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Friday, April 06, 2018

Comic Cuts - 6 April 2018

The text for the third volume of Forgotten Authors is finished, checked, spell-checked, resized, indexed and (in the case of the e-book version) reformatted. Mind you, even though I've gone over it and over it, the odd little glitch will still exist to trip me. Why, for instance, would three out of 204 footnotes, change font size when I copied them from one document to another. I swear I did nothing different during the writing stage, but somehow they were different to the other 201 footnotes.

Hopefully that and a dozen other minor glitches are fixed now, but there's always a possibility that one or two will creep through into the finished book.

As I'm writing this (Thursday) I haven't quite finished the cover, but hopefully it will appear at the top of the column. It follows the same format as the earlier two volumes; I'm not sure yet whether volume 4 will use the same central image or whether I'll change it for the next volume.

Friday is, if all goes to plan, uploading day and the books – both print and 'e' – should be available by the weekend or early next week.

The book contains a dozen essays, although the first covers the history of two people whose businesses were intertwined. The essay is based on one of the first things I ever wrote about penny dreadfuls, fifteen or so years ago, and pulling the piece apart in order to concentrate on Edward Viles didn't make any sense. Think of it as an essay with a bonus forgotten publisher as well as the usual forgotten author.

George Hamilton Teed is one of my favourite two Sexton Blake writers – the other being Gwyn Evans, who was the subject of my book The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet, which was published six years ago. It was the notion of including Teed that led to a wholesale rethink of the contents of volume 3. For reasons you'll discover when you read the book, including Teed meant that I needed to include the very mysterious Michael Storm, the mysteries swirling around whom led to decades of speculation among Blake scholars. And to include one Michael Storm meant I had to include another Michael Storm because they were related.

By then I had a Michael Storm section in the book, so I decided to include Michael Storme (with an 'e') because some work by the second Michael Storm has been credited to Michael Storme in the past and I was able to prove that the credit was wrong while I was researching Storm 2.

As with all the volumes, a few of the authors originally appeared here on Bear Alley; another essay appeared as a chapbook back in 2001 and another appeared on a chat group in... 2001? 2003? A long time ago. But a lot of the material is brand new and, even where I've tackled an author in the past, the piece has been thoroughly overhauled and expanded.

Random scans this week are a quartet of books with the word Forgotten in the title. Being obvious isn't always a bad thing...

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