Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 28 February 2018.

2000AD Prog 2070
Cover: Dave Taylor
JUDGE DREDD: LIVE EVIL by Ian Edginton (w) Dave Taylor (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (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)
ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Illustrators #21 (Winter 2017/18)

Reading the first few lines of Diego Cordoba's interview with Rodney Matthews was a trip down memory lane. As a Prog/Metal-head since schooldays, every band named brought back memories: buying the original Diamond Head Am I Evil? album in its white sleeve at a seriously under-attended gig at the Electric Ballroom; despairing for the Tygers of Pan Tang when John Sykes left to join Thin Lizzy (readers will be pleased to know that I got over it about five second into the first track of Thin Lizzy's Thunder and Lightning).

Parrot Records in Chelmsford was little more than an alleyway lined with wooden toughs filled with the latest releases and an amazing back catalogue. When I discovered Rush, I was able to buy everything they'd released within nine days – six albums, Rush to Hemispheres. And when I picked up Permanent Waves it was the original Anthem label edition with the headline visible. The walls were hung with albums, gatefolds open... it was like walking into a Rodney Matthews gallery exhibition.

But I'm heading down memory lane when I should be reviewing the latest issue of Illustrators. Rodney Matthews was maybe the biggest name when it came to cover art for all these bands that I was exploring back in the late seventies and early eighties, from Nazareth to Magnum. The rule of thumb was that if it had skulls or wizards it was Rodney Matthews, if it had floating islands it was Roger Dean and if was some weird shit, it was probably Barney Bubbles. But Matthews was much more than that, as you can see from the Alice in Wonderland illustrations, logo designs and later artwork on display here. It's great to hear that he's still busy, working on a new version of Moorcock's Stormbringer and album covers.

Stevan Dohanos (1907-1994) was a prolific cover artist for the Saturday Evening Post, producing 125 covers in the 1940s and 1950s. Like Norman Rockwell, he charted a period of tremendous change in America and his paintings of everyday life, every one of his paintings an engaging and charming tableau.

The last two big articles in this issue feature artist who were able to capture the lithe power of animals. J. Allen St. John was famous for his illustrations and book jackets to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan novels. His images are iconic and influenced other famous Tarzan artists who followed, from Hogarth to Frazetta.

Lucy Kemp-Welch's artwork is of a gentler nature, although there's power in her depiction of horses. She was a petite Victorian artist, born in 1869, who grew up in Dorset and spent her early years wandering and sketching in the New Forest. She endured some tragedy, both parents dying while she was still attending art school, but she was an immediate success, with her painting hung in the Royal Academy, where, because of her sex, she was refused membership. But she did become the first President  of the Society of Animal Painters.

Her first illustrative work was 24 colour plates for an edition of Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. She also illustrated enlistment posters during the Great War, but she was primarily a painter of naturalistic scenes featuring her beloved horses.

For more information on Illustrators and back issues, visit the Book Palace website, where you can also find details of their online editions, and news of upcoming issues. Issue 22 will feature the history of the Spanish-British agency Bardon Art, which was responsible for bringing to the UK many of the finest Spanish artists to work in comics and book covers.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

William Rainey

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

W. Rainey was a highly respected painter in oils and watercolours who was also a popular, versatile and prolific illustrator of children’s books, especially boys’ adventure stories. In particular, he illustrated several of the first editions of G.A. Henty’s novels.

He was born, and named as William Rainey (some sources give his full name as William Henry, although there appears to be no evidence for this – there is no record, for example, of him being baptized), in Newington, Surrey, on 21 July 1852. He was the third of eight children born to George Rainey, a surgeon and lecturer in anatomy at St. Thomas’s Hospital, born in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, in 1801, and his wife Martha (née Dee), born in Twyning, Gloucestershire, in 1827. Their other children were George (born in 1848), James (1850), Henry (1856), Martha (1858), Charles (1861), Frances (1865), and Frederick (1867).

William was originally intended for the sea, but instead he developed an interest in art, studying at the National Art Training School in South Kensington and then at the Royal Academy Schools in Piccadilly. (He was recorded as a student at the Royal Academy in the 1871 census, living with his parents at 1 Western Road, Lambeth.)

On 11 June 1877 he married Harriet Matilda Bennett at the Church of St. George the Martyr in Queen Street, Camden – she was the daughter of Thomas Bennett, a civil engineer, born in 1859 in Bloomsbury, London. They went on to have four children: Florence (born in 1878), Edith (1881), George (1886), and Victor (1898).

In 1878, Rainey exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first (a painting entitled “At Lyme Regis”). His address was given as 10 Bolt Court, Fleet Street – this may well have been a studio address, although Bolt Court was known for being the home of several publishers of cheap literature. (An obituary in The Eastbourne Gazette published two days after he died noted that after he had finished his studies “He besieged the editorial offices in London...”). A year later, the Royal Academy gave his address as 12 New Court. Lincolns Inn. By 1881 he and his wife and first two children were living at 2 Palmers Green Villas, Edmonton.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy throughout the 1880s and 1890s (exhibiting 19 paintings altogether up till 1904, and it was on the strength of his early work that he began receiving commissions for book illustrations. His earliest work was largely aimed at young children – books such as Pictures and Rhymes for the Wee Ones (1880), Stories and Pictures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes and Other Creatures (1886), Sunbeam Stories in Prose and Verse (1886), and Fun and Frolics for Little Folk (1890).

In 1888 he began contributing illustrations to the periodical Little Folks (published by Cassell & Co.), and over the following ten years or so he also contributed to Atalanta, Springtime, Cassell’s Family Magazine, The Strand Magazine and Chums.

In the mid-1880s he moved his family to Shoreham, Kent, and in 1890 he moved to 10 West Street, Chichester. He began contributing to more periodicals, including The British Workman, Boys, The Family Friend, The Friendly Visitor, The Children’s Friend, The Mother’s Companion, Chatterbox, and Horner’s Stories. He was also illustrating books for publishers such as S.W. Partridge & Co., the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Blackie & Son and W. & R. Chambers. He had been elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in April 1891, and the Institute of Painters in Oil Colours in November 1891. In 1893, he won a medal at the Chicago World’s Fair, and in 1900 he won a medal at the World’s Fair in Paris.

As an artist, Rainey painted in a variety of genres – landscapes, seascapes, portraits, military scenes, interiors etc. In a brief obituary published shortly after he died, The Times commented that “He was rather sentimental in style, but he could represent a great variety of types and characters, and he had a good sense of drama. His drawings always seemed to belong to the stories he illustrated.” As an illustrator, his specialities were historical and adventure stories. He illustrated seven first editions of G.A. Henty’s novels, beginning with At Aboukir and Acre in 1899, and he also provided new illustrations for four other Henty stories when they were re-issued.  Other authors whose books he illustrated included George Manville Fenn, F.S. Brereton, Herbert Strang, Harry Collingwood, Bessie Marchant, L.T. Meade and May Baldwin. He also turned his hand to the occasional school story, illustrating two of John Finnemore’s Teddy Lester books. He also illustrated new editions of classic novels such as The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, David Copperfield, Dombey and Son, The Newcombes, Robinson Crusoe and a handful of Walter Scott’s novels.  As well as novels, he also contributed to annuals such as Dutton’s Holiday Annual, Nister’s Holiday Annual, Bright Eyes: An Annual for Young Folk, Tiny Trots: An Annual for Little People, and The Lilac Book for Girls. All told, he illustrated around 200 books.

By 1894 he had moved again, to Appledram House, Birdham Road, Westhampnett, Sussex (just outside Chichester). He remained there for several years, before returning to London, where he was recorded in the 1911 census living at “Ecclesbourne”, Grove Park, Chiswick. His son George William, aged 24, was recorded as his assistant. By then, he had contributed to yet more periodicals, including The Graphic, The Sphere, The Boy’s Own Paper, Good Words, The Girl’s Own Paper, The Harmsworth Magazine, The Ludgate Magazine, The Illustrated London News, Black and White, Punch, The Quiver, The Windsor Magazine, The Temple Magazine, Young England, The Temperance Monthly, The Penny Magazine and Sunday at Home.

Both of his sons served in the First World War, George with the Royal Field Artillery and Victor with the 2nd Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment – he was killed in action on 30 September 1917.

By then, William Rainey had moved again, for one last time, to “Avonmore”, Granville Hill, Eastbourne, Sussex, although sadly his wife died only a couple of years later, March 1919. He began to take an active part in the Eastbourne Society of Artists, and served as President for a few years until around 1932. He had a solo exhibition in Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery in 1935. He also, unusually for an illustrator, tried his hand at authorship, writing (and illustrating) three boys’ adventure stories in 1928, 1929 and (posthumously) 1937.

He died suddenly, whilst taking a walk along the seafront at Eastbourne, on 24 January 1936, leaving an estate valued at £388 (around £24,000 in today’s terms).


Books written (and illustrated) by W. Rainey (as William Rainey)
Abdulla: The Mystery of an Ancient Papyrus, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1928
The Last Voyage of the “Jane Ann”, Blackie & Son, 1929
The Lost “Reynolds”, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1937

Books illustrated by W. Rainey
Pictures and Rhymes for the Wee Ones, publisher not known (USA), 1880 (with other artists)
Satisfied: A Tale by Catherine M. Trowbridge, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1882
Stories and Pictures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, and Other Creatures by James Weston, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1886 (with other artists)
Pretty Pink’s Purpose, or The Little Street Merchants by M.A. Paull, Cassell & Co., 1886
A Sailor’s Lass by Emma Leslie, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1886
His Little Royal Highness by Ruth Ogden, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1897
Birdie: A Tale of Child Life by Harriet L. Childe-Pemberton, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1888
Sunbeam Stories in Prose and Verse, George Routledge & Sons, 1888(?)
The China Jug, and The Foster Mother by Mary Russell Mitford, George Routledge & Sons, 1889(?)
Dumb Friends by Maggie Browne, Cassell & Co., 1899 (with other artists)
White Turrets by Mrs Molesworth, W. & R. Chambers, 1890
Fun and Frolic for Little Folk, Ernest Nister, 1890
A Ride to Picture-land: A Book of Joys for Girls and Boys, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1890 (with other artists)
Our Little Dots’ Picture Scrap Book, Religious Tract Society, 1890 (with other artists)
Sweet Content by Mrs Molesworth, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1891
The White Lady of Hazelwood by Emily Saah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1891
By Sea-shore, wood and Moorland: Peeps at Nature by Edward Step, S.W. partridge & Co., 1891 (with other artists)
Spitewinter by Helen Shipton, S.P.C.K., 1892
Tom’s Trust by Maud Carew, S.P.C.K., 1892
Martin Redfern’s Oath by Ethel Foster Heddle, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1892
A Way in the Wilderness by Maggie Swan, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1892
Phil’s Frolic: A Story for Boys by F. Scarlett Potter, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1892
Four on an Island by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1892
Don Carlos: Our Childhood’s Hero by Evelyn Everett Green, S.P.C.K., 1892
Losing and Finding, or The Moonstone Ring by Jennie Chappell, S.W. Partridge, 1893
Steve Young, or The Voyage of the “Hvalross” to the Icy Seas by George Maville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1893
Bo-Peep: A Treasury for the Little Ones, Cassell & Co., 1892 (with other artists)
Tavistock Tales by various authors, Isbister & Co., 1893 (with other artists)
Whither Bound? A Story of Two Lost Boys by Owen Landor, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1894
First in the Field: A Story of New South Wales by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1894
Louie’s Married Life by Sarah Doudney, S.W. Partridge, 1894
The Crab’s Umbrella, and Ted’s Golden Cloud by E.M. Waterworth, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1894
Five Stars in a Little Pool by Edith Carrington, Cassell & Co., 1894 (with other artists)
Off and Away: Pictures and Stories for Grave and Gay by Charles D. Michael, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1894(?) (with other artists)
Cormorant Crag: A Tale of the Smuggling Days by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1895
Through Thick and Thin: The Story of a School Campaign by Andrew Home, W. & R. Chambers, 1896
The Adventures of Don Lavington by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
An Ocean Outlaw: A Story of Adventure in the `Good Ship Margaret by Hugh St. Leger, Blackie & Son, 1896
Plucky Rex, or The Secret of the Mine: A Tale of Pengarven Bay by F.M. Holmes, John Hogg, 1896
Lady Betty’s Twins by E.M. Waterworth, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
Nip and Tuck Stories: Stories and Pictures for Our Little Ones by various authors, Lothrop Publishing Co., (USA), 1896 (with other artists)
The Naval Cadet: A Story of Adventure on Land and Sea by Gordon Stables, Blackie & Son, 1897
The Log of a Privateersman by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1897
The Golden Galleon: Being a Narrative of the Adventures of Master Gilbert Oglander by Robert Leighton, Blackie & Son, 1897
The Bell Buoy, or The Story of the Mysterious Key by F.M. Holmes, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1897
Queen of the Isles by Jessie Saxby, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1897
Meg Langholme, or The Day After Tomorrow by Mrs Molesworth, W. & R. Chambers, 1897
His Majesty’s Beggars by Mary E. Ropes, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1897(?)
Story after Story, McLoughlin Bros. (USA), 1897 (with other artists)
The Bonded Three by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1898
A Dreadful Mistake by Geraldine Lockler, Blackie & Son, 1898
The Turkish Automaton: A Tale of the Time of Catherine the Great of Russia by Sheila E. Braine, Blackie & Son, 1898
At Aboukir and Acre: A Story of Napoleon’s Invasion of Egypt by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son 1898
The Eagle’s Nest by S.E. Cartwright, Blackie & Son, 1898
The Monkey That Would Not Kill by Henry Drummond, Hodder & Stoughton, 1898
Brave Deeds of Youthful Heroes by various authors, Religious Tract Society, 1898 (with other artists)
The Girls of St. Wode’s by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1898
Butterfly Ballads and Stories in Rhyme by Helen Atteridge, John Milne, 1898 (with other artists)
New Chatterwell Stories, McLoughlin Bros. (USA), 1898 (with other artists)
The Uncharted Island by Skelton Kuppord, T. Nelson & Sons, 1899
The Girl Captives: A Story of the Indian Frontier by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1899
All Hands on Deck! By W. Charles Metcalfe, Blackie & Son, 1899
Light O’ the Morning: The Story of an Irish Girl by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1899
Fortune’s Wheel: A South African Story by Eliza F. Pollard, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
Lost in the Backwoods by E.C. Kenyon, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
Woman’s World, Lever Brothers Ltd., 1899
Chimney Corner Stories, McLoughlin Bros. (USA),1899  (with other artists)
Westward Ho! By Charles Kingsley, Blackie & Son, 1899   (re-issue)
The Boer’s Blunder: A Veldt Adventure by Fox Russell, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1900
A Roving Commission, or Through the Black Insurrection of Hayti by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1900
Miss Nonentity by L.T. Meade, W. & Chambers, 1900
Holiday Times by P.W. Dickinson, Ernest Nister, 1900
Romance of Real Life: True Incidents in the Lives of the Great and Good by various authors, Religious Tract Society, 1900 (with other artists)
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
With Buller in Natal, or A Born Leader by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1901
Out with Garibaldi: A Story of the Liberation of Italy by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1901
Gunpowder Treason and Plot and Other Stories for Boys by Harold Avery and others, T. Nelson & Sons, 1901 (with other artists)
A Very Naughty Girl by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1901
Sunny Days for Boys and Girls by various authors, Miles & Miles, 1901(?) (with other artists)
With Roberts to Pretoria: A Tale of the South African War by G.A, Henty, Blackie & Son, 1902
Grit and Go by G.A. Henty and other authors, W. & R. Chambers, 1902
The Diamond Seekers by Ernest Glanville, Blackie & Son, 1902
The Dragon of Pekin: A Tale of the Boxer Revolt by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1902
Donalblane of Darien by James Macdonald Oxley, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1902
The Rebel of the School by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1902
With Kitchener in the Sudan: A Story of Atbara and Omdurman by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1903
In Search of the Okapi: A Story of Adventure in Central Africa by Ernest Glanville, Blackie & Son, 1903
Foes of the Red Cockade: A Story of the French Revolution by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1903
Lost Sir Brian by Frederick Whishaw, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Sibyl, or Old School Friends by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1903
Sacred Allegories by William Adams, Longmans, Green & Co., 1903 (with other artists)
The Newcombes by W.M. Thackeray, Blackie & Son, 1903 (re-issue)
The Woman of the Well by Frances Craig Houston, Religious Tract Society, 1903
The Personal History of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, Blackie & Son, 1904 (re-issue)
The Yellow Shield, or A Captive in the Zulu Camp by William Johnston, S.W. Partridge, 1904
A Soldier of Japan: A Story of the Russo-Japanese War by Herbert Strang, Blackie & Son, 1906
A Hero of Lucknow: A Tale of the Indian Mutiny by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1904
Petronella, and The Coming of Polly by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1904
Under the Old Oaks, or Won by Love by anon., T. Nelson & Sons, 1904 (re-issue)
By Conduct and Courage: A Story of the Days of Nelson by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1905
Tom Burke of “Ours” by Charles Lever, Blackie & Son, 1905
The Adventures of Harry Rochester: A Tale of the Days of Marlborough and Eugene by Herbert Strang, Blackie & Son, 1905

Boys of the Light Brigade: A Story of Spain and the Peninsular War by Herbert Strang, Blackie & Son, 1905
Brown of Moukden: A Story of the Russo-Japanese War by Herbert Strang, Blackie & Son, 1905
Wilful Cousin Kate: A Girl’s Story by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1905
The Holiday Picture Book by Harry Golding, Ward, Lock & Co., 1905
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, W. & R. Chambers, 1905 (re-issue)
One of Clive’s Heroes: A Story of the Fight for India by Herbert Strang, Hodder & Stoughton, 1906
The Boy Tramp by Thomas Cobb, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1906
With Roberts to Candahar: A Tale of the Third Afghan War by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1906
A Knight of St. John: A Tale of the Siege of Malta by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1906
Across the Spanish Main : A Tale of the Sea in the Days of Queen Bess by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1906
Jack Hardy, or A Hundred Years Ago by Herbert Strang, Hodder & Stoughton, 1906
The Mender by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1906
Peg’s Adventures in Paris: A School Tale by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1906
Aunt Patty’s Paying Guests by Eglanton Thorne, Religious Tract Society, 1906
A Little Gipsy Lass: A Story of Moorland and Wild by Gordon Stables, W. & R. Chambers, 1907
The Wonderful Invention, or Along the King’s Highway by M.J. Cornwall Legh, Religious Tract Society. 1907
The Quest of the Black Opals: A Tale of Adventure in the Heart of Australia by Alexander Macdonald, Blackie & Son, 1907
Jones of the 64th: A Tale of the Battles of Assaye and Laswaree by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1907
How Canada Was Won: A Tale of Wolfe and Quebec by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1908
The White Trail: A Story of the Early Days of Klondike by Alexander Macdonald, Blackie & Son, 1908
The Great White Chief: A Story of Adventure in Unknown New Guinea by Robert Maclauchlan Macdonald, Blackie & Son, 1908
Under the Chillian Flag: A Tale of the War Between Chilli and Peru by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1908
Daughters of the Dominion: A Story of the Canadian Frontier by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1908
Samba: A Story of the Rubber Slaves of the Congo by Herbert Strang, Hodder & Stoughton, 1908
When Lion Heart was King: A Tale of Robin Hood and Merry Sherwood by Escott Lynn, Blackie & Son, 1908
The Giant of the Treasure Caves by E.G. Mulliken, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1908
The School Queens by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1908
A Courageous Girl: A Story of Uruguay by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1908
The Court-Harman Girls by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1908
Pigtails and Pirates: A Tale of the Sea by William Charles Metcalfe, Blackie & Son, 1908
The Silver Hand: A Story of India in the Eighteenth Century by Eliza F. Pollard, Blackie & Son, 1908
The Hill that Fell Down: A Story of a Large Family by Evelyn Sharp, Blackie & Son, 1909
Ford of HMS Vigilant: A Tale of the Chusan Archipelago by T.T. Jeans, Blackie & Son, 1909
The Hidden Nugget: A Story of the Australian Goldfields by Alexander Macdonald, Blackie & Son, 1909
Through the Heart of Tibet: A Tale of a Secret Mission to Lhasa by Alexander Macdonald, Blackie & Son, 1909
Becky Compton, Ex-Dux by Raymond Jacberns, W. & R. Chambers, 1909
The Seven Wise Men by S.R. Crockett, Religious Tract Society, 1909
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens, George G. Harrap, 1909 (re-issue)
The Lone Patrol by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1910
The Cruise of the “Kingfisher”: A Tale of Deep-sea Adventure by H. de Vere Stacpoole, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1910
Three Amateur Scouts by Raymond Jacberns, W. & R. Chambers, 1910
The Knights of Charlemagne, Blackie & Son, 1910
Three Girls in Mexico by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1910
On Foreign Service, or The Santa Cruz Revolution by T.T. Jens, Blackie & Son, 1910
Hilda’s Experiences by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1910
Poetry of Empire: Nineteen Centuries of British History by John Lang, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1910
The Story of France Told to Boys and Girls by Mary MacGregor, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1911
Greta’s Domain: A Tale of Chiloé by Bessie Comfort, Blackie & Son, 1911
Plutarch’s Lives for Boys and Girls by W.H. Weston, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1911
A Middy of the Slave Squadron: A West African Story by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1911
The Girls of Merton College by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1911
A Schoolgirl of Moscow by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1911
Corah’s School Chums by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1912
A Boy of the Dominion : A Tale of Canadian Immigration by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1912
The Hero of Panama; A Tale of the Great Canal by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1912
The Youngest Sister: A Tale of Manitoba by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1912
A Princess of Servia: A Story of Today by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1912
The Sibyl of St Pierre: A Tale of Martinique by Bessie Marchant, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1912
Among Chinese Pirates by W. Charles Metclafe, Blackie & Son, 1912
A Girl of Distinction: A Tale of the Karroo by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1912
The Story of Rome from the Earliest Times to the Death of Augustus by Mary Macgregor, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1912
A Polish Hero: A Tale of the Times of Catherine the Great of Russia by Sheila E. Braine, Blackie & Son, 1912
Character Training: A Suggestive Series of Lessons in Ethics by Ella Lyman Cabot, George G. Harrap & Co., 1912
A Book of Golden Deeds by Charlotte M. Yonge, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1912 (re-issue)
The Loyalty of Hester Hope: A Story of British Columbia by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1913
The Tale of a Tambour, and How He made some Noise in the World by D.H. Parry, Hodder & Stoughton, 1913
A Hero of the Mutiny by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1913
With the Dyaks of Borneo: A Tale of the Headhunters by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1913 (re-issue)
With Wellington in Spain: A Story of the Peninsula by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1914
When They Were Children: Stories of the Childhood of Famous Men and Women by Amy Steedman, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1913
Poetry of Heroism by John & Jean Lang, G.P. Putnam’s Sons (USA), 1913
The Boy Castaways, or Endeavour Island by Tom Taprell Dorling, Blackie & Son, 1914
Teddy Lester’s Schooldays by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1914
A Boy Scout with the Russians by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1914
Helen of the Black Mountain: A Story of Montenegro by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1914
Stories of France in Days of Old by Arthur O Cooke, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1914
The Bravest of the Brave, or With Peterborough in Spain by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1914 (re-issue)
Stubbs and I: Being the Adventures of Two Boy Scouts During the Great War by Frank Fortune, W. & R. Chambers, 1915
Brave Margaret by Mrs Herbert Strang, Hodder & Stoughton, 1915
Teddy Lester, Captain of Cricket by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1916
Made Mostyn’s Nieces by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1916
Hollyhock: A Spirit of Mischief by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1916
The Fairy Godmother by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1917
The Merry Five and “Toronto”: A Story for School Girls and Boys by Edna Lake, W. & R. Chambers, 1920
A Final Reckoning by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1920(?) (re-issue)
The Dash for Khartoum by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1920(?) (re-issue)
The Buccaneers of Boya by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1925
The Island Traders by Alexander Macdonald, Blackie & Son, 1925
Princess Ooma by Hélène Hampden, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1926
Held to Ransom by Violet Mary Methley, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1928
Among Chinese Pirates by W. Charles Metcalfe, Blackie & Son, 1929
Among the Bushrangers by G.A. Henty (taken from A Final Reckoning), Blackie & Son, 1929

The Waverley Novels by Sir Walter Scott – Holyrood Edition, circa 1900, published by the Gresham Publishing Company
The Pirate
The Talisman
Woodstock, or The Cavalier: A Tale of the Year 1651

Friday, February 23, 2018

Comic Cuts - 23 February 2018

We've had a busy week and it hasn't finished yet. I'm writing this a little earlier than usual (Thursday morning rather than Thursday evening) because we're heading out to see Ellie Taylor at the Arts Centre, which means we'll miss seeing her on The Mash Report this evening. Which means it's not a live news report... it's fake news. Unashamedly fake and very funny news. (And if you haven't seen it, give it a try. Sadly there's only this evening's episode to go for this 6-episode run, so you'll have to watch it on the BBC's iPlayer. Click "All available episodes" – there are four available at the time of writing.)

We have a lot of love for Nish Kumar who first came to our attention on the Josh Widdicombe radio show on XFM, each week discussing a conspiracy theory he had read about. If you've ever wondered why Mel and I find it hilarious to say "Or is it?" that's where it comes from. Four years we've been saying it and it still makes us laugh. Just don't ask us what we associate with Ellie Taylor because it's visual and insulting and involves fingers.

I don't think Kumar has made it to the Colchester Arts Centre – we'd love to see him live – but we did get to see Lucy Porter on Friday for the first time in a few years (I think the last time was her "Northern Soul" tour). This tour seems to be a bit more family friendly and not as filthy as previous shows: "Choose Your Battles" is primarily about bottling up anger and the passive aggression most families endure when they can't be open and honest about things they find annoying. It might not sound like a fun-filled evening out, but it had the audience in stitches.

My humour is not usually very sophisticated. On Monday I was reading Black Bess; or, the Knight of the Road, a penny dreadful from the 1860s. The title will tell you that it concerns Dick Turpin, the highwayman, and his famous horse, Black Bess. This long and rambling tale (it runs to over 2,000 pages) is innocent of anything dirty, but once you've spotted a double entendre, it's difficult to take further reading seriously. So there's much childish humour to be had in learning the perfectly reasonable fact that Mrs Turpin loves Mr Turpin when it's phrased "Maude loves Dick." Dick is later to be found sprinkling liquid over the face of his wife, occasionally ejaculating, and his friend, Captain Hawk, is said to be "gifted with a full share of penetration." Hawk, too, ejaculates at the approach of Dick.

This is how I keep myself entertained while I'm working.

I'm reading Black Bess – skip-reading because its two-and-a-quarter million words long – to check a few things while I'm revising the next essay for the Forgotten Authors book. This one is slightly different because the author in question, Edward Viles, also had close ties with the publisher of his works, so I'm having to cover the publisher in some depth, too. And there's a lot of misinformation that has been published about Viles in the past, so that all needs to be unpicked and explained. I'm trying to get to the source of any falsehoods and a lot of it seems to be down to one guy, who was a notorious hoaxer.

As I'm still knee deep in that, there's no additions to the totalizer this week. But I'm not far from finishing, so there should be quite a substantial jump next week.

And so to our random scans... and for a change, this is a small selection from a pile of flyers that I've built up over the past couple of years. I'm sure I have earlier examples buried away somewhere but these seem to be mainly from 2014-17. If I get a chance to scan some more I'll post them next week.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Commando issues 5099-5102

Commando issues released 22 February 2018.

Brand new Commando issuesare out today! Brave the wilderness and face-off against genetically enhanced wolves in the Białowieża Forest; take cover from deadly, scouring siroccos in North Africa; load up with Villistas in a shoot-out against the Federales; and undergo top secret operations with the REMEs. Our Commandos are always ready for action!

5099: Into the Wild
Never was there a more unlikely team: Commando Captain Tom Wilson, who surrendered to the Waffen SS in the Dunkirk retreat and got his entire squadron killed; his second in command, the loyal Lieutenant Charlie Shaw; South African big game hunter, Rene Muelens; short and stocky tough guy Commando, Tony Lewis; Digger Smith, built like a brick outhouse; and Otto Kramer, their Polish German guide.
    They may not trust each other, but they were the Allies’ only hope of rescuing a Polish eugenics scientist and putting an end to his dangerous experiments.
    A thrilling story from Jim and David Turner, the eco-political themes resonate today, while Rezzonico and Morhain’s artwork builds on the sense of menace and foreboding from Janek Matysiak’s cover, the wolves proving just as bloodcurdling throughout!

Story: Jim & David Turner
Art: Rezzonico & Morhain
Cover: Janek Matysiak

5100: Clash of Giants
Fighting like warships on the sea of sand, British battle cruisers and Panzers roamed the empty deserts of North Africa. But when his brother’s tank was destroyed by friendlies in a Beaufighter, Garry Connel would never forgive the men who fired on him. So, when a single parachute falls from the hit aircraft, Connel sees red, casting the surviving airman out into the desert winds – leaving him to die. But, Connel was quick to realise that with Nazis disguised in British khakis, and enemy and Allied aircraft viewing them as a target, then maybe he might need the Pilot Officer’s help after all…
    Bellalta’s stunning interiors hurl gale-force winds and deadly siroccos at the reader, as Allan’s story throws us straight into the perils of 1941 North Africa, right alongside Tommy pongos and tank crews.

Story: Allan
Art: Bellalta
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No.  508 (October 1970).

5101: Viva Villa!
Over two dozen battle-hardened Federales charged the deserted village of Puebla where the Gomez brothers stood alone against them. Taking cover in an adobe hut, the only thing that stood between them and President Huerta’s men was a Colt-Browning machine gun. But after two years of revolution had ravaged Mexico, leading to a lengthy civil war, Hector and Carlos Gomez would do whatever it took to protect the villagers.
    Richard Davis’ western-edged Commando combines the heart of ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ with the unforgiving setting of ‘The Wild Bunch’. Meanwhile, premiering a brand new ‘Mexican Revolution’ badge for Commando, Carlos Pino’s scorching cover shows the Gomez brothers’ true grit as they fire at the reader, their explosive bullets reflecting the blazing sun behind them!

Story: Richard Davis
Art: Carlos Pino
Cover: Carlos Pino

5102: Strike from the Sea
Lieutenant Steve Pitt checked everything twice, meticulous on every mission and his men trusted him implicitly… that was until Lieutenant Bob Travis joined his special REME unit. You see, Pitt wasn’t always so careful, and, according to Travis, his own ego and carelessness had caused the death of his father! It was a vendetta Travis would forever hold – but would he let it get in the way of their mission?
    Roger Sanderson’s ‘Strike from the Sea’ serves us two memorable characters of classic Commando conceits, but also delivers on a tense, top notch Special Operation, with our heroes dodging Jerries left, right and centre, each stage of the mission a surprise.

Story: Roger Sanderson
Art: C. T. Rigby
Cover: Phil Gascoine
Originally Commando No. 2682 (July 1993).

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 21-22 February 2018.

2000AD Prog 2069
Cover: Clint Langley
JUDGE DREDD: LIVE EVIL by Ian Edginton (w) Dave Taylor (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (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)
ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 393
Cover: Nick Percival
JUDGE DREDD: KRONG ISLAND by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
LAWLESS: BREAKING BADROCK by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie DeVille (l)
DEVLIN WAUGH: BLOOD DEBT by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)
CURSED EARTH KOBURN by Rory McConville (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Simon Bowland (l)
DREDD: THE DEAD WORLD by Arthur Wyatt & Alex De Campi (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse(l)
Features: new 2000 AD talent, Jim Baikie obituary
Bagged reprint: Outlier by TC Eglington (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

The Beatles Story by Angus Allan & Arthur Ransom
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086179, 22 February 2018, £12.99/$17.99 (hardcover). Available via Amazon.
The original long-lost Beatles graphic novel!
This was the very first graphic novel to chart the creation, evolution and break-up of the fab four, first published in 1981. The BeatlesStory is an exceptionally drawn account of the band from one of the UK's leading artists of his generation, Arthur Ranson (Batman, Judge Dredd, Button Man).  Written by Angus Allan it includes fascinating insights into Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s first encounter, their early gigs in Hamburg's Kaiser Keller, through to the recording of the legendary Abbey Road album and the band's break-up.
    First published in the pages of legendary UK youth magazine Look-In, this beautifully illustrated account is a treat for both the devoted Beatles admirer and new fans alike. This new edition is published in the Treasury of British Comics line, a series devoted to restoring lost comics classics.
    This book features incredible black and white line art thoughout, from one of the most celebrated of British artists, famous for his distinctive photo-real style. Unlike recent graphic novel hit The Fifth Beatle or indy title Baby's in Black, both of which focused on anciallary characters in the Beatles history, this book is all about John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Talbot Smith

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

A. Talbot Smith was a talented comic artist and a reliable illustrator who contributed to several children’s books and other novels, in between pursuing his main hobby of shooting.

He was born in Canton, China, on 20 July1877, and christened Alfred Talbot Smith. His father, Frederic Burgess Smith (born in Woolwich, Kent in 1841) was a tea broker’s clerk who later became a tea merchant. His mother was Maria Victoria (née Dorey), born in Camberwell in 1840, the daughter of Thomas Dorey, an accountant. The family home was, for many years, in Brigstock Road, Croydon. As well as Alfred, the Smiths had one other child, Wilfred Gerard, born in January 1880 in Camberwell, who initially followed his father into the tea trade before becoming a poultry farmer. Frederic Burgess Smith died at 3 Russell Hill Road, Purley, Surrey, on 29 November 1914, leaving a small estate valued at £201. His wife died at 3 Masons Avenue, Croydon, on 3 December 1928, leaving £104.

Alfred was educated at Whitgift School, Croydon, between 1883 and 1895. He then studied at the Croydon School of Art, and by the turn of the century he had established himself as a professional artist. Amongst the first books he illustrated were a handful of re-issues of Walter Scott’s novels in 1901. He also illustrated novels by Guy Boothby, E. Phillips Oppenheim and Arthur Quiller-Couch, although most of his illustrative work was for children’s novels. In particular he illustrated several boys’ school stories, including a 1905 re-issue of Tom Brown’s Schooldays (for which he provided 16 black and white plates) and stories by Harold Avery and Charles Turley. In September 1909, he began illustrating a serial story by Harold Avery, 'A Leap in the Dark', in The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph.

He also became well-known for his cartoons, in particular in Punch, The Humorist, London Opinion, The Sketch and The Passing Show. He commonly signed his work “A T SMITH” (and more rarely “ATS”), although some of his book illustrations were unsigned, but identified by his name on the title page.

On 2 October 1904, while he was living in Thornton Heath, Surrey, he married Marion Ellen Long (born in Willesden in 1878, the daughter of Francis Stephen Long, a tea broker) at the St. Peter’s Church, Croydon. They settled at Flint Cottage, Chipstead, Surrey, which remained their home until the end of their lives. They went on to have four children: Gerard (1910-1977), Nancy (1911-1953), Ronald (1911-1935 – killed while with the RAF in Singapore), and Patrick (1914-2001).

In the meantime, Smith had enlisted in the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, becoming an Honorary Lieutenant in November 1899. He was also a member of the Whitgift Veterans Rifle Club, competing at competitions including Bisley, and, between 1899 and 1905, he was the Commander of Whitgift’s Cadet Corps. He also joined the Surrey Rifle Association in 1900, remaining a member (eventually becoming Vice-Chairman) until his death, and he joined the National Rifle Association in 1902. During the First World War he served as a Captain of the 4th Battalion of the West Surrey Regiment – by the end of the war he had attained the rank of Major, attached to the General Headquarters of the Eastern Command. He was primarily engaged as a musketry instructor, although he saw active service and was, according to one account (in The Surrey Mirror in June 1937) mentioned in dispatches several times, although there are no references to these in The London Gazette, where all such citations are recorded.

After the war he joined the Chipstead Rifle Club, and wrote a history of the club in 1950. In 1937, he was appointed District Air Raid Precautions Controller of the Banstead Urban District, Surrey. He was also President of the Chipstead Cricket Club, having been a member since around 1907, and was also closely involved with the Surrey County Playing Fields Association. In November 1955 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Surrey. He was also a member of the Press Club, and for some time was the Rifle Shooting Correspondent of The Times.

His wife died on 28 July 1952, and in 1970 he re-married, his second wife being Violet Beatrice Mindham (born in 1900, the daughter of a woodworker). This marriage was, however, short-lived, as Smith died in June 1971.

His work as an illustrator was severely curtailed after the First World War, probably because he was developing so many other commitments.


Books illustrated by A. Talbot Smith
My Novel, or Varieties in English Life by Edward Bulwer Lytton, Collins, 1900 (re-issue)
Old Mortality by Walter Scott, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
Kenilworth by Walter Scott, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
The Pirate by Walter Scott, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
Redgauntlet by Walter Scott, Gresham Publishing Co., 1901 (re-issue)
The Cavern of Laments: A Story of Sark by Catherine E. Mallandaine, John Long, 1904
A Bride from the Sea by Guy Boothby, John Long, 1904
The Lady of the Island by Guy Boothy, John Long, 1904
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, John Long, 1905 (re-issue)
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, John Long, 1905 (re-issue)
The Corner House by Fred Merrick White, Ward, Lock & Co., (New York) 1906
A Bad Three Weeks by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1907
The Scamp Family by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1907
Highway Dust: The Narrative of a Treasure Hunt by George Godfrey Sellick, T.C. & E. Jack, 1907
The Mystery of the Shadow by Fergus Hume, Cassell & Co., 1907
The Secret by E, Phillips Oppenheim, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
Poison Island by A. Quiller-Couch, Smith, Elder & Co., 1907
A Hard Bit of Road by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1908
The MInvern Brothers by Charles Turley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1909
A Hard Bit of Road by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1909
Off the Wicket by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1910
A Scout’s Son by Charles Turley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1910
The Maynard Cousins by Geoffrey H. White, T. Nelson & Sons, 1910
Cornered by Percy J. Barrow, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1910
The New Broom by Charles Turley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1911
The Forbidden Room by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1911
The New Boy at Merriton by Julia Goddard, Blackie & Son, 1912 (re-issue)
Miscellaneous Contributions to “Household Words”, “All The Year Round” etc. by Charles Dickens, Gresham Publishing Co., 1912
The Cardinal Moth by Fred M. White, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912
Highway Dust by George G. Sellick, T. Nelson & Sons, 1916
The Monastery by Walter Scott, Collins, 1920 (re-issue)
Winning His Laurels, or The Boys of St, Raglan’s by F.M. Holmes, James Nisbet & Co., 1920(?)
Guy Mannering by Walter Scott, Collins, 1920 (re-issue)
One the Welsh Marches by Walter Scott, Blackie & Son, 1921 (re-issue)
Our Secret Society by W. Dingwall Fordyce, T. Nelson & Sons, 1927
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Daily Express Publications, 1933 (re-issue)
Chipstead and District Rifle Club, 1906-1950: A Short History by Major A. Talbot Smith, 1950

Friday, February 16, 2018

Comic Cuts - 16 February 2018

Not much to report this week. I worked on a couple of shorter pieces over the Friday through Sunday before jumping to one of the longer pieces. In fact it might end up the longest piece in the book, although nowhere near the length of the Bracebridge Hemyng piece in Volume 2, which clocked in at around 20,000 words.

That book has been out a couple of weeks now and I've had a little bit of feedback. Thankfully no major factual errors have cropped up—the biggest so far has been a wrong date—although even minor mistakes are frustrating because I make every effort to weed them out ahead of publication. But they slip through. I think that, after a while, you see what you think you've written rather than what you've actually written.

The weekly totalizer has reached 160,000 words and the essay count is now at 39, so I'm maybe 45,000 words away from achieving the Fifty Forgotten Authors I was aiming for when I started this project last August. I have a feeling that I won't quite reach the fifty with this third volume unless I use up a lot of very short pieces.

I did solve one mystery this week relating to an author who featured on Bear Alley. I finally tracked down their date of death and confirmed it with a copy of their death certificate. The office that deals with births, marriages and deaths—the General Register Office, or GRO—have a scheme on at the moment whereby you can get order PDF copies of birth and death certificates. Weirdly, this pilot scheme is not extended to marriage certificates, a fact I missed when I tried to order one and found that the "order PDF" button was missing. A glitch in the system, surely? I thought. As it turns out, no.

Doing these books could potentially cost me a fortune in certificates, although I've kept it down to something like £30 per volume so far.Add the cost of proofs, and the price of a couple of books I've had to buy for reference, the first three volumes will probably have cost me somewhere between £120-150 to produce. That's a huge difference to the costs I had writing the Hank Janson book, which were huge by comparison: it took a few trips up to the National Archives in Richmond to sort some of the research and on more than one occasion I spent over £100 on photocopies—which were hellishly expensive (£1.30 per photocopied page!). It's bloody expensive this research lark!

Between work and the weather, I've not left the house much, aside from our regular walks. I'm looking forward to seeing Lucy Porter this Friday evening at the Arts Centre and we're trying to arrange with friends to see Black Panther, so I may have more to write about next week. For now I'll leave you with some random scans that aren't so random.

In an obvious marketing move, all the covers today are books by authors included in Forgotten Authors Volume 2... I'm hoping that it will spur you into buying a copy of the book or downloading it on Kindle. You can find all the various options here... and if you scroll down you can order volume one at the same time!


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 14 February 2017.

2000AD Prog 2068
Cover: Nick Percival
JUDGE DREDD: THE SHROUD by Michael Carroll (w) Paul Davidson (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, February 12, 2018

Jeff Hawke's Cosmos v10 no3 (January 2018)

What a long, strange trip it has been, reading through the complete set of Jeff Hawke stories. The early issues of Jeff Hawke's Cosmos jumped around a little, reprinting some of the earliest yarns from the 1950s alongside what many consider the classic era of Hawke's run in the 1960s. For the past couple of years, the magazine has been reprinting the later Jeff McLane tales in chronological order. And this month we have reached the penultimate issue, with only four more tales to go.

William Rudling deserves a huge round of applause for bringing one of the best of all British science fiction strips back into print. I was very proud to have been a contributor from the beginning in 2003, writing a series on old SF strips from the 1950s before I ran out of steam a couple of years later (that and a full-time job with Look & Learn!). William has been indefatigable, having now published thirty issues plus three specials.

This penultimate issue contains two long Lance McLane (or Jeff Hawke as they were in syndication) stories: "Even Death May Die" and "Virus". The first is a blend of science fiction and horror, beginning with the discovery of an old space shuttle in earth orbit, now a tomb for its crew. Scavengers board the derelict, accidentally opening up a way for the ancient gods to return. With his partner left on board the shuttle, one of the junkers makes it to the Spacewheel and a rescue ship is sent. Meanwhile, Jeff and Fortuna are aboard the Spacewheel and when Fortuna scans the mind of the injured, escaped space-scrap merchant, she witnesses a scene of Cthuluian terror.

In "Virus", Fortuna feels the urge to return to the asteroid where she was found by Hawke. At the same time, scouting parties are exploring the remains of London, checking the likes of hospitals for dangerous leaks of bio-hazards or radiation, the result of years under ice. On the asteroid that she is named after, the android Fortuna sees one of her creators, a Grand Magician of Aurigae, while on Earth, medical supplies are brought  to Moonbase by a pilot who has been accidentally exposed to... something.

As always, the quality of storytelling is superb and it's a sign of its quality that the strip was able to jump from Lovecraftian horror to medical drama and elsewhere—wherever the story demanded.

The stories are backed-up here with copious notes by Duncan Lunan, who also pens astronomical features, including the final episode of "Space Notes".

Next: Jeff Hawke's Cosmos: The Epilogue, which will contain the final four stories, along with Lunan's "Hawke Notes", extra articles and a colour section. It will be priced £14. The Jeff Hawke Club will continue to publish a newsletter and supply back-issues. More details next time.

Meanwhile, the last few issues are available on subscription: £26 for three issues here in the UK and £34/38/41 for overseas subscribers, payable in a variety of ways. You can find more details (and back issues) at the new Jeff Hawke Club web page or by contacting william AT 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Phil Ebbutt

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Phil Ebbutt could be said to have had two parallel careers—that of a serious artist, illustrating historical novels and similar works, and that of a caricaturist and comic artist. Both sides of his output were used by George and Edward Dalziel, the Victorian engravers, and his comic illustrations were later used by James Henderson & Co.

Ebbutt was born on 5 November 1866 and baptized, as Philip Guy Ebbutt, at St. John the Baptist Church, Croydon, Surrey, on 1 December 1866. He was the fifth of nine children of Alfred Charles Ebbutt (1833-1906), a highly successful upholsterer and cabinet-maker (at his death his estate was worth almost £1 million in today’s terms), and his wife Jane (née Close, 1837-1920), who had moved to Croydon after marrying in Bishopsgate, London, in 1858.

Philip may have been a sickly child, as at the time of the 1871 census, when was under 4 years old, he was recorded as a “Nurse Child” living with William Rackley, a labourer, and his wife at Victoria Place, Croydon.  (Having said, that, his parents were living apart at that time, his father in Croydon and his mother in Brighton). At the time of the 1891 census, the family, now reunited, was living at 1 Park Terrace, Park Lane, Croydon, with Alfred employing 35 men and 3 boys.

Phil Ebbutt received his artistic training at the Croydon School of Art (founded in 1868), along with his sisters Ethel and Blanche, with Philip being registered there aged only 13. After leaving the college he remained in Croydon, where he was a member of the Croydon Swimming Club and the Croydon Lacrosse team, until around 1887, when he moved briefly into central London, being recorded in the 1888 Electoral Register as occupying an unfurnished room at 1 Ryland Road, St. Pancras.

It was around this time that he began working for the Dalziel brothers, as they recalled in their memoir The Brothers Dalziel (published by Methuen & Co. in 1901):
Phil Ebbutt came to us on the recommendation of George R. Sims. He had a natural taste for drawing, and was quick at design. He worked much on our publication Jack and Jill, including political cartoons, and romances strictly historical. He also made many drawings for Fun, which were mostly of a social character. In all he was an industrious, willing worker, but his progress was hindered by an affliction of the eyes, which now and again demanded complete rest; though that, for a time, was got over and he went to work again.
In 1889 he contributed to the first number of The Daily Graphic (published by H.R. Baines & Co. and owned by Luson Thomas, who also owned The Graphic), and he also began contributing to periodicals such as The Quiver, The Lady’s Pictorial and The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News. His first book illustrations also appeared around this time. In 1885 he had provided 40 black and white illustrations for a re-issue of Harriet Martineau’s The Settlers at Home, and he also contributed to Hood’s Comic Annual for 1885 (and later years) and The Fun Almanac, both engraved and printed by the Dalziel brothers. In 1887 he illustrated three books by Henry T. Johnson, who was the editor of Fun and who went on to become an extremely prolific author.

At the time of the 1891 census Ebbutt was living with his parents and two of his sisters at 7 Epsom Road, Croydon. Three years later, on 4 December 1894, he married Edith Mary Prewett, at Warnham, Surrey  –  born in 1873, she was the daughter of William Thomas Gibbens Prewett, an extremely wealthy miller and corn merchant (he left an estate valued at over £2 million in today’s terms when he died in 1913). They remained in Croydon, where their only child, Hetty Eve, was born in 1899, and where Ebbutt joined the Surrey Art Circle. They later moved to 8 The Gables, Moring Road, Tooting, where Ebbutt was recorded in the 1901 census as a “Journalistic Artist”, working from home, and his wife as a journalist.

By then he had left The Daily Graphic, because of his poor eyesight, but he continued to work, contributing to The Strand Magazine and The Sunday Strand. He also illustrated a handful of books at the turn of the century, including a re-issue of Harriet Martineau’s Feats on the Fiord, The Cruise of the “Arctic Fox” by Gordon Stables, and The Prots: A Weird Romance by Montague Dudbroke, an early biological science fiction novel.

He subsequently began working for the publisher James Henderson, in particular supplying extra illustrations for a series of reprints of the Giantland stories in Young Folks Tales, written by Roland Quiz (i.e. Richard Quittenton), which had originally been illustrated by John Proctor. He also provided the covers for Henderson’s short-lived Rob Roy Library in 1903-04, and for many of the early numbers of the Nugget Library and Lion Library. He also contributed illustrations to Henderson’s weekly papers Nuggets and The Boys’ Champion Story Paper, as well as The Boy’s Own Paper and Chums, and The British Girls’ Annual. As an artist, he was described by John Medcraft (in The Story Paper Collector, October-December 1943) as “sound but lacking in versatility, he was at his best in school story illustrations.”

At the time of the 1911 census Ebbutt was living at 33 Hampstead Way, Hendon, recorded as an “Artist (Journalistic)”. His wife died in January 1914, and the following year he married Rosina Sarah Wheeler, born in Highgate on 17 October 1891, the daughter of Hyda Wheeler, a carpenter. By then Ebbutt appears to have more or less stopped working, presumably because of his failing eyesight—his last known book illustrations had appeared in 1910. He died at 68 Muswell Hill, Highgate, on 18 March 1926, leaving a small estate of just under £80.


Books illustrated by Phil Ebbutt
The Settlers at Home by Harriet Martineau, George Routledge & Sons, 1885 (re-issue)
Little Wide-Awake: An Illustrated Magazine for Children ed. By Mrs Sale Barker, George Routledge & Sons, 1888
Jockey Club Stories by Frank Barrett, The “Fun” Office, 1887
Through My Heart First by H.T. Johnson, The “Fun” Office, 1887
Honours Divided by Henry T. Johnson, The “Fun” Office, 1887
Jack of Hearts: A Story of Bohemia by Henry T. Johnson, The “Fun” Office, 1887
Raymi, or The Children of the Sun by Clive Holland, Cassell & Co., 1890
Wise and Otherwise by “Pansy”, George Routledge & Sons, 1890
Seaside Resorts: A Selection of the “Daily Graphic” Holiday Letters by J. Ashby-Sterry,,Office of the “Daily Graphic”, 1891
Feats on the Fiord: A Tale of Norway by Harriet Martineau, Ward, Lock & Co., 1900 (re-issue)
The Cruise of the “Arctic Fox” in Icy Seas Around the Pole by Gordon Stables, S.H. Bousfield, 1902
The Prots: A Weird Romance by M. Dudbroke, S.H. Boulsfield & Co., 1903
The Kidnapping of Peter Cray: A Story of the South Seas by Robert Leighton, John F. Shaw, 1903
Fortunatus: A Romance by J.H. White, Melville & Mullen, 1903
Lionel Harcourt, the Etonian by G.E. Wyatt, T. Nelson & Sons, 1904 (re-issue)
Three Little Preachers by Harold Murray, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Story of Samson, James Henderson, 1910   (Bible Stories for Young Readers)

Friday, February 09, 2018

Comic Cuts - 9 February 2018

With Forgotten Authors Volume 2 now done and dusted—and available to buy—I'm immersed in work on the next volume. Some of the essays in this new one will be a bit more recent, so there's less chance that I will find ways to overhaul them in a major way, but I'm continually tinkering with these texts, so there will definitely be something new about every single piece.

I mentioned previously that, although eight of the ten essays were based on things I've written previously for Bear Alley, around 50,000 of the 65,000 words in the second volume were new material. Partly that's down to expanding some of the older essays as more information is now available; partly it's also that the book gives me an opportunity to throw in the kitchen sink; and sometimes it's simply because I hate to see research go to waste.

The amount of research done in some areas is intense. I end up with pages of notes that I have to condense down into something readable. Usually these are immediately thrown away once the essay is finished, but I sometimes find them caught up in a pile where I've moved some books, or even used as bookmarks. I stumbled across the following page yesterday and thought I'd share it with you. This is both the front and back...

The context is the novel Kate Hamilton, published as part of the 'Anonyma' series of novels about Victorian prostitutes and demi mondes. Kate Hamilton was a real person, a larger than life character who ran a  famous London night-house where prostitutes and playboys would meet. I wanted to find out (a) if Kate was real, and (b) whether she was the owner of the establishment that carried her name.

Well, it turned out that she was real, but the power behind the throne (and I do mean that Kate sat on a throne on a raised platform, drinking cocktails, surrounded by girls and customers) was a guy called David Belasco. I searched through dozens of newspaper reports and discovered that he was quite a brutal character, arrested a number of times for running a disorderly house, at least once for attacking his wife, and on another occasion for murder.

The first page includes notes jotted down while I was searching papers and census records. The second page is based on rates payments made in Westminster over a period of thirty years, covering properties that Belasco paid the rates on. You can see Kate Hamiltons at 48 Leicester Square, and his other night-houses. 

Most of this information was edited out of the finished version of the essay on Anonyma that appeared in Forgotten Authors Volume 1. In fact, those two pages were boiled down to:
... the power behind the throne was David Belasco (1826-1902), who ran similar establishments in the Haymarket and White Hart Street for over three decades  and who had served time for wilful manslaughter.
I'm not saying that every sentence has a page and a half of notes behind it, but quite a few do. And it's that kind of burrowing down into the subject that sometimes turns up interesting details that might otherwise be missed. 

Getting back into the swing of writing and re-writing meant that my planned binge-watch of Altered Carbon didn't quite go to plan. I'm seven episodes in and I think it's an interesting take on the book. The writers have added some details that will pay off later, I suspect, but there's a lot of the book to go and only three episodes left. I'm also left with the quandary of whether Joel Kinnaman should continue to appear as the hero should the show run to another series. The central idea is that people can swap bodies and the body that looks like Joel Kinnaman belong to a former cop (Elias Ryker). In flashbacks we've met Takesh Kovacs in his original body, played by actor Will Yun Lee, so viewers will be used to the idea that Kovacs looks different at different times... but at the same time Kinnaman had been one of the reasons I've wanted to watch every episode and it will be a shame if he makes the show a success only to miss out on the benefits of a successful show.

(A small aside... I like to have a whole show ready and waiting before I start watching. I think that might be the collector in me, the one who prefers graphic novels so that I can read the beginning, middle and end without having to wait a month between issues. I'm the same with TV shows: I want them wrapped up by the end of the season. By all means leave a thread loose that can be central to whatever will happen next year, but wrap up the main storyline. It's so unsatisfying, waiting six months to a year to find out what's going on. This was a problem with another series that featured Joel Kinnaman: the American remake of The Killing. As we don't have Sky I rely on picking up box-sets of a lot of shows, and we watched the first series of The Killing with great anticipation as we'd loved the original Danish series. So to find that the season ended abruptly half-way through the storyline was a huge disappointment. Being a big consumer of box sets, I usually wait until I find them second hand... and I've never found season two. Yes, I know I can pick it up from Amazon, but that feels like cheating!)

Back to Volume 3. I've managed to knock out five essays and have another one almost completed. That brings the totalizer up to 145,589 words spread over 35 authors. Only another 15 to go before I hit the big Five-Oh!

Random scans for today are a handful of recently found books. The first I bought from Amazon for 25p plus postage... a book I've been after for some while and which has prompted me to finally start reading McDonald's River of Gods, which I've had on my "to read" pile for a few years. My New Year's Resolution was to read some thinner books and I guess Andy Weir's  Artemis was in the right ballpark at 300 pages. Altered Carbon, which I read before Christmas, was 470... now I'm reading a book that, at 580 pages, will probably take me until May to finish!

Anyway, the others I've picked up for free. There are a few drop-off points for free books around town, including a shelf at the railway station where I picked up Peter Ackroyd's Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, recently filmed with Bill Nighy; the other two were from down the pub which me and my mum visited on Tuesday for lunch. The first is one of the later Deathlands novels by James Axler (this one by Alan Philipson), while the other is a reprint of an early Dean Koontz novel that I used to have back in the Seventies, although this version has been revised (in 1997).


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