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Thursday, 31 January 2019

How To Make Cheap And Easy Toxic Pools/Acid ponds

Well, Serves Me Bloody well Right!

The thing is that I know better. In the last 30 years I have found one forgotten crime fighting character after another -from the old British boys story papers, pulps or even comics.

I was updating some files for the Britcomics group -currently 126 Albums and 3,723 images (excluding images in text files)- and realised I needed to get a date for an illustration.  Went to the source and found another character -how I missed him the first time I have no idea but 6-7 years ago things were a bit bleak so I use that as an excuse.

I then noticed something....another character in a source I had only made a page number note on. There were, indeed costumed and masked super heroes (though the British preferred the term "adventurers") in the 1920s and before.  There were characters whom we would describe today as "human technology users" -yes, we had characters who used power suits and more way, way, way, before say Iron Man from Marvel -who was not the first character to hold that name as there was an "Iron Man" in the Boys papers...one a power suit/semi robotic and another in skin-tight outfit and mask in the early 1900s.

In fact, we had bat-winged flying wonders, leaping springalds, wall-crawlers, super strong and tech device using masked men in abundance. I sat looking at this stuff at around 0400 hrs this morning and realised just how piss-poor the UK scene had become.

Oh yes, this is all going to make for more research and even, perhaps a Guide To the Forgotten Heroes at some point (in fact, I just registered that title at my POD publisher and mentioned it in other places so it is "a thing" now).

Onward and Forward!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Second Annual Forks Raincon on the Way


Forks, WA - January 30

The second annual RainCon will run June 14-16, in the Rain Forest Art Center, 35 North Forks Avenue, in Forks, on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula,

This event will feature plenty of artists and vendors, as well as interesting workshops, speakers and panels. Game tables will be set up to include Roll-Playing-Games, card games, and boardgaming.

For more information and participation, and to purchase vendor space, go to the Raincon Facebook page, Fans Of RainCon. This is where sign-ups will be posted for the cosplay costume contest, which promises to be even bigger and better than in 2018.

There are plenty of affordable motel rooms and businesses within walking distance, catering to the needs of convention attendees.

The Clallam Bay Comicon – RainCon's sister event – will be held this year on Saturday, July 13, as an afterparty. Go to donnabarr.com for more information.


-- 
Donna Barr: comics * illustration * portraits * storyboards * murals * Patreon links
bookstore: http://www.donnabarr.com

History of Lone Ranger Toys - Vintage Action Figure Review / Collection

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Follow up to WHO was the First super hero


Darci asked the following question:

"Usually the answer to the question about Superman's costume points to the strong man's costume at the circus. Do you have a British answer to that question too?Thanks!"

My response was as follows:

"There are quite a few -you mean the long johns look? Skin tight outfits were around and to be honest that is splitting hairs. The question was who was the first costumed character who could be considered a "super hero" -the term super applies to heroic characters are beyond the norm and face enemies and situations beyond the norm. 

The black Whip from 1931 was depicted with cowl and skin tight outfit. Strang the Terrible from 1931 wore the TRADITIONAL circus strongman outfit of a leopard skin that ran over one shoulder -as worn by the uber strong strongman in the later Shipwrecked Circus. Zero the Silent from 1931 wore a tight fitting outfit, cowl and had various gadgets -well ahead of Bat-Man. The definition of a super hero is a person wearing a costume and or a cowl or mask and having extraordinary abilities or powers and that is hat most of us stick to.

 NOTHING against American comics at all but historically you can't change facts.

 In Steranko's History of Comics vol. 1 he refers to the characters of Punch & Judy being the first comic style characters. Wikipedia: The Punch and Judy show has roots in the 16th-century Italian commedia dell'arte. The figure of Punch is derived from the Neapolitan stock character of Pulcinella, which was anglicizedto Punchinello.[3] He is a manifestation of the Lord of Misruleand Trickster figures of deep-rooted mythologies. Punch's wife was originally called "Joan."   The figure who later became Mr. Punch made his first recorded appearance in England on 9 May 1662, which is traditionally reckoned as Punch's UK birthday.

There are some who claim that the Phantom (Lee Falk) from 1936 was the first super hero since he fought evil in a costume and mask.



Mandrake the Magician was another Falk creation from 1934 and there are those who call him the first super hero    -and a lot of DC characters such as Zatara et al are classed as super heroes.
Someone might say others such as the Clock from 1936 was the first and if you look at Centaur comics they have some characters pre Superman that could be called super heroes.

I plan to work on a catalogue of British characters up to 1950 and most of these are unknown today.
So, for me, if I had to make a choice for first super hero -the Phantom!

Who Was The First Costumed Super Hero? Well, He Certainly Was NOT American (none of them were!)

I noticed that someone asked online who was the first costumed super hero.  This was the response:

The first masked crime fighter in comic books was the Clock, whom Centaur Publications introduced in 1936. But it was two young men from Cleveland who created the character who truly launched the superhero genre. DC Comics introduced the first costumed superhero, Superman, in Action Comics #1 (June 1938).

Not quite accurate since the UK had masked, costumed and winged heroes, anti heroes and villains well before then.


Rover no. 384, 24th August 1929 -The Black Sapper

And if you had read any Black Tower books you would know that before...what's his name..."Ghost Rider"?  There was The Skeleton Horseman, Paul Peril and Red Hand facing both mortal and supernatural foes -circa 1866



Or, again  if you've read any Black Tower, how about The Smuggler  King from 1844?

And dare I mention the real life based anti-hero/hero/villain Spring-heeled Jack? The Springald was around in 1834/1836 and John Thomas Haines' play Spring-Heeled Jack, the Terror of London -1840 and this was followed by Spring-heel'd Jack: The Terror of London, a 40-part penny dreadful published by the Newsagents Publishing Company in 1863, then reprinted in 1867. You've read my published work on the Springald...haven't you???

There are others and these, my American chums, pre-date The Clock (one of my favourites) AND Superman by a, uh, "few" years.

There is your answer to that question -a real answer!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Comic Fans are now on the Endangered Species List


I know that it is quite pointless to look for discussion on the subject -my experience blogging, writing books and running Yahoo groups has taught me better- but what happened to the real comic fans?

I am old enough to remember fanzines, letters of comment and even comic fans writing to one another. We travelled from around the country to get to conventions (this was before conventions stopped being about comics  and became "media events" and a way to squeeze every penny out of people -seriously, you pay £250 for a table but if you have someone to help you out you have to pay for them to get into the event??).

What happened to groups like Denis Gifford's old Association of Comic Enthusiasts? There was quite a group of them used to meet up at the old Westminster Comic Marts.

We know comics became "chic" for a while and everyone wanting attention became a "comicologist" or life long comics fan (usually a veteran of 5 years with very dubious comic facts gleaned from equally dubious comic sites online).  TVs The Big Bang Theory created a veritable plague of comic book geek chiques.  The dealers loved them as they had cash and were stupid: "This issue came out yesterday but it's a hot-seller and you can't find it anywhere -cover price was $2.50 but you can have it for $35!" and they sold the books.  How did that market collapse work out in the end for the greed merchants?

Five years ago I had 25 You Tube comic channels to watch (I was very selective).  Out of those only one exists today.  The others have closed up channel and left YT or very rarely post.  Others have moved away from comics.  In total, five years ago, I noted 75 comic related YT channels so went through the list yesterday. Gone. Every last one of them.

There are the slick looking channels with alleged 'comic fans' who seem to be more interested in mocking the comics than looking at them seriously. There are a few of the "This comic is worth $$$" channels out there but, be honest, they are NOT comic fans; their only interest is in buying and selling. The other channels are so engrossed in their SJW-Anti SJW warring that it is tedious and boring and, honestly, they need to just pack up and go away because videos full of sexist, homophobic (do not claim you had no idea that "soy boy" was the current term replacing "gay boy" because, dammit there are laws stopping homophobic comments) and right wing while claiming that the "Far Left" is guilty of these things -it IS about peoples politics and it is a blight everywhere.

None of that is fandom.  It is fakery in the hope of getting more and more attention.

The fanzines are gone and if you want to buy Alter Ego or one of the other slick US fanzines in the UK you pay a high price!  I produced a new version of the Comic Bits fanzine -absolutely no interest. Others have tried and failed.

UK comic forums are usually fully of bullying and trolling and owners turn a blind eye when this gets reported because they are either supporting the abuse or don't want to be bullied themselves -which is condoning what is going on.  Grow a set of balls -if you are scared someone might say something nasty about you go hide in a corner and be quiet or close your forum down.

My Britcomics sites were set up on Yahoo groups in 2001 -the year they started after Yahoo closed down its 360 blogs.  30th January 2001 the groups started and I set mine up in February of that year. Then the Spammer/Troll Wars hit the groups between 2003-2005 when everyone who thought they could freely spam porn and other stuff (owners were innocent in those days and never moderated memberships) and in came the trolls attacking any and everyone and that destroyed many groups.  Others (like me) purged the memberships because the groups were designed to get conversations going between fans and be friendly. I bought in a rule, later adopted by other group owners, that if someone was rude to another member and there was no reason then that person had a choice: apologise to the member involved and the group or receive a lifelong ban.  It worked.

The Britcomics group looks at Golden and Silver ages British comics and has 147 members and the albums boast the largest collection of creator/publisher photographs as well as 2,600+ images of comic and annual covers, strip samples and long list of links including some to videos on British comics. Although members can use a pseudonym on the group when they ask to join they do have to give their real name because that way the nastier elements can't interfere with the group.

But look at CBO and its lack of comments -logically, since the site was moved to blogger in 2011, at least a few of the millions who have visited should have commented.

That fan need to learn more (accurate) facts about comics and creators and see hard if near impossible to find images seems to have gone.  The Hooper Interviews was published a LONG time ago -Marv Wolfman, Donna Barr, Mike Western, John Cooper, Mike Cho, Francavilla and many more interviewed therein. Not a single copy has ever sold yet it is the type of book that in the days of real comic fandom we would have grabbed with both hands.

True comic book fans are now on the Red (Endangered Species) List.

Friday, 25 January 2019

UK Comics CAN Be A Reality


It seems that the only real conversations about my comic industry posts come from members of my Yahoo groups -and then rarely.  I hold out the hope that one day they will post comments on CBO itself!

I was asked whether I thought that British comics could return and sell.  The answer is "Yes".  Since the 1980s I have laid it all out for the companies that existed then and now how it could be achieved. But the problem is that the companies don't care.  They do not care about the money to be made from comics -in fact, several people at Egmont UK pointed out that there was no one there with experience in comics or comic editing and had not been for many years. The people I spoke to, including management, had not even heard of Gil Page -no big surprise.

D. C. Thomson gave up decades ago and look at the state of its current comic.  There is absolutely no reason why Thomson -and I have said this many times- could not publish comics that sell (there's a novelty) and pull in readers -and revenue. If the bosses aren't interested then nothing will happen because job-worths in the company keep quiet to make sure the pay cheques keep coming until they rertire!

Despite what you might read on the internet (mostly cribbed from my old British Comics Industry Annualo Reports and blog posts) the Small Press is not strong and growing bigger. I keep my eye on what is going on and I gather the data.  Even in the early 2000's I pointed out that the "Small Press" was not some big national movement: you are talking about local, small cliques where the only way that sales are made are through friends and friends of friends who are encouraged to buy and who want to stay in the little clique.  There are events around London but these tend to be localised and in most cities this is the case -a group in one area of town will not know the group from the next area yet, back in the 1980s to early 1990s whether you were in Inver-ness, London, Clacton, Bristol, Staffordshire -everyone knew the other Small Presser.

Look at it this way, IF the Small Press was so "huge" as claimed...where is the national convention? An over priced table at a comic/media event does not indicate any strong movement but the opposite.

So what is my plan?  Not telling.  If some financial backer comes forward then I will go over things but the caveat to that would be that I was in charge.  I have learnt my lessons and have no faith in anyone involved in the remnants of UK comics.

As noted in the past there are two possible places that serious business backers can come from and that is China or India.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk?searchTerms=UK+Comics+Looking+For+Long+Term+Investment+%28Europe%29


Thursday, 24 January 2019

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #1 | Leben und Sterben in Las Vegas | Marvel ...

Top 10 Vintage Masters of the Universe Action Figures

Let's get to the TRUTH (though no one really cares)


   I apologise in advance if this turns into a long ramble.  I know 95% of you will have no interest in this while the other 5% (or in comic figures that's officially 1.5%) will be grinding their teeth and cursing mec again because they DO NOT like this sort of thing being out in the open.

Downthetubes has posted two interesting items on sales figures of British comics:
https://downthetubes.net/?page_id=7110

and:

https://downthetubes.net/?page_id=9082

   The reader will note that it is mentioned that getting sales figures is somewhat difficult as opposed to other areas of entertainment.  The reason for this is quite simple: British comics companies were not built on honesty.

   I had several long conversations with the late Gil Page who had started out in Amalgamated Press and lasted 40+ years until Egmont took over and "pushed" him onto the golf course. I was told how there "were two ledgers -one official one that the accountants used to have a job straightening out and a white one".  I had spent 1975-1994 talking to retired former publishers as well as those still in business and I had heard of "white ledgers" as well as "ghost books" a number of times.

   I need to make a caveat here in that I will not be naming names because some of those involved are still alive and it would be unfair to put them under any deep scrutiny -we all recall the example of the excellent Wasted comic and what happened through non-declaration of sales/taxes. We are also talking about companies that hid the whereabouts of its original art storage warehouse because so much was, 'borrowed' by editors.

   I was having a conversation with Mr. TP in his office and I was asking about financial problems involved in comic publishing as I did not want to make any big "beginner mistakes" (at this time in the late 1970s my intention was to just be a publisher). Mr TP smiled and told me "Always keep a ghost in your drawer!"  Yes, I was confused since that phrase had some dubious connotations so I asked what he meant and he replied: "The ghost that will pay for the holiday or car". This went on some while until I asked if he could explain it to the idiot in plain English. He did so.

   I have written about this before so I'll summarise here. Newsagents and distributors all had little "fiddles" that everyone in the industry knew about but so long as it never had a big financial impact it was overlooked. Added to this was the fact that there could be fiddles within fiddles going on including titles never being distributed -this was still going on in the 1980s and in Bristol alone there were so many weekly comics failing to appear in parts of the city that I corresponded with companies (I still have that correspondence) who had no idea but that was in writing. Face-to-face they admitted this always happened.

   The distributors and printers also had their little fiddle. I spoke to the printers (two different ones) who used to print some of the weekly comics (and for one conversation I had two witnesses with me). I was looking at quotes and talking paper stocks and mentioned how some of the weekly comics varied in size from week-to-week.  It seems that companies wanted the cheapest printing and went for the cheapest available newsprint stock. The printer "always has a reserve of lesser quality -cheaper- paper" and this, it seems, was often substituted so that the printer made "a few pennies more". To be honest I had spoken to a number of printers and there was no hiding any of this and it was, again, taken as standard practice.  As a potential publisher at that time what was I going to do -spill the beans?  Good luck with getting a comic published if you were blacklisted by the printers union.
A snapshot of British comic sales in 1984, published in the comics fanzine Fantasy Advertiser Issue 88.
A snapshot of British comic sales in 1984, published in the comics fanzine Fantasy Advertiser no. 88.
   I was to later learn that the editorial people knew all about this.  It was quite a joke about "the necessity to increase the cover price" because this turned out to also be a fiddle -from the very top people in the company.

   Some people in the distribution trade were also "well known rogues" (criminals -yep, the United States was not alone in that) and there was no big secret.  I was told three times by editors and twice by publishers: "If you are in this business you need to know the lay of the land or you go nowhere".

   This brings us back to Mr. TP and his "ghost" and the "white books".  These could be anything from old account receipt books to note books. These showed the real money coming in and what was skimmed off before going to the legitimate accountant who put the books in order (there were claims that certain accountants knew of all the fiddles and were in on it themselves, however, accountants tend not to blab).

   Things could be arranged so that more than 1% of copies of a title were returned which was where companies saw it as "unprofitable" to continue publishing and so titles merged.  I never questioned this until I realised just how much money publishers were throwing away by cancelling because of such a low return figure. Quite by accident I discovered that the 'loss' involved would also involve a tax refund for the publisher and that the title merger also involved a well known tax dodge. When I confronted ex-editors and one retired publisher about this the publisher stated "absolutely everything was legal" and the editors?  "Not our job -that's  board room business" they all answered.

   As the law changed and artist had to have their artwork returned it was evident just how much of it had been stolen -we all know what 'borrowed' means.  John Cooper and Mike Western both told me that in a way that was probably a good thing as they were both packed out with returned work. Both -and a few other artists- pointed out that it was all work for hire and so returned work had never been envisioned.

   Basically, they got a script, drew the set (strip) and handed it over and then awaited payment. End of story.  Gil Page noted how, as a young man at Amalgamated Press he had handled the contracts and scripts as part of his job.  Everyone, it seems, was talking about "the creator of Superman" having created characters for the company and -he mentions this in my interview with him- there on the scripts and contract was the name Jerry Seigel -The spider, clearly based on American pulps was one character. The other was Gadget Man and Gimmick Kid and "I believe the Phantom Viking was another" -clearly based on Thor I was told.

   Today anyone and everyone claims to have created various characters and that is easy to do. I created Storm Force for the new Eagle comic.  You see, there was an even bigger fiddle going on when it came to creators rights.  Firstly, they did not exist until the 1980s. There were no work contracts; someone was told a new character had been created and they were the person to draw it -Mike Western refers to this in my interview with him in which he references Tom Tully's new Eagle character The Avenger (and, boy, did I have several conversations with the company about that one) and how he was given the script, had to design and then draw the character -that would, today, make him the co-creator of the character.  But back then you did the work and got paid.

   The history of Amalgamated Press -IPC- Fleetway-Odhams IPC-Maxwell Pergamon Publishing and so on is deliberately confusing. A sell off of a certain portion of the comics between Maxwell and IPC and...well, Robert Maxwell once told me "They're all crooks in comics!" (I say no more). It could have gotten quite confusing if things had panned out in the 1990s because Robert Maxwell wanted a comic book empire and his bitter rival, Rupert Murdoch wanted one (let's not get into why).  But there is a very basic problem here that is also a huge one.

   A sold the company to B who published the titles with characters used by A -in some cases there were slight or total character name changes and people often wondered what the point was because it never fooled anyone -same character, reprinted strip just different character/strip name. I shall explain that in a line or two. B then sells what A had sold it to C. Later C sells back to B after it goes out of business and D comes along and buys out B but also sells some of its characters to B -from whom they just purchased the company.

   Here is the problem. In these sell-offs the company might be sold lock, stock and barrel. In other cases titles might be sold off. Odhams, the nearest company to where I was living, had very chatty boardroom types and they told me how they had sold off their humour characters to Fleetway/IPC (behind doors both claimed they owned these characters which was farce in the extreme as until a later sell off they were almost one company) and this is important because it was the humour strips that were wanted and bought "They had no interest in the adventure characters as they said they had enough well established characters and didn't need more".

   In all of this confusion have you noted what is missing?  The insignificant aspect of the deals -the writers and artists. Don Lawrence and later Leo Baxendale blew all of this into the open with their legal cases (go look them up).  You see, the title -if registered/copyrighted and it seems that most companies decided not to bother as that cost money and once printed it was theirs and who, in that day and age was going to challenge them? - was 'theirs'.  However, the characters under the law at the time was work-for-hire so owned by the company but the laws changed long ago. here is an example.

   Billy Bunns works from home (as 95% of comic creators did) and he has this idea for a new humour strip -The Funky Ghost.  He draws up designs, might write a script or draw the first page.  He takes it to his editor, Honest Joe Con.  Con loves it -yes, the Bungo will feature the character in one page every week.  Bunns goes home and puts the strip together and completes the first ten. Eventually, it could take up to a month, he gets paid for strip #1 (you only get paid upon publication so no big advances). After two months Honest Joe decides not to continue with the strip. Three years later the company is sold and The Funky Ghost appears in a new title as The Funky Spook. Bunns gets no money or credit.

   That is how it worked but there are problems.  For one thing, Bunns created the character at home so it does not and never did belong to the comic company -he produced the strips as agreed which could be construed as work-for-hire but he did not create the character on the company premises and he never sold the character to the company.  Artists never argued -they needed the paying work and the mentality of "I created that and I own it!" never existed because "the company is the boss" (some asses still insist that is the case in 2019!!).

   Was Bunns permission sought to re-name and then reprint the The Funky ghost as The Funky Spook in another title under a different owner?  Were any of the creators -artists or writers- ever asked to approve the use of their work under a new owner? The excuse of "Under the mindset of the time" is totally irrelevant when it comes to modern law and creator rights the question is who created the character because who ever created it owns it. It is well and good to say "We purchased the company archive of characters" and announce that you are going to publish collected works or whatever, but you cannot claim ignorance of fact and law unless you are really, really stupid.

   As in most industries, but entertainment in particular, it is always the creative who gets screwed over. They need to eat and earn money so they create a game, a character or music and the company men are the ones who will make absolutely 100 percent sure that the creative has no rights and does not get rich (there are very few exceptions) because as long as the creative is hungry he'll need to come up with another money earner...for the company to profit from.

   I always wondered why Fleetway wanted two copies of a script from me -I always made three carbon copies of a script (two for the company and one for myself) which cost me re. extra paper but it was cheaper than photocopying pages -as with postage to the company that came out of my pocket. Gil Page explained to me that certain editors "got creative" and submitted invoices for scripts and money went into their pockets (another major fiddle the editors were in on). Accountants had noticed "discreprancies" after Egmont purchased Fleetway (by which time certain editors had made a lot of extra money) and it was insisted on that a script signed by the scripter (the extra copy) went to accounts to place on file and nothing was paid out unless that copy was in accounts hands.  It is how a certain editor left Egmont and I was owed £5,580 -all documented- but Egmont response was that I would have to find the editor in question as he no longer worked for them and get the money (I have that in writing, too).

   As for sales figures it was a case of cooking the books.  Before computers the tax office relied on accountants and ledgers so they only saw the figures the company bosses wanted -however high or low they wanted them to be at that time. I once asked Gil Page about 2000 AD sales figures and he told me: "We print 60,000 copies so if asked we have 'sales' of 60,000. Obviously it is nowhere near that and we usually refer to a 'cult following' if we can get away with it".  I asked another publisher (still in business so I will not name him for very obvious reasons) the same question. His reply was in front of two other people who were with me:"You read the title, right?  Your friend here gets to see it and you may let someone borrow it -that's three readers right there.  Now if we only sell, 30,000 copies that does not sound impressive but if we assume people share the issue like you then the total readership is around 90,000 which is far more impressive.  If asked about sales we might given the higher rather than the lower figure". There was a slight deviousness about the answer and the logic given might almost seem to make sense!

   So, a print run of 130,000 copies 'is' your readership.  You print 1 million copies then that is your readership figure.  Yet, as noted, many copies never even reached newsagents or made it outside of warehouses.  Alan Class noted how a thousand copies delivered to W. H. Smith warehouse never left it and when he made enquiries he learnt they had all been incinerated by the warehouse.  That was not uncommon. Also you need to add to this that claims for books lost in transit resulted in insurance money or at best a nice tax refund.  So 130,000 readership becomes a lot less.  The 1 million readers becomes far, far less and let's think about it, comics were disposable entertainment but even so it would mean (we never had mass comic burnings in the UK as in the US) there are millions of Golden Age British comics out there.

   Going by the figures given on downthetubes, 1953 saw some 3,992,397 in circulation and of those comics only a few hundred still exist?  Then if we add the Humour comics of 1953 -The Beano and The Dandy with 1 million each and Knockout, Radio and TV Fun with 1,300,000 then Micky Mouse Weekly with 523,497 and  TV Comic with 268,391 you have 4,091,888. In total, 1953 saw some 8,084,285 comics in circulation.

   I put this to someone who studies statistics and works at a university and he added in "all the variables" and told me that if a million copies of a title were produced each year -that is 52 weeks-all print runs for each title- some 100 million copies ought to be out there. He later told me that he had made an error but if the copies total was correct for each year then for 1950-2000 there would be "Many, many millions of copies still out there". The figures for 1953 and other years does prove that there really ought to be millions of old comics out there.

   The confusion comes with the official figures given because, remembering that up until the early 1960s paper was still subject to rationing, the number of titles and pages within, far exceeded what ought to be available.  He was correct about the fact that there would need to be many millions of copies of comics floating around out there and he has a point regarding paper usage.  I may have also stumbled upon the answer though there is nothing in writing.  Talk to old printers who were in business in the 1940s-1960s and you will hear a lot of stories of the poor quality paper they had to use but also how they managed to 'find some quality stock' for the right customer.  When you see the huge size of the rolls of printing paper you have to be very imaginative about how these were traded on the black market!  There also seemed to be no problem in getting hold of paper "if you knew the right person".

   And this is assuming that the companies really did print that many copies.  If you claimed to print 268,950 copies then you could claim, by your own returns figures, that you had made a loss and in comes the tax dodge. Fact and logic based on the given figures shows that there must be millions of old British comics out there from before the 1970s.  Where are they?

   There was a very good reason why most ledgers had entries written in pencil.

   What it comes down to is this: the comics industry was a very crooked business and could involve double or even triple book keeping from the boardroom right down to the distributor and newsagent. Oh, and I need to be quite clear that a number of creators were and are far from innocent in their own dealings (one in particular who I know will be reading this needs to be VERY honest about his tax returns!).

   I am not even going to cover all those people who attend every convention and 'never'  make a penny and who never declare their sales in their taxes.

   Never be in any doubt that every time you see those old stories about how great everyone was/is in the comics industry that you are hearing/reading bull-shit.  When you read those figures of how many comics were printed/sold each week as yourself where are the many millions of copies that should still be in existence because it makes no logical sense that millions upon millions have vanished leaving us with, perhaps, a few hundred in total of all the titles combined.

   Crooks in the US comic industry were amateurs.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Comic Book or Character Related Collectables are NOT A New Thing

I posted about Tom Browne yesterday and I mentioned having some of the postcards that he had illustrated so today, I took the camera out into the Hallway of Art where originals by Mike Western, John Cooper and others treat the eyes (seriously, repairmen tend to spend a lot of time looking at the art and chatting about it so not all is lost it seems!)

Anyway, here are the photos of the postcards and apologies for quality!


Lovely style and the colours on these are still bright.  I also have some other items framed in the Hallway...
To the left is Old Charlie.  This has a very interesting story behind it as Andy Grant wrote -http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page/colourful_characters-2

During the early 1900s Fenwick’s Library of 128,Western Road, Hove, offered a series of six reproduction postcards depicting Brighton Celebrities, Past and Present. One of the most fascinating characters depicted was 'Old Charlie', his coat emblazoned with an advertisement for 'Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday'. 'Old Charlie' was in reality Juiseppe (also known as Joe or Joseph) Rivera, an Italian by birth who had reportedly come to England at the age of 12.
Former street musician
Died aged 75 in 1915
Like many Italian immigrants to Brighton, he had previously been a street musician, attracting large crowds in Madeira Drive, where he played an organ with dancing dolls along its top. Many of his spectators were children, who, if they became cheeky, he would frighten off by removing his tall hat and shaking his unkempt mass of grey wiry hair at them.

In later life his pitch was located “on the roadside opposite the reservoir at the copse, on the way to the Dyke”, where he sold oranges, sweets and matches from a wicker basket. The advert for 'Ally Sloper’s half holiday' refers to a comic magazine of that name, published from 1884 until 1916, based upon Charles Ross’s earlier cartoon character, 'Ally (Alexander) Sloper'. It is reputed that Charlie Chaplin based his “Little Tramp” character upon him. Old Charlie lived at 17, John Street during the early 20th century and died penniless in the infirmary on 17th August 1915, at the age of 75.

 Ally Sloper 1915 Grand National winner -a Trading Card 1933 Player's Derby and Grand National Winners (I have two so display the back of one with the text on).

The lower colour image is Land's End, Cornwall, Dr. Syntax Rock said to resemble this Platinum Age character in profile.

I also have an Ally Sloper ceramic cream/milk jug which is over 100 years old and in unbelievable condition and cost me...£9.50!



So there you have a little glimpse of some of my collectables -the above cream jug I have been told now has a value of £60-£70 or "Between £75-95"!










Monday, 21 January 2019

Any Interest In An Update?

One of the most popular non-comic postings I did concerned my collection plastic toy cowboys (yeah that surprised me, too).  Is there any interest in an up-dated post on these?

My 60mm Crescent Mexican bandits I will admit is not a full set as I need only one figure that is being a pain to find...the one at the far right with blanket and throwing a knife.

I really do not have much in the way of Tarzan figures though there was a bit of interest in the images I did post....

Just comment "Yes" if you might be interested in the update.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Here You Go -Just What You Need To Know -Titan Books, Cinebook the 9th Art and David Gordon



I was going to make a point to someone who asked how many views a CBO review gets and shocked myself -but it proves Blogger stats are well off.

Firstly, look to the right and you will see the all time most popular posts -David Gordon was out of the top 10 for a month but has been back in no. 2 position for a while -buy his books!! It was first posted in 2011 and has had 17,814 views.

Titan Books:The Secret Service -Kinsman has never left that list and it has been there a good while -since 2014 and has received 5,042 views and I know people have purchased based on the review.

In fact, most Titan and Cinebook the 9th Art titles get a few thousand views and that is,remember,  internationally not just UK or US.

Here are the All Time Top Posts and if that does not convince you that sending books in for review (whatever country you are in) is worthwhile you need to have a re-think!

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