 2 August 1915.

He was married on 26 February 1916 at St. Paul's Church, Maison Dieu Road, Dover, to Marie Simone Germaine Jeanne Delvalat, then living at 101 Buckland Avenue, Dover. Campbell had previously given his next of kin as Miss Isabel Campbell—probably Isobel Ward Campbell, born in Paris in the early 1880s. Later that year, on 21 August, he was given 8 days detention and forfeited 8 days pay for absence.

Campbell was part of the British Expeditionary Force from 7 January 1917, serving in France with the 24th Royal Fusiliers until April 1917 when he was classified PB (Permanent Base) arriving on duty at 24 General Hospital at Etables on 22 August 1917, after being granted a fortnight's furlough in June/July. He was again deprived of two days pay for being absent from his quarters on 16 September 1917. In November he joined the F.B. Depot, shortly before being hospitalised with scabies.

He subsequently transferred to the Royal Engineers Transport Establishment on 1 May 1918, where he was posted to R.E. Railway Transport on 2 May. Sent to Italy, he continued to flaunt the rules, and was caught in a cafe during prohibited hours (docked five days pay), was absent for a number of hours on 16 January 1919 (docked seven days pay), and found drunk on 14 February 1919, for which he was awarded 21 days Field Punishment No.2. He had been briefly hospitalised between 19 November 1918 and 14 December.

Campbell was demobbed on 27 May 1919. He had made a claim for being repatriated overseas and in the early months of 1919 was living at Anderton's Hotel, Fleet Street. There was no mention of family, so it would appear his marriage did not last.

Aside from his writing, there is no further sign of Campbell until 1930, when he was renting a room at 1 Derby Street, St. Pancras, London. And, if I'm correct, in 1939 he was living at the Common Lodging House in Stepney. Given the London connection, it seems possible that he is the Donald B. Campbell who died in Chelsea in 2Q 1968, aged 83. That said, Donald Bayly Campbell would have been only 81, so maybe his death has still to be found... as, I should add, any confirmation that he is, indeed, the author of the stories below.

Update: 5 December 2016. Thanks to Mark Bailey, I can untangle one of the above threads. It seems that it was not Donald Bayly Campbell who died in 1968 but Donald Brown Campbell, who is also mentioned above. Mark, who is making a study of Donald Bayly Campbell's father, tells me he has found no link between Donald and author Don Campbell.

So it's back to square one... or maybe only as far as square two. It does raise another question: If Donald Brown Campbell was 83 when he died he was probably born in 1884, rather than 1886, as I had previously noted.


Novels as Donald Campbell
The Golden Snake. London, Federation Press, c.1927.
The Mask of Murder. London, Gramol (Thriller 3), Mar 1931.
The Murder Trap, with others. London, London Publishers Agent, 1938; London, Gerald Swan (Mystery Thrillers 2), Sep 1942

Novels as F. Delmere
Useful Jack. London, Amalgamated Press (Nugget Library 36), Oct 1920.
The Lion’s Claws. London, Gramol (Thriller 1), Mar 1931.
Tina the Surprising. London, Mellifont, 1932.
The Triumph of Erica. Dublin, Mellifont, 1932.
Dead Man’s Gang. Dublin, Mellifont, 1934.


Stories as F. Delmere / Francis X. Delmere
A Sporting Chance (Useful Jack; The Boys’ Realm, 27 Sep 1919)
Jack’s Enemy (Useful Jack; The Boys’ Realm, 4 Oct 1919)
A World’s Champion (Useful Jack; The Boys’ Realm, 8 Nov 1919)
Some Lions and a Large Mouse (Belper News, 3 May 1935)
“Black Cats Are Lucky!” (Belper News, 17 Sep—24 Sep 1937; The Warminster Journal, 24 Sep 1937; The Auckland Star (Australia), 18 Oct—19 Oct 1937)
Banknotes from Heaven (The Auckland Star (Australia), 7 Dec 1938)
The Snatch (Birmingham Weekly Post, Aug 1939)

Military Punishments and Prisons (Union Jack 1085, 26 Jul 1924)
The Artful Argentine! (Union Jack 1091, 6 Sep 1924)
The Hand of the Law in Italy (Union Jack 1094, 27 Sep 1924)
The Riders of the Border (Union Jack 1095, 4 Oct 1924)
The Gun-Runners (Union Jack 1104, 6 Dec 1924)
Informers All (Union Jack 1118-1119, 14 Mar-21 Mar 1925)
The Guardians of Paris (Union Jack 1128, 23 May 1925)
‘La Camorra’ (Union Jack 1133-1134, 27 Jun-4 Jul 1925)
Transported to Australia (Union Jack 1137, 24 Jul 1925)
Pinched! (Union Jack 1157, 12 Dec 1925)
The ‘Crime-Hunters’ of New York (Union Jack 1171, 1173, 20 Mar 1926, 3 Apr 1926)
The Goat Riders (Union Jack 1175, 17 Apr 1926)
Six Crook Close-ups (Union Jack 1192-1196, 1198-1199, 21 Aug—18 Sep 1926, 2 Oct—9 Oct 1926)
The Man who Made the Sureté (Union Jack 1193, 28 Aug 1926)

Non-fiction as F. X. Delmere
Ocean “Hops”. A vision of the flying future (Aberdeen Press and Journal, 27 Apr 1928)
The Marsh Nomads (London Life, 27 Apr 1935)
Facts About “The Special Branch”—and the Work it Undertakes (Staffordshire Advertiser, 25 Mar 1939)

Friday, November 04, 2016

Comic Cuts - 4 November 2016

We're starting today with a bit of admin. I know how boring that can be but please don't skip it.

After 21 years with Demon Internet, my old e-mail address is being switched off. We received notice a couple of weeks ago that the owners of Demon (Vodaphone) were getting out of the e-mail business. Probably because many people have e-mails bundled up with other services (e.g. Sky, Virgin) or have free address (gmail, hotmail). Mel and I have stuck with Demon through thick and thin and we're probably their last customers... Vodaphone probably thought it not worth their while keeping the whole system going for just the two of us.

So I've registered bear alley as a domain name with a at the end. You can see the new address under the picture of myself at top left. That address is now active. I will try to warn people of the change, but I have less than two weeks left before "uworldst" disappears forever. By warning you here, it will hopefully mean that if your mail gets bounced, you'll recall this ramble and know where to come to get the new address.

It's amazing how many different places you register your e-mail address—I've had to change obvious ones like PayPal, Ebay and Amazon, but you have to remember everywhere else... like I pay my gas/electric by direct debit and have an online account with our supplier, so I've had to change my address with them. The trickiest ones so far, oddly, have been Yahoo Groups, which took a little figuring out that I needed to change addresses for each group (and someone erroneously thought a COA would require me to reapply for membership, so I had to go through that process, too); and Blogger Comments... at the moment I can't reply to any comments on my own blog! Hopefully I've got it sorted now (UPDATE: Yes I have, but it took some doing!), but if you ask a question and don't get an answer, blame Blogger.

End of admin.

The latest issue of Hot BusHotel Business as it's more formally known – went off to the printers on Tuesday. We scraped in just under the wire after a few last minute problems, all of them idiot advertisers unable to deliver even the briefest amount of copy. One guy even had to cancel a piece of free advertorial because his boss was too busy to sign off on it. So I wrote something to fill the space and we had the pages designed. Then the guy comes back to us: his boss has okayed the piece after all and can it go in? So we have to get the page re-designed...

It might sound counterintuitive, but I was able to get a ton of work done on the run up to green lighting the pages – most of the work is done bar one or two latecomers, and I'm either waiting on pages from our designers or corrections from our advertisers. As long as I keep an eye on my work e-mail, that leaves me free to do other things. So I managed to spend a day updating the Valiant index and another day gathering information for an article. I've subsequently taken Wednesday and Thursday off so I can get the article wrangled into shape – it's a long one that I'll have to publish in three parts. I'm taking a break from part two to write this and if you want to know where I am, I'm after the suicide but before the court case. To find out what the hell I'm talking about, you'll just have to come back in a week or so.

I managed to hammer out another piece last weekend, which I'll run this weekend, which investigates a bunch of people called Don Campbell.

And so to our random scans, which are on the subject of waiting and painted by Stan Nicholson (?), John Richards, Dave Dimmock (?) and Chris Foss.


Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books