Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wulf, Wells Fargo and the Thriller Libraries Index:
News from Book Palace Books

If things are going well, book publishing can be as graceful as a swan—serene on the surface and going like the clappers below the surface.

While there hasn't been much in the way of news from Book Palace Books over the past couple of months, we have been working steadily towards getting our next batch of titles finished and off to the printers. Followers of the Bear Alley blog will have had some advance warning of various books that are in the works. Two of the books I've been working on are now almost completed: Wells Fargo and The Thriller Libraries Index.

Wells Fargo collects together the complete run of two lost Don Lawrence strips: "Wells Fargo" and "Pony Express", originally published in 1958-61. When "Wells Fargo" began, Lawrence had been learning his trade drawing Marvelman and a variety of Western strips for Mick Anglo's Gower Studios. Quitting in 1957, Lawrence quickly found work elsewhere, with Odhams' Zip and Amalgamated Press's Sun. He spent almost two years drawing Western strips almost exclusively before finding a new niche drawing historical adventure strips "Olac the Gladiator" (for Tiger) and "Karl the Viking" (for Lion).

Lawrence was growing as an artist during the run of "Wells Fargo", honing the talent that would eventually earn him the chance to paint "The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire".

As well as Lawrence's fabulous artwork, the book also includes a detailed history of Wells Fargo and the Pony Express. The exploits of the men driving and protecting the mail stages and their passengers are an integral part of Western lore, as famous as many of the names that created the legends of the Wild West—Wyatt Earp rode shotgun for Wells Fargo in Arizona, Wild Bill Hickok was a coach driver for the Pony Express and even Apache leader Cochise worked as a woodcutter for the Overland Mail.

When it came to adventure, stories of cowboys and indians were hard to beat and the WIld West was the last wild frontier. Lawrence and scriptwriter Kelman D. Frost created two of the most entertaining comic strips of the era, capturing the excitement and exhilaration of the Wild West.

Second on the list of upcoming books is the long-awaited Thriller Libraries Index, companion of the War Libraries Index. The latest volume gathers together information  on some of the most collectable comics ever published in the UK, Thriller Comics, Cowboy Comics and Super Detective Library. Over the past few years we have been working like crazy to identify artists and writers on these popular titles, thoroughly overhauling the original lists that appeared almost twenty years ago.

The exciting news as far as we're concerned is that the book will be published in full colour throughout and will feature every cover for all three series. The book also includes checklists of the almost impossible to find Australian comic books that pre-dated the pocket libraries here in the UK and a range of spin-off annuals and books, including the Robin Hood, Kit Carson's Cowboy Annual, Buck Jones Annual and the two hardcover Battler Britton collections.

We have also gathered together the largest collection of original artwork illustrations which will also feature in the book. This is one book that both David and I are going to be very proud to have our names on!

And finally, for this round of titles, there's Wulf the Briton. This must be one of the most eagerly awaited books of the year. Gathering together the complete strip as drawn by Ron Embleton, the 300+ pages of astonishing action will be printed at the original size of Express Weekly, offering the best reproduction possible for this classic series.

The book will be available in hardcover and in a very limited edition leather bound edition. Both will feature an introduction by Peter Richardson and a foreword by Dave Gibbons.

News of this epic adventure's reappearance has already generated a lot of excitement. Peter has been keeping readers up-to-date on his progress via his Cloud 109 blog and we've just heard that our printers have tracked down the ivory paper we want for the book to make the strips look the best they can possibly be.

All three books are due for publication at the end of the year, so start saving your pennies.

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