The latest episodes of the terrific video cast series 1950s British Science Fiction, from author, editor, literary agent and publisher Philip Harbottle, explore the art of the brilliant Ron Turner and the mystery behind “Volsted Gridban”.
In Episode 13, Phil discusses how illustrator and comic artist Ron Turner’s art came to define the face of 1950s British science fiction. Ron should of course need no introduction to most downthetubes fans, with credits spanning “Space Ace”, “The Daleks” for TV Century 21 to cover art for Practical Mechanics and much, much more.
In the latest episode (Episode 14) Phil sets out to unravel a bibliographical mystery – why both authors John Russell Fearn and E.C.Tubb both had stories published under the same pseudonym, “Volstead Griban”. Along the way, he reveals how, even then, publishers double dealings could result in dramatic battles over rights and payments.
Exploring the history of post-World War Two SF in Britain, Phil has taken us on a wonderful adventure over the 1950s British Science Fiction videocasts released so far. Along the way, he’s told some of fascinating stories about the growth of SF publishing in the UK in the 1950s, and shared visuals of just some of his incredible collection of rare magazines published at the time.
Produced by Phil’s granddaughter, he’s told us the next episode features a never-before-seen 1991 camcorder video recording of a speech by E.C. Tubb, which should be interesting.
Philip is a life-long science fiction fan, regarded as a world authority on the works of John Russell Fearn, whose credits encompass writing “Garth” for the Daily Mirror, and the “Golden Amazon” for Spaceship Away (adapting Fearn’s stories). He’s also very kindly contributed a number of synopses of early “Garth” stories to downthetubes, which we are adding as time permits.
Back in the 1950s, he adapted some of the Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare radio shows into comics at a young age – the only record of some of these tales known to exist, since very few recordings survive.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.