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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Arena

Welcome to the greatest, most exciting sport ever! The ultimate conflict—to the death! Men locked in mortal combat employing strength and cunning and the most ingenious weapons the 21st century can devise. This is the story of one man's struggle against the system and his desperate battle for survival in the—
ARENA
Collected for the first time, "Arena" is set in the dark future of a 21st century in which corporations are all-powerful, protected by heavily militarized police forces and a legal system that removes dissenting voices by sentencing men to fight violent gladiatorial battles broadcast to the masses as entertainment from the Arena

Journalist Mark Sabor is sent to the Arena after criticizing the government. Even as he trains to fight, forces are at work to make sure he will never survive. Pitted against merciless opponents whose sole objective is to kill the newcomer any way they can, Sabor must use his wits and strength to survive.

But for Sabor the battle isn't just about surviving. It's about fighting back!

Trained in every form of weapon, the Arena warriors make a formidable army. Sabor becomes part of the resistance, searching for the truth about who controls the government and, through them, mankind's fate. And when he discovers the truth, it will be a bigger shock than he could ever have imagined.

From the pages of The Crunch, "Arena" marked the British debut of Argentina's master of the fantastic, Enrique Alcatena, who turned Dave H. Taylor's gripping scripts into a super-stylish science fiction epic. Although his artwork appeared anonymously, Alcatena built up a strong fan base in the UK in the pages of Starblazer, Warlord and Victor. Meanwhile, author Dave H. Taylor was also responsible for scripting many of D. C. Thomson's most popular characters, amongst them Alf Tupper the Tough of the Tracks, Billy the Cat and Starhawk. Together they created a memorable dystopian tale that still has the power to thrill.

 
 
Format
Arena is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 140 b/w pages with a colour cover by Enrique Alcatena and Martin Baines.

Publication Date
Published on 6 October 2014.

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(* "Arena" © D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.; this collection © 2014 Bear Alley Books)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Countdown to TV Action


AVAILABLE NOW!

The latest comic index from Bear Alley Books covers the history and content of Countdown and TV Action, the Gerry Anderson-themed comic from Polystyle launched in the early 1970s. With the demise of TV Century 21, Polystyle stepped in to launch a comic based around the upcoming UFO TV series. Edited by Dennis Hooper, Countdown brought together some of the industry's best talents—amongst them Harry Lindfield, Gerry Haylock, John M. Burns—to create a comic that is remembered to this day.

As well as UFO, Countdown's early issues included many of Gerry Anderson's famous creations in its line-up: Thunderbirds, Lady Penelope, Captain Scarlet, Stingray, Joe 90, Fireball XL5, Zero X and The Secret Service. From its companion TV Comic—the two titles were edited out of the same Edgware Road offices—came Doctor Who, to star in some of the very best comic strip adventures of his career.

Over its run—during which the title morphed from Countdown to TV Action—the paper also featured the adventures of The Persuaders, Hawaii Five-O, Cannon and Alias Smith & Jones, plus the long-running science fiction epic, Countdown, created by editor Hooper. With artists like Keith Watson, Brian Lewis, Frank Langford and Don Harley working on strips, the paper was always a visual feast.

With behind-the-scenes stories from some of the original editorial staff, this volume includes a detailed index to the stories and strips that appeared over the paper's 132-week run and various spin-off publications, identifying artists and writers where possible.

Countdown to TV Action is the fifth volume of comics' history published by Bear Alley Books, following the publication of Hurricane & Champion, Lion King of Picture Story Papers, Ranger: The National Boys' Magazine and Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure.

 
 
 
 
 
Format
Countdown to TV Action is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 202 b/w pages with a colour cover featuring the work of Gerry Haylock, John M. Burns and Gordon King.

Publication Date
Published on 4 July 2014.

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(* Countdown to TV Action © 2014 Bear Alley Books)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Man Who Searched For Fear

The Man Who Searched For Fear gathers together three adventure strips drawn by one of Britain's comic strip masters: Bill Lacey. Lacey's first strips appeared in 1951, although the best of his early work appeared in the pages of Super Detective Library, where he was the original artist for Rick Random and Blackshirt. Lacey's work appeared in dozens of comics in the 1950s and 1960s, including Mickey Mouse Weekly, Cowboy Picture Library, Knockout, Express Weekly, Thriller Picture Library, Princess, Film Fun, Valiant, Buster, Tiger and Lion; during this time his strips ranged from adaptations of western novels such as 'The Covered Wagon' to weird fantasy classics like 'Mytek the Mighty'. In the 1970s he drew extensively for Look and Learn and for a number of D. C. Thomson's boys' papers, Bullet, Crunch and Buddy.

The Man Who Searched For Fear is Bill Lacey at his best. The opening series in this new collection relates how Hugo Masterman, a delicate, unhappy child, who dreamed of travelling the world, lived to see his dream turn into a nightmare. In darkest Africa, with his companions dead through injury or illness, Masterman discovers the legendary graveyard of the elephants. Mauled by a lion, he survives by dragging himself back to civilisation on paralysed limbs. His discovery makes him immensely rich, but the tortures he has faced leave him unable to know fear.

Hidden away in Castle Doomcrest on a remote Scottish isle, Masterman offers a prize to any man who can bring fear into his life. His visitors relate bizarre adventures in the hope of earning Masterman's reward: how a man escapes a shark attack and becomes a god to a lost island civilisation; how an assassin plans to destroy an emperor by crashing his imperial train; how a man survives being left without supplies on an Alpine mountain . . . these are just a few of the tales that Masterman hears in his search to stir his emotions.

Adding to the excitement are two bonus stories. "Agent of the Queen" stars Agent Smith of Britain's nascent Secret Service. When Queen Victoria's life is threatened with assassination at the Great Exhibition of 1851, Agent Smith teams up with Captain Jack Stalwart to thwart the threat; and, in a second adventure, they team up again to discover how Russians are smuggling arms into India.

Finally, Lacey's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" is another—but very different—Victorian adventure as young Pip finds himself in the hands of people who may or may not have his best interests at heart: the convict Magwitch, the odd Uncle Pumblechook, the bizarre Miss Havisham, the beautiful Estella, the lawyer Mr. Jaggers, his rival Bentley Drummle . . . against all odds will Pip still achieve his goal to become a gentleman.

 
 
 
Format
The Man Who Searched For Fear is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 148 black & white pages with a cover by Bill Lacey.

Publication Date
Published on 31 January 2014.

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(* artwork © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Worlds of Adventure by Gino D'Antonio

GINO D'ANTONIO IN FULL COLOUR

"Superb production and a treasured addition to the groaning bookshelf!"—Dave Gibbons

Worlds of Adventure gathers together four never previously reprinted, full-colour strips illustrated by Gino D'Antonio.

In the late 1960s, while he was writing the epic Storia del West in his native Italy, D'Antonio was collaborating with Mike Butterworth to adapt some of literature's most famous adventure stories: 'The Wanderings of Ulysses', 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea', 'Quo Vadis' and 'A Tale of Two Cities'. These tales span history from Greek myth and the gladiatorial circus's of Rome to the French Revolution and an innovatory French tale describing the adventures of Nemo, a 19th century Ulysses wandering the oceans in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.

D'Antonio was a popular artist in England, although his name was known only to the editorial staff and agents through whom he worked. He had been drawing for British comics for over a decade, his first illustrations appearing in 1955 followed by his first strips in 1956. D'Antonio worked for some of Britain's finest comics, including Eagle, Express Weekly and Boys' World, although he will always be remembered for his war comics, drawn for War, Battle, War at Sea and Front Line in 1958-68. Thanks to their constant recycling, they influenced a hugely diverse range of artist, including Dave Gibbons, Mick McMahon and Rufus Dayglo.
"The only artist whose work I copied and traced on a regular basis when I was growing up was the Italian master Gino D’Antonio"—Mike McMahon.
Format
Worlds of Adventure is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 90 full colour pages with a cover by Gino D'Antonio.

Publication Date
Published on 15 November 2013.

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(* Tell Me Why © Look and Learn Ltd.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure!

Boys' World is one of the most fondly remembered of all British comics from the 1960s. An Eagle for the new decade, it featured across its centre pages the mighty 'Wrath of the Gods', an epic tale of deities and demons beautifully drawn by Ron Embleton. Readers thrilled to the adventure of 'The Sea Ape', puzzled over the question 'What Is Exhibit X?' and roared at the sporting antics of 'Billy Binns and his Wonderful Specs'.

Giants of science fiction Mike Moorcock and Harry Harrison were both contributors, Harrison writing one of the text story serials as well as adapting his novel Deathworld as 'The Angry Planet'. Harrison also penned the original Brett Million story 'The Ghost World', one of the finest science fiction strips to appear in British comics and complimented by some outstanding artwork by Frank Bellamy. Moorcock's contributions were more esoteric, ranging from numerous episodes of the feature 'Do You Know Your Name?' to essays on lost cities, submarines and volcanoes. Harrison and Moorcock were also among the many writers who contributed short stories to Boys' World, a list that also includes Barrington J. Bayley, Sydney J. Bounds, Wildred McNeilly, Rex Dolphin, Donne Avenell, Jim Edgar and Tom Tully.

The paper's roster of artists included many of the finest illustrators of the early Sixties, including John M. Burns, Frank Langford, Colin Andrew, Brian Lewis, Frank Humphris, Gerry Embleton, Harry Bishop, James McConnell, Don Lawrence, Roy Cross, Luis Bermejo and Gino D'Antonio.

Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure relates how the paper came into existence at a turbulent time for comics, how its original editor was replaced before the first issue even reached the newsstands and how it eventually folded into the paper it was meant to replace.

Compiled by Steve Holland, the book also includes extensive indexes to the paper's contents as well as those of the Boys' World Annuals; the book also includes title and creators' indexes, outlines of every comic strip storyline the paper ran and a unique look at the payments made for three key issues.

 
 
 
 
Format
Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 208 b/w pages with a cover by Neville Dear and a rear cover featuring the work of Brian Lewis.

Publication Date
Published on 9 September 2013.

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(* Boys' World © IPC Media)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ranger The National Boys' Magazine


Ranger The National Boys' Magazine is the latest in Bear Alley's series of titles covering the history and contents of some of Britain's most fondly remembered comics. Ranger may not have lasted as long as Lion – our previous title – but it was home to some memorable stories and features, including one of comics' finest creations, 'The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire'.

'Trigan Empire' wasn't the only story in Ranger to feature artwork by Don Lawrence. The book's creators' index includes an astonishing array of famous names, including Frank Hampson, Ron Embleton, John Millar Watt, Mike Hubbard, Jesus Blasco, Colin Merrett, Graham Coton, Francis Marshall, Henry Seabright, Will Nickless and Theo Page. With stories by talents as diverse as Captain W. E. Johns and John Creasey, Ranger was able to offer boys' some of the best reading material on offer, including Richard Armstrong's Carnegie Medal-winning novel Sea Change; its photos, cutaway drawings and heavily illustrated features covered everything from duels in the sky to exploding islands, from James Bond's DB6 to the Mariner Mars expedition.

Compiled by Steve Holland and David Slinn, Ranger: The National Boys' Magazine explores the history and background of the magazine, its contents and its lasting legacy. The book also includes an extensive index to the paper's contents, as well as title and creators' indexes.

To give readers a flavour of the contents, the book also includes the full run of the 'Famous Fighting Aces' feature by Colin Merrett as well as two complete comic strips, 'The Adventures of Macbeth' by Ruggero Giovannini and 'Moby Dick' by Franco Caprioli.

Bear Alley Books has previously published King Solomon's Mines and Treasure Island from the pages of Ranger. Now find out the full story behind this classic of British comics.


Format
Ranger: The National Boys' Magazine is published in A4 perfect-bound format, 162 b/w pages with an iconic cover by Ferdinando Tacconi and a rear cover featuring the work of Don Lawrence and Frank Hampson.

Publication Date
Published on 15 April 2013.

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(* Ranger © Look and Learn Ltd.)