Friday, November 03, 2023

Comic Cuts — 3 November 2023

Moving the clocks back has meant lighter mornings but feeling hungry an hour before lunch because my stomach has yet to get the memo about moving from BST to GMT.

I was doing quite well about not snacking, but Mel was given a box of chocolates for her birthday and we have been munching our way through them. Lovely... but we've had so much rain and Mel's work schedule has meant I'm not getting out for walks like I used to. We tried this (Thursday) morning and we walked straight into Storm Ciarán and I was soaked in seconds. I was the lucky one as Mel was heading for work whereas I simply turned around and headed back home.

I'm close to completing the Badger book. I'm re-reading the whole thing and I'm 98 out of 172 pages in. I think it's looking good and I'm not finding too many typos; I've only found one cover that I'd managed to use twice, but I'm keeping an eye open for that. Contents page and index were the last pages completed and I have the introductory page to finish and the cover.

The cover... I haven't a clue what to do with the cover. There have been a couple of books that relate to Badger, and both Debbie Cross's Down the Badger Hole and Shane Agnew's John Spencer & Co Illustrated Bibliography No.1 have piled of books as their cover image. So I should probably avoid that. The earlier Badger Tracks just had one big cover (Radar Alert by Karl Zeigfreid) on the cover, plus the title. I think I need something a bit better than that.

I'll have to think about it, but I need to come up with something soon!

The Guardian
published my obituary of Tony Husband on Monday. There's often a delay between publication online and in the print version of the newspaper and the piece on Tony appeared relatively quickly (online Thursday, in the paper Monday). I'm still waiting for the obit. for Keith Giffen to appear but there are often delays when famous people die, and Sir Bobby Charlton and Matthew Perry will have bumped everyone back by a day or two.

Sometimes a piece will appear online that doesn't make it into the paper at all. This happened late last year with my piece on Greg Bear, which went online on 29 December, but Christmas and New Year holidays meant the paper not appearing as often around that time and poor Greg missed out on a print appearance. That's the problem with covering authors and artists I think of as BIG NAMES but whose work might not be known to the wider public. It has happened to me once or twice over the years—and five times between 2003 and 2010 the piece was paid for but never run at all—but that hasn't happened for over a decade.

I haven't really done anything else. Did a bit of digging around into the life of Percy Griffiths, the founding editor of The Magnet and The Gem, famously the homes of Billy Bunter and Harry Wharton of Greyfriars and Tom Merry of St Jim's. He was always a mystery man, even to Bill Lofts and Derek Adley, who probably dedicated more time than any other researcher into finding out about "Pushful Percy", as he was known. I managed to track down his birth, but his death is still a huge mystery as he left Fleetway House suddenly and was rumoured to have boarded a boat for Rio, never to be seen again.

Also resolved some questions surrounding Alfred Barnard, who was one of the authors who filled-in for Charles Hamilton under the Martin Clifford house name (used for the St Jim's stories). Hopefully I'll be able to write up all this research one day, but unless someone wants to finance me to do it – and I will do it at the drop of a cheque – it will have to wait, like everything else, until my finances stabilise again or I retire. I'm still owed a lot of money by one publisher in particular and I'm trying to fit in as many books as I can for Bear Alley before I have to start looking for work again. Hopefully I've enough to get at least one more book after Beyond the Void. I have two or three projects in mind that I'd like to do, but which one will it be...?

Definitely a decision for another column!

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