Friday, January 07, 2022

Comic Cuts — 7 January 2022

Happy New Year everyone! We had a very pleasant Christmas, thank you for asking, but it was back to work this week and I slipped back into the regular schedule very quickly... like slipping into your favourite pair of slippers or easing down onto a comfortable sofa. It felt good after taking all of Christmas off and most of the week up to New Year easy.

Like many, I had family descending and we were running around getting everything ready, turning Mel's office into a bedroom, making sure we had a fridge full of grub and, of course, emergency biscuits. And bacon rather than my usual breakfast meal of choice: an apple (which I have every morning on my doctor's recommendation).

We had a houseful for Xmas 2021 thanks to my sister and her three dogs, possibly the most photographed animals of the Christmas period, with Mum, Julie, Me and Mel all snapping away.I should be able to find one nice one between that lot.

The weather was against us this year. It wasn't cold, but rain meant that we didn't walk any more than the minimum demanded by dogs. And the dogs don't need much walking. I now know two Saluki owners and they both agree that they spend 95% of their lives flaked out in their beds or on the coach. One of my sister's other dogs is a whippet, which, again, is built for short, frantic bursts of energy and happy to curl up on anyone's lap for the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day.

The one thing nobody had even had the slightest inkling of was that neither dog had ever encountered stairs before. Both were rescue dogs from the Middle East and now lived in a ground floor flat. Apart from doorsteps, they've never had a climb a set of stairs in their lives.  Not wanting to stress them out, I ended up carrying the Saluki up the stairs each night and made sure I was up in the morning to carry him down before he needed a pee.

So Christmas was mostly dogs and eating and watching the usual Morecambe & Wise shows on TV. We only had a day or two before it was New Year's Eve and a slightly boozy Zoom party to send 2021 packing. If you haven't tried to coordinate a midnight toast over zoom, while watching the dying moments of December on a mixture of TVs, tablets and smart phones, all picking up different stations with different delays... well, I'd suggest you don't as some people were celebrating already before we'd finished counting down. It was about as coordinated as a Saluki's legs on a sofa (of which I can now speak with authority).

And that brings us to 2022 and a return to work. The good news is that I have almost finished part 1 of the Action history, currently clocking in at 28,500 words. I've reached the end of the first run almost. I'll have to write some of part two before I can get on with laying out part one because I have all the comics and reference material spread out around my desk, on the scanner and on the floor nearby in a careful balance of untidiness and knowing where everything is when I want to lay my hands on it. That's going to be totally destroyed when I come to start scanning images, so I need to get to a point where I can disrupt my workflow without making it impossible to pick up again in the future.

I need to write about why the comic was pulled and the events that occurred around the 20th and 21st of September that tipped the balance against it.

Incidentally, one of my Christmas presents was a copy of Pat Mills' latest volume, Kiss My Axe!, which I'm thoroughly enjoying. I'm only 50 pages in, but learning a lot about the creation of Slaine and the battles Pat had with 2000AD to get the strip published the way he wanted it. I'm mentioning this now because I think I'm going to have to pause reading it as there's another book I need to read before I get into part 2 of Action, so a review is unlikely in the near future.

I hope you've all had a fun time over the past two weeks. There's plenty to be looking forward to in 2022 even if we seem to be taking two steps forward and then two steps back as far as Covid is concerned. We will get out of it but it will be spring before Mel is allowed back to work and we can move around freely on public transport. In the meantime I'm plotting a few interesting projects to get Bear Alley Books back up and running after a year of publishing only fiction.

Have a safe week.

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