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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 23 May 2018.

2000AD Prog 2082
Cover: Jimmy Broxton
JUDGE DREDD: THE PARADIGM SHIFT by Michael Carroll (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SKIP TRACER: HEAVY IS THE HEAD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)
SURVIVAL GEEKS: GEEK-CON by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
DURHAM RED: BORN BAD by Alec Worley (w) Ben Willsher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Space Ace volume 10

After a couple of issues running longer stories, the latest issue of Space Ace (#10, released May 2018) returns to its original format as an anthology of shorter yarns, but with the added bonus of an extra four pages to fit them in alongside an article and the usual letters' page.

As with one of his earlier volumes, editor John Lawrence has made some minor alterations which rescue parts of a less-than-stellar story and incorporate it into another tale where the original limited page count squeezed out any tension. I have to say that the join is invisible, thanks in part to John Ridgway's colouring, which blends the whole story together seamlessly. That Space Ace and Sergeant Bill Crag (our heroes) have to actually work to achieve the story's solution rather than to simply stumble into it makes for a far more satisfying narrative. The plot, incidentally, revolves around a stolen space freighter and how the Space Patrol team, abandoned on a battle-damaged space station, find a way to first get themselves to safety before their oxygen runs out, and second to recapture the space freighter.

In 'Space Ace and the Menace from Minos', a recently-joined member of the Intergalactic Federation of Planets is attacked by a neighbour and Space Ace and Bill have to resolve a multitude of problems – from attacking a space ship to shutting down a powerful drill and preventing a submarine attack – before they can save the day.

'Space Ace and the Asteroid' opens with another planet of the Federation going strangely silent. Our heroes find the population unconscious through a nerve agent; the attackers are an alien race looking for a generator that can stimulate growth on the alien's barren homeworld. The earthmen are blasted towards an asteroid moon of the planet, only to discover it is hollow, and home to a race that has been sleeping for 2,000 years.

The final story involves a stranded exploration ship, trapped on a planet whose sun is about to go supernova. The ship has been sabotaged and Space Ace and Bill head off for Mekar to obtain a rescue ship to save Mondar, ruler of Mekar, and his 150 crewmen trapped on Raxor. Unknown to them, their presence is already known to the Mekarons behind the plot.

Editor Lawrence has also penned an interesting history of the Nick Hazard strip, also drawn by Ron Turner, and how his demise led to the publication of Space Ace.

You can get hold of this latest volume for £8.95 (UK) or £12.50 (Europe) and £14.50 (International) including p&p — and that's pretty much at cost, I can assure you — with payments through Paypal via spaceace.54 AT or by cheque or postal order to John Lawrence, 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Beds. LU5 4RB

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Frank E Wiles

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Frank E. Wiles was a minor illustrator of children’s books, in particular girls’ school stories, although he was perhaps best-known as a painter and for his occasional illustrations in The Strand Magazine between 1912 and 1915 and 1926 to 1931.

Born in Cambridge on 11 September 1881 (and christened Francis Edmund Wiles), he came from an artistic family. His grandfather, John Wiles (1812-1908) was a stonemason who established a company in Cambridge, specializing in gravestones and monuments. His father, Henry Wiles (1838-1930) was a well-known sculptor, who had been educated at the Perse School in Cambridge and who, in 1869, had won a travelling scholarship from the Royal Academy, which he used to study in Rome and Naples. After returning to England he set up a studio in London, where he and his wife Mary Ann (née Harper), whom he had married in Cambridge in 1868, had the first five of their nine children: Clara (1870, Ruth (1872), John (1873), Walter (1875), and Mary (1876). They then returned to Cambridge, and had a further four children: Gilbert (1880, Francis (1881), Bernard (1883), and Rosina (1884).

At the time of the 1881 census the family was living at 11 Brunswick Walk, Cambridge, with Henry working as a sculptor and drawing teacher. (One of his pupils was C.E. Brock, who became a prolific illustrator between 1890 and 1930). Ten years later, the family was at 7 North Terrace, Cambridge, with Henry recorded as a sculptor and a Baptist Minister.

Francis Edmund Wiles studied at the Cambridge School of Art between 1897 and 1903. He was one of the best students of his generation, winning numerous prizes in a variety of artistic disciplines. As a professional artist, much of his early work was portraiture, but by 1905 he was also working as an illustrator, contributing to Cassell’s Magazine, and, later on, to Everybody’s Weekly, Printers’ Pie, Black and White, and, most notably, The Strand Magazine, beginning in 1912. In that year he also exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy of Arts, continuing to do so regularly until 1930. In 1909, he had been one of many artists (who included Lewis Baumer, Walter Crane and Edmund J. Sullivan) who had produced black and white advertisements for Selfridge’s, announcing the opening of its store in Oxford Street. (He later produced advertising posters for companies such as Raleigh (cycles) in the 1920s and Nestlé in the 1930s).

He had also, by this time, illustrated a handful of books, including one of Percy F. Westerman’s historical adventure stories, and two girls’ school stories by Angela Brazil and Olivia Fowell. These, and all his subsequent books, were published by Blackie & Son, and he was not to work for any other book publisher.

By 1911 Wiles had moved to London, living with his brother John (a designer) and his family at 37 Erpington Road, Putney. Om 4 June 1914, having moved to 9 Castlenau Mansions, Barnes, he married Mabel Spencer Troughton (born on 1 February 1883, the daughter of Walter Troughton, a journalist) at Christ Church, Mortlake, Surrey. They went on to gave two children: Janet Rosina, born in 1921, and Richard Francis, born in 1925.

In September 1914, Wiles was asked to illustrate Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Valley of Fear, a nine-part Sherlock Holmes story which ran until May 1915. Wiles went on to produce 31 black and white illustrations for the story, and in doing so depicted Holmes almost as exactly as Doyle had imagined him. The first illustration was a portrait of Holmes, with receding hairline, aquiline nose, jutting chin, and smoking a straight-handled pipe, studying a piece of paper filled with numbers and words. (This appeared first, in black and white, in a pronouncement for the story in the issue before the opening instalment, and was repeated, this time as a full-page colour illustration, alongside the first installment, as well as on the magazine’s cover). When The Strand Magazine folded in 1949, a small colour print of this illustration was found in the magazine’s archives, with a note in Arthur Conan Doyle’s handwriting on the back which read “This comes nearest to my conception of what Holmes really looks like.” (Daily Express, 14 December 1949).

During the First World War Wiles joined the Army Service Corps (later the Royal Army Service Corps), serving with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, and ending up with the rank of Captain.

It is not clear what he did after the War. He sporadically continued to illustrate books for Blackie & Son, with his work appearing not just in novels but also in annuals such as Blackie’s Girls’ Annual, A Real Girl’s Book and The Boys’ Budget. In 1924 he provided illustrations for The London Magazine and Pearson’s Magazine, and in 1926 he returned to illustrating stories in The Strand Magazine.

At the time of the 1939 Register he was living at 72 Stanley Road, Barnes, Surrey, described as an “artist, painter and illustrator”. In the late 1940s he moved to South Africa, where his brother Walter Gilbert Wiles had been working as a professional artist since 1915. He began to work as a portrait painter, and received commissions from the governors and prime ministers of Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. He became a member of the South African Society of Artists, exhibiting in the Society’s annual exhibitions in 1947, 1848, 1949 and 1950. He died in Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape, in 1963.

Of his three brothers, two, Walter and Bernard, became artists. Walter was the most successful – he moved to South Africa with his father in 1902, and worked briefly as a lecturer in art  before taking up art professionally (after a brief dalliance with ostrich farming). He was founder-member of the Eastern Province Society of Arts and Crafts and later the South African Society of Artists, exhibiting widely. He specialized in landscapes and coastal scenes, painted in oils. His last solo exhibition was in 1942, and he died in 1966.

Bernard Harper Wiles became an official war artist during the First World War, and later travelled widely throughout the Middle and Far East, working as an artist, before returning to England and settling in Norfolk, where he became a fruit grower. He died in Norwich in 1966.


Books illustrated by Frank E. Wiles
A New England Maid: A Tale of the American Rebellion by Eliza Francis Pollard, Blackie & Son, 1911
The Quest of the Golden Hope: A Seventeenth Story of Adventure by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1912
Stella Maris by William John Locke, John Lane, 1912
A Fourth Form Friendship by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1912
The Doings of Dorothea: A School Tale by Olivia Fowell, Blackie & Son, 1912
Twin Sisters: An Irish Tale by Rosa Mulholland, Blackie & Son, 1912
Margery Dawe by Katharine Tynan, Blackie & Son, 1916
Mother and Dad and the Rest of Us by Archie Fairfax, Blackie & Son, 1920
The Princess of the School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1921
The First Fifth Form by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1926
The Small Sixth Form by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1927
Milly in the Fifth by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1928
St. Catherine’s College by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1929
Ensign Lydia Gaff by Violet M. Methley, Blackie & Son, 1930
The Little Green School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1931
Emma by Jane Austen, Blackie & Son, 1932 (re-issue)
Jean’s Golden Term by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1934

Wiles’s illustrations from The Strand Magazine were also reprinted in several collections of Sherlock Holmes stories.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Comic Cuts - 18 May 2018

I had an e-mail during the week that gave me a bit of a lift: someone from a library in the US asking how they should classify my Forgotten Authors books... as a completed series or one that's ongoing. Well, as I have no plans to stop at three and am a large chunk into volume four, I can happily confirm that it's ongoing.

I'm still... still!... writing about W. N. Willis. Last time I mentioned him I was struggling my way through some of the dozens of court cases he managed to get himself involved in. The big problem I had was that reports of each trial were picked up by a huge number of local papers, but it might take a week or two for the same news to filter through, so every search I did would bring up hundreds of hits, but if you tried to follow the story chronologically, it was often impossible as reports appearing in one area might be one or two weeks behind reports appearing in another.

The solution was to choose a couple of good sources and rely on them for the full story. I've downloaded 434 newspaper clippings at the last count (I've read a lot more than I've downloaded!) and the essay has over 100 footnotes because I'm determined to make sure I get everything straight, first in my head and then on paper. I've had to divide the essay up into chapters, with each chapter containing a number of sub-sections which will hopefully make reading easier and so I can refer back to text. The damn thing is going to look like a Choose-Your-Own Adventure by the time I've finished. The current word count is over 28,000 and I still have blackmail, a stabbing and a malicious prosecution to write up.

We were out on Tuesday to see Tim Key who started his tour this year at Colchester Arts Centre. Megadate. It was superb, from start to finish... indeed, from pre-start because Key prowled around the stage and amongst the audience ahead of the show starting, smiling, winking, indulging in a little conversation. He was off the stage when the show began, the ring of a bicycle bell signalling the show's start. A soundtrack kicked in that was to run the whole length of the show, Key describing to the audience the events of a bizarre blind date in London that took in Madame Tussauds, bowling, the Shard, the Planetarium...

Conversational tones give way to shouting and return again to conversation. He leaves the stage and a brief film plays before Key returns to banter and hector the audience with more of his paranoid yarn. Will she... won't she... return his texts? Will he find his lost credit card? Discovering the answers is pure pleasure. His discipline is astonishing, the narrative intercut as he plucks cards from a pack, each of them a poem that will end up strewn on the floor.

When you say that you've seen a comedian perform... well, this truly is a performance. It might even be art.

American TV networks are in the process of announcing which shows they will be renewing for another season and which shows are coming to an end. The results aren't looking so good for genre shows that I have quite enjoyed.

The big loss might be The Expanse, coming to a close after three seasons, although there's a chance that it might survive as it is independently produced and shown on SyFy. Another broadcaster might pick it up. I've yet to see Season 3, but the first two seasons were a solid attempt at grand scale space opera and had remained faithful to the books.

I'm hoping that someone might step in and save Hap and Leonard, which has been a favourite of mine for three seasons. Come on Netflix / Amazon Prime – if you're going to save just one... no, two shows, make it The Expanse and Hap and Leonard.

Some shows (like The Americans) were due to end, so there was no surprise that they weren't renewed, and a few others have already been announced (Dirk Gently, Dark Matter, The Mist, Jean-Claude Van Johnson).

Other fallers include The Crossing (which I have yet to watch), Designated Survivor (I enjoyed Season 1 but have yet to watch Season 2), Quantico (which was very silly but I quite enjoyed the first season, but have yet to catch up with seasons 2 and 3) and Lucifer (both Mel and I liked the first season, but we came to it quite late and haven't had time to watch the other two). There is a #savelucifer campaign, but I gather that the series wraps up nicely, only to have a huge cliffhanger drop right at the end. Who knows what will happen... after all, Fox cancelled the comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and it was immediately snapped up by NBC.

I've only seen one season of the latter, which I thought was OK. Ditto Veep, which has also just been cancelled. I've only seen one out of seven seasons due to my reliance on box sets turning up in charity shops for a lot of my American TV viewing. For instance, I picked up the first season of Revolution on Saturday, a post-apocalypse actioner produced by J J Abrams' Bad Robot which seems to have been generally positively received. I have a bunch of other post-apocalypse / post-alien invasion shows to work through before I get to this one (Falling Skies, Colony, Defiance), but as it only cost £3 for five discs it was too good to turn down. This is my argument for owning about 200 DVDs that I haven't had a chance to watch.

One cancellation I can understand is Marvel's Inhumans, which we watched without a huge amount of enthusiasm. When your two lead characters have almost unstoppable powers you should write a show that shows them off. Sadly Inhumans chose the "kryptonite" route, making Black Bolt (whose voice can shatter worlds) dumb and giving Medusa (the redhead above who can control and move her hair) a haircut. So with two lead characters neutered of their powers, and a bunch of miserable second-raters in tow, that left a giant CGI dog as the only thing worth watching. Or not watching, which was the option most people chose.

X-Files won't be making another comeback. Probably not a surprise as there were only a handful of good episodes spread over the two seasons of its return and still no resolution to Mulder's quest.

I've also learned that Gotham, one of the best shows on TV of the past few years, is to end after season five. This Batman prequel was always going to have a shelf life as Bruce Wayne actor David Mazouz was 13 when he started and will be 18 when it ends. The show has lived up to its name and not been wholly about Batman. The two main characters are police detective James Gordon and the rise through the criminal ranks of The Penguin from sidekick to crimelord. Other characters weave in and out of their storylines, with not one of them a misstep. We're watching season four at the moment and it is still funny, shocking and surprising.

One I'll be happy to see return is Happy!, which is a blackly humourous, bloodily violent and utterly barking show about an ex-cop looking for the daughter he was previously unaware of before she was kidnapped. I didn't realise that it was based on a graphic novel by Grant Morrison & Darick Robertson, which I'll now have to look out for. That explains why the plot is so off the wall while the violence is sprayed right up the wall. There's a bizarre fantasy twist: the daughter's invisible friend, a flying blue unicorn named Happy, is sent to find her father and lead him back to rescue her. This will not be everyone's cup of tea. Something happens in the first 30 or so seconds... if you don't find it funny, the show's not for you.

No book covers this week, but if you scroll down I've posted a few more comedy flyers that I've picked up over the past couple of years. Things will be back to normal next week, hopefully. Instead, here's a picture of the shortest diversion ever:


Comedy Flyers (3)


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Commando 5123-5126

Brand new Commando issues are published today! Hunt ‘wolf warriors’ with our Convict Commandos, infiltrate a POW camp full of bloodthirsty Nazi fanatics, team up with Italian partisans in the Adriatic, and take out an invading kriegsmarine crew on a remote Scottish island — it’s all in a day’s work for our Commandos!

5123: Convict Commandos: Wolf Warriors
The Convict Commandos are back! Join Guy, Titch, Smiler, Mallory and Jelly for their latest adventure. Tracking down Nazi super soldiers known as the ‘wolf warriors’, Guy and his gang must cross the Lundendorff Bridge and march straight into enemy territory, luring the warriors out by using themselves as bait!
    Alan Hebden’s latest instalment in his fan-favourite Convict Commando series does not disappoint! Flick through the pages of Manuel Benet’s masterful artwork and feel part of the adventure.

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

5124: Under the Wire
British Lieutenant Pete Smith had a plan: he would don the stolen uniform of an SS soldier, speak like a Nazi, and infiltrate a German POW camp in an effort to prevent a break out. The only problem was SS Captain Gustav Siegel, who had marked Pete for revenge and happened to be trapped with alongside him behind the barbed wire fence of the camp. Maybe Pete would need help escaping after all…
    Penalva’s bold cover uses thick slabs of colour on a blood-red background, readying any reader to Allan and Alonso’s adrenaline packed issue inside!

Story: Allan
Art: Alonso
Cover: Penalva
Originally Commando No. 460 (February 1970). Reprinted No. 1295 (February 1979).

5125: E-Boat Strike!
After the Allies invaded Italy in 1943, the majestic waters of the Adriatic Sea were some of the most dangerous in the world. Crawling with Italian MAS boats, now faster and deadlier than they when the terrorised the Austro-Hungarian Navy in World War One, the only thing worse in the water was the lethal German E-boats that lurked like vultures, waiting to pick off their prey…
    Jeff Anderson’s debut issue shows off his expert artwork and eye for detail, kicking off an explosive career with Commando. Paired with a story by former editor George Low and seasoned cover artist Janek Matysiak, this issue is an asset to any collection.

Story: George Low
Art: Jeff Anderson
Cover: Janek Matysiak

5126: Home Guard Hero
When a Nazi U-boat invades the small island of Beagsay in Scotland, the townsfolk’s only hope of rescue is in Alec Fraser’s Home Guard squad. After the rest of the platoon leave the island for a training exercise, Alec is left with only the dregs of military support: seventeen year olds Iain Bissett and David Macaskell, and sexagenarian fishermen Jock and Hamish McColl. But when push came to shove they’d show the Nazis that they came to the wrong island!
    If ‘Dad’s Army’ was cranked up to ten, it would be Burden’s ‘Home Guard Hero’. With the stakes higher than ever, the cruelty of the Nazi CO is written all over Gordon C Livingstone’s interior artwork, while Ian Kennedy’s cover centres on our brave Tommy hero defending the island he holds so dear.

Story: Burden
Art: Gordon C Livingstone
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2791 (September 1994).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 16-17 May 2018.

2000AD Prog 2081
Cover: Carlos Ezquerra
JUDGE DREDD: THE CHOSEN ONE by Rory McConville (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: THE GANGBUSTERS by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SKIP TRACER: HEAVY IS THE HEAD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)
THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
STRONTIUM DOG: THE SON by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 396
Cover: John Higgins
JUDGE DREDD: THIS CORROSION by Michael Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer  (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
CHOPPER: WANDERING SOUL by David Baillie (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Len O'Grady, Brendan McCarthy (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
CURSED EARTH KOBURN: THE LAW OF THE CURSED EARTH by Rory McConville (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Simon Bowland (l)
DREDD: THE DEAD WORLD by Arthur Wyatt, Alex De Campi (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Features: Razorjack, Judges: Avalanche, interview with Mark Russell
Bagged reprint: JUDGE DREDD: BLOCK JUDGE by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a)  Annie Parkhouse (l)

Charley's War: The Definitive Collection, Volume 2 by Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08620-9, 17 May 2018, 320pp, £19.99 / $26.99. Available via Amazon.
Injured in The Battle of the Somme, Charley returns to wartime London and meets a deserter from the French Foreign Legion, Blue, who tells of his brutal experiences of the Battle of Verdun. All too soon Charley returns to the front line at Ypres where the threat from the German army is matched only by the inhumanity of his superiors! In the face of suffering and injustice, seeds of mutiny begin to grow among the ranks… This second volume of Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun’s masterpiece continues to tell the story of an ordinary soldier’s experiences in World War One, including the vibrant re-mastered colour pages from the original comic.

The Ballad of Halo Jones Volume One by Alan Moore & Ian Gibson
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08635-3, 17 May 2018, 68pp, £9.99 / $9.99. Available via Amazon.
The first true feminist character in British comics, Alan Moore and Ian Gibon’s space opera Halo Jones has been lovingly coloured for the very first time in a new three-volume series. With the first volume on sale in May, the expertly remastered artwork has been coloured by breakout talent Barbara Nosenzo for a brand-new prestige format series collecting the utterly compelling and groundbreakingly ambitious classic. Despite inspiring countless readers over almost four decades, this new series aims to introduce Halo to a new generation who will be enthralled by this down-to-earth ‘everywoman’ and the extraordinary tale of her life. Bored, frustrated and unemployed, Halo yearns to escape for a better life away from ‘The Hoop’, the 50th-century housing estate floating off the island of Manhatten. Pledging to escape on a fantastic voyage, she sets in motion unimaginable events that will send shockwaves throughout her life - a spell on a luxury space-liner, a brush with an interstellar war. Halo will face hardship and adventure in the name of freedom in a limitless cosmos. This galaxy-spanning story - comics’ first bona fide feminist space opera - was the first true epic from one of the greatest comic book writers of all time, which can easily sit alongside Watchmen and V for Vendetta.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Three Musketeers: The Complete Adventures

I'm very pleased to say that Book Palace Books have just published The Three Musketeers: The Complete Adventures. This is a project Geoff West and I discussed back in 2009, while I was working on The Thriller Libraries index, which came out the following year.

Unfortunately, it remained nothing more than a pipe dream, even though the book was all but completed – we had access to a nice run of the comics in excellent condition and even to some of the original artwork, so we had a set of scanned and cleaned up art. I had a hankering for writing up the story of the Man in the Iron Mask – the original historical figure made famous by Alexandre Dumas – but after weeks of intense research and about 20,000 words written, I simply had to give up as I needed to work on other things. I'm not sure I could easily pick up the threads now, so it may never be complete. (I did, however, write a booklet about another man in another iron mask, which I did complete... available here for those of you curious enough to click!)

On a happier note, a more sensible-length introduction and an essay on the artist, Arturo Del Castillo, were written and we had all the elements we needed for a book. The opportunity to finally publish emerged a couple of months ago... and we grabbed the chance with both hands. You can now get hold of a copy either directly from Book Palace or via Amazon.

The artwork by Arturo Del Castillo is astonishing. The fact that we were able to reprint some of his original art boards makes this a must-have for any fan.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

D H Friston

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

D.H. Friston was a painter and illustrator best-known for being the first artist to portray Sherlock Holmes, in 1887. He also illustrated a variety of books, mainly children’s adventure and religious stories, and re-issues of classic novels for the publisher John Dicks.

He was born on 18 December 1821 (and not 1820 as most other sources suggest), and baptized, as David Henry Friston, at the Holy Trinity Church, Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire (now known simply as Hull), on 11 October 1825. His parents were David Friston (1795-1839), a mariner, and Hannah, née Ball (1787-1863), both from Kingston-upon-Hull. David was the third of their three children, his siblings being Richard (born in 1818) and Samuel (1820).

On 10 March 1840 Friston married Harriett Malone at St. Mary’s Church, Sculcoates (a village just outside Kingston-upon-Hull). They both gave their age as 21, although it is known that Friston was younger than this – presumably this was to avoid having to obtain parental consent for the marriage. All that is known about Harriett’s age is that she was baptized on 14 September 1819, so she may or may not have been 21 at the time of the marriage.

Friston was already working as a painter – this was his profession shown on the marriage record, and in the 1841 census he was recorded as a painter, living at Edgar Street, Kingston-upon-Hull, along with his wife and a daughter, Harriett. She had been christened Harriett Malone in Beverley on 25 July 1836, with no father named.

Friston and his wife went on to have seven children: Hannah and Elizabeth (born in Kingston-upon-Hull in 1841 and 1844), Emma (born in Caistor, Lincolnshire in 1846, and christened in Market Rasen, Yorkshire, in 1846), Richard, William and Albert (born in 1848, 1850 and 1852 respectively in London), and Eva, born in Sculcoates in 1853).

The children’s birthdates suggest that Friston moved to London in around 1847. By the time of the 1851 census, he was living at 43 Augustus Street, Regent’s Park, described as a Historical Painter. His artistic career had, up till then, been fairly low-key, but in 1853 he exhibited his first painting at the Royal Academy of Art, and he went on to exhibit there a further 13 times up until 1869 (although he never became a member of the Academy). In 1853 he exhibited at the British Institution, again going on to exhibit there regularly until 1867. He also exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists in 1863. He illustrated his first book in 1855, although he didn’t become a regular book illustrator until 1860, when he began a long association with Groombridge & Sons, of 5 Paternoster Row.

His wife Harriett died in Greenwich in 1854, and a year later, on 4 July 1855, he married Ann King at St. Pancras Parish Chapel. At the time, they were both living at 34 Stanhope Street, Regent’s Park. She died in the second quarter of 1859, and a few months later, on 31 October 1859, at St. Matthew’s Church, St. Pancras, Friston married Ann Hughes, born in Frodsham, Cheshire, in 1826, the daughter of Timothy Hughes, a ship’s carpenter. They went on to have three children: Anthony (born in 1861), Ann (1862), and Marshall (1863).

In May 1860 Friston began illustrating Groombridge & Sons’ newly-lunched Magnet Stories for Summer Days and Winter Nights – this was a monthly publication containing a long short story, issues of which were then collected into bound volumes and also issued separately as hardbacks. Authors included W.H.G. Kingston, Mrs S.C. Hall, Frances Freeling Broderip and Charlotte M. Yonge. Many of his drawings were engraved by Edward Whymper. He signed his work either “D H Friston” or “D H F”.

In 1863 he began contributing illustrations to periodicals, beginning with The Churchman’s Family Magazine. In 1866 he began contributing to The Illustrated Times, followed by Tinsley’s Magazine and, most notably, The Illustrated London News, for which he drew numerous theatrical scenes from contemporary stage productions – plays, operas and pantomimes, including many by Gilbert and Sullivan – for a period of at least ten years. Other periodicals which used his work in the 1860s and 1870s were London Society, Belgravia, The Dark Blue (for which he illustrated Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire story “Carmilla” in 1871-72), The Penny Illustrated Paper, Bow Bells (to which he contributed for over 15 years), The Boy’s Herald, The Boy’s Own Paper (for which he illustrated two serials, both by T.S. Millington, in 1879-80), and The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News.

His work also appeared in various Christmas annuals, including The Belgravia Annual, Beeton’s Christmas Annual, Routledge’s Christmas Annual, The Mistletoe Bough: A New Christmas Annual, and The Christian Million.

In 1863 was recorded living at 7A Pembroke Terrace, St. John’s Wood, and when he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1869 his address was given as 71 Judd Street, St. Pancras. In the 1871 census he was recorded at 29 Great Ormond Street. There appears to be no trace of him, or his family, in the 1881 census.

As well as his work for periodicals, he continued to illustrate books. These included the works of John Bunyan for Cassell, Petter & Galpin, and several boys’ adventure stories, by authors such as Emilia Marryatt, Augusta Marryatt, W.H.G. Kingston and Emma Leslie. For some years he was associated with the publishing firm of John Dicks, with his illustrations appearing in several titles issued in Dicks’ English Novels, Dicks’ English Library of Standard Works, Dicks’ Standard plays and Bow Bells Novelettes.

In 1887 he was commissioned by Ward, Lock & Co. to illustrate Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes story, “A Study in Scarlet’” which appeared in that year’s Beeton’s Christmas Annual. Friston had previously illustrated four of Doyle’s earlier stories in Christmas numbers of London Society: “The Little Square Box” and “The Gully of Bluemansdyke” in 1881; My Friend the Murderer” in 1882, and “Elias B. Hopkins – The Parson of Jackman’s Gulch” in 1885. Friston provided four drawings for “A Study in Scarlet”, and while there was no criticism of his work at the time, in later years his portrayal of Holmes was regarded with disdain. In 1932 The Bookman noted that Friston’s Holmes
is neither handsome nor intellectual; he wears undertaker’s side-whiskers, an ulster with a cape, and a hat like nothing on sea or land – a sort of bastard child of a bowler out of a sombrero. With a magnifying glass as big as a sunflower, he is examining the word RACHE written in blood upon the wall. About him, in grotesque attitudes, stand Watson – with a walrus’s moustache – and the Scotland Yarders, Gregson and Lestrade. Mr Friston seems to have thought that the scene was macabre, and that the characters should look like gargoyles…
In 1998, in The Bedside, Bathtub and Armchair Companion to Sherlock Holmes, Dick Riley and Pam McAllister observed that
To our eyes, Friston’s Holmes is an outrage. His head and hands appear small, almost feminine, his sideburns are ridiculously long, and his figure is plump, dwarfed by the oversized coat. On his head appears a strange, rounded hat. This Holmes looks nothing like the detective we know.
Of course, “the Holmes we know” was the work of Sidney Paget, who began illustrating Sherlock Holmes stories in The Strand Magazine in 1891, and the retrospective criticism of Friston is, to say the least, unfair and unwarranted.

At some point in the late 1870s/early 1880s Friston moved to 26 Queen’s Arms Buildings, York Road, Islington, where he remained until his death. His third wife died in Islington in 1882, and in the 1891 census he was recorded as an artist living on his own. In early 1901 at Islington Registry Office he married Edith Emily Burtenshaw (born in Worthing, Sussex, in 1870, the daughter of a builder) – she had previously worked as an artist’s model. She had a son, Edwin Triston Burtenshaw, born in Islington in 1892.

Friston’s career tailed off quite dramatically in the early 1890s. His last works (other than in modern reprints) appeared in 1902 and 1903. He died, of prostate cancer, at 26 Queen’s Arms Buildings on 20 April 1906, leaving an estate valued at £446 (around £44,000 in today’s terms). Emily Edith re-married in 1916.


Books illustrated by D.H. Friston
A Practical Guide to the English Kinder-garten by Johannes & Bertha Ronge, J.S. Hodson, 1855
A True Relation of the Holy War made by King Shaddai upon Diabolus by John Bunyon, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1860
A Book of Favourite Modern Ballads, W. Kent & Co., 1860 (with other artists)
Chronicles of an Old English Oak by Emily Taylor, Groombridge & Sons, 1860
Stories for Girls by Mrs S.C. Hall & others, Groombridge & Sons, 1861(?)
Scripture Stories for the Young by Frederick Calder, J. Hogg & Sons, 1862
The Illustrated Bunyan, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1863-65 (with other artists)
Our Birthdays, and How to Improve Them by Emma Anne Georgina Davenport, Griffith & Farran, 1864
Historical Dramas by Charlotte M. Yonge, Groombridge & Sons, 1864
Lost in the Wood and other stories, Groombridge & Sons, 1864(?)
Agathos and Other Sunday Stories by Samuel Wilberforce, Seeley, Jackson & Halliday, 1865 (with other artists)
The Children and the Lion, and Other Sunday Stories by Samuel Wilberforce, Sunday School Union, 1865 (with other artists)
The Orphans of Elfholm, and Other Stories by Frances Browne, Groombridge & Sons, 1867
Routledge’s Coloured Scrap Book, George Routledge & Sons, 1867 (with other artists)
The Angel Unawares, and Other Stores by Mary Howitt, Groombridge & Sons, 1869 (re-issue)
Mama’s New Bible Stories by Emily G. Nesbitt, James Blackwood & Co., 1870(?) (re-issue)
5 Christmas Stories by various authors, Tinsley Brothers, 1871
The Round Robin: A Gathering of Fact, Fiction, Incident and Adventure edited by ‘Old Merry’, Frederick Warne & Co., 1872 (with other artists)
Aunt Louisa’s Sunday Picture Book by L. Valentine, F. Warne & Co., 1872 (re-issue)
Scripture Stories and Bible Narratives for Children by Frederick Calder, Ward, Lock & Co., 1872
Geoffrey’s Great Fault by Emilia Norris, Griffith & Farran, 1872
Sunday Chats with Sensible Children by Clara L. Mateaux, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1872
The King of No-Land by Benjamin Leopold Farjeon, Tinsley Brothers, 1874
Snowed Up, or The Hut in the Forest by Emilia Marryat, Griffith & Farran, 1874
The Three Lieutenants, or Naval Life in the Nineteenth Century by W.H.G. Kingston, Griffith & Farran, 1875
Somebody: A Story for Children by Stella Austin, J. Masters & Co., 1875
Union Jack and Other Stories by Mrs S.C. Hall, Groombrdge & Sons, 1876(?)
The Three Commanders, or Active Service Afloat in Modern Days by W.H.G. Kingston, Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, 1876
The Frontier Fort, or Stirring Times in the North-west Territory of British America by W.H.G. Kingston, S.P.C.K., 1877
Lost in the Jungle: A Story of the Indian Mutiny by Augusta Marryat, Griffith & Farran, 1877
The Disappearance of Jeremiah Redworth by Mrs J.H. Riddell, George Routldge & Sons, 1878
In School and Out of School and Other Stories by A.F. Lydon, Groombridge Sons, 1878 (with other artists)
Stories from Many Lands by various authors, Groombridge & Sons, 1878
Hereward the Brave, and Other Stories by various authors, Groombridge & Sons, 1879
Spring Time Stories by various authors, Groombridge & Sons, 1879
Out and About: A Boy’s Adventures Written for Adventurous Boys by J. Hain Friswell, Groombridge & Sons, 1879 (with other artists)
Havering Hall and Other Stories by various authors, Groombridge & Sons, 1879
The Golden Grasshopper: A Story of the Days of Sir Thomas Gresham by W.H.G. Kingston, Religious Tract Society, 1880
The Story Garden by various authors, Groombridge & Sons, 1880 (with John Gilbert)
Golden Autumn by Thomas Miller, Groombridge & Sons, 1882
Leofwine the Monk, or The Curse of the Ericsons by Emma Leslie, Religious Tract Society, 1882
Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens, John Dicks, 1883
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, John Dicks, 1883
The Gospel Picture Book, S.P.C.K., 1885
The Clockmaker of Lyons, and Other Stories by various authors, Groombridge & Sons, 1886
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, Ward, Lock & Co., 1888
The Vicar of Redcross, or Till Death Us Do Part by Sarah Doudney, Houlston & Sons, 1888
The Mystery of Mandeville Square by Sir Gilbert Campbell, Ward, Lock & Co., 1888 (with other artists)
Soldiers’ Stories and Sailors’ Yarns, John Hogg, 1888
The Hunting of the “Hydra”, or The Phantom Prahu by Henry Frith, George Routledge & Sons, 1888
Romances of the Law by R.E. Francillon, Chatto & Windus, 1889
A Lonely Life by anon., Houlston &Sons, 1889
The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins by Robert Paltock, John Dicks, 1889
The Great Grill Street Conspiracy: A London Detective Story by Sir Gilbert Campbell, Ward, Lock & Co., 1891 (with Matt Stretch)
Rainbow Dreams by E.T. Roe, Donohue, Henneberry & Co., (Chicago), 1892
The Complete Poems of Tom Hood, John Dicks, 1893 (with George Cruikshank)
The Pathfinder, or The Inland Sea by James Fenimore Cooper, John Dicks, 1902 (re-issue)
Romance of Real Life: True Incidents in the Lives of the Great and Good, Religious Tract Society, 1903(?) (with other artists) (re-issue)
The Haunted River and Three Other Ghostly Novellas by Mrs J.H. Riddell, Sarob Press, 2001 (with other artists)
Elfreda the Saxon, or The Orphan of Jerusalem by Emma Leslie, Salem Ridge Press, 2009 (with other artists)

Published by John Dicks – dates not known
Fantastic Tales of Rhineland by Emil Erckmann & Alexandre Chatrian, trans. by James Redding Ware, John Dicks
Kenilworth by Walter Scott, John Dicks
The Abbott, Being the Sequel to The Monastery by Walter Scott, John Dicks
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding, John Dicks
Gilbert Gurney by Theodore Edward Hook, John Dicks
Kerrison’s Crime by James Greenwood, John Dicks
The Dramatic Works of R.B. Sheridan, John Dicks
Grace Darling by G.W.M. Reynolds, John Dicks
The Adventures of Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding, John Dicks
The Pearl of Levonby by M.E.O. Malen, John Dicks

Friday, May 11, 2018

Comic Cuts - 11 May 2018

The sun was scorching last Saturday when we went on a little walking tour of Colchester, visiting a handful of sites of literary significance. The "Literary Trail" tour is part of the Colchester Life initiative and was hosted by local author Alex Clare, who read extracts from six books that had ties to the locations we visited.

I'm a local of some 25 years, but haven't really explored the town; I know the history in broad strokes – it is Britain's oldest town, the location chosen by the Romans because it is on a hill. Not in the sense of rolling hills that you get in the Lake District, but a bump in the mostly flat Essex landscape. That was about 40AD. Then some stuff happened about which I'm a bit hazy, and I moved over here in 1992.

The literary trail took in the Dutch Quarter, Mile End, the Castle and the former Greyfriars Books, which moved to Tindal Street some years ago, but which seems to be always closed when I'm in town on Saturday mornings.

Extracts were read from books, including Ian Sansom's thriller Essex Poison, Melvyn Bragg's Now Is the Time (about Colchester priest John Ball, who played a leading part in the Peasants' Revolt) and Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders – Defoe having lived in Colchester. Next up was a scene from Blackwater by James Henry set in Castle Park, followed by The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and the opening of Tristan Bernays' Boudicca... although she did burn the town down so I guess we ought to have mixed feelings about her.

After that, we walked back to the Red Lion bookshop for a talk/Q&A with Jack Henry (James Gurbutt) himself, whom we've known for a couple of years. His Blackwater novel was set locally and a sequel, Yellowhammer, is due out in a matter of weeks.

The whole thing was a great success and much of that was down to the enthusiasm of our guide, Alex, who had to cope with quite a large crowd (there were 30 or so people on the tour), all of them with differing walking speeds and a desire to wander, cars and vans wanting to use the roads, a bit of a tech problem which meant nobody could hear a recording of a local madrigal... minor problems that couldn't mar the enthusiasm of the trail-goers. She has a blog if you want to know more about her novels.

A group of us went to see Avengers: Infinity War on Monday, which was 2 hours 40 minutes of slam-bang action. Thankfully the second part of the movie brings this era of Marvel movies to an end because we're getting to the point where so many characters have so many impossibly vast powers that writers have to find ways – usually inexplicably stupid ways – to stop them using their powers. Like making Hulk so grumpy he refuses to manifest. Or you sideline them, as in Captain America: Civil War, which removed Thor and Hulk from the battle, leaving it to the guys in suits (Iron Man, Ant Man, Falcon, War Machine) and the highly trained / physically enhanced / slightly lesser-powered (Black Panther, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Winter Soldier, etc.).

This time they couldn't even be bothered to feature Hawkeye. Mind you, they should be investigating that quiver of his, which can fit more arrows than it has physical size to contain. He just keeps reaching in and firing 'em off. There's something multi-dimensional going on... maybe something akin to Terry Pratchett's L-Space.

When they're not dialling down their powers, they're dialling down their IQs. Vision seemed particularly useless in Infinity Wars. He seems to be an A.I. with all the smarts of a person with access to Wikipedia but a patchy broadband connection.

I went in with a couple of misgivings: for example, would the film be able to give space to all of the characters, not only those from the Avengers/Captain America movies but also the Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange? The answer is, yes. And the directors (the Russo brothers) did a really good job of keeping the film motoring along without losing anybody in the plot. I am a fan of these films, but not so much that there isn't a risk of a "Hang on, who's that?" moment. Thankfully that didn't happen.

My other big misgiving did. Lots of characters died, beginning with Loki. Now, Loki has been dead before. But this time he's really dead, says everyone connected with the movies. Well, they would, wouldn't they, to misquote Mandy Rice-Davies. The problem with choosing Loki as the first major death in the movie is that we've been there before and, you know what? He got over it, which removes any impact the scene might have had. And when others start to die, you're already in the mindset of "Well, if Loki can come back, so can Gamora." And Vision... he's an A.I., and a supposedly smart one at that. Do you not think he has a back-up somewhere?

And then half the Avengers and Guardians die. Sadly, Marvel's publicity machine is very good at keeping fans informed of upcoming movies, so we know that Spider-Man will be back for Homecoming 2 in 2019 and that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is due in 2020. So they won't be dead by the time the Infinity War sequel ends next year. Oh, and Doctor Strange reviews millions of possible futures and finds one where Thanos doesn't win, so I'm guessing that every action he takes after that point will get us to that one bright future. We've already seen Doctor Strange's ability to alter time, so there's a distinct possibility that he'll somehow recover the infinity stone that gives him his time-bending powers and that will save the bulk of the presently dead heroes.

Comics and movies use death as punctuation rather than attempt to deal with it in a genuine and truthful way. It can be done, and done well. Logan, which came out last year, has some truly harrowing moments in a story that deals with old age and death.

Despite my misgiving, I enjoyed Avengers: Infinity War a lot. The Marvel Cinema Universe (MCU) has a good mix of films, some great thrillers (of which I'd say Captain Marvel: The Winter Soldier is my favourite), some joyful space opera (Guardians of the Galaxy) and some laugh-out-loud comedies (Thor: Ragnarok). There hasn't been one duff movie since Iron Man came out ten years ago (although there have been a couple of low points... the first Thor movie wasn't great, although Thor is now one of my favourite characters in the MCU).

One thing to look forward to in the sequel: Captain Marvel will be making an appearance. She's to be introduced in the Captain Marvel movie due out 8 March 2019, played by Brie Larson. This will be an origin story, set in the 1990s. I'm guessing there's a reason nobody on Earth seems to have heard of her and wasn't invited to save New York during the earlier Avengers movie. Maybe she's clumsy and Nick Fury only calls her as a very last resort. Now, that's a film I'd watch.

Random Scans... I'd lose my blogging license if I didn't let the Literary Trail inspire this week's choice of paperback covers...

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 9 May 2018.

2000AD Prog 2080
Cover: David Roach & Dylan Teague
JUDGE DREDD: NANS OF ANARCHY by Alec Worley (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: THE GANGBUSTERS by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
ANDERSON, PSI DIVISION: UNDERTOW by Emma Beeby (w) Mike Collins/Cliff Robinson (a) Jose Villarrubia (c) Simon Bowland (l)
FUTURE SHOCKS: THE PUPPET by James Peaty (w) Nick Dyer (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
STRONTIUM DOG: THE SON by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Lancelot Speed

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Lancelot Speed was an illustrator perhaps best-known for his work with Andrew Lang, in particular his collections of fairy stories and poems.  He also illustrated a wide range of other books – children’s adventure and historical stories, and books on topography and natural history – and he was also a pioneer of the British animated cartoon. His life, rather unusually, appears to have been a reversal of the usual “rags to riches” story – he came from a very wealthy background, but died with very little to his name.

He was born on 30 June 1860 and baptized on 2 January 1861 at St. Mary’s Church, Barnes, Surrey. His father, William Speed (born on 19 May 1813 in Southwell, Nottinghamshire) was a barrister, who had married Fanny Harriet Bond (born in Brighton in 1835, the daughter of Charles Bond, a music professor) on 27 December 1855. They moved to 91 Westbourne Terrace, Paddington, where they had the first three of their seven children: Harry Fiennes (born in 1856), Edward William (born in 1857, died in 1858), and Francis Elmer (born in 1859). After the birth of Lancelot, the family moved to 15 Devonshire Place, Marylebone, where their three daughters were born: Katherine Georgina (1862), Mabel (1864), and Theodora (1869).

At the time of the 1861 census, William and Fanny were on holiday in Weybridge, while their sons Harry, Francis and Lancelot were staying with Mary Speed, their grandmother, who was living in Barnes along with 6 servants. When William Speed died, on 4 December 1893, he left an estate valued at £39,307 – around £4 million in today’s terms.

Lancelot was sent to Rugby School in January 1875, following in the footsteps of his brother Francis (who had entered the school in September 1873). He played at full back for the school’s rugby XV, and in his last year he held both the school’s high jump and long jump records. More importantly, perhaps, he won the school’s drawing prize. He left in 1878 and, meant for the medical profession, entered Clare College, Cambridge, on 27 January 1881, where he began studying comparative anatomy. However, after breaking his leg in his first week, he turned to archaeology and Greek Art, He founded the Cambridge Fine Art Society with Harry Wilson (later Sir Harry Wilson), and studied landscape painting under R.A.M. Stevenson (a cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson). He graduated with a degree in Natural Science in 1884, and then studied at the Slade School of Art for one year (1884-85). (Note that some sources say that Speed had no formal art training – he revealed his time at the Slade, as well as some other details of his life, in an interview in the film magazine The Bioscope in November 1914, and his attendance for one year is confirmed by the University College London Calendars).

At the time of the 1881 census, the family was still living at 15 Devonshire Place, with Francis recorded as a law student (he later became a stockbroker and High Sheriff of Kent) and with 7 servants. Also present, as a visitor, was Florence Lowe, who was working as a governess. Born in Brighton in 1860, she was the daughter of Stephen Lowe, a music professor. Two years later, on 5 October 1883, she and Lancelot Speed were married at St. Marylebone Parish Church, and they subsequently settled at 35 Wood Street, High Barnet, Hertfordshire.

It is not clear exactly when Speed’s career as an illustrator began – in his Bioscope interview he said his first commission was from the literary and art critic Sydney Colvin to illustrate one of his articles, “Picturesque Suffolk”, in The Magazine of Art, although the date has yet to be determined. He then, in the early 1890s, began contributing to The Pictorial World, The Illustrated London News, Boys, The British Workman, The Portfolio, The English Illustrated Magazine and The Windsor Magazine. In the mid-1890s he joined the staff of The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, where he specialized in deer stalking, at which he was highly skilled. He also provided similar contributions to The Badminton Magazine.

His earliest-known book illustrations were in, possibly, A Sojourn in the Highlands, which contained over 200 illustrations and was published anonymously in Scotland in 1885. Although this has been attributed to Speed, when a copy came up for auction in 2015 it was suggested that it was the work of Mary Bagnold, who was portrayed in the frontispiece.  In 1886 Speed illustrated Sir Henry Francis Wilson’s poem Carmen Pooleviense, published in Rugby, and a year later he illustrated King Solomon’s Wives, or The Phantom Mines by “Hydee Ragged”, a parody of Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, published by Vizitelly & Co. In 1888 he illustrated, along with J. D. Batten, the satirical Oedipus the Wreck, or “To Trace the Knave” by Owen Seaman, published in Cambridge, Seamen being a friend from Clare College.

In 1899 he began a long association with Andrew Lang, the Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic and folklorist, providing numerous illustrations for books such as The Red Fairy Book (1890), The Blue Poetry Book (1892) and The True Story Book (1893). The first two of these were illustrated in conjunction with Henry Justice Ford (1860-1941), who was another friend of Speed’s from their time at Clare College.

He also illustrated a wide variety of other books, including school, historical and adventure stories by authors such as Talbot Baines Reed, George Manville Fenn, Silas Hocking and Edgar Pickering, and topographical and natural history books, as well as fairy stories and legends. He also went on to illustrate several re-issues of classic novels such as Tom Brown’s Schooldays, Robinson Crusoe, The Cloister and the Hearth and Gulliver’s Travels.

In the mid-late 1890s he began contributing to more periodicals, including The Osborne, The Woman at Home, The Children’s Friend, The Sunday Magazine, Sunday at Home, Good Words, Young England and Cassell’s Magazine.

In the 1891 census he was recorded living with his wife as lodgers with Francis Pryor, a paper-maker, at Barnes Lodge, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire. He also had a studio at 14 Dean’s Yard, Westminster, from 1890 to around 1894, and then at 6 St. Paul’s Studios, Hammersmith. By 1901, Speed and his wife had moved to Rose Cottage, High Street, Burnham, Essex, where they were able to employ two servants. However, a year later they moved back to London, to 2 Gray’s Inn Square, Holborn, where they remained until 1922.

He continued contributing illustrations to periodicals, including The Sphere (he was one of those whose work appeared in the first number in 1900), The Leisure Hour, The Lady’s Pictorial, The Graphic, Punch and The Girl’s Own Paper. He also contributed to several issues of part-works, such as Cassell’s Sporting Pictures 1902) and Hodder & Stoughton’s Life at Sea, Wonders of Insect Life and The Romance of Travel (1913 onwards). In 1909, he and his wife collaborated on The Limbersnigs, or The Adventures of Prince Kebole the Tall, a children’s fantasy story. In 1912, he provided 20 colour and black and white illustrations for a new edition of Sir James Thomas Knowles’s The Story of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.

In 1914, by which time he had estimated that he had published over 3,000 illustrations and cartoons, he was appointed as artistic adviser to the newly-formed Neptune Film Company, established in Boreham Wood, Elstree, Hertfordshire. He designed the company’s logo, advised on settings and costumes, and, with the outbreak of the First World War, began working as an animator. He produced a series of eight ten-minute cartoon films in 1914 and 1915, generically called The Bully Boy films (the “Bully Boy” was Kaiser Wilhelm), and in 1916 he worked as the production designer on the silent live-action film of Rider Haggard’s She. When the Neptune Film Company collapsed in 1916, he set up Speed Cartoons, and in 1917-18 produced another series of animated cartoons, beginning with Tank Pranks. In 1921, he produced The Wonderful Adventures of Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, 26 five-minute cartoons based on the cartoon characters created for the Daily Mirror by A.B. Payne in 1919.

Having moved to Old Church House, 35 Wood Street, Barnet, Hertfordshire, in 1920, he returned to book illustration, although only ten books with his illustrations have been traced for the period 1920-1930. His wife died at their home on 30 January 1931, and Speed subsequently moved to 28 Eastern Esplanade, Southend. Six months later, he moved to Beechwood, London Road, Deal, but he died only three days later, on 31 December 1931. He left a very small estate  –  just £265  –  to Sir Owen Seamen, the-then editor of Punch and his old friend from Cambridge.


A Sojourn in the Highlands, Achanalt, Rosshire, 1885 (attrib.)
The Limbersnigs, or The Adventures of Prince Kebole the Tall by Flora and Lancelot Speed, Lawrence & Jellicoe, 1909  (not 1896 as most sources)

Books illustrated by Lancelot Speed
Carmen Pooleviense (in English Verse) by H.F. Wilson, G.E. Over, 1886
King Solomon’s Wives, or The Phantom Mines by “Hydee Ragged”, Vizitelly & Co., 1887
The Fifth Form at St. Dominic’s by Talbot Baines Reed, Religious Tract Society, 1887 (with Gordon Browne)
The Oedipus Tyrannus: A Record by Sophocles, with notes by Francis R. Pryor, Macmillan & Bowes, 1888
Oedipus the Wreck, or “To Trace the Knave” by Owen Seaman, E. Johnson, 1888 (with J.D. Batten)
The Siren of Warmington by J. Collett, Bickers & Son, 1889
The Paradise of Birds by William John Courthope, Hatchards, 1889 (re-issue)
The Red Fairy Book ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1890 (with H.J. Ford)
Footsteps of Dr. Johnson in Scotland by George Birkbeck Hill, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1890
Eric Brighteyes: A Romance Founded on the Icelandic Sagas by H. Rider Haggard, Longmans, Green & Co., 1891
The Blue Poetry Book ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1891 (with H.J. Ford)
How Martin Drake Found His Father, or Wanderings in the West by G. Norway, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1891
An Inca Queen, or Lost in Peru by J. Evelyn, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1891
Jack and the Beanstalk, and Brother and Sister by Mrs Heller, Longmans, Green & Co., 1891
Barerock, or The Island of Pearls by Henry Nash, Edward Arnold, 1891
Snowdrop and Other Stories ed. by Mrs Heller, Longmans, Green & co., 1891 (with other artists)
Coursing and Falconry by Harding Cox & Gerald Lascelles, Longmans, Green & Co., 1892 (with other artists)
The Yorkshire Coast and the Cleveland Hills and Dales by John Leyland, Seeley & Co., 1892 (with Alfred Dawson)
Advice: A Story of Imperial Rome by Eliza F. Pollard, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1892
The Autobiography of a Slander by Edna Lyall, Longmans, Green & Co., 1892 (re-issue)
Uganda: Its Story and its Claim by Rev. G. Furness Smith, Church Missionary Society, 1892
Jack’s Little Girls by Alice F. Jackson, S.P.C.K., 1892
The True Story Book ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1893 (with other artists)
Household Troops, or Small Service is True Service by Mary H. Debenham, S.P.C.K., 1893
Second Sight by A. Eubule Evans, S.P.C.K., 1893
Aspects of Modern Oxford by A. Mere, Seeley & Co., 1893 (with other artists)
Stirring Tales of Colonial Adventure by Skipp Borlase, Frederick Warne & Co., 1894
The New Forest by C.J. Cornish, Seeley & Co., 1894 (with other artists)
For the Honour of the Flag: A Tale of our Sea Fights with the Dutch by C.N. Robinson & John Leyland, Seeley & Co., 1895
Silcote of Silcotes by Henry Kingsley, Ward, Lock & Bowden, 1895 (re-issue)
The Jewel of Ynys Galon by Owen Rhoscomyl, Longmans, Green & Co., 1895
Wild England of Today and the Wild Life in It by C.J. Cornish, Seeley & Co., 1895
The Shuttle of Fate by Caroline Masters, Frederick Warne & Co., 1895
The One Great Voyage of Life: An Allegory by John Ashton Savage, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
A Lady of Quality by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896
In Battle and Breeze: Sea Stories by G.A. Henty, George Manville Fenn & W. Clark Russell, S.W. partridge & Co., 1896
Dr. Cross, or Tried and True by Ruth Sterling, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
The Maker of Moons by Robert W. Chambers, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1896
Revenge by Robert Barr, Chatto & Windus, 1896 (with other artists)
For Such is Life by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896 (re-issue)
Hypatia, or New Foes with an old Face by Charles Kingsley, Service & Paton, 1896
Simple Stories from English History for Young Readers, Longmans, Green & Co., 1896
The Days of Bruce: A Story of Scottish History by Grace Aguilar, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896 (re-issue)
Fairy Tale Plays and How to Act Them by Mrs Hugh Bell, Longmans, Green & Co., 1896
In Honour’s Cause: A Tale of the Days of George the First by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
The Duchess Lass by Caroline Masters, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896
Claire, or A Hundred Years Ago by T.M. Browne, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
Manco, the Peruvian Chief by W.H.G. Kingston, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
Under Many Flags, or Stories of Scottish Adventurers by W.H. Davenport Adams, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896
Gerald Thurlow, or The New Marshal: A Story of California by Tryphena M. Browne, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
The Last Days of Pompeii by Lord Lytton, Service & Paton, 1897
At the Seaside by Flora Klickmann, Ward, Lock & Co., 1897 (with other artists)
Nights with an Old Gunner and Other Studies of Wild Life by C.J. Cornish, Seeley & Co., 1897
And Shall Trelawney Die? By Joseph Hocking, James Bowden, 1897
The World’s Coarse Thumb by Caroline Masters, Frederick Warne & Co., 1897
Skeleton Reef, or The Adventures of Jack Rollock by Hugh St. Leger, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1897
The Blindness of Madge Tyndall by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1897
Dwellers in the Valley by William Scriven, “The Art Journal” Office, 1897
The Story of a Tour by William Scriven, “The Art Journal” Office, 1898
The Hepsworth Millions by Christian Lys, Frederick Warne & Co., 1898
The Looms of Time by Mrs Hugh Fraser, Isbister & Co., 1898
God’s Outcast by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1898
A Hero King: A Romance of the Days of Alfred the Great by Eliza F. Pollard, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1898
The Incas’ Ransom by Albert Lee, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1898
By Roaring Loom by Marshall Mather, J. Bowden, 1898
The Bond of Love by Margaret Thorn, Religious Tract Society, 1898
Caleb Carthew: A Life Story by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1898 (re-issue)
The Thane of the Dean: A Tale of the Time of the Conqueror by Tom Bevan, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
The Fortress of Yadasara: A Narrative Prepared from the Manuscript of Clinton Verrall by Christian Lys, Frederick Warne & Co., 1899
In the Mahdi’s Grasp by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
Sappers and Miners by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
Yule-tide Yarns by G.A. Henty, Longmans, Green & Co., 1899 (with other artists)
When Life is Young by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
Until the Day Declare It by Margaret Cunningham, Religious Tract Society, 1900
The Dogs of War: A Romance of the Great Civil War by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
Tom Wallis: A Tale of the South Seas by Louis Becke, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Gold in the Furnace by H.M. Cornwall Legh, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Adventures in the South Pacific by “One who was Born There”, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Geoff Blake: His Chums and His Foes, A Story of Schoolboy Life by S.S. Pugh, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Heroes of the United Service: Records of Noble Deeds in the British Army and Navy by L. Valentine, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900 (with other artists)
The Fortunes of Claude by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
That Scholarship Boy by Emma Leslie, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Rhoda Lethbridge by Greta Gilmour, Religious Tract Society, 1900
The Lord’s Purse Bearers by Hesba Stretton, Religious Tract Society, 1900
The Mystery of Ladyplace by Percy James Brebner, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
Friends of an Hour (Visits to Pensioners of the Royal Hospital for Incurables by William Scriven, H. Virtue & Co., 1900
Histoires d’Animaux: Selected from A. Dumas ed. by T.H. Burtenshaw, Longmans, Green & Co., 1900 (with H.J. Ford)
The Animal Story Book Reader ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1900 (with H.J. Ford)
The Fate of Endilloe by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1901
Readings in Welsh History by Ernest Rhys, Longmans, Green & Co., 1901
A Plunge into Space by Robert Cromie, Frederick Warne & Co., 1901
Our Friend the Charlatan by George Gissing, Chapman & Hall, 1901
Anthony Cragg’s Tenant by Agnes Giberne, Religious Tract Society, 1901
The Secret of the Marshes by Victor L. Whitechurch, Isbister & Co., 1901
North Overland with Franklin by J. Macdonald Oxley, Religious Tract Society, 1901
Dick Vaughan’s First Term by R.W.K. Edwards, Wells Gardner & Co., 1901
Keziah Crabbe, Spinster by Annette Whymper, Religious Tract Society, 1901
Through a Needle’s Eye by Hesba Stretton, Religious Tract Society, 1901 (re-issue)
David Lloyd’s Last Will by Hesba Stretton, Religious Tract Society, 1901 (re-issue)
A Lion of Wessex, or How Saxon Fought Dane by Tom Bevan, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1902
A Naturalist on the Thames by C.J. Cornish, Seeley & Co., 1902
A Scots Thistle by Leslie Keith, Religious Tract Society, 1902
True to the Watchword: A Story of Adventure for Boys by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1902
The Master of the Shell by Talbot Baines Reed, Religious Tract Society, 1902 (re-issue)
Turf and Table by Henry Johnson, Religious Tract Society, 1903
By the Ramparts of Jezreel: A Romance of John, King of Israel by Arnold Davenport, Longmans, Green & Co., 1903
The Search for Molly Marling by Emily P. Weaver, Religious Tract Society, 1903
A Bonnie Saxon by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1903
Jack Fraser’s Adventures by Herbert Hayens, Collins, 1903
Little Golden Hood and Other Stories by Mrs Heller & Lois Bates, Longmans, Green & Co., 1903 (with other artists)
The Golden Fleece, Collins, 1903
Tales of Romance ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1903 (with H.J. Ford)
The Romance of the Animal World by Edmund Selous, Seeley & Co., 1904
The Kopje Farm by William Johnston, Collins, 1904
The Adventures of David Oliphant by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1904
A Prince of Cornwall: A Story of Glastonbury and the West in the Days of Ina of Wessex by Chas W. Whistler, Frederick Warne & Co., 1904
Grimm’s Fairy Tales trans. by N.J. Davidson, C. Arthur Pearson, 1904
The Voyage of the Stormy Petrel by W.C. Metcalfe, Religious Tract Society, 1905
The Story of a Log-House by Mary Frances Outram, Religious Tract Society, 1905
Two Years Ago by Charles Kingsley, Collins, 1905 (re-issue)
Nebula to Man by Henry R. Knipe, J.M. Dent & Co., 1905 (with other artists)
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, C. Arthur Pearson, 1905 (re-issue)
Pioneers by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1905
If Youth But Knew by Agnes & Egerton Castle, Smith, Elder & Co., 1906
Gerald the Sheriff: A Story of the Sea in the Days of William Rufus by Charles W. Whistler, Frederick Warne & Co., 1906
The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments trans. by Edward William Lane, C. Arthur Pearson, 1906
The Romance of Insect Life by Edmund Selous, Seeley & Co., 1906 (with Carton Moore Park)
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle, Longmans, Green & Co., 1906 (with other artists)
The Specimen Hunters by J. Macdonald Oxley, Religious Tract Society, 1907
The Knight of the Silver Star, or The Fortress of Yadasara by Percy James Brebner, R.F. Fenno & Co., (USA) 1907 (re-issue of The Fortress of Yadasara byy Christian Lys)
The Romance of Plant Life by G.F. Scott Elliott, Seeley & Co., 1907 (with other artists)
The Romance of Missionary Heroism by John CX. Lambert, Seeley & Co., 1907 (with other artists)
Sporting Days: A Book for Visitors and House Parties by J. Harry Savory, J.M. Dent & Co., 1907 (with other artists)
The Cruise of The “Angel” by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1907
Old Time Tales by Florence Emily Hardy, Collins, 1907
The Romance of Savage Life by G.F. Scott Elliott, Seeley & Co., 1908 (with other artists)
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Longmans, Green & Co., 1908 (re-issue)
John Saint: A Romance of the Sea by Arthur Brebner, Frederick Warne & Co., 1909
The Romance of Early British Life by G.F. Scott Elliott, Seeley & Co., 1909 (with other artists)
The Romance of Bird Life by John Lea, Seeley & Co., 1909 (with other artists)
The Romance of Animal Arts and Crafts by H. Coupin and John Lea, Seeley & Co., 1909 (with other artists)
The Black Cockatoo: A Story of Western Australia by Bessie Marchant, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Philip Compton’s Will by Minnie Harding Kelly, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Smugglers of Haven Quay by Harold Vallings, Frederick Warne & Co., 1911
Fairy Tales and Stories by the Brothers Grimm, Seeley & Co., 1911
The Treasure of Chin-Loo and Other Stories of Adventure by various authors, Religious Tract Society, 1912
The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights ed. by Sir James Knowles, Frederick Warne & Co., 1912 (re-issue)
Elaine’s Party by Miss G. Agnew, Hodder & Stoughton, 1913
Fairy Fancies, Collins, 1914 (with A.A. Dixon)
The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade, Longmans, Green & Co., 1920 (re-issue)
The Snake Prince and Other Stories ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1923
The Ways of Her Household by Harris Lazarus, Myers & Co., 1923
Sinclair’s Luck: A Story of Adventure in East Africa by Percy F. Westerman, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1924
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Seeley, Service & Co., 1925 (re-issue)
Cruises in Small Yachts by H. Fiennes & Maude Speed, Norie & Wilson, 1926
Old Friends Among the Fairies: Puss in Boots and Other Stories ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1928 (with other artists)
Snapshots on Life’s Highway by Maude Speed, Longmans, Green & Co., 1929
Tales from History by N. Niemeyer, Collins, 1932 (with other artists)
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb, Seeley, Service & Co., 1934
The Torn Bible, or Hubert’s Best Friend by Alice Somerton, Frederick Warne & Co. (?)