Friday, May 12, 2023

Comic Cuts — 12 May 2023

I have spent most of the week scanning episodes of various comic strips from Valiant this week and buying up copies that I'm going to need for future volumes. The biggest of the three volumes I'm working on is the fourth and final volume of 'Mytek the Mighty', which wraps up the story of the giant robot ape. I think this will be the first time that I have been able to read the whole story in order, because it was already well underway when I started reading Valiant as a youngster.

I came to Valiant in 1969; I can't remember the precise issue, but it was during the story where Mytek travels to the Planet Umbra. I also remember The Scarecrow appearing in the Steel Claw story and reading The Shrinker and The Secret Champion, so it must have been the latter half of that year, when I was seven years old.

The earliest copy I have which was definitely mine is the first issue from 1971, which has "Holland calls" written on it. That means I had it on order at our local newsagent, who had the annoying habit of calling me Mr. Netherlands when I went to pick up our papers on a Saturday morning. Most annoying when you're eight years old.

Most of those earlier issues that I bought in 1969/70 have gone, as the copies I have I bought in the 1980s and 1990s, when I was able to build up a nearly complete run of the paper from the 1960s. I then have quite a few issues bought at the time with my name penciled on the cover. I gave up in 1974 when most of the stories that I liked disappeared: The Steel Claw and Star Trek in 1973, and The Wild Wonders, Kelly's Eye, Raven on the Wing, Janus Stark, Yellowknife of the Yard all disappearing in a night of the long knives when Valiant merged with Lion in May 1974. It gave me an excuse to cut my ties to Valiant and switch my regular Saturday order to Speed & Power, which had just started.

I did keep up with comics, buying Top Secret Picture Library when it launched in July 1974, and Vulcan when it came out nationally in March 1975, which meant I found myself buying Valiant again in 1976 when Vulcan was merged. That same year, I discovered copies of Analog and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction for sale at the Chelmsford railway station Smith's, and was buying those regularly for the next few years.

Happy days!

Thanks to the patchy rain we've had all week, we haven't managed to do much in the garden. But there is good news: in the areas where we cleared the weeds, we now have tiny grass shoots showing. I fully expect it will take a couple of goes to reseed the whole area, but we are off to a good start, and (fingers crossed) it might mean it doesn't take quite so much effort to keep on top of the gardening in the future. Being a non-driver, we have to rely on the council removing green waste at a rate of four bags every two weeks and that means the garden can look a bit untidy at times during the summer when every job we do fills up out green waste quota for another fortnight.

We're making progress on the upcoming thriller books. We have proofed text for five now and I'm on the second introduction... in other words, I'm the one holding things up. We have potentially another five titles that we can do, which will all depend on how much time Mel can devote to the text. I have no idea when I will have time to do my part, but hopefully it won't take forever and I can write the introductions between the comic collections.

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