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Friday, January 30, 2015

Comic Cuts - 30 January 2015

I can't believe it's the end of the month already. A twelfth of the way through the year. Under 100 days to the election in May. Another year older come April.

Hopefully, a new book out next month. I've now settled on a title, so I'm pleased to announce that the next book from Bear Alley Books will be...

This is the project I have been working on since before Christmas. The book will gather up a lot of previously little-seen illustrative artwork from the pages of Look and Learn, Bible Story, RangerWorld of Wonder and Once Upon a Time, including Lawrence's magnificent 'Herod the Great' strip from Bible Story, the serials 'The Range Rider' (Ranger), 'Pinnocchio' and 'Jason and the Golden Fleece' (both Once Upon a Time) in full, and  scarce illustrations from various weeklies and annuals. In colour.

The cover is a piece originally painted for Bible Story which has only appeared in a limited edition book in the Netherlands; I haven't quite finished it, so that will have to wait before it's revealed.

I reported last week that I was writing the introductory material. Well, I still am. It is my intention to cover the whole of Don's career in the introduction so that the illustrations in the book will have some context. Tucked away on my hard drive was an unpublished piece about Don written shortly after his death that did much of the groundwork. This I've expanded greatly—it is already doubled in length and I've only reach the 1960s!—and it will be woven through the book.

But I thought I'd take a break from the writing and spend Wednesday coming up with some ideas on how the book should look. I roughed out a couple of pages and a title page and cover and the signature above will be a running theme through the design of the book. (Well, that's the plan at the moment... it might change as I get into the layouts!)

Today's random scans are a quartet of covers by Ed Mortelmans, who is probably better known for his work with Four Square. These are all from Panther in the 1950s.

 
 

While I'm working on layouts, the Bear Alley blog may have to take a back seat. I do have more World of Wonder galleries, but we will just have to see what happens over the weekend.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Commando issues 4779-4782

Commando issues on sale 29th January 2015.

Commando No 4779 – Evil In The East
The jungle can be a hostile place, besides the strength-sapping heat and humidity, dangerous animals and plants abound.
   This counts double if you’re a confirmed coward, born and raised in London, separated from your comrades and being pursued by a deadly assassin.
   That was the position that “Jelly” Jakes of the Convict Commandos found himself in. let’s be honest, he had every right to be terrified.

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

Commando No 4780 – Fighting Fury
He was only a skinny little guy, about five feet nothing at all…but, by jiminy, any Nazis who ran up against Private Sam Small were out of luck.
   While his ammo lasted, Sam shot them; then with his empty gun he clubbed them; when it was in splinters, he started in with his bare hands!
   Only one man knew what drove that little guy to such a fighting fury — only one found out the terrible secret of Sam Small — and here he tells Sam’s amazing story.

Introduction
Hiding behind Aldoma’s magnificent all-action cover is one of the most idiosyncratic Commando stories you’ll ever read. Told in the first person, and an American first person at that, it chronicles the acts of a man with a death wish over a very short period of time. These are traits not normally associated with Commando and, indeed, very difficult to get right. But right they are here, very right indeed.
   Sit back, suspend your disbelief and enjoy this roller-coaster ride in the thick of the action in the company of ace reporter Jim Dawson.
   By the way, we had noticed Jim’s similarity to Robert Mitchum.—Calum Laird, Commando Editor

Story: Wilding
Art: Martin [Salvador]
Cover: Aldoma
Originally Commando No 159 (April 1965); re-issued as No 747 (June 1973).

Commando No 4781 – D-Day Dodgers
In 1944 someone named the servicemen in Italy the D-Day Dodgers; as though somehow the war they were fighting was a cushy number compared to the battles in France. Outraged, one national newspaper decided to expose these loafers once and for all.
   That’s how reporter Perry Potter and his photographer Chalky White came to be standing on a freezing airfield in “sunny” Italy. The weather was just the first of the eye-openers the pair was going to see.

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Vicente Alcazar
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Commando No 4782 – Tempest Fury
In the summer of 1944, a frightening new weapon was unleashed against the war-weary British — the dreaded V1 flying bomb.
   Sergeant-Pilot Jamie Collins had a personal score to settle with these robots of death. So when his squadron-leader grounded him after yet another display of reckless flying, it didn’t stop him.
   Where there were V1s, that’s where Jamie wanted to be, at the controls of his hard-hitting tempest fighter. Orders or no orders…

Introduction
Scott the Deputy Ed is on holiday so I get to write the intro to this story from our 25-year-old collection. Growing up with Commando in the 60s there were no creator credits on the books but there was one inside artist whose style stood out. Very individual, angular, with strong, strong blacks and peppered with skilfully-employed Zip-A-Tone — the sheets of dots which provide shading. To me the style looked just right for Commando. His name? Gordon Livingstone.
   I still think that, which is why you’re getting another chance (or a first chance) to read Ken Gentry’s crackling air/ground story and marvel at the magnificent economy of composition that is Ian Kennedy’s cover — there’s nothing there that doesn’t have to be.
   This really is a mini-masterpiece. Should I let Scott read it?—Calum Laird, Editor

Story: Ken Gentry
Art: Gordon Livingstone
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally published as Commando No 1092, (January 1977); re-issued as No 2420 (November 1990).

World of Wonder part 93

Gerry Wood

Angus McBride

Roger Payne

 
Ron Embleton

(* World of Wonder © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

World of Wonder part 92

Wilf Hardy

Ron Embleton

Neville Dear

 
Peter North

(* World of Wonder © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Upcoming Releases: February 2015

FEBRUARY 2015 

Dredd: Urban Warfare by Arthur Wyatt & Henry Flint.
2000AD Graphic Novels ISBN 978-1781083161, 12 February 2015, 96pp, £14.99.
The comic book sequel to the hit film! Featuring three action-packed stories from the critically acclaimed cinematic world of DREDD. In Underbelly Ma-Ma's death has led to a power vacuum and now other criminal gangs in Mega-City One are trying to fill the gap. When a number of corpses are discovered in a rad-pit, the bodies are all revealed to be mutants. Could the dead be connected with an outfit smuggling illegal refugees into the city from the Cursed Earth? Judge Dredd once again teams up with Psi-Judge Anderson as they scour the underworld for the perps responsible!
Order from Amazon.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 24.
2000AD Graphic Novels ISBN 978-1781083390, 12 February 2015, 320pp, £19.99.
The streets don't come much meaner than those found in Mega-City One. Only the Judges - empowered to dispense law and order - keep the city from falling into total anarchy. Toughest of them all is Judge Dredd - he is the law and these are his stories. In this 24th volume of the bestselling Case Files series, Dredd is faced with one of his hardest challenges yet - dispensing justice in the Big Meg's worst sector known as 'The Pit'! Also, the ultimate lawman faces a legendary war robot, when Judge Dredd squares off against the ABC Warrior Hammerstein!
Order from Amazon.

Upcoming Releases

A round-up of forthcoming books relating to or reprinting British comics and cartoons, along with some selected original graphic novels.

FEBRUARY 2015
MARCH 2015
APRIL 2015
  • Judge Dredd: Luna 1 by John Wagner, Brian Bolland, Mick McMahon & Ian Gibson. 2000AD Graphic Novels ISBN 978-1781083420, 9 April 2015, 142pp, £6.99.
  • Oor Wullie: How Tae Learn Yer Times Table. B&W Publishing ISBN 978-1910230015, 2 April 2015 [originally announced for 14 November 2014].
  • Zenith: Phase 3 by Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell. 2000AD Graphic Novels ISBN 978-1781083215, 9 April 2015, 144pp, £20.00.
MAY 2015
  • A.B.C. Warriors: Return to Mars by Pat Mills & Clint Langley. 2000AD Graphic Novels ISBN 978-1781083437, 7 May 2015, 96pp.
  • Doctor Who: The Good Soldier by Andrew Cartmel, Paul Cornell, Dan Abnett, John Freeman, Lee Sullivan & Mike Collins. Panini UK ISBN 978-1846536595, 1 May 2015, 176pp, £13.99.
JUNE 2015
JULY 2015
AUGUST 2015
SEPTEMBER 2015
OCTOBER 2015
UNSCHEDULED
  • The Best of Battle Vol.2. Titan Books ISBN 978-1848567313, 29 Jul 2011 [originally announced as Best of Land Battle for 28 May 2010, then 27 August 2010]. Currently not listed on Titan's website.
  • The Best of Misty. Titan Books ISBN 978-1848560277 [originally announced for October 2010]. Currently not listed on Titan's website.
  • Charley's War 1914-2014 [Slipcased Commemorative Edition Volume 1]. Titan Books ISBN 978-1783290734, 2 September 2014 [originally announced for 8 August 2014]. Currently not listed on Amazon or Titan's website.
  • Charley's War 1914-2014 [Slipcased Commemorative Edition Volume 2]. Titan Books ISBN 978-1783290741, 2 September 2014. Currently not listed on Titan's website.
  • Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Vol. 1 by Nick Abadzis, Elena Casagrande. Titan ISBN 978-1782761730. NOTE: Later announced with a different ISBN number.
  • Good Dog, Bad Dog Book 2 by Dave Shelton. David Fickling Books ISBN 978-0857560063, 6 March 2014. No longer listed on Amazon.
  • Hamlet (Original Text) by John McDonald, David Lorenzo Riveiro & Gary Erskine. Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332341, 30 September 2014 [originally announced for 31 July 2012, then early 2013]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Hamlet (Plain Text) by John McDonald, David Lorenzo Riveiro & Gary Erskine. Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332358, 30 September 2014 [originally announced for 31 July 2012, then early 2013]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Hamlet (Quick Text) by John McDonald, David Lorenzo Riveiro & Gary Erskine. Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332365, 30 September 2014 [originally announced for 31 July 2012, then early 2013]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Harker: The Black Hound by Roger Gibson & Vince Danks. Titan Books ISBN 978-1781166987, 31 December 2014. Currently not listed on Titan's website.
  • Johnny Red: The Flying Gun. Titan Books ISBN 978-1848564442, 5 December 2014 [originally announced as Johnny Red: England or Bust! for 12 September 2014, then 10 March 2015]. Currently not listed on Titan's website.
  • Julius Caesar (Original Text) by John McDonald & Sean O'Connor. Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332945, 31 January 2014 [originally announced for 31 August 2010, then 31 May 2011, then July 2011, then March 2012, then 31 May 2012, then September 2012, then 31 May 2013]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Julius Caesar (Plain Text) by John McDonald & Sean O'Connor. Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332952, 31 January 2014 [originally announced for 31 August 2010, then 31 May 2011, then July 2011, then March 2012, then 31 May 2012, then September 2012, then 31 May 2013]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Julius Caesar (Quick Text) by John McDonald & Sean O'Connor. Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332969, 31 January 2014 [originally announced for 31 August 2010, then 31 May 2011, then July 2011, then March 2012, then 31 May 2012, then September 2012, then 31 May 2013]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Major Eazy: The African Campaign by Alan Hebden & Carlos Ezquerra. Titan Books ISBN 978-1848560383, 22 March 2013. Currently not listed on Titan's website; Amazon page removed.
  • Mezolith Vol. 2 by Ben Heggarty. David Fickling Books ISBN 978-0857560513, 6 March 2014. No longer listed on Amazon.
  • Mirabilis Vol. 2: Year of Wonders by Dave Morris & Leo Hartas. Print Media Productions ISBN 978-0956712127, February 2012 [originally announced for October 2011]. 
  • Richard III (Original Text, abridged). Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332228, [originally announced for 1 March 2009, then 1 September 2009, then 14 May 2010, then December 2011, then mid-2012]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Richard III (Plain Text). Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332235, [originally announced for 1 March 2009, then 1 September 2009, then 14 May 2010, then December 2011, then mid-2012]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Richard III (Quick Text). Classical Comics ISBN 978-1906332242, [originally announced for 1 March 2009, then 1 September 2009, then 14 May 2010, then December 2011, then mid-2012]. Currently not listed on Classical Comics' website.
  • Snow/Tiger by Andy Diggle & Andy Clarke. Rebellion ISBN 978-1781080702, 12 December 2013. Currently not listed on Rebellion's website
  • Strontium Dog: Mutant for Hire. Rebellion ISBN 978-1781080313, 28 October 2014. (In Error?)
  • Tank Girl: Carioca by Alan Martin & Mike McMahon. Titan Books ISBN 978-1845766894, 14 October 2014. Currently not listed on Titan's website.
  • Uncensored Action! (The Best of Action Vol.1). Titan Books ISBN 978-1848560260, 1 April 2015 [originally announced for 24 September 2010, then 28 October 2011, then disappeared from schedules and Titan's webpage, then 6 March 2014, then 1 August 2014]. No longer listed on Amazon.
  • Vertigo Visions: Frank Quitely by Frank Quitely. DC Comics/Vertigo ISBN 978-1401242374, 26 November 2013. No longer listed on Amazon.
Please note: All dates are subject to change.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Recent Releases: January 2015

JANUARY 2015


Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 09.
2000AD Graphic Novels ISBN 978-1781083291, 20 January 2015, 400pp, £12.77.
Paperback edition aimed at US market.
Order from Amazon.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Ian Edginton & D'Israeli.
Titan Books ISBN 978-1782760566, 6 January 2015 [Amazon dates the release 6 November 2014], 104pp, £14.99.
The twenty-first century's greatest living children's author - Christopher Grahame - is drawn back into Castrovalva, the world of his childhood imagination, when the stress of his fame starts to weigh on him. But Castrovalva has gone to hell in his absence - devastated by war, famine and loss. And now Christopher can't wake up. Has he lost his mind... or his innocence?
Order from Amazon.

Kingsman: The Secret Service by Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons.
Titan Books ISBN 978-1783293360, 24 January 2015, 160pp, £9.99.
Garys life is going nowhere. He lives in public housing with his mother and spends his nights carousing with his friends. But Garys Uncle Jack has taken a different path of glamour, danger and mystery. When Jack has to get his nephew out of trouble, their lives are going to intersect in a way neither of them could have foreseen. From Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen). Movie tie-in cover
Order from Amazon.

The Last of the Mohicans by Ruggero Giovannini & Cecil Doughty.
Book Palace Books ISBN 978-1907081293, January 2015, 74pp, £19.99.
James Fenimore Cooper's poignant tale superbly presented as a comic strip by the talented artists Cecil Doughty and Ruggero Giovannini. In this volume, we re-present two very different adaptations of James Fenimore Cooper’s popular adventure classic. Originally published in 1826, The Last of the Mohicans has been adapted countless times for films, television, radio and comics.
    Set in 1757, when France and Great Britain battled for control of North America, it is the story of the two daughters of Colonel Munro, commander of a beleaguered fort and their journey to be reunited with him. The girls, Cora and Alice, are rescued from an ambush by Hawkeye, a hunter, and his two Mohican companions, Chingachgook and his son, Uncas. Together, they endeavour to get the girls to safety.
    The first adaptation in this book was drawn and painted in full colour by renowned Italian artist Ruggero Giovannini and appeared in 'Tell Me Why' in 1968. Giovannini’s strip is “simply the finest, most authentic and most colourful, picture strip adaptation of ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ ever to appear”.
    The second version, from 'Look and Learn', was drawn in fine and authentic detail by Cecil Doughty and was originally published in 1980. Using as much as possible Cooper’s own words, it can be fairly classed as one of the most faithful picture strip adaptations of the story.
    Although obviously taken from the same source material, both versions differ in more ways than just the look of their artwork. These, and the further differences when compared to various cinematic versions, will hopefully inspire readers to seek out and read Cooper's original book.
Order from Book Palace Books.

Slaine: The Brutania Chronicles by Pat Mills & Simon Davis.
2000AD Graphic Novels ISBN 978-1781083352, 15 January 2015, 112pp, £16.99.
Ancient Albion. Celtic barbarian warrior Slaine united the tribes of the Earth Goddess and became the first High King of Ireland. After ruling for seven years, he fought for the Goddess in other eras before returning to save his people from the Fomorian sea devils. Now, he's crossed over onto the isle of Monadh in an attempt to rescue Sinead from the evil clutches of the Drune Lords...This brand-new chapter in the life of Slaine is the perfect jumping on point for new readers as writer Pat Mills (Marshal Law) transports the Celtic warrior to the ancient world of Albion. This book also introduces the fully-painted art style of Simon Davis (Ampney Crucis) to the strip for the first time.
Order from Amazon.

Strontium Dog: The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha: Dogs of War by John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra.
2000AD Graphic Novels ISBN 978-1781083369, 15 January 2015, 144pp, £14.99.
Late 22nd century. After the Atomic Wars, many survivors were warped by the Strontium 90 fallout. These 'mutants' became a victimised underclass, and the only job open to them was bounty hunting. One such Search/Destroy agent, or Strontium Dog, is Johnny Alpha, who was thought killed. But he has been resurrected and is now leading mutantkind in a revolution against the Norms...Written by Strontium Dog co-creator John Wagner (A History of Violence) with art by his co-creator Carlos Ezquerra (Judge Dredd) Johnny Alpha's explosive return from beyond concludes in this action-packed finale.
Order from Amazon.

Recent Releases

A monthly round up of recently released titles reprinting or relating to British comics and creators. Titles announced for publication can be found on the companion Upcoming Releases listing which usually appears a day after this column. An expanded, annotated and illustrated Comics Bibliography appears monthly and gatherings covering the years from 2010 can be found at the following links:
Comics Bibliography 2010 | Comics Bibliography 2011 | Comics Bibliography 2012 | Comics Bibliography 2013 | Comics Bibliography 2014 |

JANUARY 2015
DECEMBER 2014
  • Brass Sun by Ian Edginton, I.N.J. Culbard. Rebellion ISBN 978-1781082690, 4 December 2014.
  • Frontline UK by William Corderoy, Ian Kennedy & Clemente Rezzonico. ISBN 978-X, 8 December 2014.
  • Zenith: Phase 2. Rebellion ISBN 978-1781082775, 4 December 2014.
NOVEMBER 2014
OCTOBER 2014
SEPTEMBER 2014
AUGUST 2014
JULY 2014
JUNE 2014
MAY 2014
APRIL 2014
MARCH 2014
FEBRUARY 2014 
JANUARY 2014
  • Batman Judge Dredd Collection. Rebellion/DC Comics ISBN 978-1781080788, 16 January 2014.
  • Battle Classics ed. Garth Ennis. Titan Books ISBN 978-1781167410, 9 January 2014 [originally announced for 25 October 2013]. 
  • The Man Who Searched for Fear. Bear Alley Books ISBN 978-1907081736, 31 January 2014.
  • Space Ace Vol. 2 by Ron Turner. John Lawrence [no ISBN], January 2013.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Illustrators #9 (January 2015)

Any magazine that can boast almost 40 pages of Bruce Pennington artwork is going to be a winner. From its cover—originally painted for Brian W. Aldiss's Space, Time and Nathaniel, published by New English Library in 1971—and on through page after page of covers, this issue of Illustrators brought back a lot of very happy memories.

Although I had read science fiction before, I became a convert at the age of 12 and read SF  exclusively for the next decade. It was the perfect time to discover SF because in the mid-1970s there was a paperback boom. And there was Science Fiction Monthly, a mix of poster magazine and... well, magazine, with stories and features that introduced me to many new writers, both old and new. Bruce Pennington was all over Science Fiction Monthly, including posters of his best works (my earliest favourite was a Corgi cover for Poul Anderson's Satan's World) and an interview—the first interview with a science fiction artist I had ever read.

Here, in the latest issue of Illustrators, Pennington pens an autobiographical sketch revealing how he came to paint such fantastic subjects for the likes of Aldiss, Anderson, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Gene Wolfe and Clark Ashton Smith. Pennington had an early obsession with birds, his bedroom crammed with drawings and stuffed bids in cases. From the age of 14 he began selling wildlife drawings whilst attending Bromley Tech. He earned a place at Beckenham Art School but lost his enthusiasm for the course. Looking for work, he joined a firm producing film posters; in 1967, by now freelancing, he produced a trio of covers for Panther Book before hooking up with New English Library. His first cover, for Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, was followed by Dune by Frank Herbert and Pennington was on the path to fame.

Miss Led is the star of this issue's second main feature, a look at the career of portraitist, mural artist and illustrator Joanna Henby, whose use of a pen-name and networking through social media opened up a whole new market for her 'Miss Led' artwork. From competitions to the Saatchi Gallery, her work combines retro-chic portraits, fashion and typography in a unique and beautiful way.

Eric R. Parker is an artist I know well, but David Ashford's article managed to pluck a couple of really odd items out of obscurity, including an advert for the Tory party entitled 'She Wouldn't Say "Yes!"' and material from his later days illustrating for Look and Learn and the like.

He was a thoroughly reliable pair of hands when it came to accurately portraying the military but I have to confess that for many years I didn't think much of his comic strips. To my mind he was only good when he was painting covers for the Sexton Blake Library. What changed my opinion was putting his work in the context of when and where it was produced. I had the opportunity to look at some of his work from the 1940s as it appeared in Knockout and he made everyone else look unbelievably static and dull: there was so much movement and action in Parker's work it was astonishing. He always looked unfinished to my eye, but eventually I came to realise that he put in all he needed to put in to tell the story. It really was a revelation.

Wrapping up the issue is an interview with children's book illustrator Will Terry and a brief obituary for Bryn Havord, whose name was heavily associated with earlier issues of Illustrators until his death last year.

The next issue is promising dinosaurs from William Stout and some lovely historical artwork by Patrick Nicolle. Roll on spring 2015.

For more information about Illustrators and back issues, visit the Book Palace website where you can also take a peek at the next issue

Friday, January 23, 2015

Comic Cuts - 23 January 2015

Some weeks come and go so fast that you barely realise that the time is passing. I'm thinking back at what I've achieved these past seven days and I can't think of a thing. I've started on the introduction to the next book, managed to find some artwork that I wasn't aware of and waded through a pile of magazines in the hope of finding more.

Then there were two nice meals... but they don't count as work, memorable though they were. It was nice to get out of my little office because I've really noticed the temperature drop this week. We had a flurry of snow on Saturday while I was waiting in the queue for the bus along with half a dozen other grumpy folk and one very excitable young girl who was jumping up and down with joy... she was inside one of the shop's opposite the bus queue, in the warm and untroubled by the biting wind. The snow stopped just as the bus arrived. although I wouldn't be feeling paranoid about this if the following hadn't happened...

On Wednesday, as Mel and I left the house, the snow came down quite thick and fast. It lasted exactly half an hour which I know because that's how long my morning walk takes and the snow slowed and stopped just as I got back to the driveway of the house.

The snow is clearly out to get me.

I managed to catch up with The Man in the High Castle, the Amazon Prime pilot, which I thought superb. It's based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, which I started re-reading during the week after completing a rather disappointing whodunnit (The Affair of the Mutilated Mink) which tried too hard to complicate the plot in order to offer multiple solutions and just ended up rather too silly for my tastes.

The pilot, on the other hand, was superb—a masterclass in creating a show relatively cheaply without it wholly distracting from the story. The story, for those who haven't read the book, is set in an America where the Nazis and Japanese won the Second World War. It is now 1962 and America is divided into two, the east coast under German rule and the west coast occupied by Japan with a neutral buffer zone between the two. The elderly Hitler is ill and the Japanese worry that his death will cause could result in the rise to power of a more aggressive leader who will destroy the fragile alliance between the Germans and Japanese and use their nuclear bombs against the west coast.

Meanwhile, a young New Yorker working for the American resistance drives west to deliver a package—a film reel entitled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy—to Canon City in the neutral zone. At the same time, a woman travels west from San Francisco after watching the film, passed on to her by her sister shortly before she (the sister) is shot. The film, in a series of news clips, depicts an alternative world in which America wins the war and has reputedly been created by someone known only as the Man in the High Castle.

Amazon will move forward to create more episodes depending on reaction to the pilot. Well, at the moment it looks like they're onto a winner and I'm certainly hoping for more. It feels like this project has been around for quite a while; Scott Free (Ridley Scott's production company) was reputedly involved in adapting it for the BBC five years ago with an excellent playwright named Howard Brenton adapting the novel. I'd love to see his take on the book. This version is adapted by Frank Spotnitz, whose work is always worth watching—he was responsible for a lot of The X-Files.

Talking of the latter, I'm in two minds about the rumours that it might be coming back. I followed it through to the bitter (and frustratingly inconclusive) end of season nine, plus two movies, and the only reason I would want it to come back would be to give the show a satisfying conclusion and not drag it out.

Our random scans today are by unidentified or unknown (to me) artists. The Execution of Private Slovik (Panther 645) is from 1956, the cover by David Kirk who, as far as I'm aware, didn't do any other covers for Panther.  Panther 905, The Story of Wake Island by Colonel J. P. S. Devereux (1959) is signed... but who's signature? It looks a bit like 'Crair', but that seem unlikely. Update: My eyesight is better than I give it credit for. I'm told that the signature is that of American artist Mel Crair, who illustrated a lot of US paperback covers and men's magazines.

I've put in Panther 914 but I did some digging and found that this was a reprint of an American cover originally published by Avon Books. The artist is Gilbert Fullington who appears to have produced a number of covers for crime novels, although there is nothing to be found about him via a quick Google search.

Finally for today, Panther 1463 from 1963 is The Long Overcoat by Pete Fry. Fry was the pseudonym of James Clifford King; he was also a private eye and the narrator of fifteen books published by T. V. Boardman and John Long. The cover is signed, but is mostly a squiggle with possibly 'cuti' at the end.

 
 
 
 
If I get a chance I'll update the Upcoming Releases and Recent Releases columns for next week. I also have a couple of books that I want to review, so there should be something to look forward to. With any luck, I'll be in a position to announce the title of the next book next Friday. I won't promise, but fingers crossed. And there are my tax returns to fill in. Oh, joy!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

World of Wonder part 91

Andrew Howat

 
 
Peter Jackson

 
Ray Calloway

(* World of Wonder © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015