An auction of the lifetime collection of artist Alan Hunter, featuring science fiction and comic ephemera owned by the late and great fanzine artist goes under the hammer on Saturday – and includes a number of lots of British comics, including first issues and free gifts.
There are just over two hundred lots in the auction which is being hosted in Cardiff by Langley & Jones Specialist Auctions, which includes extremely rare fanzines, letters and magazines from 1950 through to the late 1990s, and although descriptions on some lots are a little misleading in terms of some dates, there are some great items offered.
Alan Hunter, who died in August 2012 aged 89 was a stalwart of the small presses, a contributor of beautiful and detailed cover drawings in a distinctively inked style. Paying tribute in Ansible, David Langford notes his work included covers for Nebula SF in 1952-53 and much interior art for Nebula and New Worlds through the 1950s and that “he was unfailingly generous to semiprozines and fanzines”.
“Alan was a wonderful artist and a generous man,” recalls author Andrew Darlington, who corresponded with him for several years. “He illustrated for a vast range of small-press magazines and genre-fanzines with his highly distinctive and always meticulously executed work. I never met him, but we corresponded across a spread of years and he was an unfailing delight… it was a privilege to be considered a friend.”
Alan regularly produced unpaid art for small-press publications, including ncluding Algol/Starship, Ansible, Banana Wings, Ghosts, SF Chronicleand many more, well into his eighties for the pure pleasure of seeing his work in print. He was also a contributor to Graveside Grope, an adult-themed Star Trek zine. He also contributed the first cover to Dez Skinn’s Fantasy Advertiser in 1970.
These include all 22 issues of 2000AD stablemate Starlord, including free gifts; a number of Valiant and Valiant and TV21 comics; smaller lots such as a Girl Number 1, published in 1951 along with an issue of Diana and Tornado Number Two; a collection of Swift and Eagle; TV Comic; several lots of Marvel UK comics; a collection of UK Number One Comics including Target, Battle and the first three issues of The Crunch; a large collection of Bullet, including the first three issues; and assorted copies of Misty, including the first three issues, which was created as a rival to the now much-sought after DC Thomson comic, Spellbound (which, ironically had been merged into Debbie, lasting 69 issues, before Misty launched).
Along with some great oddities such as a History of Sindy gift book, there is, of course, a lot of Alan’s art on offer including portfolios, rare fanzines, letters, film stills and even a War of the Daleks game, a 1960s Thunderbird 5 toy and an Eagle comic-inspired projector, still in its original box.
To be honest, I’ve barely scatched to surface of this eclectic collection, but if you’re a British comics fan or fan of British SF fandom, you should really check out what’s on offer
• Vintage Toys, Science Fiction Fanzines, Comics & Collectables Auction 11.30am Saturday 7th May 2016 Langley & Jones Specialist Auctions, Collivaud Place, Cardiff, CF24 5PD | Bid online via Invaluable | Tel: 0845 094 9790 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.