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Monday, July 2, 2012

Peter Jackson's London Is Stranger Than Fiction

In 1948, the London Evening News was looking for a cartoon strip about the curiosities of London in the style of ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’. A young artist sent in a few historical drawings with descriptive paragraphs and was invited to call. Asked by the newspaper’s editor whether he knew much about London’s history, 26-year-old Peter Jackson, answered honestly: “Not much!”

But editor Guy Schofield was impressed by the drawings and engaged the artist for a three-week trial run . . . beginning an association with the paper that was to last until the paper folded thirty-one years later.

‘London Is Stranger Than Fiction’ inspired Jackson's life-long fascination with London, its history and its people. The strip revelled in obscure facts about the city, its eccentric inhabitants and forgotten byways. Jackson used his talents as an artist to bring these subjects to life for the entertainment of his readers.

Peter Jackson's London Is Stranger Than Fiction reprints all the strips from two of Jackson's books, London is Stranger Than Fiction and London Explorer, in which Jackson looked at curiosities associated with certain areas of London, from Aldwych to Westminster.

Peter Jackson's London Is Stranger Than Fiction is published in association with Look and Learn, where the Peter Jackson London Collection has recently been completely digitized, with over 20,000 images now available for commercial licensing and print-on-demand. The Collection is also available via The Bridgeman Art Library.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sexton Blake Annual 1940

In 1938, the Amalgamated Press launched a softcover annual featuring one of the most popular characters they published. Created by Harry Blyth, Sexton Blake's first adventure had appeared in the pages of The Halfpenny Marvel in 1893. A year later, Blake became the regular star of the weekly storypaper Union Jack and, in 1915, star of the long-running Sexton Blake Library. With appearances across the company's wide-range of titles, Blake solved over 3,800 cases, with 150 million words dedicated to his thrilling adventures.

The Sexton Blake Annual brought together some of the most popular authors of the Blake saga. The 1940 annual includes stories by Gwyn Evans, George H. Teed, Rex Hardinge and two stories by Anthony Skene, one entitled 'Zenith the Albino' (guess who features in that one!). This volume also reprints of two early stories, "Sexton Blake — Detective" by Blake's creator, Harold Blyth, and "The Man From Scotland Yard" by Michael Storm (Ernest Sempill), which introduced the character of good-cop-turned-bad George Marsden Plummer.

From the stunning cover by Eric R. Parker to the revelations on the final page, this superb collection will take you back to the golden age of crime and action-packed drama as Sexton Blake battles some of his most dangerous foes.