Sunday, 14 January 2007


Yes, fifty one. Well, you don't expect me to 'fall back on my laurels,' to borrow an unfortunate conflation of two separate metaphors I once heard a tv soccer commentator use, so let's press ahead.
My Pal Evans just gave me the heads up for Cefn Ridout's double review of Bechdel's Fun Home and Satrapi's Chicken With Plums in the Weekend Australian. A few months back Cefn also wrote a neat review of The Fate of the Artist for the same paper after I sent him a copy of the book (he had earlier written a big spread on Eisner and I was unhumbly soliciting a similar exravaganza), causing the local representatives of my publisher to wonder how somebody they had hardly heard of before, me, had gotten a big double page spread review in the national paper, with huge colour author photo and all ( a leftover from their From Hell movie session from five years back).

Cefn has been living in his native Australia of late and I think edits a magazine about manga. He is one of those folk who keep popping up where you least expect them and ekes out a living, I have always assumed, in an editorial capacity around his favourite subject of comic book art. He was a mainstay of the British small press in the early '80s when he and a couple of other blokes, as Acme Press, put out a mag called Speakeasy, which ran to over a hundred issues and had slick colour covers toward the end, with Rian Hughes design too before Hughes did all that fancy stuff for Vertigo. He edited the Dr Who magazine in '85. Acme published Alan Moore's newspaper strip Maxwell the Magic Cat in four volumes, and packaged the first complete Alec: The King Canute Crowd for Eclipse.

Cefn and his partners pulled off some great coups, like acquiring the rights to do a comic book James Bond in 1989. I remember them telling me they weren't allowed to take the movie script away to adapt so one of them, Richard Ashford I think, had to sit in a small room with it and copy it out longhand to the best of his ability, 'adapting' it as he went along. Needing the American market they worked in a packaging capacity, so that Dark Horse tends to get all the credit for it now. They did a memorable original Bond story with art by Paul Gulacy, at a time when the movies weren't half as interesting. Ridout and Ashford also made a long interview with John Romita that was published as The Art of John Romita by Marvel in a gorgeously designed edition, except that for a hardcover it just had a glue binding and my copy has come a little loose since wee Callum used to trace the pictures in it, presumably sometime after he thought Spiderman looked like this:

and sometime before he himself looked like this:



Blogger Johnny Walker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 January 2007 at 08:44:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Johnny Walker said...

Happy Birth-of-your-Blog-day! (I guess that's every day, isn't it? :)
It's amazing that you've posted every single day for 51 days! I'm sure my steam would have run out by now. Congrats!

14 January 2007 at 08:47:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Funny to read a brand new review about a book that won the Angouleme price for best album (very) nearly two years ago...
Could it be that it has only now just been translated into English ?

14 January 2007 at 10:58:00 GMT-5  

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