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Friday, October 09, 2020

Comic Cuts - 9 October 2020

Just over there to your left on the screen there's a big rectangle that says eBay... click on it or the link just underneath and that will take you through to some odds and ends that I'm selling. I did quite a few sales back in the summer 2019 (and long-term readers will recall the problems I was having with my internet connection during July and August of last year), but it slowed to a standstill while I concentrated on publishing the Rocket book and the recent two volumes of Longbow.

Well, I've now managed to sort out a few more boxes of stuff that I want to let back into the wild. During the hot weather (which seemed to disappear the moment summer turned to autumn) Mel was putting out a box of books on the street to see if they were of interest to anyone locally (and we don't have access to charity shops at the moment). I joined in and on day two all the books – and the box – disappeared within a few hours. I put out a box full of Ian Rankin novels, which emptied the same day; the next day all my old Inspector Morse novels went and I've also emptied the house of Ken Follett. A box of Frederick Forsyth is waiting on a day where it isn't threatening to rain.

I haven't gone off these authors, but I've reached a point in my life where I'm unlikely to have time to ever re-read them. I was tempted to hold back The Day of the Jackal, but talked myself out of it. I'd deliberately chosen runs of books which would make an appreciable difference and that, should I ever feel the need to own them again, they would be relatively easy to pick up in charity shops. Ian Rankin was a good three feet of shelf space and the 17 Forsyth novels is another two feet.

I'm trying to empty a few shelves so I can move some reference books around and make them more accessible, but I'm having to make some hard decisions. There may be books that I could sell on eBay, but the price of postage these days makes it impossible. A 99p hardback book could cost over £4.00 by the time you add postage and packing, simply because of its size or weight. And if you charge more to offset the charges at eBay and PayPal, you could be looking at something like £4.80... and nobody is going to pay that for a 99p book.

I might list some books here in the future because someone might want to make me an offer for a box of, say, Robert E. Howard paperbacks. At the moment I'm sorting through a box of Heavy Metal comics (and a few Metal Hurlant) that I'm planning to put up on eBay. Various Penthouse Comix spinoffs went up at the weekend just gone, plus a couple of Eagle picture libraries. I still have a couple of Starblazers listed, although most have already gone. Next up on the scanner is Savage Sword of Conan, so watch out for those in the next week or two.

Splitting my time between this and writing is not the smartest move as it means I'm still working on things that I should have finished last week. The good news is that I'm still edging forward. Someone is doing some reviews for me, so that will save me a little bit of time. I could always use a few more volunteers for reviews and the like. I'm still hoping to have something out this side of Christmas.

One job I did get around to was to scan a stack of pocket libraries as illustrations to an article on their history (70th anniversary this year). The column header is one of only two issues of Giant War Picture Library I own, both rather battered, but glorious to behold because the weird format means the covers are big enough to frame. This is an extract as the original comic is over a foot tall and I need something that will fit comfortably on the blog here and on Facebook.

There are spoilers ahead in our look at Young Wallander, so jump to the end if you don't like them.

Following closely on the heels of the slightly disappointing Strike: Lethal White, we managed to watch Young Wallander without throwing a slipper at the TV screen, although there were a couple of moments that had us reaching. This was meant to be a prequel to the famous Wallander novels / TV shows by Henning Menkel, whose third (?) TV outing was a British co-production starring Kenneth Branagh. Wallander was a morose character but perceptive, making him difficult to work with and even harder to befriend.

Young Wallander is all about setting up the later character. So we discover how he meets Mona, whom he will subsequently marry and divorce before the novels begin; he says he dislikes opera when it is played to him by his boss but begins listening to it as he drives (he is an opera-lover); and he's already a morose, tetchy young man. As we meet him, he has been passed over for promotion to the major crimes unit, a position well-earned and taken by his partner, Reza. A shocking death of a young white teenager, a grenade taped into his mouth, opens up the debate on racism in modern Sweden.

As Wallander is a witness, he is seconded to the unit, replacing his partner. At a rally of right wing extremists, Wallander sees the killer of the teenage boy and gives chase, leaving Reza without back-up when he is attacked, beaten and almost killed.

This is not Wallander's only mistake – he is stabbed, beaten and puts the investigation in jeopardy more than once. Convinced he knows who the killer is, but unable to find the evidence that will convict him, he confronts him. It seems inevitable that he has the wrong guy, and that's precisely what happens.

Rather than creating a character, Young Wallander is more like a series of tick boxes, which makes it problematic. Wallander dislikes bureaucracy, can be hot-headed and impulsive. Well, that's fine if you have a proven track record and a solid group of people supporting you and protecting you, like the older Wallander, but not when you're a newcomer on your first case. Young Wallander would be instantly demoted or drummed out of the force for putting his own and others lives at risk. I'd sooner see the smart, naive newcomer who has yet to be ground down by the things he sees as a policeman rather than this odd mix of new boy and grizzled veteran, already well on his way to problems with depression and alcohol that we have here.

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