Search This Blog

Friday 11 February 2022

Illustrators Quarterly Magazine - #1


The ongoing series of quarterly perfect-bound full colour magazines began with this issue in 2012.

Anyone interested in illustrating art will cherish these magazines.

This issue features a lengthy article about Denis McLoughlin – 44 pages lavishly illustrated with his often gritty book covers. McLoughlin mainly concentrated on hard-boiled crime but also westerns, including the Buffalo Bill annuals I recall from my childhood. Indeed, McLoughlin, who hailed from Bolton, Lancashire, was so knowledgeable about the Old West that he produced The Encyclopedia of the Old West (original title Wild and Woolly) in 1975: a veritable mine of information!

There follows 22 pages of an interview with artist Ian Kennedy. Again, every page features samples of his comic illustrations and paintings, notably from the Commando comics that have been around since 1961. An outstanding artist, sadly missed (he died 5 February this year).

Next is a feature on the ‘Alluring Art of Angel Badia Camps’, one of a host of Spaniards who began plying their trade in Britain to good effect in the 1960s. We get fifteen pages of samples of his work from the covers of romantic fiction and women’s magazines; distinctive, atmospheric and colourful.

Two regular features are: The Gallery and The Studio. For the Gallery there are six pages of ‘the Fin de Siècle Erotica of Cheri Herouard’. He illustrated the covers of La Vie Parisienne, but also posters, postcards and menus. The Studio features Mick Brownfield’s iconic Christmas cover of the Radio Times in 2009 with Santa and a Dalek. The end pages consist of art-book reviews and contact details for art supplies, illustrators, museums and other related subjects.  

Copies of most back issues are still available, many at reduced prices.

It’s published by The Book Palace and can be obtained through their website Back issues can also be obtained from

The Book Palace also issues, from time to time, special issues on certain illustrators, and most of these are destined to become collectors’ pieces.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Mort Kunstler - The Godfather of Pulp Fiction Illustrators

Mort Künstler – The Godfather of Pulp Fiction Illustrators

Edited by Robert Deis & Wyatt Doyle

My daughter bought this for me for Christmas.

There are 110 pages; the first ten comprise illustrated text – reminiscences by Mort about how he got into the illustrating business. For many years he’d turn out three covers and two interior illos for men’s adventure magazines. He also worked for other publishers at the same time, ‘twelve-hour days, fifteen-hour days, sometimes seven days a week.’

The remaining pages are full colour full page paintings full of action from magazines between 1952 and 1972. He also produced lots of film posters for adventure films such as The Poseidon Adventure and The Hindenburg, as well as advertising promotions and then broke into historical paintings for The National Geographic.

He relates that the word 'künstler' means ‘artist’ in German.

If you appreciate art, this book is an excellent addition to your collection.

Monday 7 February 2022



Nick Ryan’s sixth book in his World War III techno-thriller series is gripping stuff. Where the earlier books relate to combat in Europe, this one concerns submarine warfare in the Pacific against China.

Commander Chris Coe is an old-school submariner and is abrasive with regard to his XO, Richard Wickham, so we have two types of conflict – personal and military.

The nuclear boat Oklahoma City is tasked with searching for a Chinese convoy and destroying it. The technical details seem authentic: the tension is raised as the vessels employ counter-measures, guile and gutsy experience.

Interestingly, Ryan’s website gives a blow-by-blow account of WWIII – without recourse to nuclear weapons! He must have been prescient, anticipating the January 2022 announcement from the five powers that they would not resort to nuclear weapons in any conflict!

The website is – and it makes fascinating reading. Gradually, he appears to be writing thrillers of similar length based on this timeline.

Let’s hope it all stays as fiction.

Editorial comment

Nothing that follows spoiled my enjoyment and appreciation of the book. However:

I bought the paperback so my comments relate to that; some of the comments won’t apply to the e-book version.

The cover is excellent. However, there’s no text on the spine. This mitigates buying/collecting any others in the series as they'll all be 'anonymous' on my bookshelves!

As this was published on Amazon, I must assume Mr Ryan is using Kindle Direct. Any book published in this system can have spine text if the page-count is in excess of 130. This book has 185 pages; so no excuse.

There are no page numbers! (I agree, this doesn’t matter for an e-book). The new KDP process requires creating an e-book first. But the text that is loaded can contain headers and footers, including page numbers; the second process is converting to a paperback where these features will show in the paperback. [Check out my book Mission: Khyber, a psychic spy novel in paperback and e-book, which shows how it can be done.]

Chapter headings are cramped and amateurish.

Typos listed below aren’t traceable by page number – see above!

‘dressed in hiv-viz colored vests’ should be ‘hi-viz’.

It may be different in the US Navy, but certainly in the Royal Navy, when referring to the 24-hour clock, only the number is used: 2300 – not ‘2300 hours’. The British army and air force use the suffix ‘hours’ however.

‘loosen the reigns’ – should be ‘reins’ [occurs more than once, I think]

‘computer-like monitor’ – surely it should simply be ‘monitor’?

‘carried a compliment of largely outdated torpedoes’ – should be ‘complement’ [this occurs twice]

‘sober expressions on his officer’s faces’ – this should be ‘expressions on his officers’ faces’ – there’s more than one officer so the apostrophe follows the ‘es’.

‘men poured over the imagery’ – should be ‘pored’.

‘Code strode into the wardroom’ – should be ‘Coe’.

‘tone was edge with frantic desperation’ – should be ‘edged’.

‘taut and nerve-wracking minutes’ – should be ‘nerve-racking’ (as if the nerves are on a rack; wrack is seaweed)