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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Magnum Annual 1983 (part 2)


(* Magnum P.I. TM and © Universal City Studios Inc.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Magnum Annual 1983 (part 1)

Based on the popular American series Magnum P.I. starring colourful Aloha shirt-wearing Tom Selleck, the Magnum Annual appeared three times, cover dated 1982, 1983 and 1984. The annual I'm revisiting this week is the middle one, published by Stafford Pemberton in 1982, priced £2.50, and featuring the talents of long-time World Distributors contributors Chas. Pemberton, who wrote the stories, and artists Edgar Hodges and Walt Howarth.

The set up of the show was simple: Magnum was a private eye based in Hawaii. He lives in the guest house of an author, Robin Masters (voiced by Orson Welles), whose estate is watched over by an ex-British Army Sergeant Major, Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, played with an impeccable English accent by American actor John Hillerman. Magnum can often be found in a bar run by Rick Wright (Larry Manetti) or using the services of helicopter pilot T.C. Calvin (Roger E. Mosley), when he is not driving around in Masters' Ferrari 308 GTS.

The annuals were notably more gritty in their storylines that some of their contemporaries. This blog discussing the 1982 annual notes: "I expected something along the lines of your typical, boring and benign TV comic adaptation - harmless and child friendly.  What I got was something not that far off from those old pulp magazines."

So, sit back, relax and enjoy a few pages from Magnum Annual 1983.

(* Magnum P.I. TM and © Universal City Studios Inc.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ian McDonald cover gallery


Desolation Road (1988)
Bantam 0553-17532-7, (Feb) 1989, 355pp, £3.99. Cover by Les Edwards.
Earthlight 0671-03753-6, (May) 2001, 373pp, £6.99. Cover by Paul Youll

Out on Blue Six (1989)
Bantam 0553-40044-4, (Aug) 1990, 335pp, £4.99. Cover by Will Cormier

King of Morning, Queen of Day (1991)
Bantam 0553-40371-0, (Feb) 1992, 389pp, £4.99. Cover by Mark Harrison

Hearts, Hands and Voices (1992; also published as The Broken Land)
VGSF 0575-05373-9, (Mar) 1993, 320pp, £4.99. Cover by Jim Burns

Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone (1994)
(no UK paperback)

Necroville (1994; also published as Terminal Cafe)
VGSF 0575-06004-2, (Jul) 1995, 317pp,p £5.99. Cover by Chris Brown
Gollancz 978-0575-09851-0, (Mar) 2011, 354pp, £7.99. Cover by Dominic Harman

Chaga (1995)
Vista 0575-60022-5, (Nov) 1996, 413pp, £5.99. Cover by Mark Harrison
Millennium/Orion 1857-98875-2, (Jun) 1999, 413pp, £6.99.

Sacrifice of Fools (1996)
Vista 0575-60059-4, (Dec) 1997, 286pp, £5.99. Cover by Mike Posen

Kirinya (1998)
Millennium/Orion 1857-98876-0, (Jun) 1999, 412pp, £6.99. Cover by Mick Posen.

Tendeleo's Story (2000)
PS Publishing 1902-88012-9, (Aug) 2000, 91pp, £8.00. Cover by David A. Hardy

Ares Express (2001)
Earthlight 0671-03754-4, (Mar) 2002, 553pp, £7.99. Cover by Paul Youll

River of Gods (2004)
Simon & Schuster 0743-25670-0, (Jun) 2004, 583pp, £12.99.
Pocket Books 0743-40400-9, (Apr) 2005, 583pp, £7.99. Cover by Paolo Pellizarri; design by Darren Wall
Gollancz 978-0575-08226-7, (Jul) 2009, 584pp, £8.99. Cover by Dominic Harman

Brasyl (2007)
Orion 0575-08050-7, (Jun) 2007, 405pp, £12.99. Cover by Dominic Harman
Gollancz 978-0575-08288-5, (Aug) 2008, 420pp, £7.99. Cover by Dominic Harman

The Dervish House (2010)
Gollancz 978-0575-08053-9, (Aug) 2010, [8]+472pp,  £12.99. Cover by Dominic Harman
Gollancz 978-0575-08862-7, (Jul) 2011, 480pp, £8.99.

Planesrunner (2011)
Jo Fletcher 978-1780-87679-5, (Jan) 2013, 320pp, £12.99. Cover by Ghost
Jo Fletcher 978-1780-87667-2, (Apr) 2013, 371pp, £7.99. Cover by Ghost

Be My Enemy (2012)
Jo Fletcher 978-1780-87680-1, (Jun) 2013, 320pp, £12.99. Cover by Ghost
Jo Fletcher 978-1780-87670-2, (Jan) 2014, 384pp, £8.99. Cover by Ghost

Empress of the Sun (2014)
Jo Fletcher 978-1780-87681-8, (Jan) 2014, 389pp, £12.99. Cover by Ghost


Empire Dreams (1988)
(no UK paperback)

Speaking in Tongues (1992)
VGSF 0575-05608-8, (Oct) 1993, 248pp, £4.99. Cover by Jim Burns

Cyberabad Days (2008)
Gollancz 978-0575-08408-7, (Apr) 2009, 320pp, £12.99. Cover by Dominic Harman
Gollancz 978-0675-08406-3, (Oct) 2009, 488pp, £7.99. Cover by Dominic Harman


Kling Klang Klatch, with David Lyttleton (1992)
Gollancz 0575-05298-8, (Aug) 1992, 80pp, £9.99. Cover by David Lyttleton

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Desmond Rowney

Desmond Rowney is remembered these days—if he is remembered at all—as a political cartoonist. A staunch communist, he drew anti-monarchist cartoons for the Daily Worker which he signed under the pen-name 'Maro'. He became notorious for his unflattering depictions of King George V.

He was born William Desmond Rowney, born in Satara, Poona, India, 1899, the son of Lt. Col. William Rowney (1854-1948) and his wife Kate ffolliott Fendall Currie (1868?-1944)—the eldest daughter of Maj.-Gen. Fendall Currie (1841-1920)—who were married on 30 October 1890. William Rowney had become a surgeon in 1880 and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps a year later. He served in Egypt and the Sudan in the 1880s, became a Surgeon Major in 1893 and a Lt.-Col. In 1901. He retired in 1908.

By 1911, the family were living at 4 Linden Road, Didsbury, Manchester, the family including sisters Kathleen Elizabeth (aka Sister Patricia Rowney,  b. Aldershot, 1891; d. 1987), [Lady] Mary Georgina (b. Windlesham, Surrey, 1893, married soldier and author Sir Roger James Ferguson Chance (1893-1987) in 1921; d. 1984, one son , two daughters), [Doctor] Eileen Susan Pears (b. Satora, India, 2 February 1897, later married Albert Malcolm Barlow; d. 1986) and Norah Ffolliott (b. Aldershot, 1902).

Reputedly he was Sandhurst educated and an expert rifle shot. He served in the Connaught Rangers in 1915, rising from cadet to 2nd Lieutenant in December 1917 and to Lieutenant in June 1919, at which time he was posted to 1st Battalion.

He was dismissed from the service by sentence of a General Court-Martial on 26 February 1921.

Produced comic strips for the story paper The Rocket in the 1920s. He first illustrated a series of ‘Nutshell Novels’ before beginning the comic strip ‘Egbert the Explorer!’, which ran as part of the paper’s centre pages. He also contributed to Crusoe Magazine.

Living at 31 Ifield Road in Kensington in 1930, moving to 122 Gillespie Road by 1934.

Rowney served under Tom Wintringham in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. He was fatally wounded in February 1937 at the Battle of Jarama.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Comic Cuts - 12 September 2014

Gaze upon the wonder that is the cover of Arena!!!

I mentioned last week that I was struggling with the cover. I had an idea in my head but getting it onto the screen via my arms, hands, keyboard and mouse was beyond my technological capabilities. After a couple of failed—and time consuming—attempts, I threw up my hands and asked for help. Step forward Martin Baines, who not only stepped up to the plate but knocked the ball out of the park a couple of days after I'd sent him a rough of what I had in mind. You can see the rough below.

So, on Friday I received the pic that appears at the top of today's column and I was blown away. Martin had talked about a colour palette a little like 300. The final colour broadened that a little, but to superb effect.

For those of you who don't know Martin's work, he's probably best known currently as the colorist on the Daily Mirror's "Garth" strip, but he's also done a lot of comics, illustration, advertising and storyboard work. You can see some of it at the Smudge Pencil website.

I'm still tinkering with the introductory material. I've written a feature on future dystopian fiction that looks at future sports stories, the history of Roman gladiatorial combat and the current obsession with reality TV. There's a foreword by author Dave H. Taylor, who scripted "Arena", and I'm working on a little appreciation of artist Enrique Alcatena.

I'm still hopeful that I'll have the book done and dusted by the end of the month. Maybe even on sale, although that may slip into early October depending on the approvals process. Hopefully the turnaround time on the next book won't be so long.

I spent Saturday wandering around town taking photos of Invasion Colchester 2014. It's a huge cosplay event with over 100 people directly involved in raising money for charity; however, half the fun was watching all the kids who had dressed up for the day. Knee-high superheroes and wee wizards were scampering around and it'll be a few years before some of those stormtroopers are at risk of bumping their heads on a low door frame.

With all the anniversaries of the First World War that have been celebrated this year, I mentioned to my Mum that I didn't know anything about our family's wartime exploits. On my Dad's side there's a Sandhurst connection as my grandfather was stationed there during the Second World War and my Dad was born at Sandhurst Military Hospital; and my great-grandfather served as a farrier staff sergeant—a posh way of saying he was a blacksmith who looked after the horses for the Royal Field Artillery in India.

Alliston Chisnall

Well, my Mum brought over some photos and, rather more interestingly, some medals that my uncle John had. They belonged to his grandfather—my great-great-grandfather—Alliston William Chisnall. Having dug around the family tree on occasion, all I knew about Alliston was that he was as an agricultural labourer living in a village near Southend-on-Sea in the late 1900s. He, it turns out, served in the South Africa Field Force as a Corporal with the Army Service Corps during the Boer War. He was taken prisoner on 31 March 1900 when Christiaan De Wet advanced with a 2,000-man strong force in the direction of Bloemfontein, overwhelming the small garrison at Sanna's Post, 23 miles east of the town. The British forces were taken completely by surprise and attempted to retreat, only to march into the arms of a blocking force who ordered them to surrender. Alliston was amongst the 200 British soldiers captured.

He survived and was back in England where he married Polly Coe in 1903. But he was back in action during the Great War, serving with the 17th battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, which was part of the 35th division forces ordered to take the village of Gricourt in northern France in April 1917. A patrol sent to the village to reconnoitre was cut off by the German forces. 2nd-Lt. Gilbert MacKereth crawled across open ground to reach the patrol and succeeded in bringing them back, his actions earning him the Victoria Cross. In 2011 he became something of a cause célèbre when his body was repatriated from Spain.

The Germans began massing to the south-west of the village ahead of the counter-attack. The 17th Lancashire Fusiliers were on the front line alongside the 23rd Manchester Regiment with orders to hold the line at all costs and to cover the flank of the 32nd division, who used Lewis guns to frustrate a German attempt to retreat into Gricourt.

At 3.30 pm on 14th April, Major F. J. F. Crook, in command of the two companies, pushed forward towards the village and reached the outskirts before heavy enfilade fire on the left flank brought them to a halt. The right flank, meanwhile, made their way around the village, pushing the German forces north-east. Patrols were sent into the village and German sniper posts, left to delay the advance of the British troops, were cleared out. However, German artillery and machine-gun fire was still very heavy, the former directed by a plane that flew over Gricourt until it was unexpectedly brought down by concentrated fire from the British Lewis guns.

By the evening the British troops were able to consolidate their position and the battalion was relieved by the 18th Battalion shortly after midnight. In all, 13 men had been killed with 1 officer and 34 other ranks wounded. A second Military Cross was given to 2nd-Lt. W. M. Holden, who distinguished himself during the fray, shooting two Germans with his revolver and capturing fifty prisoners. Privates G. Booth, J. Walker and A. W. Chisnall were all awarded the Military Medal for bravery, the Corps Commander congratulating all concerned for their phenomenal success.

George V Military Medal,  British War Medal, Victory Medal

I think my Mum was rather proud to learn this. Rather more so than the last bit of family research I did which turned up the sorry tale of Eliza Pyman, who "for some time past labouring under the aberration of intellect" was jailed for the manslaughter of her mother. And I gave her the latest Inspector Lynley novel by Elizabeth George and some tomatoes (our total so far being 185 tomatoes from two plants!). Good news, good entertainment and fresh, home-grown grub. What more could you ask for.

Given that I have been writing about future sports, I thought I'd use that as a theme for this week's random scans, so today we have a selection ranging from the corporate-backed gladiatorial games of Mack Reynold's Time Gladiator to the corporate-sponsored roller derby of William Harrison's Rollerball. The last two titles are both by Stephen King under his Richard Bachman pen-name, both involving future dystopian societies where endurance games are created to mollify the public. The latter is particularly prescient of today's reality TV shows... which is something I discuss in one of the introductions to Arena. It'll only be a few weeks and you can read all about it.

Next week... I haven't had much time to think. Sunday is probably an Ian McDonald cover gallery but beyond that I'm not really sure what I'm up to as the book has priority.