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Monday, October 16, 2017

The Dracula File (Rebellion)

Fondly remembered, Scream!! is one of those comics that never lived up to its potential, even in the fifteen issues it was allowed. Looking back on it, you wonder how anyone could have been satisfied with the results. On one side you had editors who were in direct touch with their audience who should have been trusted to know where to draw the line; on the other side the controlling group who worried about complaints from parents and the tabloids which would spook newsagents and damage sales.

In the case of Scream!!, by the time the latter had gutted the paper put together by the former, you had a tepid, middle-of-the-road action comic with only a few chills left in it.

This is not to say that everything about it was forgettable. Some very good writers and artists put their talents to work and, within the restrictions placed on them, came up with some compelling and interesting takes on some horror staples. Rebellion have already reprinted Monster from its pages, and for their second bite of Scream!! they have chosen The Dracula File.

Author Gerry Finley-Day brought the classic vampire character right up to date (1984), beginning with a defection from East Germany, a curiously ageless patient, a fire in a military hospital ahead of the patient from behind the Iron Curtain being relocated to the UK by British Intelligence... and all this in the first episode! As with any British comic—where moving the plot along trumps coincidence at every turn—the pretending-to-be-unconscious defector is a vampire and MI5 are taking him to precisely where he wants to go, a creepy mansion in the English countryside.

The only people to realise that a vampire is loose in England are the Russians, led by KGB officer Colonel Stakis, a Roumanian. Stakis's obsession with monitoring the situation leads to him attacking a Commissar and his commanding general when they try to stop his unofficial investigation. The disgraced officer then makes his way to the UK in search of Dracula.

The second half of the story was written by Simon Furman, nowadays better known for his work on Transformers and as the creator of Death's Head but then a newcomer to comics. Furman treated the scripts with a little more humour as Stakis searches London for his prey and Dracula preys on Londoners. It's a shame that the story ended rather suddenly with Scream!!'s demise, although David McDonald has made an interesting case a few years ago that the story from Scream!! Holiday Special 1986 is one of three of the stories completed but unpublished.

The volume includes all four Holiday Special stories (drawn by Bradbury, Geoff Senior and Keith Page), a cover gallery and a feature by David McDonald about Fleetway Publications' troubled relationship with horror comics over the years. McDonald reprinted the same stories in The Dracula File from Hibernia in 2015, but in limited numbers. Hopefully the new volume, with its larger pages showing off Eric Bradbury's amazing artwork to even better effect, will reach Scream!!'s old fans and a new audience alike this Halloween.

The Dracula Files. Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08599-8, 19 October 2017, 101pp, £15.99 / $19.99. Available via Amazon.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Alan Moore at Colchester Arts Centre

Alan Moore came to Colchester on 25 September. Here are a few snippets from that evening...


Here's some further information from the "Never Knowingly Understood" event...

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

C J Staniland

C. J. STANILAND
By
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

C. J. Staniland was a prolific and highly respected artist equally at home illustrating children’s novels as he was painting still lifes, historical scenes, seascapes and portraits.

He was born on 19 June 1838 in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, and christened Charles Joseph Staniland. His father, Joseph (1803-1858) was a commission agent, who had married Jane Elizabeth Goddard (1806-1876) in Brimpton, Berkshire, in 1834. They had three other children: Emily (born in 1835), Ellen (1837), and Alice (1840).

In the 1840s the family moved south, being recorded in the 1851 census at 21 Portland Place, Kingston, Surrey. Charles went on to study at the Birmingham School of Art, followed by a stint at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London, the National Art Training School in South Kensington, and finally at the Royal Academy, which he entered in 1861. At that time, he was living as a lodger at 8 Priory Road, Lambeth, with the census recording him as a lithographic artist.

On 15 September 1868 he married Elizabeth Parsons Buckman (born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in 1844, the daughter of Edwin Buckman, an ironmonger) at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham. They went on to have five children: Charles (born in 1870), Ellen (1874), Maud (1874), Catherine (1878) and Eric (1880).

By then Staniland had fully established himself as a professional artist. He had moved to Hogarth Cottage, Chiswick, in 1871, where he was able to afford a monthly nurse for his son Charles and a domestic servant. He was elected an associate of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1875, and a full member in 1879, and a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1883. (He resigned from both organisations in 1890 and 1896 respectively). By 1881, he had moved to 15 Steeles Road, Hampstead, a substantial house which meant he could also accommodate Rosa Wells, a Governess, and her husband Josiah, a fellow artist, and two servants. This remained his home for 15 years, until he moved to Chingford, Essex, in 1894, firstly living at Black Nest, The Drive, and then at 3 Hawkwood Villas, King’s Head Hill (1901 census).

As a painter, he exhibited widely, including at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists, the Fine Art Society, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, Birmingham’s Royal Society of Artists, and the Royal Manchester Institution. As an illustrator, he worked for a wide range of periodicals and book publishers. His work began appearing regularly in The Quiver in 1866, and in that same year he contributed to the first number of Belgravia, founded by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. A year later, he began contributing to Cassell’s Magazine. In 1869 he began a long association with The Graphic, a weekly illustrated newspaper which quickly became famous for the quality of its artwork, and later joined the paper’s staff.

He went on to provide illustrations to periodicals such as Golden Hours, The Illustrated London News (for which he also joined the staff), London Society, Aunt Judy’s Magazine, The British Workman, The English Illustrated Magazine, The Pall Mall Gazette, The Boy’s Own Paper, Chums, The Strand Magazine, Wide World Magazine, Longman’s Magazine, A1 Magazine, Short Stories, The Daily Graphic, Pearson’s Magazine, Atalanta, The Children’s Friend, Good Words, and Harper’s Weekly. He was, for a time, a contributor of articles on cycling to The Graphic, using the pseudonym “The Skipper,” and he also wrote the occasional article, for example on the lifeboat service, for The Boy’s Own Paper. In 1896 he began contributing to a new and revised edition of the weekly part-work Cassell’s Illustrated History of England.

As an illustrator of children’s books, he worked in a range of genres  –  historical fiction (for example illustrating novels by G.A. Henty, W.H.G. Kingston, George Manville Fenn and Harry Collingwood), school stories (novels by Ascott R. Hope), religious works, family and domestic stories, and stories of the sea. He was used by a variety of publishers, including William P. Nimmo, Griffith & Farran, the Religious Tract Society, Blackie & Son and S.W. Partridge, although he was most prolific with the National Society’s Depository, the publishing arm of The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church. He also had illustrations in annuals such as The Little People’s Budget and Yule Logs.

Staniland seems to have retired from painting and illustrating in the early 1900s. At the time of the 1911 census, he was living at 1 Millfield Villas, Fleet, Hampshire, with his daughter Catherine. His wife was living with her daughter Ellen’s family (she had married Charles Cousins, an assurance clerk, in Dulwich. He died five years later, at Acock’s Green, Birmingham, in June 1916, apparently without leaving a will. His wife died in Edmonton, London, in March 1920.


PUBLISHERS

Books illustrated by C.J. Staniland
Stories of School Life by Ascott R. Hope, William P. Nimmo, 1868
Daisy and Her Friends by Frances Freeling Broderip, F. Warne & Co., 1869
The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Hislop, 1869 (with other artists)
The Gate of Pearl by Chauncey Giles, Alexander Hislop & Co., 1870
The Magic Shoes and Other Stories by Chauncey Giles, Hislop & Co., 1870
Labours of Love: A Tale for the Young by Winifred Taylor, William P. Nimmo, 1870
Old Andy’s Money, an Irish Story, and Other Tales by (Anon.), Johnstone, Hunter & Co., 1870
Lame Allan, or Cast They Burden on the Lord by Mrs Scott, William Oliphant & Co., 1871
Scrambles Among the Alps in the Years 1860-69 by Edward Whymper, John Murray, 1871
A Keepsake for the Young: A Book of Amusement by Aunt Friendly, Frederick Warne & Co., 1871
Lyrics of Ancient History: Poetical and Pictorial Illustrations of Old Testament History by (Anon.), Religious Tract Society, 1873
Max Wild, the Merchant’s Son, and Other Stories for the Young by Franz Hoffman, William P. Nimmo, 1874
Sunday Chats with Sensible Children by Clara L. Mateaux, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1874
The Gentleman Cadet: His Career and Adventures at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich by Alfred W. Drayson, Griffith & Farran, 1875
Sword and Pen, or English Worthies in the Reign of Elizabeth by W.H. Davenport Adams, William P. Nimmo, 1875
Willie Smith’s Money Box by (Anon.), Religious Tract Society, 1876
Picturesque Europe, with Illustrations on Steel and Wood by the Most Eminent Artists, Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1876  – in monthly parts (with other artists)
The Three Admirals, and the Adventures of their Young Followers by W.H.G. Kingston, Griffith Farran & Co., 1877
Bible Jewels by Richard Newton, William P. Nimmo, 1877
The Land of the Mammoth, or A Boy’s Arctic Adventures Three Hundred Years Ago by Thomas Frost, Religious Tract Society, 1877
George’s Enemies by Ascott R. Hope, William P. Nimmo, 1876
St. Helen’s Well by Mary H. Debenham, National Society’s Depository, 1880
The Changing Year by various authors, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1882
Thomas Wingfold, Curate by George Macdonald, Chatto & Windus, 1883 (re-issue)
The Forging of the Anchor: A Poem by Sir Samuel Ferguson, Cassell & Co., 1883
Menhardoc: A Story of Cornish Nets and Mines by George Manville Fenn, Blackie & Son, 1884
The Fate of Castle Löwengard: A Story of the Days of Luther by Esmè Stuart, Suttaby & Co., 1884
The Pirate Island: A Story of the South Pacific by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1885
Traitor or Patriot? A Tale of the Rye House Plot by Mary C. Rowsell, Blackie & Son, 1885
Gytha’s Message: A Tale of Saxon England by Emma Leslie, Blackie & Son, 1885
The Dragon and the Raven, or The Days of King Alfred by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1886
The Pirate, and The Three Cutters by Frederick Marryat, George Routledge & Sons, 1886
Schoolboy Stories by Ascott R. Hope, William P. Nimmo, 1887
Freedom’s Sword: A Tale of the Days of Wallace and Bruce by Annie S. Swan, Cassell & Co., 1887
Locked Up by Arthur Griffiths, William Blackwood & Sons, 1887
A Child of the Revolution: A Novel by (Anon.), Harper & Bros. (New York), 1887
Nor’ard of the Dogger, or Deep Sea Trials and Gospel Triumphs by E.J. Mather, James Nisbet & Co., 1887
Starwood Hall: A Boy’s Adventure by Frederick C. Badrick, National Society’s Depository, 1888
Robert Aske: A Story of the Reformation by E.F. Pollard, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1888
Silver Star Valley by M. Bramston, National Society’s Depository, 1888
Morning and Evening by John Keble, Religious Tract Society, 1888
Reuben Everett, or When Old Things Were New by Christabel R. Coleridge, National Society’s Depository, 1888
Our New Mistress, or Changes at Brookfield Earl by Charlotte M. Yonge, National Society’s Depository, 1888
Mrs Dimsdale’s Grandchildren by M. Lee & Catherine Lee, National Society’s Depository, 1888
To Horse and Away by Frances Mary Peard, National Society’s Depository, 1888
English Pictures Drawn with Pen and pencil, Religious Tract Society, 1889
In the Days of Luther, or The Fate of Castle Löwengard by Esmè Stuart, Swann Sonnenschein, 1890
The Green Girls of Greythorpe by Christabel R. Coleridge, National Society’s Depository, 1890
A Pair of Cousins by M. Bramston, National Society’s Depository, 1890
Distressed Ireland: A Series of Illustrated Letters by Thomas Wallace Russell, Daily Graphic, 1890
The Slaves of Sabinus: Jew and Gentile by Charlotte M. Yonge, National Society’s Depository, 1890
Romance of Real Life: True Incidents in the Live4s of the Great and Good by Robert Barnes, Religious Tract Society, 1890
A Ride to Picture Land: A Book of Joys for Boys and Girls, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1890
Maud Florence Nellie, or Don’t Care! By Christabel R. Coleridge, National Society’s Depository, 1890
What Cheer O? The Story of the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen by Alexander Gordon, James Nisbet & Co., 1890
Glaucia, the Greek Slave by Emma Leslie, Religious Tract Society, 1892
The Two Ellens by A.E. Deane, National Society’s Depository, 1892
Blue Jackets, or The Log of the Teaser by George Manville Fenn, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1893
Stephanie’s Children by Margaret Roberts, National Society’s Depository, 1893
Robin’s Trust, and Other Stories by Edith A. Gibbs, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1894
Their Father’s Wrong by M. Bramston, National Society’s Depository, 1895
Christmas at the Beacon by Ellen Palmer, Nimmo, Hay & Mitchell, 1895
The Art Bible, George Newnes, 1895 (in monthly parts) (with other artists)
The Young Carthaginian, or A Struggle for Empire by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1896
Dorothy’s Stepmother by Penelope Leslie, National Society’s Depository, 1896
A Wonderful Christmas and Other Stories by Katherine E. Vernham, National Society’s Depository, 1896
Cast Ashore by Esmé Stuart, National Society’s Depository, 1896
The Puff of Wind by Frederick C. Badrick, National Society’s Depository, 1896
A Friendly Girl by Catherine Slater, National Society’s Depository, 1896
Cassell’s Illustrated History of England, Cassell & Co., 1896 (in weekly parts) (with other artists)
Happy Children by (Anon.), Donohue, Henneberry & Co., (Chicago), 1897
The Tuckers’ Turkey, and Other Stories by Katherine E. Vernham, National Society’s Depository, 1898
Gwen by Penelope Leslie. National Society’s Depository, 1898
Told by Two by M. Bramston, National Society’s Depository, 1898
A Puritan’s Wooing: A Tale of the Great Awakening in New England by Frank Samuel Child, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
Bugle Minor of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines by M. Bramston, National Society’s Depository, 1899
Brave Deeds of Youthful Heroes by various authors, Religious Tract Society, 1899
Reine’s Kingdom by L.E. Tiddeman, National Society’s Depository, 1899
The Stone Door by Frederick C. Badrick, National Society’s Depository, 1899
The Lifeboat: Its History and Heroes by F.M. Holmes, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1900
Jonathan Toms by Annie Victoria Dutton, National Society’s Depository, 1900
A Mystery of the Sea by Herbert Hayens, Collins, 1900
Lettice Temple: A Story of the Days of Bishop Ken by Maud Vevers, National Society’s Depository, 1900
Twice Lost by W.H.G. Kingston, T. Nelson & Sons, 1900(?)
Deborah’s Dressing and Other Stories by Katherine Elizabeth Vernham, National Society’s Depository, 1901
Riverslea by G. Norway, National Society’s Depository, 1901
Britannia’s Bulwarks: The Achievements of our Seamen, the Honours of Our Ships by Charles Napier Robinson, George Newnes, 1901 (in weekly parts) (with other artists)
Living London, Cassell & Co., 1902 (in weekly parts) (with other artists)
The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen, Collins, 1903 (re-issue)
The Poetical Works of John Milton, Collins, 1904(?)
Kenilworth by Walter Scott, Collins, 1906 (re-issue)
Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Collins, 1919

Friday, October 13, 2017

Comic Cuts - 13 October 2017

I must be barking mad... but I've agreed to do another boot fair with my equally daft, but clearly persuasive, sister. It is going to be a busy weekend as Mel and I have tickets to see Jeremy Hardy at the Arts Centre on Saturday night and we want to fit in a trip to the cinema to see Bladerunner 2049 as soon as we can, although trying to find a free evening for it with our friends is proving to be as easy as nailing smoke to a ceiling.

It will be a nice (?) break from sitting in front of the computer. I'm maintaining my 1,000 words a day on the Fifty Famous Authors book. I've worked on a pair of related essays for the past couple of weeks which are at long last almost complete. One is finished and the other is waiting on some information that won't be arriving until next week. In the meantime, I've dived into another piece, this one a lot shorter, which will probably be part of batch two of essays... but it made for a change of pace after two weeks wallowing in the same subjects.

So we have an addition for the totalizer after a couple of weeks  of zero movement. The word count is now 69,816 spread over 16 essays, so they're averaging around 4,350 words... which at a 1,000 words a day means I'm writing one every four days. I need to pick up the pace a little, or I won't be hitting fifty completed essays for some time. I am, however, almost ready to process the first batch of essays in order to put out the first volume of the e-book version of this project. The plan is for these to be around 50-60,000 word collections, somewhere between a quarter and a third the size of the print version.

How long I can keep up the pace without becoming distracted by the TV is another problem I'm going to be facing. There's a lot of shows appearing that I want to watch, and keeping up with them could take over my life, if I let it. Were currently only watching a handful of shows on UK terrestrial channels, many of them only recently back on our screens – The Last Leg, Have I Got News For You, Upstart Crow, W1A – while Freeview is providing us with our favourite, Taskmaster (which I cannot recommend highly enough... if you can get Dave, give it a try). We've recorded the latest Scandi-noir drama (Black Lake) and one of the crime dramas on the BBC (Rellik), which we'll catch up with shortly and we're watching only one other drama each week: Channel 4's fantastic Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams. The episodes to date have been fantastic and hopefully one in the eye for people who still insist that science fiction is all rockets and ray guns. Its good to see this arrive hot on the heels of The Handmaid's Tale – hopefully Electric Dreams will do well enough for the people who control the schedules to see that decent science fiction can find an audience.

The above I can cope with, even with the addition of QI and a couple of other shows that are starting up next week. It's the mad rush of shows coming out of the US that's the problem. We've been watching Star Trek: Discovery, The Orville (a Trek parody) and Marvel's The Inhumans for the past couple of weeks. But "Après nous, le déluge," as the French say: The Gifted, Gotham, Designated Survivor and Lucifer have already started and this week alone has seen the new season debuts of Mr. Robot, Supergirl, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow with Mindhunter and Dirk Gently arriving tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday).

I think I am now officially attempting to watch too many shows. I still have a bunch of shows that I haven't gotten around to watching, including most of the previous season of Arrow and I've just started watching the first season of Designated Survivor. Only a year late!

Today's random scans were selected by doing a search for "bat" in my cover scans folder and then trying to pair up some of the results.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 11 October 2017.

2000AD 2052
Cover: Mark Harrison
JUDGE DREDD: ICON by TC Eglinton (w) Colin MacNeil (a), Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
GREY AREA: HOMELAND SECURITY by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SLÁINE: ARCHON by Pat Mills (w) Simon Davis (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
INDIGO PRIME: A DYING ART by John Smith, Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Simon Bowland (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: THE DEVIL & ALL HIS WHACKS by Dan Abnett (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

Monday, October 09, 2017

Space Ace volume 9

There are more classic Fifties space adventures in the latest issue of Space Ace, which packs three tales into its 40 pages. Or, looked at another way, five tales, as the lead story for this issue is a combination, cleverly edited, of three otherwise unremarkable stories that make a far better yarn together than they did on their original appearance in 1957-58.

As editor John Lawrence explains, Ron Turner didn't always have a smooth ride when it came to producing his Space Ace tales for Lone Star Magazine and tight deadlines sometimes meant he was rushed, or the stories were repetitive. With a deft bit of editing and the addition of John Ridgway's gorgeous colour, 'Space Ace and the Fire Ship' is bulked out from its original appearance when, Lawrence explains, it had a good beginning, a good ending but sagged in the middle, into a story that now jets along at FTL speed as Ace and Bill try to resolve a situation that could turn the Earth into a cinder.

A fire creature from Sirius lands in the Arizona desert, the land around him dissolving in the extreme heat. Ace is tasked with obtaining a crystal from the Arcturians that will allow the fire creatures to power their ship away from Earth before a chain reaction causes a fatal planet-wide explosion.

And we're off... on an intergalactic adventure that sees Ace arrive on the planet Formondia, only to find the Arcturians are flooding it for their own aquatic needs. The continents are disappearing and the locals risk suffocation as the hydrogen and oxygen required to create water are being taken from the atmosphere.

To reveal more would spoil the plot. Let's just say that their trip back to Earth isn't without incident.

Two seven-page back-up strips complete the issue. 'Space Ace & the Weed of Death' finds Ace and Bill arriving on a planet where the population has been forced into living in a flying city because of a man-eating (or, in this case, Zigor-eating) plant that has smothered the land below. 'Space Ace & the Plunderers', meanwhile, begins with the evacuation of a planet of the Raxor system which has become riven by earthquakes and sudden volcanic activity – as have three others in the same system. The United Planets Organisation are not convinced that the disturbances are natural and Ace and Bill are sent to investigate. It's not a plot spoiler to say that the UPO is right and soon discover a strange alien craft burrowing into a neighbouring planet.

John has penned a companion piece that traces the early history of Space Ace in the pages of Lone Star Magazine, which will continue next issue.

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 virginmedia.com or by cheque or postal order to John Lawrence, 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Beds. LU5 4RB

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Comic Books Hero by Barrie Tomlinson

This is Barrie Tomlinson's second book of reminiscences of his time working in comics. The first volume concentrated almost wholly on the character Roy of the Rovers (reviewed here), while this new book covers much broader ground, from his early days on Lion and Tiger to his managing editor days overseeing Eagle, Wildcat and a whole slew of other titles.

Along the way he introduces some of his co-workers, writers, artists and celebrities that he attracted to the various titles for publicity purposes. The sports titles especially made good use of celebrity contributors, from Geoff Boycott to Suzanne Dando and Tomlinson relates how he approached the likes of Gordon Banks to write for Tiger. Banks was an early winner of the Tiger Sports Star of the Year, which included such luminaries as Jackie Stewart, David Steele, James Hunt, Geoffrey Boycott, Peter Shilton and Sebastian Coe. Other correspondents for Tiger included Boycott, Ian Bothan, David Gower and even magician Paul Daniels.

Many of the titles are visited only briefly, although there are some interesting tales along the way, such as the creation of Storm Force to replace Action Force as the centrepiece of Battle-Action, the Speed treasure hunt, the birth of the New Eagle comic, the surge of licensed comics in the 1980s and the story behind the Anti Trombone League.

As with the earlier book, this one is packed out with photographs from across the years. The endless parade of sports personalities was a key feature to the success of Tiger and Roy of the Rovers, but its the occasional photo of comics' own personalities that I enjoyed more. There's even a photo of Mike Western, tucked away behind a crowd of children at an exhibition.

Comic Book Hero by Barrie Tomlinson. Pitch Publishing. ISBN 978-1785-3132409, 1 September 2017, 224pp, £14.99. Available from Amazon.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

W H Margetson

W. H. MARGETSON
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Many of what might be called “minor” illustrators of children’s books were also highly-skilled and respected artists, exhibiting and selling paintings in a wide rage of genres, and becoming members of bodies such as the Royal Academy of Arts. One of the better-known of these was W. H. Margetson, a fairly prolific illustrator of children’s books, largely between around 1890 and 1910, and as a painter particularly well-known for his full-length studies of young women. He also painted other subjects, and exhibited widely, as well as contributing illustrations to a large number of magazines.

He was born on 1 December 1861 at 21 Grove Hill Terrace, Camberwell, and christened William Henry Margetson. His family background was comparatively wealthy. His father, Edward Margetson (1834-1885, born in Yorkshire and the son of a tea dealer and draper) was, by the age of 16, a merchant’s clerk, initially in Yorkshire before he moved to Camberwell where, in 1861, he was living with his wife Eleanor (née Bradshaw, the daughter of an engraver, whom he had married in Manchester in 1858), and his first son Edward John (born in 1860), and employing two domestic servants. In 1871, he was working as a commission agent, employing three servants, and in 1881 he was described as an Export Merchant, living at 210 The Grove, Camberwell. He died in April 1885, leaving an estate valued at £4,663 (just under £500,000 in today’s terms).

William Henry Margetson’s early education was at Miss Pace’s School in Camberwell Grove (where the later-politician and statesman Joseph Chamberlain had spent a year in the early 1840s). In September 1872 he entered Dulwich College, joining his elder brother Edward who had entered Dulwich in March 1871. He left in April 1877, going to the National Art Training School in South Kensington (perhaps better-known as the Kensington Schools, and later the Royal College of Art), and then on to the Royal Academy Schools, where he won the first of several prizes in August 1878. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy itself in 1885. He went on to teach drawing at the Central School of Arts and Crafts after its formation in 1896.

By then he had established himself as an illustrator, beginning in 1885 when he collaborated with Joseph Hatton and his daughter Helen, who had also studied at the Royal Academy Schools, on a piece in The English Illustrated Magazine based on the diaries of Hatton’s son Frank, an explorer and geologist who had died in 1883 in an accidental shooting in Borneo. (These were subsequently published in North Borneo: Explorations and Adventures on the Equator, published by Sampson Low).  Joseph Hatton (1841-1907) was journalist and novelist, born in Bristol and who had edited The Bristol Mirror in the mid-1860s before moving to London to edit The Gentleman’s Magazine. He went on to become a prolific novelist, essayist, playwright and editor of other newspapers and journals. W. H. Margetson illustrated at least five of his books and pamphlets.

Having got to know Helen Hatton (born Helen Howard Hatton in Bristol in March 1859) Margetson married her on 20 June 1889, at St. Mark’s church, St. Marylebone. He was then living at I Leonard Place, Circus Road, St. John’s Wood. Within a year the couple had moved to 7 St. Anne’s Terrace, St. Marylebone, where, with their first daughter Hester Dorothy (born in 1890) they were boarding with George Gravatt, a butler, and his wife. Ten years later the Margetsons, having had two more children  –  Oliver, born in 1892, and Beryl, born in 1899  –  were living at 107 Thornland Road, Lambeth, and able to employ two servants.

As an illustrator, he contributed to a wide range of magazines and periodicals, including Cassell’s Magazine, Cassell’s Saturday Journal, The Art Journal, Pall Mall Magazine, The Quiver, Sylvia’s Home Journal, Little Folks, The Graphic, Black and White, Sunday at Home, The Windsor Magazine, The Lady’s Pictorial, The Girls’ Realm, The Harmsworth Magazine, The Queen, The Sphere, Woman at Home, The Idler, The Penny Magazine, The Tatler and The Strand.

He also supplied illustrations for various part-works issued by Cassell & Co., including Cassell’s Illustrated History of England, Cassell’s Stories of the Sea, and The Child’s Bible (for which he produced 100 plates, 12 of them published in colour).

In May 1889 Margetson exhibited a portrait of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth at the Grosvenor Gallery, Bond Street. This was bought by the actor Henry Irving, who then commissioned Margetson to design the dresses for a revival of Watts Phillips’s 1859  drama The Dead Heart, being staged by Irving at the Lyceum Theatre. At the same time, Margetson had been asked to provide illustrations for the sixth volume in what had become known as The Henry Irving Shakespeare, the complete works published by the Gresham Publishing Company. He was soon in demand as an illustrator, particularly of boys’ historical stories and fairy stories. For boys, he illustrated four first editions of novels by G.A. Henty between 1893 and 1898, along with books by Robert Overton, Charles W. Whistler, Herbert Hayens, Harold Avery and Evelyn Everett-Green. His first fairy illustrations appeared in The Village of Youth and Other Fairy Tales, published by Hutchinson & Co. in 1896 and written by Bessie Hatton, his wife’s sister. He went on to provide illustrations for novels by Max Pemberton, William Le Queux, Stanley J. Weyman, Joseph Hocking, Samuel R. Crockett and A.E.W. Mason. He also provided religious illustrations in books such as Cole’s Book of Bible Stories, My Bible Pictures and Stories and, published after his death, Pictures of Jesus. He tended to sign his illustrations with his initials, while using his full name (in capital letters) for his paintings.

After the First World War he concentrated on painting, contributing illustrations to only a handful of books. His main focus was figure paining, and he became noted for his large paintings of beautiful young women (painted in both oils and watercolours)  ¬  these progressed from a post-pre-Raphaelite sentimentalism to a more loose style approaching post-impressionism. He also exhibited religious, classical and literary works. One of his best-known paintings, The Sea hath its Pearls, painted in 1897 and exhibited at the Royal Academy, was bought by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, while the National Portrait Gallery has his 1891 portrait of Alfred Tennyson, and his religious work St. Mary at the Loom is owned by the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.

Margetson had been a member of the Ipswich Art Club between 1886 and 1891, and was elected to the Royal Society of Miniature painters in 1896, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1901, and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1909.

In the meantime, he and his family had moved to The Homestead, Blewbury, Berkshire (now in Oxfordshire) in 1902. At the time of the 1911 census, Hester Margetson was an art student, and Oliver Margetson was an engineering student. Hester went on to marry Jack Seaforth Elton Martin-Harvey (better-known as the actor Martin Harvey – his one leading film role was that of the burglar Charles Peace in 1949) in 1927. As an artist, Hester’s earliest drawings were published in the children’s magazine St. Nicholas. She went on to specialize in twee paintings of young children, animals and fairies. She also formed a small touring ballet company, the Martin-Harvey Miniature Ballet, with her husband. She died in 1965.

William Henry Margetson died in 2 January 1940, at Priory Cottage, Wallingford, where he had lived for many years, leaving an estate valued at just £1,510 (around £75,000 in today’s terms). His wife died on 24 October 1955 at Goring-on-Thames.


PUBLICATIONS

Books Illustrated
North Borneo: Explorations and Adventures on the Equator by Joseph Hatton, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1885
The Lyceum “Faust” by Joseph Hatton, Virtue & Co., 1886
Captured by Cannibals: Some Incidents in the Life of Horace Durand by Joseph Hatton, Hodder & Stoughton, 1888
Reminiscences of J.L. Toole by Joseph Hatton, Hurst & Blackett, 1888
The Works of William Shakespeare, Gresham Publishing Co., 1889
“Hors de Combat”, or Three Weeks in a Hospital by Gertrude & Ethel Armytage Southam, Cassell & Co., 1891
How Pianos are Made by Joseph Hatton, John Brimsmead & Sons, 1892
Sunlight by Bret Harte, Lever Bros., 1892
John Gentleman, Tramp by Jessie A Norquay Forbes, Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1892
Beric the Briton by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1893
A World Afloat: The Story of an Ocean Trip by Joseph Hatton, Raphael Tuck, 1893
Cigarette Papers for Holiday Smokers by Joseph Hatton, (30 Fleet Street), 1893
A Dozen All Told by W.E. Norris and others, Blackie & Son, 1894
The King’s Pardon, or The Boy who Saved his Father by Robert Overton, Jarrold & Sons, 1895
At A Piano Factory, John Brimsmead & Sons, 1895
The Tiger of Mysore by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1896
A Thane of Wessex: Being a Story of the Great Viking Raids into Somerset by Charles W. Whistler, Blackie & Son, 1896
The Lights of Sydney, or No Past is Dead by Lilian Turner, Cassell & Co., 1896
Deaf and Dumb Land by Joseph Hatton, The Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, 1896
The Village of Youth and Other Fairy Tales by Bessie Hatton, Hutchinson & Co., 1896
A History of the Scottish People, Rev. Thomas Thomson, Blackie & Son, 1896
With Cochrane the Dauntless by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1897
The British Legion: A Tale of the Carlist War by Herbert Hayens, T. Nelson & Sons, 1897
Wulfric the Weapon Thane: A Story of the Danish Conquest of East Anglia by Charles W. Whistler, Blackie & Son, 1897
King Olaf’s Kinsman by Charles W. Whistler, Blackie & Son, 1897
A Missing Witness by Frank Barrett, Chatto & Windus, 1897
The Beautiful Miss Brooke by Louis Zangwill, Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1897
The Dagger and the Cross by Joseph Hatton, Hutchinson & Co., 1897
A March on London: Being a Story of Wat Tyler’s Insurrection by G.A. Henty, Blackie & Son, 1898
A Tale of Two Rings by Samuel Gordon, Raphael Tuck Ltd., 1898
The Dormitory Flag by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1899
The Triple Alliance by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1899
Through Peril, Toil and Pain by Lucy Taylor, T. Nelson & Sons, 1899
King Alfred’s Viking by Charles W. Whistler, 1899
The Life of William Ewart Gladstone by Sir Wemyss Reid (ed.), Cassell & Co., 1899
Britain’s Sea Kings and Sea Fights by various authors, Cassell & Co., 1900
Havelock the Dane by Charles W. Whistler, T. Nelson & Sons, 1900
Trefoil: The Story of a Girls’ Society by M.P. MacDonald, T. Nelson & Sons, 1900
Sisters Three by Jessie Mansergh, Cassell & Co., 1900
Duance Pendray: A Story of Jacobite Times in Cornwall by G. Norway, Jarrold & Sons, 1901
For the Faith: A Story of Reformation Times in England by Evelyn Everett-Green, T. Nelson & Sons, 1902
Pilgrims of Love by Bessie Hatton, Anthony Treherne & Co., 1902
Cigarette Papers: With Some Notes for a Life of Sir Henry Irving by Joseph Hatton, Anthony Treherne & Co., 1902
A New Speaker for Our Little Folks by various authors, W.E. Scull, 1902
Fallen Fortunes: Being the Adventures of a Gentleman of Quality in the Days of Queen Anne, by Evelyn Everett-Green, T. Nelson & Sons, 1903
A Hero of the Highlands: A Story of the “45” by Evelyn Everett-Green, T. Nelson & Sons, 1903
Living London by George R. Sims (ed.), Cassell & Co., 1903
Red Morn by Max Pemberton, Cassell & Co., 1904
Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, W.E. Scull, 1904
A Flame of Fire: Being the Adventures of Three Englishmen in Spain by Joseph Hocking, Cassell & Co., 1904
Favourite Stories from Grimm by Edward Shirley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1904
The Spider’s Eye by William Le Queux, Cassell & Co., 1905
The Red Seal by Morice Gerard, Cassell & Co., 1906
The White Plumes of Navarre: A Romance of the Wars of Religion by Samuel R. Crockett, Religious Tract Society, 1906
King Olaf’s Kinsman: A Story of the Last Saxon Struggle against the Danes by Charles W. Whistler, Blackie & Son, 1907
Rob the Ranger: A Story of the Fight for Canada by Herbert Strang, Hodder & Stoughton, 1908
The Old Nursery Stories by Edith Nesbit, Hodder & Stoughton, 1908
The Escape of Desmond Burke by Herbert Strang, Hodder & Stoughton, 1908
The Wild Geese by Stanley J. Weyman, Hodder & Stoughton, 1908
Granny’s Wonderful Chair and its Tales of Fairy Times by Frances Brown, Hodder & Stoughton, 1908
Happy Sunday Hours: A Story for Every Sunday in the Year, T. Nelson & Sons, 1908
Humphrey Bold: His Chances and Mischances by Land and Sea by Herbert Strang, Hodder & Stoughton, 1909
An Island Heroine by Bessie Marchant, Collins, 1909
A Day with the Poet Tennyson by May Byron, Hodder & Stoughton 1909
At the Villa Rose by A.E.W. Mason, Hodder & Stoughton, 1910
Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race by Maude I. Ebbutt, George G. Harrap & Co., 1910
Stories about Joseph and David by (Anon.), T. Nelson & Sons, 1910
Cole’s Book of Bible Stories by (Anon.), E.W. Cole, 1911
Out of the Wreck I Rise by Beatrice Harraden, T. Nelson & Sons, 1912
Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by Janet MacDonald Clarke, Ernest Nister, 1914
The Fairy Tale Book by various authors, T. Nelson & Sons, 1915
My First Fairy Book by Harry Rountree & others, T. Nelson & Sons, 1918(?)
Jesus of Nazareth: Stories of the Master and his Disciples by Agnes Adams, O.U.P., 1926
The Admiral’s Daughter by Margaret Stuart Lane, O.U.P., 1927
In a Nook with Nature by A. Patterson Webb (ed.), Robert Hayes, 1927
The Old Old Story, O.U.P., 1934
Come Unto Me, O.U.P., 1934
My Bible Pictures and Stories by Amy Steedman, T. Nelson & Sons, 1939
Pictures of Jesus, O.U.P., 1947
Kenilworth by Walter Scott, T. Nelson & Sons, (?)
Hansel and Gretel and Other Stories, T. Nelson & Sons, (?)
Fairy Tales, T. Nelson & Son, (?)

Friday, October 06, 2017

Comic Cuts - 6 October 2017

I think we can classify last week's Sale Trail as a disaster. Not the tiniest percentage of a Hurricane Irma- or Maria-sized disaster, but a grade A failure nonetheless. We were selling for six hours and in that time I managed to raise £7.50. Less the fiver it cost me to get us included on the Sale Trail map. So, a profit of £2.50 towards paying off the cost of my lovely folding table. Only another £15 to go before it has paid for itself!

Even my most pessimistic profit estimates saw us at least pay off the table! The last time we did the Sale Trail we made £53, of which £35 was my profit after costs, so my target of £22.50 should have been easy to hit.

So what went wrong? A lot of fingers are pointing at the organisation. The maps and promotional material (1 x A4 poster) turned up at 4 o'clock on Friday, which didn't give anyone much of a chance, if any if you were out at work, to promote the event. Apart from notices on three noticeboards around town, I don't think there was any promotion... and every seller I spoke to told me the same thing: every customer was surprised to find people with tables out on their drives. Not one of them knew the Sale Trail was on.

For us, it was also the case that we were the only people in our road who set out a stall. Of the 25 sellers, the largest cluster was down towards the quay, where there might have been some passing trade from people shopping, dog-walkers along the quay, people going to or coming from one or other of the three pubs or various restaurants/tea-rooms.

I had thought we would catch anyone going to or coming from the Co-op but there was barely more than three dozen people walking up or down the road. Maybe everyone drives into Colchester to do their shopping on a Saturday?

Mel took £4.50 and my sister Julie drove down from Sudbury and ended the day 52 pence richer... less her petrol, which probably cost more than that (she found the 2p in the road!), but despite our taking next to nothing, we still managed to have a good laugh. Julie had the dogs down, which always adds to the fun. One of them was celebrating its second birthday, so there were extra fusses to be made.

Rather than wait until 4pm, we decided to close up shop at 3 and had everything stacked away by 3.30pm, so we had a chance to a) walk the dogs, and b) chat to some of the other sellers. I bought a couple of books for 50p, so that blew a fifth of my profits immediately.

Will we do it again? Well, definitely not from our driveway because we've proved that there just aren't the customers. If we could get tables outside the local hall again (as we had the last time we did the Sale Trail) I might consider it. Mind you, that's unlikely to happen as I'm seriously considering just seeing what the local second-hand bookshop will offer me. I need the space!

With that disappointment behind us, I've been cracking on with Fifty Forgotten Authors. I'm still averaging 1,000 words a day, which is good. I've decided to end the first batch of fifteen or so with two that require lots of research, which I'm enjoying. On the latest essay, just when I thought I'd found out all I could about a particular author, something else popped up. On Tuesday I discovered a previously unknown pen-name and then discovered a second on Wednesday by pure fluke while I was trying to establish when one of the author's books was serialised.

You just never know what's around the corner.

Because this and the previous essay overlap a little, I have the previous one on hold – hence no totaliser again, as it isn't quite finished. But when I get the two finished, the totaliser word count is going to take quite a jump, as I've written about 15,000 words since the last time I totted up the total.

Today's random scans aren't very random. I sold a spare Nell Dunn book and it got me thinking about the other titles I had by her. After a bit of digging, here's what I found on the shelves...

.
Up the Junction
Pan Books G712, 1966, 122pp, 2/6.
---- [2nd imp.] 1966; [3rd imp.] 1966; [4th imp.] 1966; [5th imp.] 1966; [6th imp.] 1966; [7th imp.] 1966; [8th imp.] 1968; [9th imp.] 1968; [10th imp.] 1968; [11th imp.] 1968; [12th imp.] 1969;
Pan Books 0330-10743-7 [13th imp.] 1973, 122pp, 25p.

.
Poor Cow
Pan Books X714, 1968, 126pp, 3/6. Cover still. Movie tie-in.
Pan Books 0330-10714-3, c.1973, 25p.

.
"Talking to Women" 
Pan Books X563, 1965, 188pp, 3/6.

Incurable
Pan Books 0330-23488-9, 1973, 123pp, 25p.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Commando issues 5059-5062

Commando issues 5059-5062 on sale 6 October 2017.

Brand new Commando issues are out now! Expect Cold War espionage, Battle of Britain aerobatics, lost Napoleonic treasures and despicable acts of Nazi treachery in this week’s bundle!

5059: Target: ARMAGEDDON
After Germany surrendered in 1945, many Nazis fled to South America, choosing to live out the rest of their days in peace, but one U-Boat captain, Heinrich Kessler, had other ideas. Disgusted by his government’s surrender, Kessler’s hate for western culture burned through the decades until he decided to strike back. He might not be able to destroy his enemies – but he would push them to destroy each other!
    Now, in the heat of the Cold War, the Russian and American navies must work together if they are to defeat a greater evil that threatens the world…
    Iain McLaughlin’s nautical narrative is filled with stunning seascapes from Rodriguez and Morhain, who detail the various warships and submarines that battle on and beneath the surface, carrying over from Janek Matysiak’s moody submarine cover. 

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Rodriguez & Morhain
Cover: Janek Matysiak

5060: The Fighting Few
“No-one would deny that the Battle of Britain produced more heroes than any other action of the Second World War.”
    A Golden Age classic, ‘The Fighting Few’ follows three pilots who formed one of the closest units the war had ever seen. Spending every minute to spare in the air, Flying Officer Gavin Roberts’ team was nigh on unstoppable. The only thing that held them back was Squadron Leader Connor, who, duplicitous and cowardly, took every chance he could to run away – even at the cost of another pilot’s life. So, facing Connor’s self-preservation and the relentless Luftwaffe, Gavin’s trio must train and fight harder if they are to survive and help Britain on the road to victory!
    Bringing Maitland’s story to life, Gordon C. Livingstone provides the cover and interior artwork, making it easy to see why his designs are so beloved by comic fans.

Story: Maitland
Art: Gordon C. Livingstone
Cover: Gordon C. Livingstone
Originally Commando No 386 (February 1969) Reprinted No 1123 (May 1977)

5061: Fenshire Silver
Uncovering a crate of silver finery from French soldiers in the Peninsula War, Fenshire Rifle Lieutenant Adrian Seacombe could not believe his luck, that is, until he perished on his return to British soil. But that silver would stay with the Seacombe line, eventually reaching his descendant who fought with the Fenshire Rifles regiment in the Second World War. But does this new Seacombe care more about the treasure than his men?
    With art and cover design from Keith Page, George Low’s ‘Fenshire Silver’ is an adventure through the ages, from flintlock face-offs in Spain 1810, to the iconic Lee Enfields of World War Two.

Story: George Low
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

5062: Time to Pay!
Sent to join the Italians at the front, Strumbannfuhrer Gustav Braun was an evil and cowardly man. Panicking at the first sight of the action he had avoided so far, he ordered a unit of Italians shot down so he could steal their trucks and flee. But Captain Mario Celini would never forget this. Even after Italy surrendered, Mario joined the Allied fighters to push back the Nazis and maybe even get his revenge on Braun…
    A different perspective on the war from K. P. MacKenzie, this ‘90s classic builds the perfect villain before introducing us to the heroes who will try to take him down. With beautiful depictions of the Italian countryside in C. T. Rigby’s artwork and a striking cover from Ian Kennedy, this is not one to miss!

Story: K. P. MacKenzie
Art: C. T. Rigby
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No 2648 (March 1993)

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 4-5 October 2017.

2000AD 2051
Cover: David Millgate
JUDGE DREDD: ICON by TC Eglinton (w) Colin MacNeil (a), Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
GREY AREA: HOMELAND SECURITY by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SLÁINE: ARCHON by Pat Mills (w) Simon Davis (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
INDIGO PRIME: A DYING ART by John Smith, Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Simon Bowland (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: SNAKE-SKINNED by Dan Abnett (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

Marney the Fox
Rebellion ISBN  978-178108598-1, 5 October 2017, 229pp, £17.99 / $23.99. Available from Amazon.
Marney the Fox is a Lassie-style tale of a lone fox up against wicked humans via Watership Down and Fantastic Mr Fox. When his mother is killed and his siblings taken by a farmer, Marney the fox cub finds himself left all alone in the beautiful yet deadly Devon countryside. From dodging blood-thirsty humans to encountering an array of wild animals, Marney must rely on all of his strength and cunning to survive. This is a brilliantly constructed and complete story, collected for the first time, showcasing the astonishing work of artist John Stokes and the glorious imagination of writer Scott Goodall.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Marney the Fox (Rebellion)

John Stokes, the artist of Marney the Fox, describes the strip as a Marmite story, one which readers of Buster, where it originally appeared, either loved or hated. The editor "kept a chart on the wall of his office with the results of the readers' poll of most liked and most disliked stories. Marney the Fox regularly topped both polls, sometimes in the same week."

Well, I'm on the side of loving it. It's the story of a fox cub growing up in the Devon countryside... no, let me put that another way. It's about a fox cub whose mother has been killed, whose siblings are taken by the farmer who killed her, and who spends the next two years surviving the Devon countryside with all its predators with claws and hunters with traps and shotguns.

This is British comics' version of Henry Williamson's Tarka the Otter or Gavin Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water. Unlike Bambi, Marney has no happy playmates to frolic around with when his mother dies; instead, his life is dominated by needing to eat and needing to escape from creatures (both two-legged and four-legged) that see him either as a verminous killer or as food. Unlike Bambi, the creatures of the forest do not all speak the same language, so there are is no dialogue beyond Marney's thoughts and the overheard conversations of humans.

Over time Marney, faces many other dangers, from the Devon hunt to winter snow and from scientists' experiments to snake bites. This is not to say that all of Marney's encounters are bad ones. Along the way he makes the occasional friend: a mongrel dog named Greytooth, a runaway boy escaping a violent stepfather, a lost kitten...

For ninety percent of the story, Scott Goodall kept his little foxy hero terrified, escaping angry otters, poachers and other obstacles for episode after episode. It would have been very easy to jump the shark with Marney, but even in the most outrageous and unlikely storylines (such as having Marney taught by gypsies to perform tricks) he pulled back from the edge of the shark pool.

Artistically, Marney was brilliantly served by John Stokes, who made it one of the best-looking strips of the mid-Seventies (it originally appeared in Buster in 1974-76). Over the 27 months it ran, Stokes was called upon to draw every countryside animal that existed in Devon at the time (and a lion), which he did astonishingly well. Marney himself goes through an amazing range of emotions, which requires a realism to the artwork beyond most comic strips if its readers are to empathise with its furry hero. To achieve this, Stokes used every trick he could to add texture to the artwork, from crosshatching and stippling to airbrush effects using a diffuser. The results  make Marney one of the most fondly remembered of Buster's adventure strips and a fantastic choice for Rebellion's new reprint line.

Forty years on, it may be the grand-children of the original readers that the book is being bought for this Christmas.

Marney the Fox. Rebellion ISBN  978-178108598-1, 5 October 2017, 229pp, £17.99 / $23.99. Available from Amazon.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Albert Morrow

ALBERT MORROW
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Albert George Morrow was best-known as a poster artist, designing and painting hundreds of posters from 1890 onwards, mainly for the theatre. But he was also a prolific illustrator for magazines and periodicals, and, to a lesser extent, of children’s books. He was also a rather colourful character.

He was born on 26 April 1863 in Comber, County Down, the son of a painter and decorator from Clifton Street, Belfast. (His obituaries gave his father’s name as George, whereas his 1887 marriage certificate showed his father as Charles Morrow). He was the first of seven brothers, four of whom also went on to become artists and illustrators:  George (1869-1955), Jack (1872-1926), Edwin (1877-1952), and Norman (1879-1917). He was educated at the Belfast Model School and then, between 1875 and 1881, at the Belfast Government School of Art. In 1879 he won first prize in an open competition in The Graphic for a black and white drawing, and a year later he won a prize from The Magazine of Art. During much of his school career he was an active member of the local Band of Hope, part of the Irish Temperance League.

In 1881 he was awarded a two-year scholarship at the South Kensington School of Art, worth £52 a year. Most sources that refer to this (previously-published brief biographies and newspaper articles) suggest that he attended the South Kensington School from 1882 onwards – however, he was clearly there in April 1881, as he was recorded in that year’s census as an art student, boarding at 19 Hasker Street, Chelsea, with Robert Cookman, a butler.

When he left South Kensington he joined the staff of The English Illustrated Journal, in particular drawing industrial scenes from locations all over the country. He designed his first theatrical poster in around 1890 – by his own account (in an interview in the magazine The Poster in January 1899) this was for a production of The Stranglers of Paris, or The Grip of Iron (which had first been performed in 1883). The poster was printed by Clement Smith & Co., a well-established theatrical poster company, for whom Morrow went on to design several more posters. In 1891 he joined the London branch of David Allen & Sons, of Belfast, another printing company which produced posters, postcards etc. One of Morrow’s best-known posters, printed by David Allen, was for the satirical comedy The New Woman, written by Sydney Grundy and which premiered in 1894.

Morrow went on to work for David Allen  & Sons until at least 1907. He was, at some point, obliged to change his working methods, revealing in The Poster that he used to paint his posters full size in distemper, but printing methods meant that it became necessary to reduce the size of the original which was then mechanically enlarged, a process he thought to be “completely wrong.”  He also insisted on doing his own lettering on his posters, saying that this should form an essential part of the design. In addition to his work for David Allen, he produced a series of posters, on his own account, for Alfred Harmsworth’s cheap weekly Answers.

In the late 1890s, Morrow began performing at the monthly Smoking Concerts at the Press Club, in Wine Office Court, Fleet Street, producing quick-fire sketches of the members and guests.

In the meantime, Morrow had married Louisa Anna Finch (born in Chelsea in 1867, the daughter of Richard Finch, a mason) at St. Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico on 29 August 1887. They subsequently lived at a number of addresses, including 67 Winchester Street, Pimlico; 26 Alderney Street, Pimlico; 324 King’s Road, Chelsea; 35 Albert Mansions, Battersea; and 9A Cambridge Road, Battersea, until in January 1899 Morrow filed for divorce. In his petition (held at the National Archives) he claimed that his wife had committed adultery with William Lovesey Preston, beginning in October 1897. For his part, Preston denied this; so, too, did Morrow’s wife – indeed, she responded that Morrow was “a man of violent temper and of very intemperate habits.” She claimed that he had begun ill-treating her in 1896, and that “he frequently as well when he was intoxicated as at other times in gross filthy and obscene language abused [her] and swore at her and assaulted and beat and struck her and in divers other ways was guilty of cruelty….”  This, of course, sits rather uneasily with Morrow’s earlier involvement in the temperance movement….. The marriage was subsequently formally ended in January 1900.

Morrow maintained his somewhat peripatetic lifestyle, moving to 4 Stamford Bridge Studios, Chelsea, in 1901. On 5 June 1901, giving his address as The Coach and Horses Hotel, Kew, Morrow married Phyllis Dorothy Grimmé (born in 1875 in Chelsea, the daughter of Francis Louis Grimmé, an electrician, who was living at 12 Clydesdale Road, Notting Hill), at St. Anne’s Church, Kew. They went on to have two children: Albert John, born in Brentford, Middlesex, in 1902; and Phyllis Dorothy Mary, baptized at Ickford, Buckinghamshire, on 22 May 1904. The family subsequently moved to 1 Albert Studios, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea. By 1907, they had re-located to Penn Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire; and they subsequently moved to Studio House, Kingsway, Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire (1911), and Silverton, Ledborough Lane, Beaconsfield (1915).

Besides his poster work, Morrow was also in demand as an illustrator for periodicals and magazines. As well as in The English Illustrated Magazine, his work appeared in The Cornhill Magazine, Sunday at Home, The Illustrated London News, The Studio, Sylvia’s Home Journal, The Sketch, The Poster, The Art Journal, The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph (for which he illustrated a serial story in 1905), Lloyd’s Magazine, The Graphic, The Sphere, Good Words, Little Folks, Lazy Land, Short Stories, Illustrated Bits, Cassell’s Magazine, The New Magazine, The Strand Magazine and Punch. He also supplied illustrations to several boys’ periodicals, including Ching Ching’s Own, The Boys’ Friend, The Boys’ Leader, Big Budget, The Boy’s Own Paper, Chums and The Captain.

As a book illustrator, he worked for a variety of publishers, and illustrated a wide range of books, mainly those published for children. Amongst the authors whose novels he illustrated were Amy Le Feuvre, Wilkie Collins, H. Rider Haggard, Harold Avery, Gordon Stables and Christine Chaundler. He also illustrated re-issues of novels by Frederick Marryat and R.H. Dana. (Much of his book work remains unrecorded).

He also provided illustrations for numerous children’s annuals from around 1918 onwards, in particular those from Blackie & Son, F. Warne & Co., and the Oxford University Press.

As an artist, Morrow exhibited several times at The Royal Academy, beginning in 1894, and in 1903 he exhibited at the first annual exhibition of the Ulster Arts Club in Belfast. Four years later the Ulster Arts Club gave him the honour of a solo exhibition.

In the 1920s he claimed to have done a lot of work for Cassell & Co., although most of this has yet to be identified. He had moved from Buckinghamshire to Sussex, where he died, at Whitemore, West Hoathly, on 26 October 1927, being buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Highbrook, Hoathly. His gravestone was designed by the architect Albert Toft (1862-1949), with whom Morrow had been a close friend since they met at South Kensington in 1882. His estate was valued at a mere £91, suggesting that he had lived life to the full, no doubt fully immersing himself in the Bohemian world of the London theatre and Fleet Street, and had been profligate in spending what would have been substantial earnings.

His widow died on 5 December 1978 in Lindfield, Sussex, leaving an estate valued at £5,048.


PUBLICATIONS

Books Illustrated
The Red Thread of Honour, or The Minster Schoolboys by Marianne Kirlew, Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1891
An Artist in the Himalayas by A.D. McCormick, T. Fisher Unwin, 1895
The Infant by Frederick Wicks, Remington & Co., 1895
The Purloined Prince by Edgar Turner & Reginald Hodder, The Caxton Press, 1905
Mirian Lemaire, Moneylender by Coralie Stanton & Heath Hosken, Cassell & Co., 1906
The Mender by Amy Le Feuvre, R.T.S., 1906
The Midnight Guest by Fred. M. White, Cassell & Co., 1907
Sir Walter Raleigh: An Historical Romance by William Devereux & Stephen Lovell, Greening, 1910
Noel and His Star by Kaye Maud Johnson, Religious Tract Society, 1913
No Name by Wilkie Collins, Collins, 1915
Whilst Father was Fighting by Eleanore H. Stooke, R.T.S., 1917
The Mystery Ship: A Story of the “Q” Ships During the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1920
The Ancient Allan by H. Rider Haggard, Cassell & Co., 1920
The Happy Comrade by E.L. Haverfield, O.U.P., 1920
The Strange Adventure of Jack Smith by John Finbarr, O.U.P., 1921
The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat, O.U.P., 1922 (re-issue)
The Crimson Ramblers by Violet Bradby, O.U.P., 1922
Between Two Schools by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1923
A Merry Heart by Joan Leslie, O.U.P., 1923
Princess Carroty-Top and Timothy: A Fairy Tale of Today by Christine Chaundler, F. Warne & Co., 1924
Barbara in Charge by M.E. Fraser, R.T.S., 1925
Secrets of the Mountains: A Story for Girls by Mabel L. Tyrrell, F. Warne & Co., 1925
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot by A. Edwards Chapman, F. Warne & Co., 1926
Hideaway House by J. Roland Evans, R.T.S., 1926
The Boy Over the Way by Frederica J.E. Bennett, Religious Tract Society, 1927
Harry Lorrequer by Charles Lever, Readers Library, 1928 (re-issue)
Two Years Before the Mast by R.H. Dana, Readers Library, 1928 (re-issue)
Adrift in the Pacific by Jules Verne, Readers Library, 1928 (re-issue)
Kidnapped by Smugglers by Frederica J.E. Bennett, R.T.S., 1931
Jack Locke: A Tale of the Sea During the Napoleonic Wars by Gordon Stables, F. Warne & Co., (?) (re-issue)
Tales of Hoffman Retold from Offenbach’s Opera by Cyril Falls, Jarrolds, (?)
A Little Mother to the Others by L.T. Meade, F. Warne & Co. (re-issue)

Annuals etc. (various dates)
The Oxford Annual for Scouts, O.U.P.
The Oxford Annual for Boys, O.U.P.
The Golden Budget for Boys, Blackie & Son
The Boys’ Book of School Stories, Blackie & Son
The Bumper Book of School Stories, Collins
Collins Adventure Annual, Collins
The Big Book for Girls, O.U.P.
My Own Story Book, F. Warne & Co.,
Warne’s Happy Book for Boys, F. Warne & Co.,
The Jolly Book, T. Nelson & Sons
Jolly Days for Girls, O.U.P.
The World of Sport and Adventure by Wingrove Willson (ed.), Aldine Publishing Co.,
The Companion Annual, R.T.S.
My Picture Book, Containing Alphabets and Stories, Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales, F. Warne & Co.
The British Girl’s Annual, Cassell & Co.