Apr 14 2012: Cover Images from Comic Versions of The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer (Classics Illustrated, 1960s)

How far does the value of a literary work reside in language and specific medium, how far in the story and broader ideas it contains? The question’s raised here by reductions (to around 25 pages each) of the two great epic poems of Homer, with each comic book acting more as a kind of compressed … Continue reading

Mar 27 2012: Fourteen Colour Illustrations and Photographs From Girl Annual Number Nine (1961)

The final gallery in this series culled from the pages of Girl Annual draws together an array of colour illustrations from the 1961 annual, including the annual’s first-ever photographic cover image, as seen above, and a series of frames from the comic strips Belle of the Ballet and Susan of St Bride’s. Accompanied by a … Continue reading

Mar 26 2012: Fifty-One Monochrome Illustrations From Girl Annual Number Nine (1961)

As can be seen below, the differences between the illustrations featured in Girl Annual in 1958 and those of three years later, in 1961, are fairly minimal, considering the social changes that were happening during the same period. True, the girl above is now on holiday in Amalfi rather than Cornwall, but the same escapades … Continue reading

Mar 25 2012: Forty-Three Monochrome Illustrations From Girl Annual Number Six (1958)

If yesterday’s images by Edward Mortelmans from the 1958 edition of Girl Annual seemed to draw inspiration from the paintings of Laura Knight, the forty-three sampled monochrome illustrations seen here have no such unifying element beyond being largely executed in line and wash, and seeming largely unchanged in format from the kind of images that … Continue reading

Mar 24 2012: Four Colour Illustrations Showing Circus Life By Edward Mortelmans (Girl Annual, 1958)

For the first of four galleries of images culled from two different editions of Girl Annual – dating from 1958 and 1961 respectively – it seemed appropriate to single out this particular sequence of colour illustrations looking at circus life for their intrinsic interest. There’s something in Edward Mortelmans’ paintigs that reminds me of similar fine … Continue reading

Mar 20 2012: Fourteen Monochrome Photographs Showing Men In A Variety Of Roles and Locations (1900s – 1970s)

Talking to someone who’s been following these posts recently led to a point being made that I’d only half-noted myself: that there were far more images of women gathered here than of men. In commercial and advertising photography, the reasons for that imbalance are well-rehearsed, insofar as commercial messages aimed at women tend to present … Continue reading

Mar 18 2012: Thirty-Seven Colour Photographs Of America from National Geographic Magazine (1948)

The final gallery culled from the pages of National Geographic in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War features America itself, turning the camera on its own idiosyncrasies and people. Interestingly, the modernity in images from food safety and product testing laboratories is placed in contrast to folksier views of 4-H club participants in … Continue reading

Mar 11 2012: A Letter From Peter To Frances, Written In Ink On Blue Paper (c.1970s)

The voice in this letter is that of a boy, Peter, who seems to be writing to a girl, Frances, under some kind of sufferance that his writing is at pains to make clear. From the airily arrogant opening gambit (“I suppose you have been waiting and looking at the front door for letters and … Continue reading

Jan 11 2012: Twenty-One Cover Illustrations from Romeo Teen Weekly (1970 – 1971)

I don’t know much about Romeo, a comic format weekly magazine published by D.C. Thompson that features a variety of love stories (basically, think Mills & Boon, but aimed very much at teenage girls), letters and problem pages, adverts, comic strips and a few bits of pop music news (these include some unlikely inclusions from … Continue reading

Enfants Terrible : How The First Wave of British Pop Art Got To Stick Around (NVA, 2012)

“Pop did not count ‘ephemeral’ as an insult. It was for the present, and even more for the future: it was not for the past, and saw nothing to regret in the changes which had come about in England since 1945…” [John Russell in Pop Art Redefined, Thames & Hudson, 1969] “Hockney’s range is maybe … Continue reading