Friday, August 06, 2021

Comic Cuts — 6 August 2021

You'll probably have noticed that I made a couple of minor changes to the look of Bear Alley earlier this week. It was forced on me rather than done by choice. Without making any sort of announcement, Blogger dropped the quick edit gadget that has been a feature of the blog since it began. It meant that I could edit each element of the blog from the front page. I can't do that any more.

One unfortunate side effect was that the Rolling News column that has lived on the left of the Blog since 2008 has had to become a blog post and has migrated into the centre column, replacing the (admittedly very out of date) advert for Bear Alley Books. The reason was that, while the widget that I used for the Rolling News could be updated from the layout page within this blog, new text was placed at the bottom of the list. That meant manually moving the text up the list one step at a time, while each time the list re-set to the top. I had the view set to 50 news items, so that meant moving the new text from line 50 to line 49, scroll down from the top, move the text from line 49 to 48, scroll down from the top, move the text from line 48 to line 47, scroll down from the top... and so on. Even typing this explanation is maddening. Imagine finding three or four items of news worth noting, and having to do that for each of the new posts.

Something that used to be quick and easy with Blogger has become a pain in the arse to do, which seems to be Blogger's rationale for every change they make. Having been around Blogger for fifteen years, I remember how easy it was at the beginning, simple things like being able to upload more than one picture at a time and having fewer problems with positioning them and making changes on the page rather than having to deal with the whole thing as html. I'm swear they're trying to drive people towards using other services, since I can't imagine they make much money from Blogger compared to other elements of the Google empire.

The current solution I've come up with for Rolling News isn't ideal, but it's the best I can manage for the moment. I might take this opportunity to tinker with the look of the blog, which hasn't changed much since 2006.

Last Friday I managed to get to the end of the piece I was writing on the wartime comics of A. Soloway, so this week I took off a couple of days in order to get some magazines and books read and one or two reviews written. Monday is also packaging day as I scramble around the mess of cardboard and old envelopes trying to find something suitably strong enough to send out anything that has sold on eBay at the weekend. Six books and one magazine this week for a grand total of about £12, so I'm not exactly coining it in, and damned fiddly to wrap up safely for delivery down at the Post Office.

On Wednesday I started work on something that will be a hefty part of the BAM! magazine — see, I haven't forgotten it. It just needs to be rejigged to get the balance right. When I was doing the colour tests earlier this year and looking at the results I realised that I was concentrating too much on the eras that interest me, namely the Fifties and Sixties. So I'm now writing about something that played a major role in the history of Seventies comics to redress the balance.

Not that I intend dropping any of the other material already written, just spreading it out over a couple of issues.

To finish up this week's column, let's go back to something I haven't done for quite some time: a few random scans. I used to do these back in the day when I was trawling charity shops for books every weekend. The pandemic put a stop to that, but I was in town a couple of weeks ago to have a filling, so I managed to get into a couple of shops for the first time and picked up some choice items, including a couple of SF novels and a couple of non-fiction books, the latter including a huge biography of John Le Carre and a study of thrillers by Mike Ripley that I've since dipped into to read the fascinating story of how thrillers developed in the post-Bond era. I love a good thriller, so I'm looking forward to finding some of the titles that Mike recommends.


  1. The edit facility disappeared from my blog for a while too, but reappeared a short while later. Maybe it's the same for you - worth checking.

  2. Maybe, but I get the impression from the Blogger forum that the quick edit gadget is gone for good.



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