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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jim Petrie (1932-2014)

Nigel Parkinson has reported the death of Jim Petrie, who died on Sunday, 24 August 2014, aged 82.

Petrie made his name as the artist of "Minnie the Minx", the stripey-topped tomboy who first appeared in The Beano in 1953. Originally drawn by Leo Baxendale, Petrie filled in for the artist with his first strip on 6 June 1961—in which Minnie destroys her mum's feather duster to make an Indian headdress—and took over full time from April 1962.

Petrie continued the anarchic exploits of Minnie for the next four decades, clocking up 2,000 episodes in the weekly comic. The mischievous minx was intended to be a female Dennis the Menace, who had debuted two years earlier, but soon established her own brand of mayhem. A barely-contained explosion, Minnie was not afraid to tackle a gang of boys and the action would disappear into a cloud of swinging fists and boots.

Whether it was pestering him for something or pelting him with something (tomatoes, snow, dung...), her long-suffering dad was the target of most of her energy; it fell to him to administer any punishments that needed to be meted out at the end of the strip. Later, when punishments became less acceptable in the real world, Minnie's pranks were a little more subdued, although in a 2001 interview, Petrie could recall only one instance where he received an editorial admonishment:

"One day I drew her playing a trick on a church Minister. I got a message back from The Beano, 'We don't attack vicars'. So they drew a tie over his dog-collar... Someone might complain that Minnie has stepped on her cat's tail four times in six months and the word would come through, 'Lay off Chester'. Sometimes I think adults take it a bit too seriously. You are creating a fantasy world after all, and kids love anarchy more than anything."

James B. Petrie was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, on 2 June 1932, and his first Minnie was published while he was teaching art at Kirkton High School, Dundee. Under Petrie's hand, the strip went from a single page to a double page weekly spread and, in 1988, she graduated to full colour. Her occasional nemesis, Fatty Fudge, also earned his own spin-off strip in 1989. The latter spoofed popular novels and films and ran under titles like "Fatman of the Apes" and "2001—A Space Obesity".

Petrie's other strips included "The Sparky People" (Sparky, Topper, 1969-79), "Says Smiffy"—which involved the Bash Street's famously thick schoolboy trying out daft inventions suggested by readers—(Beano, 1971-72), "Freddie Stare" (Topper, 1979-80) and "The Incredible Sulk" for rivals IPC (Jackpot, 1979-82).

The artist had his revenge on Minnie in his final strip, which appeared in The Beano 3052 (13 January 2001): Minnie meets Petrie who draws her with blond curls replacing her usual ginger hair and a candy pink party dress. Minnie, of course, has the last laugh when she upends a paint pot over her tormenter.

At the time of his retirement from drawing Minnie, Petrie was living in a small, cluttered Dundee flat, surrounded by coffee cups and paint tubes. Journalist Colin Wills described him thus: "He is 68 with flyaway grey hair and looks a bit like a cross between Bob Dylan and Doctor Who." His musical preference whilst working was Mahler.

Petrie continued to paint watercolours following his retirement from the strip. He favoured "dreamscapes"—described as "figures of angels and other objects on a background with no horizon." These, he said, were inspired by the sensation of floating, the artist having taken up gliding some years earlier. He was persuaded to return to The Beano on occasions, the last time in 2011 with a Fatty Fudge story "The Tummy Returns".

Petrie is survived by two daughters and three sons.

Tributes to Petrie can be found at Lew Stringer's Blimey! (27 August 2014), and John Freeman's Down the Tubes (27 August 2014). The Beano website has also paid tribute to the artist, saying: "As well as being a massively talented artist, and a warm and witty friend and colleague, Jim had one other very unique claim to fame... so here's to Jim Petrie—the only teacher ever who got to tell Minnie the Minx what to do!"

(* artwork © D. C. Thomson)

Logan's Run Annual (part 2)

(* Logan's Run © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Logan's Run Annual (part 1)

Working on "Arena" has meant digging around a variety of fictional dystopian futures, so while I'm in that frame of mind, I thought I'd post a few bits from this lost gem. The Logan's Run Annual was published in 1978 and was based on a TV series, which was based on a movie, which was based on a novel. The original novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson was published in 1967, laying down the basic plot for all versions to follow.

The setting is the 22nd century, after two centuries in which the population has exploded, with under-21s making up a huge percentage of the population since the 1970s. By 2116 AD, the maximum age allowed is 21, and citizens reaching this age (sleepday) are painlessly euthanized. Anyone refusing is chased down by the Sandmen. Logan 3 is a Sandman who becomes a Runner on his sleepday. On the run with another runner named Jessica 6, Logan is tracked down by his former friend, a Sandman named Francis who [SPOILER ALERT, highlight the blank to read] reveals himself to be the man they are seeking who can help them reach Sanctuary—a space colony near Mars.

The movie followed in 1976, directed by  Michael Anderson and starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. In the movie, the population is housed in domes to protect them from the irradiated, post-apocalyptic world outside. Sandman Logan has his "life clock" altered so that it appears he is about to turn 30 and is sent out to find Sanctuary... only to discover that it doesn't exist but that the largely barren outside world can be lived in.

This is the premise that was carried over into the TV series which starred Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies and ran for 14 episodes in 1977-78. I have to confess that I was surprised to discover that it lasted so short a time... I would have sworn it was longer. It did drag on a bit, with all that running around in the desert. According to Wikipedia, only 11 episodes were broadcast in the USA on its original run before it was cancelled.

The annual opened with a 3-page strip that outlined the background of the show and introduced the characters, including Rem, a cyborg played by Donald Moffat in the TV show.

The stories and strips were written by the late Steve Moore and the artwork is by one of my favourite artists, David Lloyd. This is from early in Lloyd's career but just look how good he is. I first saw his work in the British Fantasy Society Newsletter and their Dark Horizons magazine in the early-1970s and he produced illustrations and covers for semi-prozines like Fantasy Tales into the early-1980s.

One of my all-time bucket-list projects would be to adapt one of Ramsey Campbell's The Face That Must Die as a graphic novel and have David Lloyd draw it. I read the novel back in 1979 and the way my imagination interpreted it was like a series of Lloyd's drawings... it was incredibly creepy.

David went on to bigger, better and more financially rewarding things than an imaginary graphic novel. Nowadays he runs Aces Weekly, a fabulous award-winning online venture that's well worth checking out. (You can find some free samples here.)

But back to Logan's Run. I'll post a few more stories over the next couple of days. Enjoy!


(* Logan's Run © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

John D MacDonald cover gallery


The Brass Cupcake (1950)
F. Muller (Gold Medal 72), 1955, 188pp, 2/-.
Coronet Books 2864, 1967, 174pp.

Murder for the Bride (1951)
F. Muller (Gold Medal 41), 1954, 164pp, 2/-.

Judge Me Not (1951)
Frederick Muller (Gold Medal 697), 1964, 155pp, 2/6.

Weep for Me (1951)
Frederick Muller (Gold Medal 687), 1964, 153pp, 2/6. Cover by Barye Phillips

Wine of the Dreamers (1951; aka Planet of the Dreamers)
Viking Books SF228, 1957, 189pp, 2/-. Cover by Ron W. Smethurst
Corgi Books SS1143, 1962, 157pp, 2/6.

Ballroom of the Skies (1952)
(no UK paperback)

The Damned (1952)
Frederick Muller (Gold Medal 693), 1964, 169pp. Cover by Barye Phillips

Dead Low Tide (1953)
F. Muller (Gold Medal 73), 1955, 154pp, 2/-.
Magnum 0417-01730-8, 1977. Cover photo

The Neon Jungle (1953)
F. Muller (Gold Medal 57), 1954, 176pp, 2/-.
Pan Books X446, 1965, 188pp.

Cancel All Our Vows (1953)
(no UK paperback)

All These Condemned (1954)
(no UK paperback)

Area of Suspicion (1954)
(no UK paperback)

Contrary Pleasure (1954)
(no UK paperback)

A Bullet for Cinderella (1955; aka On the Make)
Pan Books G621, 1963, 157pp.

Cry Hard, Cry Fast (1956)
(no UK paperback)

April Evil (1956)
Pan Books G348, 1960, 157pp.

Border Town Girl (1956; aka Five Star Fugitive)
(no UK paperback)

Murder in the Wind (1956; aka Hurricane)
Pan Books G643, 1963, 171pp, 2/6.

You Live Once (1956; aka You Kill Me)
Magnum Books 0417-02110-0, 1978, 159pp, 70p. Cover photo

Death Trap (1957)
Pan Books G659, 1964, 156pp, 2/6. Cover by Rankin?
Magnum Books 0417-02940-3, 1978, 191pp.

The Price of Murder (1957)
Pan Books X579, 1966, 171pp.

The Empty Trap (1957)
(no UK paperback)

A Man of Affairs (1957)
(no UK paperback)

The Deceivers (1958)
(no UK paperback)

Clemmie (1958)
(no UK paperback)

The Executioners (1958; aka Cape Fear)
Pan Books G467, 1961, 158pp.
----, 1962. Cover by Sam Peffer
Hodder Fawcett/Coronet Books 0340-02814-9, 1967, 3/6. Cover photo
Magnum Books 0417-04370-8, 1979, 160pp, 90p. Cover photo by Ron Sutherland
Penguin 0140-15882-0, 1991, 198pp. Movie Tie-In.
----, 1992, 198pp.
Bloomsbury 0747-53776-3, 1997, 182pp, £12.99. Cover film still. Movie Tie-In.

Soft Touch (1958; aka Man-Trap)
Pan Books G533, 1961, 155pp, 2/6. Cover by Sam Peffer
Magnum Books 0417-01980-7, 1977, 158pp, 70p. Cover photo

Deadly Welcome (1959)
Pan Books G675, 1964, 124pp.
Pan Books X582, 1966?

The Beach Girls (1959)
Frederick Muller (Gold Medal 689), 1964, 157pp.

Please Write for Details (1959)
(no UK paperback)

The Crossroads (1959)
Pan Books G696, 1965, 157pp, 2/6.

Slam the Big Door (1960)
Pan Books X673, 1967. Cover photo

The Only Girl in the Game (1960)
Pan Books X723, 1967, 173pp. Cover photo
Magnum Books 0417-02950-0, 1979, 224pp.

The End of the Night (1960)
(no UK paperback)

Where is Janice Gantry? (1961)
(no UK paperback)

One Monday We Killed Them All (1961)
(no UK paperback)

A Key to the Suite (1962)
Hodder Fawcett/Coronet Books 0340-04316-4, 1969, 144pp, 4/- (20p). Cover photo
Magnum Books 0417-01840-1, 1977, 70p. Cover photo

A Flash of Green (1962)
(no UK paperback)

The Girl, The Gold Watch & Everything (1962)
Frederick Muller (Gold Medal 694), 1964.
Coronet Books 0340-02679-0, 1968, 207pp.

I Could Go On Singing (1963)
(no UK paperback)

On the Run (1963)
(no UK paperback)

The Drowner (1963)
Pan Books X472, 1966, 190pp, 3/6.
Magnum Books 0417-04360-0, 1980, 159pp, 95p. Cover photo by Ron Sutherland

The Deep Blue Good-bye (1964)
Pan Books 0330-02038-2, 1968, 172pp.
---- [6th imp.]
Orion 0752-84767-8 (Crime Masterworks 4), 2002, 200pp.

Nightmare in Pink (1964)
Pan Books, 1968.
Pan Books 0330-02039-0 [4th imp.] 1976, 173pp, 60p. Cover photo
---- [Xth imp.] 1980, 174pp.

A Purple Place for Dying (1964)
Pan Books 0330-02220-2, 1969, 173pp, 4/- (20p). Cover photo
---- [5th imp.] 1976, 50p. Cover photo

The Quick Red Fox (1964)
Pan Books 0330-02400-0, 1969, 173pp, 4/- (20p). Cover photo

A Deadly Shade of Gold (1965)
Pan Books 0330-02447-7, 1970, 219pp.

Bright Orange for the Shroud (1965)
Pan Books 0330-02448-5, 1970, 172pp, 4/- (20p). Cover photo
---- [Xth imp.] 1977.

Darker Than Amber (1966)
Pan Books 0330-02605-4, 1970, 157pp, 4/- (20p). Cover film still. Movie Tie-In.

One Fearful Yellow Eye (1966)
Pan Books 0330-02668-2, 1971, 236pp, 25p (5/-). Cover photo
---- [3rd imp.] 1976, 60p. Cover photo

The Last One Left (1966)
(no UK paperback)

Pale Gray for Guilt (1968; aka Pale Grey for Guilt)
Pan Books 0330-02669-0, 1971, 236pp.

The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (1968)
Pan Books 0330-02888-X, 1972, 219pp, 25p. Cover photo
---- [2nd imp.] 1975, 50p. Cover photo.
---- [Xth imp.] 1977, 219pp.
Sphere Books 0747-40732-0, 1991, 256pp.

Dress Her in Indigo (1969)
Pan Books 0330-02889-8, 1972, 172pp, 25p. Cover photo
---- [2nd imp.] 1973, 30p. Cover photo

The Long Lavender Look (1970)
Pan Books 0330-23623-7, 1973
---- [2nd imp.] 1975, 222pp, 50p. Cover photo
---- [Xth imp.] 1977, 223pp.

A Tan and Sandy Silence (1971)
Pan Books 0330-23959-7, 1974, 227pp, 30p. Cover photo
Sphere Books 0747-40731-2, 1991, 256pp, £3.99. Cover photo by John Knights

The Scarlet Ruse (1973)
Pan Books 0330-24385-3, 1975, 235pp, 50p. Cover photo
Sphere Books 0747-40733-9, 1991, 320pp.

The Turquoise Lament (1973)
Pan Books 0330-24827-8, 1976, 222pp, 60p. Cover photo

The Dreadful Lemon Sky (1975)
Pan Books 0330-24826-X, 1976, 206pp.

Condominium (1977)
Pan Books 0330-25423-5, 1979, 429pp, £1.20.

The Empty Copper Sea (1978)
Pan Books 0330-35860-5, 1980, 208pp, 90p. Cover photo by Langdon Clay

The Green Ripper (1979)
Pan Books 0330-26269-6, 1980, 174pp.
---- [2nd imp.] 1981, 174pp, 95p. Cover photo
---- [3rd imp.] (c.1983). Cover photo
---- [4th imp.] n.d., £2.50. Cover design by Gordon Sharp/Chapman Bountford

Free Fall in Crimson (1981)
Pan Books 0330-26666-7, 1982, 206pp, £1.50. Cover photo by Aaron Rapoport with Michael Hodgson
---- [4th imp.] n.d., £2.50. Cover by George Sharp/Chapman Bounford

Cinnamon Skin (1982)
Pan Books 0330-28066-X, 1983, 239pp, £1.50. Cover photo by Tony McGee
---- [2nd imp.] n.d., £2.50. Cover by George Sharp/Chapman Bounford

One More Sunday (1984)
New English Library 0450-05819-0, 1985, 347pp.

The Lonely Silver Rain (1985)
New English Library 0450-39014-4, 1986, 231pp, £2.50.

Barrier Island (1986)
New English Library 0450-41455-8, 1988, £2.50.


End of the Tiger and other stories (1966)
(no UK paperback)

S*E*V*E*N (1971)
(no UK paperback)

The Good Old Stuff (1982)
Pan Books 0330-28410-X, 1985, 334pp.

Two (1983)
(no UK paperback)

More Good Old Stuff (1984)
(no UK paperback)


The House Guests (1965)
No Deadly Drug (1968)
Nothing Can Go Wrong, with Captain John H. Kilpack (1981)
A Friendship: The Letters of Dan Rowan and John D. MacDonald 1967-1974 (1986)
Reading for Survival (1987)


The Lethal Sex (1959)
Fontana Books 715, 1962.

Other Times, Other Worlds (1978)
Time and Tomorrow (1980)