Stuff by me:

My TAFF Report
An account of my first visit to the USA and of my experiences at the 1984 Worldcon

THEN
A history of SF fandom in the UK, 1930-1980

British Fanzine Bibliography
A bibliography of British SF fanzines, as researched and compiled by Peter Roberts, Vince Clarke, and me.

Free ebooks Volumes exploring fanhistory, faan fiction, etc.


MY FLICKR PAGE MY WEBSITE CONTACT ME

EARTH-2 COLLECTIONS THAT SHOULD EXIST (but probably never will)
2 Mar 2022

Earth-2 existed in DC comics from 1961 to 1985, making its first appearance in FLASH #123 (Sept 1961) and its last in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (1985). I first encountered it in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21-22 (Aug-Sept 1963) when strange characters from another Earth (another Earth!) met our heroes for the first time. These were the Justice Society of America. As well as totally unfamiliar heroes their number included others with the same names as some JLA members yet who were intriguingly different. This was the first time I had encountered the concept of parallel worlds and the idea blew my mind (as we used to say)! I was 9 years old. In retrospect this, and the fact that my favourite DC comics to that point featured Adam Strange and Green Lantern (with its cast of alien Green Lanterns), can be seen as a clear indication of the interest in science fiction I couldn't yet put a name to. Watching the broadcast of the first episode of DOCTOR WHO on the day after the assassination of President Kennedy that same year sealed the deal.

That the Justice Society and its members had all appeared in comics published in the 1940s was not something I was aware of at the time. To me they were new and wondrous creations who quickly became firm favourites and whose further adventures I avidly followed from that point on.

I am sometimes puzzled by the choices made by those who compile collected editions of old comics. Except where a volume is part of an ongoing series of sequential reprints, or was assembled to highlight the work of a specific artist, it seems to me that insofar as it can it should tell a complete story. Take for example THE HAWK & THE DOVE collection DC published a few years back. This contains the entire short run of their own series, plus a guest appearance they made in TEEN TITANS, and finishes inconclusively. Yet a conclusion to their story exists. Yes, I appreciate that this collection is part of DC's series of Silver Age only reprints and that its cover has that trade dress, but to me the arguments for including THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #182 (Dec 1981), in which writer Alan Brennert brings their story to a close, outweigh those against doing so. I'm also puzzled by collections that print stories out of order. Marvel are occasionally guilty of this, but DC more so. A particularly egregious example that springs to mind is their two-volume reprint of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS. As well as the titular comic, the story of the SSoSV wove it's way through several other titles, all of which these volumes include. Unfortunately, no attempt was made to insert these in their correct place in the narrative making for a frustrating reading experience. Having eventually sorted out the running order I now have this on a post-it note inside the first volume for in case I ever read them again, something that should never have been necessary. But I digress....

The Earth-2 volume I'd most like to see is a collection of the Mr & Mrs Superman stories that appeared primarily in SUPERMAN FAMILY during the early 1980s and most of which I missed at the time:

MR & MRS SUPERMAN
  1. ACTION COMICS #484
  2. SUPERMAN #327
  3. SUPERMAN #329
  4. SUPERMAN FAMILY #201
  5. SUPERMAN FAMILY #202
  6. SUPERMAN FAMILY #203
  7. SUPERMAN FAMILY #204
  8. SUPERMAN FAMILY #205
  9. SUPERMAN FAMILY #206
  10. SUPERMAN FAMILY #207
  11. SUPERMAN FAMILY #208
  12. SUPERMAN FAMILY #209
  13. SUPERMAN FAMILY #210
  14. SUPERMAN FAMILY #211
(Jun 1978)
(Sep 1978)
(Nov 1978)
(Jun 1980)
(Aug 1980)
(Oct 1980)
(Dec 1980)
(Feb 1981)
(Apr 1981)
(Jun 1981)
(Jul 1981)
(Aug 1981)
(Sep 1981)
(Oct 1981)
- 22pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
  1. SUPERMAN FAMILY #212
  2. SUPERMAN FAMILY #213
  3. SUPERMAN FAMILY #214
  4. SUPERMAN FAMILY #215
  5. SUPERMAN FAMILY #216
  6. SUPERMAN FAMILY #217
  7. SUPERMAN FAMILY #218
  8. SUPERMAN FAMILY #219
  9. SUPERMAN FAMILY #220
  10. SUPERMAN FAMILY #221
  11. SUPERMAN FAMILY #222
  12. DC COMICS PRESENTS ANN. #1
  13. SECRET ORIGINS #1:
    THE GOLDEN AGE SUPERMAN
(Nov 1981)
(Dec 1981)
(Jan 1982)
(Feb 1982)
(Mar 1982)
(Apr 1982)
(May 1982)
(Jun 1982)
(Jul 1982)
(Aug 1982)
(Sep 1982)
(Sep 1982)

(Apr 1986)
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 8pp
- 12pp
- 9pp
- 9pp
- 9pp
- 9pp
- 9pp
- 41pp

- 22pp
Total = 286 story pages

This collection would obviously start with ACTION COMICS #484, the comic in which the Earth-2 Superman marries his Lois. The choice of stories I think should conclude it requires a little explanation.

DC COMICS PRESENTS ANNUAL #1 features a team-up between the Supermans of Earth-1 and Earth-2, but what makes it a must for this volume is because of the way it contrasts the relationship of each Superman with his Lois. This is one of those cases where it both enhances and is enhanced by the other stories in the collection. (Coincidentally, this is also a tale that feeds into CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.) Which brings us to SECRET ORIGINS #1, the obvious reprint with which to close out the volume. Why? Because it gives us an ending. At the time it appeared the Earth-2 Superman and his Lois were gone, wiped away by the Crisis, and it was written from that perspective. It looks back on the first meeting between that Superman and his Lois and could not be a more perfect ending to the collection had it been specifically written for that purpose. Both recap and requiem, it makes the whole thing the 'complete story' mentioned above as being my ideal for such collections.

Another volume I'd like to see is this one centred on Black Canary - and, yes, the plural is deliberate:

THE SECRET ORIGINS OF BLACK CANARY
  1. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #73
  2. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #74
  3. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #75
  4. DC SPECIAL SERIES #10:
    SECRET ORIGINS OF SUPER-HEROES
  5. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #219
  6. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #220
(Aug 1969)
(Sep 1969)
(Nov 1969)

(Apr 1978)
(Oct 1983)
(Nov 1983)
- 22pp
- 22pp
- 23pp

- 12pp
- 23pp
- 24pp
Total = 126 story pages

As for why these particular comics belong together, once again they tell a complete story. JLA #73-74 show Black Canary's decision to move from Earth-2 to Earth-1, and JLA #75 features the first appearance of her 'canary cry' sonic power. DC SPECIAL SERIES #10: SECRET ORIGINS OF SUPER-HEROES gives her the origin she never had before and has, so far as I'm aware, never been reprinted. JLA #219-220 reveal what actually happened in JLA #73-75, which isn't what everyone assumed had happened and constitutes another secret origin. This would also be a welcome companion volume to the recently published THE BLACK CANARY: BIRDS OF PREY, which reprinted her 1940s and 1960s tales.

Then there's Wonder Woman.

The Earth-2 Wonder Woman made her first appearance as a character canonically separate from her Earth-1 counterpart in a flashback sequence in FLASH #129 (Jun 1962). She was the first of DC's 'Trinity' (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) to be established thus, the others likewise acquiring Earth-2 counterparts before the end of the decade.

WONDER WOMAN (possibly two volumes)
  1. WORLDS FINEST #244
  2. WORLDS FINEST #245
  3. WORLDS FINEST #246
  4. WORLDS FINEST #247
  5. WORLDS FINEST #248
  6. WORLDS FINEST #249
  7. SUPERMAN v WONDER WOMAN
  8. WONDER WOMAN #228
  9. WONDER WOMAN #229
  10. WONDER WOMAN #230
  11. WONDER WOMAN #231
  12. WONDER WOMAN #232
(May 1977)
(Jul 1977)
(Sep 1977)
(Nov 1977)
(Jan 1978)
(Mar 1978)
(Jan 1978)
(Feb 1977)
(Mar 1977)
(Apr 1977)
(May 1977)
(Jun 1977)
15pp
- 15pp
- 15pp
- 15pp
- 15pp
- 15pp
- 76pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
  1. WONDER WOMAN #233
  2. WONDER WOMAN #234
  3. WONDER WOMAN #235
  4. WONDER WOMAN #236
  5. WONDER WOMAN #237
  6. WONDER WOMAN #238
  7. WONDER WOMAN #239
  8. WONDER WOMAN #240
  9. WONDER WOMAN #241
  10. DC SPECIAL SERIES #9
  11. WONDER WOMAN #242
  12. WONDER WOMAN #243
(Jul 1977)
(Aug 1977)
(Sep 1977)
(Oct 1977)
(Nov 1977)
(Dec 1977)
(Jan 1978)
(Feb 1978)
(Mar 1978)
(Mar 1978)
(Apr 1978)
(May 1978)
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
- 64pp
- 17pp
- 17pp
Total = 502 story pages

I think that's the right order. I've only read a few of these, but internal references put 1-7 in 1942, 8-22 appear to take place in 1943, and 23-24 explicitly occur in 1945.

And so to The Spectre:

THE SPECTRE
  1. SHOWCASE #60
  2. SHOWCASE #55
  3. SHOWCASE #61
  4. SHOWCASE #56
  5. SHOWCASE #64
  6. THE SPECTRE #1
  7. THE SPECTRE #2
(Feb 1966)
(Apr 1965)
(Apr 1966)
(Jun 1965)
(Oct 1966)
(Dec 1967)
(Feb 1968)
- 23pp
- 25pp
- 23pp
- 25pp
- 23pp
- 22pp
- 22pp
  1. THE SPECTRE #3
  2. THE SPECTRE #4
  3. THE SPECTRE #5
  4. THE SPECTRE #6
  5. THE SPECTRE #7
  6. THE SPECTRE #8
  7. THE SPECTRE #9
(Apr 1968)
(Jun 1968)
(Aug 1968)
(Oct 1968)
(Dec 1968)
(Feb 1969)
(Apr 1969)
- 22pp
- 22pp
- 22pp
- 22pp
- 22pp
- 22pp
- 20pp
Total = 315 story pages

This omits the final 5pp story from THE SPECTRE #9 and the entirety of #10 since the Spectre is only a narrator in these. SHOWCASE #55 and #56 are otherwise orphan tales featuring Dr Fate and Hourman and do not include the Spectre, but would I think fit here given the writer/artist team is the same. I've interspersed them since it would be odd for the collection to open with anyone other than the Spectre.

There are other collections I'd like to see, but this'll do for now. It occurs to me that if such a series was ever instituted, numbering the volumes (Earth-2 Collection no.1, Earth-2 Collection no.2, etc.,) would help sales. Nothing collectors like more than numbers, because then they feel compelled to acquire the whole set.

(Spoofed covers were created within the limitations of MSPaint and using scans found at the Grand Comics Database. I prefer the clean, uncluttered look of the Black Canary cover (very non-Stan Lee, that preference) though, to be fair, it's not as if the original ACTION COMICS cover - see below - was exactly uncluttered. The SECRET ORIGINS cover is there because I've often wondered why DC never did an A-Z collection of these as a sort of companion series to their WHO'S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE, and because I had a space to fill.)


(artwork copyright DC Comics)

DARK SEID STORY
10 Dec 2021

Several days ago, in response to a post elsewhere about the recent film version of 'West Side Story', I suggested the above half in jest. But only half. Because actually, if you think about it, a musical version of the forbidden romance of Barda and Scott Free based on 'West Side Story' is not at all a bad idea, with Apokolips and New Genesis replacing the Sharks and the Jets. And though they'd have to do some digital de-aging on her in close-ups, the obvious person to play Barda, someone who has the height, the acting chops, and the singing skill, is Hannah Waddingham. (see Ted Lasso) - (artwork by Jack Kirby, copyright DC Comics)

PICARDILLY CIRCUS
17 Jan 2020

I was in town yesterday and took a bunch of photos of Amazon's temporary takeover of Piccadilly Circus Underground station to advertise their forthcoming 'Picard' TV series. Note big video screen in first photo, which was showing the trailer on a loop. And, yes, all those small ads on the escalator walls were also for the show.

There were also a whole load of ST-themed announcements. If memory serves (I should've taken notes) these included:

"Please allow passengers to disembark from the starship before attempting to board."
"Please take care when using the escalators, lifts, or transporters."

And in the entrance hall the voice of Patrick Stewart himself urged you to exit the space station safely.

This beat the stunt Amazon pulled on the New York Subway a few years ago for 'Man In The High Castle'. All that fascist imagery did not go down well.

GESTETNERCON
10 June 2019


Back in February, I spoke at the University of Westminster in the vast hall pictured above at a conference on - of all things - duplicator technology. Recently the organisers uploaded a short video distilled from the two days of proceedings. I appear around the 8.50 mark:

UPS AND DOWNS
8 December 2018

I was on a bus yesterday when I saw this. I'd always assumed UPS vans had a low centre of gravity and weighed a fair bit, but perhaps not. I can't tell whether it's been stopped from tipping over entirely by the car on the other side despite that car not sustaining much damage as a result, or if that one has been placed there to stop a complete tip over.



BRUCE CASTLE GESTETNER EXHIBITION
1 October 2018

On 29th September, along with Pat Charnock and Dave Langford, I attended the opening of the Gestetner exhibition in an upstairs room at Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham. This was opened by the mayor, the grandson of the founder was in attendance, and it included material loaned or donated by us. The exhibition runs until the end of January 2019 and is well worth visiting. Below are a selection from the photos I took on the day.


Bruce Castle Museum


Pat Charnock

Jonathan Gestetner, Oscar Mac-Fall


Viewing fannish fanzines

More fannish fanzines


Mint guides and stylii

Non-mint neo-cyclostyle


The company in-house magazine

A close-up


The 200 series duper from my cellar

Me examining it (photo Dave Langford)


The room

Some videos:

***

MY VISIT TO THE DEATH STAR
9 April 2016

Earlier today since I was riding the Jubilee Line on the London Underground anyway, I stepped off at Canary Wharf and took the following photo on the platform:

Why did I do this? Well yesterday I got to see the first trailer for the movie STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE, which will be released in December. One scene in that trailer takes place inside what is presumably the Death Star. However, it was instantly recognizable to me (and many others) as Canary Wharf. Below are two stills from that trailer so you can see for yourself:

In the second picture note in particular the way they've concealed the hanging signs and the structures they've devised to drop over the stone seats with the big underground signs. These are particularly clever because as well as doing their job of concealing they also fit in with the general design aesthetic of that universe, too.

So now I can claim to have visited a Star Wars set.

TO TRILOGY, OR NOT TO TRILOGY* link
20 March 2016

It seems to me that Marvel missed a trick by not turning the Kree-Skrull War into a trilogy, because as it stands it could greatly benefit from both a prelude volume and a follow-up volume. The case for the former is simple and the contents obvious. When the Kree-Skrull War was written in 1971 (45 years ago, remember) the Marvel universe was barely a decade old and readers could be assumed to have a reasonable grasp of it. This is not such a safe assumption to make now that universe is closing in on 60 years old. So a volume that includes the salient tales would be very helpful for those not steeped in that history. I give you:

Vol 1 - The Road to Kree-Skrull War:

THOR #146 - #149: The first four Inhumans back-ups
FANTASTIC FOUR #64 & #65
MARVEL SUPERHEROES #12 & #13
CAPTAIN MARVEL #1 - #3
AMAZING ADVENTURES #5 - #8: the Inhumans stories

These are, as I say, obvious. In fact it's a bit surprising this volume doesn't already exist. These are the stories that set up the Kree-Skrull War and they also introduce new readers to the Kree, the Skrulls, their rivalry, the Sentry, Captain Marvel, Ronan, Carol Danvers, the Super Skrull, and the Inhumans. The AMAZING ADVENTURES stories are also a direct prequel to Kree-Skrull War and feed into it. (For reasons discussed later, AMAZING ADVENTURES #9 & 10 should definitely *not* be included.)

Because Kree-Skrull War wasn't originally conceived as a story to be collected in a single volume, it ends untidily with the fate of Clint Barton still in question. So, naturally, any 'aftermath' collection would have to start with the following tale in AVENGERS #98 - 100 in order to resolve this. But what else would make up such a volume? Here's my suggestion:

Vol 3 - Kree-Skrull War: Aftermath:

AVENGERS #98 - 100
NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI - first 10 pages
ILLUMINATI #1
FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #18
X-MEN ANNUAL #11

The first ILLUMINATI selection is the one shot done for 'Road to Civil War' that shows the formation of the group in response to Kree-Skrull War; the second covers their attempt to warn off the Skrulls. The FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL features the war continuing on the moon by means of single combat between a Kree and a Skrull and also features the wedding of Black Bolt and Medusa. The Watcher declares a tie and hopes, naively, that this is now the end of the war. The X-MEN ANNUAL is the one selection here that might have people scratching their heads but it is in fact the *perfect* epilogue to the saga. In Kree-Skrull War, the Supreme Intelligence makes a big deal of the fact that both Kree and Skrulls are evolutionary dead ends who can develop no further. The final page of the X-MEN ANNUAL reveals why this is so, picking up that thread and so tying the whole thing together.

The only possible addition to the contents for this volume I might make is the addition, between the annuals, of the sequence from FANTASTIC FOUR #257 (and 2 pages from the previous issue) showing the destruction of the Kree homeworld and the death of Princess Anelle.

Which brings us to the Inhumans. When the Inhumans movie comes out a few years from now Marvel will undoubtedly release a pile of Inhumans comics collections to complement it. This is good, except there's a problem with the Inhumans run from AMAZING ADVENTURES as it stands, which is supposed to lead into AVENGERS #95. Marvel acknowledged this at the time, issue #10 finishing: "..a tale now on sale in the unlikely, uncanny pages of AVENGERS #95! We'll fill in the rough gaps between those two sagas at some near-future date!"

This never happened, and now never will, with the result that when these tales are collected with AVENGERS #95 - as they have been and should be - it makes for a very unsatisfactory reading experience. Black Bolt's young companion Joey is abducted in AMAZING ADVENTURES #10 yet is by his side in AVENGERS #95. Also, what happened to Medusa, Gorgon & Karnak? If you move AVENGERS #95 so that it occurs before AMAZING ADVENTURES #9 & 10 rather than after them these problems go away. Now it reads so that it's seeing Triton in AVENGERS #95 rather than Medusa in AMAZING ADVENTURES #9 that restores Black Bolt's memory, and when he leaves Attilan at the end of AVENGERS #95 it's to retrieve the trio he now knows is looking for him. The only problem this reordering creates is that we now don't know how Black Bolt got his costume back. But then we don't need to - these things are regularly handwaved away as something that happened between issues. AMAZING ADVENTURES #9 & 10 now require a few minor changes to dialogue and captions to smooth over the reordering, but I believe this is worth doing. (Personally I'd also drop the page in #10 where Joey gets abducted, too.) There are three pages needing this in #9, to whit:

Before on page 8:

After on page 8:

Before on page 11:
After on page 11:

Before on page 18:

After on page 18:

There are also only two pages requiring minor alterations in wording in #10, thus:

Before on page 4:

After on page 4:

Before on page 16:

After on page 16:

DIGITAL-ONLY COLLECTIONS?* link
19 March 2016

So I traded in my collection of Frank Miller Daredevils for the recently published deluxe hardback collection of same and noticed a surprising omission: WHAT IF? #35. The story follows on from DAREDEVIL #181 and is titled 'What If Elektra Had Lived?'. Its splash page is even a witty call back to the splash page in that issue. I can only imagine Marvel believes it shouldn't be included because it's tonally wrong for the collection, but I disagree. In fact I'd run it directly between issues #181 and #182, which is where it both fits and belongs. When these issues are read that way, as I recently reread them, its presence deepens and helps explain Matt Murdock's breakdown in #182. Of course, I also usually reread this sequence with Miller's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #15 slotted in before DAREDEVIL #181, since then we see how the Punisher ended up in prison alongside Bullseye. Given that the second season of the Netflix Daredevil series dropped today, featuring both Elektra and the Punisher, it occurs to me that a useful collection to offer now would consist of the following:

DAREDEVIL #168 - first Elektra
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #15
DAREDEVIL #181
WHAT IF? #35
DAREDEVIL #182 - #184

Why would Marvel offer such a collection when they've so recently published their (almost) complete Frank Miller DAREDEVIL? Well, they wouldn't. At least not as a printed collection. But what about a digital one? Seems to me that any number of collections could be assembled to tie-in with specific events that only come together in digital form. Many of Marvel's Big Events could benefit from a 'Road To' collection (see above). If properly curated by someone who knows their Marvel comics history these could be both transient *and* profitable.

"WAIT, WHAT?"
16 March 2015

Occasionally, I'll read something that makes me do a double take. As a long time SF fanzine fan, these comic panels did that for me:


ATOM #1 (Dec'97): Superhero or fanartist?

Then there's this one:


FLASH #218 (Oct/Nov'72): Hal Jordan is a fanzine fan?

And this one:


ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #11 (Jun'93): 80.000+ streets in London, and he chooses that one?

JULIE SCHWARTZ: THE EARLY YEARS
16 March 2014

While THEN: THE ARCHIVE has had new material added on a fairly regular basis, it's been a while since I last updated this part of my site. Four years, in fact. This blog is where I post the occasional comics-related post. Like this one.

In the mighty effort he has put in to securing the photo collections of old SF fans before they get lost, as all too many have, my buddy Peter Weston has also hoovered up quite a few pictures from the early days of US fandom. Since our interests lie mainly with the history of UK fandom we haven't really made much use of these as yet. I was looking through them again earlier and thought comics fans might get a kick out of the two below, which come from the collection of the late E.J. 'Ted' Carnell. First there's this one, presumably taken in New York:


L-to-R: Jack Darrow, Julius Schwartz, Conrad Ruppert, Don Wollheim, Julius Unger

And then there's this one (clean up by David Hathaway-Price):


Superman's Julius Schwartz, Edmond Hamilton, & Mort Weisinger

close-up of newspaper

Both are undated, and not being a fashion expert I don't know if they date from the 1930s or the 1940s, though I'd guess the latter. Can anyone confirm this? Do Weisinger's white-topped shoes tell us anything? It might be possible to date the second one very accurately if the edition of the newspaper Weisinger is holding could be identified. A long shot, but stranger things have happened.

UPDATE: The guy on the far left of the first photo has been identified to me as Jack Darrow, and on going through Ted's photos again I found one of Ruppert and so can positively ID him as the guy on the far right. I also found another photo with Julie Schwartz in it I'd somehow missed. Since he has more hair in this one, I'm guessing this is the earliest of the three. According to the caption, the photo was taken outside the offices of THRILLING WONDER in July 1937:


L-to-R rear: Jack Williamson, L. Sprague de Camp, Dr. John Clark, Frank Belknap Long, Mort Weisinger,
Edmond Hamilton, Otis Adelbert Kline... L-to-R front: Otto Binder, Manly Wade Wellman, Julius Schwartz

UPDATE 2: Going through J Michael Rosenblum's photos - as supplied by his son Howard - while looking for something else entirely I came across yet another photo of Schwartz from, I'm guessing, the early 1940s.


L-to-R: Oswald Train, Lloyd Eshbach, Julius Schwartz

Other early photos of American SF pros and fans can be found elsewhere on this site:

MARVEL: THE FINAL DAYS OF THE THIRD REICH * link
16 January 2010

At some point, someone will tell the story of the final days of the Third Reich in the Marvel Universe. Whether they will take the time and trouble to research what has already been established over the years for that period is another matter. Here, in 13 pages taken from a bunch of different comics is what we know to date. If you know of something significant I've missed please let me know.


NEW NAME, NEW PREMISES * link
16 January 2010

With the move to a new website I figured it was time to move my very occasional blog here, too. Previously called FRIDGE MAGNET - a name made up on the spur of the moment when I first had something I wanted to post - I'm taking this opportunity to retitle it. I found the new name in one of my old apazines along with an explanation of why it would be a good one for me to use. I agreed with my earlier self, so here it is. Why BRASH NEON should be appropriate is left as an exercise for the reader.


PREVIOUS BLOG ITEMS (formerly at FRIDGE MAGNET):

8 March 2009 * link

I've been a Londoner more than half my life now and in that time I've gotten to know the city pretty well, but there are still....

THINGS ABOUT LONDON I LEARNED FROM COMICS

1) When flying in from the US, airliners routinely land on the River Thames:


2) Charing Cross has cobbled streets, medieval houses, and is surrounded by woods:


3) Despite Ireland, the Irish Sea, Wales, and a fair chunk of England lying between them, you can smell the Atlantic from the docks:

Incidentally, if you're wondering how the character shown covered ten miles in three minutes, well being a vampire he did it by turning into a bat and flying there.

Images copyright DC Comics and Marvel Comics. More geographical insights as I uncover them.


6 April 2007 * link

This is, I suppose, a blog. I had no intention of ever starting one, honest. It all began when someone asked see this illo by Neil (see item below), who gave permission to post it saying he'd quite like to see it again himself. I've had a website for years, though I rarely update it, so I had somewhere to post it. Only it didn't seem right to just post it bare without at least a little bit of explanatory text to provide context. Then, of course, it struck me that the combined illo'n'text really needed to be embedded in some sort of larger format rather than just standing alone. Fire up a text editor, type out some vanilla HTML, and in not much time at all there was the skeleton of this page. Having created it it seemed a shame not to add in a sidebar with a few links and, well, here we are.

This is somewhere to post the occasional thing I want to point others to. I don't see it as something I'll be adding posts to very often, but if I do I'll probably spruce up the design a bit.


WATCHDOGS

A few days ago, in a comment thread on the Nielsen Hayden's MAKING LIGHT, Neil Gaiman wrote that:

I'm pretty sure my first published illustration was a Watchmen gag in an Avedon Carol fanzine, unless my memory has gone...
This caught my attention because:
Neil -- That very illo has been pinned to my office notice board - about a foot from where I'm sitting - for years. You dated it, too - 29/9/86. I used to keep a diary back then, but a quick look at the appropriate page has no mention of you at all. Seems I spent the day visiting various museums with Stu Shiffman, over from the US. We used to see you pretty often back then so I suppose we could've all met up at a pub afterwards. Strange that my diary doesn't mention it if we did, though. The thing is, I was there when you drew that picture, and it was either in a pub or at a con. The nearest entry I can find that mentions you is a week earlier at UKCAC '86, the only comics con Avedon and I ever attended. Perhaps you drew it there and misdated it? Curious.
Rereading my diary from that period for the first time since I wrote the entries, that was quite a socially busy and interesting few weeks. Much more hectic than the more sedate social life I enjoy these days. Neil replied to my comment thus:
Rob -- I remember meeting Stu with you, so my guess is that it was done in the pub that evening. I'm pretty sure I didn't do it at UKCAC. I interviewed Alan and Dave about Watchmen there, though. In a suit, as befitting the occasion.
This is probably what happened, and when the drawing was done. Anyway, one of those reading the thread asked to see the cartoon, Neil was happy for it to be posted, so here it is, two decades after it was drawn. And it occurs to me that if it gets linked to it will be seen by many more people than the maybe couple of hundred who saw it in its original fanzine appearance.

TOP

LINKS:
Avedon Carol * Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden * Roz Kaveney * Neil Gaiman *