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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Man Who Searched For Fear

The Man Who Searched For Fear gathers together three adventure strips drawn by one of Britain's comic strip masters: Bill Lacey. Lacey's first strips appeared in 1951, although the best of his early work appeared in the pages of Super Detective Library, where he was the original artist for Rick Random and Blackshirt. Lacey's work appeared in dozens of comics in the 1950s and 1960s, including Mickey Mouse Weekly, Cowboy Picture Library, Knockout, Express Weekly, Thriller Picture Library, Princess, Film Fun, Valiant, Buster, Tiger and Lion; during this time his strips ranged from adaptations of western novels such as 'The Covered Wagon' to weird fantasy classics like 'Mytek the Mighty'. In the 1970s he drew extensively for Look and Learn and for a number of D. C. Thomson's boys' papers, Bullet, Crunch and Buddy.

The Man Who Searched For Fear is Bill Lacey at his best. The opening series in this new collection relates how Hugo Masterman, a delicate, unhappy child, who dreamed of travelling the world, lived to see his dream turn into a nightmare. In darkest Africa, with his companions dead through injury or illness, Masterman discovers the legendary graveyard of the elephants. Mauled by a lion, he survives by dragging himself back to civilisation on paralysed limbs. His discovery makes him immensely rich, but the tortures he has faced leave him unable to know fear.

Hidden away in Castle Doomcrest on a remote Scottish isle, Masterman offers a prize to any man who can bring fear into his life. His visitors relate bizarre adventures in the hope of earning Masterman's reward: how a man escapes a shark attack and becomes a god to a lost island civilisation; how an assassin plans to destroy an emperor by crashing his imperial train; how a man survives being left without supplies on an Alpine mountain . . . these are just a few of the tales that Masterman hears in his search to stir his emotions.

Adding to the excitement are two bonus stories. "Agent of the Queen" stars Agent Smith of Britain's nascent Secret Service. When Queen Victoria's life is threatened with assassination at the Great Exhibition of 1851, Agent Smith teams up with Captain Jack Stalwart to thwart the threat; and, in a second adventure, they team up again to discover how Russians are smuggling arms into India.

Finally, Lacey's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" is another—but very different—Victorian adventure as young Pip finds himself in the hands of people who may or may not have his best interests at heart: the convict Magwitch, the odd Uncle Pumblechook, the bizarre Miss Havisham, the beautiful Estella, the lawyer Mr. Jaggers, his rival Bentley Drummle . . . against all odds will Pip still achieve his goal to become a gentleman.

 
 
 
Format
The Man Who Searched For Fear is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 148 black & white pages with a cover by Bill Lacey.

Publication Date
Published on 31 January 2014.

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(* artwork © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Worlds of Adventure by Gino D'Antonio

GINO D'ANTONIO IN FULL COLOUR

"Superb production and a treasured addition to the groaning bookshelf!"—Dave Gibbons

Worlds of Adventure gathers together four never previously reprinted, full-colour strips illustrated by Gino D'Antonio.

In the late 1960s, while he was writing the epic Storia del West in his native Italy, D'Antonio was collaborating with Mike Butterworth to adapt some of literature's most famous adventure stories: 'The Wanderings of Ulysses', 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea', 'Quo Vadis' and 'A Tale of Two Cities'. These tales span history from Greek myth and the gladiatorial circus's of Rome to the French Revolution and an innovatory French tale describing the adventures of Nemo, a 19th century Ulysses wandering the oceans in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.

D'Antonio was a popular artist in England, although his name was known only to the editorial staff and agents through whom he worked. He had been drawing for British comics for over a decade, his first illustrations appearing in 1955 followed by his first strips in 1956. D'Antonio worked for some of Britain's finest comics, including Eagle, Express Weekly and Boys' World, although he will always be remembered for his war comics, drawn for War, Battle, War at Sea and Front Line in 1958-68. Thanks to their constant recycling, they influenced a hugely diverse range of artist, including Dave Gibbons, Mick McMahon and Rufus Dayglo.
"The only artist whose work I copied and traced on a regular basis when I was growing up was the Italian master Gino D’Antonio"—Mike McMahon.
Format
Worlds of Adventure is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 90 full colour pages with a cover by Gino D'Antonio.

Publication Date
Published on 15 November 2013.

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(* Tell Me Why © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure!

Boys' World is one of the most fondly remembered of all British comics from the 1960s. An Eagle for the new decade, it featured across its centre pages the mighty 'Wrath of the Gods', an epic tale of deities and demons beautifully drawn by Ron Embleton. Readers thrilled to the adventure of 'The Sea Ape', puzzled over the question 'What Is Exhibit X?' and roared at the sporting antics of 'Billy Binns and his Wonderful Specs'.

Giants of science fiction Mike Moorcock and Harry Harrison were both contributors, Harrison writing one of the text story serials as well as adapting his novel Deathworld as 'The Angry Planet'. Harrison also penned the original Brett Million story 'The Ghost World', one of the finest science fiction strips to appear in British comics and complimented by some outstanding artwork by Frank Bellamy. Moorcock's contributions were more esoteric, ranging from numerous episodes of the feature 'Do You Know Your Name?' to essays on lost cities, submarines and volcanoes. Harrison and Moorcock were also among the many writers who contributed short stories to Boys' World, a list that also includes Barrington J. Bayley, Sydney J. Bounds, Wildred McNeilly, Rex Dolphin, Donne Avenell, Jim Edgar and Tom Tully.

The paper's roster of artists included many of the finest illustrators of the early Sixties, including John M. Burns, Frank Langford, Colin Andrew, Brian Lewis, Frank Humphris, Gerry Embleton, Harry Bishop, James McConnell, Don Lawrence, Roy Cross, Luis Bermejo and Gino D'Antonio.

Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure relates how the paper came into existence at a turbulent time for comics, how its original editor was replaced before the first issue even reached the newsstands and how it eventually folded into the paper it was meant to replace.

Compiled by Steve Holland, the book also includes extensive indexes to the paper's contents as well as those of the Boys' World Annuals; the book also includes title and creators' indexes, outlines of every comic strip storyline the paper ran and a unique look at the payments made for three key issues.

 
 
 
 
Format
Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 208 b/w pages with a cover by Neville Dear and a rear cover featuring the work of Brian Lewis.

Publication Date
Published on 9 September 2013.

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(* Boys' World © IPC Media)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ranger The National Boys' Magazine


Ranger The National Boys' Magazine is the latest in Bear Alley's series of titles covering the history and contents of some of Britain's most fondly remembered comics. Ranger may not have lasted as long as Lion – our previous title – but it was home to some memorable stories and features, including one of comics' finest creations, 'The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire'.

'Trigan Empire' wasn't the only story in Ranger to feature artwork by Don Lawrence. The book's creators' index includes an astonishing array of famous names, including Frank Hampson, Ron Embleton, John Millar Watt, Mike Hubbard, Jesus Blasco, Colin Merrett, Graham Coton, Francis Marshall, Henry Seabright, Will Nickless and Theo Page. With stories by talents as diverse as Captain W. E. Johns and John Creasey, Ranger was able to offer boys' some of the best reading material on offer, including Richard Armstrong's Carnegie Medal-winning novel Sea Change; its photos, cutaway drawings and heavily illustrated features covered everything from duels in the sky to exploding islands, from James Bond's DB6 to the Mariner Mars expedition.

Compiled by Steve Holland and David Slinn, Ranger: The National Boys' Magazine explores the history and background of the magazine, its contents and its lasting legacy. The book also includes an extensive index to the paper's contents, as well as title and creators' indexes.

To give readers a flavour of the contents, the book also includes the full run of the 'Famous Fighting Aces' feature by Colin Merrett as well as two complete comic strips, 'The Adventures of Macbeth' by Ruggero Giovannini and 'Moby Dick' by Franco Caprioli.

Bear Alley Books has previously published King Solomon's Mines and Treasure Island from the pages of Ranger. Now find out the full story behind this classic of British comics.


Format
Ranger: The National Boys' Magazine is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 162 b/w pages with an iconic cover by Ferdinando Tacconi and a rear cover featuring the work of Don Lawrence and Frank Hampson.

Publication Date
Published on 15 April 2013.

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(* Ranger © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

King Solomon's Mines

On the opposite side of the chamber were some wooden boxes. "There are the diamonds," I cried. Sir Henry held the light over the top box, which had been rendered rotten by time. Smashing my hand through the wood, I drew it out full, not of diamonds, but of gold pieces.
Welcome to H. Rider Haggard's classic novel adapted in full colour by Mike Hubbard, originally serialised in the pages of Ranger and reprinted for the first time! This was a daring attempt to publish the novel in its original language, using Haggard's own words, although abridged, making it one of the most faithful of all adaptations.

Author Mike Butterworth is better known for writing 'The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire', but his career began many years before as a scriptwriter and editor for the Amalgamated Press's Sun, where penned dozens of stories featuring historical characters (Billy the Kid, Dick Turpin, Robin Hood) as well as creating 'Max Bravo, the Happy Hussar' and 'Battler Britton'.  For Comet he wrote authentic historical dramas as well as creating the science fiction adventurer 'Jet-Ace Logan'. Editorially he created the innovative Playhour Pictures, Valentine and the teenage magazine Honey. A prolific novelist, he wrote crime thrillers, bodice-rippers and historicals under a variety of pen-names.

Mike Hubbard was born in Ireland of English/Irish parents but grew up in England. He became a prolific illustrator in the 1930s, producing covers and illustrations for The Thriller, Detective Weekly, The Passing Show and Everybody's. Shortly after the war he was introduced to comics through a series of adaptations of the classics in Knockout. He also became the assistant to Norman Pett on the Daily Mirror's 'Jane', which he took over the drawing of between 1948 and 1959. Returning to comics he visualised the delightful 'Jane Bond, Secret Agent' as well as bringing a further series of classics – ranging from King Solomon's Mines to The Secret Garden – back to life.

Format
King Solomon's Mines is published in US Letter saddle-stitch format, 44 pages colour with a stunning cover by Don Lawrence.

Publication Date
Published on 15 March 2013.

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(* King Solomon's Mines artwork © Look and Learn Ltd.)


Treasure Island

We had not built a fire the first night we had stayed there, and it seemed strange that there should be one burning tonight. It was at this moment that a shrill voice broke forth out of the darkness. "Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!" and so forth, without pause. Silver's parrot, Captain Flint! I turned to flee, and ran straight into the arms of Long John Silver!
Here for the first time since it was serialised in the pages of Ranger is one of the finest adaptations of the classic Treasure Island, beautifully painted by John Millar Watt and retold in Robert Louis Stevenson's original language – making it one of the most faithful adaptations and well as one of the most visually stunning.

Author Mike Butterworth is better known for writing 'The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire', but his career began many years before as a scriptwriter and editor for the Amalgamated Press's Sun, where penned dozens of stories featuring historical characters (Billy the Kid, Dick Turpin, Robin Hood) as well as creating 'Max Bravo, the Happy Hussar' and 'Battler Britton'.  For Comet he wrote authentic historical dramas as well as creating the science fiction adventurer 'Jet-Ace Logan'. Editorially he created the innovative Playhour Pictures, Valentine and the teenage magazine Honey. A prolific novelist, he wrote crime thrillers, bodice-rippers and historicals under a variety of pen-names.

John Millar Watt was the creator of 'Pop', one of the most popular comic strips of the 1920s and 1930s. Published in the pages of the Daily Sketch and in a series of his own Pop Annuals between 1925 and 1950. The Scottish-born artist had previously worked in advertising and had exhibited at the Royal Academy. After retiring from the Pop strip in 1949, Watt concentrated on advertising and illustration work, to which he added comic strips in the mid-1950s. His richly painted artwork subsequently graced the pages of Princess, Look and Learn, Ranger and Once Upon a Time.

Format
Treasure Island is published in US Letter saddle-stitch format, 44 pages colour with a stunning cover by John Millar Watt.

Publication Date
Published on 15 March 2013.

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(* Treasure Island artwork © Look and Learn Ltd.)