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Monday, September 30, 2019

Illustrators #27 (Autumn 2019)

The new issue of Illustrators celebrates the art of the Wild West, and for the most part the real Wild West rather than the imagined wildness of the western comic strip, magazine story or novel.

Two lengthy features cover the careers of Frederic Remington and Charles Shreyvogel, both influential and astonishing painters whose careers ran parallel, making them rivals for the title of best Western artist. That only one of these two contemporaries, both born in 1861, is remembered nowadays should not be taken as a sign that the other lacked talent but that Remington was a canny businessman who promoted his artwork as skillfully as he painted it.

They were both incredibly talented, but Remington was the more prolific as an illustrator. He is credited as the artist who made horses look natural as they galloped. Prior to Remington, a running horse had all four legs outstretched as if to tell the onlooker that the time was about twenty-five past seven (or maybe twenty-five to five). Remington looked at photographs to see how a horses legs and hooves were positioned as it ran and only slightly exaggerated them to realise the effect he was looking for in his paintings.

Remington was a rather poor student and preferred drawing to maths. As his father was in the military, that became his favourite subject to draw. After studying at Yale, he drifted into journalism, but his artistic side was inspired again when he visited Montana at the age of 19. He moved briefly to Kansas, but followed his wife back east; there he studied at the Art Students League of New York and began selling to Collier's and Harper's Weekly and the latter commissioned him to cover the war against Geronimo in Arizona.

For years he kept up a steady output of paintings, but was also a noted sculptor and even wrote a couple of novels. For many years he struggled with his weight (he weighed over 300 pounds) and poor health leading to his death aged 48.


Charles Schreyvogel grew up in New Jersey, the son of immigrant shopkeepers, and was encouraged by Henry August Schwabe, a painter and teacher who wanted Schreyvogel to join the Newark Art League. The would-be artist hadn't the money, so taught himself to draw while working as an apprentice lithographer, giving art lessons to earn extra money.

With the backing of his two brothers, Schreyvogel was able to sail to Germany and study at Munich Art Academy, returning to Hoboken four years later. He was virtually penniless and suffering from chronic asthma when he had an opportunity to visit Colorado. Inspired, and using an incredible collection of memorabilia he had gathered on his trip, he began producing meticulous paintings of the West, but they failed to sell. Schreyvogel refused to do commercial work and it was an impoverished pair—Schreyvogel had eloped with his girlfriend in 1894—who entered a painting in the National Academy of Design annual exhibition in 1899. 'My Bunkie' proved a hit and won Schreyvogel a medal and, more importantly, $300.

Family bereavement meant that penniless Schreyvogel was unaware of the win and that the New York Herald was searching desperately for the unknown artist, whose painting went on to also win the Paris Exposition Award and the Pan American Exposition Medal. They eventually found him and life began to improve for the Schreyvogels, despite the efforts of Frederic Remington, who took Schreyvogel to task over the historical accuracy of one of a painting, 'Custer's Demand'. Unfortunately for Remington, Schreyvogel had researched his picture with the aide of Custer's widow and cavalrymen who had ridden with him on the day he depicted and they confirmed its accuracy.

The painting was the breakthrough that meant Schreyvogel was considered as the premier living painter of the Wild West, especially after Reminton's death. That recognition lasted only a few years, as he died in 1912, shortly after his 51st birthday.

The issue wraps up with a piece on The Lone Ranger and its various comic incarnations. Created by Fran Striker as a radio show, the character went through dozens of interpretations on TV, in books and in strip form.

As always, the magazine is thoroughly and beautifully illustrated and, over the years, it has grown into an encyclopedia of some of the best art around. Long may it reign.

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 28 will have features on Frank Kelly Freas, Yvonne Gilbert and Laurent Durieux.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The SheerGlam Conspiracy by Steve MacManus

The sudden death of Peregrine Goodenough in 1973, elevates his son, Godric, to the chairmanship of Goodenough Publications, whose line of comics has been bringing action, adventure and humour to the shelves of newsagents for forty years.

As the novel opens, a young Irish girl named Sinead becomes a junior at the company, hoping to find work there as an artist. First she falls into the hands of sour Bob Buerk and his equally awful assistant (and lover), Janice Ballpinch, having been assigned to help in the office responsible for office furniture. She is rescued from their ghastly clutches by Gloria SheerGlam, who has her assigned as art assistant on Patsy, but with a roving brief to get experience on other papers published by Goodenough.

Thus Sinead becomes the readers' guide as she passes through the various offices to learn the ropes, sorting through readers letters, going through the slush pile of uncommissioned scripts and 'bodging' artwork on Goodenoughs colourfully titled comics Frightful, Whaddagoal! and Destroyer for boys, the youthful Jamboree, and Patsy for girls 

Meanwhile, Patsy sub Thisbe Thwaite-Jones lusts after muscular Ted; editor Marion Mildmay is secretly the author of the hugely popular Patsy strip 'Saints v Sinners'; and Glora SheerGlam is involved in something very dodgy into which she wants to lure new assistant, Sinead—the daughters of Brünhilde, a cult mixing elements of Norse mythology, Wagner and the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls).

Lurking unseen in the background, hidden away in room 401, a pair of Scotsmen are putting together a dummy for a new comic (known only as GNP13) that Goodenough hopes will blow away the opposition, Tartan Comics.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of comics will recognise the two powerhouse publishers of British comics, IPC (Fleetway Publications) and DC Thomson, behind these thinly veiled rivals. Whether you can recognise individuals fictionalised in the pages of his novel I guess will depend on whether you, too, worked at IPC as MacManus did, originally as a sub-editor on Valiant and subsequently as Tharg of 2000AD between 1979 and 1987.

The occasional name crops up that insiders will recognise—Eric Western is a portmanteau of Eric Bradbury and Mike Western, for instance—but whether there are direct equivalents to the likes of Geoff Kemp, Stewart Wales and David Hunt, contemporary editors when MacManus joined, or grandees like Jack Le Grand and Sid Bicknell, it's difficult to say. I'm sure elements of all went into the clay from which MacManus created each character. You don't need to be a comics fan to enjoy the book, but that certainly adds to the pleasure, and I can speak from experience that you can roam the environs of Farringdon Street, home of Goodenough Publishing, and find yourself in the Hoop and Grapes or Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, just around the corner in Fleet Street, as some of the characters do in the novel.

As for the book itself, it's a 40,000-word fun ride. There's plenty of humour, a bit of sex, and lots of lust, jealousy and quirkiness amongst the staff. It's written in a pleasing, undemanding style that, oddly, reminds me of some of the books I was reading in the 1970s that set out to entertain without becoming bloated and bogged down in plot. Perfect books for a train journey. As Sinead visits each comic, you get a taste of each titles' contents, with a string of perfectly-pitched homages of the kind of strips that were running at that time, some hilarious tributes, others excoriating parodies. You can also read the scripts that make up the newly created dummy, Blaze, as a kind of DVD extra at the back of the novel. All I'll say is: I want to read that comic!

Steve promises that the series will continue in The SheerGlam Succession. Good.

Tove Jannson cover gallery

Best known for her series of children's books featuring the family of Moomintrolls, Tove Jannson also wrote novels and short stories for adults, many of which have now been translated. Mel is a fan and I've taken the opportunity to scan the covers of those titles she has picked up recently.

NOVELS

The Summer Book, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal (Sommarboken, 1972)
Sort Of Books 978-0954-22171-3, 2003, 172pp, £8.99. Cover photo

Sun City (Solstaden , 1974)
X

The True Deceiver (Den ärliga bedragaren,1982)
Sort Of Books

The Field of Stones (Stenåkern,1984)
X

Fair Play, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal (Rent spel,1989)
Sort Of Books 978-0954-89953-0, 2007, 127pp, £6.99. Cover photo

SHORT STORIES

Sculptor's Daughter (Bildhuggarens dotter,1968)
Sort Of Books

The Listener (Lyssnerskan,1971)
Sort Of Books

Art in Nature, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal (Dockskåpet och andra berättelser,1978)
Sort Of Books 978-0956-30869-6, 2012, 169pp, £7.99. Cover by Plain Picture

Travelling Light (Resa med lätt bagage,1987)
Sort Of Books

Letter From Klara and Other Stories, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal (Brev från Klara och andra berättelser,1991)
Sort Of Books 978-1908-74561-3, 2017, 137pp, £8.99. Cover: photo by Istockphoto

Messages. Selected Stories 1971-1997 (Meddelande. Noveller i urval 1971–1997,1998)
X

A Winter Book. Selected Stories [selected by Sophia Jansson, Helen Svensson and Ali Smith], translated from the Swedish by Silvester Mazzarella, David McDuff and Kinsgley Hart.
Sort Of Books 0954-89952-0, 2006, 208pp, £6.99.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Comic Cuts - 27 September 2019

As I don't have a huge amount to talk about, let's play "Squirrel versus Birds"...

Will the squirrel (on the telephone pole on the right) get past the birds (on the left) or will he be frightened off by them? Answer at the end of the column.

It was Mel's birthday this week, although circumstances have meant that we can't get out for a meal until next weekend. It has been that sort of week, with everything forced back. I was trying to upload a (broken) run of Starburst at the tail end of last week but failed thanks to a patchy internet connection. I managed to get the last of them up onto Ebay on Tuesday, which I had to do because I had so many magazines finishing on Monday. I then had a pile of Dreamwatch magazines that I failed to get uploaded on Wednesday and had to wait until Thursday.

The rest of the week has been spent scanning and sorting out, hence the lack of anything to really talk about. I'm hoping to have some copies of The Comics Journal ready for sale, all of them with fantastic and fascinating interviews. I'm keeping a handful but I'm aiming to more than halve the number of copies I have, reducing three boxes to one.

Below The Picture we will be looking at Below The Surface... so jump if you don't like spoilers.

Below The Surface was a Danish action series that was first broadcast in the UK in March 2018. An intense thriller, it involved a group of underground rail travellers being held by a group of... well they appear to be military trained and always one step ahead of the Terror Task Force (PET) headed by Philip Nørgaard (Johannes Lassen) as they try to negotiate the releases of the terrified hostages. The original Danish title, Gidseltagningen, means "taking hostage".

The English title becomes a bit of a misnomer for the second season, which definitely takes place On The Surface. Other than that, this season is pretty much season one with the serial numbers filed off. Philip has been in therapy and is now dating his therapist. He is approached by June al-Baqee (Yasmin Mahmoud), who is the centre of a legal storm after returning from Syria where she has been fighting ISIS. She asks Philip whether he has seen the video she sent him. He is no longer with the PET he tells her.

Minutes later, she is kidnapped. Philip is able to identify the vehicle and, through it, one of the kidnappers. Before long, he is on their trail as they head for a port to cross the Øresund, the strait that separates Denmark and Sweden. On the ferry, Philip warns the Captain (Søren Malling—from The Killing, Borgen and 1864), who presses a silent alarm, alerting the authorities. A contact known only as 'A' warns the kidnappers and they hijack the ferry and bring it to a halt.

After that, it's "Die Hard on a ferry". The PET try to take the ship but are rebuffed. We begin to learn more about the kidnappers and their motives—not as clear-cut as they first seem. We also discover how June and her video could be a threat to international relations and how far some will go to protect their secrets.

It's a little by the numbers, but has enough thrills to keep most people happy. Mel gave up after four episodes, so it isn't as engaging as the first season. The plot kept the three main PET operatives from the first season—Philip, S.P. and Simon—separated, and Philip was sidelined for two episodes,  thrown into a freezer on board the ferry. Also, other than Captain Hvalsø, the ferry passengers were a faceless bunch, unlike in the first season where we were rooting for the hostages because we  got to know them.

If Below the Surface continues its upwards trajectory, we can expect season three to take place in the penthouse of a high rise, and season four in a plane. Give me a call when we reach season five: "Die Hard on the International Space Station".

OK, so I spotted this squirrel halfway across a telephone wire staring at a flock of birds that had landed on one side. He nervously returned to the opposite telephone pole and sat there for thirty seconds before deciding to take the plunge... he went belting over the wire and dashed into the middle of the birds (you can just see his tail at the top of the pole in the photo above) and then scarpered down the other wire which runs through the top branches of a tree.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Rebellion releases (2000AD)

In a bumper 52-page Prog 2150, a stunning new line-up of stories start in 2000AD – an ideal jumping-on point for new readers! Dredd has a special overseas mission to undertake in ‘Guatamala’ by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil; cop Bridget Kurtis returns and is investigating gang crimes in the fourth book of SF smash Brink, ‘Hate Box’, by Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard; we return to the world of the Dark Judges in The Fall of Deadworld: Doomed by Kek-W and Dave Kendall, with war about to break out; private investigator Mallory Hope is back, confronting the demons in 1940s L.A. in Hope… Under Fire by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton; and seventeenth-century zombie hunter Defoe heads for the moon as an ancient evil awakens in ‘The Divisor’ by Pat Mills and Stewart Kenneth Moore!

2000AD Prog 2150
Cover: Joseph Michael Linser

JUDGE DREDD: GUATEMALA by John Wagner (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
HOPE: UNDER FIRE by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BRINK: HATE BOX by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
FUTURE SHOCKS: RESTRUCTURING by Karl Stock (w) Will Simpson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
ANDERSON, PSI DIVISION: JUDGE DEATH: THE MOVIE by Alan Grant (w) Jake Lynch (a) Jim Boswell (c) Simon Bowland (l)
DEFOE: THE DIVISOR by Pat Mills (w) SK Moore (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: WAITING IN CHAIRS by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
THE FALL OF DEADWORLD: DOOMED by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Frank Herbert cover gallery

NOVELS

The Dragon in the Sea (Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1956; London, Gollancz, 1960)
Penguin Books 1886, 1963, 219pp, 3/6. Cover by Paul Klee
New English Library 0450-00352-3, Aug 1969, 189pp, 5/-. Cover by Bruce Pennington
----, Apr 1971, 189pp, 30p.
----, Mar 1973, 189pp, 30p.
New English Library 0450-04547-1, Nov 1979, 189pp, 85p.
----, Feb 1982, 189pp, £1.25.
New English Library 0450-05461-6, Mar 1989, 189pp, £2.50

Dune (Philadelphia, Chilton Books, 1965; London, Gollnacz, 1966)
New English Library 0450-00089-3, Jul 1968, 510pp, 10/6. Cover by Bruce Pennington
New English Library, Nov 1969
----, Nov 1970, 510pp, 60p.
New English Library 0450-01184-4, Apr 1972, 510pp, 75p
----, Aug 1972, 510pp, 75p
----, Sep 1973
New English Library 0450-02727-9, Dec 1974
----, Aug 1975, 510pp, 90p.
----, May 1976, 510pp, £1.25.
New English Library 0450-03569-7, Oct 1977, 510pp, £1.25.
New English Library 0450-04230-8, Jan 1978, 510pp, £1.50. Cover as above without blurbs
----, Jul 1978, 510pp, £1.50.
----, Dec 1978
----, Apr 1979
----, Nov 1979
New English Library 0450-05172-2, Apr 1981
New English Library 0450-05465-9, Jan 1982, 510pp, £1.95.
----, Jul 1983, 510pp, £2.50. Cover as above with barcode
----, 198?, Soon to be a major movie sticker
New English Library 0450-01184-4, 1984. Cover based on movie poster
----, (Mar) 1986, 604pp, £3.50.
----, 1988, 604pp, £4.50. Cover by Gerry Grace
----, (Oct) 1999, 604pp, £6.99. Cover by Gerry Grace
---- [58th imp.] n.d., 604pp, £7.99. Cover by Gerry Grace
Hodder & Stoughton, 0340-82254-6, (Jun) 2001, [tpb]
Hodder 0340-83993-7, (Jun) 2006, 604pp, £6.99.
---- [78th imp.] n.d. (c.2008), 604pp, £7.99. Cover by Dominic Harman
Hodder-978-0340-96019-6, (Jul) 2015, 577pp, £8.99. Cover by Francis O'Connell [tpb]

The Green Brain (New York, Ace, 1966; London, New English Library, 1973)
New English Library 0450-01521-1, Jul 1973, 158pp, 30p. Cover by Bruce Pennington
----, Sep 1973, 158pp, 30p.
----, Apr 1975, 158pp, 35p.
New English Library 0450-04289-8, Jan 1979, 158pp, 80p.
New English Library 0450-01521-1, Mar 1986, 158pp, £1.95.

The Eyes of Heisenberg (New York, Berkley, 1966; London, Sphere Books, 1968)
Sphere Books 4517-9, Aug 1958, 157pp, 5/-. Cover by David Davies
Sphere Books 0722-14522-5, Apr 1972, 157pp.
----, Nov 1973, 157pp, 30p. Cover by Chris Foss
New English Library 0450-02658-2, Mar 1976, 174pp, 50p. Cover by Ian Miller
----, Mar 1981, 174pp, £1.25. Cover by David O'Connor
----, Feb 1983, 174pp, £1.50.
----, 1987, 174pp, £1.95.

Destination: Void (New York, Berkley, 1966; Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1967; revised 1978)
Penguin Books 2689, May 1967, 219ppp, 4/6. Cover by Alan Aldridge
Penguin Books 0140-02689-4, Dec 1977, 218pp, 60p. Cover by J. Petagno
----, 1985, 219pp, £1.95. Cover by Allan Craddock

The Heaven Makers (New York, Avon, 1968; London, New English Library, 1970)
New English Library 0450-00517-8, Jun 1970, 141pp, 6/-.
----, Jan 1973, 141pp, 6/- (30p?).
New English Library 0450-02681-7, May 1975, 141pp, 35p.
New English Library 0450-03752-5, Mar 1978, 141pp, 70p. Cover by Bruce Pennington
New English Library 0450-04988-4, Oct 1980, 141pp, £1.20.

The Santaroga Barrier (New York, Berkley, 1968; London, Rapp & Whiting, 1970)
New English Library 0450-00823-1, Apr 1971, 205pp, 30p. Cover by Jan Parker
New English Library 0450-01856-3, Mar 1974, 205pp, 40p.
New English Library 0450-04376-2, Apr 1979, 205pp, 90p. Cover by Tim White
New English Library 0450-05231-1, Nov 1981, 205pp, £1.25.
New English Library 0450-04376-2, Feb 1987, 205pp, £2.50.

Dune Messiah (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1969; London, Gollancz, 1971)
New English Library 0450-01229-9, Sep 1972, 222pp, 40p. Cover by Bruce Pennington
----, May 1973, 222pp, 40p.
New English Library 0450-02285-4, Dec 1974, 222pp, 60p.
----, Aug 1975, 222pp, 60p.
New English Library 0450-03266-3, Sep 1977, 222pp, 75p.
----, Feb 1978, 222pp, 75p.
New English Library 0450-04156-5, Aug 1978, 222pp, 85p.
----, Jan 1980, 222pp.
----, Nov 1980, 222pp.
New English Library 0450-05308-3, Apr 1981, 222pp, £1.50.
----, Jul 1981, 222pp.
----, Jan 1982, 222pp.
----, Aug 1982, 222pp.
New English Library 0450-02285-4, Apr 1984, 222pp, £1.95.
----, Oct 1984, 222pp.
----, Mar 1985, 222pp. £2.25. Cover by Gerald Grace
----, Dec 1985, 222pp, £2.25.
----, May 1986, 222pp, £2.50.
----, 1988, 222pp, £2.50.
----, Oct 1999, 222pp, £6.99.
Hodder 978-0340-96020-2, Sep 2008, 304pp, £9.99.
Hodder 978-1473-65532-4, Jun 2017, 304pp, £9.99.

Whipping Star (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1970; London, New English Library, 1972)
New English Library 0450-00963-7, Jan 1972, 222pp, 40p. Cover by Bruce Pennington
----, Dec 1973, 222pp, 40p.
----, May 1975, 222pp.
New English Library 0450-04189-1, Mar 1978, 222pp, 75p.
New English Library 0450-04459-9, Sep 1979, 222pp, 75p.
----, (n.d.?), 222pp, £4.95.

Soul Catcher (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1972; London, New English Library, 1973)
New English Library 0450-48507-2, Dec 1988, 216pp, £2.99.
---- [2nd imp.] 1989?; [3rd imp.] 1989, £2.99.

The God Makers (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1972; London, New English Library, 1973)
New English Library 0450-01798-2, Oct 1974, 175p, 40p.
----, Apr 1975, 175pp, 70p. Cover by Bruce Pennington
as The Godmakers, New English Library 0450-04084-4, Jun 1978, 175pp.

Hellstrom's Hive (Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1973; London, New English Library, 1974)
Corgi Books 0552-12056-1, 1982, 312pp, £1.75. Cover by Bruce Pennington
Gollancz [SF Masterworks II] 978-0575-10108-1, 352pp, £7.99. Cover by Dominic Harman

Children of Dune (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1976; London, Gollancz, 1976)
New English Library 0450-03427-5, Sep 1977, 380pp, £1.25. Cover by Bruce Pennington
----, Mar 1978, 380pp, £1.25.
----, May 1979, 380pp, £1.25.
----, Jan 1980, 380pp,p £1.25.
New English Library 0450-05075-0, Mar 1981, 380pp, £1.75.
----, Sep 1981, 380pp.
----, Jan 1982, 380pp.
New English Library 0450-05307-5, Aug 1982, 380pp, £1.75.
----, Aug 1983, 380pp.
----, May 1984, 380pp.
New English Library 0450-03427-5, Oct 1984, 380pp, £1.95.
----, Mar 1985, 380pp, £2.50. Cover by Gerry Grace
---- [16th imp.] 1987, 380pp, £2.95.
----, Oct 1999, 426pp, £6.99.
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07490-6, Mar 2003, 426pp, £6.99.

The Dosadi Experiment (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1977; London, Gollancz, 1978)
Futura 0708-88035-5, 1978, 336pp, £1.00. Cover by Terry Oakes
----, Jul 1979, 336pp, £1.00.
----, 1981, 336pp.
----, 1984, 336pp, £2.50.
Orbit 0708-88035-5, 1987, 336pp, £2.95.
VGSF/Gollancz 0575-04406-3, Aug 1990, 336pp, £3.99.
Millennium/Orion 1857-98944-9, Jul 2000, 336pp, £6.99.

The Jesus Incident, with Bill Ransom (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1979; London, Orbit, 1980)
Orbit 0708-88061-4, 1980, 405pp, £1.60. Cover by Tim White
---- [2nd imp.] 1980, 405pp, £1.60.
Futura/Orbit 0708-88061-4, 1982, 405pp, £1.95.
----, 1984, 405pp, £2.95. Cover by Fred Gambino
----, 1985, 405pp, £2.95
----, 1990, 405pp, £3.99.
Millennium/Orion 1857-98945-7, Jul 2000, 405pp, £6.99. Cover by Fred Gambino

Direct Descent (New York, Ace, 1980; London, New English Library 1982)
New English Library 0450-05406-3, Jun 1982, 186pp, £2.25. Cover by Peter Gudynas [tpb]

God Emperor of Dune (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981; London, New English Library, 1981)
New English Library 0450-05262-1, 1981, 454pp. Cover by Bruce Pennington
----, 1982, 454pp, £2.50.
----, May 1982, 454pp, £2.50
----, May 1984, 454pp, £2.50.
----, Mar 1984, 454pp, £2.95.
----, 1987, 454pp, £3.50.
----, 1990, 454pp, £4.99.
----, Oct 1999, 454pp, £6.99.
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07506-6, Mar 2003, 454pp, £6.99.

The White Plague (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1982; London, Gollancz, 1983)
New English Library 0450-05598-1, Feb 1984, 629pp, £2.50.
----, Sep 1986, 628pp, £3.50.

The Lazarus Effect, with Bill Ransom (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1983; London, Gollancz, 1983)
Futura/Orbit 0708-88112-2, 1984, 381pp, £2.50.

Heretics of Dune (London, Gollancz, 1984; New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1984)
New English Library 0450-05777-1, Mar 1985, 508pp, £2.95.
----, May 1985, 508pp.
----, Sep 2000, 508pp, £6.99. Cover by Gerry Grace
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07489-2, Aug 2003, 508pp, £6.99. Cover by Robert Nicholls
----, Aug 2004, £6.99

Chapter House Dune (London, Gollancz, 1985; New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1985)
New English Library 0450-05886-7, 1985, 476pp, £2.95.
----, Mar 1986, 476pp, £2.95.
----, Sep 2000, 476pp, £6.99. Cover by Gerry Grace
Gollancz/Orion 0575-07518--X, Aug 2003, 476pp, £6.99.
Gollancz 0575-07518-X, Sep 2004, 448pp, £6.99.

Man of Two Worlds, with Brian Herbert (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1986; London, Futura/Orbit, 1987)
Futura/Orbit 0708-88224-2, Aug 1987, 397pp, £3.50.

The Ascension Factor, with Bill Ransom (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1988; London, Gollancz, 1988)
Futura/Orbit 0708-84440-5, (Jan) 1990, 381pp, £3.99.

High-Opp (WordFire Press, Mar 2012)
(no UK paperback)

Angels' Fall (WordFire Press, Apr 2013)
(no UK paperback)

A Game of Authors (WordFire Press, Oct 2013)
(no UK paperback)

A Thorn in the Bush (Wordfire Press, Nov 2014)
(no UK paperback)


COLLECTIONS

The Worlds of Frank Herbert (London, New English Library, 1970; New York, Ace Books, 1971)
New English Library 0450-00640-9, Dec 1970, 142pp, 30p. Cover by Jan Parker
----, May 1972, 142pp, 30p.
New English Library 0450-02707-4, May 1975, 142pp, 40p.
----, Jan 1988, 142pp, £1.95.

The Book of Frank Herbert (New York, DAW Books, 1973)
Panther 0586-04644-5, 1977, 198pp, 60p. Cover by Peter Jones
----, 1984, 198pp, £1.95. Cover by Bruce Pennington

The Best of Frank Herbert (London, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1975; reprinted in two volumes below)

The Best of Frank Herbert 1952-1964
Sphere Books 0722-14523-3, 1976, 154pp, 55p.
Sphere Books 0722-14534-9, 1977, 154pp, 75p.

The Best of Frank Herbert 1965-1970
Sphere Books 0722-14528-4, 1976, 170pp, 55p.
Sphere Books 0722-14535-7, 1977, 170pp, 75p.

The Priests of Psi and Other Stories (London, Gollancz, 1980)
Futura/Orbit 0708-88078-9, May 1981, 204pp, £1.35. Cover by Tim White
----, 1984, 204pp, £2.25. Cover by Fred Gambino

Eye, illus. Jim Burns (New York, Berkeley, 1985; London, Gollancz, 1986)
New English Library 0450-42405-7, Aug 1988, 328pp, £3.95. Cover by Jim Burns
----, Sep 1988, 328pp, £3.99.

Missing Link and Operation Haystack (Phoenix Pick, 2008)
(no UK paperback)

The Collected Stories of Frank Herbert (New York, Tor Books, 2014)
(no UK paperbacks)

Unpublished Stories (WordFire Press, 2016)
(no UK paperbacks)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Comic Cuts - 20 September 2019

I've fallen into a bit of a rut of late, spending the first half of the week posting things to Ebay to generate a bit of income, and the latter half of the week scanning covers of the books or magazines that I'm planning to post next week. Around this I've tried to do a bit of writing and tried not to be distracted by what's happening in the rest of the world.

This week was slightly different as I had a piece to write for The Guardian (a stock obituary), so I spent Sunday researching and Monday getting it into shape ready for writing on Tuesday. Wednesday I was back to scanning and Thursday back to scanning and posting, although I didn't get as much posted as I wanted.

The main distraction this week was the Supreme Court sitting in judgment of the prorogation of Parliament. I try to keep my politics out of what I write here and on Facebook, although I did post something recently on FB about why some people are hoping that we will crash out of Europe and how they will potentially benefit to the tune of billions of pounds. As you might expect from someone who (very occasionally) writes for the Guardian I think the whole situation we find ourselves in stinks. Trying to make sense of it also means trying to make sense of how and why we are being lied to by our government, if indeed we are. We shall find out next week when the Court makes its judgement.

To distract myself I've been listening to a variety of interview podcasts about music. Being a Prog fan, they're primarily aimed in that direction and include Sonic Perspectives and The Prog Report. I'm listening daily to the Guardian's podcast Today in Focus and I'm a latecomer to the BBC's Brexitcast, which had just started being broadcast on the TV. I'm actually listening to today's (Thursday's) episode as I write this.

Another newcomer to my iTunes downloads is Sara Pascoe's Sex Power Money, where she interviews people about their work, feminism, and a wide range of other topics. We were already fans of her stand up, but Mel was hugely impressed by her book Animal. Her new book—also called Sex Power Money—looks promising, and it's Mel's birthday next week. (It's fine, she doesn't read this.) (The pic at the head of today's column is from 2016, and shows Mel getting her copy of Animal signed by Sara.)

David Tennant Does a Podcast has been around for quite a while, but I don't think I've mentioned it. It does what it says on the tin and does it very well. Tennant has chosen his guests from among his friends and work colleagues, so he gets to chat with Catherine Tate, Ian McKellen, Michael Sheen and others of that calibre.

I'm looking at The Crimson Rivers after the pic., so if you don't like spoilers I'll say my goodbyes now.

I had high hopes of this series as it is based on a novel by Jean-Christophe Grange that inspired the Jean Reno movie of the same name—Les Rivières Pourpres in its original French. The movie was a dark, twisted psychological thriller set around a unique university for gifted children. Pierre Niemans investigates the discovery of a body suspended on a cliff in the French Alps and subsequently teams up with another cop, Max Kerkerian (Vincent Cassel), whose investigation into the desecration of a grave in nearby Sarzac intersects with that of Niemans.

There was a sequel also starring Reno, which then morphed into a TV series starring Olivier Marchal as Niemans, now teamed with Camille Delaunay (Erika Sainte). I was looking forward to seeing the show when it launched here in the UK in January, but circumstances (plus a ton of other things to watch) has meant I've only dipped in occasionally. 

That very fact tells you that I found the show less than compulsive. Each of the four stories was broadcast in two parts and I left a lengthy gap between the four storylines, which follow the basic premise of bizarre or ritualistic murders in remote settings. 

Our pair of heroes are sent in, inevitably to the annoyance of the local investigators, and find themselves at the centre of cases involving local or regional customs or beliefs grounded in religion. Because of this, the show is pretty dour; there's no camaraderie between the cops and little to enjoy in the settings—a forboding forest, the chapel of an old mansion, a spooky children's home, a monastery.

The stories rapidly fall into a groove, with Niemans and/or Delaunay staying at the home/workplace of the suspected group or cult (some expressly religious) who consider themselves above or outside the law because of their way of life (in one case, simply because they are rich). The two officers hone in on the members of these groups,unpacking the rituals, butting heads with suspects and colleagues alike. Niemans has to chase someone in the dark, but runs out of puff.

Given the success of Nordic Noir at the moment, The Crimson Rivers must have looked like the perfect series to bring to television. Unfortunately, this French/German co-production didn't quite live up to expectations. It needed more variation in the stories and we needed to find out more about its two lead characters. The show would have benefited from an episode or two beginning at home so we had some background and some contrast.

Ah, well.  At least we have Spiral season 7 to look forward to. But when, BBC, when?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Commando 5263-5266

Commando presents Lord Peter Flint’s second Commando adventure, a Cam Kennedy and Ian Kennedy reprint, a mysterious tale of monsters and Operation Torch, and the Rocket Express shenanigans on motorcycles! All this in brand new issues 5263-5266 — out now!

5263: Codename Warlord: Ship of Fools

Get ready for the second return of Codename Warlord in Commando. This time the intrepid Lord Peter Flint is going deep undercover – disguising himself with a beard and a German accent! Pretending to be a prominent German shipbuilder, Britain’s top agent comes face to face with the biggest battleship he’s ever seen – the ‘Fuhrer’ Class megaship. Can Flint stop fanatical fools turning the tide of the war? You’ll have to read issue 5263 to find out!

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Manual Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

5264: Hurri to the Rescue

One Kennedy is great – but two is even better! The illustrious duo of Cam Kennedy and Ian Kennedy grace issue 5264 Hurri to the Rescue. McOwan’s script about an RAF hating solider named Jake Conroy who, once stranded on a Pacific Island, is forced to partner with two pilots, is masterfully brought to life by Cam Kennedy in one of his later issues of Commando. All this topped off with a stunning Ian Kennedy cover, doing what Kennedy does best — dazzling us with aircraft!

Story: McOwan
Art: Cam Kennedy
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 750 (1973).

5265: Monsters in the Fog

There’s something weird going on in the Tunisian desert! A whole platoon is missing and the sole shell-shocked survivor is talking about monster attacks. Then a whole town appears overnight, the lake drains and a mysterious thick fog clouds the area. The shapes moving through the smog are not what they seem – but they’ll kill you none the less!

Story: Dominic Teague
Art: Vicente Alcazar
Cover: Neil Roberts

5266: The Outriders

Trouble on wheels in The Outriders! Featuring motorbikes, the Transport Corps, and the Sicilian Mafia! When the no-good Nick Bertini disappeared after a mob hit, Danny Mitchell and Mo Brookes assumed the conman had gone on ‘holiday’ to see relatives in Sicily, little did the pair expect to see him in Italy, in a cushy job in the US army! Bertini’s re-emergence could only spell one this for the two – TROUBLE! But they only joined the army to ride motorbikes!

Story: Ian Clark
Art: Ibanez
Cover: Dalger
Originally Commando No. 2885 (1995).

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

The latest 2000AD related releases from Rebellion Publishing.

Judge Dredd Megazine 412
Cover: Clint Langley

JUDGE DREDD: RED QUEEN'S GAMBIT by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
DEMARCO, P.I.: AN EYE... by Laura Bailey (w) Paul Williams (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
DIAMOND DOGS by James Peaty (w) Warren Pleece (a) Simon Bowland (l)
THE RETURNERS: CHANDU by Si Spencer (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland (l)
ANDERSON, PSI-DIV: THE DEAD RUN by Maura McHugh (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Pippa Mather (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Features: Interview: INJ Culbard; New books: Anderson: Year Two, Scarlet Traces Anthology; New Comics: Ragtime Soldier, Roy of the Rovers
Bagged reprint: Defoe: The London Hanged

2000AD Prog 2149
Cover: Glenn Fabry & Karen Holloway

JUDGE DREDD:  THE FALL OF BARBARBARA GRIMM by Michael Carroll (w) Nick Dyer (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: NARROW MINDED by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
FUTURE SHOCKS: CONGESTED ANIMA by Mark McCann (w) Glenn Fabry (a) Adam Brown (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
JAEGIR: VALKYRIE by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Comic Cuts - 13 September 2019

The latest book from Bear Alley Books is a bit of a change of pace for me. It was an unexpected opportunity that came about when my uncle, John Chisnall, phoned to ask some questions about publishing a book. He and his co-author had been in touch with a publisher who were offering to publish their book but on a weird contract that would see them paying a ridiculous fee for a dozen copies.

I had a look at their website and it was clear that they were a vanity publisher and were actually offering very little for the fees. There were a ton of complaints about their practices on various forums. So I phoned back with a warning and half-jokingly said I could do  it for a third of the price (I might have said a tenth of the price... their fees were incredibly high!) and, when the book was done, they would be the publishers and would receive all of the profits, not just a tiny percentage of the cover price in royalties.

And that's just what we've done, although Bear Alley Books is now the publisher for want of a better idea, and the book should be published within the next week or two. I had a proof copy arrive last week, the final corrections are done and print order has been processed and paid for.

 The book is 156 pages, black & white and covers John's life and work from humble beginnings to his career as a trophy-winning motorcyclist and beyond. I'll set up a page for ordering the book at the Bear Alley Books website [a bit rough and ready, but hopefully functional] and put in a link over to the right should anyone be interested.

After the break... Mindhunter. With spoilers, so skip the review if you don't like 'em.

Mindhunter is a slow, relentless thriller set against the background of the early years of the Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI. The show launched in 2017 to great – and well deserved – critical acclaim, the first season set in 1977 as FBI agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford begin to explore the idea of interviewing serial killers to get an insight into their motives, methods and murderous instincts. They are joined by Dr. Wendy Carr, a psychology professor who tries to make sense of the interviews and codify their findings.

As the second series begins, Ford has suffered a panic attack while meeting Edmund Kemper, the "Co-ed Killer", and his colleagues are covering for him. However, Tench is also struggling with a situation he has kept private from his friends: his young son has been complicit in the accidental murder of a small child and he and his family are now the subject of intense scrutiny of psychiatrists and social workers. (The murder is based on a real incident.) Dr. Carr is also entering a new relationship which begins to fall apart.

While it continues to explore the lives and the work of its protagonists, the focus of the second season is on how their work as criminal profilers impacts on an investigation, the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-81. Twenty-four mostly African-American children aged between 7 and 17 were kidnapped and murdered. Curfews and offers of rewards failed to stem the tide of deaths.

The desperation of the local community trying to raise awareness of the situation is painful. The paralysis of the police and the FBI as conflicting lines of inquiry spread resources and manpower is pitiful. The lack of political will to make the murders public is criminal.

The show builds slowly towards its climax. This is not a movie where you will get a big reveal in the third act. The murderer is nobody we've met before, a rather ordinary looking guy with no outstanding characteristics. The tension comes from trying to find proof that backs up Ford's conviction that they have the right man.

If you like fist fights and car chases, this is not the detective show for you. If you like meticulously constructed dramas based on real-life incidents, it's a must-see.

(Incidentally, the murderer was convicted on only two murders, both adults. While I was digging around, I discovered that the cases of 22 children that had been closed after the conviction, were reopened in March 2019 in the hope that modern-day DNA evidence might bring some certainty to a case where questions still remain forty years on.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion Releases for 11 September 2019.

For generations, the exploits of Roy Race have enthralled hundreds of thousands of readers. Through kidnappings and shootings, pregnancies and punch-ups, Melchester Rovers’ star striker kept the goals coming - and became woven into the fabric of football in the process. From the comic’s first appearance in 1954, all the way through to its glorious 21st century reboot, Roy of the Rovers remains the greatest football fairytale ever told.

The 65th Anniversary Special is an essential purchase for any Roy of the Rovers fan of any age, or just any football fan, featuring rare delights such as:
  • Exclusive interviews with Roy of the Rovers writers, editors and artists!
  • An incredible behind-the-scenes look at the creation of an icon!
  • Relive the top 50 Roy of the Rovers moments of all time!
  • We chose the all-time Rovers first eleven!
  • Goals, guts, glory and loads more!

2000AD Prog 2148
Cover: Dylan Teague
 
JUDGE DREDD:  THE FALL OF BARBARBARA GRIMM by Michael Carroll (w) Nick Dyer (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
INDIGO PRIME: FALL OF THE HOUSE OF VISTA by Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: NARROW MINDED by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THARG'S 3RILLERS: RED ROAD by Andi Ewington (w) Ben Willsher (a) Simon Bowland (l)
JAEGIR: VALKYRIE by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

Roy of the Rovers 65th Anniversary
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08738-1, 11 September 2019, 128pp, £19.99. Available via Amazon.

Roy of the Rovers is the greatest football comic of all time. For generations, the exploits of Roy Race enthralled hundreds of thousands of readers. Through kidnappings and shootings, pregnancies and punch-ups, Melchester Rovers’ star striker kept the goals coming - and became woven into the fabric of football in the process. From the comic’s first appearance in 1954, all the way through to its glorious 21st century reboot, Roy of the Rovers remains the greatest football fairytale ever told. Join us as we celebrate the stories, the creators and the fans that made Roy of the Rovers the phenomenon it is today.