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Friday, April 28, 2017

Comic Cuts - 28 April 2017

Work on the new book continues apace. It's difficult to come up with a measure of what can be classed as a good and bad week because wordage alone doesn't take into account the need to chip away at the actual index section to make sure all the information presented is correct.

Fact-checking information in the index can be incredibly time-consuming and pulling together scans of two, three or four samples to send around to friends with sharp eyes can take an hour or more, all for the sake of four or five words added or changed in the index. One thing that pleases me is that in almost every case we're finessing information rather than making outright corrections, although there was one strip I read this week where the artist has been wrongly credited for the past two decades.

The fault was with the Valiant Index published back in 1994; the error was then repeated in the Buster Index a couple of years later and has since spread... well, I won't say "all over the internet" because it's only in three or four places, but clearly the information has come from the Buster Index. That's one of the reasons I wanted to re-do all the indexes: to try and correct errors that we made back in the 1980s that crept into the books published in the 1990s, including typos that were made when I transferred all of the hand-written and typed lists onto my brand new computer in 1989!

This week I had the fun task of re-reading 'Raven on the Wing', which was a favourite of mine as a kid, despite the fact that I wasn't into football in a big way. And I'm pleased to say that it has stood up to the test of time. Also re-read 'The Shrinker' (great fun!) and I'm looking forward to reading a huge chunk of 'Mytek the Mighty' when I get back into the swing of things after the Bank Holiday.

I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Leo Baxendale. There are very few people who genuinely innovated in comics but Baxendale was one of those few. Thinking back, I suspect that the first time I saw his work was 'Bluebottle and Basher', which was a very cartoony strip for Baxendale. It was when 'Swots and the Blots' moved over from Smash! that I really fell in love with his work. Later, I discovered his work for Odhams and then his early work for D. C. Thomson, so you could say that I followed his career in reverse.

I had the good fortune to interview Baxendale once, way back in my Comic World days and covered some of his career in my Power Pack book. One day I'll get around to revamping the latter. One day...

I'd best close. And to celebrate my reading of 'Raven on the Wing' here are some birds on the wing for your viewing pleasure...


1 comment:

Chap O'Keefe said...

Add me to the list of people saddened to hear of Leo Baxendale's death this week. My Dandy and Beano reading days were over by the time Baxendale commenced his D. C. Thomson work, but I did follow a one-page Bash Street Kids text series in The Wizard. And I was well and truly on hand to follow the debut of the Odhams titles Wham! and Smash!, of which Baxendale was surely the instigator and major architect. I had the honour (which I probably didn't fully appreciate at the time) of editing the first Wham! and Smash! annuals for Odhams. These featured such typical and memorable Baxendale creations as Bad Penny, Space Jinx and Pest of the West. As a young editor coming straight from the dissolution of a "backstreet" publishing house to join the Odhams books team headed by George Beal, the then expanding Odhams comics brought my career back into London. The strips in the Wham! and Smash! annuals were drawn by "substitute" artists, often through Kingleo Studios, but I also thrived on the opportunity to write scripts for Baxendale characters such as the three I have already mentioned ... although I have to say my writing bent until that time and since was more attuned to adventure than humour, notwithstanding Misfit Lil!
--Keith Chapman