Wednesday 8 June 2011

Spanish Lady starts in Daily Mirror

Three exciting things this time round (well, at least for me!) including a confession from your Blog writer!

But first...yesterday, "The Wreckers" concluded in the Daily Mirror, in this superbly drawn ending and innuendo-ridden last word from Garth.

© Daily Mirror

Martin Baines, the colourist, on the Daily Mirror's reprinted Garth strips has kindly shared the latest installment - the first - in this magnificent story called the "Spanish Lady". This story has only been reprinted in a series by John Dakin in 1979 in a 900 limited edition black and white reprint, so this may be the first time many people have seen some of this art - especially those under 30 years of age - I'm now feeling very old!

© Daily Mirror
I've shrunk the version Martin sent me for purposes of internet loading, but I think it still shows how his original colouring misses out in letterpress printing, however I still love it and find he does brilliantly understate his work by not overcolouring Bellamy.

That's the first exciting thing - thanks again Martin. I owe you a pint or two!

Now, the second excitement is that coincidentally a sale on eBay comes from this very story.  I'll let the seller describe the piece of original art:

From the story 'The Spanish Lady' from 1976 which was the last complete story that he produced before his untimely death later that year. Code K122. With a great action scene showing far more detail than the much smaller printed version. There is a little discolouring of the white board where it as been framed in the past.

Artwork panels measure 135mm x 520mm. Signed with his distinctive signature and drawn on heavyweight CS10 board. The blacks are very dense, having been inked over many times - sometimes as many as eight - to give the density of black that he required.

I've copied the strip below from the John Dakin reprint - go to eBay for the actual scans - it looks to be in very good condition. I'll add an price update after the sale

© Daily Mirror
UPDATE: Sold for £181.00 with 5 bids (June 2011)
And thirdly and lastly for now, my confession!

When I came back to the job of creating this listing circa 2001 - ask me about it if you don't know - I had copies of the 2 Titan Garth paperback reprints. In the introductions written by Nick Landau, there is a handy checklist of all the Garth strips to appear. Here the problem begins...

I believed them!

In writing today's blog entry, I checked the sequence of the strips for the Spanish Lady as I was surprised by the dates I had on the website (- which I've now corrected). I remember that Ghost Town, Bellamy's favourite Garth strip, was reprinted shortly after his death on 5 July 1976, so how could Landau's dates for the Spanish Lady be right? Landau has the dates and number sequence as K65 (17/03/1976) to K160 (07/08/1976) which would make the story continue for another month before Ghost Town started. I checked a few photocopies I have of the paper and found there was something definitely wrong.

The wonderful Garth: the index by Dave Westaway and friends Geoff Wren and Ann Holmes was far more meticulous and confirmed my fear, correctly listing the dates and numbers as 17/03/1976 - 07/07/1976 - K65-K160 for Spanish Lady. So we have 96 episodes in total for this story.

This was all a terrible revelation to me and proof that I was right to (but inconsistent in) checking everything on the list before launching the website. I'm very unlikely to win the (non-existent) "Steve Holland Bibliographer Lifetime Achievement Award"but confession is good for the soul!

And if I ever get a spare day to re-vamp the website I'll also get rid of the confusing date arrangements to indicate 8 June instead of the confusing 08/06 which my American friends would see as being the 6th of August.