Former Tharg Steve MacManus is back on our reading list here in the downthetubes dungeon, this time with his first novel, The Sheerglam Conspiracy, a thoroughly scurrilous jab at the British comics industry in the 1970s.
London, 1973. For 40 years, rival publishers Goodenough Publications and Tartan Editions have been the beating heart of British comics. But pulses are raised and blood begins to boil when a shock suicide sparks a bitter circulation war, forcing each proprietor to plot the downfall of the other, igniting a sequence of events that lead inexorably to a murderous and blazing climax…
If you bought The Mighty One, Steve’s account of his time working as an editor at Fleetway Publications, you’ll know that like Pat Mills, he has the inside track on some of the craziness that went on within the offices of certain well-known publishers, and the first few chapters I’ve read so far of his latest novel pull no punches when it comes to exposing the old boys’ network that ran many of the comics that were given a savage boot up the posterior when two well known writers arrived from a rival publisher to develop a new title in total secret, earning the princely sum of “£75 a week” each for their efforts.
Describeing his novel as “where Titus Groan meets Richard III, fully-flavoured with the cream of P.G. Wodehouse”, Steve wastes no time stabbing the office culture of the time right between the eyes, and quickly lays down the threads of his plot, It looks like it’s going to be a fun read and the only reason I haven’t finished it just yet is because a cataract operation got in the way.
(Do not, on any account, read The Sheerglam Conspiracy while drinking tea. Cats can be most upset by unexpectedly sprayed by a hot beverage).
I’ll have a full review at a later date, but in the mean time, if your interest is sufficiently piqued, The Sheerglam Conspiracy is available now from Amazon as both print and digital editions now.
• Steve MacManus will be signing copies of The Sheerglam Conspiracy at the Commando and British Comics Swap-Meet this Saturday (10.00 – 5.00pm, 28th September 2019) 79th Bushey & Oxhey Scout Group Headquarters, Park Avenue, Bushey, Watford, WD23 2BA | Tables: £7.50 for the day (all table proceeds will be donated to the Scout group, which has allowed the venue to be held in their headquarters) | Entry:- £1.00 Adults / Children Free | Facebook Event Page
• Once you’ve read The Sheerglam Conspiracy, join the tie-in Facebook group Steve has set up for readers to upload their art based on the scripts or characters in the book. To get the maximum benefit from being a valued member of this group, it is probably a good idea to have read it first