Friday, December 08, 2023

Comic Cuts — 8 December 2023

I'm pleased to announce that Beyond the Void: The Remarkable History of Badger Books will be out shortly. I'm still working on how I can get the books into the hands of readers, but I should have that in place shortly.

This is a bumper book, 172 pages in full colour, and the proof that arrived during the week bowled me over. I'm making a few minor tweaks – just for consistency where, for instance, I have credited artist Henry Fox as H. Fox in some places and Fox in others – and then the book will be ready to print. I'm also reading through the text one last time, although I know that the moment I make a print order, I'll spot a typo. Always happens to every author, editor and book publisher. And I'm all three, in this instance.

I'm very pleased with how the book has turned out. The layout I based on my old PBO fanzine, which was a three column format, and the text and images can be jigsawed together in lots of different way, so, checklists aside, there aren't many pages in the whole 172-page book that look the same. It works well with paperback covers because they're roughly the same size and shape - there's a little difference between standard 'C' format and the old-style digest size, but not enough to worry about. I'm very tempted to use this format more often.

I'm going to stop talking about it now.

While I was waiting for the proofs to arrive, I took a look at a couple of old essays that I'm thinking of including in a new volume of Forgotten Authors - the fifth! The opener will be about some of the first authors to write about highwaymen and pirates. It was originally written about twenty years ago when I was active on an old Yahoo chat group dedicated to penny dreadfuls and dime novels (the bloodsanddimes group, for those with long memories). I've mined some of the material I wrote for the group in previous volumes (the essay 'Mysteries of the House of Harrison & Viles' in vol.3, for instance) and it was through correspondence with the likes of Justin Gilbert, Michael Holmes, John Adcock, Bill Blackbeard and others that led me to do little bits of research into the old penny dreadfuls of the late 19th century.

The era was full of fascinating stories and characters. I've included at least one in every volume - W. Stephens Hayward in vol.1, Bracebridge Hemyng in vol.2, Harrison & Viles in vol.3, and J. Reading Ware in vol.4), so I'm only following a tradition... and this one looks back at even older publications from the early 18th century.

Although I tend to call these my Christmas Projects, they rarely get finished over Christmas - there's too much else to do. I mentioned last week how my 2019 and 2020 Christmas Projects took until 2021 to see print. It isn't always a book... last year I put together a quite extensive bibliography of my own work for the FictionMags Index; even that doesn't cover half of what I've written, but it's a good start.

The problem with the Forgotten Authors books is built into the title... they're little known authors, so, of course, nobody is searching the internet or Amazon to find out about them. This is niche series even for the little niche I'm in, but it gives me a chance to write about authors I find fascinating and putting them together as books means I earn a little from them (not much, but I write for a living and everything I write has to earn me something).

Except Bear Alley, of course, although I hope that your discerning eye is drawn to the books visible in the left and right hand columns and that you're tempted to buy them. If someone you love likes comics, I can recommend them. Just order soon if you want one for Christmas.

No comments:

Post a Comment


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