Friday, February 03, 2017
Comic Cuts - 3 February 2017
Unfortunately, this has coincided with the collapse of the pound against the Euro and the vast majority of magazines rely on Europe for their paper. Prices jumped 10% in January and Hotel, which might have survived one line of attack, could not sustain itself with this second front opening up. Sales had gone up (we were the only magazine in the sector to be ABC'd), but not enough to counter the rise in costs.
So Wednesday got off to a pretty poor start, unless you think of being laid off as a holiday that surprises you. And who doesn't like holidays!
This morning (I'm writing this Thursday night) was better as I picked up some writing work, which will guarantee me at least one more payday. I'm not up to speed on what the work requires, but I'll hopefully have more idea next week, when I will be an expert on "How Brexit has impacted UK franchising". Bloody Brexit. I can certainly tell you how it's impacted me...
Storia del West was created by Gino D'Antonio, who scripted the series as well as drawing some episodes, with Renzo Calegari and a small group of other Italian artists who would draw the bulk of the series, which originally ran to 73 episodes. Most collectors will tell you that the series first appeared in the Italian comic Collana Rodeo, beginning in June 1967. I was long aware that there was a connection between Storia del West and a British series entitled Valiant Story of the West, but it was only when I was researching the introduction for Worlds of Adventure that it struck me that the Valiant spin-off had appeared in April 1966, fourteen months before the series began in Italy.
I mentioned this to David Roach the other day while I was checking with him a couple of credits for the Valiant Story of the West books. David commented on Facebook "This is the equivalent of finding out that the X-men was in fact created by DC Thomson years before Marvel printed a copy."
Hopefully the origins of Storia del West will be discovered while I'm researching my next book. Yes, I'm planning to use my surprise holiday to get another book together. That's the plan, anyway. Things may change. We're living in interesting times.
As I write this I'm listening to the absolutely fascinating story of Jimmy Cagney's years at Warner Bros. in the third and final part of "Bullets and Blood", a sprawling nine hour (!) podcast in the fantastic The Secret History of Hollywood series. I cannot recommend this highly enough. As a fan of all those old gangster movies it's fascinating to learn more about their background. Cagney always considered himself a dancer who did a bit of acting but his influence on Hollywood was immense. This episode (following on from two previous almost as vast episodes), takes the story through the war years, Cagney's Oscar win and... well, I'm still listening to it, so I'll find out. If you have any interest in Hollywood, Cagney or old movies, you really should try this. It's a spin-off from another show, Attaboy Clarence, which is a more light-hearted show, mixing reviews with old-time radio shows.
I'm filled with admiration for the quality of "Bullets and Blood". The whole thing is put together by one person, Adam Roche, and I can tell you from my own experience of trying to put together even a 15-minute podcast that it's not easy. (I don't think I've ever mentioned this before... it was maybe a year ago, and it was meant to be a little serial about a long-forgotten writer, hopefully the first of a broader series on forgotten writers. Unfortunately the real world got in the way and I had to pause the project in order to pay the rent and the pause button has never come off. Maybe one day I'll pluck up enough courage to post the first episode.)
One bit of good news I can share: Barrie Tomlinson, whose recent book on his days editing Roy of the Rovers has been very well received (not least by me... you can read my review here), is to write a follow-up, to be called A Comic Book Hero: Working With Britain's Picture-Strip Legends, which will reveal more of Barrie's editorial history working on Tiger, Roy, Eagle, Scream, Speed, etc. plus writing for the Daily Mirror and editing his local village magazine! It will be out next September.
For our random scans this week I couldn't resist putting together a little collection of covers with the word 'West' in the title. As you can see, a lot of thought goes into these random scan galleries...!