Thursday, February 28, 2019

Commando: War Across Europe

Commando have released the following information about the 'War Across Europe' series, the first episode of which is currently in shops.

Commando presents ‘War Across Europe’ a three-part series inspired by true events that documents one man’s journey across Europe to help the fight to free the continent from the Nazis.

Based on his uncle’s experiences in the Second World War, prolific Commando writer Iain McLaughlin was so impressed by this previously unknown part of his uncle’s life that he knew he had to commemorate it in some way:

“When [my uncle] died a few years ago, at his funeral we heard about his war service. For most of us, that was the first time we had heard the details of his war […] These Commandos aren’t exact depictions of my uncle’s war but they are influenced by it and I hope they can be this nephew’s tribute to a much loved uncle and immensely brave man, as well as the men and women who fought alongside him.”

Originally submitted as a one-issue synopsis, the Commando Editorial Team knew there was so much in McLaughlin’s uncle’s story that they wanted to really focus in on the journey, allowing more time with Stefan. After consulting McLaughlin, it was decided that his uncle’s war would be fully developed in a trilogy, detailing his journey to France, time in the French Resistance, and final journey to Britain.

For McLaughlin, while Stefan is based on his uncle, the symbolic journey he undergoes throughout the issues applies to all those who fought in the war:

“Somewhere in our families we will all have a soldier, a sailor, or an airman who fought in World War Two or in other wars and did their bit. Every family has sacrificed and known loss at some time. So many of the brave men and women who faced adversity and danger in war often keep their exploits private and it’s their right to do so. Where possible, though, I hope we can find a way to remember and respect their actions and sacrifices as best we can. They deserve no less.”

For cover artist Neil Roberts, this is the first full-series of covers he has provided for Commando comics. His stunning sense of continuity and movement over the three covers that was both in keeping with the classic Commando style and more modern comics really wowed the Commando Team. After being briefed on the series and given a general idea for the covers, Roberts took this and developed it into what you see before you, using block colours and distinct iconography to convey the themes and setting inside:

“Having the graphic shape of a symbol and maps in the design was, to me, a classic Commando element, I liked how it balanced the human nature of the story with the larger picture of their adventures, giving the images both context and a striking look.”

Neil then combined these elements in all three covers, making slight changes, always keeping in mind the idea of the journey, creating both a physical and symbolic portrayal of Stefan’s evolution through Europe:

“As this was a series, I wanted the three pieces to form part of the story itself, as I feel that’s the job of cover art. Tonally, each cover became lighter, to convey how their journey was leading them from the dark into the light, a symbol of hope. And, with the characters travelling across Europe, I had them ‘travelling’ from left to right in each successive composition with their kit changing over time – to signify the progression from fleeing civilians to seasoned resistance fighters. […] All these decisions are designed to be seen and felt in an almost subconscious manner, always feeding into what will ultimately be an eye-catching and exciting cover.”

With interior, and cover art, as well as a story from some of Commando’s finest talent, the Commando Team hope you enjoy the series and join them in remembering those who fought for freedom in the Second World War.

5203: War Across Europe: REBEL!

Their homes were ash, their country invaded, their government in exile…

Two Polish farmers would trek, ride, and sail across the length of Europe if it meant getting even against the men who had torn their lives apart — and they just would.

They only had to find the battle to join it!

Out now!

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Defeo & Morhain
Cover: Neil Roberts

5207: War Across Europe: RESIST!

Stefan and Grigor have trekked and sailed across Europe to join the war against the men who invaded their homeland. But when they finally reached France, those who opposed the German Army had either surrendered or were in retreat.

Stefan and Grigor didn’t need an army to get their revenge, they would find their own way to resist!

Out March 7th!

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Defeo & Morhain
Cover: Neil Roberts

5211: War Across Europe: REVENGE!

Can Stefan and the Resistance rescue a downed RAF crew from the clutches of the gestapo in time?

Find out in the epic conclusion to one man’s journey across Europe to join the fight and finally get revenge against the Nazis in World War Two!

Out March 21st!

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Morhain & Defeo
Cover: Neil Roberts

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Releases from Rebellion for 27 February 2019.

2000AD Prog 2120
Cover: Adam Brown
JUDGE DREDD: MACHINE LAW by John Wagner (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SKIP TRACER: LOUDER THAN BOMBS by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Quinto Winter (c) (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
GREY AREA: HUNTED by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
THARG'S 3RILLERS: TOOTH AND NAIL by Andi Ewington (w) Staz Johnson (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Simon Bowland (l)
JAEGIR: BONEGRINDER by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (c) Annie Parkhouse

Sunday, February 24, 2019

George Morrow

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

George Morrow was best-known as a cartoonist and comic illustrator, but he also illustrated several children’s books, aimed at a very wide range of ages.

He was born in Belfast on 5 September 1869, the son of George Morrow, a painter and decorator of 22 North Queen Street, Belfast, and a younger brother of the illustrator Albert Morrow. There is no record of the family’s addresses in 1871, 1881 and 1891, as all the Irish census records for those years were destroyed, although it is known that the family business was at 22 North Queen Street, Belfast, and, from 1895 onwards, at 40 Clifton Street, Belfast.

Like his brother Albert, George was educated at the Belfast Model School and then, from 1887 to 1891 at the Belfast Government School of Art (where he helped establish a drama group from the School’s Sketching Club). He was also active in his local community, painting scenes and decorations for events at the Presbyterian Church and the Belfast YMCA. In 1891 he was awarded a three-year scholarship to the National Art Training Schools in South Kensington. Some sources say that he was apprenticed to a signwriter, although when this was is apparently not recorded. It is also said that he studied in Paris, although again it is not known exactly when this was.

By the mid-1890s he was living in Chelsea. His earliest known work as a book illustrator appeared in 1896, in a book by Mary Russell Mitford and published by Macmillan & Co. Two years later he illustrated his first children’s book, a novel set in the Napoleonic era written by Frank Cowper and published by Seeley & Co., for whom he went on to illustrate several more historical and adventure stories.

His career as an illustrator for periodicals also began in 1896, when he contributed cartoons to Pick-Me-Up. He went on to contribute to many more periodicals, including The Idler, The Tatler, The Jabberwock, The Pall Mall Magazine, Printers’ Pie, Black and White, The Sphere, The Sketch, The Graphic, Pearson’s Magazine, The Strand Magazine, The Windsor Magazine, The Pall Mall Gazette, The Captain, Flying, Land and Water, The Landswoman, The Radio Times, The Yorkshire Evening Post, The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph, The London Mercury, The Bookman, T.P.’s Magazine and The Bystander. He also contributed to Irish periodicals such as Ulad, a magazine associated with the Ulster Literary Theatre, in 1905; The Shanachie, a short-lived cultural magazine, in 1906-1907; and the separatist magazine The Republic.

In 1900 he began a long collaboration with Edward Verrall Lucas, the travel writer and essayist – they worked together on around a dozen books, often alongside Charles L. Graves, on a series of whimsical and satirical books – one of their best-loved works was What a Life! An Autobiography, which constructed an imaginary story of an English aristocrat from birth to baronetcy from advertisements cut out from a catalogue issued by Whiteleys (a London department store – Harrods had refused permission for one of its catalogues to be used). As Lucas wrote: “One man searching the pages of Whiteley’s General Catalogue will find only facts and prices; another will find what we have found – a deeply-moving human drama.”

At the time of the 1901 census Morrow was sharing 1 Albert Studios, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea, with his brother Edwin, who was then an art student. He subsequently moved to 123 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, and in 1905 he returned to Ireland briefly and in April that year, at Ballyclare Presbyterian Church, Antrim, he married Mary Matilda McCracken, a nurse from Dublin born on 30 March 1873 in Monaghan, and the daughter of the Rev. William John McCracken and Rachel Ann née Harris.

In 1906 he began contributing to Punch, initially illustrating E.V. Lucas’s articles. He was soon contributing cartoons – 2,704 in total – and in 1924 he joined the Punch staff, and served as the magazine’s Art Editor between 1932 and 1937, after which he retired. However, demands on the magazine’s staff made by the Second World War led to him being recalled and appointed Assistant Editor in 1940. An exhibition of 150 of his original Punch drawings was held at the Belfast Municipal Art Gallery in 1945.

He was also an active painter, exhibiting at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1904,  and with the Royal Society of British Artists and the Belfast Art Society. He was a member of London’s Pen and pencil Club, along with some of his brothers, and in 1912 he was one of the founder members of the Society of Humorous Art. In a review of the Society’s first exhibition The Pall Mall Gazette noted: “Mr George Morrow’s bland humour is, of course, familiar to everybody. He has a simple and naïve technique, with an eighteenth-century air about it that does not quite bring his people and their surroundings into the twentieth century, but his types are of the invariable kind that require no explanation. In an especial degree he is the portraitist of the foolish person, male or female, with the sloping brow and the receding chin.”

He often signed his paintings and illustrations “Geo. M.” or “Geo. Morrow.”

From 1900 onwards he illustrated a wide variety of books, including several comic books by writers including E.V. Lucas, A.P. Herbert and Archibald Marshall; historical and adventure stories, books of verse, fairy stories and geography, history and language books for young children, demonstrating his versatility.

He seems to have contributed to only a few annuals – these included The Girls’ Budget, The Toc H Annual, The Punch Almanack and Pear’s Annual.

He also published a handful of books under his own name, most notably three collections of cartoons issued by Methuen & Co. in 1920, 1921 and 1928.

Despite his increasing commitments as an illustrator, he also found time to teach evening classes, as he was recorded in the 1911 census as a book illustrator and art teacher with the London County Council, living at 27 Dryburgh Road, Putney, south-west London.

In the 1939 Register he was recorded at Bridgefont House, Great Easton Dunmow, Essex, still working as a book illustrator and Punch cartoonist. However, only three books with his illustrations have been traced after 1939, these appearing in 1948 and 1951.

He and his wife (they did not have any children) may have separated after the Second World War. She died on 23 March 1953 at 89 Penthill Avenue, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset, with administration of her estate (valued at £15,929) granted to a local solicitor. George Morrow himself died at Oak Cottage, Bardfield End Green, Thaxted, Essex, on 18 January 1955 (a month after his last cartoon appeared in Punch), leaving an estate valued at £2,116.

His obituaries, understandably, emphasized his work as a comic illustrator and cartoonist – The Times, for example (20 January 1955) commenting that “He was probably the most consistently comic artist of his day.” However, as his illustrations for other books demonstrate, he was much more than just a cartoonist, and was capable of producing action scenes for historical and adventure stories which bore comparison with many other illustrators.


Books written/compiled by George Morrow
What a Life! An Autobiography by E.V.L. & G.M., Methuen & Co., 1911
An Alphabet of the War, Jarrold & Sons, 1915
A Catalogue of Next-Ray Tubes, Perpetrated by the All-Lies Every-Needy Corporation, privately published, 1919
George Morrow: His Book (with an introduction by E.V. Lucas), Methuen & Co., 1920
More Morrow, Methuen & Co., 1921
The Problem of a Career by John Arthur Robert Cairns, J.W. Arrowsmith, 1926 (with other authors)
Some More: A Book of Drawings, Methuen & Co., 1928

Books illustrated by George Morrow
Country Stories by Mary Russell Mitford, Macmillan & Co., 1896
The Island of the English: A Story of Napoleon’s Days by Frank Cowper, Seeley & Co., 1898
A Nest of Skylarks: A Story by M.E. Whatham, Seeley & Co., 1898
Heroes of Chivalry and Romance by Alfred John Church, Seeley & Co., 1898
The Story of Burnt Njal by George Dasent, Grant Richards, 1900
What Shall We Do Now? A Book of Suggestions for Children’s Games and Employments by E.V. & E. Lucas, Grant Richards, 1900
The Treasure of the Castle: A Story for Children by Doris L. Wheeler, Grant Richards, 1902
Stories of Charlemagne and the Twelve Peers of France by Alfred John Church, Seeley & Co., 1902
The Scaramouche Club by Raymond Jacberns, Grant Richards, 1903
Little Snow-White and Other Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, trans. by Brinsley Le Fanu, Stead’s Publishing House, 1903
Under Cheddar Cliffs a Hundred Years Ago: A Story by Edith Seeley, Seeley & Co., 1903
England Day by Day: A Guide to Efficiency and Prophetic Calendar for 1904 by E.V. Lucas & Charles L. Graves, Methuen & Co. 1903
Stories from Irish History, Told for Children by Stephen Gwynn, Browne & Nolan (Dublin), 1904
The Crusaders: A Story of the War for the Holy Sepulchre by Alfred John Church, Seeley & Co., 1905
Change for a Halfpenny: Being the Prospectus of the Napolio Syndicate by E.V. Lucas & Charles L. Graves, Alston Rivers, 1905
The Game of Ju-Jitsu: For the Use of Schools and Colleges by Taro Miyake & Yukio Tani, Hazell, Watson & Viney, 1906
The House in the Wood and Other Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, “Books for the Bairns” Office, 1906
The Crown of Pine: A Story of Corinth and the Isthmian Games by Alfred John Church, Seeley & Co., 1906
Signs of the Times, or The Hustlers’ Almanack for 1907 by E.V. Lucas & Charles L. Graves, Alston Rivers, 1906
Adventures in the Great Deserts by H.W.G. Hyrst, Seeley & Co., 1907 (with other artists)
Adventures on the Great Rivers by Richard Stead, Seeley & Co., 1907 (with other artists)
Familiar Faces (Verses) by Harry Graham, E. Arnold, 1907
The Captain of the Wright: A Romance of Carisbrooke Library in 1488 by Frank Cowper, Seeley & Co., 1907 (re-issue)
Potted Game: Some Triflings with the Highly Serious Subject of Sport by Max Rittenberg, Organiser Publishing & Exhibition Co., 1908
Hustled History, or As It Might Have Been by E.V. Lucas & Charles L. Graves, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1908
If: A Nightmare in the Conditional Mood by E.V. Lucas & Charles L. Graves, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1908
Puck Among the Pictures: The Comic Guide to the Royal Academy by Walter Emanuel, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1908 (with Norman Morrow)
Cambridge by J.W. Clark, Seeley & Co., 1908
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, T. Nelson & Sons, 1908 (re-issue)
Musical Monstrosities by Charles L. Graves, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1909
Farthest from the Truth: A Series of Dashes by E.V. Lucas & Charles L. Graves, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1909
The Round of the Clock: “The Story of Our Lives from Year to Year” by Sir W. Robertson Nicoll, Hodder & Stoughton, 1910
Party Portraits and Other Verses by Charles. L. Graves, Smith, Elder & Co., 1911
London Stories: Being a Collection of the Lives and Adventures of Londoners in All Ages by “John O’London” (i.e. Wilfred Whitten), T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1911
The Devil in Solution by William Caine, Greening & Co., 1911
Boom! A Novel of the Century by William Caine, Greening & Co., 1911
A Nursery History of England by Elizabeth O’Neill, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1912
In the Heart of Savagedom: Reminiscences of Life and Adventure During a Quarter of a Century of Pioneering Missionary Labours…. by Mrs Stuart Watt, Marshall Brothers, 1912 (with other artists)
Lancashire Stories ed. by Frank Hird, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1912 (part-work) (with other artists)
A Flutter in Feathers by George Chater, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1913
Founded on Fiction (Verses) by Lady Sybil Grant, Mills & Boon, 1913
Loiterers Harvest by E.V. Lucas, Methuen & Co., 1913
All the Papers: A Journalistic Review by E.V. Lucas & Charles L. Graves, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1914
A French Picture Vocabulary, Together with a German Vocabulary by J.H.B. Lockhart, G. Bell & Sons, 1914
Swollen-Headed William: Painful Stories and Funny Pictures after the German adapted by E.V. Lucas, Methuen & Co., 1914
In Gentlest Germany, by Hun Svedend, by E.V. Lucas, J. Lane, 1915
The Children’s Entente Cordiale (Verses) by Leslie Mary Oyler, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1915
Odd Creatures: A Selection by “Captain Kendall”, Constable & Co., 1915
Morals for the Young by William John Locke, John Lane the Bodley Head, 1915
The Odd Volume ed. by A. St. John Adcock, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., 1915 (with other artists)
Wild Sports of the West by W.H. Maxwell, The Talbot Press (Dublin), 1915(?) (re-issue)
A Nursery Geography by George S. Dickson, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1916
The House Party Manual by Noel Ross, Cassell & Co., 1917
Lodgings to Let by Violet Brady, Oxford University Press, 1918
My First Book of Geography by George S. Dickson, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1919
Rescued by M.A. Petzsche, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1919
My First Book of English History by Elizabeth O’Neill, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1920
Podgy and I by Edwin Chisholm, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1920
Stories of Course by Hilda Finnemore, Basil Blackwell, 1921
Some Pirates and Marmaduke by E.A. Wyke Smith, John Lane, 1921
The House of the Ogress: A Story for Young Folks by William Edward Cule, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1921
The Wherefore and the Why: Some New Rhymes for Old Children by A.P. Herbert, Methuen & Co., 1921
Parodies Regained by E.V. Knox, Methuen & Co., 1921
The Last of the Baron by E.A. Wyke Smith, Oxford University Press, 1922
You Know What People Are by E.V. Lucas, Methuen & Co., 1922
Light Articles Only by A.P. Herbert, Methuen & Co., 1922
Tinker, Tailor: A Child’s Guide to the Professions by A.P. Herbert, Methuen & Co., 1922
Fiction as she is Wrote by E.V. Knox, Methuen & Co., 1923
Fancy Now by E.V. Knox, Methuen & Co., 1924
Elnovia: An Entertainment for Novel Readers by Geoffrey Cust Faber, Faber & Gwyer, 1925
Jugged Journalism by Anthony Berkeley, Herbert Jenkins, 1925
Laughing Ann, and Other Poems by A.P. Herbert, T. Fisher Unwin, 1925
Being Good Things lost and Found by John O’London, George Newnes Ltd., 1925
The Flying Carpet by various authors, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1926 (with other artists)
Dog Stories from “Punch”, Ingleby, 1926
Podgy at the Seaside by Edwin Chisholm, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1926(?)
The Marvellous Land of Snergs by E.A. Wyke Smith, Ernest Benn, 1927
Cinderella’s Garden by W. Macneile Dixon, Oxford University Press, 1927
Chuckles: The Story of a Small Boy by Margaret Gower, Methuen & Co., 1927
I’ll Tell the World! A Guide to the Greatness of England, mainly Intended for American Use by E.V. Knox, Chatto & Windus, 1927
Simple Stories from “Punch” by Archibald Marshall, J.M. Dent & Sons, 1927
The Story History of England by Elizabeth O’Neill, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1928
Marytary by Harry B. Creswell, Oxford University Press, 1928
Simple People by Archibald Marshall, George G. Harrap & Co., 1928
More London Stories by John O’London, George Newnes Ltd., 1928
Puffin, Puma & Co.: A Book of Children’s Verse by F. Gwynne Evans, Macmillan & Co., 1929
A Picture Book of the History of Our Own Land by Richard Wilson, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1929
Jim and the Dragon by Susan Tweedsmuir, Hodder & Stoughton, 1929
Birds and Beasts at Home by W. Gilhespy, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1929
Irish Countryside Songs arranged by Dr. Charles Wood, Stainer & Bell, 1929 (cover)
Here be Dragons: A Book of Children’s Verse by F. Gwynne Evans, Macmillan & Co., 1930
The Good Old Stories: A Selection of Famous Tales, Gresham Publishing Co., 1930 (with John Hassall & Helen Stratton)
Wisdom for the Wise by A.P. Herbert, Methuen & Co., 1930
The Book of Fleet Street ed. by Thomas Michael Pope, Cassell & Co., 1930 (with other artists)
Hurrah for the O-Pom-Pom: Stories of Gnomes and Elves by Agnes Grozier Herbertson, Thomas Nelson & Sons,
Nice Stories, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1931
Irish Airs by Dorothy Mabel Large, Constable & Co., 1932
The Birdikin Family by Archibald Marshall, J.M. Dent & Sons, 1932
The Death of the Dragon: New Fairy Tales by J.B. Morton, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1934
Ye Goode Olde Days by Ierne L. Plunket, Methuen & Co., 1934
Tironibus: A First Latin Reading Book by G.M. Lyne, E. Arnold, 1935 (with other artists)
Our Elizabeth in America by Florence Kilpatrick, Thornton Butterworth, 1936
Round the World by George S. Dickson, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1937
Had You Lived in London Then by Cecil Whitaker-Wilson, Methuen & Sons, 1937
The Favourite Wonder Book, The Daily Herald Office, 1937 (with other artists)
Golden Island: A Tale for Children by Eden Phillpotts, Michael Joseph, 1938
The Complete Home Entertainer, Odhams Press, 1941 (with other artists)
A Picture History for Boys and Girls by Richard Wilson, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1948
Inn-Signia, Whitbread & Co., 1948 (with other artists)
Human Needs by Michael Graham, The Cresset Press, 1951

Friday, February 22, 2019

Comic Cuts - 22 February 2019

I'm still plugging away writing company profiles for a franchise magazine, although the end is in sight. There have been a few obvious interruptions earlier this month (still no news of when my One Show appearance is going out), but I have a straight run at this hereon until I'm done... sometime in March probably. After that...?

I've slipped back into some of my old habits – starting early and working 7.30 to 11.30, taking a long break, and picking up again between 2.00 and 6.00. It gives my old eyes a decent break from the computer and means that I can doze off in front of the TV if I need to, which is often the case as I have a nasty habit of waking up at 5.00 in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep. This is probably down to a sedentary lifestyle and way too much coffee.

As mentioned last week, I'm trying to do a little more exercise where I can fit it in around the work and I've managed to lose a few pounds. I can already hear you asking: Am I beach body ready? Well, if you mean beaching myself on a sandbank like a whale sometimes does, then, yes, I'm beaching body ready. My abs remain a well-hidden secret lurking behind my tummy tyre.

Is there anyone who doesn't like Chris O'Dowd? I was a fan from episode 1 of The IT Crowd and we bought the DVDs of Moone Boy (it was on Sky, which we don't subscribe to), which was an utterly charming comedy about a 12-year-old boy and his invisible friend set in Ireland, which O'Dowd co-created and co-wrote... he also co-wrote a couple of novels, one of which I have. Then there is his recent legendary appearance on The Last Leg, completely out of his tree drunk and just having the best time.

Well, I've managed to catch up on another O'Dowd series. For US cable network Epix he's been starring in Get Shorty, a TV remake (or re-imagining) of the novel by Elmore Leonard and the movie starring John Travolta, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito and Gene Hackman, which came out in 1995. There was a sequel, Be Cool, ten years later, but that's best forgotten.

The TV series takes that same basic premise, of a mob enforcer (Miles Daly, played by O'Dowd) who wants to change the direction of his life to save his marriage and who believes he has found a way to escape his crime gang background when he arrives in Hollywood and ends up with a script for a costume drama. (I don't want to give everything away!)

With a particularly tough way of pitching ideas and an anything goes attitude to persuading people to do what he wants them to do, Miles negotiates his way through the film industry with his enforcer partner Louis (Sean Bridgers) pretending to be a screenwriter, and financially backed by a few millions of dollars from mob boss Amara De Escalones (Lidia Porto), who has been talked into using the movie as a way to launder her money.

The eccentricity and, in the case of O'Dowd, charm of the characters carries you through ten episodes of a story that is somehow easy watching despite the occasional violent beating, shooting, stabbing, drug taking, blackmailing and mass murder. It even has an ending – I'm not going to say whether it's happy or otherwise – rather than a cliffhanger. Yes, there's a season two, but I'm probably not going to get to it for a while, so a story with a beginning, a middle and an end is just what I wanted and what the show delivered.

The only downer was the percussion-only soundtrack. The relentless drumming of Birdman was an innovation that won awards, but I found it distracting and eventually off-putting. I feel the same about the soundtrack here. Please, no more.

After having had a bit of a break from bleak landscapes, we've been watching Shetland, which has an intriguing storyline about people trafficking, and we're recording but haven't yet started Trapped (Icelandic thriller) and Baptiste (the spin-off from The Missing), both of which are likely to be a bit nail-biting. We used to temper these tougher tales with the likes of a Poirot or even Midsummer Murders. The nearest we have to that nowadays is Death in Paradise, Vera and Endeavour now that Maigret has gone, and all three run in January/February.

It makes me wonder why nobody is picking up the slack with a remake of Albert Campion, Lord Peter Wimsey or Roderick Alleyn. Or what about a series of that contains a rotating cast of detectives from that Golden Age era. The British Library has been reprinting some thoroughly enjoyable detective yarns, from which a very good selection of detectives could be drawn. If some of the characters stand out, they can be spun off into their own series.

They should put me in charge of the tele...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Commando 5203-5206

Brand new issues of Commando are out today! Get ready for revenge in the desert, a train heist in Nazi-occupied France, a deadly sortie in Florence, and the first instalment of our new three-part WAR ACROSS EUROPE series!


The War Across Europe series starts off with a bang as the Nazis invade Poland. Stefan and Grigor are out hunting when they are attacked by men in unfamiliar uniforms. Their homes are burned, their whole families murdered, so the pair revolve to flee Poland and join the Polish army.
    Writer Iain McLaughlin based the trilogy on the story of his uncle’s experiences during World War Two:
    “[My Uncle] was a young man working on his father’s farm in Poland when the Germans invaded. He set off on a journey across Europe so that he could fight to free his homeland and eventually wound up in France working with the Resistance… I hope [the issues] can be this nephew’s tribute to a much loved uncle and an immensely brave man, as well as the men and women who fought alongside him.” – Iain McLaughlin
    Cover artist, Neil Roberts was briefed with the clear intention of depicting the journey across Europe:
    “With the covers I wanted to strike a balance between the graphic elements of the map and symbols against the characters and soldiers. Using the colours of the Polish flag as a starting point gave me a great sense of narrative design for this and subsequent pieces, with the characters clothing contrasting and separating them from the background.” – Neil Roberts

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Morhain & Defeo
Cover: Neil Robert

5204: Jinx Pilot

This unlucky yarn is on its first airing since 1971! The ‘Jinx Pilot’ in question is Flying Officer Pete Kelly whose impetuous nature leads him smack into trouble! Especially when a column of German trucks he strafes does not hold the cargo he is quite expecting… but you’ll have to read it to find out more!

Story: Clegg
Art: Gordon C Livingstone
Cover: Ken Barr
Originally Commando No. 76 (1963). Reprinted No. 551 (1971).

5205: Red Gold

British secret agents? A French Communist Resistance cell? Both working together to steal Nazi gold in a train heist the likes of which the Third Reich has never seen? You bet your bottom dollar they are! All this and more explosive action in ‘RED GOLD’!

Story: George Low
Art: Muller & Klacik
Cover: Ian Kennedy

5206: Reject’s Revenge

‘Reject’s Revenge’ is an unusual Commando from writer Roger Sanderson, with a story that begins in 1955, moves into 1943 in North Africa and Italy, then spans into the post-war Middle East! And that’s all in the first 30 pages! Plus an amazing cover from Ian Kennedy!

Story: Roger Sanderson
Art: Gual
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2847 (1995).

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 20 February 2019.

2000AD Prog 2119
Cover: Luke Preece
JUDGE DREDD: MACHINE LAW by John Wagner (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BRINK: HIGH SOCIETY by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
SKIP TRACER: LOUDER THAN BOMBS by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Quinto Winter (c) (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
GREY AREA: WHISTLEBLOWER by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
JAEGIR: BONEGRINDER by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (c) Annie Parkhouse

Judge Dredd Megazine 405
Cover: Nick Percival
JUDGE DREDD: PLANTED by Rory McConville (w) Jake Lynch (a) Jim Boswell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
LAWLESS: ASHES TO ASHES by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
STORM WARNING: GREEN & PLEASANT LAND by John Reppion, Leah Moore (w) Tom Foster (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland  (l)
BLUNT II by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)
THE DARK JUDGES: THE TORTURE GARDEN by John Wagner (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Features: Ron Smith obituary, new games, Paul Jenkins interview
Bagged reprint: Operation: Overlord Vol.2.

Caballistics Inc.: The Complete Collection by Gordon Rennie & Dom Reardon
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08695-7, 21 February 2019, 354pp, £19.99 / $24.99. Available via Amazon.
The complete Caballistic.Inc series by Gordon Rennie and Dom Reardon – collected for the first time! During the Second World War a department was formed within the Ministry of Defence to combat Nazi occult warfare. In the 21st century, however, it has long outlived its usefulness and its funding is scrapped. Enter reclusive millionaire rock star Ethan Kostabi, who has brought up its employees and, together with a handful of freelance ghosthunters, constructed a brand new outfit – Caballistics Inc. But the forces of the supernatural are not the only enemies that this disparate group have to tackle, for within the heart of Caballistics Inc. are dangerous secrets that threaten to tear the organisation apart…

Judges Volume One by Michael Carroll, Charles J. Eskew and George Mann
Abaddon Books ISBN 978-1781-08639-1, 21 February 2019, 478pp, £8.99. Available via Amazon. Also available as an e-book, ISNM 978-1786-18122-0, £4.99.
The first three stories in the new prose series exploring the (very) near-future origins of Judge Dredd’s Department of Justice. In a time of widespread poverty, inequality and political unrest, Special Prosecutor Eustace Fargo’s controversial new justice laws have come into effect. Protests and violence meet the first Judges as they hit the street to enforce the Law; the cure, it’s clear, is far worse than the disease. Is this a sign of things to come?
    Contains:  'The Avalanche' by Michael Carroll, 'Lone Wolf' by Charles J. Eskew and 'When the Light Lay Still' by George Mann.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Ralph Peacock

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Ralph Peacock was briefly well-known for his cover designs and illustrations for several of G.A. Henty’s novels in the 1890s. However, his main interest was painting, and he went on to have a long and successful career as a portrait painter, although he is more or less forgotten today.

He was born on 14 August 1868 in Wood Green, north London, and baptized at St. Michael’s Church, Wood Green, on 13 September 1868. His father, Thomas Peacock (1828-1905) was a Superintendent at the Inland Revenue at Somerset House (having begun his working life as an assistant to a chandelier maker). His mother, Josephine Henrietta, neé Miles (1842-1921) was the daughter of a dentist. They had married in St. Pancras Old Church on 27 June 1863, and Ralph was the second of their eight children. (Two of his brothers died, both aged 8, in 1878 and 1882.)

At the time of the 1871 census the family was living in Bounds Green Road, Tottenham. Ten years later, they had moved south of the river, to 10 Church Terrace, Battersea.

Ralph was educated at the City of London School, which was then on the Victoria Embankment in Blackfriars. In 1882, aged just 14, he also began studying for two evenings a week at the South London Technical School of Art in Kennington Park Road, (formerly the Lambeth School of Art), encouraged by his father, who studied in the same class. Ralph was actually being prepared for a career in the Civil Service, to follow in his father’s footsteps, but in 1886 the Scottish painter John Pettie, who had seen one of his portraits, persuaded his father that he should aim to be a professional artist. He subsequently spent a year at the St. John’s Wood School of Art (at which he later taught for several years), and then, in 1887, he became a student at the Royal Academy Schools, exhibiting his first painting at the Royal Academy a year later (and his second in 1889). In 1890, by which time he and his parents had moved to 6 Park Road, Forest Hill, he was awarded the Creswick Prize for landscape painting and a silver medal for life drawing. The following year he was awarded a British Institute Scholarship worth £50 a year for two years, and in 1891, while he was still living with his family at 6 Park Road, Sydenham, Kent, he was awarded a Royal Academy Gold Medal and a travelling scholarship worth £200 for his historical painting “Victory,” which showed a woman pleading to a Gaul on behalf of a captured Roman soldier.

He then travelled extensively abroad for around a year, visiting Tangier, Spain, Italy and Switzerland, and on his return to England he began his brief career as an illustrator while at the same time working as a painter.

One of his early interests was historical subjects, and his first black and white illustrations appeared in Robert Leighton’s Olaf the Glorious: A Historical Story of the Viking Age, published by Blackie and Son in 1894, and in G.A. Henty’s Wulf the Saxon: A Story of the Norman Conquest, also published by Blackie in 1894 (although the first UK edition is dated 1895). He also designed the cover for this, along with the cover for a re-issue of Henty’s Under Drake’s Flag: A Tale of the Spanish Main (Blackie, 1894). He went on to design the covers for Henty’s At Agincourt: A Tale of the White Hoods of Paris (1897), A March on London: Being a Story of Wat Tyler’s Insurrection (1898), On the Irrawaddy: A Story of the First Burmese War (1898), and Under Wellington’s Command: A Tale of the Peninsular War (1899) – becoming one of the few illustrators at this time to be recognised for their cover designs. He also designed the cover and provided black and white illustrations for Henty’s A Knight of the White Cross: A Tale of the Siege of Rhodes (1896) and Both Sides the Border: A Tale of Hotspur and Glendower (1899). He also illustrated two other historical adventure stories for boys – The Paladins of Edwin the Great by Clements R. Markham (A. & C. Black, 1896), and Lords of the World: A Story of the Fall of Carthage and Corinth by Alfred John Church (Blackie, 1899).

His work also appeared in a number of periodicals during the 1890s – some of his paintings were reproduced in The Graphic, The Illustrated London News, Black and White, The Art Journal and The Sketch, and he also contributed original drawings to Cassell’s Family Magazine, Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday, the English Illustrated Magazine and The London Magazine. Some of his work was signed “Ralph Peacock,” while other work was signed simple “R. P.”

In the meantime he was also exhibiting regularly. His work appeared in the Royal Academy every year between 1892 and 1929, although, despite his technical abilities and his popularity as a painter, he was never made an associate of the Royal Academy, let alone a member. In 1898, he won a gold medal at the International Art Exhibition in Vienna, and he also exhibited with the British Institution, the Royal Institute of Portrait Painters, the Royal Society of British Artists, The Royal Institute of Painters in Oils, and in public and commercial galleries throughout the UK.

By 1893 Ralph had moved out of his parents’ home and was living at 11 Holland Park Road, Kensington. In 1901, he briefly lived as a boarder with Frederick Cooper, a clerk in the local Education Department, and his wife Eva, at 37 Holland Road, Kenisngton, before moving to 1A Holland Park Road. Later that year, on 10 August 1901, he married Edith Emma Brignall, at St. Mary’s Church, Beddington, Surrey. Born on 20 February 1873 in Upper Norwood, South London, she was the daughter of James Brignall, a corn merchant, and his wife Emma. In 1900, Ralph had painted Edith, along with her younger sister Ethel, in what became one of his best-known portraits, “The Sisters”, which is now owned by the Tate.

Ralph and Ethel remained at 1A Holland Park Road until 1909, when they moved to 32 Holland Park Road, where they remained until 1930. By then they had had four children: John Roydon (born in September 1902), Devis Ives (July 1906), and Graham Everett and Bingham Everett (July 1911).

His work continued to occasionally appear in periodicals – articles about him and examples of his work appeared in The Studio in 1901 and The Windsor Magazine in 1907, and his work also featured in The Strand Magazine, The Sphere and The Sketch.

In 1905, he contributed an essay on modern British Painters to Women Painters of the World, published by Hodder & Stoughton, and his work also appeared in an edition of Cassell’s History of England (1905).

By 1911, he was sufficiently well-off to afford three servants. He travelled to Amerca at least four times between 1921 and 1930, and on his return after his last journey moved to 1A Palace Gate, Kensington. A year or so later, he moved to The Gate House, Ellerton Road, Wimbledon. He was still working at the time of the 1939 Register, when he was recorded simply as a portrait painter, and employing a chauffeur and a cook.

In an essay accompanying an exhibition, “Forgotten Faces,” at the Tate Gallery in 2014, it was noted that while Ralph Peacock was “the darling of art critics at the onset of his career,” after the First World War his “inspiration seems to have dried up, and appreciation of his work declined” after the First World War.

His wife died, at St. Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton, on 21 July 1945, leaving a personal estate valued at £6,348. Ralph Peacock himself died, at his home in Ellerton Road, on 17 January 1946, leaving an estate valued at just under £29,000 (just over £1 million in today’s terms), suggesting that while he may have been forgotten by art critics, his work had remained popular with the art-buying public.


Books illustrated by Ralph Peacock
Olaf the Glorious: A Historical Story of the Viking Age by Robert Leighton, Blackie & Son, 1894
Wulf the Saxon: A Story of the Norman Conquest by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1895
A Knight of the White Cross: A Tale of the Siege of Rhodes by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1896
The Paladins of Edwin the Great by Clements R. Markham, A. & C. Black, 1896
Lords of the World: A Story of the Fall of Carthage and Corinth by Alfred John Church., Blackie & Son, 1898
Both Sides the Border: A Tale of Hotspur and Glendower by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1899
Cassell’s History of England, Cassell & Co., 1905 (with other artists)
Growing Up: The Story of How We Become Alive, Are Born and Grow Up by Karl de Schweinitz, Macmillan & Co., 1928
Profile Portraits and Children’s Pictures, Barbozon House, 1930 (exhibition catalogue)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Comic Cuts - 15 February 2019

After last week's excitement, this week has been relatively quiet, although I've enjoyed having a couple of guests over at the house (Hi Norman, Hi Mum!). I'm back to writing at my old computer and I'm finding my eyes have slowly but surely settled into the new glasses. I'm still not sure that they're strong enough, but they're definitely an improvement... I'm taking longer breaks from the computer, so the eye strain that I was suffering from in January seems to have improved.

I'm also surprised to say that I've actually lost a few pounds. I'm still very overweight, but I'm normally carrying a few extra pounds following Christmas through January and February. Well, I'm currently four pounds lighter than I was six weeks ago. I'm eating a little healthier – more wholemeal rolls and less processed meat – and trying to get in an extra walk during the day, often down to the post office to ship out something that has sold on Ebay. I really must get more of my old annuals up on Ebay... thanks to them I'm losing pounds while I'm making a few pounds in sales!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Rebellion were planning to release two specials during the spring based around the former IPC humour titles that they now owned, namely the Cor!! and Buster Special released on 17 April and a Free Comic Day release. Well, Rebellion have announced a slew of other specials that they will be releasing between April and October.

The run of specials begins with an American-format 32-page special on 4 May when the 2000AD Villains Takeover Special is released, featuring the bad guys from Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and Slaine. This will be available in comic book stores for 99p (in the US for 99c).

Inside, the lawman of the future faces a familiar rictus grin in 'Judge Death: The Judge Who Laughs' by Rob Williams and Henrik Sahlstrom, and there’s fiendish fantasy with 'Lord Weird Slough Feg: Lord of the Hunt' by Pat Mills and Kyle Hotz. There’s chem-wreathed criminality in the world of Rogue Trooper in 'Brass and Bland: The Professionals' by Karl Stock and Kael Ngu while  malefactory mutant-bountyhunters-turned-bad-guys, The Stix, from Strontium Dog cause trouble in 'Stix: Sleeping Dogs Lie' by Matt Smith and Chris Weston. And this issue is all rounded off by 'Terror Tale: Last of the Hellphibians' by that master of the mendacious Henry Flint!

Here are a few pages for you to feast your eyes on...

On 8 May, 2000AD Prog 2130 gives way to 2000AD Regened, following the hugely successful 2018 giveaway. The pint-sized anti-heroes return for another bumper prog for kids of all ages, The issue will be 100 pages and retail at £4.99.

This year's 2000AD Sci-Fi Special pays tribute to Carlos Ezquerra by focusing on some of his greatest hits, including Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog. This 48-pager will also debut his unpublished work on 'Specter', the strip he was working on with John Wagner when he died. Priced £4.99, it will be released on 19 June.

A few days later, on 27 June, The Tammy and Jinty Special revamps some old favourites from the pages of those classic seventies comics for the 21st century, with a host of new creators on strips that pay tribute to the legacy of the two trail-blazing comics. This is also 48 pages.

August 14 sees the return of The Vigilant in a 64-page special, priced £4.99, bringing together the team of homegrown British superheroes from the IPC stable alongside one or two newcomers from the pages of the last special.

Roy of the Rovers gets his own special in time for his 65th birthday and following the release of novels and graphic novels featuring the new Roy. The 100-page, £9.99 special kicks off on 11 September in time for the new football season.

And, finally, we have Scream & Misty Presents The Thirteenth Floor, which is released on 16 October. The thirteenth floor is where homicidal computer Max sends invaders, crooks and other offenders as he protects the inhabitants of the tower block he controls. He was one of the stars of previous Hallowe'en specials and a collection from Rebellion last year. 48 pages for $4.99.

A quick change of pace. I haven't had much of a chance to watch a lot of TV over the last couple of months, but we're slowly catching up on a few things. I've finally watched the first season of The Good Place, which friends have been recommending for months (they're on the third season already!). I have to admit I'm a convert of this smart, funny comedy. The characters are horribly flawed, which makes them interesting and appealing, and the show has not once failed to surprise. The plot turns one way and another and ends on a corkscrew of a twist.

Hurry up, E4... we want season two.

The other thing we managed to watch was Ascension, which appeared on the SyFy channel in the US in 2014, but made its UK debut on Pick over this recent Christmas.

A lengthy three-parter, it begins with a murder on a generation starship. The ship has a retro feel to it and before long it is revealed that Earth had the technology in the 1960s to launch a mission to Proxima Centauri. It is now fifty-one years on and the mission has passed the halfway point. To avoid a population explosion, only a handful of couples out of the 600 crew are selected to have children. Some of the children are suffering from depression, believing that they were born into a situation chosen by their parents or grandparents which has left them with no future other than life and death on the ship. Sabotage has been attempted.

With political and class turmoil between the Captain, the council and the crew working in the lower levels of the ship, beginning to spill over, a fight breaks out between investigating officer Aaron Gault and one of the stockyard crew, Stokes, who has been set-up as the murderer. Stokes is sucked out of the ship's airlock into space... but that might not be the end of him.

This show also took some unexpected turns and it seemed to be developing into a rather ordinary murder-mystery set on a generation ship – lots of suspects but an enclosed location. Imagine Agatha Christie shaving Poirot investigate a murder at Buckingham Palace (which has 775 rooms) and you'll get the idea. But the writers took the story in different directions: the selective breeding programme may have an endgame in the mind of the project director.

I don't want to give too much away. It was better than I expected, remembering the mixed reviews it got at the time of its release, but it still had a few faults... which, I guess, makes this one of those mixed reviews. We'd already guessed the major plot twist that ended the first part and, after that, nothing really came as a surprise.

But it inspired me to go and watch Capricorn One, which was as daft as I remember it being and thoroughly enjoyable at the same time. I miss old-fashioned thrillers.  You seem to have to wade through a lot of dross these days to find good ones. If anyone has any suggestions for recent, decent thrillers, let me know.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 13 February 2019.

2000AD Prog 2118
Cover: Cliff Robinson/Dylan Teague (col).
JUDGE DREDD: MACHINE LAW by John Wagner (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BRINK: HIGH SOCIETY by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
SKIP TRACER: LOUDER THAN BOMBS by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Quinto Winter (c) (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
GREY AREA: WHISTLEBLOWER by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
JAEGIR: BONEGRINDER by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (c) Annie Parkhouse

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Horace Petherick

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

H. Petherick was a prolific illustrator of children’s books between around 1860 and 1900, who then had a second career as an expert on violins – their history, makers, and their restoration and repair.

He was born on 4 December 1838 at 18 Frederick Street, St. Pancras, London (and not in 1839 in Croydon, Surrey, as most other sources suggest), and named Horace William Petherick. He was the third of eight children (two of whom died in early childhood) born to William Richard Petherick (born in Helston, Cornwall, in 1813, died in Brighton in 1899), a tailor, and his wife Phoebe Mary Ann, née Cooper (born in Newington, Surrey, in 1810, died in Brighton in 1898), who had married in St. Pancras on 12 April 1835.

At the time of the 1841 census the family was living at 18 Seymour Place. St. Marylebone. Ten years later, they were recorded at 80 Park Street, St. Pancras.

It is not known where Horace was educated or where he received his artistic training, but by the time of the 1861 census he had left home and was working as an artist, lodging at 1 Houston Terrace, Kensington, with 68 year-old Maria Blee and her family. (His family, meanwhile, were living at 2 Rosa Villas, Richmond Road, Fulham). Horace subsequently moved to Fulham (probably back with his parents) where, in All Saints Church on 25 June 1864, he married Clementina Augusta Bewley Bonney, born in London in around 1837 and the daughter of William Wolfe Bonney, a wine merchant who later became a manufacturing chemist.

Horace and Clementina immediately moved to Maple Lodge, 25 Havelock Road, Addiscombe, Surry, where they remained for the rest of their lives, and where they went on to have seven children: Horace Claude (1867-1869), Adeline Maude (1869-1872), Rosa Clementina (1872-1931), Ada Flora (1874-1924), Leila Helena (1876-1951), Eveline May (1880-1936), and Dora Valentine (1881-1946).

Horace’s earliest-known work as an illustrator appeared in 1858, in a historical novel about the French Revolution. Three years later, he illustrated a translation of a French novel, and he went on to illustrate a handful of children’s stories for Frederick Warne & Co, until his career took off in the early 1870s. Between 1870 and 1900 he illustrated well over 100 books – these were all children’s books, ranging from picture books, fairy stories and legends for younger children to historical, adventure, family and school stories for older children. Among the authors whose books he illustrated were Emily Sarah Holt, George E. Sargent, L.T. Meade, Stella Austin, Grace Stebbing, Georgiana Marion Craik, M.L. Ridley, Evelyn Everett Green, Phoebe Allen and Emma Leslie. Most notably, perhaps, he illustrated two of G.A. Henty’s boys’ novels, The Cornet of Horse: A Tale of Marlborough’s Wars and Winning His Spurs: A Tale of the Crusades, both published by Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington in 1881 and 1882 respectively (after having been serialized with Petherick’s illustrations in The Union Jack). Three other notable boys’ adventure stories which contained Petherick illustrations were George Manville Fenn’s Middy and Ensign, or The Jungle Station: A Tale of the Malay Peninsula, published by Griffith & Farran in 1882; and W.H.G;. Kingston’s The Heroic Wife, or The Wanderers on the Amazon and The Child of the Wreck, or The Loss of the “Royal George” published by Griffith & Farran in 1874 and 1876.

Another notable collaboration was with Laura Valentine, who wrote under the pseudonym “Aunt Louisa.” One of their best-known books was London Characters, published in the series “Aunt Louisa’s Toy Books” by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1875 – this had 12 coloured prints of London workers such as a milkman, baker, waterman, chimney sweep, lamplighter and fireman. He also illustrated a few others, which were later re-issued in a complete volume.

Amongst the other publishers he worked for were Frederick Warne & Co., John F. Shaw & Co., J. Masters & Co., Marcus Ward & Co., Blackie & Son, John Hogg, the Religious Tract Society and the Sunday School Union.

He also contributed to a small number of periodicals, most notably The Illustrated London News between 1870 and 1890. His work also appeared in Life, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, The Children’s Treasury and The Penny Illustrated Paper, and in the children’s periodicals  The Union Jack, The Boy’s Own Paper, Little Folks and Aunt Judy’s Christmas Volume.

He was one of the first illustrators to extol the virtues of graphotyping, as being far superior to wood engraving, in the late 1860s. In 1875, he was giving evening classes in life drawing at his home in Addiscombe.

He also exhibited his paintings, including at the Royal Academy (1877, 1891, 1901 and 1913) and with the Royal Society of British Artists.

He sometimes signed his work “H P” or “H W P”, as well as with his full name.

During the 1890s his output diminished substantially, with his last-known illustrations appearing in 1900. By then, he had established himself as an expert on violins. He had had a lifelong interest in the subject, which culminated in him in describing himself in the 1901 census as an “expert on musical instruments.” He was a regular contributor to The Strad, a magazine devoted to string instruments launched in 1890, and in 1900 he published a biography of the violin maker Antonio Stradivari, followed by a book on the repair and restoration of violins in 1903, and a biography of another violin maker, Joseph Guarnerius, in 1906. He was also regularly asked to certify and value violins, and he became President of the Cremona Society (named after the city in Italy where Stradivari lived and worked). Earlier, he had been a member of the Savage Club, and had even joined the Savage Club Freemasons Lodge in 1889, only to be excluded in 1897 after failing to pay his membership fee.

His wife died on 23 March 1909. Horace himself died at his home in Addiscombe on 8 March 1919, and was buried four days later in the family plot in the churchyard of St. John’s Church, Shirley, Surrey. He left an estate valued at £1,940 (around £85,000 in today’s terms), with probate granted to his daughter Rosa.

Petherick’s five daughters, all but one of whom remained unmarried, became musicians, with Rosa Clementina (known as Rosa C. Petherick) also becoming an illustrator of children’s books, specializing in picture books and other books for very young children. She also illustrated some books for older children, including a couple of boys’ stories by Harold Avery, several girls’ school stories (including Elsie Jeanette Oxenham’s The Abbey Girls in Town and Josephine Elder’s That Scholarship Girl), and an edition of Charles Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop, published by Andrew Melrose in 1906. She was a member of the Croydon Art Society and she became Secretary of the Croydon Sketch Club, and was briefly a member of the Streatham Symphony Orchestra. She died suddenly in Brighton in 1931.

Ada Flora studied at the London Academy of Music, playing the violin and piano, and for a while was a deputy organist at Addiscombe Parish Church, and a member of the Croydon Orchestral Society. She also composed a number of musical works and painted. She died of diphtheria at the Borough Isolation Hospital in Waddon Surrey, in March 1924.

Leila Helena (who also studied at the London Academy, specializing in the viola) established her own business teaching singing, as well as performing regularly. She died in Croydon in 1951. Eveline May trained at the Royal Academy of Music, and became both a musician and a conductor, as well as a music teacher. During the First World War she formed the Island Orchestra on the Isle of Wight. She died in Brighton in 1936. Dora Valentine also trained at the London Academy, and played with various orchestras including the Redhill Society of Instrumentalists and the Streatham Symphony Orchestra. She also taught music. She married Albert H. Gilson, a violin and cello repairer, in 1922, and died in Torbay in March 1946.

The four sisters also performed as together as the Petherick Quartet from around 1905 onwards, and they were all also members of the Addiscombe String Orchestra, and played with the local all-female Bach Choir.


Written by H. Petherick
Antonia Stradivari, “The Strad” Office, 1900
The Repairing and Restoration of Violins, “The Strad” Office, 1903
Joseph Guarnerius: His Work and His Master, “The Strad” Office, 1906

Illustrated by H. Petherick
The Young Middy, or The Perilous Adventures of a Boy-Officer Among the Royalists and Republicans of the First French Revolution by F.C. Armstrong, Marlborough & Co., 1858
The Four Homes, adapted from the French of Madame de Gasparin by Mrs Gother Mann, Ward, Lock & Tyler, 1861
The Robin’s Christmas Eve by C.E. Bowen, Frederick Warne & Co., 1865
Hector the Dog by L. Valentine, Frederick Warne & Co., 1868
Tom Thumb, George Routledge & Sons, 1870(?)
The King, Queen and Knave of Hearts, Frederick Warne, 1871(?)
Blue-Beard, F. Warne & Co., 1871(?)
Lili, The Doctor’s Daughter, or The Bunch of Violets, and What Became of Them by Charles Bruce, Jarrold & Sons, 1871
Hanbury Mills: A Study of Contrasts by Christabel R. Coleridge, Frederick Warne & Co., 1872
Home for the Holidays by L. Jewry, Frederick Warne & Co., 1872
The Well in the Desert: An Old Legend of the House of Arundel by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1872
Father Time’s Story Book: For the Little Ones by Kathleen Knox, Griffith & Farran, 1873
The Heroic Wife, or The Wanderers on the Amazon by W.H.G. Kingston, Griffith & Farran, 1874
Nettie’s Mission by Julia A. Matthews, James Nisbet & Co., 1874
The Birthday Present: Tales, Amusing and Instructive, Frederick Warne & Co., 1874(?)
Rover’s Dinner Party by L. Valentine, Frederick Warne & Co., 1875
London Characters by L. Valentine, Frederick Warne & Co., 1875
Little Prescription and Other Tales by Mrs Robert O’Reilly, George Bell & Sons, 1875 (with other artists)
The Child of the Wreck, or The Loss of the “Royal George” by W.H.G. Kingston, Griffith & Farran, 1876
Our Boys and Girls by L. Valentine, Frederick Warne & Co., 1876
The Little Sea-Bird by George E. Sargent, Religious Tract Society, 1876 (re-issue)
David’s Little Lad by L.T. Meade, John F. Shaw & Co., 1877
The Earl-Printer: A Tale of the Time of Caxton by Catherine Mary MacSorley, John F. Shaw & Co., 1877
Harold, or Following the Footprints by A.S.O.C., John F. Shaw & Co., 1877
Lotty’s Visit to Grandma by “Brenda”, John F. Shaw & Co., 1877
The House in the Glen and the Boys Who Built It by anon, John F. Shaw & Co., 1877
For the Master’s Sake: A Story of the Days of Queen Mary by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1877
Tales and Legends of Saxony and Lusatia by William Bury Westall, Griffith & Farran, 1877
The Home of Fiesole, with a Sketch of the Life and Times of Savonarala by anon., John F. Shaw & Co., 1877
White Lilies and Other Tales by L.T. Meade, John F. Shaw, 1878
The Gabled Farm, or Young Workers for the King by Catharine Shaw, John F. Shaw & Co., 1878
Uncle Philip: A Tale for Boys and Girls by Stella Auston, J. Masters & Co., 1878
Outcast Robin, or Your Brother and Mine by L.T. Meade, John F. Shaw & Co., 1878
Winifred, or An English Maiden in the Seventeenth Century by Lucy Ellen Guernsy, John F. Shaw & Co., 1878
Margery’s Son, or “Until He Find It”: A Fifteeneth Century Tale of the Court of Scotland by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1878
Willow Bank, or Only a Week by C.H., John F. Shaw & Co., 1879
The Two Castaways, or Adventures in Patagonia by Lady Florence Dixie, John F. Shaw & Co., 1879
Brave Geordie: The Story of an English Boy by Grace Stebbing, John F. Shaw & Co., 1879
Dot and Her Treasures by L.T. Meade, John F. Shaw & Co., 1879
Friends Only by Emily Marion Harris, Marcus Ward & Co., 1879
The Maiden’s Lodge, or None of Self and All of Thee: A Tale of the Reign of Quen Anne by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1880
The Browning Boys by “Pansy,” Sunday School Union, 1880
Prairie Days, or Our Home in the Far West by Mary B. Sleight, John F. Shaw & Co., 1880
Hilary’s Love Story by Georgiana Marion Craik, Marcus Ward & Co., 1880
Jack: A Chapter in a Boy’s Life by Yotty Osborn, John F. Shaw & Co., 1880
Childhood’s Playtime, Frederick Warne & Co., 1880
Lady Rosamond’s Book, or Dawnings of Light by Lucy Ellen Guernsey, John F. Shaw & Co., 1880
Nobody’s Lad by Leslie Keith, John F. Shaw & Co., 1880
My Dog Tray, Frederick Warne & Co., 1880
Dick Whittington, Frederick Warne & Co., 1880
Lady Sibyl’s Choice: A Tale of the Crusades by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1880
Our Captain: The Heroes of Barton School by M.L. Ridley, John F. Shaw & Co., 1881
The Cornet of Horse: A Tale of Marlborough’s Wars by G.A. Henty, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881
Uncle Fred’s Shilling: Its Travels and Adventures by Emily Brodie, John F. Shaw & Co., 1881
Silent Highways: A Story of Barge Life by Frances Palmer, John F. Shaw & Co., 1881
Hilda, or Seeketh Not Her Own by Catharine Shaw, John F. Shaw & Co, 1881
Winning His Spurs: A Tale of the Crusades by G.A. Henty, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1882 (published in the USA as Fighting the Saracens, or The Boy Knight)
Hubert D’Arcy, the Young Crusader by N. Payne Gallwey, John F. Shaw & Co., 1882
Red Cloud, the Solitary Sioux: A Story of the Great Prairie by William Francis Butler, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1882
Middy and Ensign, or The Jungle Station: A Tale of the Malay Peninsula by George Manville Fenn, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1882
Wings: A Tale by Stella Austin, J. Masters & Co., 1882
Red and White: A Tale of the Wars of the Roses by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1882
Gold and Glory, or Wild Ways of Other Days: A Tale of Early American Discovery by Grace Stebbing, John F. Shaw & Co., 1882
Among the Gibjigs: A Child’s Romance by Sydney Hodges, Remington & Co., 1882
The Nursery Alphabet, Frederick Warne & Co., 1882
The Three Chums: A Story of School Life by M.L. Ridley, John F. Shaw, 1882 (with other artists)
Norway in June by Olivia M. Stone, Marcus Ward & Co., 1882 (with other artists)
Among the Woblins: A Child’s Romance by Sydney Hodges, Remington & Co., 1883
Walter Alison: His Friends and Foes by M.L. Ridley, John F. Shaw & Co., 1883 (with other artists)”
His Mother’s Book by Evelyn Everett Green, John F. Shaw & Co., 1883
Not for Him: The Story of a Forgotten Hero by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1883
Winning an Empire, or The Story of Clive by Grace Stebbing, John F. Shaw & Co., 1883
Alick’s Hero by Catharine Shaw, John F. Shaw & Co., 1883
Wearyholme, or Seeding and Harvest: A Tale of the Restoration of Charles the Second by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1883
Water Gipsies, or The Adventures of Tag, Rag, and Bobtail by L.T. Meade, John F. Shaw & Co., 1883
The Three Little Doggies, Frederick Warne & Co., 1883
Phoebe’s Pool: A Story for Children by Katharine D. Cornish, J. Masters & Co., 1883
Kenneth’s Children: A Story for Boys and Girls by Stella Austin, J. Masters & Co., 1884
Sister Sue by Ismay Thorn, J. Masters & Co., 1884
Mother Bunch: A Story for Boys and Girls by Stella Austin, J. Masters & Co., 1885
Aunt Louisa’s Welcome Gift by L. Valentine, Frederick Warne & Co., 1885 (with other artists)
“Worth a Threepenny Bit,” or General Weissel’s Grandchildren, by “Yvonne”, John F. Shaw & Co., 1886
Silverdale Rectory, or The Golden Links by Grace Stebbing, John F. Shaw & Co., 1886
A Professional Secret, and Other Tales by William Wilthew Fenn, John Hogg, 1887
Aunt Louisa’s Home Companion by L. Valentine, Frederick Warne & Co., 1887 (with other artists)
Stories Told By My Cat Timothy by Felicia Melancthon, Blackie & Son, 1888
Dorothy’s Clock by Aimée de Venoix Dawson, Blackie & Son, 1888
Brave Little Women: Tales of the Heroism of Girls, Founded on Fact by Marie Trevelyan, John Hogg, 1888
Stories About My Dolls by Felicia Melancthon, Blackie & Son, 1888
Linda and the Boys by Cecilia Selby Lowndes, Blackie & Son, 1888
The Wondrous Tale of Cocky, Clucky and Cackle by Charles William Heckethorn, John Hogg, 1888
A Pair of Clogs, and Other Stories for Children by Amy Walton, Blackie & Son, 1888
A Strange Exhibition, and Other Tales for the Young by E.C. Rickards, John Hogg, 1888
Swiss Stories: For Children and Those Who Love Children by Lucy Wheelock, Blackie & Son, 1889
Joan’s Adventures at the North Pole and Elsewhere by Alice Corkran, Blackie & Son, 1889
Nöel and Geoff, or Three Christmas Days: a Story for Children by Frances Armstrong, John Hogg, 1889
Under the Walnut-Tree: Stories Told by the Birds by Frances Armstrong, John Hogg, 1890 (with other artists)
The Truth About the Dead Heart, With Reminiscences of the Author and the Actors by John Coleman, Henry J. Drane, 1890
Nobody’s Neighbour, or Jack’s Experiment by Catharine Shaw, John F. Shaw & Co., 1891
In the Enemy’s Country, or The Raven of Steinbruck: A Story of 1813 by Anna Harriet Drury, Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, 1891
The Boys of Prior’s Dean by Phoebe Allen, John Hogg, 1891
Merchant and Mountebank by “Brenda,” John F. Shaw & Co., 1891
Little Pets, John F. Shaw & Co., 1891(?)
Popular Stories by various authors, John F. Shaw & Co., 1894
Vulcan’s Revenge by anon., Sunday School Union, 1894
Up in the Old Pear Tree: A Holiday Story by S.P. Armstrong, John Hogg, 1895
The Stolen Roses by Emma Leslie, Sunday School Union, 1896
Stories Told to a Child by Jean Ingelow, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1896 (re-issue)
For Old Sake’s Sake by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1898 (re-issue)
Schooldays at Highfield House by A.N. Malan, Religious Tract Society, 1898 (with other artists)
Mother Bunch: A Story for Boys and Girls by Stella Austin, Charles Taylor, 1899
The Slave Girl of Pompeii, or By a Way They Knew Not: A Tale of the First Century by Emily Sarah Holt, John F. Shaw & Co., 1899 (re-issue)
The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald, Blackie & Son, 1900 (with Arthur Hughes) (re-issue)

Friday, February 08, 2019

Comic Cuts - 8 February 2019

Today's Comic Cuts column is going up a little later than usual because I was in London on Thursday helping to film a segment for The One Show. I was contacted last month by a BBC production office who were tasked with putting together four and a half minutes on the subject of Harry Bensley, the man who claimed that he walked around the world in an Iron Mask.

I first wrote about Harry here on Bear Alley way back in 2014, turning it into a slim book in 2016. The text was expanded for the current version of the book that was first published in the summer of 2018. There's a new draft of the book available at the moment where I've tidied up a couple of things for clarity. It's a complicated story and The One Show can only give the subject a few minutes, a stripped back version covering the main facts. If you want to explore further, well... there's a book...

So how did I end up wandering around in front of a camera in Trafalgar Square with social historian and author Ruth Goodman watching a K-Pop video being shot and then going to watch some shoes rising and falling... rising and falling... rising and falling... like breathing... at a shoe museum?

As these things usually do, it began with an e-mail from a guy called Paul from the BBC in Belfast asking whether I'd be willing to chat about Harry Bensley with a view to maybe being interviewed for a segment on The One Show. Why, yes, I would like to chat about Harry Bensley, I thought.

After a couple of interviews with a researcher (Hi, Siobhan!) trying to straighten out and simplify the storyline until a rough script could be prepared. I was due to travel up to London on the Thursday for filming at Galeria Melissa in Covent Garden at around 3:30pm. This is the aforementioned shoe museum, based at 43 King Street, which used to be the location of the National Sporting Club, where the wager between the Earl of Lonsdale and J. P. Morgan was laid down that set Harry Bensley on his way around the world in a mask. Well, that's the story, anyway.

On Wednesday, the plan changed... could I be in Trafalgar Square for 2.00pm. As I'd planned a little redundancy into the train times, I could, and easily.

I'd planned to do a little exploring of old haunts and wander down Charing Cross Road looking in some of the old book shops. But London is changing and the area where Tottenham Court Road meets New Oxford Street is just one huge building site. Denmark Street (the site of the original Forbidden Planet) is all scaffolding and the bar where FP and Titan did all their signings has gone, replaced with a rather boxy looking. The Forbidden Planet that was in New Oxford Street is now a Korean and Japanese supermarket.

There were only two secondhand bookshops down Charing Cross Road, neither of which had a particularly good SF section, so I headed off to Trafalgar Square early.

The first thing I noticed was another change. When I was a kid and we were taken to Trafalgar Square by my Mum on Nan, it was packed out with pigeons. One of the attractions was feeding them and then scrambling around on the sticky back of a lion that was covered in pigeon poop.

Well, there are only one or two pigeons these days thanks to the banning of bird seed sellers in 2001 and the 2003 ban on feeding the birds. You could still feed them on the North Terrace (outside the National Art Gallery), but that was banned in 2007. And if that wasn't enough, Ken Livingstone (who must have really hated pigeons) brought in hawks to scare off the stubborn ones who liked hanging out in central London, spending over £350,000 to kill 130 pigeons (just £2,729 per dead bird) between 2003-09.

It has definitely reduced the number of pigeons, but there's still a gull on the head of every statue.

At precisely two o'clock the phone rang and Paul tells me they are about to arrive at Trafalgar Square. We met up and he introduced me to cameraman Austin and to Ruth Goodman who will be interviewing me. We find a corner of a fountain where we begin filming. You'll be able to see some of these bits when the piece goes out, so I'll just say here that it involved answering a few questions, usually a couple of times so I could get the answers straight and get the information across concisely (anyone reading this will realise that even my writing rambles).

Then we had to walk across Trafalgar Square, avoiding the Asian girl in the tight top who was dancing like she was under attack from ants but was almost certainly trying to film a K-pop video, avoiding the conga lines of tourists also crossing the square, and trying to remember not to stare or gurn at the camera as I passed by.

Then it was off to Covent Garden and the former home of the National Sporting Club, now the Galeria Melissa, a shoe museum. This bit will actually come ahead of the Trafalgar Square part of the interview in the finished piece, so I had to avoid actually naming Harry Bensley, as he is only revealed after the Galeria Melissa interview.

I only saw a couple of rooms of the shoe museum, the psychedelic entrance hall, the room of hanging shoes and a nicer little nook with a couple of comfy armchairs. There was a bit more chat about the Iron Mask and what the wager involved. I'd spent the morning wandering around the kitchen and living room reciting "the trip involved 160 towns and cities across 40 counties in the UK, in each of which he had to get the signature of a dignitary – the mayor or a doctor – to prove that he had been there. Then he had to visit 19 countries, Ireland, North and South America, New Zealand and Australia, Japan and China. Then Africa and through Europe, back to the UK." I think I managed to repeat this almost exactly three times, along with some additional lines about a companion and a mention that he had to find a wife.

We were finished by five. The last shot was Ruth and I walking into the room with the hanging perspex boxes of shoes. I'm no expert, but I'm guessing these were all modern classics and the rising and falling of the boxes was quite hypnotic.

And that was the filming over. Ruth headed off for her taxi, I headed off for the underground and Paul and Austin headed off to the airport. I arrived at Leicester Square tube station still buoyed by adrenaline. That lasted about two minutes. Believe me, there's nothing like being bumped and buffeted around on the Northern Line to bring you straight back down to earth.

I don't know when the film will appear, but I'll be sure to let everyone know. I'm hoping that it will give the book a little bit of a boost – it only costs £5.50, so it's not a hugely expensive item, and if you're ordering something else that's not expensive enough to get free postage, it might just nudge you over the free postage limit, which means it has only cost a couple of quid.


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