Wednesday, December 28, 2022

 Commando Presents…The Sci-Fi Files: Soldiers From Space!

5…4…3…2…1… LIFT OFF and out into the realms of Science Fiction as Commando Presents…The Sci-fi Files Volume 1: Soldiers from Space! Available digitally on Kindle and ComiXology from the 28th of December.
This otherworldly anthology collates together four Science Fiction comics from a galaxy’s worth of adventure in action-packed black-and-white art. From time travelling troopers to gigantic monster bugs, this out-of-this-world selection of comics is sure to send your imagination into space!  
A spaceman came travelling to World War Two in a classic tale from 1971 - #577 ‘Soldier from Space’! Move over Ming the Merciless, as a man from 3000 AD travels through space and time to enlist troops to fight in a cataclysmic future war!

Let’s do the time warp again in the second 1970s issue, #1294 ‘Time-Warp Warrior’! Another man from another world, a future world, Cam travels to the past to stop an adversary hell-bent on the total destruction of the planet!  

We travel through time to more modern Commandos with #5331 ‘Flight from Tomorrow’! Amid the turmoil of the Dunkirk evacuations, Arthur C Clarke award-winning writer Adrian Tchaikovsky’s script sees a group of refugees being aided by the British soldiers on the retreat — only these refugees aren’t trying to escape to a different place — but a different time!

Finally, giant creepy-crawlies are on the prowl in #5477 ‘Bug Attack’! When a fracking operation in rural Colorado unleashes a hoard of mammoth, killer insects, the US military is ready to nuke the suckers... but it’s a race against time to save the scientists stuck in the hive!
Also included in the digital edition is a cover gallery, featuring the original artwork for each issue.
Look out for new Commando Presents digital releases on the final Wednesday of every month, and even more digital releases from Heritage Comics in the coming months!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Heritage Comics and Starblazer Presents… Starblazer Special Edition

Heritage Comics and Starblazer Presents… Starblazer Special Edition. Released as a Graphic Novel in 2019, and in print for the first time since the 1990s, this special edition is available digitally on Kindle and comiXology from the 28th of December.

Originally published between 1979 and 1991 by DC Thomson, Starblazer was a pocketbook-sized, Science Fiction comic, presenting action and adventure stories set throughout space and time, overflowing with alien alliances, weird and wonderful worlds, and tantalising technology. This special edition presents issues #45 ‘Operation Overkill’ from 1981 and #71 ‘Jaws of Death’ from 1982, two classic adventures crafted by some comic book legends-in-waiting, in an easy-to-read format, perfect for all digital reading devices.

‘Operation Overkill’ provides a glimpse into some of British comic legend Grant Morrison’s earliest work, while Argentinian illustrator Enrique Alcatena’s artwork brings such imaginations to life in exquisite detail. Likewise, ‘Jaws of Death’ by D Broadbent showcases Mick McMahon’s instantly recognisable, clean, confident draughtsmanship. Together, they present some of the best of British Science Fiction, appealing to a contemporary audience as well as fans of the original pocket-size publication.

Supplemented by the original, full-colour cover art by Keith Robson for both issues, a fresh new cover by Neil Roberts — featuring Grant Morrison's intergalactic investigator Mikal R Kayn — brings these classic stories into a contemporary, yet familiar field.

Bonus content comes in the form of a brief history of the well-loved cult comic with an Ian Kennedy Easter Egg in the mix, an exclusive interview with artist Neil Roberts, and insights from a conversation with Grant Morrison by Professor Christopher Murray. A must-have for Science Fiction and British comic fans alike.

#15 ‘Operation Overkill’ originally printed in 1981
Story | Grant Morrison | Art | Enrique Alcatena | Cover | Keith Robson

#71 ‘Jaws of Death’ originally printed in 1982
Story | D Broadbent | Art | Mick McMahon | Cover | Keith Robson

Look out for new Heritage Comics and Commando Presents digital releases on the final Wednesday of every month!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Comic Cuts — 23 December 2022

Merry Christmas, one and all!

The busy scene above was not the one that greeted me on Wednesday when I went into town to pick up some last-minute bits 'n' bobs for the weekend's festivities. Colchester was pretty dead in terms of footfall and, in bright sunshine, it didn't feel at all Christmassy. Thanks to the warmth, it could have been May rather than December.

I haven't seen the Christmas lights on in Colchester or even in Wivenhoe, although we did see a few lighting up the High Street on Sunday morning. Mind you, nature was putting on a huge display on Sunday, the sky a fiery red as dawn broke over the houses in Valley Road. The photos I took don't really do it justice.

It was still bitterly cold at that point. Cold enough for the stream that runs through the meadow to the lee side of the built-up footpath was frozen. It really didn't feel like anything but winter that day, with a sharp wind coming off the river that chilled us every time I stopped to take a photo.

Thankfully, things warmed up a little over the next couple of days and I have been trying to put together the last bits of my bibliography, including indexing a couple of fanzines I put together back in the 1990s. I've enjoyed wading through this history of my writing career — well, the moments when I wasn't feeling utterly frustrated at my inability to find things... I'm still missing a book and a couple of photocopied pamphlets, but I did find a stack of photocopies that I had been looking for a couple of years ago without success.

All will be revealed when I put the whole lot together for a massive cover gallery in the new year.

I'm almost finished tidying up. This isn't the end game for all the clearing-out that I have been doing for the last three months, just a pause. I still have some boxes of magazines to get rid of, and then I need to sort out a load of boxes that are marked "Miscellaneous paper" and "Miscellaneous comics" into some sort of order so that they can be sensibly stacked — all the comics paperwork together, all the old paperbacks paperwork together — so that when it all moves into the "office" and I move out into the living room, it can be done in way that won't make it all disappear for the next decade. It took me two days to find a box that had clippings of my own articles because I hadn't written anything on it to indicate what was inside. Mind you, the box that had my old fanzine PBO inside had PBO written on the front and I still managed to miss it. I blame two loose issues that I remember putting in another box that I did find on day two... then I had a memory breakthrough and looked up and along the tops of my shelves where the box was sitting in plain sight.

My main task for January will be putting together the artwork for the next batch of books for Dolmen. I have a few partly scanned, but I need to get the rest done, plus the artwork for the volume that has been scanned needs some cleaning. It's going to keep me busy for some while yet.

And at some point I'm hoping to get back to some of my own work... there's the Action volume mostly written, a Valiant Index half-written, the first couple of chapters finished of a history of pirate comics from the post-war decade, a clutch of articles that I'm still hoping to publish as a magazine, and a bunch of other things that I keep promising myself I'll write "when I get a chance". I even have a couple of pieces finished for the next Forgotten Authors volume!

One of the things I was working on earlier this year has made an appearance in the pages of a German magazine, Die Sprechblase [The Speech Bubble] for January 2023. It's an astonishing colour magazine all about comics that has been going for 48 years! The nearest we have is Eagle Times, which is about to enter its 35th year, but I'm afraid there's no comparison. No insult intended as the German mag. is professionally put together rather than the work of a team of enthusiasts. My work fills 14 of the magazine's 100 pages... actually the work of Alberto Giolitti as it was a scan and restoration job of 'Blood on the Prairie' from Ranger that I did six or so months ago.

The editorial team has put together ten pages of features about Giolitti, Paul I. Wellman, Ranger and the historical background of the strip. If only I could read German! It looks fantastic. The strip is known in Germany as it was reprinted in Kobra in 1976, a decade after its original appearance in Ranger. I believe the strip will be completed in the next issue of Die Sprechblase. I need to thank Gerhard Förster for making sure I got a copy. Cheers!

And that's probably it for the year. I might try and post something next week, but if I don't I'll say Happy New Year now and wish everyone all the best for 2023. I hope you have a brilliant year and we can put all the crap that 2022 brought – from pandemic to prices soaring – behind us.

(* The column header is by Richard Hook and is from Look and Learn 519, 25 December 1971 © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Commando 5603-5606

Anti-heroes abound in these brand-new Commando comics! From the Australian Navy in the Pacific to Australian SAS in Vietnam, and from the enigmatic Red Cloaked man to a fanatic Nazi in charge of a squadron of unstoppable aircraft! All this in Issues 5603-5606 — out today, 22nd December, 2022!

5603: The Buffer

Chief Petty Officer Michael O’Rourke is a beast of a man with an attitude to match. He could kill a man with the chip on his shoulder — if his anger management issues didn’t get them first. Well, this big man soon finds himself in trouble yet again — only this time his actions have far-reaching consequences which could get a lot of innocent men killed!
Issue 5603 is Brent Towns doing what he does best, brought to fruition by Paolo Ongaro’s exceptional interior artwork and Mark Harris’s bullet-biting cover!

Story | Brent Towns
Art| Paolo Ongaro
Cover | Mark Harris

5604: Lair of the Hawk

No-one had ever seen anything like these aircraft. With contra-rotating propellers, four massive cannons, fuselages that were the ultimate in streamlining, they rose vertically from their secret cavern, faster and deadlier than anything else in the sky. Nothing could stop them. No-one could even find them. And what was worse, they were commanded by a fanatic, a madman, an officer who did not know the meaning of mercy.

This classic Commando from 1976 was selected by Commando readers as a ‘By Special Request’ reprint and it’s easy to see why! CG Walker’s off-beat story is masterfully brought to life by John Ridgway’s amazing work on interior and cover art!

Story | CG Walker
Art | John Ridgway
Cover | John Ridgway
Originally Commando No. 1021 (1976).

5605: No Heroes

Welcome to the jungle! But it's not fun or games for Private Ian Ewell when he arrives for his first posting with the Australian SAS in Phuoc Tuy in 1968. Thrown in at the deep end and faced with everything from guerrilla traps to flesh-eating ants, the green recruit finds the dense jungle of Vietnam to be even more perilous than he ever imagined. His teammates need him to come up to speed fast, and with his dreams of valour swiftly fading, Ewell must come to terms with the fact that in a war this complex, there can be... No Heroes!

Andrew Knighton weaves an intricate Vietnam story in Issues 5605 with Jaume Forns’s interior artwork conjuring dense and oppressive jungle scenes. The theme of a stifling, claustrophobic jungle is echoed in Neil Roberts lush green cover with added snake appeal!

Story | Andrew Knighton
Art | Jaume Forns
Cover | Neil Roberts

5606: Red Cloak

An important British general had just been captured by the Germans and, at any moment, he would be taken back to their lines. It looked to be a very grim situation. But all was not lost. One man could yet save the day. He was a tribe leader... the man they called Red Cloak.

Issue 5606 features our second CG Walker story with art from Fleming and Ian Kennedy! What a treat!

Story | CG Walker
Art | Fleming
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1417 (1980)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Export and import of paperbacks by western writers native to the Nordic countries

Export and import of paperbacks by western writers
native to the Nordic countries


Anders N. Nilsson


A great majority of the western novels published as paperbacks within the five Nordic countries, i.e. Scandinavia and Finland, were translated from English after first having been published in USA, Australia or Great Britain (Nilsson & Myrman 2013). In spite of the anglophone domination, all Nordic countries except Iceland also had their own native western writers.  Compared to countries like Germany and Spain, they were not that many, and their combined output represents only a fraction of the total volume of western novels published in the region. As I understand, the two major causes of a a nationally produced western literature were most likely: (1) economic reasons when eliminating the need for translators, and (2) national pride when telling stories about heroes of local origin. Examples of the latter category are the Swedish Johan Hellgren (aka Ben Hogan), the Norwegian Robert Rauland (aka Bob Rowland) of Pioner, and the Finnish Juho Helapää of Finnwest. On the back cover of the Danish edition of the second Pioner book  (as Vestens Pionerer) it is also stated that of Rowland’s two buddies, Store Dan was a dane and Carpenter-Joe a swede. Finally, the generally high interest in popular culture relating to Wild West stories in the Nordic countries provided local paperback markets of volume enough and encouraged some author talent to work within this genre.

The Nordic countries represented a tightly integrated market for cheap paperbacks including those in the western genre. Cooperation among the larger publishers was well developed, which made export of locally produced texts from one country to another easier. The dominating Danish publisher Winther was close to Wennerbergs in Sweden and had also good contacts in Finland and Norway. The other large Swedish publisher, B. Wahlström, had some cooperation with the Norwegian dominant, Bladkompaniet, as well as with the Vaasa publisher in Finland (Nilsson 2019). The Warner-owned Williams publisher was active in Danmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. It is thus not surprising that many paperback series had their close matches in the different Nordic countries.

One should keep in mind that export of western paperbacks has also occurred without translation. For example, the Danish and Norwegian languages are rather similar in print, which enhances the selling of books produced in one of the two countries also in the other one. Moreover, some regions of Finland have large fractions of Swedish-speaking inhabitants and a substantial import of popular literature from Sweden. On the other hand, the emigration of Finnish-speaking citizens to Sweden has most likely been linked to some export from Finland of also western paperbacks. Export without translation is, however, difficult to quantify.

In contrast to the successful current generation of Scandinavian crime writers, the export of western novels to other regions has been more or less non-existing. With one major exception – the Norwegian author Kjell Kåre Hallbing writing as Louis Masterson about Morgan Kane (Arnesen 1990, Nielsen & Holbye 2014, Pettersen 2022). On the other hand, the seminal compilation Twentieth-Century Western Writers (Saddler 1991) did not include any writer from the Nordic countries. Several American western writers, however, have Scandinavian roots, although most of them were born in USA. Two examples of writers born in Scandinavia that did migrate to USA, and included in the above-mentioned compilation, are Ole Edvart Røølvaag (1876-1931) from Norway, and Donald Bengtsson Hamilton (1916-2006) from Sweden. Hamilton arrived as a boy to the US together with his parents, and returned to Sweden at old age to die there.


Study material delimitations

I have here restricted my observations to paperbacks in the western genre directed at adult readers. There were many authors in the Nordic country writing for the juvenile readers, especially when including stories about the North American Indigenous people or “Indians” (for a Swedish compilation, see Jansson 2022). The juvenile literature is here excluded. Also excluded are the western novels published as pulp magazines, in contrast to the paperback as folded and stapled pamphlets. I have, however, included the Norwegian Komet-books and other similar series from the publisher Folke-Forlaget, defined as book by the publisher, but still not true paperbacks. Bakken (1994) in his review of Norwegian paperbacks viewed them as really close to this format. The Danish edition, named Western Magasinet, of the Swedish Ben Hogan novels were also more like pulp magazines than paperbacks. Otherwise, western novels and short stories published in magazines, often serialized, have been excluded (see Nilsson 2017 for some Swedish listings). With these delimitations, I have identified 41 Nordic western writers with a total production of 1328 titles. Some uncertainties remain, however, due to novels published anonymously, like in the series Clay Allison in Norway and Finnwest in Finland, and changed titles in subsequent editions of some series.


Many of the translated editions used other cover paintings than the original editions. Finnish Ben
Hogan editions used the Swedish paintings, except for the two last titles, whereas all Danish editions
used their own artwork: (left): Swedish Ben Hogan no. 14/568, (middle) same title in Finnish Ben
Hogan no. 14, and (right) Danish Ben Hogan no. 1 with original title Staden utan lag.


Five different Danish western writers did within the period 1969-1976 get 28 titles published in three different series (Table 1). As three of these supposed writers are known only by their pseudonyms, the number may actually be even lower. 21 Danish titles were exported to Finland (19 by Ed Edson) and Norway (5 by Ed Edson plus two from the series Westhouse). No Danish titles were published in Swedish translation.

The Danish import included at least 202 titles, of which 174 were of Norwegian origin and 28 of Swedish. Of the Norwegian titles, 137 were by Kjell Hallbing, 14 by Olav Ottersen, and at least ten by Finn Halse. Thirteen or more Clay Allison titles imported from Norway lacked author names. The import from Sweden included 15 Clay Allison titles by Bengt-Åke Cras, and 13 Ben Hogan titles by Kjell Genberg.

Danish author names

Josh Brown (pseudonym, real name unknown): Westhouse 1 title 1969.
Ed Edson (pseudonym, real name unknown): En Texas Bog 19 titles 1971-1974, Ny Pocket 3 titles 1973.
Martin Nielsen (b. 1935) (pseud. Mart Niel): Westhouse 3 titles 1970-1971.
Frits Remar (1932-1982): En Texas Bog 1 title 1976.
Ed Stomp (pseudonym, real name unknown): Westhouse 1 title 1969.



In Finland, at least 14 different authors contributed to the Finnwest series. Kari Nenonen also published his western novels in three other series: Hulkkonen, Luigi Littin Saluuna, and Navajo (Kivimäki 2018). The second Hulkkonen title was by Juhani Salomaa. As far as I know, no Finnish western novel was published in translation in some other country.

In total, 240 titles were imported to Finland and dominated by 133 Kjell Hallbing titles from Norway. The 88 titles imported from Sweden included 45 Joe Montana titles by Tommy Schinkler, 29 Clay Allison titles, most by Bengt-Åke Cras, and 14 of Kjell Genberg’s Ben Hogan titles. Denmark contributed with 19 Ed Edson titles.

Finnish author names

Tapani Bagge (b. 1962): Finnwest 32 titles 1986-1992.
Pekka Hakala (b. 1959): Finnwest 7 titles 1986-1988.
Aimo Harjula (?): Finnwest 1 title 1988.
Petri Hirvonen (b. 1972): Finnwest 1 title 1992.
Pertti Huopainen (?): Finnwest 1 title 1988.
Juha Kalajoki (b. 1950): Finnwest 3 titles 1983-1984.
Pekka Kolehmainen (b. 1951): Finnwest 4 titles 1981-1984.
Kari Juhani Nenonen (1949-2006, see Wikipedia Finland): Finnwest 19 titles 1980-1987, Hulkkonen 37 titles 1983-1992, Luigi Littin Saluuna 2 titles 1990, Navajo 6 titles 1984-1985.
Pentti Pesä (b. 1942): Finnwest 8 titles 1989-1992.
Harri Raitis (b. 1944): Finnwest 4 titles 1991-1992.
Juhani Salomaa (1944-1990, see Wikipedia Finland): Finnwest 54 titles 1976-1990, Hulkkonen 1 title 1983.
Joni Skiftesvik (b. 1948): Finnwest 1 title 1983.
Seppo Tuisku (1935-2020): Finnwest 1 title 1988.
Juha Tuovinen (?): Finnwest 2 titles 1987.
Anonymous & author unknown: Finnwest 59 titles 1979-1985.



No western writer native to Iceland has been found. According to Pettersen (2022) 82 titles from Norway in the Morgan Kane series written by Kjell Hallbing as Louis Masterson have been publish in Icelandic translation by Prenthúsiđ in Reykjavík 1978-1988.


The second book in the Norwegian Pioner series by Olav Ottersen, writing as
Dickson Row: (left) Norwegian edition front cover, (middle)
Danish Vestens Pionerer edition front cover, and (right) ditto back cover.


A minimum of eight different authors have in the period 1952-1991 got published 680 different titles (many of them in two or more editions). Of these titles 162 have been published in Danish, 132 in Finnish, 82 in Icelandic, and 129 in Swedish translation. Moreover, of Kjell Hallbing’s Morgan Kane titles, 41 have been published in English, 16 in French, eight in Dutch, four in Polish, seven in Spanish, and five in German translation (Pettersen 2022). Of the same author also nine Clay Allison titles were published in Germany. Finn Halse had at least ten of his titles published in Danish translation, some of them in the Colt series. All 14 of Ottersens titles were included in the Danish series Vestens Pionerer published by Winther. The Finnish, Icelandic, and Swedish import included only titles by Kjell Hallbing.

In spite of being the dominating exporter of western titles within the Nordic countries, Norway imported only 12 titles, seven from Denmark and five from Sweden. Most Danish titles were by Ed Edson, and the Swedish Clay Allison titles were by Kjell Genberg and Sture Hammenskog.

Norwegian author names

Ragnar Askeland (?): Clay Allison 1 title 1986.
Hans Faye-Lund (1919-1989, se Wikipedia Norway) (pseud. Dave Derringer): Russ Quint Western 4 titles 1971.
Kjell Kåre Hallbing (1934-2004, se Nielsen & Holbye 2014) (pseud. Collin Hawkins, Lee Morgan, Leo Manning, Louis Masterson, Ward Cameron): Clay Allison 14 titles 1969-1971, Cowboy-serien 5 titles 1965, Louis Masterson [1] 17 titles 1972-1975, Morgan Kane 83 titles 1966-1985, Ponni 1 title 1962, Triangelwestern 18 titlar  1961-1964. Plus many subsequent editions.
Finn Halse (1910-1980, se Bakken 2022) (pseud. Charles D. Norwood, Danny March, Freddy March, Ramon Costello, Steve Grant, Tex Miller): En Komet Bok 214 titles 1952-1984, En Komet Bok [Stor] 7 titles 1955-1986, Villmarkserien 71 titles 1954-1986.
Stein-Aage Hubred (b. 1947): Clay Allison 4 titles 1971-?
Jan W. Jensen (?): Clay Allison 3 titles 1971-?
Olav Ottersen (1929-2006, se Wikipedia Norway) (pseud. Dickson Row): Pioner 14 titles (1970-1972).
Sverre Årnes (b. 1949): Clay Allison 23 titles 1981-?
Anonymous & author unknown: Clay Allison about 200 titles 1972-1991.


The Sexy Western Clay Allison stories started in Norway with Kjell Hallbing writing as Leo Manning.
Other writers continued the series, also in Sweden. Here one of Kjell Genberg writing as Matt
Jade: (left) Swedish original as no. 23 from 1973, (middle) Finnish edition of same title as no. 23
from 1975, and (right) Norwegian edition as no. 21 from 1973.


Fourteen Swedish authors have got 377 titles published, of which 121 titles were published also in translation in one or more other Nordic countries. The highest number of titles, 88, was exported to Finland and including Joe Montana, Clay Allison and Ben Hogan. The 28 titles exported to Denmark were from the two latter of these series, and to Norway only from Clay Allison. The Swedish import has been restricted to Norway, including 127 titles by Kjell Hallbing.

Swedish author names

Kjell Gustav Alexis Andreasson (b. 1938) (pseud. Charlie Siringo, James Dillinger): 3 Västern en 1 title 1983, Prärie 1 title 1982, Walter Colt 1 title 1982, Wild West 4 titles 1980-1982.
Bengt-Åke Bernhard Cras     (b. 1943) (pseud. William Marvin Jr.): Clay Allison/ Sexy Western 123 titles 1973-1989.
Sune Garpenby (1906-1992) (pseud. Stewart Mill): Silver Star 2 titles 1961-1962.
Kjell Erling Genberg (b. 1940) (pseud. K. Earl Ginsburg, Matt Jade, Steve Hammer): Ben Hogan [1] 55 titles 1972-1977, Ben Hogan [2] 22 titles 1990-1993, Clay Allison 13 titles 1971-1975, Prärie 2 titles 1973, Pyramid 3 titles 1972-1973.
Sture Hammenskog (1932-1988, se Nilsson 2013a) (pseud. Steve Hammer): Clay Allison 3 titles 1971.
Hanz Fredrik Lindström (b. 1934) (pseud. Hanz F. Lindstroem): Bullet Western 3 titles 1974-1976.
Sven Rune Mantling (1927-1987) (pseud. Stewart Rogers, Wyatt C. Bannister): Longhorn 1 title 1968, Mustang 1 title 1959, Topp Wild West 36 titles 1959-1973.
Stewart Mill    (pseudonym, real name unknown): Silver Star 3 titles 1963-1965.
Björn Persson (b. 1967): Ultima Esperanza Books 1 title 2022.
Tommy Schinkler (1938-1994) (pseud. Tom Dutchman): Joe Montana 58 titles 1979-1988, McAllister/ Mack & Joe 37 titles 1974-1979.
Lars Erik Gabriel Setterborg (b. 1939) (pseud. Luke Devery): Pingvin 3 titles 1958-1959.
Ulf Westblom (b. 1953) & John Alf Lennart Ågren (b. 1950) (pseud. John West): 1 title Wild West 1974.
Stellan Wik (?) (pseud. E.G. Williams): McAllister 4 titles 1973-1974.



When it comes to exchange of western novels written by native authors in the five Nordic countries, it becomes evident that Denmark, Finland and Iceland all were chiefly importers, whereas Norway and Sweden were the main exporters (Table 1). The difference between the latter two was that Norway had a very low import, whereas Sweden combined a substantial export with a high import. Export capacity depends on production, which was highest in Norway, followed by Sweden and Finland. The more isolated position of the Finnish language may explain the failed export in spite of a substantial production of texts.

Norway was the exclusive exporter to both Iceland and Sweden, whereas Denmark imported also from Sweden, and Finland also from both Denmark and Sweden. The small Norwegian import was split between Denmark and Sweden. Norway was the only exporter that had their books translated in all four other countries, and also the only source for export outside the Nordic countries. The Norwegian success depended, however, on the author Kjell Hallbing and especially his Morgan Kane novels. Novels by other Norwegian writers were only sold to Denmark.

Top-selling western writers from outside the English-speaking world are rare birds, and Hallbing’s success was really an unexpected phenomenon. Obviously, he was a really skilled narrator that created a complex and interesting character in Morgan Kane that appeared in 83 original books (Arnesen 1990). The Morgan Kane success spilled over on his other stories, and resulted in national megasuccess in his own country plus by far the largest export volume among Nordic western writers. The high number of Hallbing books sold worldwide, estimated by Arnesen (1990) to 14 million and by Nielsen & Holbye (2014) to 22 million, was also boosted by second and even third editions in countries like Denmark and Sweden, and last but not least the seemingly endless number of editions published in his own country.

Table 1. Production and translation of western paperback novels by local writers within the five
Nordic countries: (DK) Denmark, (FI) Finland, (IS) Iceland, (NO) Norway, and (SE) Sweden.

Cover art

Besides the texts, the intra-Nordic exchange has also included cover paintings. For example, the Norwegian artist George Schumann’s cover paintings for the Pioner series was used also on the Danish edition, Vestens Pionerer (Bakken 1994). Same thing with the Danish series En Komet Bog. The 12 first Finnish titles of Ben Hogan used the same cover art by Bengt Olof Wennerberg, aka Bowen, as the Swedish first edition. Bowen also painted the covers for early Clay Allison titles, including those by Kjell Hallbing writing as Leo Manning, which means that some of his artwork was exported to Denmark, Finland and Norway (Nilsson 2013b). In Sweden, Wolfgang Gerd Lothar Bartsch (1939–2018) replaced Bowen and made the artwork for Clay Allison/Sexy Western titles no. 21-107. Many of his paintings were used also on corresponding editions in the other three countries.

The Norwegian artist Ernst Vevle Olsen Meister painted four of the later Morgan Kane original covers, i.e. Alaska marshal, Dommedag i Skagway, Klondike ’97, and Yukon’s onde and. These paintings were used also on the corresponding editions in the other four Nordic countries. There are also examples of Norwegian paintings used on Swedish editions of novels by authors from outside Scandinavia. Harald Damsleth’s outstanding paintings from the Norwegian edition of the Spanish author José Mallorqui’s stories about Coyote were used also on Lindqvist’s Swedish editions. Selected titles of the Swedish Nyckelbok series published by Romanförlaget used cover art by Norwegian illustrators such as John I. Stenrud, Per Svinø, and Otto Wiese Moe (Nilsson 2018). Stenrud also painted some of the early Swedish Pyramid-book covers.

The Danish export of cover paintings was quite limited but three paintings by William Petersen were used on a few Kjell Hallbing books in the Swedish Texas series (no. 3-5), and the Finnish Louis Masterson series (no. 3, 4 and 7).

This painting by the Danish artist William Petersen was used in combination with the same Kjell Hallbing
title, Bastardene, in three different Nordic countries: (left) Danish series Louis Masterson no. 4
from 1980, (middle) Swedish series Texas no. 4 from 1980, and (right) Finnish series Louis
Masterson no. 4 from 1985.

My thanks to Gunnar Olsen for his scans of Danish book covers used here.



Arnesen, Finn, 1990: Eventyret om Morgan Kane, pp. 121-129, in: Fra Rudolf Muus til Margit Sandemo. 75 års folkelesning fra Bladkompaniet A.S. Oslo: Bladkompaniet.

Bakken, Willy, 1994: Vakre damer og blodig død. Den norske pocketbokas historie 1949-1994. Oslo: Bladkompaniet.

Bakken, Willy, 2022: Finn Halse,

Jansson, Staffan, 2022: Indianböcker i Sverige 1675-2000, fakta och fiktion : en bibliografi,

Kivimäki, Miikka, 2018: Kioskilänkkärit kautta aikain,

Myrman, Patrik, 2020: Serielagret,

Nielsen, Atle & Kjell Jørgen Holbye (eds.), 2014: Den store boka om Morgan Kane. Oslo: Aller Forlag.

Nilsson, Anders N. 2013a: Arvidsjaur, Texas & Clay Allison – och Sture Hammenskog. DAST Magazine 26 August 2013.

Nilsson, Anders N. 2013b: Fallet Kjell Hallbing: Om kioskböckers svåretablerade identitet. DAST Magazine 18 April 2013.

Nilsson, Anders N. 2017: Western- och nordlandsföljetonger i Lektyr och Levande Livet 1940–1966. DAST Magazine 12 January 2017.

Nilsson, Anders N. 2018: Bildkonstens anonymisering och namnlöshet satt i system. DAST Magazine 29 October 2018.

Nilsson, Anders N. 2019: Svensk kiosklitteratur i österled. DAST Magazine 13 February 2019.

Nilsson, Anders N. & Patrik Myrman, 2013: Populärpocketböcker inom västerngenren i Sverige – en kartläggning. DAST Magazine 13 October 2013.

Olsen, Gunnar, 2020: Serieoversigt – bøger,

Pettersen, Jan 2022: Morgan Kane,

(* Column header: The same Morgan Kane story by Kjell Hallbing writing as Louis Masterson, first edition in: (left) Norway no. 29 from 1969, (middle) Iceland no. 29 from 1981, and (right) Denmark no. 25 from 1974.)


Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books