Rocket Man

There’s a few books out now from Steve Holland and Bear Alley Books worthy of note, as always. The first is Rocket – The First Space Age Weekly. In the era of Eagle, Lion and the advent of space travel Steve investigates why this comic title was doomed from the start.

You can read more and purchase a copy here

Bear Alley Books is also proud to announce a new edition of Hurricane and Champion: The Companion Papers to Valiant. This updated index details the histories of both papers and reveals—some for the first time—the names of many of the creators behind the classic comic strips that filled their pages. It now includes information on the twelve associated annuals.

Heavily illustrated throughout, the new edition of Hurricane and Champion also includes an expanded creators’ indexes covering both papers and annuals, and a new full-colour cover by Jordi Penalva.

In his introduction, Steve Holland describes how Hurricane (1964-65) went through four phases during its lifetime and reveals the many problems faced by Champion (1966) during its brief 15-issue run.

More details and payment options here

Steve has also announced the release of a collected volume containing all 116 episodes of Eagles Over the Western Front, the classic story of aerial warfare set during the days of the R.F.C. Created by Mike Butterworth and Bill Lacey and serialised in the pages of Look and Learn in 1971-73, Eagles was previously available in three volumes.

Bill Lacey’s stunning artwork—with two-thirds of the story scanned from surviving original art boards—captures every terrifying moment as Harry Hawkes, the hero of Eagles Over the Western Front, joins the only recently founded Royal Flying Corps and, with only a few weeks training, is sent to France to fly scouting and observation missions over the enemy lines at Ypres.

By the time Harry arrives on the front, the British B.E.2c scouting planes have become “Fokker fodder” thanks to the German development of an interrupter gear that synchronized machine guns with the aircraft’s propeller, which allows German pilots to fly their planes straight towards their target, firing through the propeller arc.

Harry eventually joins a squadron flying the Airco DH.2 in the era of aerial dogfights and faces some of his most challenging months as German ace Max Immelmann scores victory after victory against British pilots on his way to earning Germany’s highest honour, the Pour le Mérite—the ‘Blue Max’.

Author Mike Butterworth is better known for writing ‘The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire’, but his career began many years before as a scriptwriter and editor for the Amalgamated Press’s Sun, where penned dozens of stories featuring historical characters (Billy the Kid, Dick Turpin, Robin Hood) as well as creating ‘Max Bravo, the Happy Hussar’ and ‘Battler Britton’.  For Comet he wrote authentic historical dramas as well as creating the science fiction adventurer ‘Jet-Ace Logan’. Editorially he created the innovative Playhour Pictures, Valentine and the teenage magazine Honey. A prolific novelist, he wrote crime thrillers, bodice-rippers and historicals under a variety of pen-names.

Bill Lacey‘s first strips appeared in 1951, although the best of his early work appeared in the pages of Super Detective Library, where he was the original artist for Rick Random and Blackshirt. Lacey’s work appeared in dozens of comics in the 1950s and 1960s, including Mickey Mouse Weekly, Cowboy Picture Library, Knockout, Express Weekly, Thriller Picture Library, Princess, Film Fun, Valiant, Buster, Tiger and Lion; during this time his strips ranged from adaptations of western novels such as ‘The Covered Wagon’ to weird fantasy classics like ‘Mytek the Mighty’. In the 1970s he drew extensively for Look and Learn and for a number of D. C. Thomson’s boys’ papers, Bullet, Crunch and Buddy.

Payment details here.

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