Saturday, 15 May 2021

BUILDING AN EMPIRE...


Copyright REBELLION

I bought the above book in the early '80s ('81 or '82) from John Menzies in Glasgow's Buchanan Street.  Published in '78, I'd seen it over the years at various times in different places, but it'd never previously called out to me to purchase it.

Not sure why as it's a handsome tome, so I guess I wasn't really a fan of The Trigan Empire, despite the impressive art of Don Lawrence.  (I wasn't too keen on some of his aircraft designs though.)  Or maybe it was because I'd already read the initial strips when they'd been reprinted in Vulcan around the mid-'70s and didn't feel compelled to own them again.  What changed my thinking that day I don't know; perhaps I just had money to spend and the book was in the right place at the right time - and at the right price.  I say that because, although I couldn't swear to it, it may've been reduced.

Anyway, one day during an idle chat with an acquaintance, he expressed his love for the strip and when I mentioned owning this book, he offered to buy it.  Unusually for me I agreed, and we arranged for me to visit him on the coming Sunday and pass the volume into his hands for a paltry sum, probably less than I'd paid for it.  On the appointed day I chapped his door and was met with no response despite repeated attempts, so I took the book home and have had it ever since.  When I eventually ran into him some time later, he said he'd been in but hadn't heard me at the door.  "Tough luck," I thought, "too late!" - he'd had his chance to buy it and wasn't getting another.  (And he'd have had to be dead not to hear me knocking).

Anyway, fairly recently I learned there'd been an earlier incarnation of the book in the form of The Look and Learn Book of The Trigan Empire, published by IPC in 1973 (for '74), and I managed to track one down a few days ago, which arrived at Castel Crivens yesterday (Friday).  It has only the first two stories of the Hamlyn edition's seven, though the latter has used the same proofs or negs as the former in regard to those two particular adventures.  I bought it mainly for the cover, which I think is better than its later counterpart.  Which one do you prefer?

So I now have five editions of Trigan Empire reprints, the two already mentioned, a tabloid-sized hardback by Hawk Books, two Rebellion volumes, plus a 48 issue part-work of Look and Learn which reprinted the strip exactly as it had first appeared in Ranger Magazine.  I believe there are two more volumes due from Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics imprint, and you can be sure I'll be adding them to my collection when they appear in the not too distant future.

Y'know, being able to read stories I didn't see as a kid is like returning to the '60s and catching up with what I missed at the time; almost like hitting a rewind button and reliving my early years and experiencing what I could've and should've but somehow didn't - expanding my childhood so to speak.  It's difficult to put into words, but I'm sure you're all clever enough to catch what I'm trying to say.

Anyway, forgive my self-indulgent nonsense.  It's really just an excuse to show off my new acquisition and remind you all that you too have a chance of experiencing what you may have missed first time around, and to encourage you to consider buying Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics collected editions of one of Britain's most popular strips from the '60s.  Whether you've seen these strips before or not, you're bound to enjoy having them in your collection to dip into whenever the fancy takes you.

Go on - treat yourself today!

******

(Update: Sharp-eyed readers will notice a few minor changes to the above text since first posted.  That's because, last night, I typed out and published a first version, only for it to disappear into limbo when I attempted to correct a typo moments later.  An email then appeared in my Spam inbox, saying that the post had been deleted because it contravened Blogger community guidelines content policy, and that I should click an enclosed link if I wished to appeal the decision.

However, heading that email was a warning saying that the link was known to steal information and it was dangerous to respond to it.  I therefore deleted the email and rewrote the post from memory, but I've just noticed a new email in my inbox [not Spam] saying that after re-evaluating my original post, it's been restored to my drafts file.  I've therefore taken the opportunity to restore some of the original text because I preferred it.  Must've been the word 'Empire', eh?) 




Below is the very first Trigan tale as it appeared in Ranger, and reprinted in a 'new' Look and Learn part-work series a few years ago.  Below that is the cover of the tabloid-sized volume published by Hawk Books in 1989. 



13 comments:

lord mikolaj said...

Wow! I just LOVE this painted art, I had the first book you showed, but I must have given it away at some time. I think I bought it when I was living in Hanwell in 1981! I will have to pick up the two new reprint books. I just got some of Titan's Dan Dare. Haven't had time to read them yet, but boy, the art is Amazing.

Kid said...

I've got a few Hawk Books reprints of Dan Dare, LM - must get around to reading them one day.

McSCOTTY said...

A brilliant strip, I haVe the large tabloid book which I picked up a few years ago for £3 . First read the Trigan Empire strip in the Scottish Vulcan comic

Dave Walker said...

https://britishcomicscompilations.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/trigan-empire/

I'm not sure if you'll allow this but I downloaded every Trigan Empire story from the above website. It was excellent for the 60s comics I read when I was a kid, TV21 Buster and Look and Learn inter alia. It beats buying CD comic collections off Ebay. If only someone could add the missing original Toys of Doom pages from Buster mid 60s my life would be complete.

Kid said...

I think I was vaguely aware of the strip pre-Vulcan, McS, but never actually read any until Vulcan reprinted them.

******

Ooer, I'm not sure I should allow it, DW, but hopefully anyone viewing the site will love the art so much, they'll feel compelled to buy the Rebellion books. Books beat data discs and Internet sites every time in my, er, book. I've got a data disc with every issue of TV21, but I'm still buying the original issues whenever I find them at a reasonable price. Among others, I've now got almost the first 40-odd issues, including two number ones.

Philip Crawley said...

While looking for something in a cupboard recently I found a box of books that I'd not had room for on the shelves and the Trigan Empire volume shown at the top of this post was one of them. I'd forgotten I had it, and can't recall where I picked it up. Memory eh. The Trigan Empire strips were known to me prior to that, some issues of the publication that they sprang from must have made it over to our shores in the '60s and '70s, and I even still have several that I'd taken out of the comics back in the day. (The thought of younger me cutting up comics then horrifies me now!)
My cover preference would go to the ones with the diagonal bars - much more dynamic and exciting.
Oh, and thanks Dave for the link to downloadable old British comics! - I how have several titles that I never thought I'd see again let alone find more of, especillay UFO Agents / Smokeman. Had a couple of clip-outs of that one from back in the day and I used to look at the coloured art studying it for ages. Jose Ortiz, I only recently learnt, was the illustrator.

Kid said...

Yes, the Rebellion covers are good, PC - very striking. Between the Hamlyn and IPC editions though, I prefer the IPC cover as it's a better representation of the contents. I've got books everywhere: boxes, cupboards, bookshelves, drawers, wardrobes, etc. I either need more shelves or less books, but I don't want to get rid of any. I haven't looked at DS's link yet, but I will before too long. Have Marvel released the Buscema Silver Surfers in their Epic Collection series yet?

McSCOTTY said...

Last I heard the Silver Surfer John Buscema run was still only available in hardback. The Epic collection of these stories is one I am waiting for as well.

Kid said...

I've got the original issues, the Masterworks editions, and the Omnibus volume, McS - but I'll still probably get the Epic collections as well. Just can't stop myself.

baggsey said...

(Apologies if this is a duplicate comment....wrote it once and then cannot remember if I hit Preview, Publish or Escape.....sigh)

To the topic at hand......the Trigan Empire is the first strip that I remember anxiously waiting for each week, even before my exposure to American comics. I read it weekly from its first publication in Ranger #1 (Sept 18th 1965) continuing as Ranger merged with Look & Learn the following year. I wonder if artist Alex Ross is familiar with the work of Don Lawrence - there do seem so similarities to me, at least.

Kid said...

Yes, there are similarities between Don Lawrence's and Alex Ross's style, though I'd say that perhaps Ross has a slightly more dynamic touch. Will you be buying any of the Rebellion Trigan books, B? I'd imagine they're available in America.

baggsey said...

Yes Kid, gotta agree that Alex Ross has a much more dynamic touch than Don Lawrence. You’re correct that the books are available here in the States (at least in my local comic shop in the wilds of the Chicago hinterland of the Fox valley). I did pick up Vol 1 of the Rebellion reprints a few months back and enjoyed it a lot. But this time around I was struck by the static poses of the characters. Everything is fabulously rendered, each panel is a piece of art in its own right, yet there seems to be an absence of flow of action from panel to panel. I think it’s the lack of dynamism you were alluding to.

Kid said...

That's a pretty fair assessment I'd say. Y'know, out of all the UK 'greats' - like Lawrence, Hampson, Bellamy, Embleton, Noble, etc., I'd say that Mike Noble was the best of the bunch when it came to portraying dynamic action.



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