Friday, August 05, 2022

Comic Cuts — 5 August 2022

I managed to complete work on the Steel Claw book mentioned last week, and I'm now knee deep in giant ape doings... yes, it's Mytek the Mighty!

It has been quite a fun week, in fact. It began with doing a second pass on the Steel Claw artwork on Monday and finishing off the introduction that I started writing last week, this one looking at the influences on a couple of stories, which range from the real historical horrors of Devil's Island to the latest gadgetry of James Bond's Thunderball. I'm thinking of writing something about artist Jesus Blasco for the next one, but we shall see. Talking of artists, I suspect that Eric Bradbury will be the subject for the second Mytek introduction... I'll see how I feel next week when I have the artwork finished.

I'm trying to pull ahead a bit so I can take a couple of weeks off  to do a new Bear Alley book, similar to the biography of John Chisnall and his motorcycling exploits that I published a couple of years ago. A friend of John's saw the book, liked it, and mentioned that he was thinking of writing about his own biking saga. So, hopefully, I can squeeze that in at some point because I'm thinking that I will definitely be needing a new computer in the not-too-distant future. My poor computer has rattled and hummed unhappily during the heatwave and I don't want to risk a meltdown.

It is now 11 years old and struggling to operate at top speed. I think there's a bit of throttling going on to keep things cool, but, also, it now has seven years' worth of Windows 10 updates crammed onto a drive designed for Windows 7. (I've wrote about my previous history with computers back in 2011 when I was trying to get the current computer to work. Incidentally, I still have the same laptop running Windows XP and still use it for watching DVDs.)

Once the new book is confirmed, I might splash out on the computer, so that I get to test run its capabilities as I get into scanning and designing. I'm hoping that the new machine will be faster, but it should also have far better graphics and sound cards. I'm also hoping that I'll see some improvements to the wireless connection to our internet hub.

The alternative is to wait until closer to Christmas and temporarily setting up in the living room rather than in my office. The office is a converted garage with no insulation, so it gets freezing cold in here and any heat quickly disappears through the single brick walls and paper-thin ceiling. I'm thinking that the living room will retain the heat better — and that could be vital when there's talk of the energy cap potentially hitting £3,600—that's up by £2,200 from last year's cap of £1,400, or an extra £183 a month. I'm also hoping that a new computer will be more energy efficient although we're likely to be talking pence rather than pounds.

Lots to think about, although still at least a couple of month's away. In the meantime, I'm planning to keep on scanning.

Incidentally, I picked the header image because I remember that scene vividly. It indirectly got me into comics when I was seven. A near neighbour whose son I went to school with took Richard and I to see a rerun of two Bond movies (Thunderball and From Russia With Love) in 1969. I had then recently had some corrective eye surgery and was reading everything I could lay my hands on, which was mostly what my Dad left laying around. So lots of James Hadley Chase and John Creasey... but also the Ian Fleming James Bond paperbacks.

I described the thrills of these films and books to another pal, who said that they were a favourite of his older brother, who had some of the books. My ears pricked up because I couldn't lay my hands on some of them (they were in the grown ups section of the library and I couldn't borrow them on my library ticket). I took a chance to visit my friend and see what he had... but what I discovered was a small pile of Valiant comics that I started looking at. The stories — and specifically The Steel Claw — blew me away and I started ordering Valiant from my local newsagent.

So I got into comics thanks to James Bond, not knowing that Bond was a heavy influence on that strip in 1966. Years later, when I was able to build up a reasonable collection of older issues, I have to admit that it was my favourite period for the strip and having the opportunity to bring it back into print, albeit in Spain, has been a joy!

But the Thunderball image above (by Frank McCarthy) is memorable to me because I had that image on a jigsaw puzzle. In fact, I had two, one from Thunderball and one from From Russia With Love, still two of my favourite Bond movies. I had a quick dig around the web and found these box images... these are the ones I had, from Arrow, c.1966. I wonder what happened to them? I bet they're worth a fortune now!

What I never knew until now was that there were two others that I never had, a second from Thunderball and one from Goldfinger.


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