For the past hour I've been looking at the above image as I prepare it for publication. The source material comes from a beautiful 5 year run of Rusty Riley dailies provided by Dennis Wilcutt. All strips were scanned at 1200 DPI which some of you out there may think of as a bit extreme, considering when they print they are down-sampled to 600 DPI but I like working with the best image possible, and 1200 DPI seems to work very well with the source material I'm dealing with, at least when it comes to black and white images. Color is a whole different ball of wax.
I waited until today to post this on the Classic Comics Press blog so you all would know that this is not an April Fools gag.
After just publishing the reprint of Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage Volume 1 and On Stage Volume 11, I have decided to take a bit of a publishing break and will not be publishing any more Classic Comics Press books until the end of the year. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons:
I'm tired. Since 2006 Classic Comics Press has published 19 books which is not bad for a one-man operation.
Putting these books together is the fun part, all the other work that goes into running an independent publishing company is a hassle. Fulfilling orders, shipping, the day-to-day accounting, working with the various syndicates, etc., is time-consuming. I'd much rather be working on the books but it's time I got my ducks in a row when it comes to keeping the business affairs in order.
I have lots of projects I'm working on:
5 more volumes of Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage
The Rusty Riley daily volumes
The Cisco Kid
The Heart of Juliet Jones
A possible 2nd volume of Big Ben Bolt
And a few others I am not at liberty to reveal right now.
These projects take time, the scanning, the cleanup, the design of the books - all fight for my time and me, still with a day job! Such is the life of an independent publisher.
And don't you all start any rumors that Classic Comics Press is going under, far from it. I have enough projects right now to keep me going for the next 10 years, and I'm sure that more little gems are just waiting around the corner for me to discover.
So that's it. On Stage 11 and the redo of Volume 1 are now available. In December I'll be publishing On Stage Volume 12 and the first volume of Rusty Riley dailies. If things work out, I get caught up, and the funding is there I'll do my best to publish 6 books next year, that, if successful, will get me back on track.
Both books are now available from Amazon.com, Bud's Art Books, Tony Raiola, Lone Star Comics, www.mycomicshop.com, and of course the Classic Comics Press website.
I'll be posting more often to this blog and have tied it to the Classic Comics Press Facebook Fan Page. I've also set up an RSS feed between this blog and the fan page so those of you following this blog and our Facebook friends will get the latest updates simultaneously. Ain't technology wonderful?
I never really got into Steve Canyon when it originally appeared in the papers, but lately I've been reading volume 1 of the complete Steve Canyon from IDW and have to say I'm really enjoying it. But his attitude towards women seems a bit sexist. :0 That poor Feeta Feeta.
I snatched the above image for RC Harvey's site and his write-up about Meanwhile: The
Definitive Biography of the Legendary Creator of Terry and the Pirates and SteveCanyon a massive tome that I've been reading for, oh, about 6 months now. I highly recommend this book. Get more info at http://www.rcharvey.com/meanwhile.html
And now the big news! I have decided to publish Frank Godwin's Rusty Riley Volume 1 - The Dailies in hardcover, with 16 pages in color. Due to these changes the book will not be published until Spring of 2013 and the price per copy will be $29.95.
For those who have pre-ordered the book from the Classic Comics Press website - your original orders at the originally listed price will be honored.
I know a lot of you have been waiting a long time for the first volume, but take heart - it's happening and I'm sure you'll all agree it was well worth the wait.
As stated in the previous posting, I'm a little bit behind - Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage Volume 11 will be listed in the November 2012 issue of PREVIEWS with a stated delivery date of January 2013. But...the book will actually be available in early December. This volume will be a whopping 264 pages with an introduction from Howard Chaykin, reprinting dailies and Sundays from November 1, 1970 to June 12, 1972! Pre-orders are now available from the Classic Comics Press website.
In the next couple of hours I will be posting a number of updates about upcoming projects. First up: The reprinting of Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage Volume 1.
Despite all the work I've been doing this summer I still find myself a little behind. The reprint for On Stage Volume 1 should have been appearing in the October 2012 issue of PREVIEWS for December delivery. Instead (like the listing for On Stage 11) the listing will appear in the November 2012 issue of PREVIEWS with a delivery date of January 2013. But fear not, dear readers, the book will actually be available mid-December from the Classic Comics Press website. And as soon as I have the books I'll ship them off to Diamond so hopefully those of you who order through them will have them in time for years end. (Make sense?)
Note that for this special 3rd Printing of On Stage Volume 1 there will be a slightly different cover and will be priced at 21.95.
For those of you who have asked about a special price, due to the fact you already own a copy of the first or second printing I will be posting a special on the Classic Comics Press website in the next couple of days.
MARY PERKINS ON STAGE VOLUME 1 HEADING FOR REPRINT
people have been asking me lately about finding copies of Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage Volume 1. They
are long gone folks, unless you want to pay some joker $200.00 for a
copy on amazon.com, for which I am both flattered and appalled. So I've
decided to go back and totally redo the book, fixing typos, doing a bit
of a rewrite on the Starr bio info, and totally rescanning the artwork.
The price for a single copy of this reprint will be $21.95 per copy.
The book is scheduled for a December 2012 release along with On Stage
Welcome to the new Classic Comics Press website!!!
Well I've finally gone and done it! Replaced the old Dreamweaver
created website with a brand new format! I've been looking around for a
better alternative to the site for well over a year - and here you have
it! Easier to order, better navigation, Facebook online store
integration, you don't have to use PayPal, and a heck of a lot easier for me to update!
Running a one-man operation like this can be a bit time-consuming, so
anything I can find to speed up the mundane, day-to-day chores that
come with running any business is tops in my book. The original Classic
Comics Press web site was created in Dreamweaver 3.0 (current version
12.0) and if any of you out there are familiar with the complexities and
variables that are introduced when you upgrade software, you'll
understand why I made the jump out of Dreamweaver and into Shopify. I
just couldn't spend the time I wanted to redo the original site,
especially when you factor in the desire to add a bit more
functionality, the acceptance of credit cards, and a better way to
manage sales. [Damn! This is beginning to sound like a plug for Shopify.com]
Now I can spend more time working on additional volumes of Mary
Perkins On Stage, Juliet Jones, Cisco Kid, and the rest of the gang! The
site is currently in a state of flux, so check back often. Soon I'll be
adding an updated publishing schedule in the Coming Soon page. At the
same time I'll be announcing a few new publications that are in the
early stages of development.
I'll also be posting the occasional write-up on this blog with updates on coming publications, classic images, and more!
The comments on both Leonard Starr's On Stage Volume 9 and The Cisco Kid have started to come in and so far the reviews have been fairly positive, including a review on Amazon by Diego Cordoba, and a writeup by Wayne Markley on the Westfield Comic Blog.
I'm wrapping up some year-end business affair's and after that will begin posting a series of updates on next years publications. The plan is to publish On Stage 10 (YIKES!), Juliet Jones Volume 4, Cicso Kid Volume 2, and the first volume of Rusty Riley dailies. I'm also looking into reprinting the Sundays in Color but I'm just at the beginning stages of this so don't expect to see it for awhile.
For Volume 10 of On Stage we have and introduction from Al Milgrom.
The strips for Rusty Riley have all been scanned and I'm now in the process of cleaning. For newspaper clippings that are 62 years old, the result is really good.
Cisco Kid volume 2 is also scanned and in the process of being put together. At some point I'll be posting a list of any dates I might be looking for and if any of you have original Salinas art out there, please contact me, I'd love to keep using original panels for the cover to carry out the theme throughout the 8 volumes.
Volume 1 is finally taking shape and I've now made it through the second pass. At this point I have a lot of cleaning and straightening to do but it's looking damned nice.
Volume 1 will cover the dates - January 15, 1951 to January 31, 1953 and will be out this Fall with a scheduled release date of October 15th along with Volume 9 of Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage.
But...I am missing 1 daily - 9/22/1951 - so if there are any collectors out there who can help me out please by all means contact me through the group or at email@example.com
If possible I'd also like to replace 8/26/1952, 12/25/1952 and 1/7/1953 - my source for these have the Cisco Kid logo at the bottom left of the first panel and I'd love to replace them with something better if possible. No worries if you have the daily with the logo at the top - I can make a composite, replacing the logo with new source if possible.
I'll be posting more on my progress on the first volume of Cisco in the coming weeks on the Classic Comics Press website.
Classic Comics Press
P.S. And for all of those who have been asking - I will be printing the first volume of Rusty Riley dailies sometime in 2012. Along with the next volumes of Juliet Jones (possibly Sundays) and Big Ben Bolt.
Things are moving along nicely with Volume 8. It's a wonderful volume, just as strong as Volume 7. The best thing is that Leonard and Jim found some missing proofs from the Captain Virtue storyline. Years ago, when Blackthorne reprinted the CV storyline they cut up the proofs and reassembled them on the page to resemble a comic book page. By doing this they basically made useless the cut up proofs and it took Jim quite some time to recompose the panels in the right order. I'd decided to replace all these cut up proofs with the best clipping I could find and was working on those when Jim informed me they found another set of the missing proofs. A couple of days later I got them in the mail and Voila! we've managed to replace every missing daily with a high-quality proof. Sometimes the comic strip gods are smiling down.
In a couple of weeks I'll have the first pass done on the scanning of Cisco Kid, volumes 1 and 2, at that time I will be posting a list of dailies that I am looking to replace.
BIG BEN BOLT UPDATE
I'm going to replace as many of the strips as I can in volume 1 to use the 'uncut' versions - this material is now being sent to me from Europe and I should be able to keep the pub date of 7/31/2010. More later.
I've recently discovered that a certain amount of my material for Big Ben Bolt consists of production proofs that have been cut at the bottom. I've read about this in regards to the recent Rip Kirby books from IDW and, honestly, from a publishers standpoint you go with what is avaialbe. So...if any of you colletors out there can help me with Big Ben Bolt dailies from February 29, 1950 to May 24, 1952 by all means contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andoni was good enough to provide scans from his collection to show me the difference. Comments, opinions on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Of course we want to give you the best quality book that we can but, as mentioned above, sometimes we have to go with what we have.
I love working on these books! This weekend I've been pulling together the first Cisco Kid volume, seeing where I am material wise. The source for this volume consists of a combination of production proofs, newspaper clippings, and really dirty photo-copies. I've also been getting photo-copies and scans of a number of originals from collectors out there - for which I now give a heartfelt collective thanks!
So I've been working on pulling it together, scanning, cropping, cleaning, placing and just admiring the handywork of the masterful Jose Luis Salinas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, you are all in for a real treat. His drawing is among the best that has appeared on the comics page, here and abroad.
What better way then to spend one's cold, wintry Saturday, listening to my favorite tunes and working with the likes of this:
The daily is from June 30, 1951 - and - as you can see, it's in the process of being cleaned (note the right side of the strip, along the wagon wheel. If any of you out there have a replacment - I'd love to see it.
I'd like to wish all of you a happy and prosperous New Year! Ain't it grand that 2009 is finally over! In 2010 we'll be bringing you Volumes 7 and 8 of On Stage, the third volume of Juliet Jones dailies, and the first volume of John Cullen Murphy's Big Ben Bolt dailies, with an introduction from Murphy's son, Cullen.
We've also begun putting together the first volume of Jose Luis Salinas' The Cisco Kid. The Introduction for Volume 1 will be by Sergio Aragones!
I've also been thinking a lot about what I want to do with this blog. Beginning now I'm going to open it up a bit, talk about things that interest me, review a book or two, perhaps introduce a few of you to some new and interesting art.
Speaking of interesting art:
If any of you have read the credits for almost all the books published by Classic Comics Press you will have noticed the name Dominic Bugatto. Dom has the honor of taking Leonard's mockups for the On Stage books and cleaning them up a bit (to Leonard's specs). At one point Dominic mentioned he felt working with Leonard's image was like polishing the lens of David Lean.
He's also helped me with the covers for the Jones book, and did a marvelous cover for the upcoming Big Ben Bolt:
At some point I'll post the process on how we do the covers, but for now this is about Dom.
Occassionally Dom sends me samples of what's he working on and I'm always blown away. Here's one he sent me a while back that I can't get enough of:
The Cisco Kid Some of you have contacted me to ask about The Cisco Kid so I thought it would be a good time to let you know a bit more about the project.
The Cisco Kid ran in American newspapers from January 15, 1951 to August 5, 1968 (roughly 17 years) as a daily only. Though the good graces of 4 collectors, I have been lucky enough to gain access to the entire run of the strip in 3 formats - original art, Production Proofs, and clippings.
So the books are going to be a mix, using the best available format available for each day's strip. Development of the first book is currently under way and should be available sometime in Spring/Summer of 2010, with plans to reprint the entire run of the strip in roughly 6 volumes, at the rate of 2 per year.
On Stage Slipcase A lot of you have asked me why I'm not reprinting Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage in Hardcover - the answer is quite simple - money. And a couple of you have even asked me about the possibility of a slipcase for the books. I've been thinking a bit more about it and now that I have the series locked down to 15 volumes I feel the best approach is to produce slipcovers for Volumes 1-5, 6-10 and 11-15.
I'll be looking into this further in the next couple of months and post more details on the website and this blog as plans come together. I've already discussed this with Leonard and what we plan to do is design a nice end piece for the slipcase related to the volumes in that particular case. We'll do our best to keep the price within reason and though I can't give you an exact date, you can expect to see something by the end of this year.
And now for our Strip of the day - One of my favorite Sundays from 1957. Pay attention to what Mary says in the first panel and how Pete echos it in the last. How the meaning changes just by placement of emphasis. One of the countless things I love about this comic strip.
In comic strips, the person on the left always speaks first. - George Carlin I find it both exhilarating and startling that the art form know as the Great American Comic Strip is perhaps hotter than ever. How did this happen? Is it just all of us aging boomers looking back? Are we having an impact on some of the youngsters out there?
I mean, Guys! We are finally going to see a full run of Alex Raymond's Rip Kirby in fine fashion from Dean Mullaney and IDW. Thank you Dean!!! And now Sam's Strip from Fantagraphics, a redo of Prince Valiant. Buck Rogers, and The Phantom from Hermes. As a local DJ in Chicago likes to declare: "It's great to be alive!"
I, like most in the independent book field, have a day job. On the publication of On Stage volume 1, I gave a copy to our young Administrative Assistant. A couple of days later she came into work, walked into my office and declared - "You know that Leonard Starr? He is a genius! I never knew comic strips could be that good!"
Another time - I was sitting next to Lon Allen at the Eisner Awards in 2007. Some Jim Morrison type by the name of Paul Pope was on stage, reading off the nominations for best archival edition, while I tried to act cool as he continued to read. When he got to Mary, he actually said '...and my own personal favorite Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage.' Hot damn!
Of course we, didn't win. An honor to be nominated, right? And anyway - Who needs to win an Eisner when folks like Paul Pope, Maggie Thompson, Walt Simonson, Howard Chaykin, Eddie Campbell, Jim Steranko, and the like are really getting into what you're doing? Just makes me want to do even more.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone in Sweden who was worried that Classic Comics Press might not make it in these troubling times. Honestly who knows for sure? Times are indeed tough, sales are steady but slow, bills are due, strips need to be scanned, rights have to be looked into, and each night I pray to the computer gods that Vista doesn't crash while I'm cleaning up a particularly nasty clipping, trying to figure out how good it'll look in print.
Here's the strip of the day:The Heart of Juliet Jones - 04/19/1957