Sunday, March 31, 2019

Fred Barnard

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Fred Barnard was an illustrator, caricaturist and painter who was once best-known for his illustrations for several of Charles Dickens’s novels published by Chapman & Hall in the 1870s. He also illustrated several other novels and children’s books, and worked for a wide range of periodicals.

He was born, and christened Frederick Barnard, on 16 May 1846 in Angel Street, St. Martin’s-le-Grand, in the City of London. His father, Edward Barnard (1796-1867), was a Master Silversmith (who, at the time of the 1851 census, was employing 110 men, and who, when he died, left an estate valued at just over £1 million in today’s terms), who had married Caroline Chater (1797-1876) in 1822. Fred was the last of their twelve children.

He studied art at Heatherley’s Art School in Newman Street, London, from where he exhibited his first painting at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1866. (In The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and Their Work from its Foundation in 1769 to 1904, Frederick Barnard is credited with exhibiting as early as 1858, when he was only 12 years old – this seems highly unlikely.) He then studied in Paris under Leon Bonnat – his stay there resulted in his first book, The People of Paris, a collection of charcoal drawings published by H. & C. Barnard in 1867.

By then, Barnard had already established himself as an illustrator, having been contributing to Punch and The Illustrated London News since 1863. (He continued contributing to The Illustrated London News until his death in 1896.) Throughout the remainder of the 1860s he contributed to The Broadway, Cassell’s Illustrated Readings, London Society, Cassell’s Family Magazine, Once a Week, Good Words, Good Words for the Young, and Fun.

In 1868 he moved to 2 Devonshire Place, Haverstock Hill, Hampstead, and two years later, on 11 August 1870 on the Isle of Wight, he married Alice Faraday, born in Westminster in 1847 and the daughter of James Faraday, a gas fitter (and a niece of the scientist Michael Faraday). They returned to Hampstead, where they went on to have three children:  Geoffrey (born in 1871), Marion (born in 1874), and Dorothy (born in 1878).

Fred Barnard’s breakthrough as an illustrator came in 1871, when he was commissioned by the publishers Chapman & Hall to illustrate eleven volumes in their Household Edition of the Works of Charles Dickens, including the novels Martin Chuzzlewit, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Barnaby Rudge, A Tale of Two Cities, Nicholas Nickleby and Dombey and Son.. These appeared between 1872 and 1879, and contained around 450 black and white illustrations. He famously focused on scenes other than those that Dickens’s original illustrator, Hablot K. Browne (“Phiz”) had portrayed, and for a while was regarded as one of the best interpreters of Dickens’s work. (Unlike “Phiz”, he was able to read the whole of each novel before he started work on the illustrations, whereas “Phiz” was illustrating each instalment immediately it had been written.) He went on to produce three series of Character Sketches from Dickens, published by Cassell & Co. between 1879 and 1886, and many of his Dickens illustrations appeared in other books before and after his death.

During the 1870s he also found time to illustrate a handful of books, and to contribute to several more periodicals, including Cassell’s Magazine, The Quiver, The Day of Rest, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Belgravia, The Penny Illustrated Paper and Judy. His work also appeared in number of annuals from 1868 onwards, including Routledge’s Christmas Annual, Tom Good’s Comic Annual, Judy’s Almanack, Yuletide, and The Queen Annual.

He remained in Hampstead until sometime after 1881 – firstly at 2 Devonshire Place (1871 census, which gave his name as Frederick R. Barnard – his middle name remains a mystery) and then at Warrington House, Steeles Road (1881 census, when he was recorded with his wife, three children and three servants).

During the 1880s his work appeared in many more periodicals, including Life, The Theatre, The Pictorial World, Great Thoughts, The Magazine of Art, The British Workman and Cassell’s Saturday Journal. He also illustrated a variety of books, for publishers such as Chatto & Windus, Cassell & Co., Vizetelly & Co., Hodder & Stoughton and J.W. Arrowsmith. Amongst his best-known work from this period were his illustrations for How the Poor Live by George R. Sims (which had originally appeared in The Pictorial World before appearing in hardback in 1883); Henry Irving: A Biographical Sketch (1883), and Shakespearean Scenes and Characters (1887).

As a painter, he had exhibited at the Royal Academy eight times between 1866 and 1879, and he went on to exhibit a further five times up until 1887. He was elected a member of the Society of British Artists in 1887, and he also exhibited with the Institute of Painters in Oil Colours, the Institute of Painters in Watercolours, the Fine Art Institute, and in galleries throughout the country.

In 1886 he travelled to America, staying for a couple of years and working for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and Harper’s Weekly. On his return he moved to Main Street, South Broadway, Worcestershire, joining a small colony of artists, which over time included John Singer Sargent, Francis Millet, and the writers Henry James and Edmund Gosse.

On 18 December 1891 his son Geoffrey, who was himself an artist, died in Broadway of congenital heart disease. Fred, who by then had moved back to London and was living at 34 Hamilton Gardens, St. Johns Wood, continued working, with his illustrations appearing in many more periodicals, including Black and White, Lika Joko, Chums, The Boy’s Own Paper, The Girl’s Own Paper, The Pictorial Times, The English Illustrated Magazine (for which he illustrated stories by George Gissing), Cassell’s Family Magazine, Pearson’s Weekly, The Friendly Visitor and The Pall Mall Budget. He also continued illustrating books for Chatto & Windus and Cassell & Co., and also worked for the S.P.C.K., Strahan & Co., Dean & Son and George Routledge & Co.

However, the death of his son had deeply affected him, and he began suffering from depression for which he was prescribed laudanum. His relationship with his wife deteriorated, and they eventually separated, with Alice moving to Wenman Road, Hampstead, and Fred moving in as a lodger with Annie Laura Myall at “Abermaw,” Merton Hall Road, Wimbledon. (She lived there with her husband, Ambrose Augustus Myall, a civil engineer, although they, too, had separated and were living separate lives.) On 27 September 1896 Fred died in a fire in his bedroom, a consequence of smoking in bed. The subsequent inquest heard evidence that Fred suffered from insomnia, and was prone to reading in bed for several hours. His landlady said that he did not appear to be in good health, and she thought he was at least 60 years old, rather than 50. It was agreed that the cause of the fire was smouldering ash from Fred’s pipe, which set light to his bedding and mattress, which was made of wool and straw – the cause of death was suffocation from the resultant intense smoke, and burns.

By a bizarre coincidence, one of Fred’s brothers, a commercial traveller, was slightly burned in a fire, the cause of which remained unknown, in his hotel bedroom in Torquay just two weeks later. (None of the local newspapers which reported this gave his name.)  Even sadder, however, was the death of his 31 year-old nephew Walter Cecil Barnard, a member of the Savage Club and a talented musician and entertainer, who fell from a second storey window of the Savage Club on 31 November 1897. At first it was thought he had committed suicide, but the inquest settled on a verdict of accidental death.

Barnard’s wife Alice died on 29 March 1924 at her home at 6 Elm Park Road, Chelsea, leaving an estate valued at £2,786, with probate being granted to her two unmarried daughters. They had become very close to John Singer Sargent, who often painted them and took them on painting trips to Europe. He had died on 14 April 1925, and had left Alice Barnard £5,000 in his will – this bequest presumably went to her two daughters.

Fred Barnard’s legacy as an illustrator was undoubtedly his hundreds of Dickens illustrations, which were, at the time they were published, very highly regarded. Unfortunately, they have since been rather neglected. Barnard was not, for example, included in the Oxford University Press’s The Dickens Index (1988), or in The Cambridge Companion to Charles Dickens (2001), or in Blackwell’s A Companion to Charles Dickens (2008).

Nevertheless, his contemporaries recognized his talents. In The Brothers Dalziel: A Record of Fifty Years’ Work in Conjunction with Many of the Most Distinguished Artists of the Period 1840-1890 (Methuen & Co., 1901) the authors noted:

“Barnard ranks as one of England’s truly comic artists; but he was not only comic, he was one of the most versatile artists of our time. He unquestionably stands among the foremost illustrators of Dickens. The many drawings he made for the household Edition, as well as some larger pictures, illustrating the works of the great author, all possess a certain peculiarity: while the drawings are strictly in his own style, there is just enough resemblance to the figures created by H.K. Browne to save you a shock… Our long connection with Barnard was of close intimacy and friendship; he was a delightful companion, amusing, and full of bright repartee…”

To add insult to injury, his most famous, and ambitious, painting, “Saturday Night in the East End,” painted in 1876 and widely exhibited, was lost sometime after it was bought by George R. Sims in 1883.


Books Illustrated by Fred Barnard

“Household Edition of the Works of Charles Dickens” published by Chapman & Hall:
The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, 1872 (59 illustrations)
The Personal History of David Copperfield, 1872 (61 illustrations)
Bleak House, 1873 (61 illustrations)
Barnaby Rudge, 1874 (46 illustrations)
A Tale of Two Cities, 1874 (25 illustrations)
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, 1875 (59 illustrations)
Sketches by Boz, 1876 (34 illustrations)
Dombey and Son, 1877) (62 illustrations)
Christmas Books, 1878 (28 illustrations)
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 1879 (with L. Fildes and A.G. Dalziel)
Life of Charles Dickens by John Forster, 1879
A Few Character Sketches, publisher not known, 1892(?)

Other titles
The People of Paris, H. & C. Barnard, 1867
Petsetilla’s Posey: A Fairy Tale for Young and Old by Tom Hood, George Routledge & Sons, 1870
Episodes of Fiction, or Choice Stories from the Great Novelists, William P. Nimmo, 1870 (with other artists)  1870
Pictures from English Literature by John Francis Waller, Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1870 (with other artists)
The Holiday Papers of the Circle Club, Grant & Co., 1873 (with other artists)
Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes by Edward Jenkins, W. Mullan & Sons, 1876
The Devil’s Chain by Edward Jenkins, Strahan & Co., 1876 (re-issue)
Life in Lodgings by Tom Hood, The “Fun” Officer, 1879
Jobson’s Enemies: A Tale by Edward Jenkins, Strahan & Co., 1879
A Series of Character Sketches from Dickens, Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1879
The Four Georges by W.M. Thackeray, Smith, Elder & Co., 1879 (with other artists)
God and the Man: A Romance by Robert Williams Buchanan, Chatto & Windus, 1880
Children of the Village by Mary Russell Mitford, George Routledge & Sons, 1880 (with other artists)
Joseph’s Coat by David Christie Murray, Chatto & Windus, 1881
Sussex Stories by Mrs R. O’Reilly, Strahan & Co., 1881
All Sorts and Conditions of Men: An Impossible Story by Walter Besant, Chatto & Windus. 1882
A Baker’s Dozen by L.H. Apaque, S.P.C.K., 1882
Sunlight and Shade, Being Poems and Pictures of Life and Nature, Cassell & Co., 1883
People I Have Met by E.C. Grenville Murray, Vizetelly & Co., 1883
How the Poor Live by George R. Sims, Chatto & Windus, 1883
Behind a Brass Knocker by Charles H. Ross, Chatto & Windus, 1883
Henry Irving: A Biographical Sketch by Austin Brereton, David Bogue, 1883 (with other artists)
Character Sketches from Dickens, Cassell & Co., 1884
Meg’s Mistake, and Other Sussex Stories by Eleanor Grace O’Reilly, Hodder & Stoughton, 1884
Sheridan’s Comedies: The Rivals and The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, J.R. Osgood, 1885 (with other artists)
Called Back: A Novel by Hugh Conway, J.W. Arrowsmith, 1885
A Round of Sunday Stories by L.G. Séguin, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886 (with other artists)
Character Sketches from Dickens, Cassell & Co., 1886
Strawberry Hill by Mary A. Denison, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886
A Series of Character Sketches from Thackeray, Cassell & Co., 1886
The Talbury Girls by Clare Vance, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886 (re-issue) (with other artists)
David Broome, Artist by Mrs Robert O’Reilly, W. Bartholomew, 1886 (re-issue)
The Plays of William Shakespeare, Cassell & Co., 1886-1890 (with other artists)
Shakespearean Scenes and Characters by Austin Brereton,  Cassell & Co, 1887 (with other artists)
The Sunday Book of Story and Parable, Hodder & Stoughton, 1888 (with other artists)
The Dead Man’s Secret, or The Valley of Gold by J.E. Muddock, Chatto & Windus, 1889
The Romance of Jenny Harlowe, and Sketches of Maritime Life by William Clark Russell, Chatto & Windus, 1889
The Holy Rose by Walter Besant, Chatto & Windus, 1890
A Pearl in the Shell: A Tale of Life and Love in the North Countrie by Austin Clare, S.P.C.K., 1890
The Young Folks Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, Strahan & Co., 1890 (with other artists)
Armorel of Lyonesse by Walter Besant, Chatto & Windus, 1891
Sunny Stories, and Some Shady Ones by James Payn, Chatto & Windus, 1891
Colonel Starbottle’s Client, and Some Other People by Brett Harte, Chatto & Windus, 1891
Players of the Period: A Series of Anecdotal, Biographical and Critical Monographs of the Leading English Actors of Today by Arthut Goddard, Dean & Son, 1891 (with other artists)
Twilight Dreams: Being Poems and Pictures of Life and Nature, Cassell & Co., 1891 (with other artists)
Painted Faces “On” and “Off” by Charles H. Ross, W.J. Sinkins, 1891 (with other artists)
A Perilous Secret by Charles Reade, Chatto & Windus, 1892
The Uttermost Farthing by Helen Shipton, S.P.C.K., 1893
Jewel Mysteries I Have Known: From a Dealer’s Note Book by Max Pemberton, Ward, Lock & Bowden, 1894 (with R. Caton Woodville)
Charles Dickens: A Gossip About His Life, Works and Characters by Thomas Archer, Cassell & Co., 1894 (with other artists)
Pixton Parish: A Story for Young Men and Women by Florence Moore, S.P.C.K., 1895
Pictures from Dickens, With Readings by Charles Dickens, Ernest Nister, 1895 (with other artists)
Smith’s Weakness: The Simple Tale of an Uphill Fight by George Manville Fenn, S.P.C.K., 1896
A Little Mother to the Others by L.T. Meade, F.V. White & Co., 1896
The King’s Stirrup: A Tale of the Forest by Elizabeth Harcourt Mitchell, S.P.C.K., 1896
Whispering Tongues by Phoebe Allan, S.P.C.K., 1896
Ruth Davenant by W.J. Bettison, S.P.C.K., 1896
Frank Mildmay, or The Naval Officer by Frederick Marryat, George Routledge & Sons, 1896 (with W.H. Overend) (re-issue)
Stage, Study and Studio, as Pictured by Fred Barnard ed. by John Alexander Hammerton, London Educational Book Co., 1900
John Strong the Boaster and Other Pithy Papers by George Mogridge, Religious Tract Society, 1904
Scenes and Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens, Chapman & Hall, 1908 (with other artists)
Little Books on Great Writers: Charles Dickens by William Teignmouth Shore, Cassell & Co., 1910
William Makepeace Thackeray by Sidney Dark, Cassell & Co., 1912
Sports and Pastimes ed. by J.A. Hammerton, Educational Book Co., 1912(?) (with other artists)
Some Rogues and Vagabonds of Dickens by Walter Dexter, Cecil Palmer, 1927

Friday, March 29, 2019

Comic Cuts - 29 March 2019

I had a break mid-week from the work that I've been doing for the past few months as a commission came in from a newspaper for an obituary that will now go on file until the appropriate time.  (Obviously I'm not going to say who it was for, but it was an author whose work I know and like.) Around that, I've managed to almost finish the text of the first two Gwyn Evans books, which are now properly sized and laid out. I just need to put in something at the back of the book to cross-advertise the rest of the series, so I'm not far off finishing.

I also still have to do the covers. I have a slightly firmer idea of what I'm hoping to do with them, but I haven't had a chance to actually put that idea to the test of actually doing it. Are my Photoshop skills up to it? Are my ideas workable, or will the whole thing turn into a disaster? Honestly, I don't know. I haven't had a spare day for weeks to even begin experimenting.

I did, on the other hand, have a brilliant family day out on Sunday. We even went to the pub and had a nice walk in the afternoon. I'm aware that it sounds like my niece and her husband came round to the care home to take me out for the day, but that's kind of what it felt like. Sundays have been the only day of the week I've had to work on things that I want to work on for the past few months but even I have to admit that it can be a little claustrophobic in my little office, especially when the sun is shining outside. I've had magazines that need indexing (I still try to contribute to the FictionMags Index when I can), tidying up cover photos, answering emails from sometimes weeks earlier, do bits of research, sort out more things ready for Ebay, and make tiny inroads into tidying up. It all takes time and getting out of the house was a treat.

I finally knuckled down to watch The Titans, which had mixed reviews when the first episode appeared. I was almost tempted not to bother, but I do want to watch Doom Patrol and that is tied in to The Titans, making the latter required viewing.

There are a lot of introductions in The Titans. The Doom Patrol are introduced in episode four, but its a bit like paying a fortune for a comic that has the first appearance of a character, only to find that actually they're in the background of panel three, page eight. The Doom Patrol are here, but they're little more than set dressing and have nothing to do with moving the plot forward.

So let's start at the beginning.

Dick Grayson is a detective with the Detroit PD, having walked away from his life in Gotham City. Still tormented by the death of his parents, he has found solace in being Robin... but his association with Batman is turning him darker and more violent. In an effort to step out from Batman's shadow, he tries to discard the Robin side of his persona, but finds that being a vigilante is sometimes the only way to dispense justice in Detroit.

He is recognised by Rachel Roth, a young teen whose stepmother has just been murdered, but whose psychic abilities allow her to flee to Detroit, where she is arrested. Dick, living up to his name, refuses to help her, but does ask after the stepmother. By the time he realises Rachel has been telling the truth, she has been abducted from the police station.

Meanwhile, a girl awakens in a car with no memory of how she got there. Kory Anders, aka Starfire (for it is she) has betrayed gangster Konstantin Kovar, who she subsequently burns to a crisp when he threatens to kill her while she is questioning him about who she is.

Meanwhile, Rachel kills her kidnapper by allowing her dark side to emerge.

Meanwhile, a green tiger steals some stock from a store before turning into a young boy with green hair. Gar Logan later befriends Rachel and these two are probably the most enjoyable pair in the show.

Dick and Kory both have a habit of running off whenever problems get too much for them. Brooding and conflicted, especially after the new Robin shows up, Dick Grayson shows none of the leadership qualities that you'd want in a leader. In fact, it is only with the arrival of Donna Troy (Wonder Girl) that you think "Finally, a grown up!" Despite the sex and language (both of which are still relatively mild), this is certainly not an adult show... young adult maybe, but for the most part everyone is reacting to situations at the level of early teen (the same problem DC's shows have over on The CW). That works fine for Rachel and Gar, but not for other characters.

But it's not all bad. The aforementioned Wonder Girl shows promise, and Hawk and Dove, introduced in episode two, have potential. They have problems founded in their troubled relationship and troubled pasts, but they have genuine affection for each other. The murderous family who are sent to track down Rachel are bickering, funny and chilling. And, yes, the Doom Patrol seem an interesting bunch. The main cast, incidentally, are fine... it's the characters that need a bit of work.

Overall, I'm glad I stuck around to the end. There is to be a second season, and if the writers can get to grips with Dick Grayson and let him come to terms with who he is, maybe that will stop him sucking all the fun out of the show. The show raises a few questions about the violence of vigilantes in the DC Universe, but doesn't yet have any answers. It will be interesting to see where it goes while searching for them.

To end this week's column with something I spotted on Flickr, where someone had sourced the two elements that went into the making of the cover to Hate by Hank Janson. I've added a couple of additional bits here, but I need to acknowledge Uilke, who spotted this.

The artist who put together the Hate cover took elements from two American paperbacks, Beyond Defeat by Hans Werner Richter (Crest Books) and We Walk Alone by Ann Aldrich (Gold Medal Books).  The original of the Richter was subsequently used by Digit Books and was also used abroad.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 27 March 2019.

2000AD Prog 2024
Cover: Jon Davis-Hunt
JUDGE DREDD: UNEARTHED by Rob Williams, Chris Weston (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
KINGMAKER: OUROBOROS by Ian Edginton (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
SURVIVAL GEEKS: DUNGEONS & DATING (BASIC) by Emma Beeby, Gordon Rennie (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse Ville (l)
MAX NORMAL: HOW THE MAX GOT HIS STRIPES by Guy Adams (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Jim Boswell (c) Simon Bowland (l)
GREY AREA: MAKING HISTORY by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Illustrators #25 (Spring 2019)

The silver anniversary issue of Illustrators has a certain glamour about it, with a silver cover featuring the artwork of Milo Manara and Greg Hildebrandt (front and back). In fact, glamour is the theme of this issue, with articles about Manara, Hidebrandt, Art Frahm and Margaret Brundage... so glamour in many different forms rather than of one note and one style.

Milo Manara is one of Italy's masters of erotic art. I've always thought his work is explicit without being gratuitous, the sexuality an integral part of the storylines he illustrates. Manara's first regular comic strip work was drawing a masked secret agent/vigilante for 22 episodes of the comic pocket book Genius in 1969. His switch to erotic comics came in 1971 when he began illustrating the series Jolanda de Almaviva, about a female pirate.

He came to wider public attention through the pages of Metal Hurlant and (A Suivre), although his true forte was discovered in 1983 when he began contributing 'Il gioco' to Playmen (an Italian Playboy-style magazine). Translated as Click (1985), it tells the story of a beautiful but frigid woman who is sexually awakened when a remote-controlled device is surgically implanted in her. It became a global hit and follow-ups like 'Il prfumo dell'invisibile' (Butterscotch) and 'Candid camera' (Hidden Camera) cemented Manara's reputation as one of the world's finest erotic artists.

Since then he has worked on many other comic strips, illustrations, film posters... even for Marvel Comics.

Greg Hildebrandt has also worked for Marvel Comics – and their rivals DC – although they (Greg and his twin brother Tim) are better known for their work on Star Wars and many illustrations related to Tolkein's novels  The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Since 1999, Greg has turned his talents to pin-up art and has since produced over 100 paintings, often with a noir aesthetic, which he publishes under the banner of American Beauties.

Art Frohm was one of the pin-up artists of the golden age of pin-up calendars. Having trained at Chicago's famous Art School, he set up his own studio in 1935. He became famous for his humorous trade mark:  the fragility of knicker elastic. Time and time again, his pin-up beauties have become entangled in their own fallen undies just as a breeze / an animal / a door causes their skirt or dress to billows up, revealing well toned thighs but nothing more. Darn that pants elastic.

Frohm also worked in advertising, creating a number of iconic images, including Coca Cola, Coppertone, and the character depicted on Quaker Oats packaging.

Margaret Brundage, famous for her pulp covers for Weird Tales, was also from Chicago and famous for her drawings of nude or near nude females. She studied at McKinley High School, a contemporary of Walt Disney, and later worked at the Dill Pickle Club during the Prohibition Era, where she met Myron Brundage, whose interests were radical politics, alcohol and women, not necessarily in that order. They married in 1927 and divorced in 1939, during which time Margaret had to be the breadwinner.

She painted covers and produced illustrations for Weird Tales, Golden Fleece and Oriental Stories, but her work fell out of favour following the death of editor Farnsworth Wright in 1940 and due to post-war 'decency' drives that meant Brundage's semi-nudes were no longer allowed. The remainder of her life until her death in 1976 was spent in relative poverty.

For more information on Illustrators and back issues, visit the Book Palace website, where you can also find details of their online editions, and news of upcoming issues. Issue 26 will have features on John Millar Watt, Petar Meseldžija, Philip Mendoza and Arthur Barbosa.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

E J Wheeler

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

E.J. Wheeler was best-known as a member of the staff of Punch from 1880 onwards, and as the illustrator of a number of re-issues of the novels of Henry Fielding and Frederick Marryat.

He was born at 111 Praed Street, Paddington, on 9 February 1847 and baptised, as Edward Winning Wheeler (although he was later known as Edward Joseph Wheeler) at St. John’s Church, Paddington, on 28 March 1847. His father, Edward, was a railway clerk, born in London in around 1819, who had married Ann Alexander, born in London at around the same time, at St. John’s Church on 13 August 1837. They had four other children besides Edward; Hannah (1838), Jane (1845), Alfred (1849) and Henry (1852).

At the time of the 1851 census, the family was living at 38 Ferdinand Street, Kentish Town, with Edward senior working as a railway porter. There appears to be no trace of the family in 1861 census, but in 1871 they were living at 31 Dalby Street, Kentish Town, with Edward senior now a railway carrier foreman, and Edward Junior working as a portrait painter. It is not known where Edward trained as an artist.

His earliest-known work as an illustrator appeared in the magazine Belgravia in 1878. In 1880, he joined the staff of Punch, where he remained for over 20 years, producing theatrical sketches and illustrations to accompany pieces written by the magazine’s editor Francis Burnand. In 1893-1894 he illustrated a series of Sherlock Holmes parodies, The Adventures of Picklock Holes, written by R.C. Lehmann under the pseudonym of “Cunnin Toil,” which were later published in hardback.

Wheeler went on to contribute to a small number of other periodicals, including Good Words, Little Wide-Awake, The Cornhill Magazine, The Magazine of Music and The Black Cat. His work also appeared the annual Punch Almanack and in Hood’s Comic Annual.

His earliest-known book illustrations appeared in 1879, in a volume in Smith, Elder & Co.’s re-issues of the works of William Makepeace Thackeray. Two years later, he began illustrating sheet music for the publisher Stanley Lucas, Weber & Co. In 1886, he illustrated an edition of Frederick Marryat’s Masterman Ready for Frederick Warne & Co., and two years later he illustrated a collection of comic extracts from Dickens and a re-issue of Marryat’s Mr Midshipman Easy for G. Bell & Sons. Ten years later, when George Routledge & Sons launched their 22-volume series The Novels of Frederick Marryat, Wheeler was commissioned to illustrate 10 volumes, which appeared between 1897 and 1899. In 1893, he was commissioned by J.M. Dent & Co. to illustrate six volumes in their series of the works of Henry Fielding, including Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews, Jonathan Wild and Amelia, and this was followed by a commission from the same publisher for illustrations for three of their re-issues of works by Laurence Sterne, including Tristram Shandy.

In 1894-1895, he illustrated six novels in a re-issue of the works of Charles Lever (an Irish novelist, born in 1806 and died in 1872), which were published in America by Little, Brown & Co., of Boston.

He also illustrated a handful of children’s books, including three boys’ school stories (By A.E. Cheyne, Andrew Home and H. Barrow-North), and an adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels.

In 1890, at Hendon Register Office, he married Marianne Maggs Jones, born in Liverpool on 19 June 1859 and the daughter of Henry Thomas Octavius Jones, a letter carrier, and his wife Elizabeth, née Fennah, who had married in Liverpool in 1857. At the time of the 1881 census, she was a student boarding at 135 Queens Road, Paddington. After the marriage, Edward and Marianne lived with Edward’s parents at 25 Maitland Park Villas, Kentish Town. Edward’s father, then aged 73, was working as a coal merchant. Edward and Marianne went on to have six children: Edward Henry (born in 1891), John Charles (1893), Marianne (1895), Cecilia (1897), Teresa Emily (1899), and Anne Elizabeth (1901).

His work appeared in a handful of exhibitions, although these were associated with his humorous work for Punch – for example, in 1889 his work was included an an exhibition devoted to “English Humorists” at the Royal Instuitute of painters in Watercolours. Throughout the 1880 and 1890s he helped with dramatic entertainments associated with the Priory Schools in Hampstead, and in the early 1900s he was a member of the St. Dominic’s Dramatic Society.

He appears to have done very little work after 1900, with only a handful of books with his illustrations appearing up until 1907. At the time of the 1901 census, he and his family were living at 10 Maitland Park Road, Kentish Town, and they were still there ten years later, with Edward describing himself as an artist and draughtsman.

He appears to have moved back to 25 Maitland Park Villas, which is where he died on 24 November 1933, leaving a small estate valued at just £378. His wife subsequently moved to 25 Maybank Avenue, Wembley, which is where she died in 1940.


Books Illustrated by E. J. Wheeler
The Memoirs of Mr Charles J. Yellowplush; The Fitz-Boodle Papers, Cox’s Diary; and Character Sketches by William Makepeace Thackeray, Smith, Elder & Co, 1879 (with other artists)
Dance Grotesques for Piano by Arthur H. Jackson (3 nos.), Stanley Lucas, Weber & Co., 1881
Our Golden Youth: A Satire of the Day by anon., published for the proprietor at 6 York Street, Covent Garden, 1881 (with other artists)
The Captain’s Room by Walter Besant, Chatto & Windus, 1883
Childe Chappie’s Pilgrimage by E.J. Milliken, Bradbury & Agnew, 1883
Masterman Ready, or The Wreck of the Pacific by Frederick Marryat, Frederick Warne & Co., 1886
The Big Otter: A Tale of the Great Nor’-West by R.M. Ballantyne, George Routledge & Sons, 1887
Tales from Pickwick, with The Five Sisters of York and the Baron of Grogzwig from Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, George Routledge & Sons, 1888
Metzler’s Red Album (4 volumes) (music), Metzler & Co., 1888
Mr Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marryat, G. Bell & Sons, 1888 (re-issue)
The Billow and the Rock: A Tale by Harriet Martineau, George Routledge & Sons, 1889 (re-issue)
Little Red Waistcoat: Takes and Sketches for Little People, George Routledge & Sons, 1890 (with other artists)
Dick Layard, or a Schoolboy’s Trial by A.E. Cheyne, S.P.C.K., 1892
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding, J.M. Dent & Co., 1893 (with Herbert Railton) (re-issue)
The Adventures of Joseph Andrews and His Friend Mr Abraham Adams by Henry Fielding, J.M. Dent & Co., 1893 (with Herbert Railton) (re-issue)
The History of the Life of the Late Mr Jonathan Wild by Henry Fielding, J.M Dent & Co., 1893 (with Herbert Railton) (re-issue)
Amelia by Henry Fielding, J.M. Dent & Co., 1893 (with Herbert Railton) (re-issue)
A Journey From This World to the Next, and A Voyage to Lisbon by Henry Fielding, J.M. Dent & Co., 1893 (with Herbert Railton) (re-issue)
The Life and Death of Tom Thumb, and Some Miscellaneous Writings by Henry Fielding, J.M. Dent & Co., 1893 (with Herbert Railton) (re-issue)
The Letters, Sermons and Miscellaneous Writings of Laurence Sterne by Laurence Sterne, J.M. Dent & Co., 1894
The Pictorial Tutor, The “Magazine of Music” Office, 1894
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne, J.M. Dent & Co., 1894 (re-issue)
The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne, J.M. Dent & Co., 1894
Gulliver’s Travels, Adapted for the Young by Jonathan Swift, George Routledge & Sons, 1895
From Fag to Monitor, or Fighting to the Front by Andrew Home, A. & C. Black, 1896
The Professor’s Experiment by Margaret Hungerford, Chatto & Windus, 1896
The Boys of Dormitory Three: A Tale of Mystery, Fun and Frolic by H. Barrow-North, George Routledge & Sons, 1899
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas, George Routledge & Sons, 1899
An Evening with “Punch”, Bradbury & Agnew, 1900 (with other artists)
The Adventures of Piclock Holes, Together with a Perversion and a Burlesque by R.C. Lehmann, Bradbury, Agnew & Co., 1901 (with Edward T. Reed)
Mr Punch’s Dramatic Sequels, Bradbuary & Agnew, 1901
The Voice of the River: A Dartmoor Story by Olive Katharine Parr, George Routledge & Sons, 1903 (with Katharine Parr)
Mr Punch’s Railway Book, Amalgamated Press, 1906 (with other artists)
Back Slum Idylls by Olive Katharine Parr, R. & T. Washbourne, 1907

Re-issues of he novels of Frederick Marryat, published by George Routledge & Sons:
Peter Simple, 1896
Jacob Faithful 1896
Japhet in Search of a Father 1896
Rattlin the Reefer 1897
The Settlers in Canada 1898
Valerie: An Autobiography 1898
Percival Keene 1898
The Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet 1898
The Privateersman 1898
The Little Savage 1899

Re-issues of the novels of Charles Lever, published by Little, Brown & Co., Boston, USA:
The Bramleighs of Bishop’s Folly, to which is added, Diary and Notes of Horace Templeton 1894
The Fortune of Glencore 1894
Sir Brooke Fossbrooke, to which is added St. Patrick’s Eve by 1895 (with Hablot K. Browne)
Tony Butler 1895
Lord Kilgobbin 1895

ComicScene v2 #2 (May 2019)

I haven't reviewed an issue of ComicScene for a couple of months, during which period the magazine has earned itself some well-deserved mainstream distribution. Editor Tony Foster deserves a round of applause, because distribution outside of the relatively small world of British comics collectors is the only way ComicScene is ever likely to grow its audience to sustainable levels.

To broaden its appeal, ComicScene has also broadened its scope. The latest issue has articles on historical Batman of the 1940s, DC's new Wonder Comics imprint, while Joel Meadows' TripWire section celebrates the 80th birthday of Batman with a look at his adventures on the small and big screen, plus Hellboy, Shazam! and reviews of The Umbrella Academy and Doom Patrol.

British comics are still given ample coverage, with Richard Sheaf's feature on Digby; both Richard Bruton and Peter Gouldson take a look at the history of Captain Britain; Chris Baker discusses his latest comic, Our Land (available online at; Stephen Jewell interviews Rob Williams about the latest 'Roy of the Rovers' graphic novel, while Richard Bruton pieces together the history of the ill-fated football comic Glory, Glory; Richard Piers Rayner is interviewed; and wrapping up the issue is Ian Wheeler's look back at a classic Doctor Who strip. Lew Stringer makes his debut as a regular columnist with a look back at humour strips, dipping briefly into the works of many artists.

I'm pleased to see that my plea for the occasional longer feature has been answered – in fact, some of the pieces above are sequels to articles in the first issue, and Peter Gouldson's article on Marvel UK in this issue is one episode of a lengthy, multi-part history of the first ten-or-so years of the company.

Regular Pat Mills asks "Could there be another 2000AD today?" in his 'Last Word' column and answers his own question with the creation of a parody entitled Space Warp in my favourite piece in the whole mag.

I'm also very happy to see that the reviews section continues to eschew the mainstream and reviews a wide range of independent and small press comics.

Details about subscriptions can be obtained from Rates for print issues for the UK are £5.99 for one issue; £35 for 6 issues; £68 for 12 issues.You can get a pdf version for £3.99 (1), £22 (6) or £40 (12).

Payment can be made via PayPal to For other options, and for international rates for the print edition, visit the website.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Comic Cuts - 22 March 2019

My latest little side project to reprint a few Gwyn Evans novels has progressed a little. I now have text for the first two books and hopefully both sets of text have been stripped of any OCR errors. At some point I'm going to have to scan the other two books, but not this weekend as I have family things planned.

I'm still not sure what to do about covers. I have a good scan of the third cover but only middling-sized scans of books one and two. I only have a tiny, low-res, wonky photograph of the fourth that will look terrible if I try to blow it up. It's unfixable. Given these circumstances, I'm thinking that I need new front covers and can use small versions of the original covers as part of the design for the back of the books. I might just about be able to get away with the low quality of that last one that way.

But that leaves me with the problem of needing four covers. I've been mulling this over all week and I'm still coming up blank. Actually, that's not quite true... I have had one idea – I just don't know whether I've got the skills to make it look good (I'm not an artist, nor am I a graphic designer). I'll have to have a play around to see if I can make the idea work.

I was a fan of True Detective from the beginning, the eight-episode debut series that starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. It was broadcast back in 2014 and I picked up the DVD in 2016, followed pretty quickly by the DVD of season two, which was an entirely new cast (Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams), story and director. If I remember correctly, it was given a bit of a kicking when it was broadcast in 2015 and there were questions over whether a third season would be made.

Well, it was, and it debuted on HBO two months ago.  It retains its creator and chief writer, Nic Pizzolatto, and saw director Cary Joji Fukunaga return. Fukunaga, incidentally, replaced Danny Boyle as the director of the next James Bond movie, recently revealed to be called Shatterhand.

The new series of eight episodes has been very well reviewed and I'm not going to buck that trend. The story weaves through three different time periods and three different investigations into the same crime. Two young children go missing in 1980 and two Arkansas police officers are assigned to the case. Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and Roland West (Stephen Dorff) question the father and follow up what few clues they uncover. Hays, a former army vet with experience of tracking in Vietnam, discovers the site of the young Will Purcell's death and his body hidden in a cave. The boys' younger sister, Julie, remains untraced.

In 1990, the case is reopened when fingerprints matching Julie Purcell's are discovered. West is put in charge and he persuades his bosses to bring in Hays, who has been demoted from homicide. It is West's task not to upset the conviction of a Native American named Brett Woodard for the murder of Will Purcell but he agrees with Hays that this time they will discover the truth.

In 2015, Hays is suffering from memory loss but agrees to be filmed for a TV show about the murders. His interviewer seems to have new evidence and Hays looks for the first time at the book his wife (whom he met during the original investigation) wrote on the murders.

The threads of the investigation of the missing children and the personal lives of the investigators interweave as the story unfolds during these three different time frames. At times the story threatens to grow bigger, into a tale of sex trafficking with possible connections to Las Vegas... and then it shrinks back down to become a series of more personal tragedies. It will certainly keep you uncertain of where it's going right up to the end.

It was a slow burn compared to the last couple of shows I've watched (The Punisher, Counterpart), but all the better for it and the whole thing wraps up in a very satisfying way. I like these anthology series. I think I'd have to say my favourite is Fargo, but True Detective isn't far behind. I guess we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed now that there will be a season four.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Commando 5211-5214

Brand new Commando issues are out today! We’ve got fighting jazzmen in Italy, bicycles to Dunkirk, and a giant gun on the loose! Plus, the final issue of the WAR ACROSS EUROPE trilogy!

5211: WAR ACROSS EUROPE: Revenge!

The final issue of WAR ACROSS EUROPE is here and vengeance is nigh! In this instalment, Stefan comes face to face with his arch-nemesis, Kriminaldirektor Hans Keller, a vile gestapo agent and the person who killed his best friend. With the help of French Resistance member, Maria, Stefan will have his revenge!

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

5212: None So Brave

Get ready to get jazzed up, cool cats – if you can dig it, daddy-o! Eric Hebden’s jazz musician, Nicky Quinn, could really blow a trumpet, but when it came to the war he wanted to jive straight outta there, man! But Quinn and his jazz band are about to meet their match in Sergeant Major Jake Bradley who’s as tone deaf as he is determined to make those jazzmen into soldiers!

Story: E Hebden
Art: CT Rigby
Cover: Penalva
Originally Commando No. 630 (1972).

5213: Battle Blisters

Graeme Neil Reid bursts into the scene with another vibrant cover! This time bringing George Low’s “Lanky Larry” to life as he heads towards Dunkirk on his unusual transport! This slapstick comedy will have you falling off your seat, but first – on your bike, sunshine!

Story: George Low
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: Graeme Neil Reid

5214: Hunt that Gun!

How do you stop a psychotic Nazi hell-bent on destroying the British with his gigantic gun? Well, you’ve got to find it first! Ian Kennedy really lends credence to the K5 railway gun's sheer size and stature with a stupendous wrap-around cover, which really attests to the magnitude of the evil weapon in Alan Hemus’ story!

Story: Alan Hemus
Art: Gordon C Livingstone
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2719 (1993).

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rebellion releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 20 March 2019.

2000AD Prog 2123
Cover: Leigh Gallagher

JUDGE DREDD: CITIZENSHIP by Rory McConville (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SURVIVAL GEEKS: DUNGEONS & DATING by Emma Beeby, Gordon Rennie (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse Ville (l)
KINGMAKER: OUROBOROS by Ian Edginton (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
GREY AREA: MAKING HISTORY by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 406
Cover: Cliff Robinson

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: New Comics: Gryyym, Classic Comics: Tammy & Jinty, interviews with Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard
Bagged reprint: Operation: Overlord Vol.3

Fran of the Floods
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08672-8, 21 March 2019, 113pp, £12.99. Available via Amazon.

This book couldn't be more relevant if it tried - it comes from the pages of the legendary Jinty and is ideal for youngsters and nostalgists alike.
    Due to increased climate change, the sun starts to melt the ice caps and evaporates the world’s oceans, causing an onslaught of never ending rain. At first young Hazelford resident, Fran Scott, finds the whole thing amusing, but as the town begins to disappear underwater, the desperation of her predicament becomes all too clear.
    After losing her parents in the chaos, Fran decides to seek out her sister June, who recently moved to Scotland. But as the situation gets worse and society begins to crumble around her, Fran must overcome a vast array of dangers, including disease, wild animals, marauding gangs of vicious thugs and most bizarre of all, the self-proclaimed king of Glasgow!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fran of the Floods

The 1960s and 1970s were the great age of disaster strips in comics. The term "cozy catastrophe" was coined by Brian Aldiss to describe a couple of novels by John Wyndham, but has broadened over the years to encompass any post-apocalypse novel where the protagonist survives relatively unscathed in a world that has been emptied through disaster or invasion; you might also add that rebuilding the world seems to fall to a group of middle class folk, who immediately hole up in a deserted mansion and start growing vegetables and raising free range chickens.

No such luck for Fran, where freak weather has turned even the Sahara desert into a tropical rain forest and in suburban Hazelford the rivers are on the rise. Frances "Fran" Scott and her best friend Jill take advantage of the weather to get away from her fractious family and have some fun sailing a raft. Fran's scientifically-minded headmistress asserts that the ice caps are melting and this is the end of the world as we know it. She has been trying to keep the children's minds off the problem by organising a concert, while Fran's parents have been stockpiling food.

Towns around the Fens have disappeared underwater... and then the Thames bursts its banks. Meanwhile, tensions spill over in the Scott household and Fran's sister, June, leaves her job and escapes to Scotland. The relentless rain causes a rush on food and when the supermarket runs out, neighbours break into Fran's house after hearing about their stockpile. The Scott's are saved by Rod Pearson and a gang of his friends.

June is safe in Scotland, according to a letter, bit Hazelford is about to be destroyed as the reservoir cracks under the weight of water and sends a flood tumbling down onto the town and to the school just as Fran takes her turn on the stage at the school concert.

Alan Davidson's apocalyptic tale originally appeared in the pages of Jinty in 1976 and is being touted as an early example of cli-fi, although it is not man-made climate change that causes this disaster but the sun burning a little hotter. The intense heat and tropical jungles growing in England are more reminiscent of The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard (1962) than, say, Forty Days of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson (2004).

It is not a tale that shies away from some of the grimmer aspects of disaster: people's fear, frustration, anger and resentment all spill out on the pages of the story. The grief in Fran's face as Rosie is swept away by the waters, her fear that she is the only survivor, and the knowledge that – having discovered a young girl and her pet – that the pet might be the only source of food they have... all are chillingly depicted by Phil Gascoine, a veteran of girls' comics who knew not to hold back with emotions.

Which was fortunate, because there is an emotional roller-coaster to get through before this tale is told. Fran and Jill (who has also survived) are captured by the Black Circle, who are using captives as slave labour to survive; then there's the eerie, guarded village that Fran breaks into only to find herself in a quarantine zone for an unrecognised plague and the community living in the limestone caves beneath the Pennines; finally – and it might indeed be the last thing they do – they meet the extraordinary David, King of Glasgow.

While disaster stories were popular in boys' comics (Buster was home to many, including one entitled 'The Drowned World' in 1964), few had anything like the same kind of emotional resonance as 'Fran of the Floods'. Fran also played a significant role in the history of Jinty, which had launched in the spring of 1974 with the usual mix of girls' adventure strips. Fran's adventures proved so popular, the strip ran for seven months and started a trend in Jinty for the kind of science fiction stories it was to become most remembered for, including other early environmental yarns and cosy catastrophies.

This is another superb choice of stories from Rebellion's Treasure of British Comics range of titles. Let's hope there are many more of the same to come.

Fran of the Floods. Rebellion ISBN  9781781086728, 21 March 2019, 112pp, £12.99. Available via Amazon.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

P. Walford

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

P. Walford was known to collectors of children’s as the illustrator of a handful of school and adventure stories, although this work appears to have been an occasional sideline from his main job as an art teacher. Unfortunately, his life is something of a mystery.

He was born on 31 January 1893 in Buckingham, and christened Percival John Walford, the last of five children born to William Henry Walford (born in Brackley, Northamptonshire, in 1854) a postmaster, and his wife Alice Keene, née Simmons (a farmer’s daughter born in Buckingham in 1856), who had married in 1878. The family moved from Buckingham at some point after Percival’s birth, initially to 69 High Streety, Walton le Soken Essex (1901 census), and then to Englefield Green, Surrey (1911 census). At that time, Percival was recorded as an art student, although it is not known where he was studying.

At the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted in the 5th London Regiment as a Rifleman, reaching the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, although further details of his war service are not known. On his discharge, he moved to 26 Ellerslie Road, Hammersmith.

In 1922 he married Ida Katherine Burgess, born on 24 September 1901 and the daughter of Alfred Burgess, a Quantity Surveyor, and Florimel Grace, née Hutchinson. They moved to 2 St. Johns Park Mansions, Pemberton Gardens, Islington, and went on to have four children, beginning with Robert in 1923.

Walford’s brief career as an illustrator appears to have begun in 1924, when he contributed to The Detective Magazine, and illustrated two books for the Sheldon Press, The Secret of Marsh Haven by Alfred Judd and The Lone Shanty on the Hill by Nancy M. Hayes, and another Alfred Judd story, The Mystery of Meldon School, for Jarrold & Sons. He went on to illustrate at least four more books for the Sheldon Press, including two more boys’ school stories, and one book for S.W. Partridge & Co., between 1925 and 1927, and he also contributed to Modern Weekly in 1928.

Not all of the books Walford illustrated credited him as illustrator on the title page, and as his signature was very small, and often written on a dark background, it is likely that he illustrated many more books than the ten that have been identified.

By 1933 Walford was working as an Art Teacher (as evidenced by his mother’s will, which named him as an executor (along with his brother Ernest, working as an ironmonger). However, where he was working is not known. In the 1939 Register he was recorded as an “Art Master and Artist” at 83 Summerland Avenue, Minehead, Somerset, whilst his wife and children were living at Morecroft, Manor Road, Twickenham, to where they had moved in or prior to 1934. They remained there until at least 1957.

Walford is known to have illustrated two more children’s books in 1945 and 1948, but nothing after this has been identified. Walford died, at “Shappon,” Kings Somborne, Stockbridge,  Hampshire, on 22 March 1978, of chronic myocarditis and ischaemic heart disease. He did not leave a will. His wife died at Morecroft, Muss Lane, Kings Somborne, Hampshire, on 31 March 1984, leaving an estate valued at £79, 708.


Books illustrated by P. Walford
The Mystery of Meldon School by Alfred Judd, Jarrolds, 1924
The Secret of Marsh Haven: A Story of School Adventure by Alfred Judd, Sheldon Press, 1924
The Lone Shanty on the Hill by Nancy M. Hayes, Sheldon Press, 1924
The School Over the Way by Wallace Grey, Sheldon Press, 1925
Fellow Fags by Ethel Talbot, Sheldon Press, 1926
My Lady Venturesome: A Story of 1865 by Dorothea Moore, Sheldon Press, 1926
The Family Next Door by Ethel Talbot, Sheldon Press, 1927
Adventurers All by Dorothea Moore, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1927
Wings Over the Atlantic: A Tale of Coastal Command by Rowland Walker, A. & C. Black, 1945
Animal Tales from History by Kate Floyd Morton, Evans Brothers, 1948

Friday, March 15, 2019

Comic Cuts - 15 March 2019

The problem with having a full-time job – which is what I have at the moment, even if it's only temporary – is that I keep looking enviously at other projects and wishing I could work on them. There's the Valiant index, for instance, or the fifth volume of Forgotten Authors, or a return to the Caught in the Act project, a top-to-toe revision of The Mushroom Jungle, or the book on pirate comics publishers.

I dip my toe into these occasionally as new information presents itself, but I've not had a chance to knuckle down and do any substantial work on anything outside of my current employment since November. The only break I've had (ignoring Christmas and New Year as that was family time, not extracurricular work time) was three days off to prep, film and recover from the Iron Mask segment that will appear on The One Show. The production company asked for an additional image on Wednesday, and say its currently being edited.

Thanks to the arrival of a book I've been looking out for on Saturday, I've finally picked a project that I'll see through to publication. It won't be of the greatest interest to most of you, but it will hopefully please a few.

I'm planning to reprint some of Gwyn Evans' novels. Back in 2004, I wrote an essay about Evans and his writing career. He was primarily a writer of crime fiction, especially Sexton Blake thrillers. But his life outside his writing, as a Bohemian alcoholic, I found just as fascinating.

I expanded the essay into a book called Gwyn Evans: The Lunatic, The Lover and The Poet in 2012, which I didn't expect to sell more than a few dozen copies... and it didn't upset those expectations. Part of the reason Evans is now forgotten is that none of his work is in print. His delightful Christmas adventures of Sexton Blake were reprinted by Howard Baker in 1974, and still turns up second hand online, but you have to know about it and look for it. After forty-five years you're unlikely to just stumble upon it.

So when I was writing the book I thought it would be an idea to get a couple of novels back into print. After all, they're out of copyright so I could do it relatively cheaply. I put together the texts of a couple of books, but then allowed myself to be distracted by a couple of other projects, negotiating the rights to reprint the four Sexton Blake Annuals (all of which included Evans' stories) and writing the Lion King of  Picture Story Papers book.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I'm working on the text for the second novel and, at some point, I'll reprint the first two Bill Kellaway novels, Hercules, Esq. and The Homicide Club, two classics written in Evans' boozy days in the late 1920s, but inventive, funny, and filled with likable, eccentric characters. If I can keep up the momentum, I'll also be reprinting Satan, Ltd. and The Return of "Hercules, Esq." as it would be nice to have all four books available. And maybe more, should there be a demand.

Because Mel was at a convention over the weekend, I spent a big chunk of Saturday trying to restore the cover of Satan, Ltd.. Some of you may remember from last week's column the rather battered and scarred cover... well, you can now compare it to the restored cover at the top of this week's column. I think it looks pretty good.

I watched the first season of the science fiction thriller Counterpart last November and thought it superb. The premise of the show is that in 1987, a group of scientists discover that a parallel Earth exists and there is a corridor that connects the two realities. There is an episode in season 2 that shows this event, so I won't go too deeply into it; what I can say is that two counterparts begin experimenting to create small differences between the two worlds.

A flu epidemic in the early 1990s wipes out half a billion in the Prime reality and some in the Prime Office of Interchange (OI) set up an programme called Indigo, taking children and training them to take over the lives of their counterparts in the Alpha reality, with a plan to have these sleeper agents avenge what Indigo believe was a deliberate attack.

The second season opened at a point where the crossing point has been closed following an attack on Alpha OI where infiltrators gun down nearly a dozen staff. As the season unfolds, Howard Silk (Prime, who has swapped places with his Alpha counterpart), his (Alpha) wife, and members of the Alpha OI try to track down the Prime terrorists and a Prime agent known as Shadow – actually the wife of Alpha OI's Director of Strategy, Peter Quayle.

Meanwhile, Howard Silk Alpha is arrested while helping his (Prime) wife, and sent to a facility known as Echo where he meets a scientist named Yanek, a prisoner but actively interrogating those around him, including Prime's Peter Quayle.

Last time I praised the incredible central performance of J. K. Simmons as Howard Silk; he's still brilliant, but over season two the two very different characters from season one seem to be merging and growing more alike. Instead, the character of contrast who joined Howard  front and centre for this second season, is Olivia Williams as his wife / ex-wife, who was in a coma (Alpha) for season one but turns out to have a key role in the hunt for Indigo. Also, Harry Lloyd deserves a mention for his range as Peter Quayle, from slick, smug Peter, confused and scared Peter, angry Peter, vulnerable Peter – and all this before we get to the twitchy madness of his counterpart.

All this talk of Alpha and Prime may make it sound confusing to watch, but it really isn't. I never felt lost in the plot despite its complexity nor confused between realities. Although it has a science fiction premise, it's shot like a spy drama and has the pace and depth of a Cold War thriller, teasing and building and revealing and building again towards the climax of the show.

The Starz channel where Counterpart originally aired ordered two seasons and have decided not to renew the show. Thankfully it ends very satisfactorily (you know how I hate a cliffhanger season  ending!) but adds a little coda that could be a devastating opening position for a third season, although that seems an unlikely proposition. I'm just glad the producers were given the right amount of space to tell the story they planned.

Our random scans this week are a few of the books that have been added to the teetering piles dotted around the house over the past few weeks.


Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books