Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 31 January 2018.

2000AD Prog 2066
Cover: I N J Culbard
JUDGE DREDD: ECHOES by Michael Carroll (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SAVAGE: THE THOUSAND YEAR STARE by Pat Mills (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)
ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Paperback Fanatic #39 (February 2018)

There was a scary moment, opening up the latest issue of Paperback Fanatic, when my name leapt off the contents page. Although it appeared halfway down the page as "Steve Holland, the face of a hero", to me it was more like a crash cut in a horror movie: look at the cover, appreciate the cover, look at the contents page, BANG! "STEVE HOLLAND!!!! THE FACE OF A HERO". What the hell? Have you seen the grinning goon in the photo up there on the left? What fool would call that chubby, plain-looking face heroic?

Fear not, gentle reader. It's not an overview of my incredible life (the audio book of which is guaranteed to help you sleep within seconds as I describe in painful detail such thrilling incidents as the filling out of my 2011-12 tax return form and what happened when I couldn't find the Certificate of Interest from my bank), but an article about the actor and model who shares my name.

Although he played the title character on TV's Flash Gordon in the 1950s, it was as a model that Holland found his greatest success. An early modelling job was playing Bob Colt for Fawcett Comics, a fake movie cowboy, and he also became Magnus, Robot Fighter, for Gold Key. But it was as the hero of countless paperback covers, most notably as Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze, that most people will recognise him... or The Avenger, or The Executioner, or even The Man From O.R.G.Y., because Holland was all of them.

Paul Bishop's entertaining article also looks at his work in men's magazines of the sixties and, later in the same issue, there's a comprehensive gallery of the Warner Paperbacks series of Avengers Peter Caras and George Gross.

Elsewhere in this issue, there's an interview with Andrew Nette, whose Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cook Cats I reviewed here recently, in which he relates how the book – and its upcoming sequel – came to be, along with a small selection of his favourite covers from the book.

Another Australian, James Doig, discusses the pulp collection of the late Graeme Flanagan in a talk given at the Canberra Museum and Gallery in 2017, which is littered with fascinating tidbits about Australian pulp writers like the mysterious Gene Janes, whose pulp novel The Night the Z Men Landed became the Mel Gibson-starring movie Attack Force Z, and features some of the best covers from this issue.

Nigel Taylor offers plenty of insight into the works of SF author Keith Laumer, while Tom Tesarek looks at horror spiced with humour, dipping into the works of Charles Addams, Edward Gorey and Gahan Wilson. The issue wraps up with Peter Enfantino's look at the Frankenstein Horror Series published by Popular Library back in 1972, authored by the likes of Paul W. Fairman, Frank Belknap Long and Otto Binder.

It's a fun-packed 100 pages and is available via Amazon for £9.99. Order a penny chew at the same time and you can get free postage.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

J Dewar Mills

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

J. Dewar Mills is something of an enigma. As a male illustrator of children’s books, he unusually focused largely on stories for girls, especially school stories. As a person, his genealogy was very hard to unravel.

It is known from his First World War Navy and RAF service records that he was born in Glasgow on 8 November 1883. His marriage certificate shows his father as John Mills, a former cashier. In the 1891 census for Scotland, a John Mills, clerk, is recorded at Thompson Street, Glasgow, with his wife Elizabeth, and three sons, John, Dewar and James, aged 7, 5 and 2 respectively. In 1901, after the death of his father, he was living with his mother (recorded as Eliza) and brother Dewar in Maitland Street, Dunfermline, working as an apprentice designer.

It is not known when Mills moved to England. However, by 1914, he had a studio at 2 Brook Green Studios, 2 Dunsany Road, West Kensington. He married Dorothy Wallace (born in Kew in 1891, the daughter of William Alfred Wallace, a director of a catering company and former victualler, and his wife Elizabeth) on 31 October 1914 at the Registry Office in Fulham, London – they went on to have one child, Donald Campbell Dewar Mills, born on 26 June 1921. They lived for a while at 46 Bath Road, Bedford Park, West London, before moving to 9 North Avenue, Kew Gardens.

Mills joined the Royal Navy on 22 October 1917, his record stating his height at just over 5 ft 6 ins, with dark brown eyes, brown hair, and a sallow complexion. His occupation was given as “Artist and Draughtsman.” After serving briefly on four ships, as an Aircraftman, he was transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918. After being transferred to the RAF Reserve on 15 March 1919, he was discharged from the service on 30 April 1920.

Nothing is known about Mills’s artistic training. He appears to have begun his career as an illustrator in around 1913, when he began contributing to The Strand Magazine and The Royal Magazine. In 1917, he began a long association with Cassell’s Magazine, and a year later he began providing illustrations for The New Magazine. He had also begun illustrating books, initially adult novels.

After the war, he went on to contribute to several more periodicals, including Hutchinson’s Magazine, The London Magazine, Pearson’s Magazine, The Sketch, Little Folks and The Girl’s Own Paper. In 1922, he began a long association with the publishers Blackie & Son and Ward, Lock & Co., illustrating hardback girls’ school stories. Amongst the authors whose books he illustrated were Evelyn Smith, May Wynne, Bessie Marchant, Lilian M. Pyke, Ethel Talbot, Christine Chaundler, Isabel M. Peacocke and Amy E. Seymour.

Between 1920 and 1924, he and his wife lived at 15 Crescent Mansions, Elgin Crescent, Kensington. They then moved to 13 Eliot Place, Blackheath, where they remained until 1933, when they moved to Flat 5, Beaconsfield Road, Greenwich. In 1924, he began contributing to The Illustrated London News, and he went on to contribute to The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Britannia and Eve, The Windsor Magazine, Printers’ Pie and The Passing Show (in which he illustrated some of A. J. Cronin’s “Dr Finlay” stories). He also designed posters, including for the department store Derry & Toms.

Mills appears to have stopped working immediately after the Second World War. In 1945, he and his wife were living at Malt House Farm, Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Between 1946 and 1952 they lived at 13 Bassett Road, Kensington, along with their son Donald. They were joined there in 1951 by Donald’s wife Hilda (née Stansfield) following their marriage. In 1952, John and Dorothy moved to ‘Birkholme’, Lower Hampton Road, Spelthorne. Their whereabouts after that are unknown, although it is known that John died in Sudbury, Suffolk, in June 1966, and Dorothy died in Chichester, West Sussex, in May 1991.


Books illustrated by J. Dewar Mills
Buccaneer’s Island by Henry Robswood Clarke, John Long, 1913
Chance: A Tale in Two Parts by Joseph Conrad, Methuen & Co., 1913 (dustwrapper)
Time o’ Day by Doris Egerton Jones, Cassell & Co., 1915
The Woman in the Bazaar by Alice Perrin, Cassell & Co., 1915
Hens and Chickens: A Story of Girl Life in the Great War by Winifred Pares, SP.C.K., 1921
The Black Blanket by Maxwell Laurie, T. Werner Laurie, 1921 (dustwrapper)
Nicky of the Lower Fourth by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1922
Peggy’s First Term by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
Peggy the Pilot by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
The Adopted Family by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
The Twins of Emu Plains by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
The Best of Chums by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
The Fortunes of Prue by Bessie Marchant, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
Ann’s Great Adventure by Edith E. Cowper, Blackie & Son, 1923
Sheila the Prefect by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
Biddy and Quilla: A School Story by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1924
The Fourth Form Invaders by Nancy M. Hayes, Cassell & Co., 1924
A Bid for Safety by Bessie Marchant, Ward, Lock & Co., 1924
Jill of the Fourth Form by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1924
The Girls of Old Grange School by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1925
Between Two Terms by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1925
Val Forrest in the Fifth by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1925
Lowanna: An Australian School Story by Castleden Dove, Oxford University Press, 1925
The Lone Guide of Merfield by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1925
The Guides of North Cliff by S.B. Owsley, Blackie & Son, 1925
The New Head and Barbara by Betty Laws, Cassell & Co., 1925
Tess and Tony by Doris A. Pocock, Ward, Lock & Co., 1925
Red Rose and Tiger Lily by L.T. Meade, Cassell & Co., 1925(?) (re-issue)
The School on the Cliff by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1926
A Credit to Her House by Christine Chaundler, Ward, Lock & Co., 1926
Hazel Asks Why by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1926
The Glen o’ Weeping by Marjorie Bowen, John Long, 1926 
A Will and a Way by Doris A. Pocock, Ward, Lock & Co., 1926
Reforming the Fourth by Christine Chaundler, Ward, Lock & Co., 1927
When I was Seven by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1927
Phyllida in Form III by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1927
A Disagreeable Girl by Jessie Leckie Herbertson, Ward, Lock & Co., 1927
Daphne, the Day Girl by Bertha Leonard, Cassell & Co., 1927
Golden Fiddles by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1928
Friends in the Fourth by Christine Chaundler, Ward, lock & Co., 1929
Lady Billie by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1929
Nan of Northcote by Doris A. Pocock, Ward, Lock & Co., 1929
Meggy at St. Monica’s by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1930
Two New Girls by Amy E. Seymour, Blackie & Son, 1931
Juliet of the Mill by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1931
The Junior Prefect by Christine Chaundler, Ward, Lock & Co., 1931
The Fourth Form Crusaders by Amy E. Seymour, Blackie & Son, 1932
The Cruise of the Crazy Jane by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1932
Nesta’s New School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1932
The Guardians of Tony by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1933
Cathleen with a “C” by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1934
Marjolaine by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1935
Pioneer Pat by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1935
A Queen Among Girls by E. Davenport Adams, Blackie & Son, 1935 (re-issue)
Nesta Finds Her Niche by Doris A. Pocock, Ward, Lock & Co., 1936
The Good Intentions of Angela by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1937
Little Men by Louisa M. Alcott, Blackie & Son, 1937 (re-issue)
The Girl Sandy by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1938
Lizbett Anne by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1939
The Coming of Verity by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1940
Sadie Sees it Through by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1940
Two Thrilling Terms by Nancy Breary, Blackie & Son, 1943
The School in the Forest by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1944

Friday, January 26, 2018

Comic Cuts - 26 January 2018

The next volume of Forgotten Authors takes another step forward. I've now managed to read through the whole thing and tinkered around with the text a little for clarity, but the bulk of the book is now done, finished and ready to go. The introduction is written, as are the acknowledgments and contents page; and, more importantly, the cover is done, which you can see above.

Anyone who has bought the previous book will notice that the new cover echoes that of the first volume, but with more going on. That was always the plan and the next volume will also involve the typewriter motif and notebook on the rear cover. The left hand side will become the cover of the ebook version, while the whole thing will be a wraparound for the print version. There will be a barcode on the rear... but I like this version.

The cup of tea makes a welcome return, although anyone who knows me will be scratching their head about now... tea? I usually drink black coffee, but I wanted something a bit more colourful. Nor is that my usual cup. There aren't any "Easter eggs" hidden in the picture, but you might recognise a chocolate chip cookie in the top right hand corner on a saucer. The books are a random handful that I grabbed out of a box.

Next time, if I have time, I'll see if I can sneak something in for Bear Alley readers.

The revisions to the text and the completion of the long (over 20,000 words!) opening essay means that the totaliser has leapt up to thirty completed essays, which puts me three fifths of the way to the originally planned Fifty Forgotten Authors. The choice of who to include has been a bit random – a word that describes an awful lot of what I do! – but based mostly on revising the oldest essays that originally appeared on Bear Alley, with some unpublished material thrown in to make sure there's will always be something new.

To give you an idea of how the new volume stacks up, 8 of the 10 essays originally appeared on Bear Alley, although one was a subset of another and the original 14,750 words has been expanded to 45,500. Of the other two essays, one began life as an essay about a related author, who still appears, but as a bit of a postscript in an otherwise new essay, and the introductory essay is new, but based on a piece I had written in rough fifteen years ago. So, even if you've followed Bear Alley for the past twelve years and read every word that has appeared, the book still contains 50,000 words of new material.

If I'm 3/5ths of the way through the book, it's looking more and more likely that the whole project will run to 220,000 words or so and will have taken roughly ten months to complete. Did I mention that my original thoughts on this project was that I could get the whole lot done and dusted in time to put the book out before Christmas? The me of last July was an idiot!

The next stage is to create a dummy book, properly laid out, so that I can compile the index for the print version. The ebook may or may not be easier: there's no index but I've got to remember how I managed to sort out all the footnote links.

I'm not including any random scans here, but don't fret. Scroll down and you'll find a hastily compiled skeleton cover gallery covering the British paperbacks of Ursula K. Le Guin. John Clute's obituary in The Guardian covers her career. There's also a little guide to some of her best books, an appreciation by Margaret Atwood and another by David Mitchell.

Ursula K. Le Guin cover gallery


Rocannon's World (New York, Ace Books, 1966; revised text, New York, Harper & Row, 1966)
Tandem Books 6437-2, 1972, 122pp.
Star 0426-06437-2, 1978, 122pp, 60p.

Planet of Exile
(New York, Ace Books, 1966)
Tandem Books 0426-06429-1, 1972
Star Books 0426-06429-1, 1978, 126pp, 60p.

City of Illusions (New York, Ace Books, 1967; revised as Worlds of Exile and Illusion, New York, Tor/Orb, 1996)
Panther Books

A Wizard of Earthsea (Berkeley, CA, Parnassus Press, 1968)
Puffin Books, 1971
Puffin Books
Puffin Books 978-014030-477-0, 2010,
---- [60th imp.]

The Left Hand of Darkness (New York, Ace Books, 1969)
Panther Books 0586-03641-5, 1973, 205pp, 30p. Cover by Colin Hay
---- [2nd imp.] 1973, 30p. Cover as above
---- [3rd imp.] 1975, 50p. Cover as above
Orbit 1857-23074-4, 1981, 256pp. Cover by Tim White
Gollancz [SF Masterworks]

The Lathe of Heaven (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971)
Panther Books
Gollancz [SF Masterworks]
Gollancz [SF Masterworks]

The Tombs of Atuan (New York, Atheneum, 1971)
Puffin Books

The Farthest Shore (New York, Atheneum, 1972; abridged, London, Victor Gollancz, 1973)
Puffin Books

The Dispossessed (New York, Harper & Row, 1974)
Panther Books 0586-04219-9, 1974, 319pp, 75p. Cover by Tony Roberts
Millennium 1857-98882-5 [SF Masterworks 16], 1999, 336pp, £8.99. Cover by Chris Moore
Gollancz [SF Masterworks]

The Word for World is Forest (New York, Berkley Books, 1976)
Panther Books

Malafrena (New York, Harper & Row, 1979)
Granada 0584-05159-7, £1.95.

The Beginning Place (New York, Harper & Row, 1980; as Threshold, London, Victor Gollancz, 1980)
Panther Books

The Eye of the Heron and Other Stories, with others, ed. Virginia Kidd (London, Victor Gollancz, 1982)
Panther Books 0586-05089-2,

Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea (New York, Atheneum, 1990)

Four Ways to Forgiveness (New York, HarperPrism, 1995)

The Telling (New York, Harcourt, 2000)

Gifts  (New York, Harcourt, 2004)

Voices (London, Orion Children's Books, 2006)

Powers (London, Orion Children's Books, 2007)

Lavinia (Orlando, FL, Harcourt, 2008)


The Wind's Twelve Quarters (New York, Harper & Row, 1975; in 2 vols., London, Panther, 1978)

The Wind's Twelve Quarters Volume One (London, Panther, 1978)
Panther Books

The Wind's Twelve Quarters Volume Two (London, Panther, 1978)
Panther Books

Orsinian Tales (New York, Harper & Row, 1976)
Panther/Granada 0586-04735-2, 1978, 175pp, £1.50. Cover by Peter Goodfellow

The Compass Rose (Portland, OR, Pendragon House / San Francisco, CA, Underwood-Miller, 1982)

Always Coming Home (New York, Harper & Row, 1985)
Gollancz [SF Masterworks]

Buffalo Gals and other Animal Presences (Los Angeles, CA, Capra Press, 1987)

Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand (New York, HarperCollins, 1991)

A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (New York, HarperPrism, 1994)

Unlocking the Air (New York, HarperCollins, 1996)

Tales of the Catswings (London, Puffin Books, 1999)
Puffin Books

More Tales of the Catswings (London, Puffin Books, 2000)
Puffin Books

Tales from Earthsea (New York, Harcourt, 2001)

The Other Wind (New York, Harcourt, 2001)

The Birthday of the World and Other Stories (New York, HarperCollins, 2002)

Changing Planes (New York, Harcourt, 2003)

Science Fiction Stories (New York, HarperPrism, 2003)

The Wild Girls (Oakland, CA, PM Press, 2011)

The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume One: Where on Earth (Easthampton, MS, Small Beer Press, 2012)

The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands (Easthampton, Small Beer Press, 2012)

The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin (New York, Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, 2016)

OMNIBUS (selected)

The Earthsea Quartet (London, Victor Gollancz, 1993)
Puffin Books
---- [at least 29 imps.]

The Wind's Twelve Quarters and The Compass Rose (London, Gollancz, 2015)
Gollancz [SF Masterworks]

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Commando issues 5091-5094

Brand new Commando issues 5091-5094 are on sale now! Take a peek at the latest Commando has to offer: birl with a team of Fallinschirmjager and some rather angry wasps, take the lead with a white-flag-waving warrior, hold-off against high-class heists in the Highlands and follow father-son fighters in Gallipoli and Korea. It’s all in a day’s work for our Commandos!

5091: Highland Games

Patrolling the Scottish Highlands in 1942, seventeen-year-old Rory MacLean was armed only with his BSA air rifle, but at least he had World War One Veterans Sergeant Donald Forbes and Corporal High MacFee for company. Together they may not look a formidable trio, but they were all that stood in the way of an attacking squad of Fallschirmjager!
    Proving age is just a number, George Low’s charming tale of tartan-toting-toerags will appeal to young and old alive. Combining this light-hearted but perilous romp is interior and cover artwork by the great Carlos Pino, bringing the care and attention to the affable characters that only he could.

Story | George Low
Art | Carlos Pino
Cover | Carlos Pino

5092: Frightened Hero

It took guts to surrender!

When Corporal Bob Tracy waved the white flag to the Germans, he thought he’d saved his team – but he’d only betrayed them, dooming them with his ‘cowardice’. Marched to a POW camp, Tracy was a pariah, but when his team managed to escape, he was the only chance they had if they wanted to survive! But will Tracy be able to prove himself a capable leader once again? And more importantly, can he prove that he’s no coward? Find out in ‘Frightened Hero’!
    Writing the characters who he knows best, Allan masterfully deals with the notion of cowardice in war, as well as leadership and redemption. Bob Tracy starts far from your average Commando hero, but waving the white flag on Penalva’s cover, he looks anything but a coward; the thick oil strokes only adding to the grit and determination of Allan’s titular character.

Story | Allan
Art | V. Fuente
Cover | Penalva
Originally Commando No. 436 (November 1969). Reprinted No. 1251 (September 1978).

5093: Forgotten Hero

In 1945, two friends began their Commando training at Achnacarry Castle. Only one left alive, and not as a Commando. He was exiled from his training, forced to leave his friends and return to his original squadron. In September, when the war ended, that man chose the solitary life of a gamekeeper.
    Then, in the 1970s, an international robbery gang set its sights on a wealthy estate in the Highlands. But in such a desolate place, who would dare to stop them? Armed with only his hunting rifle, that man would be ex-corporal Jim Main, and he would prove that he was not a man to be forgotten!
    In his second cover for Commando, Neil Roberts shines again! Proving he is just as adept at drawing aircraft as faces, this time we see three Royal Marines, their crashed Westland Sea King engulfed in flames behind them, as look past us to the unseen threat beyond!

Story | Colin Watson
Art | Jaime Forns
Cover | Neil Roberts

5094: A Tale of Two Wars

Two wars a generation apart.

For the fathers, it began in Gallipoli, 1915, as the Allied forces battled against the Turkish defenders. There, Ted Burns met Ali Kadri, a man he would never forget.
    In 1950, North Korea, their sons would meet on the battlefield – this time on the same side. They had no idea of the bizarre connection they shared, but that did not stop them from sharing a bond of their own.
    Ian Clark’s story places our heroes right at the centre of their conflicts, and proves that war is timeless as each generation has its own battles to fight, and like the characters who represent them, national enemies can become allies. Meanwhile, complimenting this story is Keith Shone’s distinctive interiors, detailing the backdrops of each battle from the rocky outcrops of the trenches in Western Turkey to ruinous temples in Korea.

Story | Ian Clark
Art | Keith Shone
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2687 (August 1993).

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 24 January 2018.

2000AD Prog 2065
Cover:  Chris Weston
JUDGE DREDD: ECHOES by Michael Carroll (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SAVAGE: THE THOUSAND YEAR STARE by Pat Mills (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)
ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats

Subtitled "Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980", Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats edited by Iain McIntyre and Andrew Nette covers that period of paperback fiction that I've always found fascinating. Paperback sales in Britain blossomed in 1950 when paper became more readily available to publishers and the decade following saw the growth of Penguin, Pan, Corgi, Panther and others.

By the end of the decade the UK paperback market faced the twin attacks of the rising popularity of TV and the market being swamped by cheap American paperbacks, with unsold copies brought over from the States for distribution to newsagents' spinner racks and dump bins in Woolworths.

While larger companies can weather such changes, smaller companies had to find ways to survive, and that usually involves one of two ways: to go sleazier or to go more niche... even better if you can do both at the same time. This is why a company like Edwin Self's Pedigree Books managed to survive against the odds, with reprints of Hal Ellson's youthspoitation classics Duke and Reefer Boy, books about the occult and startling original works like R. A. Norton's Through Beatnik Eyeballs.

The growth of youth culture in the 1950s was exploited mercilessly by publishers in the US, who played on fears of juvenile delinquents, hot-rodders and biker gangs to sell books; here in the UK we had a similar explosion of books following the success of Skinhead by Richard Allen, New English Library and other paperback publishers discovering that every tabloid headline was a potential novel, from stoned hippies to soccer hooligans and from cult murderers to hell's angels.

Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats isn't a straight telling of history, but a jigsaw that builds up into a widescreen picture of its subjects, using essays about juvenile delinquency, youthsploitation, beats, bikers and bohemians as a starting point; the reader is then treated to reviews of some of the key novels in each of seven sections and interviews with some of those involved, including Ann Bannon, Floyd Salas, Sharon Rudahl, Brad Lang, Marijane Meaker and George Snyder. With my main interest being British paperbacks, it was a real pleasure to see Laurence James interviewed (he authored the Mick Norman Hells Angels books, amongst many, many others) by Stewart Home, one of 23 contributors.

Sections on teens on the rampage and super spies are probably my favourites; a huge plus for me is that these titles  usually had fantastic painted covers, quite a few of which (especially the Australian pulp titles) I've never seen before. The whole book is incredibly well illustrated and is a great book to dip into thanks to the dozens of reviews. How many of these old books do you remember?

At the back of the book there's an advert for an upcoming title from the same editors: Sticking It To The Man. Put me down for a copy, because on the basis of Girl Gangs it's going to be well worth getting your hands on a copy.

Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats edited by Iain McIntyre and Andrew Nette. PM Press ISBN 978-162963438-8, 2017, 334pp, $29.95. Available in the UK via Amazon.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

P B Hickling

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

P. B. Hickling was another artist who was equally at home providing illustrations for periodicals such as The Sphere, The Graphic and The Strand Magazine as he was illustrating children’s books, especially girls’ school stories. He was, perhaps best-known for the work he did in the last two or three years of his life, illustrating 10 animal story Ladybird books written by Noel Barr.

He was born in Nottingham on 22 September 1876, and christened Percy Bell Hickling. His father, William Edwin Hickling, born in Leicester in 1844, was originally a mechanical engineer who later became an accountant. He had married Mary Bell, born in 1845 in Denton, Lincolnshire, in 1865. Percy was the sixth of seven children, his siblings being Herbert (born in 1867), Henry (1869), John (1870, Edith (1872), Mary Mabel (1875) – all born in Grantham, Lincolnshire – and Evelyn (born in 1878 in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire).

At the time of the 1881 census, the family was living in Salisbury Road, Leicester, By 1888, they had moved to 66 Laurel Road, Leicester, from where, on 22 January 1889, Percy entered Wyggeston Hospital Boys’ School (later Wyggeston Boys’ Grammar School), following his brothers Herbert and Henry. In 1892 he scored highly in the Cambridge Local Examinations, in freehand and model drawing, and as a result he studied briefly at the National Art Training School in South Kensington, before returning to Wyggeston in 1894 to take up a post as an Art Teacher.

Within eight years, he had taken up art as a full-time career, being recorded in 1899 as an artist working out of 4 Market Place, Leicester. Shortly after this, he moved to London, the 1901 census recording him at 4 Museum Street, Bloomsbury, working as a black and white artist, and sharing the accommodation with a boarder, 25 year-old Joseph Cotton, an art student.

Hickling’s first known published work was for Dean and Son’s The Fox and the Grapes and Other Fables, published in around 1892. In 1895 he contributed to Fun, and in 1897 he began providing illustrations for The Infants’ Magazine. A year later he illustrated his first girls’ school story, Geraldine Mockler’s The Girls of St. Bede’s, published by Jarrold & Sons. His next few books were all published for young children – titles such as Little Folk’s Surprises, Two Little Bears at School and We Three and Grandpa. At the same time he began contributing to The Royal Magazine, The Sphere, The Graphic, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Cassell’s Magazine and The Sunday Strand, and to annuals such as Nister’s Holiday Annual.

In 1902 he was living in New Court, Carey Street, Holborn. Two years later, in Westminster in 1904, he married Agnes Amy Offord, born in Fulham, London on 30 September 1876, the daughter of Robert Offord, a photographer. They went on to have one child, John Charlton Hickling, born on 16 June 1906, when the Hicklings were living at 1 Holmes Road, Twickenham. At the time of the 1911 census, the family was living at “Shirley”, Rudolph Road, Bushey, Herts.

In the decade leading up to the outbreak of the First World War, Hickling began contributing to The London Magazine, The Strand Magazine, Black and White, The New Magazine, The Royal Magazine, The Red Magazine, Punch and Printers’ Pie. In 1910, he provided three black and white illustrations to accompany an Arthur Conan Doyle story, 'The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans', in the French magazine Je Sais Tout. (It had originally been published in The Strand Magazine in 1908. Illustrated by Arthur Twidle). In 1911 he began illustrating serials in The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph, and continued to do so until 1928. Other periodicals he worked for before and after the war included The Blue Magazine, Hutchinson’s Magazine, The Grand Magazine, The Strand, The Windsor Magazine, The Quiver, The Tatler, Our Own Magazine, The Boy’s Own Paper, The Girl’s Own Paper, The Girls’ Realm, Pearson’s Magazine, Little Folks, The Magpie and The Sketch.

He also illustrated a variety of books, including re-issues of novels by authors such as Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, W.M. Thackeray and Charles Kingsley. (The re-issues of Trollope’s The Three Clerks and Eliot’s Adam Bede both contained no fewer than 16 illustrations).

He seems to have done little artistic work during the war, instead moving to Coventry where he worked as a capstan operator for the engineering firm of Rotherham and Sons. When conscription was introduced (affecting men up to the age of 41) he was granted an exemption because of his work in manufacturing munitions.

In 1923 he began illustrating girls’ stories for Cassell & Co. – authors included Dorothea Moore, Elsie J. Oxenham, Angela Brazil, Mary Gervaise and Brenda Page. In the late 1930s he produced dustwrappers for a few books published by Ward, Lock & Co. He also provided illustrations for children’s annuals such as The British Girls’ Annual, Blackie’s Girls’ Annual, The Triumph Book for Girls, Blackie’s Children’s Annual and The Schoolgirl’s Annual.

By this time he had moved back to London, firstly to 35 West End Lane, West Hampstead (between 1918 and 1924), and then 3 Marlborough Studios, 12 Finchley Road, St, Marylebone. Between 1939 and 1944 he worked as a Camouflage Officer in the Home Office.

After the war he illustrated a handful of omnibus books such as Winning Through: Stories for Girls and My Favourite Story: Selected Stories for Girls, both published by the Thames Publishing Company. Most importantly, in 1949 he illustrated The Inquisitive Harvest Mouse and Tiptoes the Mischievous Kitten, the first two titles in a Ladybird series of animal stories written by Noel Barr. He went on to illustrate eight more, including the immensely popular The Wise Robin. In The Ladybird Story (British Library, 2014) Lorraine Johnson and Brian Alderson erroneously describe Hickling as appearing “only intermittently as a workaday draughtsman from his first essay in 1904”, but went on to praise his “ability to infuse a degree of character in the sundry pets, birds and country stock prefigured in the books’ titles...”

(Johnson and Alderson’s initial comment was not the first dismissive view of Hickling – in his very brief entry in Simon Houfe’s The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists 1800-1914 Hickling is described as “A very competent but unrecorded pen artist who worked for magazines…..He also illustrated a novel The Three Clerks, John Long, c. 1908.”)

By then he had moved to Channel View, Bannings Vale, Saltdean, Sussex, which is where he died on 10 June 1951, leaving an estate valued at £1,596 (£43,000 in today’s terms). His wife died two years later, on 5 January 1953, at the same address.

As an artist, Hickling worked in both black and white and colour, and had a particular penchant for portraying girls and young women. This is exemplified in his illustrations for girls’ school stories, and also in his work for periodicals such as The Tatler, for which he painted a number of what could be described as post-pre-Raphaelite pictures of demure young women. But he was equally as adept with other subjects, including fairy stories, pictures of playful young children, and domestic scenes.


Books illustrated by P. B. Hickling
The Fox and the Grapes and Other Fables, Dean & Son, 1892(?)
The Girls of St. Bede’s by Geraldine Mockler, Jarrold & Sons, 1898
Little Folk’s Surprises by Hope Myrtoun, Ernest Nister, 1899
Captain Swing: A Tale of the 1830 Riots by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1900
A Stands for Ass by W.R. Borrow, Dean & Son, 1900
Little Pierrot by Constance M. Lowe, C.M. Hammill etc., Dean & Son, 1900
The Seaside Story Book by George Manvill Fenn, L.T. Meade & others, Ernest Nister, 1900
Two Little Bears at School by J.D., S.W. Partridge & Co., 1900(?)
The Magic Mist, and Other Dartmoor Legends by Eva C. Rogers, Andrew Melrose, 1901
We Three and Grandpa: A Pictur Story Book for Little Ones by J.D., S.W Partridge & Co., 1902
The Three Clerks by Anthony Trollope, John Long, 1903 (re-issue)
Adam Bede by George Eliot, John Long, 1904 (re-issue)
The Little Heiress by Margaret Bruce Clarke, T. Nelson & Sons, 1904 
The History of Henry Esmond by William Makepeace Thackeray, John Long, 1904 (re-issue)
Jack and the Beanstalk and Other Stories, Henry Altemus (USA), 1905
Partners: A School Story by H.F. Gethen, T. Nelson & Sons, 1905 (re-issue)
Frank Oldfield, or Lost and Found by Theodore Percival Wilson, T. Nelson & Sons, 1906 (re-issue)
True to His Nickname by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1907
Veiled Hearts: A Romance of Modern Egypt by Rachel Willard, Religious Tract Society, 1908
Every Day Tales by L.L. Weedon, Ernest Nister, 1908
Life’s Contrats by John Foster Fraser, Cassell & Co., 1908
The Wizard’s Wand: A Tale of School Life for Boys and Girls by Harold Avery, T. Nelson Sons, 1909
The Love-Brokers by Albert Kinross, Cassell & Co., 1909
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Make Friends by Elsie J. Oxenham, T. Nelson & Sons, 1909
Some of Our Fellows: A School Story by T.S. Millington, Henry Frowde, Hodder & Stoughton, 1909 (re-issue)
The Probationer by Amy Irving, S. W. Partridge, 1910
Helen Grant’s Schooldays by Amanda M. Douglas, Collins, 1910
The Strange Little Girl by Bella Sidney Woolf, Duckworth & Co., 1910
The Sands o’ Dee by Charles Kingsley, Collins, 1910(?) (re-issue)
Hope Glynne's Awakening by Jessie Goldsmith Cooper. London, S. W. Partridge, 1911
The Wrath of Man by Silas Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1912
The Furrow in the Fill by Florence Bone, Religious Tract Society, 1912
The Life and Death of Jason: A Metrical Romance by William Morris, Collins, 1912 (re-issue)
The Mystery of Beechey Grange, or The Missing Host by H.C. Adams, Collins, 1912 (re-issue)
Hepsy Gipsy by L. T. Meade. London, Everett, 1912(?)
Playtime Funny Book, Ernest Nister, 1912(?)
Meddlesome Mattie by Agnes M. Miall. London, S. W. Partridge & Co., 1913
Mary-All-Alone by John Oxenham, Methuen & Co., 1913
Love Stories of Royal Girlhood by Kent Carr, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1913
Captain Swing: A Tale of the 1830s Riots by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1914
Molly Angel's Adventures by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1915
Girls Who Were Famous Queens by Kent Carr, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1915
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, Collins, 1915(?)
All Change Here! Or Keep Cheerful by Charles F. Parsons, Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1916
Bunty’s Book of Heroes by Herbert Hayens, Collins, 1917(?)
Tam of Tiffany’s by Dorothea Moore, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1918
Judy Sees it Through by Doris A. Pocock, Blackie & Son, 1919
The Claverings by Anthony Trollope, Collins, 1920(?) (re-issue)
Queen of the School by E.M. de Foubert, Cassell & Co., 1923
The Boys’ Book of Motors by William Gordon Aston, E. & F.N. Spon, 1923
Fen’s First Term by Dorothea Moore, Cassell & Co., 1924
The Testing of the Torment by Elsie J. Oxenham, Cassell & Co., 1925
The Girls of Dormitory Ten by Betty Laws, Cassell & Co., 1926
Queen of the Dormitory and Other Stories by Angela Brazil, Cassell & Co., 1926
Twenty-six Adventure Stories for Girls by various authors, “Every Girl’s Paper” Office, 1926(?)
The Guides at Calamity Hill by Nancy M. Hayes, Cassell & Co., 1927
Schoolgirl Rivals by Brenda Page, Cassell & Co., 1927
The Head Girl’s Secret by Doris Pocock, Cassell & Co., 1927
The Girl Who Wouldn't Make Friends by Elsie J. Oxenham, T. Nelson & Sons, 1927
Tiger's First Term by Mary Gervaise, Cassell & Co., 1928
The Castle School by Nancy M. Hayes, Cassell & Co., 1928
Schoolgirl Rose by Ethel Talbot, Cassell & Co., 1928
The Fifth Form Adventurers by E. E. Cowper, Cassell & Co., 1929
A Term on Trial by Mary Gervaise, Cassell & Co., 1929
The Girls of Stornham Central by Betty Laws, Cassell & Co., 1929
The Invincible Fifth by E. E. Cowper, Cassell & Co., 1930
The Star of Sr. Anne’s by Bertha Leonard, Cassell & Co., 1930
Dartmoor Legends by Eva C. Rogers, Pilgrim Press, 1930 (re-issue)
Joan and the Scholarship Girl by Brenda Page, Cassell & Co., 1931
Two in Form Four by Christine Chaundler, Collins, 1931
The Joker of Dormitory D by T. H. Scott, F. Warne & Co., 1932
As a Man Loves by Effie Adelaide Rowlands, Ward, Lock & Co., 1936 [dustwrapper]
The House of Life by Fay Inchfawn, Ward, Lock & Co., 1936 [dustwrapper]
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, Ward, Lock & Co., 1936 (re-issue)
Masked Danger by Ben Bolt, Ward, Lock & Co., 1937
The One Who Counted by Effie Adelaide Rowlands, Ward, Lock & Co., 1937 [dustwrapper]
The Top of the Tree by Effie A. Rowlands, Ward, Lock & Co., 1937 [dustwrapper]
"This Time Next Term" by Nancy Breary, Blackie & Son, 1945
Winning Through: Stories for Girls by various authors, Thames Publishing Co., 1947(?)
My Favourite Story: Selected Stories for Girls, Thames Publishing Co., 1948
Sweet Seventeen by various authors, Thames Publishing Co., 1948
Best of All by various authors, Blackie & Son, 1949
Sea Rangers at Sloo by Geoffrey Prout, Blackie & Son, 1949
From a Surgeon's Diary by Clifford Ashdown, Ferret Fantasy, 1975 (stories originally published in Cassell’s Magazine)

Ladybird Books, series 497  -  written by Noel Barr and published by Wills & Hepworth:
The Inquisitive Harvest Mouse, 1949
Tiptoes the Mischievous Kitten, 1949
The Wise Robin, 1950
The Discontented Pony, 1951
The Conceited Lamb, 1951
Beaky the Greedy Duck, 1951
Mick the Disobedient Puppy, 1952
Ned the Lonely Donkey, 1952
Cocky the Lazy Rooster, 1953
The Sleepy Water Vole, 1955


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