Sunday 31 March 2013

The Collectors Editions that never was

Just got this interesting piece on Barks fandom/Western Publishing history from Dana Gabbard.
Take it away, Dana!
This post shares scans of a heretofore nearly forgotten corner of Barksdom -- a Western Publishing Barks deluxe reprint project that advanced as far as producing a prospectus shared with Carl Barks fans in the early 1980s. The origins of this project lay with John Nichols, who was both a dealer specializing in Barks and the publisher of the leading Barks fanzine, The Barks Collector. At that time (the late 1970s) certain classic Barks stories in English were only available in the U.S. via the pricey original editions. Nichols found an affordable alternative to offer his clients by importing Australian reprints of stories such as "Adventure Down Under" that were otherwise too expensive for most fans to afford in the original printing. Nichold did a brisk business in the Barks reprints and evidently wished that a new series of deluxe Barks reprints a la The Best of Walt Disney Comics series issued in 1974 was published by Western Publishing and which he could then market to his burgeoning customer base eager to have access to classic Barks at an affordable cost.
Then by chance at one of the two Barks Cons Nichols held in New York in the early 1980s (one was also held in the same period in Oakland California) among the attendees was the comics editor for Western's New York office, Wally Green. Green evidently was impressed with the gathering of fans he witnessed and Nichols' pitch that unlike the previous attempt Western had made to enter the collectors market (which the company must have seen as a failure since a second set of volumes in the Best of Walt Disney comics series had gotten as far as advance publicity aimed at the then nascent comic book fandom with mockups of the cover much like the Green memo before the project was without explanation cancelled) there was now an established distribution network serving comic book shops nationwide that featured non-returnable wholesaling. That must have been music to Green's ears as Western was in a downward spiral at that time as to sales of its newstand comics. This memo outlines the new deluxe Barks reprint series Western was contemplating. 

It was distributed by Nichols to the mailing list of Barks fans he had built up as a dealer and publisher soliciting their expression of interest in such a series. And that was the last anyone heard of the proposal. Why it didn't happen is a mystery but not soon after Western got out of the comic book business and shortly after that Gladstone stepped into the breach and began what is now seen as a Disney comics renissance featuring both classic and new material that garnered wide acclaim from fans.
It is thanks to Brent Swanson (who held onto the memo all these years and supplied a scan of it after my faint memories of it prompted him to retrieve it from storage) that this memo is now recovered from being hidden in the dark corners of history.

Thanks for sharing the info Dana!

And as an extra Barks-bonus to this post:
here's a watercolor by the duck man.
Looks like a 1940's piece and judging by the hair style it might be his daughter Peggy. 

Saturday 30 March 2013

The History of Golden Books Part II

Here's the second, and final, part of the history of Golden Books covering the years 1967-1982.

PS. A set of the Westerner was just auctioned on eBay. I didn't win any of the lots, but here's a glimpse of what the magazines looked like.

And if YOU are the one who won one or several of these, feel free to get in touch. I'd be more than happy to do some "Best of the Westerner" posts. :) 

Sunday 24 March 2013

The History of Golden Books Part I

The 1982 "Commemorative issue" of the Westerner also featured the history of Golden Books. Here's the first part covering 1942 – 1964. Enjoy!

Click HERE to get to the second part.

Saturday 23 March 2013

The Westerner 1982 Part III

Here's the third part, covering the years 1960 – 1982.

But, hey, there's more!
Click here to read the history of Golden books!

Wednesday 20 March 2013


A bucket of medals to the person who can guess what this building housed 60 years ago.

Images (c) Google.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Sunday 17 March 2013

The Westerner 1982 part I

Remember the issue of "The Westerner" posted here last year?
(The "Golden Anniversary Issue" #194, published in January 1966.)
Now, thanks to Michael Barrier, Dana Gabbard and the Racine Wisconsin Public Library here's the "Commemorative issue" from 1982!
Thanks for scanning and letting me post this find, guys!!!

Here's part one: The history of Western Publishing 1907-1915!

Click here to read Part II.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Where Are We Now?

Feels like I havn't been drawing much these past three years. Most of my time has been spent writing and scribbling. And relaxing. Will have to do something about that. Like... drawing more.

BTW: I really enjoy the new David Bowie album. I've been listening to it for a week now and it just gets better and better.  I haven't had this feeling when listening to an entire album since Brett Anderson released Black Rainbows back in 2011. Go check it out!

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Sub of the day

 Stuff you don't expect to find inside a submarine.

The Thin White Duke you didn't expect to find in the new Spirou album:

Saturday 9 March 2013


Ever heard about Goldtiger?
"Of all the Sixties newspaper strips one of the most discussed—yet rarely read—has to be Antonio Barreti and Louis Shaeffer’s GOLDTIGER. Commissioned by the Baskerville Newspaper Group as their answer to the Evening Standard’s MODESTY BLAISE."

Original art to the first Goldtiger daily.
"Working with Shaeffer, a writer entrenched in the world of crime and sci-fi pulp magazines, Barreti produced the first serial as a complete work with story outlines and sketches for a further six adventures. Unfortunately the strip was deemed too sensational and the idea was shelved."

"This coincided with a mental breakdown for the artist and four years mental rehabilitation in a Turin clinic. Not one to let insanity hold him back, Barreti continued to produce GOLDTIGER strips through this period, with Shaeffer posting the artist his scripts. The main issue for the editor at the Baskerville Newspaper Group was certainly the sexuality of its main characters. In an intentionally subversive twist, both Lily Gold and Jack Tiger were openly homosexual, a step too far even for the so-called ‘swinging sixties’. "

The infamous "Let's go diving" strip from 1966, that caused quite a stir!
Does it sound intriguing?
Do you want to see this strip in print?
In a hardcover edition?
Check out the Kickstarter page for more info!
You might be in for a surprise. ;)
But don't wait. Only a few days left to go and still ca 200 persons will have to pledge the hardcover, for the creators to reach the goal.