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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Jack London Dead

While researching for my book Cardiff in the Great War (publication news very soon) I came across this cutting in the South Wales Echo that announces the death of famed author, Jack London.

Thought Archive readers may find this interesting.

Vintage Comics - The Savage Sword of Conan

Published in May 1980 this is issue 31 of Marvel UK's monthly title, The Savage Sword of Conan. This particular issue features the first part of the story, A Witch Shall be Born as well as a short standalone story,  Dragonseed.

I picked up this issue today in the excellent Troutmark Books, which resides in a magical corner of Cardiff's Castle Arcade. I also found the subsequent issue, No 32, which completes the storyline from this issue. They cost me £1.25 each which is a steal. Okay they may have cost just over three times their original cover price but then it ain't 1980 anymore.

The Savage Sword of Conan was aimed at the more mature comic reader, hence the price - at a time when most British comics were around 12p,  then 40p was a hefty price indeed.  It only contained two stories, and the supporting story was told over a mere nine pages it meant that the main storyline, the Conan story, boasted just shy of forty pages, which meant that the story could remain incredibly faithful to the Robert E. Howard story while not skimping on the eye popping action.

The artwork on the main story is by John Buscema and it's amazingly detailed, though in black and white given that this is a UK reprint of American material. Still the monochrome images suit the style and somehow  make the blood seem all the more red. The storyline is by the legendary Roy Thomas and these two issues are the only ones I've got of this title, but I'll certainly be looking out for more.

One thing I always look for in old comics is the letters page - a lively letters page can be fascinating and this magazine boasts a double page spread of lively letters.

Click on any of the images here to see a larger version.

Readers Anonymous - are you an addict?

Do your palms sweat at the thought of a new Stephen King hitting the shelves? Do you neglect your friends in order to curl up between the pages? Do you have to charge your Kindle more than twice a month?  Are there books in every room of your house?

 If you answered yes to any of the questions above then you may be addicted to reading.

This addiction is widespread and the side effects are a stronger vocabulary, an imaginative mind and a better understanding of what makes things tick.

Check out this article HERE by Tara Block which lists fifty signs that you may be afflicted with a reading addiction. If so you may be able to get help....but would you want it?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 14 Apr - 20 Apr 2014


  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Unique Visits142131121119164137128942135
First Time Visits130115110115146131121868124
Returning Visits121611418677411

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Sad Death of Sue Townsend Aged 68 and a bit

Sue Townsend the creator of the mega successful Adrian Mole series died last week - I first  read the The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and Three Quarters when I wasn't much older than that myself. And I've  stuck with the books all these years, reading each and every one as they came out and aging with the character.

. Adrian Mole was a self obsessed teenager who took himself far too seriously and his diaries were comedy gold. The first book made Townsend a household name and propelled her to the top of the bestseller lists. The last Adrian Mole book was 2009's The Prostrate Years and it has been confirmed that Sue Townsend was actually working on another Adrian Mole book when she sadly died.

"We can confirm that Sue was in the middle of writing the book. Her editor had seen what she describes as 'a few wonderful pages'. It was supposed to be out this autumn and we are very sad that we won't be able to show it to the world."Publisher, Michael Joseph

Though given the way modern publishing works it is unlikely that the author's death will see the end of the series and expect to see the unfinished novel completed by another hand in the fullness of time.

RIP Sue Townsend

"One of the warmest, funniest and wisest people I ever met." Stephen Mangan who played Adrian Mole in the 2001 BBC TV series, The Cappuccino Years

Related Article - Sue Townsend and the Welfare State

Bond 24 new plot details revealed - The names Bond, James Bond, Guv

I must admit to being disappointed when it was recently announced the Sam Mendes will not direct the next Bond movie - after all Skyfall was a damn fine Bond movie, even if I'm still not totally sold on Daniel Craig in the role of 007. Still Skyfall displayed an understanding of the franchise and was a better Bond movie than either of Craig's other two efforts. Yeah, I know many people think Daniel Craig's first stab at the role in Casino Royale was a triumph but I am not one of those. Still the latest unconfirmed rumours are even more of a worry, and Guy Ritchie is being touted as the director of the next Bond movie. Daniel Craig's Bond is already too blokey and Ritchie's already given us a blokey Sherlock Holmes, both of which have been successful which fucking baffles me. Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes is nothing like Sherlock Holmes and Daniel Craig's Bond is already too Bondlite so the combination of Craig and Ritchie is not something I'd savour.
Yes Guy Ritchie can direct action but he's not so hot with character development, and the latter was a high point of Skyfall.

The news is that the next Bond will be called Brown Bread Forever, Brown Bread being  cockney rhyming slang for dead, and that Bond will face a deadly criminal organization. The Archive can reveal that Leslie Grantham has been approached to play the lead baddie who manages the Five Finger Shuffle nightclub, which is in reality a front for the criminal empire that stretches from Walford  to the Isle of Dogs. The film will be made at various exotic locations including Brighton, the Costa Del Crime and a Scrapyard in London's East End.

Never mind here's a pic from a time when James Bond was still suave and sophisticated rather than rough and ready....and we still have the older, far superior, Bond movies to fall back on.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

9 Books on Writing and Reading

I came across this article HERE which will be of interest to Archive readers.

Hardly anything does one’s mental, spiritual, and creative health more good than resolving to read more and write better. Today’s reading list addresses these parallel aspirations. And since the number of books written about reading and writing likely far exceeds the reading capacity of a single human lifetime, this omnibus couldn’t be — shouldn’t be — an exhaustive list. It is, instead, a collection of timeless texts bound to radically improve your relationship with the written word, from whichever side of the equation you approach it.

Fine the full article and list of books HERE