BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Nebula Award Stories

Nebula Award Stories 1 edited by Damon Knight
New English Library 2410 (0450-00289-6), Apr 1969, 224pp, 7/6. Cover by Bruce Pennington

Nebula Award Stories 2 edited by Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison
Panther Books 0586-03342-4, 1970, 237pp, 6/- (30p).

Nebula Award Stories 3 edited by Roger Zelazny
Panther Books 0586-03413-7, (Nov) 1970, 207pp, 6/- (30p). Cover by Gianetto Coppolo

Nebula Award Stories 4 edited by Poul Anderson
Panther Books 0586-03568-0, (Dec) 1971, 256pp, 35p. Cover by Michael Head

Nebula Award Stories 5 edited by James Blish
Panther Books 0586-03785-3, (Dec) 1972, 170pp, 35p.

Nebula Award Stories 6 edited by Clifford D. Simak
Panther Books 0586-03797-7, (Dec) 1973, 190pp, 35p. Cover by Chris Foss

Nebula Award Stories 7 edited by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.
Panther Books 0586-04022-6, (Dec) 1974, 286pp, 60p. Cover by Peter Jones

Nebula Award Stories 8 edited by Isaac Asimov
Panther Books 0586-04080-3, 1975, 271pp, 60p. Cover by Tony Roberts
----, [2nd imp.] (c.1978), 95p.

Nebula Award Stories 9 edited by Kate Wilhelm
Corgi Books 0552-10307-1, (Nov) 1976, 253pp, 75p.

Nebula Award Stories 10 edited by James Gunn
Corgi Books 0552-10485-x, (Jun) 1977, 255pp, 85p. Cover by Tony Roberts

Nebula Award Stories 11 edited by Ursula K. LeGuin
Corgi Books 0552-10790-5, (Jul) 1978, 253pp, 95p. Cover by Angus McKie

Nebula Award Stories 12 edited by Gordon Dickson
(no UK paperback)

Nebula Award Stories 13 edited by Samuel R. Delany
(no UK paperback)

Nebula Winners Fourteen edited by Frederik Pohl
Star Books 0352-31047-2, xi+259pp, £1.75. Cover by Bruce Pennington

Nebula Winners Fifteen edited by Frank Herbert
Star Books 0352-31227-0, (Jan) 1983, xvi+223pp, £1.75. Cover by Bruce Pennington

Friday, July 29, 2016

Comic Cuts - 29 July 2016

I'm beginning to believe the commonplace notion that 2016 has been a particularly bad year for deaths. Statistically it is roughly the same as other years, but this year has seen a greater number of people I knew, some well, others through correspondence. Just in my circle of comics' friends this year has taken Tony Luke, Scott Goodall, Gil Page, Derek Pierson... and now Roger Perry, who was a contributor here at Bear Alley. Sometimes a loss makes the world a little darker, a little less joyful.

Trying to raise the enthusiasm to get on with work hasn't been so easy, especially with so many distractions available at my fingertips. I've probably only achieved the minimum required of me, although thankfully, rather than waste time, I did some of the research I need to do for a future book. We all deal with these stresses in our own way.

We'd planned a little trip at the tail end of last week. We've lived a few miles from Brightlingsea for six years now and thought it might be fun to visit. A quick search for "things to do" and "sites to see" revealed that Brightlingsea has bugger all of interest—for meals the recommendation was to drive out to Wivenhoe and local attractions were five, ten and fifteen miles away. One was Colchester Zoo, which is local to Brightlingsea in the same sense that Colchester is local to London.

So we decided to stay at home and watch a film instead, followed by a walk down to the local chippie. We ate fish & chips and watched Flight of the Conchords, which Mel has never seen but is now becoming a fan.

I'm trying to catch up on a ton of TV. Finished watching Colony, starring Josh (Lost) Holloway, which was better than I expected. It's set in alien-occupied America but you never meet the alien hosts; instead its like the Vichy government in wartime France, with large, walled up areas ruled over by an elite of proxies chosen by the "Raps". A Resistance has grown up behind a figure known as Geronimo.

The show pulled the rug from under viewers a couple of times and I'm looking forward to seeing the second season, due in 2017.

So now I'm watching Firefly-wannabe Dark Matter, with a shipful of mismatched mercenaries who wake up with no memory of who they are or how they got onto the spacecraft. It's based on an old Dark Horse Comics' title I'm only four episodes in, but I'm definitely enjoying it. I'm told that Season 2 is even better.

Random scans... to try and lighten the mood, some titles that came up via a search for "laugh", "funny" and "smile" in my cover scans folder. It really does generate a weird and wonderful selection, including our column header by Josh Kirby.


The Digit edition reprinted the cover from Crest 165 but it's clearly using the original artwork as it shows more of the bottom of the art, including the signature of artist Barye Phillips.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Commando issues 4935-4938

Commando issues on sale 28th July 2016.

Commando No 4935 – Firebrand!
Siblings Ian and John Jenkins were both R.A.F. pilots. Ian was the elder, calm and confident. John was younger and hot-headed, a definite firebrand. Based in the North-East of Scotland, they protected the coast against attack from the marauding Luftwaffe.
   However, when tragedy struck, John found himself embroiled in a mystery — one that involved death, destruction and even espionage. And it seemed there was a family connection. The firebrand was determined to find the answers…whatever the cost.

Story: Colin Watson
Art: Janek Matysiak
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando No 4936 – Fighter Ace
“Flame Squadron” they were called in the R.A.F. But to the baffled pilots of the Luftwaffe they were known as “Flame Devils”.
   When an aircraft was shot to pieces, cartwheeling across the sky in a mass of flames, somewhere in that blazing Spitfire a cool fighting brain still functioned, a finger still pressed the firing button. Long after any pilot must have perished, each plane carried on flying.
   As the Luftwaffe’s terror grew, one of Germany’s top spies was sent to ferret out the secret of the “Flame Devils”…

Introduction
This curio from 1966 has a vaguely supernatural premise about indestructible Spitfire pilots who can seemingly survive the flames of aerial battle — Commando with a pulp fiction, or even science-fiction, flavour. Then, however, author Boutland’s (first name unknown) story veers into espionage territory, making it more of a traditional tale — but one that’s certainly well-drawn by Arias and with a moody action cover painted by Buccheri.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Story: Boutland
Art: Arias
Cover: Buccheri
Fighter Ace, originally Commando No 206 (March 1966), re-issued as No 843 (June 1974)

Commando No 4937 – Making His Mark
When World War II broke out Mark Enfield quit his office job and enlisted in the army. Although enthusiastic, he was quite puny and unfit. Nor was he a very good shot — and many noted the irony that he shared his surname with the famous Lee Enfield rifle that they used.
  .He became a target of bullies among his fellow recruits in basic training and this continued when they went into battle.
   However, Mark was determined to stand up to his detractors once and for all, especially when his unit was tasked with destroying a strategically important bridge which was in enemy hands.

Story: George Low
Art: John Ridgway
Cover: John Ridgway

Commando No 4938 – Burning Skies
During the war most people served in the same unit all the time. However, Jack Banham was different. He was in an Italian jail, then a front-line trench with the Greek army, then the observer’s cockpit of an Italian biplane. At one time he was even a colonel in the Greek army…
…Or was it the Greek air force? Months afterwards he still wasn’t sure. Not that it mattered, for by that time he was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm!

Introduction
In some ways it’s a pity that this tale’s original working title wasn’t used. Veteran Commando author R.A. Montague called it ‘Jack Of All Trades’. This neatly sums up the multifarious activities of our protagonist, Jack Banham — on his journey from being a civilian treasure hunter to a soldier, then eventually fighting in aircraft.
   This relentless yarn rarely pauses for breath. Proof once more that Commando’s 63-page format allows a story room to go to unexpected places.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Story: R.A. Montague
Art: Maidagan
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Burning Skies, originally Commando No 1116, (April 1977), re-issued as No 2436 (January 1991)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Roger Perry (1938-2016)

Roger Perry, an artist, designer, art editor, photographer and writer, who worked in the 1960s on  Eagle and TV Century 21 and in the 1970s on Countdown, died on Saturday, 23 July at 12:30 pm (local time) at his home in the Philippines. A day after celebrating his 78th birthday, he suffered a heart attack, brought on by an infection in his legs.

Roger was well known to the small hardcore of collectors interested in the history of comics. He had written a number of articles for Eagle Times and Roger and I began corresponding heavily in 2013 when I was researching my book on Boy's World. It was due to Roger's volumous notes that I decided that the next book to work on would be about Countdown, on which paper Roger's design influence was very visible.

During the research, on 8 November 2013, Roger – then living in Tacloban City on the island of Leyte – was caught up in typhoon Haiyan, which meant he was out of communication for some time, during which he had suffered the same deprivations of many of the islanders, with no electricity and little fresh water. After a spell in England, he returned to the Philippines where, a few weeks later, he was hospitalized by illness, his treatment including three operations on an infected leg and foot where gangrene had set in.

Despite bouts of infection and illness, Roger enjoyed reminiscing about his lengthy career designing, doing photography for and occasionally writing for comics and annuals. A comment I made that he should "write something about Charles Bowen" led to the two of us writing a multi-part history of "The Men Behind the Flying Saucer Review". More recently, Roger supplied two very lengthy series to Bear Alley ("Perry's Picture Post") and to John Freeman's Down the Tubes ("Eagle Daze", part 1 here). 

His willingness to reminisce about his days working for Eagle and other titles were greatly welcomed by those of us who have fond memories of reading comics in the days when comics entertained millions of kids every week. That said, Roger did not pull any punches in print and occasionally his brutal honesty had to be reined in if we were to avoid crossing the line into libel.

Even in his seventies, Roger embraced technology and his rambling, humour-filled e-mails could arrive with terrifying regularity – two more arriving while you were answering the first. He was not a big fan of Facebook (although he signed up) or the iPad, preferring his PC, which was a source of endless suffering, thanks to the sometimes patchy electricity supply and equally patchy internet access. More than once I received e-mails that had passed from Roger through three or four pairs of hands before reaching a town with a working internet cafe where it could be posted. Snail mail had an equally interesting journey with books sent to a friend who had to collect them – usually only after several visits and words with the manageress – from the post office.

Born at Mount Alvernia Nursing Home in Guildford, Surrey, on 22 July 1938, Roger Prölss Perry was the youngest of three children – the given name of Prölss deriving from the maiden name of his paternal German grandmother. His father, Eric Charles Perry, had been seriously wounded in the Great War having been gassed in the trenches and shot twice—the first through the jaw and the second in the groin. Although doctors gave him a life-expectancy of six months and had said that he would never be able to father children, on leaving Roehampton Hospital they advised him to take on work that allowed him to remain outside in the fresh air. Due to his rank of Major, ex-military personnel returning to civilian life were given assistance by the Government. At the time Roger was born, his father was running a seven-acre small-holding in Tilford (three miles south of Farnham, Surrey) with his wife, Violet Elizabeth Perry (née Appleby) and daughters Erica and April.

School for Perry began with “Miss Murrell’s” in Farnham, but with the Second World War now over, due to Eric Charles’ flawless German he was offered a five-year commission to act as translator at the Nuremburg War Crimes tribunal. The family moved to Broadstairs, Kent where Perry went first to Haddon Dean, run by a Miss Vyse, and then to Cliftonville College School, run by Reginald Llewellyn Freebairn-Smith (later to become Mayor of  Margate in 1962–1963). In his final report, Freebairn-Smith had said: “Roger has no brains ... but he has guts.” In response to that, Perry sat for just two O-Level exams—Art and Maths—passed them both thus giving him the perfect credentials for producing Painting-by-Numbers sets.

From September 1954 to March 1959, Perry attended the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Art close to Oxford Circus, the West End and the BBC, where he achieved the National Diploma in Arts and Design before commencing with a further year of study in commercial design under the guidance of Ley Kenyon DFC, noted for his writing, art and underwater photography, and lithographer Henry Houghton Trivick.

While still at the Regent Street Polytechnic under Principal P F Millard’s leadership, his secretary Miss Angel—having been contacted by Alfred Harwood, Art Editor of Farmers’ Weekly to say that “he was seeking an in-house illustrator to work in his studio”—gave Perry the message, suggesting at the same time that he could use her telephone. Five days later—on Monday, 9 March 1959—Perry commenced  employment on the 7th floor of Hulton House, 161-166 Fleet Street, London W1. Perry had been there for just five short months, but during that time, there had been a six-week-long national print strike and the government decided that Perry had been deferred long enough and needed to carry out his two years of National Service (August 1959 to August 1961).

Perry had been detailed with the trade of Nursing Attendant (Class II), but as he settled in, it became noted that his skills in art had not been forgotten,   It had begun with hand-written name-plates on desks and doors;  signs such as “No Entry” and “Keep Left” on notice boards utilising throat-swab brushes that had been “borrowed” from the medicinal cupboard (until such time the powers-that-be  began to realize that Perry seemed to know what he was doing);  followed by murals for the walls of the Officers’ Mess and on to designing and building carnival floats inside the rarely-used morgue for the two annual sports-day events.

The company (once known as Hulton Press, now called Longacre Press) contacted Perry during his final weeks in the R.A.F. with the offer of work as a layout artist (designer) at Juvenile Publications—the umbrella name for the magazines Eagle, Girl, Swift and Robin. He joined the team of three other layout artists (designers)—Bruce Smith, Ron Morley and John Kingsford—on Monday, 28 August 1961 where he quickly became Larry Line, “Eagle’s Roving Reporter” ... not that he physically went anywhere. He remained with Longacre until May 1966.

On the following Monday, Perry began work as Art Editor at Century 21 Publishing. As he says: “Yes, I suppose I could be described as a 'layout artist' but I commissioned art (Art Buyer), had total control over the art in all the books that went through my hands (Art Editor), kept an eye on Andrew Harrison and Bob Reed (Studio Manager), took photographs as and when needed (Resident Photographer) and generally made sure that everything was present and correct when it required being sent to the printer (Office Boy). Also (with the help of Linda Wheway), I came up with the ideas and photographs for five books (Author?). I remained with Century 21 Publishing from May 1966 to June 1969."

From Century 21 Publishing, Perry then went to Hamlyn Books (July 1969 to October 1970), and it was during the Autumn of 1969 that ex-Editor of Century 21 Publishing (Books) Robert T. ("Bob") Prior came up with the idea of producing photo-strips whereby the individual frames of a story were photographed rather than being drawn by an artist. Utilising the services of two “resting” actors, Perry produced a six-page dummy from photographs captured at the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park following on from which Prior had touted the work to various publishing houses including Fleetway and D C Thompson’s. With the idea now out, the floodgates had opened and very quickly, dozens and dozens of teenaged magazines had latched onto the idea.

For the next twenty-odd years, through Bob Prior and then through Theodore "Wil" Wilson (formerly with Syndication International), Perry produced hundreds of photo-stories – not only the photography but also the ultimate page design – for the likes of Suzie, Jackie, My Guy, Patches and a host of others. As he has said: “Finding the models was easy enough, having to scour through the mags on newsagents’ shelving to see where my work had been printed was quite another.”

Following his departure from Hamlyn Books in October 1970, Perry went to work for Bob Prior's premium packages for two months before joining Dennis Hooper, ex-Art Editor of Century 21 Publishing and now editor of Countdown magazine, in December 1970.

During his three-and-a-half years with the company, alongside his No. 2, Bill Kidd, Perry devised and became the magazine’s (now TV Action) investigative on-the-spot reporter (about four years before John Noakes did much the same thing for Blue Peter).

Perry remained with Polystyle Publications until November 1973 when he became Art Editor for Purnell Books, remaining with the publisher for eleven years until 1985. From then on, he operated his own public relations business. Due to his growing interest in the art and the close proximity of Bath, the nerve centre of the Royal Photographic Society, he achieved the distinction of Associate Member in 1987 for audio/visual presentations thus entitled him to display the letters ARPS after his name, although he rarely did.

During the final three months of his National Service tour of duty in 1961, Perry married Jennifer Edscer; they divorced in 1991. Perry, having had a life-long fascination for the Far East, moved to the Philippines, where he married Marilyn Gesmundo. He lived for 11 years on Cataduanes before moving a number of times recently following the typhoon. Most recently he was living with Raquelyn Navarro in the city of Naga in Cebu.

He is survived by his daughter, Rae. His son, Marcus, predeceased him after a long battle with cancer.

(* much of the biographical information, written by Roger, was originally posted 29 July 2013; revised 3 April 2016; revised again 25 July 2016.)

Monday, July 25, 2016

American Gods 1st trailor

San Diego Comic Con has always been the place to launch new projects and that has been especially true this year with a slew of trailers and teasers for upcoming TV shows and films. Amongst them was the trailer below for American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel. It's due from Starz in 2017 and stars Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane and Emily Browning. The ten-episode first season will also feature apprarances by Peter Stormare, Crispin Glover and Gillian Anderson.


Vanity Fair has carried a piece about the stars' appearances in San Diego and discusses the show – I know some people are hugely offended by what they consider spoilers, so the linked article does contain details about the plot and characters. But if you don't mind, here's another short article about the show at i09.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Charles Stross cover gallery

Singularity Sky (New York, Ace Books, Aug 2003)
Orbit 1841-49334-1, (Feb) 2005, 389pp, £6.99. Cover by Lee Gibbons

Iron Sunrise (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2004)
Orbit 1841-49336-8, Aug 2005, 480pp, £6.99. Cover by Lee Gibbons

The Atrocity Archives (Urbana, Illinois, Golden Gryphon Press, May 2004)
Orbit 978-1841-49569-9, (Jun) 2007, 319pp, £6.99. Cover design by LBBG-Sean Garrehy

The Family Trade (New York, Tor, Dec 2004)
Tor 978-0330-45193-2, (Nov) 2007, 308pp, £6.99. Cover design by blacksheep.co.uk

The Hidden Family (New York, Tor, Jun 2005)
Tor 978-0330-46093-4, (Aug) 2008, 327pp, £7.99. Cover design by blacksheep.co.uk

Accelerando (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2005)
Orbit 978-1841-49389-9, Jun 2006, 433pp, £6.99. Cover design by TWBG-Peter Cotton

The Clan Corporate (New York, Tor, May 2006)
Tor 978-0330-46094-1, (Dec) 2008, 310pp, £6.99. Cover design by blacksheep.co.uk

Glasshouse (New York, Ace Books, Jun 2006)
Orbit 978-1841-49393-0, 2006, 388pp, £6.99. Cover design by Sean Garrehy

The Jennifer Morgue (Urbana, Illinois, Golden Gryphon Press, Nov 2006)
Orbit 978-1841-49570-5, (Sep) 2007, 418pp, £6.99. Cover design by LBBG-Sean Garrehy

The Merchants' War (New York, Tor, 2007)
Tor 978-0330-

Halting State (New York, Ace Books, Sep 2007)
Orbit 978-1841-49694-8, (Jan) 2008, 338pp, £10.99. [tpb]
Orbit 978-1841-49665-8, (Sep) 2008, 376+[29]pp, £7.99. Cover by Army of Trolls @ NB Illustration

Saturn's Children (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2008)
Orbit 978-1841-49568-2, (Jul) 2009, 371pp, £6.99. Cover by Lee Gibbons

The Revolution Business (New York, Tor, 2009)
X

The Trade of Queens (New York, Tor, 2010)
X

The Fuller Memorandum (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2010)
Orbit 978-1841-49770-9, (Jul) 2010, 354pp, £7.99.

Rule 34 (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2011)
Orbit 978-1841-49773-0, (Jul) 2011, 358pp, £12.99. [tpb]
Orbit 978-1841-49774-7, (Jun) 2012), 400pp, £7.99.

The Apocalypse Codex (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2012)
Orbit 978-0356-50098-0, (Jul) 2012, 386pp, £7.99.

The Rapture of the Nerds, with Cory Doctorow (New York, Tor, 2012)
X

Neptune's Brood (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2013)
Orbit 978-0356-50100-0, (Jun) 2014, 368pp, £8.99.

The Rhesus Chart (New York, Ace Books, 2014)
Orbit 978-0356-50252-6, (Apr) 2015, 359pp, £8.99. Cover design by Crush Creative

The Annihilation Score (London, Orbit, Jul 2015)
X

OMNIBUS

Timelike Diplomacy (contains Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise; New York, SF Book Club, 2004)
(no UK paperback)

On Her Majesty's Occult Service (contains The Atrocity Archives, The Jennifer Morgue; New York, SF Book Club, 2007)
(no UK paperback)

The Bloodline Feud (contains The Family Trade, The Hidden Family; London, Tor, 2013)
X

The Traders' War (contains The Clan Corporate, The Merchants' War; London, Tor, 2013)
X

The Revolution Trade (contains The Revolution Business, The Trade of Queens; London, Tor, 2013)
Tor 978-1447-23764-8, 2013, 557pp, £9.99. Cover design by the-parish.com

COLLECTIONS

Toast and other rusted futures (Holicong, Pennsylvania, Wildside Pres/Cosmos Books, 2002; revised, 2003; expanded, Burton, Michigan, Subterranean Press, 2007)
X

Wireless: The Essential Charles Stross (London, Orbit, 2009)
X

Scratch Monkey: A Novel and Two Essays (Framingham, Massachusetts, NESFA Press, 2010)
(no UK paperback)

NON-FICTION

The Web Architect's Handbook (Cambridge, Massachusetts, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1996)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Comic Cuts - 22 July 2016

I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine. I've been stuck inside for most of it although we managed to get out on Monday when there was an event billed as An Evening With James Henry at Waterstones. For those of you who don't know the name, "James Henry" was the pen-name dreamed up by James Gurbutt when he was offered the change to write a series of sequel novels based around the character of Jack Frost, the creation of R. D. Wingfield.

Gurbutt worked for Wingfield's publisher, Constable, and teamed up with local author Henry Sutton to write First Frost. The resulting novel received the blessing of Wingfield's son, Phil, and presumably sold well enough for two more sequels which took Jack Frost's story up to where R. D. Wingfield's five novels began.

I was a big fan of the latter books. I picked up Frost at Christmas to pass on to my mum, who liked the TV series and, since she retired, has had more time for reading. She loved the book... passed it on to my sister, who loved it too, and it eventually came back to me, by which time I'd picked up other books in the series for mum. After visiting the rest of the Holland family, all five have ended up on my shelves.

The James Henry novels had a similar circular trip back to my shelves but I've read them with much the same pleasure as the Wingfields. I was rather amazed to discover that Gurbutt (who wrote the second  and third Frost novels solo) was not only a local, his partner Sarah works one office away at the same firm Mel does, the same publisher I wrangle Hotel Business for.

Which brings us to our rather shambolic Monday evening. I headed into town to meet up with Mel. The plan was to get to Waterstones for the 6:30 start and then head out to the cinema for an 8:00 showing of Ghostbusters. While we grabbed a pre-event drink we heard from a friend that the 8 o'clock show was in 3D and the nearest 2D showing was at 7:15pm. So we said yes.

The 6:30 start turned out to be 6:30 for 7:00, and we had to slip away at ten to to grab some food before heading to the Odeon. So it wasn't so much An Evening With James Henry, but A Snatched Few Minutes With James Henry. I did, however, manage to get my books signed, including a proof copy of his new novel, Blackwater, and the signature of co-author Henry Sutton, who teaches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, who was down from Norfolk for the evening to act as the Q&A's host.

So the evening was shambolic but not an utter failure—I did meet James and Henry, albeit briefly, and we did get to see Ghostbusters which I found not nearly as bad as some people have found it. Whether it was worth the £11.75 it cost to get in, I'm not sure. We're now paying almost £1.96 in VAT per visit to the cinema, which I like to think is going towards childcare or the NHS, but is probably being spent on stocking the Parliamentary wine cellar or Trident.

On Tuesday we wrapped up the latest Hotel Business issue and sent it winging its way to the printers. Long gone are the days of boards, overlays, colour mark-ups and Red Star delivery... now it's high resolution PDF files.

Wednesday and Thursday... mostly melting and trying to figure out how to get my scanner to work properly with Windows 10. Still not sure if I've managed it... it's currently installing but I don't want to reboot the computer. Guess I'll find out tomorrow whether the new patch works.

I'm working on pulling together all the episodes for another Ace O'Hara storyline, but I also have a couple of time-intensive bits of research underway that are taking up most of my spare moments—the sort of coal-face research where you have to put in the hours. But Ace will return. Meantime, I'm pleased to have returned Bear Alley to the old mix of biographical sketches and cover galleries for a bit. Also rather amazed to think that we're only a few weeks away from Bear Alley's 10th anniversary.

Random scans... well, in honour of meeting James Henry, scroll down for a little James Henry cover gallery.

James Henry cover gallery

First Frost (2011)
Corgi Books 978-0552-16176-3, 2011, 460pp, £6.99. Cover photos by Ilona Wellman / Yolande de Kort; design by Claire Ward

Fatal Frost (2012)
Corgi Books 978-0552-16177-0, 2012, 456pp, £6.99. Cover photos by Ayal Ardon / Mark Owen; design by Rhys Willson

Morning Frost (2013)
Corgi Books 978-0552-16853-3, 2014, 474pp.

Blackwater (2016)
Quercus

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rodrigo

Rodrigo was active in the mid-1960s with at least a couple of UK credits. Almost certainly a Spanish artist... or perhaps two artists, one providing internal artwork in 1966 and another producing a cover in 1968. If anyone can reveal more about Rodrigo, please drop me a line.

Update: Thanks to José Ruiz DelAmor we have a suggestion (see comments below) as to who the artist might be: Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester. An illustrator, cartoonist and painter born in Tangier in 1950, Rodrigo (as he signs himself) is best known for the biographical homoerotic comic serial 'Manuel', first published in the Madrid-based monthly arts magazine Luna in 1983-84 and reprinted, with other works, in book form as Manuel No Está Solo (Ediciones Sinsentido, 2005).

Lambiek describes the work as "A highly experimental and anti-conventional work ... reminiscent of such varied artistic trends as an almost photographic realism, expressionism, surrealism and even abstract art."

(There, that's saved you the effort of translating José's comment!)

If correct, it would mean Rodrigo was drawing for Commando when he was 15 or 16, which may seem a little early for the confident artwork seen below. Still, it wasn't unknown for artists to begin working in studios very young.