Here on downthetubes we regularly promote the articles by Norman Wright and David Ashford which appear in the monthly magazine Book and Magazine Collector. The longest running of the various series that the duo write for the magazine is The Great British Comic Artists. In this series, which has just reached its 30th artist, they give a biography of their subject and include a listing of the comics, magazines and books that they have worked on. Thirty copies of Book and Magazine Collector take up a lot of room so a collected version was always going to be a desirable item and Norman has just produced a book reprinting fourteen of the articles entitled Masters Of Fun & Thrills.
The 216 page softcover book covers a wide variety of British artists from the humour art of Dudley Watkins to the futuristic art of Ron Turner, from the colour work of Sep Scott to the action work of Ron Embleton. The articles has been reworked for inclusion in the book and all include black and white imagery of the particular artist’s work, a list of their work and most have a photograph of the artist themselves. In addition to the colour images on the front and back covers there is an eight page colour section with art taken from the a multitude of publications and some directly from the original artwork. In addition to those artists mentioned above there chapters on Geoff Campion, Roland Davies, Derek C Eyles, David Law, Hugh McNeill, John Millar Watt, Patrick Nicolle, Eric Parker, Reg Perrott and Ken Reid.
There is a remarkable range of drawing talent included in the book and the illustrations include the first appearance of Desperate Dan by Dudley Watkins, the first Dennis The Menace by David Law and the first Roger The Dodger by Ken Reid. Add to those Battler Britton, Buffalo Bill, Jet Ace Logan, Rick Random, Steve the cart horse, Robin Hood and Dick Turpin, so while you may not recognise all the artist’s names much of their work, or at least their characters, will be familiar. Since the book is Volume 1 there will be at least one more title to come.
To get so much information on these men into one book really makes it an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of British comics.
Masters Of Fun & Thrills: The British Comic Artists Volume 1 is available direct from Norman Wright, 18 Lighthouse Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2JJ. The cost of the book is £18.50 plus £2 P&P in the UK and cheques should be made payable to Norman Wright. Postage for Europe is £2.50 and the rest of the world is £5.00.
Norman and David will be doing a signing session at the ABC Show in London on Sunday 21 September to promote the book when it will be available at the special price of £16. Norman has extended this offer to the readers of downthetubes. If you order the book before the end of November 2008 the price will be £16 plus the appropriate P&P.