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Friday, September 15, 2017

Comic Cuts - 15 September 2017

Another big essay out of the way as I trudge slowly towards our grand total of Fifty forgotten authors... currently I've written up thirteen, but lucky number thirteen has proven to be a really enjoyable one. Originally he appeared as part of another writer's essay but I thought he deserved his own piece this time around, and I'm pleased I made that decision as it meant I could dig deep into a series of court cases featuring fraud, bigamy and bankruptcy.

This was one I started the research for last week alongside the research for the original subject of the essay. By Saturday I had extensive notes for two essays, plus about 94 newspaper clippings relating to the guy I started writing up on Sunday. I have been pulling 10-11 hour shifts to complete the whole thing, which runs to about 10,200 words. The additional research done as I was writing up various sections means that I've ended up with 140 clippings, which now range from newspaper reports and census returns for various family members to a memorial certificate from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and a couple of full-length books.

While the research is still fresh in my memory I'm planning to return to the first author I wrote about and weave her story around the new longer essay, reversing how it was written originally. Should be fun – not most people's idea of fun, I suspect, even for the masochists who regularly read the columns of Bear Alley. And I'm planning to do this on a weekend I have all to myself, as Mel is away at a show. That said, I might binge watch the last half a dozen episodes of Dark Matter season three. What a shame they've cancelled it... I thought the show had really found its feet with the second and third seasons.

I've often said that the fun of writing this kind of essay is that you have no idea where the research will take you or what surprises you will turn up. I stumbled across one today while I was digging around into the Rapid Language College, which was a failed business set up by the author I have been writing about. They were widely advertised in newspapers back in 1905, but closed down shortly after their classes were launched in the autumn of that year.

As you can see from the advert on the right, they operated out of an address in Marylebone, London. As I was writing up some information about the college, I looked up Great Quebec Street to see where it is. And here's the thing that took me by surprise: Great Quebec Street was renamed Upper Montague Street... and I used to work in Upper Montague Street! Yes, it's the same Upper Montague Street where Look and Learn had their office.

Thirteen essays completed means I have about a quarter of the book finished. Of course, fifty is a target I've set for myself, but it sounds better than, say Thirty-Seven Forgotten Authors and ten better than Forty Forgotten Authors, so I suspect I'll stick to the target.

As I've spent most of the week looking at court cases involving a criminal author, today's random scans are examples of author's writing about crime. A bit obvious, I know, but sometimes an obvious choice will turn up some very nice images.


  1. The scan Crime in America by Senator Estes Kefauver. Buoyed by the success of his televised senate investigation into organised crime, Kefauver extended the investigation into juvenile delinquency & comic books (& William M Gaines). Later, Kefauver seems to have done some good tackling Big Pharma.

    Every other scan links to the wrong picture. This problem may extend back over several weeks.

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your Friday Comic Cuts. We're the same age and I enjoy sharing the decline & anticlimax of middle age. No-one told me it would be like this when I was younger.

  2. As somebody in their 60s I can reassure you that things do finally get better Mike. Encroaching senility means that you gradually forget all about the decline and anticlimax of middle age! :)

  3. @Phil Rushton: In the words of Gran'pa Simpson: "I used to be all piss 'n' vinegar, but now I'm just all piss".

  4. Hi Mike,

    I see the problem - for some reason, running the images side by side (which to my eye looks a lot better) seems to remove a link to the correct picture. For now I've just run the pics in a straight line... I'll have to have a think about how I can get the pictures to work the way I want them to.

    Of course, if I were younger, I'd know what the problem was and have an app that could fix it.