Monday, April 18, 2011

Wulf The Briton - First Reactions

We're starting to receive feedback on all three of the Book Palace Books new releases. Steve Holland has been keeping readers of Bear Alley posted on some of the responses as well as plans for his own Bear Alley Books for which he is now taking pre-orders. As Steve says on his blog, none of these books are exactly going to be gathering the kind of readership that the late Stieg Larsson's books attract, but then the whole beauty of niche market publishing is that you know your readership and you share their enthusiasms. In doing so you make a contract of good faith with them to deliver the kind of book worthy of their time and money.

Never is this requirement more pressing than when publisher and editor go out on a limb to produce a book whose production specs are such that the cost of the book itself will make significant demands on the purse strings of it's target audience.

And never did a book more embody this principle than does Ron Embleton's Wulf the Briton - The Complete Adventures. This book was a joy to work on and was a huge learning curve in terms of all aspects of the production but there comes a moment when you have looked at the last set of proofs, made the final small adjustments and then comes the time to give the red light to the guys in Shenzhen Province to set the presses rolling. Which when one thinks about it for more than a moment is a truly alarming prospect because at this stage there is no going back.

My relief when I finally got to hold one of those very few copies that were air freighted over in early March was palpable, but as I said to Geoff West, who is the creative force behind BPB, "It doesn't matter really what we think. It's the reaction of the people who have stumped up the readies to buy this book that is really going to count. It's a small world and the opinion of our readership is crucial in this regard."

Well I am pleased, well delighted would be more apt, to say that the reaction we have had has been overwhelming. Despite the high price, people love this book and have been emailing and phoning us up as well as sharing their enthusiasm on discussion groups where it was described on the UK Comics Forum as "The Book of the Century". A slight exaggeration perhaps but very flattering nonetheless.

Here's some of the emails we have received so far:

Dave Gibbons:

Just received the Wulf volume. I'm stunned: I was expecting something wonderful and it exceeded all my expectations!

The repro, the production and the features are all beyond excellent. You should all be very proud of a job very, very well done.

Thanks so much for letting me be a small part of it!


-- Dave

Andrew Skilleter (illustrator and long time friend of Ron Embleton)

Hello Peter,
I meant to mail you yesterday but what with things and going out today it hadn't been done. Just wanted to say my SPECIAL edition of Wulf has arrived and I am speechless - I am going to reply properly AND blog on it  - I never expected anything so original and sumptuous and  BIG!  To own this book is a privilege and I know you've worked so hard ...will reply and comment further in a day or two...



David Slinn:

The book itself, Peter, is not only a triumph that does live up to Alan’s (Vince) assessment, and sits very comfortably with your own thoughts on what Alastair achieved with Tomorrow Revisited, but puts the efforts of a particular bĂȘte noire well and truly in the shade.  Like Phil Rushton, I’m a bit lost for the right words – but trust you’ll get the picture... ... ...
Will follow this up, when I have absorbed the overall effect of reading it as intended – like a really good book?  For the moment, again many thanks.

David Simpson:

Hi Peter
I'm one of the people who bought your Wulf The Briton book, and I thought that you'd like to know that I'm one very happy customer.  I've read a lot of comic books in my time, plus a lot of collections of old comics, and Wulf is right up there with the best I've read both in content and in the superlative packaging.
I'm not (quite) old enough to have read Wulf first time around (I was born in 1957) but I do have a handful of back issues of Express Weekly, plus a long time liking for Ron Embleton's work.  That's one reason why I bought the book but, truth be told, what prompted me to actually shell out for it were the enthusiasm of a friend of mine, who is just old enough to have read at least the later episodes of Wulf when they came out, and the coverage you gave to it on the Cloud 109 blogsite.  that coverage made it clear that you were going the extra mile (mile?  More like a whole Marathon) to make this a great book.
It is a great book, and I'm so glad I bought it.
Thank you
David Simpson

Alan Stephen:

Received your e-mail from a friend just wanted to thank you for the hard work and dedication put into a book that I'll  enjoy and treasure for a long time - the wonderful Wulf the Briton

Steve Taylor:

Hello Peter,

Just to let you know that today I have received: The Thriller Libraries, Don Lawrence's Westerns AND Wulf the Briton. I will send Geoff a separate Thank You, but I am totally impressed with Wulf - you did great work (which gives me a warm feeling about the McLoughlin venture). The reproduction is super - did you use original artwork?

Andoni from Spain:

Yesterday I have receive my copy of RON EMBLETON'S WULF THE BRITON. It's amazing! Extraordinary beautiful! Big size. Wonderful job with the restoration of the Technicolor. The best comic book of the year.
Now I can rest in peace.

In addition to these generous and heart warming emails, we had many phone callers including  David Ashford, Alan Vince and the artist Oliver Frey who all described the book as sumptuous and made particular mention of the sheer size and amazing production values of the book.

But perhaps the most amazing call of all came from Ron Embleton's widow Elizabeth, who was just over the moon with the book and so pleased that Ron's artistry hadn't been forgotten. I think all of us are very firmly of the opinion that artist's of the stature of Ron Embleton will never be forgotten.

 Wulf the Briton © Express Newspapers 2011.

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