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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

More Golden Age?

Folks, if you want to see more British Golden Age material on this blog then you'll need to show your support because, financially, its easier for me to just close the blog and concentrate on trying to get work that pays because I have gone past the crisis point.

There are individual British Golden Age collections as well as the Ultimate collection that you can find at the online store.

Freely giving out material that others use while I sit here wondering what I'm going to eat next is no longer an option.

If you support the work and effort PLEASE check out the books and you can buy and hold a real collection of GA British strips in your hands!

Thanks.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

If I Say Abra and Cadabra Will My Freddie Fluence Work?

You want nonsensical post headers you got 'em!

Hello All!

 Still alive, barely, and I've gotten to a computer that works.  Now,  based on past experience I expect nil responses but this is Christmas! Wishes may come true...or not but you gotta try, right?

I've totally given up on trying to get scans of William A. Ward's The Bat artwork and the original Krakos the Egyptian book -though I have samples of the various Krakos strips. So I'm not going to ask for the impossible.

I know some of you belong to old Boys Papers groups, etc., so here is the list of old comic strips I'm looking for and if you can find any examples PLEASE let me know.

Abra and Cadabra -Puck 1926-1935

Bob The Pet Navvy -Jester and Wonder 1903-1906

Freddie Fluence  -Favourite 1912

Ronnie Roy -Funny Wonder 1940-1950

Professor Radium -Puck 1904-1916 (the image at the top is all I have and is VERY low res)

Merry Margie -Knockout 1939-1940

That's it.

Now, have a good Christmas and READ COMICS!!!
Up-date: it took a week but Merry Margie can now be ticked off the list but I've no objection to further sample strips!
__._,_.___

Monday, 17 October 2016

"So, Did that huge upsurge in views of Black Tower books help?"

The answer is, as I suggested it would be, no.

Incredible that such a huge number of UK views of BTCG comics and books took place over the weekend...and even today it seems by looking at stats. But nothing selling?

The UK market is dead. I can list example after example but why bother?

Keep looking while it's all still there and remember the price increase stage 3 this Friday.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Dead Shot Man by"Stim"


We know "Stim" or "Murdock" was Murdock Stimpson a comic artist, funny postcard illustrator -and illustrator of childrens (non-comic) books.  He was active from the 1920s to 1950s according to comics authority Alan Clark. However, there are (like many others) no known photographs of Stimpson and we do not even know when he was born or in what year he died.

However, here is some of his Swan Comics work.  Enjoy.


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Editing British Golden Age Comics

I’m hoping that Ernesto Guevara does not mind that I’m using part of an email I sent him  to explain things.
…the problem was, as in the US, paper drives for the war effort. Even if kids never wanted to part with their comics their mum’s no doubt did!  I know Denis Gifford mentioned -in one of his books also I think- that he came home one day to find his mother had cleared out the pesky comics!
We have so much info via books and magazines like Alter Ego on the US Golden Age but the UK Golden Age seems to have been forgotten. Swan, Denis M. Reader, et al were the life blood of the UK GA and I was very depressed to have some scanarama and Spacevoucher members say they never considered these publishers or their books worth noting.  Yet, get a Dandy or Beano or Amalgamated Press book of that period and its song, wine and fireworks!
meh. We’re all comickers -different strokes for different folks.
I do know there are at least two collectors on one of my groups (they think anonymously ?!) who have Back From The Dead, Krakos The Egyptian and The Bat in their collections but won’t share.  The odd thing is that those who might not have a problem sharing are more likely not on the internet or haven’t found the yahoo group -its why I duplicated the British Golden Age blogs so its on Word Press and Blogger so one of them might stumble upon it!
In fact, through Denis Ray (an American) and Ernesto (I know there is another guy but my memory for names!) we’ve come up with 100% more on the small publishers of 1939-1951 than was available before.
Its odd that the Silver Age group, BritComics (set up in 2004) has over 150 members (157) while the British Comic Book Archives (set up in 2007) has…52!
I’ve done this before but, as I’m getting over a migraine and couldn’t draw or finish editing, I thought I would spend the day looking online for British Golden Age Comics or groups dealing with them.
With the odd break, after seven hours, every single image points me back to my own sites (there is a free servers site I’m just up-dating).  On Yahoo there are only two groups -Britcomics and the BCBA.
This, to me, is very, very depressing.  It might also explain why the British Golden Age collections I published hardly sell.  Having written that I do know scans of those books are widely distributed -illegally meaning I lose money.
Everyone cry now. NOW!!!!
After about three decades of looking there has been some headway made.
I’ll keep at this, as I’m sure will other members when they can, but I have this image of my funeral and someone running in breathless waving a comic -“Is it too late -I’ve found a copy of Swan’s Krakos comic!!”
In fact, though the completed collected book eludes us 2 sample pages from a William A. Ward Krakos strip plus a complete one have come to light in the last two weeks  -the latter features in the newTales Of Terror 4 -see, we’re making headway!
We just need to keep letting people we know and on other groups know that we need scans!!  That 4Share account needs to be fit to bursting!  But I’m getting really weary of chasing Holy Grails.
I need to also find some way of making sure that if I pop off the Archive is still there.
And the Golden Age strips/books we find are usually in a heck of a state. Different qualities of paper were used -none of them of a high standard. Inks and the quality of printing varied and you’ll find orange inked pages, blue, green and even red inked pages. Now if you are converting that to black and white, or more accurately grey-tone, it’s a nightmare!
Oh lords of comics -then you get the foxing, mold or spattering of ink (from printing). And worst of all the pen scribbles and tears repaired using sellotape (AAARGH!).
Some people who have seen an original scanned page do not believe it is what the printed version comes from. I’ll demonstrate but I want to share a funny story first.
I posted the following page on a couple of my groups. “Stew” emails and asks how I got the page when he hasn’t scanned it yet -?!
Then Dave sends me an email with the same comment.
I’ve seen THEIR pages now and can tell you they are the same page, tear and the tape repairs arealmost identical.
It could be that this particular book was damaged during printing and several copies were affected. Whatever, it’s weird.
Anyway, this is the sort of original page I get:
It’s dis-coloured and there is that tear and the yellowing-brown tape. First thing to do is get rid of the colour from the scan so I get this:
It’s a sort of off grey. So my next move is to up the contrast and get this:

Which means pushing up the brightness, saving that and then upping the contrast to get this:

You can still see the tear so a bit more fine tuning and….
This is close to the finished item but on this I would enlarge the page to around 400% and then deal with the tear in Paint Shop.
One page like this can take up to 2 hours to tidy.
One thing I will not do is re-panel. The whole point is to show the original strip and how it appeared.  Some artists draw crooked panels. I learned a long time ago to leave these! I ‘straightened’ a page in photo-shop to correct the tilt on a page but then realized something else was crooked. I corrected it…uhh, not that wasn’t right…I then stepped back and realized most of the panels were just very faint lines (as in the above page).  So I left it.
You have to remember that William Ward, Jock McCail, Glynne Protheroe and others were writing and drawing their own strips -a huge number of them.  As far as Gerald Swan was concerned the comics were throw-away entertainment for kids so as long as his books were filled and he raked in the coppers or brass or silver he was happy.
And the books end up battered or chucked in a box in an attic, a cellar or even under an old bed.  we’re lucky that not all “mums” threw out “those silly comics”!
When people say to me “These aren’t very good quality print-wise are they?” I say they should buy an original Swan comic and check the quality….oh, wait, very few appear for sell so they can’t. Also, I’ve had one purchaser of the Ultimate British Golden Age Collection write that he thought he would never see the comics he read as a kid again (he’s 75 years old) -“and in a lot better quality!”
THAT makes the work worth it.
Though I would still like to be rich!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Black Tower Comics & Books +





Well, here goes.



Seriously, it may have gone past survival time but I am NOT going out without a fight...maybe a whimper!

 See why we are Europe's largest publisher of  Independent Comics.



The Hooper Interviews

The Hooper Interviews!  

 To celebrate, at the time of publication, over 25 years of interviewing comic creators -writers, artists and publishers- this 365 pages book was produced.

Interviewees included Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman, Dave Ryan, John Cooper, Mike Western, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Sonia Leong, Emma Vieceli, Pekka A. Manninen, Alan Class, Karen Rubins, Kate Glasheen, Ron Fortier, Jon Haward, Franco Francavilla, Rick Geary, Tania Del Rio, The Etherington Brothers, Olivier Cadic (Cinebook the 9th Art), Holly Golightly and MANY others.

Profusely illustrated with art and photographs!

Reduced in price until October to £16.80 -an odd price but it's what the printer and lulu.com earn -I get zilch!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/terry-hooper-scharf/the-hooper-interviews/paperback/product-22078000.html


All Black Tower comic albums (that is A4 format) are in black & white.  Once you've had black and white you won't go back to colour, baby.

BTCG has specialised in presenting original material covering super heroes, crime, adventure, sci fi, horror as well as illustrated prose -not to mention ground breaking books on "world mysteries" and wildlife.  Oh, and even a huge book of interviews with comic creators and publishers.

All the books are, naturally, available for overseas licence -but we cannot translate work: that will be up to any licensed publisher.

What follows is a brief glimpse at some books but you can visit the online store to see more details and books at:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk


You  can also find some on Amazon and other sources but they do not make me much money so, come on, buy from the online store and remember that at least these books will be collectibles! 



To contact me please check out "About" at the top of the page -thanks! 

 ****************************************************************************

Black Tower Comics began in 1984 as a Small Press publisher of A5 (US -Digest size) titles such as Adventure,Presents,Windows and Hanley's Garage.  Then came the news, reviews, previews and interviews publication backed up by the mart and mail order service -Zine Zone (later Zine Zone International).

In 2009, with the innovation in publishing of Print On Demand (POD), Black Tower jumped in head first!

One of the first titles to see print in the new comic album format (A4) was The Bat Triumphant! This saw the complete story, begun in Black Tower Adventure vol. 1.  William A. Ward's long lost 1940s character once again saw print as he fought a host of  enemies in an attempt to reclaim his homeland.


THE BAT TRIUMPHANT!

And while The Bat may have fought fist and nail to reclaim his homeland, another 1940s Ward creation, Krakos the Egyptian, seemed far from willing to claim a new Egyptian Empire as promised to him by the Gods.  Tackling a number of foes and even encountering the Many-Eyed One, Krakos turned his back on the gods and the final panel of Krakos -Sands Of Terror, delivered a true twist!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror!


Of course, the flag-ship title had to return!  And so Black Tower Adventure -eventually reaching new heights when the legendary Ben Dilworth jumped on board!  Volume 2 consisted of  ten issues. Just look at these covers....

Black Tower Adventure 1Black Tower Adventure 2BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3Black Tower Adventure 4Black Tower Adventure 5Black Tower Adventure 6ADVENTURE 7Black Tower Adventure 8BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 9Black Tower Adventure 10

And, with something like 40 years worth of files and investigation reports could all that much delving into UFOs, lake and sea creatures and many other mysteries not result in a book or two...or three? Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister as well as Pursuing The Strange and Weird: A Naturalist's Viewpoint set a precedence.

Whereas for decades those involved in "UFOlogy", "Cryptozoology" and "Forteana" declared many mysteries, that photographs were lost "to history" and so on, these three books swiped away the false claims.  Alleged lost photographs -found.  'Mysteries' solved by doing actual research work and reading the sources -something others had never done.
Some Things Strange & SinisterSome More Things Strange & SinisterPursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint

And, of course, mention natural history and Black Tower Books broke new ground with that in The Red Paper: Canids.


The Red Paper: CANIDS

But not all the prose books covered mysteries and wildlife.


And if there is one thing "Herr Professor" loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring 'Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume " Black Tower Gold" albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager -The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!



The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

Another great love is Centaur Comics from the United States.  Right at the very start of the American Golden Age of Comics Centaur had creators who were ahead of the others!  Before Plastic Man there was Plymo!  Before The Human Bomb there was TNT Todd! Before Green Arrow and waaaaaaay before Hawkeye there was the mysterious red hooded archer called The Arrow!  And, to just break your comic mind world there was even a Black Panther -decades before Kirby came up with his character of the same name.

The Eye Sees All.  The Owl. The Iron Skull.  Amazing Man. The King of Darkness.  The Invisible Terror. The Blue Lady. The Shark. Mini Midget & Kitty.  Mighty Man. Super Anne.  The company may have been short-lived but it's characters -oh boy!

The two volume Centaur Heroes Collection has been compiled into one sweet 140 page comic collection!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection 2011

Horror. Ghost stories.  The twist-in-the tale.  Did you think that a publisher who is a big horror comic/film fan would ignore these?

Nope.  Each year since 2010, BTCG has published a Tales Of Terror anthology album and 2014s included some fun and spooky lost Swan Comic strips.  I mean how can you go wrong -even Ben Dilworth is in these!

 Tower Tales Of TerrorTales Of Terror 2TALES OF TERROR IIITales Of Terror 4

The Church Of England has it's own basher of dark forces in the Reverend Merriwether -"God's Demon0-Thumper" as the press billed him.  From an ancient Egyptian demon to a village of the damned and Varney the Vampyre, werwolves and a final confrontation with Satan himself -Merriwether pulls no punches and offers no compromise.  And in those last few seconds between life and death, Merriwether's mind recalls past cases -thanks to Ben Dilworththe Tall Man of Osaka.

Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper and Merriwether: The Test Of Satan are available as individual comic albums or in one swanky book The Collected Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper.

 Merriwether:God's Demon-ThumperMerriwether:The Test Of SatanMerriwether: Gods Demon Thumper

Oh, did I forget to mention Dene Vernon -British comics' first investigator of the supernatural and strange mysteries?  I did? Unbelievable since Gavin Stuart Ross drew the 1948 based Dene Vernon: The Thing Below!

 Dene Vernon:The Thing Below


 And did you know Ross also drew the two adventures of Victorian mystery man Chung Ling Soo? Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon and Chung Ling Soo: The Case Of The Thames Serpent were two cracking tales of magic, adventure, murder and deception -still available as single comic albums or collected together to form The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo!

Chung Ling Soo 1Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery





THE CASE BOOK OF CHUNG LING SOO

Ben Dilworth is no slouch either!  Chung Ling Soo's police "counter-foil" isnone other than old London "Jack" (police man) Inspector Wilberforce and when Dilworth says "Here's a Wilberforce one-off: PUBLISH IT!" you do not argue!

Wilberforce



And did you know you can be a Gold Master of Japanese Haiku?  Well, neither did I -but guess what?  Ben Dilworth is such a master and his Osaka Brutal features his Haiku in English!

 Osaka Brutal

Old saleman that he is, Dilworth just keeps on going.  He produced Aesop's Fables -a darker version of the childrens tales and then went on to write two well illustrated prose albums looking at spirits and demons -Dilworth's Japanese Yokai and Dilworth'sWestern Yokai.  Osaka and the Yokai books were combined with Aesop's Fables into the one volume The Collected Ben R. Dilworth -though the single volumes are also still available.

The Collected Ben R. DilworthDilworth's Japanese YokaiDILWORTH WESTERN YOKAIDilworths Aesop's Fables


Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in...Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories but for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective!
Dilworth's Horror & Ghost StoriesTHE COMPLETE PHANTOM DETECTIVE



And could anyone forget the sensational Iron Warrior Versus Big Bong:When Giants Fought? But add to that the various Iron Warrior strips from Adventure and you get The Iron Warrior Collection -When Giants Fought!  In the 1940s, William A. Ward's creation was to be the most graphically violent comic strip seen until the 1970s.  That is some legacy. It continues....with a touch of fun!

The Iron Warrior Vs Big BongTHE IRON WARRIOR COLLECTION

In case you are wondering, yes, obviously there are super heroes.  Mix in ancient pantheons of gods, giant robot, alien invasion, Lovecraftian dark ones and so much more that the book runs to over 320 pages then you have part 1 of Terry Hooper-Scharf'sInvasion Earth Trilogy" or as it is titled Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes!  And epic ending with the words: "Dr Morg has killed us all" -and if you have never read the mind altering counter actuality that is The Dr Morg Trilogy you may be saying "What? Who-?"

And part 2 of the trilogy The Cross Earths Caper ought to get you in the mood for 2015's big 31st Anniversary third part of the trilogy The Green Skies.


 The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super HeroesTHE CROSS EARTHS CAPERJourney Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

check out all the Black Tower Comics and Books at the online store -see why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics!