Saturday, June 30, 2018

Joseph Finnemore

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Joseph Finnemore was yet another artist who was equally at home painting in oils and watercolours as he was producing black and white halftone illustrations for books and periodicals. He was particularly known for his Boer War illustrations for The Sphere in 1900, and his illustrations for boys’ adventure and historical stories, which he produced from the late 1880s to the 1930s.

He was born on 8 January 1860 in the parish of St. George, Birmingham, the second son of William Richard Finnemore (1835-1891) and Charlotte Anne, née Munro (1836-1878). His siblings were William (born in 1857), John (1863), Mary Jane (1868), Robert (1870), and Ellen Kate (1875). (John Finnemore went on to have a career as both a schoolmaster and author, writing many boys’ stories including the Teddy Lester series of school stories. Surprisingly, perhaps, Joseph only illustrated one of his books, A Captive of the Corsairs, published in 1906).

The Finnemore family was closely tied to Birmingham, with William Richard Finnemore being a steel pen forming tool maker, and was presumably a member of the Finnemore family associated with the pen manufacturers Baker & Finnemore, established in 1850. In the 1861 census, the family was living at 275 New John Street West, Birmingham; ten years later they were at 3 Bright Place, Birmingham; and in 1881 at 95 Wills Street, Aston, Birmingham.

Most of the existing brief biographies of Finnemore quote from his newspaper obituaries (e.g. The Times, 22 December 1939), and state that he studied at the Birmingham School of Art and then in Antwerp under Charles Verlat, returning to England in 1881 and then undertaking a painting tour of Europe and the Near East, before settling in London in 1884. In fact, it seems to have been more complicated than that. It is known that he was at the Birmingham School of Art in 1878 and 1879 – in 1878 he passed 2nd grade exams in drawing, modeling, geometry and perspective, and in 1879 he was graded as “good” in an advanced art exam that required a still life painting. He may then have travelled to Antwerp, although exactly when is not clear – in the 1881 census he was recorded as an artist in oil paints, living with his widowed father and his siblings – but it is known that he was back at the Birmingham School of Art in 1883, when he was awarded several prizes for work in chalk, oils and watercolours, and in 1884 when he was a prize-winner in the National Art Competition. It is also said that, in the early 1880s, he undertook a painting tour of Europe, taking in Malta, Greece, Turkey, South Russia (where he was awarded a medal for portrait painting at the Triennial Exhibition on Odessa) and Bessarabia (now part of Moldovia and Ukraine). It may therefore have been the case that he took a break from studying in Birmingham to study in Antwerp and then took his painting tour.

It is also known that he was in Birmingham in 1887, when he married Emily Louisa Ankers, a dressmaker born in Birmingham in 1859 and the daughter of John Ankers, a gold chain maker. They went on to have four children: Ethelwyn (born on 22 June 1889), Hilda (born on 8 July 1891), Gordon Frank (1894), and Elaine (1902).

At the time of the 1891 census Joseph was recorded at 16 Nassington Road, Hampstead, with a domestic servant and a nurse, while his wife, with her daughter Ethelwyn, was visiting her sister in Colwyn Bay.

Joseph’s career as an illustrator appears to have begun in 1884, whilst he was still an art student, when he illustrated a serial (“Ivan Dobroff” by J.F. Hodgetts) in The Boy’s Own Paper. (He went on to illustrate several more serials, plus numerous short stories, for The B.O.P. up until around 1921). In 1885, he began working for The Graphic, and he also contributed to The Art Student: An Illustrated Magazine conducted by Members of the Birmingham School, of Art. He went on to work for a number of other periodicals in the 1880s and 1890s, including Cassell’s Saturday Journal, Atalanta, Little Folks, The Girl’s Own Paper, The English Illustrated Magazine, Sunday Reading for the Young, The Magazine of Art, The Strand Magazine, Black and White, Cassell’s Magazine, Chums, The Woman at Home, The Ludgate Monthly, The Wide World Magazine, The Captain, The London Magazine, The Harmsworth Magazine and Good Words.

His earliest book illustrations appeared in 1886, in three books published by Hodder & Stoughton. He went on to illustrate books, mainly children’s historical, adventure and school stories, for publishers such as Griffith & Farran, Cassell & Co., Raphael Tuck & Sons, Blackie & Son (including the first edition of G.A. Henty’s When London Burned in 1895), Ernest Nister, W. & R. Chambers, Collins, Andrew Melrose, George Newnes (for whom he provided 100 illustrations for an edition of The Swiss Family Robinson re-written by E.A. Brayley Hodgetts in 1897), Thomas Nelson & Sons, and, perhaps most importantly, the Religious Tract Society, for whom he worked until around 1930. In particular, he provided illustrations for several of Talbot Baines Reed’s novels.

Amongst other authors whose books he illustrated were H.C. Adams, Gordon Stables, Tom Bevan, W.H.G. Kingston and Ernest Protheroe. In their Dictionary of British Book Illustrators: The Twentieth Century, Brigid Peppin and Lucy Micklethwait noted that “His illustrations, in pen and ink, halftone, and, less often, in full colour, are reasonably competent and in many ways typify the ‘action pictures’ of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.” He sometimes signed his work “JF”.

As an artist, in oils and watercolours, he was highly-regarded. He appears to have first exhibited in Leamington in May 1882, and he went on to exhibit widely throughout the country, up until 1934, including at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1891, 1894, 1898, 1899 and 1901. He was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, the Society of Illustrators, the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, and the Royal Cambrian Society of Art.

In the early 1890s he designed Christmas cards for Hildesheimer & Faulkner, and went on to design Christmas cards and postcards for Raphael Tuck in the early 1900s, including cards printed for the Royal Family, and later for Gale & Polden.

In 1898 Finnemore was recorded as living at 76 Cecile Park, Crouch End, London, and three years later he and his family were at “Elmstone”, 23 Green Lane, Ruislip, where they were able to employ a housemaid and cook. He continued to work for various periodicals, including The Windsor Magazine, The Leisure Hour, Sunday at Home, Young England and The Quiver. He also contributed to several part-works, such as Cassell’s Battles of the Nineteenth Century and History of England, and George Newnes’s The Art Bible. In 1898 he provided seven illustrations for Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Story of the Black Doctor” in The Strand Magazine. His work also appeared in annuals such as Bright Eyes. Collins Adventure Annual and Collins Children’s Annual.

His work began to peter out in the 1920s. However, he was still exhibiting paintings as late as 1934, and in 1937 he designed a memorial window for the People’s Chapel in Great King Street, Birmingham, in memory of his brother William (who had died in 1935 after a long career in local politics) – they had both attended the Chapel’s Sunday School in the 1870s.

His wife died on 6 October 1930. In the 1939 Register (taken on 29 September) he was recorded at a nursing home (Carrick House, 67 Lansdowne Road) in Bournemouth. He died a few weeks later, on 18 December 1939, at his home in Green Lane, Ruislip, leaving an estate valued at £7,661 (around £450,000 in today’s terms). Probate was granted to his unmarried daughters Ethelwyn and Hilda, who had been working as an artist and author respectively and had been living with him at the time.

Amongst the books written by Hilda were Mountain Sides of Dreams (1914), Stories of Course (1921), A History of the Earth (1924), and Storm So Strenuous (1934). She also wrote short stories and newspaper features. She died on 25 October 1982, leaving an estate valued at £117,219 (around £327,000 in today’s terms). Ethelwyn, who had a minor career as a painter, presumably having been taught by her father, moved to Argyll in Scotland and changed her name to Ethelwyn Munro – she died in Birmingham on 23 January 1959. Finemore’s son Gordon became an assistant in the London County Council Architects Department, but died in 1912. His third daughter, Elaine (who, like her sisters, remained unmarried), died on 1 December 1985. It is not known how she had made a living, but her estate was valued at £204,247 (around £486,000 in today’s terms).

His brother John Finnemore became a schoolteacher, initially working in Birmingham and then, after his marriage to Eliza Emily Pearson (who went on to become a writer, of mainly religious works) moved to Suffolk. Within ten years they had moved to Blaenpennal, Wales, with John described as a schoolmaster and author. In the 1911 census the couple were living in Llanfarian, Wales. After publishing around 60 books, many of which were boys’ stories, he died, of heart failure, on 17 December 1915.


Books illustrated by Joseph Finnemore
Charlie Lucken at School and College by Rev. H.C. Adams, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886
A Christian Philanthropist of Dublin: A Memoir of Richard Allen by Hannah Maria Wigham, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886
On Special Service: A Tale of Life at Sea by Gordon Stables, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886
The White Man’s Foot by Grant Allen, Hatchards, 1888
The Traveller ed. by George Charles Haité, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1888
The Boy Hunters of Kentucky by Edward Sylvester Ellis, Cassell & Co., 1889
Red Feather: A Tale of the American Frontier by Edward Sylvester Ellis, Cassell & Co., 1889
The Last House in London by Crona Temple, Religious Tract Society, 1889
The Little Colonists, or King Penguin Island by Theo Gift, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1890
None but the Brave Deserves the Fair by E.M. Chettle, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1890
Longfellow Pictures, Ernest Nister, 1891 (with other artists)
Bert Lloyd’s Boyhood: A Story form Nova Scotia by J. Macdonald Oxley, Hodder & Stoughton, 1892
The Story of John G. Paton told for Young Folks, or Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals by James Paton, Hodder & Stoughton, 1892
In The Fifteen: A Tale of the First Jacobite Insurrection by H.C. Adams, Hodder & Stoughton, 1893
Just Like Jack: A Story of the Brine and the Breeze by Gordon Stables, Hodder & Stoughton, 1893
Gems from Scott’s Poems by Walter Scott, edited by Edric Walcott Vredenburg, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1893
A True Cornish Maid: A Story of the Last Century by George Norway, Blackie & Son, 1894
Fergus M’Tavish by J. Macdonald Oxley, Hodder & Stoughton, 1894
A Dozen All Told, being a set of twelve stories by various authors, Blackie & Son, 1894 (with other artists)
When London Burned: A Story of Restoration Times and the Great Fire by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1895
The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare, edited by Edric Vredenburg, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1895 (with Frank. L. Emanuel)
The Strange and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Mariner by Daniel Defoe, Ernest Nister, 1895 (re-issue)
At War with Pontiac, or The Totem of the Bear by Kirk Monroe, Blackie & Son, 1895
Don: A Novel by Evelyn Whitaker, W. & R. Chambers, 1895
The Girl at the Dower House and Afterward by Agnes Giberne, W. & R. Chambers, 1896
Abigail Templeton, or Brave Efforts: A Story of Today by Emma Marshall, W. & R. Chambers, 1896
Philippa by Mrs Molesworth, W. & R. Chambers, 1896
Roland Yorke by Mrs Henry Wood, Collins, 1896 (re-issue)
The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Ernest Nister, 1896 (along with Archibald Webb& G.D. Thompson) (re-issue)
The Boys of Huntingley: A School Story by K.M. & R. Eady, Andrew Melrose, 1897
In Strange Quarters: A Story of Constantinople by Edwin Hodder, Hodder & Stoughton, 1897
In The Fort by Sarah Tytler, Hodder & Stoughton, 1897 (re-issue)
The Swiss Family Robinson: A New Version by E.A. Brayley Hodgetts, George Newnes, 1897
O’er Tartar Deserts, or English and Russian in Central Asia by David Ker, W. & R. Chambers, 1898
“Sister”, A Tale by Evelyn Everett Green, T. Nelson & Sons, 1898
Brave Deeds of Youthful Heroes by various authors, Religious Tract Society, 1898 (with other artists)
Yule Logs by various authors, Longmans, Green & Co., 1898 (with other artists)
A Good-hearted Girl, or A Present-day Heroine by Emma Marshall, W. & R. Chambers, 1899
Yule-Tide Yarns by various authors, Longmans, Green & Co., 1899 (with other artists)
Boy Crusoes: A Story of the Siberian Forest adapted from the Russian by Léon Golsghmann, Blackie & Son, 1900
Kidnapped by Cannibals by Gordon Stables, Blackie & Son, 1900
The Fight for the Flag in South Africa: A History of the War from the Boer Ultimatum to the Advance by Lord Roberts by Edgar Sanderson, Hutchinson & Co., 1900
The Unjust Steward, or The Minister’s Debt by Mrs Oliphant, W. & R. Chambers, 1900
Old St. Paul’s: A tale of the Plague and the Fire by W. Harrison Ainsworth, Collins, 1900(?) (re-issue)
In Far Bolivia: A Story of a Strange Wild Land by Gordon Stables, Blackie & Son, 1901
With Wellington to Waterloo by Harold Avery, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1901
A Race with the Sun by L.T. Meade & Clifford Halifax, Ward, Lock & Co., 1901
Sunny Days for Boys and Girls by various authors, Miles & Miles, 1901 (with other artists)
In Quest of the Giant Sloth: A Tale of Adventure in South America by Gordon Stables, Blackie & Son, 1902
Kormack the Viking by J. Frederick Hodgetts, Religious Tract Society, 1902
Half-Hours with Great Authors: Scott, Raphael Ruck & Sons, 1902
Follow the Gleam: A Tale of the Time of Oliver Cromwell by Joseph Hocking, Hodder & Stoughton, 1903
Clive Forrester’s Gold by Charles Richard Kenyon, Religious Tract Society, 1904
Tamate: The Life and Adventures of a Christian Hero by Richard Lovett, Religious Tract Society, 1904
A Hero in Wolf-skin: A Story of Pagan and Christian by Tom Bevan, Religious Tract Society, 1904
The Slave in History: His Sorrows and His Emancipation by William Stevens, Religious Tract Society, 1904
Deals by Barry Pain, Hodder & Stoughton, 1904
Hendricks the Hunter, or The Border Farm: A Tale of Zululand by W.H.G. Kingston, Hodder & Stoughton, 1904 (re-issue)
The Heir of Bragwell Hall by Alfred Beer, Religious Tract Society, 1904
Roger Ingleton, Minor by Talbot Baines Reed, Religious Tract Society, 1904, (re-issue)
The Deceiver by Leslie Keith, Religious Tract Society, 1905
A Trooper of the Finns: A Tale of the Thirty Years’ War by Tom Bevan, Religious Tract Society, 1905
Remarkable Adventures from Real Life by various authors, Religious Tract Society, 1905
The Ambitions of Jenny Ingram: A True Story of Modern Life by Flora Klickmann, Religious Tract Society, 1905
Gwendoline by Agnes Giberne, Religious Tract Society, 1905 (re-issue)
Bishop Hannington: The Life and Adventures of a Missionary Hero by W. Gronton Berry, Religious Tract Society, 1906
A Captive of the Corsairs by John Finnemore, T. Nelson & Sons, 1906
The Bottom of the Bread Pan by Eleanora Stooke, Religious Tract Society, 1906
The Boy Settler, or The Adventures of Sydney Bartlett by H.C. Storer, Religious Tract Society, 1907
The Settlers of Karossa Creek and Other Stories of Australian Bush Life by Louis Becke, Religious Tract Society, 1907
In The Wilds of Florida: A Tale of Warfare and Hunting by W.H.G. Kingston, T. Nelson & Sons, 1907 (re-issue) (with W.S. Stacey)
St. Merville’s Scholarship Boys by Ernest Protheroe, Religious Tract Society, 1908
The Romance of Savage Life by G.F.S. Elliott, Seeley & Co., 1908 (with other artists)
The Highway of Sorrow: A Story of Modern Russia by Hesba Stretton, Religious Tract Society, 1908 (re-issue)
The Cruise of the Golden Fleece: A Story of Adventure in the Days of Philip and Mary by Sardius Hancock, Religious Tract Society, 1909
Swift and Sure: The Story of a Hydroplane by Herbert Strang, Hodder & Stoughton, 1909
For Queen and Emperor: A Story of Valour and Adventure by Ernest Protheroe, Religious Tract Society, 1909
Adventure Stories: Stirring Tales of Daring Deeds on Land and Sea by various authors, Religious Tract Society, 1909
Taken by Storm, or An Old Soldier’s Embarrassments by E.A.B.D, Religious Tract Society, 1909
Nobby’s Luck: A Story of School and After by Ernest Protheroe, Cassell & Co., 1910
A Northumbrian in Arms by George G. Surrey, Henry Frowde, 1910
The Shadow by Edward Harold Begbie, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Hector and Achilles: A Story of Troy by Richard Sheepshanks, William Blackwood & Sons, 1910
From Cadet to Captain by Col. J.P., Groves, Hodder & Stoughton, 1910 (re-issue)
The Belton Scholarship by Bernard Heldmann, Hodder & Stoughton 1910 (re-issue)
Meltonians All! By F. Cowley Whitehouse, Religious Tract Society, 1911
Sinclair of the Scouts, or With Bayonet and Barricade in West Africa by J. Claverdoon Wood, Religious Tract Society, 1911
The Story of Belinda by Frances Toft, Religious Tract Society, 1911
Gallant Sir John by Sardius Hancock, Religious Tract Society, 1912
Kitty O’Donovan: A School Story by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1912
A Fight for a Life: The Story of a West African Convert and His Friends by Frances Mary Hensley, Church Missionary Society, 1913
The Battle by the Lake by Dora Bee, Religious Tract Society, 1913
Three Men on a Chinese Houseboat: The Story of a River Voyage by William Munn, Church Missionary Society, 1913
The Heroes of Castle Bretten by Margaret S. Comrie, Religious Tract Society, 1914
Children’s Stories from English History edited by Edric Vredenburg, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1914 (with other artists)
The Animals’ Circus, Gale & Polden, 1915
Irene’s Lame Dogs by Evelyn R. Garratt, Religious Tract Society, 1916
The Book of Pirates by Henry Gilbert, George G. Harrap & Co., 1916
Boycotted, and Other Stories by Talbot Baines Reed, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1917
Doughty Deeds: Stories of Chivalry by Hammond Hall, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1917
Kingston’s Revenge: A Story of Bravery by Elizabeth Hely Walshe, Religious Tract Society, 1917
Stories of Royal Children from British History by Doris Ashley & others, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1917 (with other artists)
Doctor Ogilvie’s Guest by Florence Bone, Religious Tract Society, 1918
Winifred Walton by Ella Stone, Religious Tract Society, 1919
Strange Diana by O.F. Walton, Religious Tract Society, 1919
The Golden City by Minnie Harding Kelly, Religious Tract Society, 1920
Lighted Candles, or The Girls of Barden School by Frances Stratton, Religious Tract Society, 1921
Chats Over a Pipe: A Tale of Two Brothers by James Glass, Simpkins, Marshall & Co., 1922
The Earl’s White Cross: A Tale of the Time of Henry III by David Ker, W. & R. Chambers, 1924
Refining Fires by Jeanie Ferry, Religious Tract Society, 1924
Wedded in Prison, and Other Quaker Stories by Maude Robinson, Swarthmore Press, 1925
Edith Lockhart, Third Form Girl by Edith L. Elias, Religious Tract Society, 1925
Sulgrave Manor: A Book of Sketches, Sulgrave Institute, 1925
Hutchinson’s Picturesque Europe, Hutchinson & Co., 1925 (with other artists)
Sir Knight of the Splendid Way by W.E, Cule, Religious Tract Society, 1926
Twenty-six Good Stories for Girls by various authors, The “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1926 (with other artists)
L.B.W.: A Prep School Story by R.L. Bellamy, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1929
The Children’s Wonder Book by various authors, Collins, 1933 (with other artists)
The Luck of the “Stedfast”: Being the Adventures of Three Comrades of the Boys’ Brigade in Search of Hidden Treasure by Herbert Reid, Collins, 1934
One Tree Island: The Strange Story of the Lost Treasure of the Whit Hut by Herbert Reid, Collins, 1935

Re-issues of Talbot Baines Reed’s boys’ schools stories, published by the Religious Tract Society – dates uncertain (circa 1913):
The Adventures of a Three Guinea Watch
Tom, Dick and Harry
The Master of the Shell
The Fifth Form at St. Dominic’s
The Cock-House at Fellsgarth
My Friend Smith

Other titles – dates not known:
Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley, Religious Tract Society (re-issue)
The Browning Birthday Book, Raphael Tuck & Sons
The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, Collins, (re-issue)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Comic Cuts - 29 June 2018

I glanced down and glanced up again just now and somehow it's the end of June. How can we be half-way through the year already? It's now officially summer, and we have a couple of tomato plants that are starting to show signs of growth. We have another cucumber plant which will hopefully do as well as, if not better than, last year.

The lack of rain is worrying as we have a couple of near-empty water butts. When the roof was done, the guy doing it fixed the guttering and put in a small connector from the down-pipe to the larger of the two water butts. However, when I came to check them a couple of weeks ago, they were empty. The water wasn't flowing through the connector pipe.

The solution was to block the down-pipe and let the water-butt fill, cleaning out the pipe regularly of any mud and twigs that are washed off the roof and into the gutter and into the pipe. It has worked OK. Not perfect, but we filled most of one water-butt. The second, which is connected and sits lower than the first, hasn't filled – I had to do that manually using the watering can.

A week without rain has all but (or should that be butt?) left us high and dry and there's no sign of any break in the hot weather. The report this morning said that we shouldn't expect any rain at all for at least a week.

Meanwhile, in the rest of my life unconnected with water butts, we had a massively frustrating Sunday thanks to out internet connection crashing every 15 minutes. I think they're upgrading the system somehow (according to a guy in a high-vis jacket who was fiddling with the wiring at the telephone exchange cabinet down the road), although it's unlikely that the bit of wet string that delivers calls over the last twenty feet between telephone pole and the house will be replaced.

We also rewatched Twister over the weekend. Following a passing mention on Friday of how good the soundtrack was, I stumbled across a BluRay copy of the movie in town for £1. What a great film! I love it. You might be able to predict every turn the film will take from its opening scene, but it's still a ride worth taking; the characters are walking, talking cliches but, what the hell, they're a cheerful bunch that you wouldn't mind sharing a side of cow with. Even the effects hold up... not bad for a film that was on the cutting edge over twenty years ago.

They've never equaled it, even if the effects have grown bigger over the years. Into the Storm was a rip-off and Geostorm... well, that was just terrible! That only leaves Sharknado and I'd say Twister still wins on the merits of its special effects.

We finished Salamandar, the Belgian thriller that was on BBC4. There was not one sympathetic character in the whole thing, which  is not to say that it wasn't good (it was) but it might explain why we so enjoyed the sight of people having a good time in our movie choice this weekend. We've just started The Bridge... oh, boy... that's going to be a barrel of laughs. And we're still watching Westworld, which isn't what I'd call easy-going. Thankfully there's still Taskmaster and the return of The Last Leg, so you need not worry about putting us on suicide watch.

I heard mention of a programme about the New York Times called The Fourth Estate, which for us dumbass Brits has been retitled Reporting on Trump's First Year. It's a little more nuanced than that, but it does pretty much what it says on the tin, because Trump has been impossible to avoid since he announced he was standing way, way back in June 2015. I have to say I found it fascinating, to see how hard the staff worked to make sure that they were getting to the facts and trying not to let the accusations of "fake news" demoralize them. You can still catch the first episode on the iPlayer if you're in the UK.

I love a good newsroom movie, too, and there has been a couple of very good ones recently. Spotlight (2015) is based around the Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team and how they broke the news of widespread sexual abuse of children by priests, and The Post (2017) showed how persistence paid off for Washington Post journalists who wanted to publish what became known as the Pentagon Papers, classified documents about the Vietnam War. This is what led eventually to the events depicted in that classic of the newsroom genre, All the President's Men (1976) – the Watergate Scandal.

But my favourite newsroom movie is still The Day The Earth Caught Fire (1961), filmed in the offices of the Daily Express back in the days it was a newspaper and even featuring its former editor Arthur Christiansen. It has a compelling plot, a cast of interesting characters played by excellent actors and is pretty much everything in a good movie that today's blockbusters fail to achieve.

Which neatly brings us to today's random scans...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Commando 5135-5138

Brand new Commando issues are out today! Blend in with the night in a dark Spitfire, deploy depth-charges on hulking U-boats, charge to freedom in a Spanish battle bus, and prove yourself as a stretcher-bearer on the front line…

5135: The Dark Spitfire
A glint of moonlight off the wingtip was all you saw before the dark Spitfire claimed you. When silhouetted against the moon, it was as black as the night and completely without mercy. But the man who flew it was not British, nor did he fight for Britain — but for France and to avenge the family who had been taken from him.
    Perfectly encapsulating the mood of Iain McLaughlin’s atmospheric issue, Ian Kennedy’s cover highlights the solitude, mystery and ghostly nature of this rogue spitfire!

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Juame Forns
Cover: Ian Kennedy

5136: Atlantic Patrol
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was one of the greatest planes of the Second World War. It had a wingspan of 110 feet, a ceiling of 28,000 feet, packed ten machine guns and could carry 2,700 pound bombs. But Squadron Leader Walter Bennett missed his Anson and his old crew — all of whom were gunned down after an accident with an over-anxious Catalina…
    Ian Kennedy’s cover for ‘Atlantic Patrol’ is more experimental than usual, opting for bright colours and reflective metallics, making this an outstanding issue for any collector. That, paired with Brunt’s gritty story and Arias’s crisp interiors make ‘Atlantic Patrol’ worth any praise.

Story: Brunt
Art: Arias
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 485 (July 1970). Reprinted No. 1396 (March 1980).

5137: Next Stop… Freedom!
The fascist grip of Nazi power was seizing control in 1938 as the Condor Legion clawed at the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. That was why Aggregate rocket scientist, Professor Epstein, had to escape to France. The only problem was how he was going to get there… Luckily, the local militia were working on their own weapon to strike back against the Nationalists — an armoured battle bus!
    A classic Commando tale of fighting for freedom, Neil Roberts’ orange and yellow background on the cover is directly inspired by Ian Kennedy’s covers in the 1970s — just compare it to ‘Atlantic Patrol’.

Story: Richard Davis
Art: Morhain
Cover: Neil Roberts

5138: Under Fire!
Returning to his hometown in Nazi-occupied France, medical student, Jean Valdon, found that everything had changed. Jean and his father were hated, accused of being Nazi collaborators. Jean could just about bear it until the Allies liberated his town, and Jean’s father was murdered. Now forced to go on the run, Jean became a stretcher-bearer under a different name, desperate to prove himself and his family’s loyalty in the war.
    Similar to ‘The Dark Spitfire’, Ian Clark puts us right on the battle riddled streets of occupied France, as our hero is torn between his morals, duty, and family. This is not one to be missed!

Story: Ian Clark
Art: Olivera
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2752 (April 1994).

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Rebellion Releases - 27-28 June 2018

Rebellion releases for 27-28 June 2018.

2000AD Prog 2087
Cover: Brendan McCarthy
JUDGE DREDD: INTEGRATION by Rory McConville (w) Dave Taylor (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SKIP TRACER: HEAVY IS THE HEAD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)
THE ORDER: THE NEW WORLD by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
DURHAM RED: BORN BAD by Alec Worley (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Jinty: Land Of No Tears and The Human Zoo by Pat Mills, Malcolm Shaw & Guy Peeters
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08624-7, 28 June 2018, 144pp, £10.99. Available via Amazon.
Two spooky sci-fi classics from the best-selling girls' comic of the 1970s and '80s! 
LAND OF NO TEARS: Whilst undergoing surgery on her lame leg, Cassy Shaw is transported into a dystopian future in which people with genetic defects are regarded as second class citizens. Unable to accept such objectionable discrimination, Cassy attempts to rally her peers (the Gamma girls) into beating the Alpha girls in several sporting events. Can she win the Golden Girl award and prove herself an equal?
THE HUMAN ZOO: Twin sisters Shona and Jenny are kidnapped along with their classmates by a superior race of telepathic aliens. Brought back to the aliens’ home planet, Shona and some other human captives are kept in cages where they are treated and displayed like animals, while Jenny is sold to another owner. Will the twins ever be able to reunite and escape by to Earth?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Jinty: Land Of No Tears and The Human Zoo

It ran for almost 400 issues between 1974 and 1981, after which, Jinty suffered a  ("great news, girls!") merger, although after eight months of Tammy & Jinty, the front cover unceremoniously dropped "& Jinty" from the title. I believe only one serial (Pam of Pond Hill) lasted more than a couple of years in the combined paper.

In 2014, however, a website was launched to celebrate the comic. It attracted a great deal of attention as it revealed some of the wonderful, odd and downright bizarre tales that had appeared in the paper, which had a far higher proportion of science fiction and fantasy stories than any other girls' title of the era. Today it might be second only in interest to Misty amongst fans trying to track down issues.

So Rebellion's reprinting of two serials will be welcome. The book is the latest in Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics, which has already turned up some gems and I think these two tales can be counted among them.

According to its author Pat Mills, "Land Of No Tears" was inspired by his reading of religious primers, specifically the writings of St. Francis de Sales, who rejected emotion for spiritual advancement, describing tears and tenderness as "snares of the devil." An apt choice as Francis is the patron saint of writers and journalists, although the sentiment is odd for a man who was meant to be so gentle and patient.

In an opening that would almost certainly not be allowed nowadays, we find that Cassy Shaw, born with one leg shorter than the other, has used her very visible disability (she wears a surgical shoe and leg-brace) to excuse her laziness and to make herself the centre of attention. When her parents announce that she is to undergo an operation, Cassy is furious, but unable to persuade her parents or the hospital otherwise.

However, while she is under anaesthetic, Cassy appears to go into a coma. She awakens to find herself in the ruins of the hospital; a passing girl explains that hospitals – hives for the diseased and imperfect – are no more. Cassy's emotional response is immediately rebuked: "Such showing of emotion is strictly forbidden. If your hive mother was here, you would be severely punished," she is told.

The girl, Perfecta, apologizes for her own terrified outburst. Cassy later discovers that she has been projected into a future where children are separated from their parents at the age of four and raised by strict disciplinarian hive mothers. Cassy is classified as a Gamma due to her "grade one deformity" and treated as a slave, sharing a grim dormitory with other Gammas, who are treated like maids and cleaners by Alphas like Perfecta.

Cassy persuades the Gammas to train for the Golden Girl sports award to prove that they are the equals of the perfect Alphas.

Lost friendships and strained parental relationships were key to many of the girls' comic serials of the time, and Mills was one of a handful of writers who could bring together the right mix of social commentary dressed up as distopian science fiction – the utter lack of empathy for the disabled can be seen in the attitudes of the current government – and emotional interplay between characters.

Malcolm Shaw, whose name was known only to a few until a couple of years ago, has been a big part of recent Misty reprints, and he pops up again here with an animal rights tale in a whisper-thin disguise entitled "The Human Zoo."

On a trip to the zoo, Jenny Lewis mocks her twin sister, Shona, for caring too much about the animals. Later, the girls and their classmates are abducted by aliens and put aboard a spaceship alongside a variety of Earth animals before being launched on a nine month space journey.

Fitted with collars that deliver electric charges, the Earth creatures – zebras, camels, humans – are auctioned off to zoos on an alien planet with two suns.

Their new owner's child, Tamsha, seems to think the same way as Shona – that even zoo animals should be treated with dignity and respect. She takes Shona for a walk but when Shona writes her name, Tamsha thinks of her only as a special kind of pet with limited intelligence, the aliens having abandoned writing since they developed telepathy.

Shona is given to Tamsha for her birthday and is taken, as part of Tamsha's birthday treat, to the zoo, where her classmates and other humans are undergoing a humiliating "Chimp's tea party." Shona runs amok and is returned to the zoo cage, her owner planning to have her put down before she infects the rest of the herd.

Rather than being killed, she is sold to an alien circus where she is trained to do tricks. The aliens fear water, so Shona is dressed as one of them and topples into a tank, to be saved  by another creature that resembles a two-headed goat. Tamsha, angry that her pets have been sold to the circus and pitying their cruel lives, rescues them and drops them off at the edge of the city... where it looks like Shona will die in the wilderness.

Like Mills, Shaw balanced action, social commentary and emotion into a timeless story. I am prepared to be shot down here, but having the characters in school uniform means that the strips seem barely to have aged. Maybe the lack of outrageous hairstyles and individuality in clothing choices is what dates the strips. No matter... I'm sure these will be nostalgia buys for mums who remember Jinty from their girlhood.

There are still dozens of fascinating stories from the pages of Jinty that deserve to be rescued: The Robot Who Cried, Worlds Apart, The Forbidden Garden, Fran of the Floods and dozens of others. Who wouldn't want to read Blind Ballerina, Who's That In My Mirror or Merry of Misery House? Let's hope that Jinty gets the second volume that Misty recently had.

Jinty: Land Of No Tears and The Human Zoo by Pat Mills, Malcolm Shaw & Guy Peeters. Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08624-7, 28 June 2018, 144pp, £10.99. Available via Amazon.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A A Dixon

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

A.A. Dixon was a talented painter and illustrator who was at home in a variety of genres – he was particularly well-known as an painter of religious scenes, and he also illustrated a wide range of children’s books, including girls’ school and adventure stories and fairy stories, and he was in great demand as an illustrator of re-issues of “classic” novels.

He was born in St. Pancras, London, on 8 May 1872 and baptized, as Arthur Augustus Dixon, on 25 September 1872 at All Saints Church, St. Pancras. His father, Richard Dixon (1839-1887), was a grainer and marbler, originally from Darlington, Durham, who had moved to London in the 1860s and in 1869 married Rosa Sparrow (1840-1901), the daughter of Frederick Sparrow, a former painter and decorator who had become a private landlord. Arthur was the second of their four children, his siblings being Frederick Richard (born on 8 May 1870), Herbert Walter (31 October 1876), and Charles (19 May 1879).

At the time of the 1871 census, Richard, Rosa and their first child were living at 5 Huntly Street, St. Pancras, where they lived until around 1878, when they moved to 46 Huntly Street. By the time of Richard’s death, on 15 September 1887, the family had moved to 72 Islip Street, Kentish Town. Rosa and her sons subsequently moved to 26 Arthur Road, Highbury – at the time of the 1891 census, Frederick was working as grainer and marbler, and Herbert was working as a commercial clerk. Arthur Augustus was recorded as an illustrator and artist, although he was, at that time, studying at Camden School of Art. In 1893, he was awarded a local scholarship, which enabled him to spend three years at almost any other art school, although whether or not he took this up, and if so where he studied, is not known.

He was, however, developing into a skilled painter, and went on to exhibit at the Royal Academy of Art in 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900 and 1909. He also exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists, and was a member of the Camden Arts Club.

By 1897, the Dixon family had moved to 4 Gatcombe Road, Islington. Two years later, Arthur Augustus married Cecil Elsie Sowerby in Steyning, Sussex – she was the daughter of Charles James Sowerby, a bank clerk, and had been baptized at on 9 June 1867 at St. Mary’s Church, Barnes, Surrey. She was herself an artist and sculptor (1891 census). They went on to have two children: Elsie, born on 21 May 1900, and Arthur Cecil, born on 10 April 1902.

Dixon’s career as an illustrator appears to have begun in 1899, when, amongst one or two other books, he illustrated an edition of a Charles Dickens story, The Holly Tree, for Ernest Nister. Over the following ten years he went on to illustrate around 20 books for the firm, while also working for other publishers, in particular Raphael Tuck & Sons, for whom he illustrated a number of books including tales re-written from Shakespeare, Longfellow and Tennyson, and fairy stories. One of his best-known works from this time was for L.L. Weedon’s Child Characters from Dickens (Ernest Nister, 1905), for which he provided 6 colour plates and 70 halftone illustrations.

He also began working for Blackie & Son, for whom he went on to illustrate several girls’ stories, including four of Angela Brazil girls’ school stories, and two by Elsie J. Oxenham.  He also illustrated an edition of Tom Brown’s Schooldays for James Nisbet & Co. in 1903.

He continued to work with Blackie & Son until the mid-1950s, illustrating a variety of books including several volumes of religious works written by Theodora Wilson Wilson, a noted pacifist and Quaker. Throughout his career, he was used by Collins to illustrate re-issues of classic novels by authors such as Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, W.M. Thackeray, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. He also provided illustrations for several volumes of poetry, including collections by Matthew Arnold, John Keats and Lord Tennyson. (These were all issued in Collins’s Illustrated Pocket Classics series, which was launched in 1903, and were generally undated). He also designed illustrated endpapers for many Collins books. He also illustrated re-issues of classic novels for Blackie & Son, Nister, Anthony Treherne, and the Oxford University Press.

He appears to have done very little work for periodicals, with only a handful of illustrations for Pearson’s Magazine and The Sunday at Home identified. His work also occasionally appeared in annuals such as Collins’ Children’s Annual, The Schoolgirls’ Bumper Book, and Father Tuck’s Annual.

In 1909, one of his paintings. “The Sleeping Minstrel”, was issued as a print (and as a postcard) by Bovril Ltd., and given away in return for coupons from Bovril products. The same happened with another picture in 1912. By this time, Dixon had been exhibiting throughout the country, and this, coupled with his work as a book illustrator, meant that his name was familiar to many people.

By 1903 he had moved to Sussex, to The Firs, Shipley, near Petworth (where his son Arthur was born). By 1911, he had moved again, to The Briars, Shooters Way, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. At the time of the 1939 Register, he was living at 22 Greenway, Berkhamtsed, still working as an artist and book illustrator, although his output had radically declined. His wife died at 254 High Street, Berkhamsted (although her home address was given as 22 Greenway) on 22 September 1955.  Arthur Augustus Dixon died on 30 May 1959 at 22 Greenway, leaving an estate valued at just over £5,173 (around £104,000 in today’s terms). Probate was granted to his son, Arthur Cecil, a veterinary surgeon.

As an illustrator, his work was perhaps best summed-up in Brigid Peppin and Lucy Micklethait’s Dictionary of British Book Illustrators of the Twentieth Century: “His book illustrations, mainly in full colour or half tone, were conventional and prosaic with sentimental overtones, but generally competent.”


Books illustrated by A.A. Dixon
The Holly Tree by Charles Dickens, Ernest Nister, 1899
Cross Purposes; or, The Deanes of Dean's Croft by Emma Marshall, Griffith, Farran, Browne & Co., 1899
Three Little Spades by Anna Bartlett Warner, James Nisbet & Col., 1899(?) (re-issue)
A Big Temptation by L.T. Meade (and other authors), Ernest Nister, 1900
Bruno and Bimba: The Story of Some Little People by Evelyn Everett-Green, Ernest Nister, 1900
To Pay the Price by Silas Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
The King’s Butterfly by Evelyn Everett-Green, Ernest Nister, 1900
Sunny Tales by Nora Hopper and other authors, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1901(?) (with other artists)
Guardian Angels: Poems and Stories by Nora Hopper, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1901 (with other artists)
A Princess’s Token by Evelyn Everett-Green, Ernest Nister, 1902
To the Rescue: A Tale of a London ‘Prentice Boy by Evelyn Everett-Green, Ernest Nister, 1902
Country Sketches from “Our Village” by Mary Russell Mitford, Blackie & Son, 1902
My Lady Joanna by Evelyn Everett-Green, James Nisbet & Co., 1902
The Secret of the Everglades: A Story of Adventure in Florida by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1903
The Mystery of the Pine Wood, and The Hollow Tree House by L. Molesworth, Ernest Nister, 1903
The Witch Maid by L.T. Meade, James Nisbet & Co., 1903
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by An Old Boy (Thomas Hughes), James Nisbet & Co., 1903 (b & w frontis. & 2 b & w plates – a later edition had a colour frontis. & 3 col. Plates, and later editions had just a colour frontis.) (re-issues)
Child Characters from Dickens retold by L.L. Weedon, Ernest Nister, 1905
Ivanhoe: A Romance by Sir Walter Scott, Anthony Treherne & Co., 1905 (re-issue)
Christmas at Bracebridge Hall by Washington Irving, Ernest Nister, 1905 (re-issue)
Cranford by Mrs Gaskell, Blackie & Son, 1905 (re-issue)
Little Lady Val by Evelyn Everett-Green, Ernest Nister, 1905
The Swiss Family Robinson by J. Wyss (trans. By M. Wiss), Blackie & Son, 1905 (re-issue)
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Blackie & Son, 1905 (re-issue)
Mistress Matchett’s Mistake by Emma Marshall, James Nisbet & Co., 1905 (re-issue)
Cranford by Mrs Gaskell, Blackie & Son, 1905 (re-issue)
The Courtship of Miles Standish by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ernest Nister, 1906 (re-issue)
Grandmother and Christmas Eve by Mary D. Brine, Ernest Nister, 1906 (re-issue)
Songs of Faith and Hope, Ernest Nister, 1906 (with other artists)
A Daughter of the Ranges: A Story of Western Canada by Bessie Marchant, Blackie & Son, 1906
The Gold of Chickare by Susan Warner, James Nisbet & Co., 1906(?)
Brightest and Best: Lights for Little Lives by Mrs H.A. Farley, Collins, 1906
In a Land of Beasts by Evelyn Everett-Green, Collins, 1906
Mother’s Little Man by Mary D. Brine, Ernest Nister, 1906(?)
The Fortunes of Philippa by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1907
The Boy Hero of Erin: The Story of Cuchulainn and the Champion of the Red Branch of Ulster retold by Charles Squire, Blackie & Son, 1907
Takes of a Fairy Court by Andrew Lang, Collins, 1907
Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ernest Nister, 1907 (re-issue)
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens, Oxford University Press, 1907 (re-issue)
Pamela’s Hero: A Tale of the Gordon Riots by Pamela Moore, Blackie & Son, 1908
The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley, Ernest Nister, 1908
Faith Gartney’s Girlhood by Mrs A.D.T. Whitney, Blackie & Son, 1908 (re-issue)
Fairy Tales by Edouard Laboulaye, Ernest Nister, 1909
Good Comrades: A Story of a Little German Boy and His Dog by M.S.S., Blackie & Son, 1909
The Third Class at Miss Kaye’s by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1909
The Red Cap of Liberty by L.T. Meade, James Nisbet & Co., 1909
The Nicest Girl in the School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1910
Fairy Tales by Wilhelm Hauff, trans. by L.L. Weedon, Ernest Nister, 1910
The King’s Lige: A Story of the Days of Charles I by H.A. Hinkson, Blackie & Son, 1910
Tales from the Arabian Knights, Children’s Press, 1910(?) (with other artists) (re-issue)
The All Fairy Book, Collins, 1910(?) (with other artists)
The Manor House School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1911
The Red Knight: A Tale of the Days of King Edward III by G.I. Witham, Blackie & Son, 1911
The House of the Five Poplars by Lucy Crump, Blackie & Son, 1911
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam trans. by Edward Fitzgerald, Cassell & Co., 1911
A Search for a Secret by G.A. Henty, Gall & Inglis, 1911 (re-issue)
Betty’s Next Term by Lilian F. Wevill, Blackie & Son, 1912
Terry the Girl Guide by Dorothea Moore, James Nisbet & Co., 1912
The Sultan: A Romance of the Harem of Abdul Hamid by Djelal Noury Bey, Cassell & Co., 1912
The Basket of Flowers: A Tale for the Young by Christoph von Schmid, Blackie & Son, 1912(?)
Shakespeare Stories for Children by E. Nesbit, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1912(?) (with other artists)
Children’s Stories from Longfellow by Doris Ashley, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1914 (with other artists)
Children’s Stories from Tennyson by Nora Chesson, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1914 (with other artists)
Granny’s Wonderful Chair by Frances Browne, Blackie & Son, 1914 (re-issue)
Schoolgirls and Scouts by Elsie J. Oxenham, Collins, 1914
Stories from the Bible by T.W. Wilson, Blackie & Son, 1914
Fairy Fancies, Collins, 1914(?)
When Aunt Lil Took Charge by May Wynne, Blackie & Son, 1915
Tony’s Chums: A Tale of a Summer Holiday by May Wynne, Blackie & Son, 1915
The Saviour of the World by Theodora Wilson Wilson, Blackie & Son, 1915
Tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by Doris Ashley, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1915(?)
Great men and Women of the Bible by Theodora Wilson Wilson, Blackie & Son, 1915(?)
A Book of Miracles by Theodora Wilson Wilson, Blackie Son, 1915(?)
The Boyhood of Jesus by Theodora Wilson Wilson, Blackie & Son, 1915(?)
Things will take a Turn by Beatrice Harraden, Blackie & Son, 1915 (with J.H. Bacon) (re-issue)
My Fairy Tale Book, Blackie & Son, 1916
The Precious Gift: Bible Stories for Children by Theodora Wilson Wilson, Blackie & Co., 1916
Rulers of the Bible: Scripture Stories for Children by Theodora Wilson Wilson, Blackie & Son, 1916
Children's Stories from Russian Fairy Tales and Legends trans. and adapted by Seraphima Pulma, Raphael Tuck &Sons, 1917
The Children’s Jesus by E.B. Trist, S.P.C.K., 1919
The Abbey Girls by Elsie J. Oxenham, Collins, 1920
The Heroes, or Greek Fairy Tales for Children by Charles Kingsley, Blackie & Son, 1920
The Child’s Life of Christ by H.R. Haweis, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1921
Moses and the Promised Land: Scripture Stories for Children by Theodora Wilson Wilson, Blackie & Son, 1922(?)
A Baby’s Life of Jesus Christ by Mary F. Rolt, S.P.C.K., 1923
Fairy Tales for the Schoolroom, Gresham Publishing Co., 1923 (with other artists)
The Candle of the North; Stories from the Venerable Bede by C.M.D. Jones, A.R. Mowbray & Co., 1924
Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1924 (with H.M. Brock)
The Happy Story Book, Blackie & Son, 1925 (with other artists)
The Story of the Golden Fleece by M.W. Jennings, Blackie & Son, 1928
Two Little Gardeners edited by Mrs Herbert Strang, Oxford University Press, 1929
Tales from History by N. Niemeyer, Collins, 1932
That Aggravating Schoolgirl by Grace Stebbing, James Nisbet & Co., 1930 (re-issue)
The Little Ones’ Lord, S.P.C.K., 1943
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by An Old Boy (Thomas Hughes), J.W. Butcher, (?) (col. fronts. from Nisbet editions)
Pictures from the Old Testament, Blackie & Son, 1953
Pictures from the New Testament, Blackie & Son, 1954

Re-issues of classic novels by Collins – dates sometimes uncertain or unknown
The Professor at the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1905(?)
Henry Esmond by W.M. Thackeray, 1905
A Noble Life by Mrs Craik, 1905(?)
North and South by Mrs Gaskell, 1905(?)
Hard Cash by Charles Reade 1905(?)
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1905(?)
Stories and Sketches by Charles Dickens, 1905(?)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, 1906
Reprinted Pieces by Charles Dickens, 1906
American Notes by Charles Dickens, 1906(?)
Christmas Books by Charles Dickens, 1907
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1907
The Last Days of Pompeii by Lord Lytton, 1908
Middlemarch by George Eliot, 1908
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, 1908
The Heir of Redclyffe by Charlotte M. Yonge, 1908(?)
The Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold, 1908(?)
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, 1910(?)
The Poetical Works of John Keats, 1910(?)
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas, 1910(?)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, 1910(?)
Hereward the Wake by Charles Kingsley, 1910(?)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, 1910(?)
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, 1910(?)
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, 1910(?)
Mona Maclean, Medical Student by Graham Travers, 1910
Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo, 1910
The Uncommercial Traveller by Charles Dickens, 1914
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Collins, 1915(?)
Roundabout Papers by W.M. Thackeray, 1918(?)
John Halifax, Gentleman by Mrs Craik, 1920(?)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, 1920(?)
Ungava: A Tale of Esquimaux Land by R.M. Ballantyne, 1920(?)
Poetic Gems by Matthew Arnold
The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations: A Family Cronicle by Charlotte M. Yonge
Gems from Tennyson by Alfred Tennyson

Friday, June 22, 2018

Comic Cuts - 22 June 2018

This will probably be on the short side as I've spent some of the time I would normally spend writing this putting together an obituary for Jim Hansen, who died on Tuesday. Knowing very little about him, it took rather longer than I intended; at the same time it wasn't as comprehensive as I would have hoped, but that's often the way. Scroll down to see it if you haven't already.

I've almost completed the latest essay in the Forgotten Authors series, revisiting a piece I wrote in 2008 when nobody had heard of James Redding Ware. I commented at the time that he was likely to be remembered for only one of his books and I'm amazed to say that interest in him rose  exponentially in the next few years thanks to a mention in Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, an essay in the Times Literary Supplement by Judith Flanders, and reprints of two of his books in 2012 and 2013.

Thanks, too, to the increasing number of Victorian newspapers that have been digitized, I've also managed to track down far more detail about his other books and plays, firmed up information about his family tree and discovered a curious report about him being jailed at the age of 16. I'm still finishing the last bits, and then will be taking a look at finalising the contents of what will be the fourth Forgotten Authors volume.

The Ken Reid Power Pack reprint has achieved its goal of raising $10,000 through the IndieGoGo campaign I've been talking about these past couple of weeks. Hopefully that means the August deadline for publication can now be met. I'm really looking forward to seeing the books. Yes, I wrote an introduction to one of the volumes, so I recently had to re-read Frankiestein and Jasper the Grasper, but that doesn't mean I won't enjoy re-reading them again (and again).

There hasn't been time for much else. The weather has been so muggy, I haven't been able to sleep; instead, I have been listening to an old adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy. Listening to the history of the Galactic Empire I was struck by how close it resembles what is happening in the world nowadays. Hari Seldon's discovery of Psychohistory – mathematical formulae that can predict the future course of the Galactic Empire &ndashl is effectively the same thing as what many companies are doing now... collecting thousands of data points on billions of people in order to understand and predict how they will act and react. Not as individuals necessarily but as a group. Target a million people and hope to influence even 5% of them and you can swing an election.

Hari Seldon predicts a series of crises (known as Seldon Crises) which are inevitable due to the nature of humanity; on a smaller scale, it should have been obvious to anyone that the banking crisis of 2008 was inevitable and predictable.

In Foundation and Empire, the second novel in the series, a mutant called The Mule appears, an unpredictable event unforeseen by Seldon. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Donald Trump. Where's that Second Foundation when you need it to save the world?

We've just finished The Gifted, a Fox TV X-Men spin-off that appeared in 2017-18. While the series developed quite nicely over its 13 episodes, there were moments where you just wanted to shout at the characters (which we do, sometimes). A character might turn angrily on another and say "You don't lie to people who are your family," conveniently forgetting that, a couple of episodes earlier, they were on the receiving end of precisely the same complaint, at which time "We did it [lied] for your protection." So... is it OK to lie or not?

Still, it was better than The Inhumans and we've still got Legion season 2 to watch, although we're taking a break from superheroes to watch some robots... Westworld. We watched the season two opening episode and I'd forgotten half of what was going on because it has been eighteen months since we watched the first season.

I want to give a quick mention to a new podcast which I've just discovered. It's called Rule of Three and it's basically comedians Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris talking to a guest about something that has influenced them. So far I've listened to John Finnemore (on On The Hour), Danielle Ward (on Bottom) and Isy Suttie (on Love, Nina, the biography of Nina Stibbe about her life with literary types while she was nannying in London), all of which have been fascinating. I heard about it because one episode features Viz artist Davey Jones discussing the career of Leo Baxendale, but the other episodes looked so interesting I subscribed immediately and have been treating myself to them in chronological order. I'm sure you'll find it from your usual podcast provider. They have a web page, which is worth a visit if you want to find out more.

(My podcast provider is iTunes, which occasionally throws a mental fit. This week, it tried to download every single 2000AD Thrill-Cast. Now, however much I enjoy the cheery tones of Molch-R, having sixty or so episodes downloading, one after another, is a pain in the backside. It takes up bandwidth, it takes up hard-drive space that I always desperately need. This isn't the fault of 2000AD or Rebellion, but of iTunes... which once tried to download 150 episodes of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. The first I knew of it was warning messages telling me that I had no space left on my hard-drive while I was downloading something that I needed for work. Again, not the fault of Richard Herring, the British Comedy Guide or anyone other than iTunes.

The only way I've been able to resolve the problem is to unsubscribe, delete the podcast (including episodes that I might not have listened to) and then re-subscribe. UPDATE [9:20 am, Friday] iTunes has figured out my ruse. Currently it has downloaded six early episodes of the show and from the look of things is planning to download a further fifteen from 2015. I think I'll just have to give up, let them download and then delete them. *Sigh*

And that's my lot. No scans this week, but I do still have some comedy flyers left over from a previous scanning session. Actually, I did screw up slightly last weekend. I had this pile of books sitting a couple of feet away, and thought, "I've got to do something about them," because they had been there for months. On Saturday I plonked myself down and started scanning. Twenty books later it suddenly struck me that I'd scanned them before. And I had, back in 2014. I'd moved them aside to get to some other books (most of my shelves are two deep with paperbacks!) and hadn't put them back on the shelf, so the pile had just sat there begging to be scanned.

Clearly my brain has reached full capacity and every new memory is over-writing old memories.

Comedy Flyers (5)


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jim Hansen (1948-2018)

Jim Hansen, a forty-year veteran of British comics during which time he drew two of the most iconic figures in British humour comics, Buster and Dennis the Menace, died on Tuesday, 19 June, aged 69.

Born James Hansen in Ndola, Zambia, on 15 July 1948, he began working in British comics in the 1970s. His first published strip was ‘Hot Rod’ in the Whizzer & Chips, Summer Special, but he quickly established himself as a ‘ghost’ for Mike Lacey, taking over or filling-in on strips such as ‘Shiner’ and ‘The Bumpkin Billionaires’ in Whizzer & Chips and ‘The Winners’ in Jackpot. He was a regular contributor to Buster where he drew ‘S.O.S. Squad’, ‘The Winners’, ‘Ricky Rainbow’ (imported from Nipper) and then a decade-long run on ‘Buster’ in the 1990s, drawing countless covers for the comic until its demise.

In 1993, Hansen began drawing for The Dandy, his strips during the 1990s and early 2000s including ‘First Class’, ‘The Verminator’, ‘Little Boots Cassidy’, ‘Jak’, ‘P5’, ‘Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber’ and ‘Dreadlock Holmes’. For The Beano he drew ‘Gordon Bennett’ and was and occasionally drew ‘Dennis the Menace’ from 2002, becoming its regular artist (along with Nigel Parkinson) between 2004 and 2010.

Hansen began an association with Wallace & Gromit when he illustrated five titles for Titan Books (2003-07); he was also one of the artists who worked on the strip when it became a daily in The Sun (2010-12).

He wrote and illustrated a number of books (with John Burns colouring), including Creating Superheroes and Comic Book Characters (2005), Creating Manga Superheroes (2006) and Drawing Dragons (2006). He also illustrated the Smiffy books by Chris Smith and the Agent Alfie series by Justin Richards.

Peter Gray has described him as having a distinctive, energetic style, and having “one of the best humour artists in the business.”  David Leach, who worked with Hansen on ‘Wallace & Gromit’, wrote on Facebook, “He had wonderful drawing style and I loved his sense of energy … He was an editor’s dream to work with.”

Although best known for his humour work, Hansen also drew ‘Biker Mice From Mars’ (1995) and a 16-page comic for DC promoting the direct-to-video movie Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero (1998). In recent years he teamed up with Bambos Georgiou to draw ‘Supercar’ for a one-off promotional edition of TV21 (2014) and on ‘Slash Moron’ for the digital comic Aces Weekly (2014-17). He continued to work on the latter despite being treated for long-term cancer and a tumor on his spine which meant he had to work standing.

Hansen is survived by his wife Margaret and two sons.

Lew Stringer has posted a tribute at his Blimey! blog in which he comments that Hansen was "a very versatile artist, able to draw licensed characters as well as traditional humour ones. Definitely one of the best humour artists to have worked in UK comics."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Rebellion Releases - 20 June 2018

Rebellion releases for 20 June 2018.

2000AD Prog 2086
Cover: Rachel Stott
JUDGE DREDD: THE PARADIGM SHIFT by Michael Carroll (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SKIP TRACER: HEAVY IS THE HEAD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)
SURVIVAL GEEKS: GEEK-CON by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
DURHAM RED: BORN BAD by Alec Worley (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

2000AD Sci-Fi Special 2018
Cover: Tula Lotay (A) / Emily Zeinner (B)
JUDGE DREDD: THE FEELS by Emma Beeby (w) Babs Tarr (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
TYRANNY REX: “DON’T FORGET TO BLAST MY CACHE” by Katy Rex (w) Liana Kangas 9a) Liana Kangas & Gab Contreras (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
ROGUE TROOPER: THE THOUSAND DAYS by Alex De Campi (w) Sam Beck (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
FUTURE SHOCKS: DELIVERY by Tillie Walden (w+a+l)
JUDGE DEATH: DARKNESS DESCENDS by Leah Moore (w) Xulia Vicentes (a) Pippa Mather (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
DEMARCO, P.I.: LOVE REMAINS by Laura Bailey (w) Dani (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
TERROR TALE: THE HOCKEY STICKS OF HELL by Olivia Hicks (w) Abigail Bulmer (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION: SPA DAY by Maura McHugh (w) Emma Vieceli (a) Barbara Nosenzo (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Judge Anderson poster by Marguerite Sauvage

Judge Dredd Megazine 397
Cover: Cliff Robinson / Dylan Teague (colours)
JUDGE DREDD: THIS CORROSION by Michael Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer  (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
CHOPPER: WANDERING SOUL by David Baillie (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Len O'Grady, Brendan McCarthy (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
DEVLIN WAUGH: KISS OF DEATH by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)
TALES FROM THE BLACK MUSEUM: PROPHET OF STOMM by David Baillie (w) Steven Austin (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Features: 2000 AD Sci-Special creators, Nicolo Assirelli interview, Michael Fleisher obituary, Halo Jones
Bagged reprint: LOFTY'S ONE-MAN LUTWAFFE by John Wagner, Pat Mills, Charles Herring (w), Paolo Ongaro, Stanley Houghton (a)


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