Friday, October 08, 2021

Comic Cuts — 8 October 2021

After a few weeks of sifting through information and interviews I'm now in the writing phase of the Action project. I have a couple of areas written up, but I'm now trying to link all those disparate chunks of text and notes into one long readable essay. The notes run to over 28,000 words, but the introductory material that's in what I would call a reasonably final form is around 4,300 words. So there's quite a way to go yet.

I'm trying to make this as much of an oral history as I can, hence all the talk over the past few weeks of listening to podcasts, broadcasts, YouTube videos and even a few interviews I have done myself. I've always liked the format but it's a bit labour intensive and it is turning into a footnote fetishists fantasy, with 79 references so far. 

As well as trying to make sense of the history, I have been pestering people for even more information and working on the index that will accompany the essay. The intention is to expand and finesse any listing I've previously published, as I have been doing with the various books I've put out over the last dozen or so years. I'm often asked about the old photocopied indexes that came out in the early 1990s, and I say the same every time: no, I don't have copies, nor are they still in print. I only ever received one copy of each. My intention is to replace all of them, properly printed, and updated and expanded with thirty years worth of additional knowledge. They will be as definitive as I can make them.

Concentrating on Action to the exclusion of all else has meant I'm still running late with various reviews. One book that came in this week is Strange Stories of Sport edited by Chris Harte, a spin-off collection of tales from the Badminton Magazine of Sports and Pastimes, which I reviewed here. The book, a whopping 508 pages, collects together a run of 46 horror stories that appeared between 1905 and 1909. Long-time editor, Alfred Watson, and novelist and short story writer Frank Savile dreamed up the idea of publishing a run of stories over lunch in 1904, and Watson began commissioning tales soon after.

Eventually he would publish stories by 21 different authors, Savile prominent amongst them, but also including Herbert Knight-Horsfield, Geoffrey Williams, Charles Edwardes, George Charlton-Anne, Alma Scriven, Charles de Courcy-Parry, Laurence Hornibrook, Henry Bryden and Lewis Shaw.

Harte provides an informative introduction as always. The book is published through his own Sports History Publishing and will be available through the usual sources when it is officially released in about three weeks time. (Amazon lists the book as a hardback, but it is, in fact, a softcover, as are Chris's other books.)

Strange Stories of Sport, edited by Chris Harte. Sports History Publishing ISBN 978-189801015-9, 25 October 2021, £12.95. Available via Amazon.

I thought today we might have a special No Prize quiz for the sharp-eyed amongst you. Here's the question... what connection does the above episode of 'Montgomery of Alamein' have with Action? Remember, there's no prize. This is just for fun.


  1. Hey buddy it's Bill here - Wasn't the destroyed tank image in FB's original repurposed for an Action cover.? Not sure if it was redrawn or cut and pasted tho'. I'm fairly sure Al Williamson swiped a similar tank image for Agent x-9 - might have even been the same one now that I think of it but Williamson's motto seemed to be "if you're gonna crib, crib from the best" lol.



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