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Sunday, 15 March 2015

The British Comic Book Archive...Dead.

 I have to say that I really am disappointed with online British comic fandom.  It is over 14 years since I tried to establish a real British Comic Book Archive (BCBA) centred around many of the lost and forgotten publishers and creators of the British Platinum and Golden Ages.

The response was zero  The idea was shelved.

So I thought a BCBA based online might work.  I know that many members of the various Yahoo groups I was on or had set up, were collectors of UK Golden Age comics. I appealed for scans of any of the lost strips or comics.  Was that too much to ask since those I had provided had been snatched up and used by members for their own purposes -not even crediting me as the scan source but "scanner unknown.

How insulting can you be?

So I set about tracking down and buying old UK comics.  I offered scans or made them accessible through the Black Tower Golden Age collections.  I had two emails, initially, from members of two groups (not mine)  who demanded to know whether I had credited them as the scanners of certain comics?

Firstly, these people had NEVER purchased a copy of any of the collection. They were going by the fact that I had listed the title in the contents.  Secondly, they were egotistical enough to believe that only they had the single existing copy of the said titles.

I've been tracking trhis stuff down well before there was an internet let alone Yahoo groups!

Also, how do you credit someone who only uses an internet pseudonym -the legal problems from doing so could be a nightmare since anyone -ANYONE- could jump up and say "I am 'blobbyhead"!

The biggest help has come not from the UK but from people outside it.  Denis Ray from Texas, USA and Ernesto Guevara -I think from Australia.

 The problem is that, several times, I have had it made clear to me  that publishers such as Gerald Swan were of no significance.  Angry denials when criticised do not delete those group emails.

Dandy, Beano or an Amalgamated Press title or Marvel UK queries result in a good few ongoing responses. I think it easy to tell where interests lie.

What I find odd is that some of those "not interested"  are listed as downloading files I've offered and often pass the scans along as their own work or from "Scanner unknown".  I also know, because I know people who know the members in question by name and have seen their collections, that they possess titles and strips that have been requested.  They will not share.

This seems typical only of UK comic collectors.  A very small-minded attitude.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped by providing scans -or who might do so in the future- but it is now..30+ years and I do not see the BCBA ever becoming a reality.

My future books will speak for me.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Steam Man!

Sandy's Steam Man was by Joseph "Jos" Walker, of whom we have absolutely no biographical information.  He was a very competent artist and contributed to many Amalgamated Press publications including the early issues of Knockout.

From 1939-45 only Walker reprints were to be seen.  As we have no idea as to his age or private life we can only assume that he died in the early 1940s -whether on active service or not is unknown.

Sandy's Steam Man was originally billed as The Steam Man On Treasure Island when it started as a two page serial in Knockout no. 1, dated 4th March, 1939 -76 years  ago. "Sandy" was the old Scots engineer who puffed on his pipe (oo-er) but when the good ship "Shamrock"  goit wrecked on a reef the adventures started!

I apologise but I have no idea which issue this came from ((no. 2?)as I lost the notes long ago.  I do have scans so one day I'll sort that out.

Question, though: The Steam Man -a suitable character to revive?

Thursday, 5 March 2015

COULD This Decide The Fate Of UK GA Groups: Some Very Interesting Statistics

Says the man with dyscalculus.  I don't really bother with view stats but I do find them interesting because of what they reveal about people who are "interested" in comics these days.  The idea of a comic fandom is almost out-dated now and it seems as though the "can't troll then won't bother to comment at all" attitude prevails!

 What this might entail for the UK Golden Age groups/blogs should not be ignored.
Anyway, I took down figures for views of my blogs on the 7th February, 2015 and today is almost a month so let's see.

British Golden Age Comics
7/2:     9,277        22/2: 9,669         24/2:  9,861      27/2: 9964        4/3: 10,009

UK GA Comics
7/2:   408            22/2:  549           24/2:  585          27/2: 642          4/3: 665

T Hooper-S/BTCB
7/2:  3,575         22/2:  3,754        24/2: 3,831       27/2: 3,873       4/3: 3,892

Anomalous Observational Phenomena

7/2: 22,502      22/2:  23,090       24/2: 23,421    27/2: 23,628     4/3:  23,788

Maakika Art

7/2:  890          22/2: 932             24/2: 961          27/2:  969          4/3: 977

Black Tower Comics & Books

7/2:   NA          22/2:   10,628      24/2:  NA         27/2: 10,946      4/3: 10,974

Alan Class

7/2:  9,918      22/2: NA             24/2: 10,010      27/2:  10,047    4/3: 10,087

One thing you'll note is the odd "NA" and this is down to the fact that numbers are so jumbled to me that I thought I had noted view figures on those dates but had not!  Still, it does not affect the total overview.

It is important for the point that I am about to make so I need to note that all postings on Google+ have received (as of 4th March)  1,236,739.

I am not including CBO views for the incredible number of views posting have gotten on other sites via "spiders" and what not.   

That is.....1,286,157 and from all those view there have been 5 comments

Seriously. That is one hell of an awful statistic -not eve a "fun posting!"  or "Really enjoyed that!"  or even a "Thanks for promoting my book!"   The total lack of wanting to even say "I'd like to read more about this" while, obviously, reading postings and, yes, downloading items (I can see how many pieces of art are downloaded and THAT is why they are never high resolution!).

Don't you think Ben R. Dilworth or Stransky & Labbat might be interested in what you thought of their strip-work/illoes posted on CBO?  

In fact, that brings me to the comments I mentioned.  One was positive regarding the Ultimate British Golden Age Collection but two complained (sort of) that Slicksure was not drawn the same way as he was in the afore mentioned collection.  Well, d'uh!  Slicksure in the 1940s was drawn by Harry E. Banger (pronounced  as in "Ranger") who was, primarily, a humour strip artist.  The 2014 version remained true to the Banger style Slicksure but was NOT drawn by Banger.  Still made me chuckle out loud.

Black Tower does NOT alter or "modernise" or "reboot" Golden Age UK characters. We stay true to the characters and I think any artist who has worked with me ore drawn these characters for me, will tell you I am on any negative change like an avalanche of bricks.  But Ben Dilworth, Stransky & Labbat seem to have immediately understood the characters and what they are about.

On CBO the comments are usually continued conversations between myself and..."the four usual suspects".  That means the "comments" count is higher even though they are part of drawn out internet chat!  Exclude those and CBO is in the same position.

WHY do people visiting the blogs never comment?  Yes, we have a VERY large overseas audience where English is not the first language but we are in the age of Google Translate and even if someone does not use online translation, if the English is not great, I don't care.  That they took the effort means far more that how it is written.

In the pre-internet age (yes, the internet ruined a great deal) we had LOCs or letters of comment. I used to get them all the time from Russia, Poland the old Czechoslovakia, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland (I still get fan mail from there!) and so on.  Now you do not even have to go to the post office to send a written letter -you just type and send -and that is too much??
But these stats show that the UK Golden Age blog, despite having some content different to the British Golden Age blog, gets far fewer views.  Is just one such blog all the internet fandom can take or does it show there is little interest?
The 10,0009 views show that there must be some interest.   But comments are so rare that I think it far more likely that I'll find a copy of William A. Ward's The Bat today.  
Why?  Are people looking and thinking "crap!" -do they like seeing the old strips (I know certain people download them and pass them off as "scanner unknown"!) but I am not interested in that.  Snide people like that are just trying to score points and get all the thanks.
Do visitors NOT like the GA strips?
Do visitors not like the new strips featuring GA characters?
Are people just hoping to find downloads (it'll never happen)?
Am I merely wasting my time?  Am I the only one passionate about the old creators/creation??  Surely not!
But you may ask WHY two GA blogs?  Simple.  I found that there are two search results for two different search terms.  "UK Golden Age comics" produces different results -initially (even now it seems) the British Golden Age Comics blog never showed.  But search "British Golden Age Comics" and you get a lot of things NOT relating to UK published comics.
So, one search term does draw people to UK GA comics and another to BGACs.  So they filter through eventually.  I know it sounds convoluted but this is the net!  It is also why content can vary.
Close UKGACs since it gets fewer views and just leave a re-direct message on the home page?  Who knows -I've not decided yet and being honest I have to say I'm in a mind to just not update them.  We'll see.

I was not joking when I wrote fandom was dead.  And now not even a Bristol comic event to go to and talk to comic folk!

Retirement is looking like a nicer prospect every day.  

One thing that has never changed: I still love comics!


Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Request

Hello, All!
  In my ongoing quest to run into a brick wall as many times as That's not right.  In my ongoing quest to find out more about obscure UK comic creators of the past I have needed my nose and teeth fixed several times.....oh, there, see -THAT is where I should have typed "running into brick walls" but the moment has gone!
  Anyway, being far more serious: I have looked and dug around the internet and written letters far and wide but still have not been able to find photographs of most of these creators.
 Gerald Swan and Denis M. Reader you might think had photos taken by someone -apparently, Denis Gifford thought it was "a bit impolite" to ask if he might take a photograph (oh, Denis!!) and Jock McCail and his brother, William A. Ward Harry Banger -you'd think family at least might have a page or online images. Nothing.
 Now I know that there are quite a few knowledgeable comickers out there with all sorts of journals, books, etc.  So, my big request is this: if you have any photographs of these people or others who worked for Swan -even if only "cartoon portraits" could you please get in touch or pass the word around?
 My sincere THANKS to anyone who can help!