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Saturday, April 21, 2018

E S Hodgson

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

E.S. Hodgson was a well-known artist in Dundee in the 1890s, but became better-known as an illustrator of boys’ adventure stories from around 1900 to the late 1930s. He was particularly associated with Percy F. Westerman, illustrating 17 of his books between 1908 and 1936.

Hodgson was born on 25 April 1866 in Arbroath, Forfarshire, Scotland, and christened Edward Smith Hodgson. His father Alfred was a machine-maker, born in Bordeaux, France, in 1825; his mother, Jessie Hanton, née Dryden, born in Arbroath in 1825, was formerly a flaxspinner who became a midwife. They had two other children: Paul, born on 3 January 1857, and Alfred, born in 7 June 1861.

At the time of the 1871 census Jessie and her three sons were living at 30 Grange Place, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, with Paul being an apprentice draper. Alfred was living in West Calder, Lanarkshire, working as a mechanic. Whether or not Alfred and Jessie had separated at that time is not known.

Alfred Hodgson died in 1881, and in that year’s census Jessie was living at 2 Junction Place, Alloa, with her son Paul working as an engineer’s clerk. Her other sons, Alfred and Edward, had moved to London, where they were both working as shipping clerks and boarding with John Henly Lock, a bank messenger, and his family, at 8 Stafford Place South, Westminster.

According to a brief obituary in The Dundee Evening Telegraph after his death in 1937, Edward Hodgson “began his career as a sailor, but owing to an accident to his leg he was forced to give up the sea.” He subsequently studied at the Dundee School of Art from around 1882 to 1885. He worked in oil, watercolour and pastel, and went on to exhibit regularly in Dundee in the late 1880s and throughout the 1890s. He joined the Dundee Art Club in 1888, and in 1889 he was one of the founder members of the Dundee Graphic Arts Association, becoming its vice-president the following year. As well as being a painter, he also became an etcher, producing numerous engravings of his own work. He also taught art at several local schools.

At the time of the 1891 census Hodgson was working as a landscape artist and living with his mother at Baldovan Villa, Strathmarine, Angus (just north of Dundee), in the household of John and Mary Stephen, John being a retired shipping agent. Hodgson was also working out of a studio at 61 Reform Street, Dundee.

On 4 June 1894 he married Mary Wilson Crowe at St. Peter’s Church, Dundee. Born on 14 February 1871 in Dundee, she was the daughter of David Crowe, a wine and spirit merchant. They went on to have three children: David, born in 1895; Ronald, born in 1899 (both in Arbroath); and George, born in Bushey, Hertfordshire in 1902. The family had moved to Falconer Road, Bushey, to enable Edward to study under Professor Hubert Herkomer, a German-born portrait painter who was a member of the Royal Academy, the Royal Watercolour Society and a former Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University.

Hodgson’s career as an illustrator appears to have begun in 1896, when he illustrated a re-issue of Victor Hugo’s The Toilers of the Sea. (He had earlier, in 1891, self-published Round About The Steeple, a collection of sketches of Dundee). Four years later, he began a long association with Cassell’s Magazine, and he went on to provide illustrations for The Pall Mall Magazine, The Sketch, The Sphere, The Illustrated London News, The Sunday Strand, The Wide World Magazine, The Strand Magazine (from 1904 onwards, and for which he provided 6 black and white illustrations for Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story "Danger!" in 1914), The Captain, Little Folks and The Quiver.

He also began illustrating boys’ adventure stories, most of which were sea-faring tales, such as Alexander Macdonald’s The Pearl Seekers: A Tale of the Southern Seas (1907), Harry Collingwood’s With Airship and Submarine (1907), John Barrow’s abridgement of Captain Cook’s Voyages (1908), T.T. Jeans’s Mr Midshipman Glover, R.N.: A tale of the Royal Navy of Today (1909), and Three Girls on a Yacht by E.E. Cowper (1910).

By the time of the 1911 census Hodgson had moved to St. Ninian’s, Finch Lane, Bushey. During the First World War he worked for The Graphic, mainly producing black and white pictures of the war at sea. He also had illustrations in Pearson’s Magazine, and after the war he worked for The Royal Magazine, The Windsor Magazine, The Girls’ Realm and Chums. He also continued illustrating boys’ adventure stories, becoming one of the most prolific illustrators of Percy F. Westerman’s stories, although his output declined at the beginning of the 1930s. His work also occasionally appeared in boys’ annuals, such as Blackie’s Boys’ Annual and Herbert Strang’s Annual.

Hodgson died in April 1937 at the Watford Peace Memorial Hospital, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 23 April 1937. His wife died two years later.

Round About the Old Steeple, Edward S. Hodgson, 1891  

Books illustrated by E.S. Hodgson
The Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo, George Routledge, 1896 (re-issue)
A Sweet Girl Graduate by L.T. Meade, Cassell & Co., 1902(?) (re-issue)
Facts and Phantasies of a Folio Grub by Herbert Compton, Anthony Treherne & Co., 1903 (with other artists)
Masterman Ready by Frederick Marryat, Collins, 1903  (re-issue)
The Pearl Seekers: A Tale of the Southern Seas by Alexander Macdonald, Blackie & Son, 1907
With Airship and Submarine: A Tale of Adventure by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1907
A Lad of Grit: A Story of Adventure on Land and Sea in Restoration Times by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1908
A Middy in Command: A Tale of the Slave Squadron by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1908
Captain Cook’s Voyages abridged by John Barrow,  Cassell & Co., 1908
Mr Midshipman Glover, R.N.: A Tale of the Royal Navy of Today by T.T. Jeans, Blackie & Son, 1909
First at the Pole: A Romance of Arctic Adventure by Frank H. Shaw, Cassell & Co., 1909
Peter the Whaler by W.H.G. Kingston, Cassell & Co., 1909 (re-issue)
Three Girls on a Yacht by E.E. Cowper, Cassell & Co., 1910
The Great Aeroplane: A Thrilling Tale of Adventure by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1911
A Middy of the King by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1911
The Hero of Panama: A Tale of the Great Canal by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1911
A Kingdom of Dreams by J.J. Bell, Cassell & Co., 1911
The Sea Monarch by Percy F. Westerman, A. & C. Black, 1912
Sister-in-Chief by Dorothy à Beckett Terrell, Cassell & Co., 1912
Sons of the Sea: A Story for Boys by Frank H. Shaw, Cassell & Co., 1912
Violet Forster’s Lover by Richard Marsh, Cassell & Co., 1912
War and the Woman by Max Pemberton, Cassell & Co. 1912
Two Gallant Sons of Devon: A Tale of the Days of Queen Bess by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1912
The Lighthouse by R.M. Ballantyne, Blackie & Son, 1912 (re-issue)
Turned Adrift: An Adventurous Voyage by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1913
Kidnapped by Moors: A Story of Morocco by F.S. Brereton, Blackie & Son, 1913
The First Mate: The Story of a Sea Cruise by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1914
Herbert Strang’s Book of Adventure Stories , Oxford Universoty Press, 1914 (with other artists)
Wonders of Land and sea by Graeme Williams, Waverley Book Co., 1914
The Nameless Island: A Story of Some Modern Robinson Crusoes by Percy F. Westerman, C. Arthur Pearson, 1915
British Battles on Land and Sea by Sir Evelyn Wood, Cassell & Co., 1915 (with other artists)
Ned Myers, or A Life Before the Mast by James Fenimore Cooper, Collins, 1915(?) (re-issue)
Rounding up the Raider: A Naval Story of the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1916
The History of the Great War by Newman Flower, Waverley Book Co., 196-1921 (with other artists)
Under the White Ensign: A Naval Story of the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1917
The Submarine Hunters: A Story of Naval Patrol Work in the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1918
The Secret Channel and other stories of the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, A. & C. Black, 1918 (with other artists)
Winning His Wings: A Story of the R.A.F. by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1919
A Sub and a Submarine: The Story of HM Submarine R19 in the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1919
The Salving of the Fusi Yama: A Post-war Story of the Sea by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1920
Brian of Synton: A Tale for Boys by H.S. Whiting, Arthur H. Stockwell, 1920
The Third Officer: A Present-day Pirate Story by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1921
Footplate Luck: Stories of Railway Adventure at Home and Abroad by Thompson Cross, Blackie & Son, 1922
Clipped Wings by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1923
Unconquered Wings by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1924
A Young Sea Rover by E.R. Spencer, Cassell & Co., 1925
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne, Blackie & Son, 1925 (re-issue)
Deep Down: A Tale of the Cornish Mines by R.M. Ballantyne, Blackie & Son, 1925(?) (re-issue)
Whaling North and South by F.V. Morley, Century & Co., 1926
In Defiance of the Ban by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1931
A Book of Sea Stories by J.G. Fyfe, Blackie & Son, 1931
Captain Fosdyke’s Gold by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1932
Midshipman Raxworthy by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1936
Captain Flick by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1936
The Lighthouse by R.M. Ballantyne, Blackie & Son, 1938 (re-issue)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Comic Cuts - 20 April 2018

Nothing much to report as I've spent part of the week looking for work and the rest getting another essay written for what will be Volume 4 of the Forgotten Authors series. I've a short list of people that I've been meaning to write up – some of them for years – and I've been doing at least one of them in each volume. Bracebridge Hemyng in the second volume was based in part on something I'd written back in 2003; I'd been meaning to write up the Anonyma series of novels for a decade before getting the opportunity to include the anonymous writer in Volume 1; and the chance to write up the mysterious Michael Storm and then include three other authors hiding behind the same name for Volume 3 was too good an opportunity to miss.

I'm zeroing in on a couple of names for this next volume that I've never tackled before. The one just finished was meant to get me back into the swing of writing 1,000 words a day again. The next one will take a bit of researching before I can even start as the story begins in Australia before we get into a lot of publishing fun in the tens and teens of post-Edwardian Britain. It's a delightful tale of blackmail, fraud and obscenity... perfect for a Forgotten Authors essay!

As I've been writing about books and authors for the last ten or so months, it might seem that I've left comics behind. Not true, although I haven't had much chance to write anything for ages. There's the Don Lawrence book coming up from Book Palace in the next few weeks and there are a couple of other books that we could be doing. After that it might be a while before I can get any more books out, but we shall just have to see what I can manage.

As I write I'm enjoying listening to Arthur Ranson interviewed by Mike Molcher on The 2000 AD Thrill-Cast – over 2 1/2 hours of interview over two parts. Arthur has always been one of my favourite artists, his work appearing primarily in Look-In and 2000 AD here in the UK, plus a period working on Batman and various X-characters for Marvel. Following a period of illness, Arthur retired a decade ago, but has kept busy writing regularly on his website.

Other podcasts I'm listening to at the moment, include James O'Brien's Unfiltered, where he interviews politicians, comedians and others on a variety of topics; and Danielle Ward's Any Stupid Questions has just returned for what I hope is a new, long series. Each episode features an expert on a certain topic – the NHS, Brexit, economics, cyber security – and tries to answer some of the questions we might all have about the subject. It's well worth listening to some of the earlier episodes. News Roast is an often interesting podcast with a single guest. Again, it's worth having a look through the back-catalogue.

I usually try to keep politics off this blog but these are podcasts discussing topics that will affect you whatever your political leanings are.

If you fancy something funnier, there's still Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (RHLSTP) (RHLSTP), the latest episode featuring the insane Brian Blessed. You can stream video of this one at YouTube. And every week there are new episodes of No Such Thing As A Fish and The Bugle. Go support them and have a laugh along the way.

Random scans are a few books I've picked up over the past few weeks. I've not included the latest novels by Robert Harris and John Le Carre as I found hardbacks and haven't scanned the dust jackets. So these are just the paperbacks... a rather thin couple of weeks, thankfully, as I'm keen to get some stuff out of the house rather than trying to find ways to pack more in!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Commando 5115-5118

Brand new Commando issues are on slae today! Storm Jerry lines at Messines Ridge, blast Bettys in a Buffalo, tunnel under the trenches with Maori Miners, and defend a Scottish island from an infiltrating U-Boat! It’s all in a day’s work for our Commandos!

5115: To Win Just Once
On the 7th of June, 1917, at Messines Ridge, the largest explosion the world had ever seen was detonated. After battering Jerry with artillery fire through the night, the shells stopped just before dawn and the birdsong began. At 3:10am, over 450 tons of explosives went off under the German line. They could hear it in Paris, and they felt it in London. But the battle had only just begun…
    Andrew Knighton’s debut issue of Commando treats the First World War with gravitas, perfectly balancing developed characters and white-knuckle action. Accompanied by meticulous interiors from Vicente Alcazar, the intensity of the trenches is felt on every page, especially the prodigious wrap-around cover from Neil Roberts.

Story: Andrew Knighton
Art: Vicente Alcazar
Cover: Neil Roberts

5116: Buffalo Patrol
Dave Kerr just wanted to be an RAF pilot but, even though he was a skilled flyer, he failed every exam. Sent to Singapore along with his pilot friend Patrick Elliot, Dave ran to Patrick’s tent to wake him when the Squadron Leader called in a scramble but found him asleep, pushed to exhaustion. Dave knew what he had to do — he grabbed Patrick’s flying helmet and goggles and ran for his Buffalo!
    An unusually vibrant background for an Ian Kennedy cover, the burning orange sets an explosive backdrop for the duelling Buffalo and Betty, preparing us for the aerial onslaught Mira skilfully provides inside.

Story: Staff
Art: Mira
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 519 (December 1970).

5117: Tunnels of Arras
Digging the Medieval tunnels deep beneath Arras in France, the New Zealand infantrymen thought they were tunnelling into Hell itself. With the ground above them frosted, the caverns underneath were icy, but the soldiers made it their own. They knew that after the losses at Verdun and the Somme, their only chance of defeating the Germans above was to dig beneath them. But what if the Germans had the same plan?
    First time Commando writer Jason Cobley’s refreshing focus on the New Zealand Tunnellers and the Maori Pioneer Battalion in the First World War is compelling in its detail, including the graffiti and place names marked in the eponymous Arras tunnels, which Carlos Pino details in his claustrophobic, yet homely interiors.

Story: Jason Colby
Art: Carlos Pino
Cover: Carlos Pino

5118: In Trouble Again
When a U-Boat surfaces offshore from a remote Scottish island with nothing but a radio station run by the Royal Signals on it, Charlie Potter of the Intelligence Corps knew their only chance was to fight back. The invading SS waved the white flag, telling the Britishers that if they surrendered they would be spared, but Charlie knew that the Nazis would never take prisoners on to a submarine.
    With cover art from Mike Dorey of DC Thomson, IPC and 2000AD fame, the hazy fog and choppy waves surrounding the Scottish island are like something straight from ‘When Eight Bells Toll’. This combined with Mike Knowles' tale of trouble seeking anti-hero Charlie Potter and veteran Commando artist CT Rigby’s interiors makes this a classic boys’ adventure comic for any age.

Story: Mike Knowles
Art: CT Rigby
Cover: Mike Dorey
Originally Commando No. 2741 (March 1994).

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 18 April 2018.

2000AD Prog 2077
Cover: Raid71
JUDGE DREDD: FLAWS by Michael Carroll (w) Staz Johnson (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
JAEGIR: IN THE REALM OF PYRRHUS by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: THE DEVIL DON'T CARE by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
ANDERSON, PSI DIVISION: UNDERTOW by Emma Beeby (w) David Roach (a) Jose Villarrubia (c) Simon Bowland (l)
STRONTIUM DOG: THE SON by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 395
Cover: Brendan McCarthy
JUDGE DREDD: KRONG ISLAND by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
CURSED EARTH KOBURN by Rory McConville (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Simon Bowland (l)
CHOPPER: WANDERING SOUL by David Baillie (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
DREDD: THE DEAD WORLD by Arthur Wyatt & Alex De Campi (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BONUS STORY: RAZORJACK - THE GLIMPSE OF SUMMER by Michael Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Features: New Comics: 2000 AD Regened
BAGGED GRAPHIC NOVEL: Nemesis the Warlock: A Monograph by Matt Smith

Charley's War: Definitive Collection Volume 1 by Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08619-3, 18 April 2018, 323pp, £19.99. Available via Amazon.
Considered by many as the most important war story to appear in comics, Charley’s War follows the working class Charley Bourne who eagerly signs up to fight on the Western front in 1916. The idealistic sixteen-year-old experiences a hellish world of trench warfare where every day is a bitter fight for survival. Charley and his friends soon realise they have been thrust into a conflict where ordinary people are expected to throw away their lives to serve the selfish interests of those in power! Written by British comics legend Pat Mills and featuring the breathtaking artwork of Joe Colquhoun, this first volume of Charley’s War includes Charley’s harrowing participation in one of the bloodiest encounters in human history - The Battle of the Somme.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Michael Storme cover gallery

Michael Storme is one of the authors featured in my new book Forgotten Authors Volume 3.

Make Mine a Shroud
Archer Press, (May 1949), 96pp, 1/6. Cover by Heade

Unlucky Virgin
Archer Press, (Sep 1949), 96pp, 1/6. Cover by Thorpe

Make Mine a Harlot
Archer Press, (Oct) 1949, 128pp, 1/6. Cover by John Pollack

Make Mine Beautiful
Archer Press, (Nov) 1949, 128pp, 1/6. Cover by John Pollack

Make Mine a Virgin
Archer Press, 1949 (Jan 1950), 128pp, 1/6. Cover by John Pollack

Make Mine Dangerous
Archer Press, 1949 (Feb 1950), 128pp, 1/6. Cover by John Pollack

Make Mine a Corpse
Archer Press, (Jun) 1950, 128pp, 1/6. Cover by John Pollack

Sucker for a Red-Head
Archer Press, (Aug) 1950, 128pp, 1/6. Cover by Heade

Dame in my Bed
Archer Press, nd (1950), 128pp, 1/6. Cover by Heade

Satan Buys a Wreath
Archer Press, 1950 (Mar 1951), 128pp, 1/6. Cover by Heade

Hot Dames on Cold Slabs
Archer Press, (Dec) 1950, 128pp, 1/6. Cover by Heade

Elvira Digs a Grave
Harborough, nd (Mar 1952), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Chicago Terror
Harborough, nd (Apr 1952), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Lovelies are Never Lonely
Harborough, nd (Apr 1952), 127pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Stella Buys a Shroud
Harborough, nd (Apr 1952), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Make Mine a Redhead
Harborough, nd (Oct 1952), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Kiss the Corpse Goodbye
Harborough, nd (Nov 1952), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Baby Don’t Love Hoodlums
Harborough, nd (Mar 1953), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Dragons Come Expensive
Harborough, nd (Mar 1953), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

You’ll Be Better Off Dead
Harborough, nd (Mar 1953), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Sweetheart with a Wreath
Harborough, nd (Jul 1953), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Me and My Ghoul
Harborough, nd (Aug 1953), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Tiptoe Thro’ a Graveyard
Harborough, nd (Aug 1953), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

Baby Don’t Say Goodbye
Harborough, nd (Oct 1953), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

The Devil Has a Racket
Harborough, nd (Jan 1954), 128pp, 2/-. Cover by Heade

(* Some of the scans here are from Stephen James Walker's The Art of Reginald Heade.)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Comic Scene #0 (August 2018)

Comic Scene is a very welcome newcomer published by Publishing. The new monthly is due to come out in August, but before that we have an issue zero to promote subscriptions. To be published on 1 May, this 64-page magazine has a lot of top-notch content that will make fascinating reading to anyone with an interest in British comics and annuals.

We have not had a UK comics' magazine since Crikey! folded in 2011 and suddenly we have two: Fanscene was released earlier this year as a free-to-download study of British comics' fandom, a megalithic 328 pager; and now Comic Scene, an actual printed artefact that picks up the baton of those old fanzines and carries it into 2018.

British comics have a history dating back 150 years if you count that history from the debut of the first recurring comic strip character (Ally Sloper in 1867), but interest in and research about those ancient characters is as scarce as the papers themselves. Indeed, since the demise of Denis Gifford's ACE Newsletter, there is very little research done these days on any papers that appeared pre-Eagle.

And here we have the dilemma of creating a comics fanzine: do you concentrate only on titles that your audience is going to be aware of and ignore everything that came before, or do you try to put today's comics into some sort of context by looking at older comics and characters.

It could be argued that the original Eagle is already the subject of two fanzines (Eagle Times and Spaceship Away!), so it can be safely put to one side. I think Crikey! perhaps proved that older material and humour material didn't translate into sales.

Comic Scene takes the other route with very little content covering comics or events over 30 years old, thus pitching it to an audience of, say, 45-year-olds, which seems about right (I keep forgetting that 2000 AD started over 40 years ago and is itself ancient history to most people!). With the caveat that the paper covers chiefly the last thirty or so years, I think the debut issue zero might suffer from a desire to pack too much in. Most of the features are one or two pages, packing in 28 features into 64 pages, with 5 pages dedicated to a comic strip (Captain Scotland) and 4 pages to news (which will make a little more sense once the paper is monthly, although most people who want to to be kept up to date will probably have already found their needs met online). Longer articles with more depth would be more welcome.

For me, the top features will always involve reminiscences by or interviews with people who have been involved one way or another with the industry, so the pick of the content is, in no particular order, John McShane on the history of Toxic (part 1); Tim Pilcher's look back at Deadline; Pat Mills' opinionated 'The Last Word' on whether characters should die with their creators; an albeit brief interview with Peter Milligan about his upcoming Titan series The Prisoner; Steve McManus and Christopher Lowder both discussing the merger of Valiant and Lion; and John Wagner on the origins of his recent mini-series Rok of the Reds.

Benoit Peeters offers an interesting opinion piece, arguing that comics help us relive our childhood (although I would argue that reading, say, Preacher, was a very different experience to my boyhood reading of Valiant).  Meanwhile, in 'The Cartmel Factor', Ian Wheeler looks back at Doctor Who strips from the era of Andrew Cartmel's script-editing days on Dr Who Magazine.

The Best of Small Press Comics looks at Wolf and Flintlock and the June 2018-released graphic novel Apollo by Matt Fitch & Chris Baker (Selfmadehero) is previewed by Stephen Jewell. This is the kind of thing that I would like to see more of – previews rather than "news".

Elsewhere in Comic Scene we glance at an old Thunderbirds storyline from TV Century 21,  take a look at the debut issue of Shiver & Shake, look back at the Free Comic Book Day releases from 2000AD and the Batman v. Dredd crossover Judgement on Gotham, and discover a brief introduction to collecting books about Roy of the Rovers. Some choices seem a little odd, such as an article on the many faces of Dan Dare that doesn't include a page by Dan's creator, Frank Hampson. A chance to do something substantial on Steve Dillon is rather thrown away in a few hundred words and discussion of Mike Higgs' colour cover for Unicorn fanzine might have been better served in the pages of Fanscene.

Despite these misgivings – and let's not forget that this is Tony Foster's Comic Scene, not Steve Holland's Comic Scene – it's a solid start to what could become that rarest of things – a long-running magazine about British comics.

Details about subscriptions can be obtained from Rates for print issues for the UK are £5.75 for one issue; £33 for 6 issues; £63 for 12 issues.You can get a pdf version for £4.75 (1), £27 (6) or £53 (12).

Payment can be made via PayPal to For other options, and for international rates for the print edition, visit the website.

Tony tells me that the monthly will include features on Judge Dredd v Judge Death, 2000AD, Halo Jones, Girls Comics including Tammy / Jinty / Bunty, 80 years of the Beano, The Prisoner, Return of Roy of the Rovers, Six Million Dollar Man v Mach One, Charley’s War, 20 years of comic blog DownTheTubes, 40 years of Starlord and Misty, 50 years of fandom and comic con, 30 years of Tank Girl, Deadline & Hellblazer, Vertigo at 25, the new Doctor Who Jodi Whittaker, Superman at 80, Captain Britain / Mega City One / V For Vendetta and comics on the big and small screen, Miracleman, DC and Marvel in the U.K.,  European comics plus all the latest news and gossip from the comic, small press, cosplay and related media industry.

J Macfarlane

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

A search for information about the illustrator J. Macfarlane would almost certainly lead to the conclusion that he was Australian. Several websites refer to him as a “late colonial period painter, political cartoonist and illustrator [who] made dramatic historical drawings of Australian exploration subjects…..:, and that he “flourished c. 1890 – c. 1898.” The Booktryst blog, in November 2011, stated “Little is known about the artist J. Macfarlane. It appears that he was an Australian painter and illustrator who contributed cartoons to The Barrier Daily Truth in the 1890s.”

However, Macfarlane was born and brought up in Scotland, and while he did spend a few years in Australia at the end of the 19th century, most of his career was spent in England.

He was born in Bonhill, Dunbartonshire, on 15 May 1857, and christened John Fleming Cullen Macfarlane, the last of nine children of Patrick Macfarlane (1822-1904), a druggist, and his wife Elizabeth, née McKenzie (1819-1885). The family lived in Bonhill for many years, moving from Maxwell’s Land, Bridge Street, to Myrtle House, Main Street, in the 1860s.

It is not known where Macfarlane received his artistic training, but by the time of the 1881 census he was already working as an artist, living with his parents in Bonhill. Shortly after this he moved to Australia, probably accompanied by Louisa Wallace (born in Campbeltown, Argyllshire, in 1854), as they were married on 9 November 1883 in Moonee Ponds, Victoria. They went on have five children, all born in Victoria, between 1885 and 1896.

Macfarlane appears to have established himself as an artist in Australia in 1884, when he collaborated with the wood engraver F.A. Sleap on a series of illustrations (“Sketches on the Coast”) for The Illustrated Australian News. In 1890, Macfarlane and Sleap were also working for The Australian News and Musical Times. Macfarlane subsequently became sympathetic to the cause of striking miners at Broken Hill, an isolated mining town in New South Wales, and he contributed drawings illustrating the dispute to The Queensland Leader. Also in that year he illustrated his first book, At The Races: The Melbourne Cup 1892. In 1898, he began contributing cartoons to The Barrier Daily Truth, a newspaper which had been launched in January 1898 in Broken Hill, again offering support to the local miners.

Macfarlane left Australia shortly after this and came to England, as in the 1901 census he was recorded at “St. David’s”, Mitcham Road, Tooting, with his wife and five children. By then, he had begun a second career as an illustrator of children’s books, with The Romance of Greystones: An Australian Story, written by H. Arnold Nelson and published by Ward, Lock & Co. in 1899. (He had earlier contributed illustrations to The Windsor Magazine in 1897 and 1898, and to Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and The Ludgate Monthly in 1898). Ward, Lock & Co., founded in 1854 as Ward & Lock, had opened an office in Melbourne, Australia in 1884, and it went on to publish a large number of Australian children’s stories which appeared simultaneously in both the UK and Australia. Macfarlane, with his albeit brief experience of life in Australia, was an obvious choice to illustrate some of these, and between 1900 and 1924 he illustrated several stories by authors such as Ethel Turner, her sister Lilian Turner, Mary Grant Bruce and Lilian M. Pyke (including her three famous Australian public school stories Max the Sport, Jack of St. Virgil’s and The Best School of All). Indeed, most of his work was for Ward, Lock & Co. – he illustrated well over 40 books for the company.

He also illustrated a handful of re-issues of classic English novels, including Robinson Crusoe, Walter Scott’s Talisman, and, most notably, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, published by Macmillan & Co. in 1904, with no fewer than 32 black and white plates.

In 1901, he began contributing to the boys’ story paper The Captain, with illustrations for a series of Boer War stories by John Mackie, and in 1906 he began contributing to The Boy’s Own Paper. He was also an occasional contributor to The Sphere.

At the time of the 1911 census, he was living with his wife and two of his children at 33 Crockerton Road, Tooting.   In 1921, he re-drew six of John Tenniels’ illustrations for Alice in Wonderland – Alice and the White Rabbit, The Dodo Presenting the Thimble to Alice, The Cheshire Cat, The Mad Tea-Party, The Mock Turtle's Story, The Trial of the Knave of Hearts – with the new illustrations initially being produced as large colour posters. They were subsequently used in a new edition of the book published by Macmillan in 1927. This was apparently the first instance of Macmillan licensing illustrations for the story by someone other than Tenniel.

By the end of the 1920s, Macfarlane appears to have retired, as no further books containing his illustrations have been traced after this date other then a couple of re-issues of earlier titles.

His wife had died in Wandsworth in September 1919, and was buried in Putney Vale Cemetery, Wandsworth, on 12 September. Macfarlane himself died at his home, 9 Homefield Road, Wimbledon, on 9 October 1936, and was buried alongside his wife four days later.


Books illustrated by J. Macfarlane
At the Races: The Melbourne Cup 1892, Robert A. Thompson & Co., 1892
Australian Bush Tales by George Dunderdale, Ward, Lock & Co., 1898
Cola Monti, or The Story of a Genius by Mrs Craik, W. & R. Chambers, 1898 (with R. Barnes) (re-issue)
The Romance of the Greystones: An Australian Story by H. Arnold Nelson, Ward, Lock & Co., 1899
True as Steel: Stories of Courage and Conflict by Gordon Stables and others, John F. Shaw, 1900 (with other artists)
Our Darlings: The Children’s Treasury of Pictures and Stories, John F, Shaw, 1900 (with other artists
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Macmillan & Co., 1900 (re-issue)
The Talisman by Walter Scott, Macmillan & Co., 1900 (re-issue)
Duck Lake: Stories of the Canadian Backwoods by E. Ryerson Young, Religious Tract Society, 1900
The Warrigal’s Well: A North Australian Story by Donald MacDonald & John F. Edgar, Ward, Lock & Co., 1901
The French Prisoners: A Story for Boys by Edward Bertz, Macmillan & Co., 1902 (re-issue)
Green Barley: An Australian Story by H. Arnold Nelson, Ward, Lock & Co., 1902
Captain Cook by Walter Besant, Macmillan & Co., 1903 (re-issue)
Under the She-Oaks by Elisabeth Boyd Bayly, Religious Tract Society, 1903
A Daughter of the People by Murray Home, Ward, Lock & Co., 1904
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, Macmillan & Co., 1904 (re-issue)
Captain Polly by Sophie Dwett, T. Nelson & Sons, 1906
In the Mist of the Mountains by Ethel Sybil Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1906
A Golden Shadow by L.T. Meade, Ward, Lock & Co., 1906
The Willoughby Boys by Emily Hartley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1906 (re-issue)
The Leather Mask by Ambrose Pratt, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
Feadora’s Failure by Lucie E. Jackson, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
From Scapegrace to Hero, or The Adventures and Triumphs of Jem Blake by Ernest Protheroe, Religious Tract Society, 1907
The Stolen Voyage by Ethel Sybil Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
Grimm’s Fairy Tales: A Selection from the “Household Stories” of the Brothers Grimm, Alfred Trice Martin (ed.), Macmillan & Co., 1908
Days that Speak: A Story of Australian Child Life by Evelyn Goode, Ward, Lock & Co., 1908
First Person Paramount by Ambrose Pratt, Ward, Lock & Co., 1908
Two Girls in a Siege: A Tale of the Great Civil War by E.C. Kenyon, Religious Tract Society, 1908
The Kipling Reader: Selections from the Books of Rudyard Kipling, Macmillan & Co., 1908
Love and a Will o’ the Wisp by H. Louisa Bedford, Religious Tract Society, 1908
Paradise and the Perrys by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1908
Fugitives from Fortune by Ethel Sybil Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909
The Camp Doctor and Other Stories by Egerton Ryerson Young, Religious Tract Society, 1909
The Perry Girls by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909
The Recollections of Geoffrey Hamlyn by Henry Kingsley, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909(?) (re-issue)
Three New Chum Girls by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1910
A Little Bush Maid by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1910
The Hillside Children by Agnes Giberne, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Prosperity’s Child by Eleanora H. Stooke, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Love Conquers All by Jean A. Owen, Religious Tract Sociey, 1910
April Girls by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911
Myddleton’s Treasure by Ernest Protheroe, Religious Tract Society, 1911
Young Pickles by Stuart Wishing, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911
Mates at Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911
Timothy in Bushland by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912
Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912 (re-issue)
Stairway to the Stars by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1913
Norah of Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1913
The Children’s Shakespeare: Henry V, Macmillan & Co., 1914
The Girl from the Back-blocks by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1914
Mona’s Mystery man by Vera G, Dwyer, Ward, Lock & Co., 1914
Jim and Wally by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1916
Max the Sport by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1917
Jack of St. Virgil’s by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1917
Possum by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1917
Phyl of the Camp by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918
Dick by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918
Robin of the Round House by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918
A Prince at School by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1919
Captain Jim by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1919
Bruce at Boonderong Camp by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1920
Dick Lester of Kurrajong by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1920
The Best School of All by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1921
Back to Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1921
The Doctor’s Experiment by H. Frederick Charles, Religious Tract Society, 1921 (re-issue)
The Ship That Never Set Sail by Edith Jean Curlewis, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
The Stone Axe of Birkamukk by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
Sheila at Happy Hills by Lilian Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
Drowning Maze by Jean Curlewis, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb, Macmillan & Co., 1923
Billabong’s Daughter by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1924
Fables from the East, Macmillan & Co., 1925(?)
Stories from the Arabian Nights, Macmillan & Co., 1925
Billabong Adventurers by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1927
Cast up by the Sea by Sir Samuel Baker, Macmillan & Co., 1927
Australian Etiquette by Lilian M. Pyke, J. Pollard (Melbourne), 1942 (re-issue)
Little Mother Meg by Ethel Sybil Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1943 (re-issue)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Comic Cuts - 13 April 2018

With the new book out, I'm finally taking a few days off. I have a habit of letting things pile up. "When I get a chance I'll do that." Unfortunately, I never get the chance because I've not paused between books for a decade. Well, completing the latest book has coincided with my birthday and I fancied doing something different for a bit.

Now, this might not be everybody's idea of a break, but I had a two foot-high pile of Private Eyes dating back to 2010 that I've been saying I'll sort through, making a few notes on the comic strips that have appeared over these past few years. That's over 160 issues to sort out, look through and over 100 scans.

I had the Congressional hearings with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook playing in the background. It's amazing how little we actually understand about the social media sites we use. I'm not a Luddite but I do try to limit myself – I'm on Facebook because a lot of people I wanted to tell about my books had signed up. I'm not on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and other places where the cool kids hang out, and I try to limit my activity on Facebook simply because I don't have that much spare time.

I think we all know that television is not about delivering quality programming to viewers – it's about delivering viewers to the advertising that plays during and around a TV programme. It has always been targeted, which is why you'll see adverts for stairlifts playing during the afternoon run of gameshows, hunting through attics or boot sales for bargains, home improvement and consumer shows and other programmes aimed at an older audience. As we reach early evening the adverts begin to feature smiling mums saving money in supermarkets and during the post-watershed hours the advertising switches to cars and perfume.

The web-tracking software at Facebook is far more sophisticated, so it will know when I've looked at Amazon for a new hard drive (as I did a few months ago) and will start advertising hard drives to me around and in my news feed. The algorithm is unaware that I only look at such things when I need to buy them, so usually I've just ordered one as the adverts start to swamp my Facebook feed. That tells me that while the web-tracking software may be aware of where I've looked, it isn't aware that I've made a purchase, which could lead to all sorts of problems. So, phew! There is at least some privacy left on the internet.

Facebook is very good at guessing what you're interested in and targeting you with advertising. It doesn't always get it right but it must be delivering customers to advertisers given how much they spend on Facebook these days ($40 billion in 2017). I've just Google searched "how many data points does Facebook hold on users" and the top result is a 2016 article from the Daily Mail talking about 98 points needed to make up a complete profile of a person. Well, Cambridge Analytica – the company at the centre of the recent data-scraping/selling scandal – boasts on its website about having up to 5,000 data points on over 230 million American voters:

There are 250 million people who can vote in the USA, so that's data on over 90% of them. And if CA Political can gather that amount of information, Facebook must have 10,000+ data points on every single one of its 2.13 billion active users (as of 31 December 2017). That's why their marketing is often scarily precise.

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