Sunday, October 08, 2017

Comic Book Hero by Barrie Tomlinson

This is Barrie Tomlinson's second book of reminiscences of his time working in comics. The first volume concentrated almost wholly on the character Roy of the Rovers (reviewed here), while this new book covers much broader ground, from his early days on Lion and Tiger to his managing editor days overseeing Eagle, Wildcat and a whole slew of other titles.

Along the way he introduces some of his co-workers, writers, artists and celebrities that he attracted to the various titles for publicity purposes. The sports titles especially made good use of celebrity contributors, from Geoff Boycott to Suzanne Dando and Tomlinson relates how he approached the likes of Gordon Banks to write for Tiger. Banks was an early winner of the Tiger Sports Star of the Year, which included such luminaries as Jackie Stewart, David Steele, James Hunt, Geoffrey Boycott, Peter Shilton and Sebastian Coe. Other correspondents for Tiger included Boycott, Ian Bothan, David Gower and even magician Paul Daniels.

Many of the titles are visited only briefly, although there are some interesting tales along the way, such as the creation of Storm Force to replace Action Force as the centrepiece of Battle-Action, the Speed treasure hunt, the birth of the New Eagle comic, the surge of licensed comics in the 1980s and the story behind the Anti Trombone League.

As with the earlier book, this one is packed out with photographs from across the years. The endless parade of sports personalities was a key feature to the success of Tiger and Roy of the Rovers, but its the occasional photo of comics' own personalities that I enjoyed more. There's even a photo of Mike Western, tucked away behind a crowd of children at an exhibition.

Comic Book Hero by Barrie Tomlinson. Pitch Publishing. ISBN 978-1785-3132409, 1 September 2017, 224pp, £14.99. Available from Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment


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