BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Comic Cuts

Even long-time readers of Bear Alley will probably have forgotten the announcement originally made back in February 2007 that DLC were to publish a box-set of 'Karl the Viking' strips drawn by Don Lawrence "this summer". Well, the original plan fell apart almost as quickly as it was enthusiastically drawn up thanks to the amount of time it has taken to restore the artwork. I started writing the introductory material in April 2007 and completed the first couple of volumes in May... only to find that the book was being pushed back to November. I was back on the book in August and completed about 17,000 words when it was decided to push the book back again to March 2008, then to June. Various further delays have meant that I've not gotten back to it until now and we're looking at a "fourth quarter" release, somewhere around the time that the last (twelfth) Trigan Empire book appears.

However, I'm pleased to say that I do now have a complete draft of the introductory matter—clocking in at just over 20,000 words. No doubt there will be changes made before it reaches print but I can say in all honesty that I now know more about Vikings than I ever imagined I'd need to know. No doubt I'll have forgotten most of it by Friday.

John Freeman has announced an upgrade to his Down the Tubes website which has just moved to a new server. "Please let us know if you have any problems with the site or find any missing images." Well, the first thing I spotted was that the announcement was made on Thursday, 1 May 2008... but maybe that's what you'd expect from a former editor of Doctor Who Magazine.

(Yes, I know it's a cheap shot but it's been that kind of week.)

Talking of looking into the future (see, there was a reason for mentioning it), what was looking to be a slow news day has suddenly been livened up with some images.

Titan Books now have three Roy of the Rovers titles on their schedule to appear over the next few months:

The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1980s (ISBN 978-1845769482) is scheduled for 13 June; Roy of the Rovers Archives: Season 1954-55 (ISBN 978-1845769499) is scheduled for 15 July; and The Bumper Book of Roy of the Rovers (ISBN 978-1845769581) is scheduled for 22 August.

Titan have also announced Watching the Watchmen by Dave Gibbons, Chip Kidd & Mike Essl (ISBN 978-1848560413, 24 October 2008). Here's the synopsis: "Acclaimed as one of "Time Magazine's" 100 Best Novels, "Watchmen" is widely considered to be the greatest graphic novel of all time. "In Watching The Watchmen", artist Dave Gibbons gives his own account of the genesis of "Watchmen", opening his archives to reveal excised pages, early versions of the script original character designs, page thumbnails, sketches and much more, including posters covers and rare portfolio art.Featuring the breathtaking design of Chip Kidd and Mike Essl, "Watching The Watchmen" is both a major art book in its own right, and the definitive companion to the graphic novel that changed an industry."

Yet more pictures... the next James Bond collection James Bond: The Paradise Plot (ISBN 978-1845767167) is to be released on 27 June. And the Modesty Blaise: Yellowstone Booty collection (ISBN 978-1845764197) due 23 May seems to have had a cover change. The first is one that I've posted previously, the second the image that has just appeared on Amazon.

Next up we have the following titles announced by Prion, some of which I've mentioned previously, some of which are newly announced and some of which have moved around in the schedule. I've managed to grab one tiny cover image. I'll post better images when they become available.

AUGUST
War Picture Library: Against All Odds, edited by Steve Holland (ISBN 978-1853756610, 4 August 2008)

SEPTEMBER
The Best of 2000AD (ISBN 978-1853756689, 1 September 2008)
The Best of Boyfriend, edited by Melissa Hyland (ISBN 978-1853756658, 1 September 2008)
The Best of Punch Cartoons, edited by Helen Walasek (ISBN 978-1853756795, 1 September 2008)
The Biggest Jackie Annual Ever! The Best Thing for GirlsNext to Boys (ISBN 978-1853756672, 1 September 2008)
Commando: Bandits at 12 O'clock, edited by George Low (ISBN 978-1847321282, 1 September 2008)
Hospital Nurse Picture Library: Love on Ward B, edited by Melissa Hyland (ISBN 978-1853756665, 1 September 2008)

OCTOBER
The Art of War, edited by David Roach (ISBN 978-1853756627, 6 October 2008)
Battle Picture Library: Let 'em Have It, edited by Steve Holland (ISBN 978-1853756719, 6 October 2008)
The Best of Alex 2008 by Charles Peattie & Russell Taylor (ISBN 978-1853756894, 6 October 2008)
High Noon: Wild West Picture Library, edited by Steve Holland (ISBN 978-1853756726, 6 October 2008)
Look-In: The Best of the Eighties, edited by Graham Kibble-White (ISBN 978-1853756863, 6 October 2008)
Rick Random, Space Detective, edited by Steve Holland (ISBN 978-1853756733, 6 October 2008)

It looks like there will be plenty of choice if you're planning to ask Santa for copies of some of these for Christmas. Some of the other titles already announced by Titan and Rebellion for the latter half of 2008 can be found here.

A few more bits of news from hither and yon...

* BBC Radio 4's Word of Mouth show for Tuesday (29 April) discussed the use of talk bubbles and how speech is conveyed in comics and cartoons. Presenter Michael Rosen visited the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury and talks with the Museum's curator Anita O'Brien and Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, followed by interviews with Oli Smith & Co. at Camden Market and Posy Simmonds.

* Two of the things mentioned one the show: Anita O'Brien mentions that the Cartoon Museum will be hosting a celebration of 70 years of Beano from July and this Sunday's children's magazine show go4it will be interviewing Philip Pullman about his upcoming comic strip and will be taking a trip to the Dan Dare exhibition at the Science Museum. The show is on Radio 4 at 7:15 pm.

* Brian Heater interview David Lloyd at The Daily Cross Hatch (part 1 of 2, 25 April). (link via Journalista)

Ken Woodward (1928-2008)

Artist, illustrater and teacher, Kenneth James "Woody" Woodford, has died at the age of 79.

Born in Liverpool, the son of a police officer, Woodward was raised in Merseyside and, at 14, enrolled at Liverpool School of Art for six years where he met lifelong friend Josh Kirby and his future wife, Margaret "Brick" Brickell. The two married in 1949 and moved to London where, after working for theatrical director and interior designer Theodore Komisarjevsky devising cinema colour schemes, at the age of 25 he found himself drawing Disney film tie-in books and, in 1956, became studio manager at Walt Disney Merchandise Studio in Soho.

In 1963 he became design director of WorldWide Animation, based in Clapham, which made animated and live action documentary films. Leaving in the late 1960s, he began freelancing, often working in collaboration with his wife. His work was published by Collins, Hamlyn and Purnell. He wrote and illustrated a variety of educational books for young children and illustrated a number of books based around Gordon Murray's TV shows, Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley.

An obituary penned by his son, Jonathan (Guardian, 30 April), reveals that "His own non-commercial work consisted of surrealist-style paintings, many inspired by puns and nostalgia, for example an enormous apple floating over an Edwardian scene in his Homage to Apollinaire."

After an amicable separation from his wife, Woodward began teaching at secondary schools in south-east London; in 1979 he met fellow teacher Sandra Burrows who was to be his companion for three decades.

After retiring at 65, he signed up for an MA course in printmaking at Camberwell College of Art. "His assemblages made him an avid collector of bric-a-brac and, in recent years, his house came to resemble a gigantic boxed assemblage, which was perhaps his intention," says his son. "In his final months, he was obliged to paint in the only space available—the loft. He produced a prodigious series of brightly coloured, cheerful and exuberant abstracts, an apt finale to a lifetime of artistic exploration and endevour."

At 6ft 4in, Woodward was an imposing figure with a snow white beard and pony tail. In 1996, he appeared as an angel in posters for Body Shop and played Robert Dadd in a short biography of the artist and murderer Richard Dadd directed by Andrew Pulver.

Books
Collins Picture Alphabet and ABC Crossword. London & Glasgow, Collins, 1966.
Alphabet Fun. London, Collins (Pixie), 1967.
The Magic Merry-Go-Round. London, Collins (Pixie), 1967.
My Word Book. London, Collins, 1968.
My Tell the Time Picture Book. London, Dean, 1973.
Ken Woodward's ABC Parade. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1974.
Telling the Time: The King's Clocks. Bristol, Purnell, 1976.

Illustrated
Windy Miller's Birthday. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. London, Hamlyn, 1966.
Gordon Murray's Trumpton Annual by Muriel Gray. London, Purnell, 1967-1969.
Mrs. Cobbit and the Ice Cream Man. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1967.
Nick Fisher the Bill Poster. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. London, Hamlyn, 1967.
The Mayor's Birthday Present. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Mr. Crockett's Mistake. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Mr. Platt and the Painter. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
P.C. McGarry and the Bees. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Private Meek and the Baby. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Ring Up the Fire Brigade! A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Trouble in the Mayor's Parlour. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Trumpton Story Book, by Moira Maclean & Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Bessie to the Rescue. A 'Chigley' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1969.
Captain Snort's Surprise (as Woody & Brick Ink) (Camberwick Green). London, Purnell, 1970.
Chimney Sweep Luck. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
Cuthbert's Missing Auntie. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
Paddy Murphy's Saturday Morning. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
The Vanishing Ladder. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
Up Goes the Balloon. A 'Chigley' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1971.

(* As far as I can tell, none of Ken Woodward's books are in print, but quite a few of them are available second-hand.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

TV Tie-in Annuals

A friend was asking about one of the TV-based Western annuals published by Purnell that appeared in the early 1960s and it seemed like a good opportunity to see if I could list as many as I could.

So, the following listing covers books by Adprint, Purnell, Dean and Daily Mirror. I'm not promising this is a complete listing but I think it's reasonable. I've not included World Distributors in this list as that would make it huge. That's one for another day!


ADPRINT

Adventures of Robin Hood Annual (1956, unpaginated (60pp), 5/-, cover: photo of Richard Greene)
Continuous story covering the first season of the TV show; frontispiece: b/w photo of Richard Greene.
Adventures of Robin Hood Annual No.2 (1957, 7/6, unpaginated (80pp), cover by ?)
Stories by Arthur Groom; illustrated with photos.
Anon. * The Scientist * ss
Anon. * Fair Play * ss
Anon. * Blackmail * ss
Anon. * A Year and a Day * ss
Anon. * The Final Tax * ss
Anon. * The Haunted Mill * ss
Anon. * Outlaw Money * ss
Anon. * The Ambush * ss
Adventures of Robin Hood Annual No.3 (1958, 93pp, 7/6, cover by ?)
Stories by Arthur Groom; illustrated by Ron S. Embleton
7 * The Charter * ss
17 * The Challenge of the Black Knight * ss
32 * The Minstrel * ss
46 * [Comic Strip] * The Floating Friar * ss
50 * Lincon Green * ss
61 * [Comic Strip] * Sir Giles of Glenderry * ss
65 * The Fire * ss
80 * At the Sign of the Blue Boar * ss
Adventures of Robin Hood Annual No.4 (1960, 7/6, cover by Ron Embleton)
(illustrated by Ron Embleton; contents not known)
The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1957, 7/6)
(Adapted by John Paton; contents not known)
The Adventures of Sir Lancelot No.2 (1958, 7/6)
(Adapted by Arthur Groom; contents not known)
ATV Television Show Book (1959)
(Adapted by David Leader; contents not known)
The Buccaneers (1957)
(Adapted by John Paton; illustrated with photos)
Cheyenne Adventure Stories (1960, 93pp)
(Adapted by John Stanstead [Arthur Groom], illus. Desmond Walduck; contents not known)
Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (1958)
(Adapted by Michael Holt, illus. George Shaw; contents not known)
Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (1959)
(Adapted by David Roberts, illus. Ron S. Embleton; contents not known)
Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (1960)
(Adapted by David Leader, illus. Patrick Williams; contents not known)
Lone Ranger Adventure Stories (1957, 76pp)
(Adapted by Arthur Groom from the film “The Lone Ranger”; illustrated with photos; contents not known)
William Tell (1960)
(Adapted by David Leader, illus. G. A. Embleton; contents not known)


PURNELL

Bonanza (1961)
(Adapted by George Anderson, illus. Desmond Walduck and Eric Dadswell; contents not known)
Bonanza (1962)
(contents not known)
Bonanza (1963)
(illus. Leo Rawlings and R. Simonette; contents not known)
Bonanza (1964)
(illus. Leo Rawlings and R. Walker; contentst not known)
Bonanza (1965, 96pp, cover: photo)
Adapted by Basil Deakin; illus. R. Walker
6 * Hoss Rides the Rails * ss
11 * The Stage Coach Mystery * ss
17 * [Comic Strip] * White Renegades * cs
25 * The Trapping of Adam * ss
31 * The Siege of the Ponderosa * ss
38 * Massacre Mystery * ss
45 * [Comic Strip] * Hoss the Hero * cs
53 * Rustling on the Range * ss
62 * Hop Sing's Outlaw * ss
71 * [Comic Strip] * Robbery on the Trail * cs
79 * The 1000 dollar fine * ss
87 * The Big City Act * ss
Bonanza (1966)
(Adapted by Basil Deakin, illus. Barrie Mitchell; contents not known)
Bonanza (1967)
(Adapted by Basil Deakin, illus. Barrie Mitchell; contents not known)
Bonanza (1968)
(Adapted by Basil Deakin, illus. Barrie Mitchell; contents not known)
Champion the Wonder Horse (1958; cover by ?)
(contents not known)
Circus Boy Adventure Stories (1961?, 125pp, cover by ?)
Stories by Gordon Grimsley
7 • Vow of Revenge • ss
15 • Elephant Loose! • ss
21 • Good Publicity • ss
26 • The Act • ss
31 • The Stranger • ss
39 • Beat of the Band! • ss
49 • Susanna's Father • ss
55 • Bill • ss
65 • The Challenge • ss
74 • Close Call • ss
83 • Anxious Moments • ss
90 • Billy Buttons • ss
99 • Risky Business • ss
105 • The Clem • ss
110 • Hey, Rube! • ss
115 • Danger Stalks • ss
120 • The Whole Story • ss
The Dakotas (1963, 92pp)
(Adapted by John Challis, illus. Denis McLoughlin and R. Wilson; contents not known)
Emergency-Ward 10 Girls' Annual (1962)
(illus. Eric Dadswell and Angus McBride; contents not known)
Emergency-Ward 10 Girls' Annual (1963, 125pp, cover by ?)
Illustrated by Eric Dadswell and Ken Houghton.
6 * Find the Dark Man * ss
12 * Emergency Ward 10 Personalities—Jill Browne, alias Carole Young * ms
14 * [Comic Strip] * Linda's Lesson * cs
19 * Emergency Ward 10 Personalities—Kerry Marsh, alias Nurse O' Keefe * ms
20 * After the Storm * ss
27 * They Wait for the Bell * ar
30 * The Two Caroles * ss
37 * Emergency Ward 10 Script * ar
38 * Emergency Ward 10 Personalities—Desmond Carrington, alias Dr. Chris Anderson * ms
40 * A Call in the Night * ar
44 * A Day by the Sea * ss
50 * Emergency Ward 10 Personalities—John Line, alias Dr. Andrew Shaw * ms
51 * Emergency Ward 10 Personalities—John Alderton, alias Dr. Richard Moone * ms
52 * From Script to Screen * ar
55 * Too Dangerous to Dive * ss
60 * I am a Receptionist * ar
63 * Emergency Ward 10 Personalities—Carol Davies, alias Nurse Sally Bowen * ms
64 * Red Cross Cadets * ar
67 * Emergency Ward 10 Personalities—Paula Byrne, alias Dr. Frances Whitney * ms
68 * Just Like a Dad * ss
70 * [Comic Strip] * Never Jump to Conclusions * cs
75 * Hospital Car Services * ss
80 * The Order of St. John * ar
82 * The Missing Patient * ss
87 * Prop Man * ar
88 * Training to be a District Nurse * ar
90 * [Comic Strip] * A Race for Life * cs
94 * The Strange Affair of a Carpet of Flowers * ss
101 * Who'd be a Hospital Matron? * ar
104 * [Comic Strip] * There's Many a Slip * cs
109 * The Trouble With Nora * ss
118 * Emergency for Terry * ss
Frontier Circus (1962, 93pp)
Adapted by Arthur Groom; illustrated by John Burns
6 * The Stranded Circus * ss
13 * The Forbidden Ranch * ss
21 * [Comic Strip] * Tony's Secret Mission * cs
29 * A Big Friendship * ss
33 * Papa Pierre * ss
43 * The Bronson Brothers * ss
50 * [Comic Strip] * A Chapter of Accidents * cs
58 * The Whirlwind * ss
66 * Town of Terror * ss
72 * [Comic Strip] * The Man with the Whistle * cs
80 * Me and my shadow * ss
87 * Trouble at Canyon City * ss
Gunsmoke (1964)
(Adapted by John Challis, illus. Denis McLoughlin; contents not known)
Gunsmoke (1965)
(Adapted by John Challis, illus. Denis McLoughlin; contents not known)
Gunsmoke (1966)
(Adapted by John Challis, illus. Denis McLoughlin; contents not known)
Gunsmoke (1967, 94pp, 8/6, cover: photo)
Adapted by John Challis; illustrations by Denis McLoughlin; comic strips by Harry Bishop
6 * The Six-Gun Reporter * ss
15 * The Vengeance Trail * ss
22 * [Comic Strip] * Thunder in the Hills * cs
34 * A Bullet for Matt Dillon * ss
39 * Iron-Horse Medicine Men * ss
46 * [Comic Strip] * Kansas Killers * cs
56 * The Trail Riders * ss
63 * Liquid Gold * ss
69 * The Horse Thief * ss
75 * [Comic Strip] * The Wild Black Stallion * cs
85 * Confederate Grey * ss
Klondike (1961, cover: photo)
(Adapted by George Adamson, illus. Pat Williams and Eric Dadswell; contents not known)
Laramie (1961, cover: photo)
(Adapted by Alex Gifford, illus. Patrick Williams; contents not known)
Laramie (1962, cover: photo)
(Adapted by Gordon Grimsley [Arthur Groom], illus. Alex Henderson; contents not known)
Laramie (1963, 96pp, cover: photo)
Adapted by Gordon Grimsley [Arthur Groom], illus. John Burns
6 * Red Snake's Revolt * ss
12 * The Bengal Tiger * ss
19 * [Comic Strip] * The Tree-House Fort * cs
27 * The Stowaway * ss
34 * The Mysterious Herd * ss
41 * Fire Over Laramie * ss
47 * [Comic Strip] * Secrets of the Forest * cs
55 * The Bounty Hunter * ss
61 * The Red Devil * ss
69 * [Comic Strip] * Laramie by Noon * cs
77 * Stranger to the rescue * ss
85 * Ned Fuller's Folly * ss
Lone Ranger Adventure Stories No.2 (1958, 93pp, cover: photo)
Adapted by Richard Lewis; illus. Don Lawrence
6 * The Law and Miss Aggie * ss
17 * Decision for Chris McKeever * ss
34 * The Angel and the Outlaw * ss
46 * A Harp for Hannah * ss
65 * Dead-Eye * ss
82 * Journey to San Carlos * ss
Lone Ranger Adventure Stories (1959, cover by ?)
(Adapted by Richard Lewis; illus. Don Lawrence; contents not known)
Lone Ranger Adventure Stories (1960, cover by ?)
(Adapted by David Roberts, illus. Eric Dadswell; contents not known)
Outlaws (1961)
(Adapted by Philip Davies, illus. Simonetti and Leo Rawlings; contents not known)
RCMP. Tales of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1961)
(Adapted by Graham Anderson, illus. Ron S. Embleton; contents not known)
RCMP. Tales of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1962)
(Adapted by Graham Anderson, illus. Desmond Walduck; contents not known)
Tales of Wells Fargo (1961)
(Adapted by Arthur Groom, illus. Eric Dadswell; contents not known)


DEAN & SON

Laramie
(1964, cover: photo)
(Adapted by John Challis, illus. John Burns; contents not known)
Laramie (1965, cover: photo)
(Adapted by John Challis, illus. John Burns; contents not known)
Rawhide (1960; 125pp, cover by ?)
Adapted by Bill Pembury [Arthur Groom]; illus. Leo Rawlings)
7 * The Brogan Brothers * ss
21 * Garden in the Wilderness * ss
35 * Riding the Trail * ss
39 * Wishbone’s Brother * ss
48 * Prairie Paradise * ss
58 * The Drover’s Greatest Friend * ss
62 * Trouble on the Trail * ss
72 * The Strange Affair of Yellow Rock * ss
83 * Fun on the Trail * ss
88 * The Man with a Gun * ss
101 * Brothers Under the Skin * ss
110 * Creatures of the Trail * ss
116 * Peril of Buffalo Valley * ss
Rawhide (1961)
(contents not known)
Rawhide (1962; 125pp, cover by ?)
Adapted by Bill Pembury [Arthur Pembury]; illus. Leo Rawlings
7 * Morning Star * ss
19 * The Ghost Rider * ss
29 * Gold on the Hoof * ar
33 * The Mysterious Herd * ss
44 * Gil Favor takes a rest * ss
55 * Rustlers of the West * ss
59 * A Wheel of a Wagon * ss
69 * Thundering Fear * ss
78 * Naming the West * ar
83 * The Kidnapped Cook * ss
96 * John Parsons and Son * ss
109 * Songs of the Trail * ar
115 * The Trapped Herd * ss
Tenderfoot Stories (1961)
(Adapted by Bill Pembury [Arthur Groom], illus. Leo Rawlings; contents not known)


DAILY MIRROR

Champion the Wonder Horse (©1957, 125pp, cover: photo)
Stories by Arthur Groom; frontispiece and illustrations throughout by John Pollack.
7 • Black Thunder • ss
14 • The Lost River • ss
22 • The Silver Dollar • ss
33 • Leaping Rock • ss
39 • Ned Spade’s Herd • ss
45 • Peril at Arrow Canyon • ss
52 • Fire at the Grinning Skull • ss
61 • The Boy Who Knew Fear • ss
71 • Ricky Sticks it Out • ss
78 • Rebel’s Revenge • ss
85 • The Rollicking Bandit • ss
97 • The Kidnapped Sheriff • ss
108 • Canyon of Lost Men • ss
115 • The Lost Herd • ss
Champion the Wonder Horse (©1958, 125pp, cover: photos)
Stories by Arthur Groom; frontispiece and illustrations throughout by John M. Burns
7 • The Deserted Ranch • ss
20 • Rogues of the Railroad • ss
34 • The Shadow • ss
48 • Old Pop Johnson • ss
59 • Peril at Hidden Canyon • ss
75 • Ricky the Lone Witness • ss
88 • The Broken Coin • ss
98 • Thundering Hooves • ss
113 • Secret of the Slashed-S Ranch • ss
Champion the Wonder Horse (©1959, 125pp, cover by ?)
Cover shows background of mountains with photograph of Champion rearing.
Stories by Arthur Groom; frontispiece and illustrations throughout by Michael Godfrey.
7 • The New Railhead • ss
19 • The Pipes of Echo Valley • ss
33 • Pasture of Death • ss
43 • The Sons of Sarah • ss
54 • The Golden Dog • ss
67 • Podgson of Pillars Creek • ss
77 • Ricky Takes a Hand • ss
91 • The Dust Storm • ss
103 • Ricky on His Own • ss
114 • Ricky the Nursemaid • ss
Champion the Wonder Horse (©1960, 125pp, cover: photo)
Stories by Arthur Groom, illustrations throughout by Michael Godfrey
7 • The Long Ranch Mystery *ss
18 • Champion's Ancestors • ar
22 • The Bridge • ss
32 • The Scarlet Buggy • ss
43 • Ropes and Saddles • ar
49 • Ricky to the Rescue • ss
59 • The Golden Door • ss
71 • Enemy of the West • ar
75 • The Four-legged Stranger • ss
85 • Son of Champ • ss
97 • The Wires that Whispered • ar
101 • The Monster • ss
114 • The Deserted Ranch • ss
Circus Boy (nd (1958), 125pp, 6/6, cover by ?)
Note: “Story by Dorothea J. Snow, adapted by Gordon Grimsley.
Illustrated throughout by John Pollack
7 • The Night Ride • ss
15 • Here Comes the Parade • ss
23 • The Parade • ss
31 • Lucky Boy! • ss
37 • The Fight for Bimbo • ss
44 • On the Sawdust • ss
53 • A Disappearing Act • ss
60 • No Place for Bimbo • ss
70 • Corky to the Rescue • ss
76 • The Coming Storm • ss
82 • "Hurry Along, There " • ss
89 • The Mud Show • ss
95 • The Circus is Coming • ss
101 • Bad News for Corky • ss
108 • The Hanger-On • ss
117 • The Cloverdale Show • ss
Circus Boy (1959)
(Adapted by Gordon Grimsley [Arthur Groom], illus. John Challen; contents not known)
Circus Boy (1960)
(Adapted by Gordon Grimsley [Arthur Groom], illus. John Pollack; contents not known)
Wagon Train (1959, 125pp, cover by ?)
(Adapted by Maurice Templar; illus. S. Chapman; contents not known)
Wagon Train (1960, 125pp, cover by ?)
(Adapted by Maurice Templar, illus. R. Wilson; contents not known)
Wagon Train (1961, 125pp, cover by ?)
(Adapted by Maurice Templar, illus. John Challen; contents not known)

(* Additional information on any of these titles or photos of covers would be welcome.)

Clifford & Wendy Meadway

Clifford and Wendy Meadway were regulars at Look and Learn for many years, drawing all manner of subjects. I was lucky enough to correspond with Wendy in 2006 when I was researching the history of Look and Learn and learn a little about their partnership. First, a little bibliography...

Clifford Henry Meadway was born on 6 October 1921 and became well known as a painter of railway engines. Titles he illustrated include Railways at the Turn of the Century, 1895-1905 (1969), Railways at the Zenith of Steam, 1920-40 (1970), Railways in the Years of Pre-eminence, 1905-1919 (1971), The Dawn of World Railways, 1800-1850 (1972), Railways in the Formative Years, 1851-1895 (1973), Railways in the Transition from Steam, 1940-1965 (1974), Railways in the Modern Age Since 1963 (1975), Great Steam Locomotives of All Time (1976) and Great Western in Colour (1978), all written by O. S. Nock; later titles include Guide to Airliners by Andrew Kershaw (1979), Guide to Racing Cars by Nigel Roebuck (1979), Model Railways by Cyril Freezer (1980), Guide to Fighting Ships by Andrew Kershaw (1980), Let's Look at Tractors by Graham Rickard (1988) and Woodland Trees by Theresa Greenaway (1990). Cliff died in 1999.

Wendy, his wife, often collaborated on their books but was also a fine nature artist in her own right and illustrated dozens of children's books on animals and other subjects, including Garden Birds by Jean Cooke (1982), Discovering Flowering Plants by Jennifer Coldrey (1986), Discovering Rats and Mice by Jill Bailey (1986), Discovering Flies by Christopher O'Toole (1986), Discovering Beetles by Malcolm Penny (1986), Discovering Crickets and Grasshoppers by Keith Porter (1986), Discovering Ants by Christopher O'Toole (1986), Discovering Rabbits and Hares by Keith Porter (1986), Discovering Frogs and Toads by Mike Linley (1986), In the Town by Ralph Whitlock (1986), In the Park by Ralph Whitlock (1986), In the Soil by Ralph Whitlock (1986), Animal Movement by Malcolm Penny (1987), Animals and their Young by Malcolm Penny (1987), Discovering Seabirds by Anthony Wharton (1987), Discovering Crabs and Lobsters by Jill Bailey (1987), Discovering Trees by Jill Bailey (1988), Discovering Bugs by George McGavin (1988), Let's Look at Horses by Kenneth Quicke (1988), Endangered Animals by Malcolm Penny (1988), Animal Partnerships by Malcolm Penny (1988), Stream by Deni Bown & Michael Atkinson (1989), Animal Movement by Tony Seddon (1989), Wild Animals by Anyon Ellis (1989), Wood by Deni Bown (1989), Park by Deni Bown (1989), Garden by Deni Bown (1989) and Pond by Deni Bown (1989).

I'll now hand you over to Wendy...

My husband, Cliff, and I always felt it was such a shame that they stopped publishing Look and Learn, which covered so many diverse subjects. Cliff and I were many years with Look and Learn, nearly always illustrating articles that showed how things worked. We covered a great variety of subjects, including the early Walkman, tower cranes, milk parlours, egg grading and packing, loading train containers, testing runways, steam roundabouts in fairgrounds, laying macadam on roadways, etc., etc. This often entailed travelling around in our search for reference for our paintings. I know Cliff went to train depots for the container article and our local farms were helpful for the milk and egg articles. To this day I sometimes see a large piece of machinery and think, "I know how that works!"

I suppose that these days young people find everything on the internet, so much easier when I think of the challenges of finding references that Cliff and I had. I am a true computer illiterate: haven't got one, haven't even touched one! Can find better things to do with my time and money. But that's just my opinion!

As to my past career, well, I did a five year art course at Harrow Art College, got various diplomas, then went to a small studio in London, where we did a great variety of things, among them working for the War Office, diagrams for technical books and many, many birthday and Christmas cards. This is where I met Cliff, who had spent 15 years in the R.A.F. as an engineer, so he was always given all the complicated mechanical jobs to do. he had never been to Art School, so, did I waste five years training? I don't think so!

It was whilst in the studio that we were introduced to Blandford Press and the railway books took off, something like 13 all told. Eventually the Studio folded and some of us became freelance and some gave up art work.

Because deadlines were so tight, Cliff and I often 'shared' a job. This was particularly so with the Blandford books. I did some of the paintings and Cliff did some, and even we couldn't tell them apart. We worked in colour and black & white—when you are freelance you never say you can't do something. In between books we did the usual thing of trudging round publishers with our folio. We never had an agent.

I guess my happiest time was painting for the natural history books, as wildlife has always been my great passion, but I also love steam locomotives, so much enjoyed the railway books. Cliff, as I may have mentioned, became Judges of Hastings chief Christmas card artist, and painted about 2,000 for them!

There was no family background in art, but my mother was a hairdresser and loved to do little drawings of flowers. My father did some tailoring, and was quite inventive and would make simple clothes for me when I was a child. I am, by the way, an only child.

When we were 'between jobs' Cliff and I would do paintings for local galleries. Cliff was a very fine landscape artist and had some success with selling his paintings, usually local scenes, in watercolour. I would do animal and flower studies, also watercolour, which is the medium that we always used. In later years, photographs were used more and more in flower, mammal and bird identification books and I lost much work, so turned my hand to commissioned animal portraits—great fun!

They say that artists never retire, but, some 18 months ago, I decided to call a halt to my artwork. I belong to so many natural history societies that I no longer seem to find time to paint. Cliff died just on 7 years ago, and over the last three years certain things have happened which have made me feel that I must get as much enjoyment out of life as I can, so that's what I am doing—going out a lot and really enjoying myself!

(* My thanks to Wendy Meadway for her charming and informative correspondence, from which I've cobbled the above together. The first two illustrations are from original artwork for Look and Learn © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd.; the third illustration is, I believe, from one of the Blandford railway books and presumably © Blandford Press. I don't think any of the Meadway's books are still in print, but many are available second-hand.)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Norman Thelwell

Norman Thelwell is one of my favourite cartoonists. I was probably introduced to him by my sister who has always loved horses; I wouldn't be surprised if she had the first Thelwell books in the house, long before she actually got to own a horse.

Norman Thelwell remains hugely popular although as far as I'm aware not one of his many books is in print. You can, however, still buy a wide range of Thelwell gifts and merchandise which helps keep his name alive and, since they sold over two million copies, there are plenty of examples of his books available second-hand.

Thelwell was born in Birkenhead, Merseyside, on 3 May 1923, the son of Christopher Thelwell (a maintenance engineer) and his wife Emily (nee Vick), and attended Rock Ferry High School. He left school at 16 and, filling time before his call-up for war service, worked in as a junior clerk in an office in Liverpool. A lifelong artist, his earliest surviving drawing was a self-portrait drawn at the age of 10, which a teacher had marked 'V. good indeed; his first sale (at 15) was a drawing of 15 chickens). In the early war years he livened up his weekends sketching in and around the city with occasional run-ins with the Home Guard who thought he might be a spy.

He joined the East Yorkshire Regiment as an infantryman where his artistic talents were not always appreciated: a zealous Welsh Guards' corporal, inspecting his kit bag, snapped every pen, pencil and brush he found in half, barking "How many bleeding Germans do you think you're going to kill with those?" A week later, the same corporal, with no hint of embarrassment, asked Thelwell to draw his portrait to send home to his girlfriend.

His talent for sketching was noticed and he was excused training sessions to stencil signs on vehicles and, later, was transferred to an intelligence section because of his ability to sketch positions and draw maps. This led to his training as a wireless operator at Long Eaton where, in the NAAFI, he discovered The Artist magazine which was to publish some of his drawings in 1945.

Posted to India with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Thelwell had his first humorous drawings published in the army magazine Victory, which earned Thelwell more rupees than he was earning in a month with the Army. He was shortly after appointed editor of a new magazine for Indian electrical engineers and, for the next 14 months, drew everything for it: covers, headings, strips, technical drawings and local adverts. He had a cartoon published in the monthly London Opinion and a weekly series of caricatures of Indian service leaders in News Review. He also designed new uniforms for the Indian Army.

Demobbed in November 1946, Thelwell returned to his clerking job at the Liverpool docks but lasted only a single day. He obtained his ex-serviceman's grant and spent the next three years studying at Liverpool College of Art. During the war he had been able to attend evening classes Nottinghamshire Art School where he met his future wife, Rhona Ladbury, a fellow student. They were married during an end-of-term break on 9 April 1949 and honeymooned at the Red Lion in Clovelly, the trip paid for by sales of cartoons to Men Only, London Opinion and Everybody's Weekly.

A Mr. Wedgewood of Liverpool College of Art recommended Thelwell to the Rev. Marcus Morris, who was seeking artists to work on his magazine The Anvil and a new comic. Thelwell visited Morris in Southport and had some of his cartoons published in The Anvil from February 1950. A colour strip entitled 'Pop Milligan', about a family living on a barge on the Liverpool Canal, appeared in the dummy version of Eagle, submitted to various publishers in late 1949 but did not make the cut when Eagle finally appeared in April 1950.

Instead, Thelwell produced a weekly three-panel pantomime strip, 'Chicko' which ran in the first six issues of the Eagle before disappearing for a few months. Thelwell was on the move, he and his wife taking up residence in Codsall when he took up a teaching position at Wolverhampton College of Art. Chicko returned in August 1950 and must have been a useful supplement to his wages in those early days. In fact, the strip—usually to be found on the Eagle Club Page—appeared regularly until March 1962, by which time Thelwell's work was widely known.

His big break had come in 1952 when he submitted his first cartoon to Punch. Nervous that the famous humour magazine would not appreciate his usual style, his first acceptance was rather more economic in its detail. A friend reprimanded him when he saw it published and Thelwell's second submission was, according to Martin Plimmer (The Guardian, 10 February 2004) "an intricately depicted gypsy encampment, complete with four varieties of tree, flowers, drystone walling, a five-bar gate, gypsies, horses, ornate caravans, pots, pans, washing lines, bundles and kitchen sinks ('It's their simplicity I envy,' says an onlooker)."

Over the next 25 years Thelwell published some 1,600 cartoons and 60 covers in Punch. As he grew more successful, he was able to give up teaching illustration and design in 1957 and began searching for a new home, which he found in Braishfield, Hampshire. His love of the countryside had been established since boyhood and many of his concerns were with preserving rural Britain. With the end of the war, it seemed to Thelwell that the countryside was full of men on bulldozers "looking about them in a frenzy for something to knock down". Many of the cartoons that made up his collection The Effluent Society (1971) were filled with sewage and oil spills and high-rise buildings as the overcrowded countryside lost its beauty to soulless and over-complex factory farms, pollution and protesters.

Thelwell's love of quiet rural simplicity was reflected in the illustrations that made up his later books A Plank Bridge by a Pool (1978) and A Millstone Round My Neck (1981) which related stories of how he renovated a derelict Cornish mill and its outbuildings before moving to Heron's Mead, a cottage on the Hampshire Test near Romsey with seven acres where he landscaped a garden and lake.

He did not enjoy all country pursuits. During his time as an art teacher, he took a group of students out to sketch a fox hunt. Standing alone in a clearing, he saw the exhausted and bedraggled fox trying to jump a wall to escape and impulsively grabbed the animal by the scruff of its neck and helped it over. Hunts were often the subject of his rural cartoons and foxes usually managed to escape the hunters.

Thelwell's most memorable creations were his 'angels on horseback'—inspired by his observations of a neighbouring field where two fat, hairy ponies of uncertain temper lived. "They were owned by two little girls about three feet high who could have done with losing a few pounds themselves," he would later recall. "They would arrive to collect their mounts in yellow pullovers, tiny jodhpurs and velvet safety helmets. I could hear the air whisper as they tested their whips—so could Thunder and Lightning, who pointedly ignored them and went on grazing.

"As the children got near, the ponies would swing round and present their ample hindquarters and give a few lightning kicks which the children would sidestep calmly, and they had the head-collars on these animals before they knew what was happening. I was astonished at how meekly they were led away; but they were planning vengeance—you could tell by their eyes."

The prototype of Thelwell's pony cartoons appeared in 1953: a blacksmith, with countryman's logic, asks a young girl " 'ow do they feel then?" of her pony's new shoes. Before long, both girls and ponies had added a few inches to their girths and battle was commenced between the determined and blindly optimistic equestrians and their equally determined mounts.

Thelwell's collection Angels on Horseback (1957) helped establish the roly-poly horse riders in the mind's of the reading public and it was for these that Thelwell became best known, although the cartoons were actually only a fraction of his output. He also drew political cartoons for the News Chronicle from 1956 before moving to the Sunday Dispatch in 1960 and the Sunday Express in 1962. For the latter he drew the weekly adventures of Penelope and her unkempt pony Kipper, later collected in Penelope (1972) and Penelope Rides Again (1989).

Thelwell did not resent the fact that his half-pint heroines and their reluctant, barrel-shaped ponies overshadowed his more serious work—be it watercolours or cartoons with a barbed social comment; the success of the pony collections (A Leg at Each Corner, Riding Academy, Thelwell's Gymkhana, etc.) meant that he could concentrate on things that he wanted to do: sketching, landscaping, renovating and fishing. "There is nothing more enjoyable than painting for the sheer love of it," he once said.

For Tatler he drew a series of cartoons about stately homes, collected in Some Damned Fool's Signed the Rubens Again (1982) and other collections ranged in subject matter from fishing and sailing to golf; both dogs and cats also came under Thewell's scrutiny. He produced prints, posters, designs for stamps and Christmas cards, calendars and, in 1978-80, was the subject of Thelwell's Annual. His autobiography, Wrestling With a Pencil, was published in 1986.

In later life, Thelwell's rural activities were hampered by Alzheimer's disease. He died, aged 80, at a nursing home on Saturday, 7 February 2004, after a prolonged illness.

Further information: Norman Thelwell has an Official Website where you can find many more images. More images can be found at the Chris Beetles website. Also found this gallery of cover illustrations which has images of many first edition hardcovers. The Punch Cartoons website has many cartoon images available to buy as prints.

Books
Angels on Horseback—and elsewhere. London, Methuen & Co., 1957. Thelwell Country. London, Methuen & Co., 1959.
A Place of Your Own. A guide to the endless search. London, Methuen & Co., 1960.
Thelwell in Orbit. London, Methuen & Co., 1961.
A Leg at Each Corner. Thelwell's complete guide to equitation. London, Methuen & Co., 1962.
The Penguin Thelwell. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1963.
Top Dog. Thelwell's complete canine compendium. London, Methuen, 1964; New York, Dutton, 1964.
Thelwell's Riding Academy. London, Methuen & Co., 1965.
Ponies. London, Studio Vista, 1966; New York, Watson-Guptill Publications, 1966; as Thelwell's Pony Painting Book, London, Methuen Children's Books, 1972.
Up the Garden Path. Thelwell's guide to gardening. London, Methuen & Co., 1967.
Thelwell's Compleat Tangler. Being a pictorial discourse on anglers and angling. London, Methuen & Co., 1967; New York, Dutton, 1968.
Thelwell's Book of Leisure. London, Methuen & Co., 1968; New York, Dutton, 1969.
This Desirable Plot. A dream-house hunter's nightmare. London, Methuen, 1970.
The Effluent Society. London, Methuen, 1971.
Penelope. London, Eyre Methuen, 1972.
Three Sheets in the Wind. Thelwell's manual of sailing. London, Eyre Methuen, 1973.
Belt Up. Thelwell's motoring manual. London, Eyre Methuen, 1974.
Thelwell Goes West. London, Eyre Methuen, 1975.
Thelwell's Brat Race. London, Eyre Methuen, 1977.
Thelwell's Riding Frieze. London, Methuen Children's Books, 1977; in book form as Thelwell's Horse Sense. London, Methuen, 1980.
A Plank By a Pool. London, Eyre Methuen, 1978.
Thelwell's Gymkhana. London, Eyre Methuen, 1979.
Thelwell's Pony Birthday Book. London, Methuen Children's, 1979; New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1979.
Thelwell's Pony Cavalcade (contains: Angels on Horseback, A Leg at Each Corner, Riding Academy). London, Eyre Methuen, 1981.
A Millstone Round My Neck. The restoration of a Cornish water mill. London, Eyre Methuen, 1981.
How to Draw Ponies. All the secrets revealed. London, Methuen Children's, 1982.
Some Damn Fool's Signed the Rubens Again. London, Methuen, 1982.
Thelwell's Magnificat. London, Methuen, 1983.
Thelwell's Sporting Prints. London, Methuen, 1984.
Wrestling With a Pencil. The life of a freelance artist. London, Methuen, 1986.
Play It As It Lies. London, Methuen, 1987.
Thelwell's Pony Panorama (contains: Thelwell's Gymkhana, Thelwell Goes West, Penelope). London, Methuen, 1988.
Thelwell's Penelope Rides Again. London, Methuen, 1989.
The Cat's Pyjamas,. London, Methuen, 1992.

Illustrated Books
Show Pony by Jennifer & Dorian Williams. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1961.
Away Went Galloper by Margaret J. Baker. London, Methuen & Co., 1962.
Silver Stream. A beautiful tale of hare and hound for young and old by A.P. Herbert. London, Methuen & Co., 1962.
Racing Without Tears by Caroline Ramsden. London, J. A. Allen & Co., 1964; revised ed., 1976.

Others
Owning a Pony. Buying, riding and management by Elwyn Hartley Edwards; foreword by Norman Thelwell. London, Nelson, 1970.
Thelwell (catalogue). London, Chris Beetles, 1989.
Mastering Watercolour. Learn from five masters of the medium, with others. London, Batsford, 1994.
Thelwell Country. 70 years of Norman Thelwell. Southampton, Southampton City Art Gallery, 2004.

(* all artwork © the estate of Norman Thelwell.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Humphrey Lyttleton (1921-2008)

Humphrey Richard Adeane ('Humph') Lyttleton, jazz musician, radio presenter and cartoonist, died on Friday, 25 April 2008, aged 86. Since 1972 he had been the host of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue on BBC Radio 4.

Lyttleton was educated at Sunningdale School and Eton College and trained at Camberwell School of Art. He began playing the trumpet in 1936 and toured with his band until only recently. He had a chart hit with 'Bad Penny Blues' and presented the BBC Radio 2 show The Best of Jazz for 40 years.

In 1947 he joined the Webb band which already included clarinet player Wally Fawkes who, as 'Trog', was employed by the Daily Mail to produce column-breakers (humorous or decorative drawings to break up blocks of text). When he was promoted to cartoonist, 'Humph' succeeded him on the paper and was put on the staff in 1949. He also wrote reviews and scripted the 'Flook' cartoon strip drawn by Fawkes until 1956.

He subsequently produced occasional cartoons for Bystander, Punch and other publications.

News: The Times (26 April); Daily Telegraph (26 April); BBC News (26 April); The Independent (26 April); The Guardian (26 April).
Obituaries: The Independent (25 April); Daily Telegraph (26 April); The Times (28 April); The Guardian (28 April).

(* Picture from the BBC News website which has a number of others.)

Richard Chopping (1917-2008)

Richard Wasey ('Dicky') Chopping, born in Colchester, Essex, on 14 April 1917, died on 17 April 2008 at Wivenhoe, Essex, aged 91. He was best-remembered as the artist of the stylish James Bond hardcover dustjacket that have become an iconic part of the Bond franchise. In later life he said he regretted the connection with Bond which overshadowed his career, which had also included nature books for Puffin (Butterflies of Britain, 1943) and Penguin (notably the British Wild Flowers series which was planned as a mammoth 22-volume work illustrating every flower to be found in the United Kingdom but which was abruptly cancelled after reaching 'C').

Chopping also wrote two novels, The Fly (1965, reviewed here) and The Ring (1967).

Obituaries: East Anglian Daily Times (21 April); The Independent (23 April); CommanderBond.net (24 April); The Times (26 April).

Friday, April 25, 2008

Comic Cuts

I've had a busy few days working on a new book project and a couple of other odds and ends so I've not had much of a chance to write much else. Hopefully the series of old magazine first issues is keeping some of you interested while others are probably scratching their heads wondering why I've stopped talking about old British comics and their creators. The simple reason has been lack of time—I wanted to get a job finished by yesterday (a self-imposed deadline chosen for no other reason than it was International Books Day). I missed the deadline by a few hours (had to finish it off this morning) but managed to dive straight into another job (a paying one!) that took up the rest of the day. Then a crowd of us went out to see Lucy Porter on her 'Love In' tour. This isn't her first time at Colchester Arts Centre so the (small but appreciative) crowd knew what to expect... except one couple who had brought along their 9-year-old son. Most of the rude bits hopefully went straight over his head.

Hopefully you'll not have missed the pic. at the top of the column. This is, as far as I know, the final version of the Rick Random—Space Detective collection cover that will be published by Prion at the beginning of October. Ten stories, all by Ron Turner. To some of you that will be enough to make you want this book; some of you will be scratching your heads wondering what all the fuss is about. As it's rapidly approaching midnight, I'm going to have to leave you in suspense but I'll post some samples of Ron Turner's work at some point which will hopefully explain why a few of us old fans are looking forward to this volume in particular. I'll also post some more details of other volumes I've had a hand in as I get copies of the covers.

The Rick Random volume is one that I've seen some proofs for and I think everyone will be happier with the quality of the artwork from the viewpoint of it being cleaned up. It's one of the major problems with reprinting old strips—the source material is often very poor and just getting it back to how it was printed can be the devil's own job. Having recently spent a ridiculous amount of time doing just that, I can promise you that the effort is being put in, even if the results aren't perfect. The pages I was working on date back to just after the war (1945-47) and they were atrocious. With the paper shortage still ongoing (which it would be until the early 1950s), comics publishers had to print on what they could get hold of even if it was newsprint that had obviously been recycled quite a few times. Imperfections in the paper meant that the final printed results were pretty imperfect themselves. Add to the problem thin paper which allowed the reverse page to show through, zipotone that flaked off and left speckles all over the page and a dozen other ways that even original artwork can be imperfect (badly patched on panels, old nibs that leave a ghostly echo of a line trailing behind it, blobs of ink filling in letters, etc., etc.) and anyone attempting to clean up a page can be faced with some ghastly-looking results even once you've removed that horrible yellow cast that afflicts old comics and painted out the rust stains from decomposing staples.

We were very lucky with the recent Frank Bellamy's Robin Hood book as that was printed photogravure on better paper. We've had some very nice compliments about the quality of the reproduction from people who know the original source material. Other books taken from letterpress comics printed on newsprint aren't going to be up to that standard unless someone were to take an awful lot of time restoring the artwork... and if they did that you wouldn't be picking up copies in shops for under £15 (or on Amazon for £6.99).

Talking of fully restored volumes... the latest Trigan Empire book is now out. This is the tenth volume to be released by DLC and is one of my favourites as it has some absolute classics. Chronologically it's volume 5 reprinting stories from the period 1969-70. I think the first time I read them was when they were reprinted in Vulcan in 1976 and I thought they were fantastic. The pages of the new book are much larger and printed where possible from the original artwork, so the quality is fabulous. You can get copies via the Don Lawrence Collection website or from The Book Palace. I'll put in a link to Amazon once it's posted.

There will be some more Don Lawrence news coming soon as I believe there will shortly be a sale of Trigan Empire artwork. I'll post more once I know the details. I do know that it will involve originals from just about every artist who worked on Trigan Empire, including original boards from both Don Lawrence and Ron Embleton.

The rest of the news...

* It's that Dan Dare sales figures time of the month again. ICv2 have published figures for sales of comics pre-ordered through Diamond Distributors for March 2008. The figures for issue 5 are 7,518, down 4.6% from the February (#4) figure of 7,885. That's relatively steady as the January figure was 7,657. (heads up via Journalista) Gary Erskine, the artist, is a guest at the Singapore Toy & Comic Convention for 2008 and Forbidden Planet International have posted an image of the 2 1/2 metre tall poster that advertises the event.

* For fans of the original Dan Dare, it would seem that the two murals that Frank Hampson painted for the Science Museum will be on show as part of the Dan Dare & the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain show. The Science Museum Wiki—Object Wiki—has some of the items to be exhibited on display, including a number of original artboards (one of which—by Don Harley—you can see above) and, most intriguingly, something they describe as Frank Hampson's 'Ideas Book'—a sketch book featuring Hampson's sketches of war machines that appeared in the 'Rogue Planet' storyline in 1956.

Update: The Times (26 April) carries a review of the exhibition by Nigel Kendall.

* Titan Books have The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1980s scheduled for June 2008. The book will have an introduction by Gary Lineker.

* Lew Stringer has been posting some interesting bits on his blog. The most recent posts have been about the barely-known Welsh language comic Sboncyn and a look at a 1965 issue of Bimbo, complete with cover strip drawn by Dudley D. Watkins.

(* Rick Random and Trigan Empire © IPC Media; Dan Dare © Dan Dare Corporation; Roy of the Rovers © Egmont UK Ltd.; Lucy Porter is... not sure but her website says © 2008.)