I recall blithely telling Geoff West - head honcho and creative Svengali at Book Palace Books that I reckoned I could get all the material necessary for the Wulf the Briton book ready by the end of July.
This was at the start of June and I was being overly optimistic, but knowing how easy it is for publishing projects to bog down in the sands of inertia, I thought if I gave myself this deadline then with my reputation and credibility on the line, I might just be able to pull it off.
But then again without that impetus I wouldn't be in the happy position of having just posted off all the InDesign (loveliest desktop publishing software ever as the Quark team have learned to their cost) generated PDFs to the good people at Book Palace Books. I can now refocus my creativity on Cloud 109, which is nearly two thirds complete and about to be translated into French as France for us is an absolute must and in many ways more vital than the UK.
Anyway to get back to Wulf, the book is looking incredible and as I said in a previous posting, I have learned so much along the way, including the story of a "nearly was" reprint of the whole Wulf saga by a Dutch publisher (I'm assuming Oberon) in the early 1980's. But barring a reprint in Marvel UK's Forces in Combat comic in 1980, this book will be the first time that Wulf has been reprinted in it's entirety in it's original format. I'm qualifying my use of terminology as there was an ongoing reprint of Wulf under the title of "Rock L'Invincible" in a French weekly comic with the memorable title of "L'Interpide Hurrah". I kid thee not. What was even weirder was that Ron Embleton's magnificent painted artwork was converted into a monotone grayscale and then a crude variation on the four color process familiar to U.S. comics readers was used to add cyan, magenta and yellow to the pages.
Anyway here's some sample spreads from the book, some of which I know are familiar, but if I show you ones you've seen, you can see that I've streamlined the layouts and more importantly I'm not giving away too much.
Here are some more statistics:
The regular clocking in at 352 pages, which is a lovely looking thing in red cover with all of Ron Embleton's Wulf strips carefully scanned from optimum copies of the original comics covering his entire output on the strip from May 1957 to September 1960.
All the Wulf 8 page strips from each of the four Express Weekly/TV Express Annuals.
Commentaries on each story.
A reminiscence by Alan Vince who was fortunate enough to know Ron Embleton as a friend as well as being a fan and among other memories recalls a visit to Express Weekly's art department the week that the famous attack on Cartamandua's fortress artwork was delivered.
An introduction and afterword by yours truly although much of the work involved was due to extensive help and research from Andrew Skilleter, who as an artist as well as friend of Ron's was able to provide an extra degree of insight into his remarkable working methods, Alan Vince who again came through with a lot of information and David Slinn another artist with working knowledge of Express Weekly in the late 1950's to early 1960's - when it comes to writing intros it doesn't get much better than this.
Add in copious amounts of help from comic historians and enthusiasts such as David Ashford, Norman Wright and David Roach who provided me with scans and contacts and you have a much firmer foundation to write about this amazing strip with a degree of crediblity.
In addition to the essays we have samples of original artwork all of which are real stonkers with some vitally important pieces which were not on the collector's circuit coming to us via the assistance of Robert Avery at Express Newspapers, who kindly granted permission for this project to go ahead.
There is also going to be a limited edition of 126 copies of the book signed and numbered which will come in red leather binding with embossed titles and a slipcase.
I'll keep you informed of the progress of this baby as we get to publication date but here in the interim are those scans.
POPEYE Sweet Cigarette Cards (1960s)
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