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Saturday, 29 February 2020

Seriously -A Few Words And The Search Continues

Something I have come across quite a lot over the years is the snide little attacks on UK comic historians.  I have seen this carried out against Denis Gifford a great deal by so called "comic historians" who also tend to use a lot of the material and work carried out and published by Gifford.  

Gifford has been described as "acting like a little child" where comics were involved. He was passionate about the subject and loved comics and he often described himself as a "kid that never grew up".  But certain people, some working in what comic industry we used to have, like to add a twist which, obviously, Gifford cannot respond to. 

In a book "Gifford gave" the year of Roland Davies' birth as "1909" and the fact can be "easily checked" to show it was 1904. Oh, how bad a researcher Gifford was. In fact, on every other occasion before and after he stated 1904. As these twisters obviously have no real experience in publishing (if they have then that fact reveals their personal agendas): the "1909" date was a miss-print. It was spotted after the book was published.  Now, as a publisher I can easily make the correction these days and upload the corrected Ms for printing.  In the old days this was all type set printing.  Scrap an entire print run to make a one digit correction?  Get real.

If you have any real interest in British comics history then there are two people -the founders of British comics history without question- we all owe a debt to: Denis Gifford and Alan Clark.  These men met with the artists, writers and editors as well as publishers of comics and they did not get onto the internet to copy and paste or even copy someone else's work: they did the leg work.  

For many years I was often the butt of jokes or snide remarks because I was looking at "insignificant" and "piss poor dreg" publishers. The only comics from the 1940s I was told repeatedly, were those from D. C. Thomson and the Amalgamated Press -major interest placed on The Dandy and The Beano.  

Before Yahoo totally wiped out its groups my British Comic Book Archives and Brit comics (set up in 2003/2004) contained hundreds of files and well over 5000  images, many rare or unseen before. The responses to finding the rarer images? Well, "So what?".  Yet, posts from this blog have been copied and pasted onto everything from other blogs (with slight changes) to "Wikis".  Almost all images I use I place something on to identify the source -me.  Whole strips have been snatched and uploaded with the note "original scanner unknown" -this was done by people who were members of my groups and knew where the scans came from.  I note in the last year others have started correcting the record -thank you.

I recommend that anyone with an interest in British comics history get a hold of books by Clark and Gifford -preferably later editions as I have had people ask why I wrote something when "Giffords book says---" and it turns out they have early editions.  Rather like all research that involving comics is an ongoing thing. 

I would very much like to get a photograph of publisher Gerald Swan or Edgar Banger or William or John "Jock" McCail or other Platinum/Golden and Silver ages creators. After 30 years I am no closer to finding Purple Hood artist Michael Jay or the series writer Gerald Wood.  I'm not going to give up yet and William A. Ward is also on my list along with Nat Brand, Frank Jupo, Dennis M. Reader or Samuel Assael (John Spencer).

The work goes on and on and a few times I have (and still do) resisted the call to produce a publication covering the subject.  I seriously doubt there is that much interest -especially since a few years back on my Yahoo groups and blogs I asked if there was interest and received not a single response!

But, if you have any idea how to contact the families of any of those named above or personal anecdotes or information please get in touch either via Comments, or via Messenger on the British Golden Age Comics Face Book page -

Thank You

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