Friday, September 04, 2020

Comic Cuts - 4 September 2020

Scanning and wrapping books, scanning and packing envelopes, scanning and running down to the post office...

How was your week? Mine was mostly scanning and getting books into the post. By the time you've checked the order, wrapped up the books (if they go out from here, I try to always wrap books up in newspaper to protect the corners from being bumped in the post), dug out the correct address and walked them down to the post office, you've lost most of a morning.

I'm pleased to say that all our Longbow pre-orders were posted out by Wednesday, and copies posted Friday were already starting to arrive. I'm getting some good feedback on the books, which is always nice because even after however many books I've put together — written in full or edited — there's always a sense of apprehension as you approach publication day. I know how much work has gone into them, and you try always to make them the best books you can, but there's always a nagging doubt at the back of your mind that some might not appreciate them the way you would like.

You'll find some entertaining stories and some impressive black and white art in these books and old EAGLE readers who disliked the supernatural and fantasy elements of the sixties weekly, may well prefer these stories to the later ones [...] These are two good books which deserve to be widely read. Jim Duckett, Eagle Times, 26 August 2020.

But the reviews are good and the comments that I'm seeing on Facebook are very pleasing. There seems to be a lot of appreciation for the extras that have gone into the book — the introductions and the extensive biographies that I wrote for the twelve artists who contributed to the series. I've tried to add these kind of extras to all the books I've produced, working on the principal that I, too, like a book with a good introduction and bonus related material.

So the rest of the week has involved scanning dozens of small comics, most of them only eight or twelve pages, but it still takes ages. I'm doing 300dpi scans because this is likely to be the last time I get an opportunity to scan a collection like this. "This" is a selection of slim comics from the 1940s, nowadays as rare as hen's teeth, and an era of independent comic production that I find fascinating.

Many years ago, I wrote some articles for a collecting magazine about these old comics, and they have a fascinating history — collectors will recognise some of the names associated with them, names like Gerald G. Swan, Len Miller, Mick Anglo and others. When you drill down into them you discover a group of artists who were producing strips them likes of which were never seen before (or after). Again, names like Nat Brand, Dennis M. Reader and Crewe Davies float around amongst collectors without much being known about them. A few artists went on to greater things — Ron Embleton, Don Lawrence, Paddy Brennan, Syd Jordan — but they often had their start in these independent comics.

So I'm planning to go back into my own archive of articles and write the history of these comics. I mentioned this to Peter Hansen, saying at the time (last November) that a lack of illustrations was holding me back. Well, I now have those illustrations and a venue in BAM!. Get ready to discover some of the weirdest comics you've ever seen!

I'm off to write some questions. We had our first Zoom Quiz evening last Saturday with a small group of friends and we've accidentally landed ourselves with the task of hosting the next one, which will involve at least twice as many people spread around the country. It will either be brilliant or a disaster. I'll let you know which next week.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve, if you come across some alien visitors to Earth in those 1940s comics, I will appreciate some data. I have just finished my analysis of aliens in Spanish comics and maybe I will continue with the rest of Europe, UK included despite Brexit. Regards



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