Monday, 31 October 2016

London Paperback and Pulp Book Fair 2016

Absence, they say – and who am I to naysay 'they' – makes the heart grow fonder, which was why I was delighted to see the return on Sunday, after a three-year absence, of the London Paperback and Pulp Book Fair – as were a good many others judging by the crowds at the 2016 event. Now at a new venue – the Royal National Hotel in Russell Square, tacked onto the monthly Bloomsbury Ephemera Fair – this year's fair was a busy, bustling, er, affair, with the likes of Jamie Sturgeon, David Hyman and others purveying fine selections of vintage paperbacks and pulps (as one might expect, given the name of the thing). I came away with this little lot:

Top row, three Cornell Wooolrich paperbacks: The Black Curtain (Dell, 1948), The Black Path of Fear (Avon, 1946) and, ah, The Black Path of Fear again (Ace, 1968); middle row, three John D. MacDonald paperbacks: Death Trap (Dell, 1957); Deadly Welcome (Dell, 1959) and The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything (Frederick Muller/Gold Medal, 1964); bottom row: C. S. Forester's Payment Deferred (Guild Books paperback, 1950), Margaret Millar's Beast in View (Corgi paperback, 1960), Elmore Leonard's Hombre (Ballantine paperback, 1967 reprint) and John Fowles' The Collector (Pan paperback first printing, 1965) – that last one actually bought from a paperback dealer in the main Ephemera Fair. A pretty good haul, all told. Here's hoping the wait between fairs isn't quite so long next time.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Blimey I Wrote a Book

Actually I wrote two books... and co-wrote another book... and wrote a bit of another book... and wrote an essay for another book... so I guess in total that adds up to, what, two-and-a-half books or something? All in the space of less than a year. Which, when added to all the writing I've done for the Marvel Fact Files and The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine and the stack of books and graphic novels I've edited over the past however many months – more on those below – might go some way towards explaining why there's been bugger all happening on Existential Ennui of late.

But anyway: the books wot I wrote. The two books written entirely by me will be published spring next year: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide to the Cosmic Outlaws, and Guardians of the Galaxy Ultimate Sticker Collection (the attentive might be able to spot a common theme there). Doubtless I'll be banging on about those nearer the time. The book I co-wrote (and did a fair amount of editing on), alongside fellow authors Billy Wrecks and Danny Graydon, is out now:

The Mysterious World of Doctor Strange, published by DK – an official guide to Marvel Comics' Sorcerer Supreme (soon to be seen, in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch, in cinemas in Marvel's Doctor Strange movie). I got my copy the other day and it's a handsome thing: a hardback with gilt-edged pages, beautifully designed by Amazing15 and DK's Chris Gould, lavishly illustrated with panels and splash pages from across Doctor Strange's fifty-plus year comics career – and the writing's not bad either. It's aimed at kids, but I'll wager the more mature comics fan will find it diverting too (being one myself). Review here.

Also out now is the all-new edition of the DC Comics Encyclopaedia, which I wrote a bit of and did a fair bit of editing on. I haven't seen a finished copy of that one yet, but according to reports it's a great big beast of a book. Review here.

And out later in the year is Murder in the Closet, an anthology of essays examining queer themes in crime fiction that I contributed a piece on Patricia Highsmith to. I haven't seen a copy of that one either, but editor Curtis Evans has chosen some intriguing and sterling contributors (present company excepted, of course), so it should be a fascinating book.

Besides that little lot, I've edited a whole heap of other books and graphic novels over the past year or so:

Top to bottom in that towering pile are Pen and Ink by James Hobbs; Electri_city: The Dusseldorf School of Electronic Music by Rudi Esch; Who Are You? The Life and Death of Keith Moon by Jim McCarthy and Marc Olivent; 5-Minute Sketching: People by Pete Scully; 5-Minute Sketching: Architecture by Liz Steel; Essential Type by Tony Seddon; Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Archives Vols 1–3; Independence Day: The Original Movie Adaptation; Elric Volume 3: The Dreaming City; and Battle Classics Volume 2. There's others besides, I'm sure, plus books and graphic novels I've proofread rather than edited, but I've either filed them away and forgotten what they are or they've not been published yet.

So that's what I've been up to. And who knows? Maybe at some point I'll find time to blog about some of the books I've bought as well...