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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Miller Western Comic Books: Exclusive Preview (UPDATED)

It's always fascinating for comic enthusiasts to discover more about the rich history of comics, and this new book from Midlands-based Ugly Duckling Press sets out to provide solid information about another little pocket of British comics history. Miller Western Comic Books is a full colour 272 page softback covering the cowboy comics published by L.Miller in the 1950s. Westerns were hugely popular at the time, but American comics were not being distributed into the UK. Len Miller had the rights to publish British editions of many cowboy comics, and later initiated the creation of some home grown Western strips. 
The book has been written by John Fairclough and designed by Mike Higgs. The print run is very limited and the price is £20 including postage and packing. You can order your copy by paying £20 via PayPal to or by cheque made payable to Blasé, and posted to:
Blasé Books,
Birchfield Road,
B97 6PU.

Overseas customers please contact Blasé for international postage rates. 

Thanks to Blasé Books I've been sent an exclusive preview of a few pages to showcase on this blog. Enjoy, and Go West, Young Fan! 

UPDATE 9th November 2014: Having now seen a copy of the book I can see it's certainly a worthy volume for any comic enthusiast's bookshelf. Bearing in mind this only covers the cowboy comics published by L.Miller, there were an incredible number of different titles on the newsagent's shelves back in the Fifties. 

John Fairclough takes us on a journey through the comics, giving background information on the movie stars various titles were based on, plus essential info on the comics of course, and any differences between the original American comics and the reprints. (It seems Len Miller could be a bit conservative at times, and he censored some of the pre-code strips before reprinting them.) 

The book has a clear layout by Mike Higgs and hundreds of comic covers are shown. In fact it's closer to over 1,000 covers I would guess, as there are an average of four or five covers to most pages.

This is a superb window into the past and a book well worth buying. 


Hibernia Comics said...

Looks like a great book of the era, not of interest to me but the Western is a very popular genre, even now since its heyday, in the fifties? I have had the sad duty of going through my Uncles belongings in the past, helping my cousin, and he was a huge western fan. I kept a few pulp western mags from the forties, great covers!
Any new mag on comics is good news.

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, there are lots of covers in the book, along with the info, so it's ideal for fans of those comics, and for enthusiasts wanting to expand their knowledge of 1950s comics. I find that the Fifties have often been neglected outside of Eagle, so a book like this is good to help fill the gaps.

John Pitt said...

I always felt a bit sorry for the British B&W "underdogs", like Miller, Class and T&P. I would buy them, but these days they are often overlooked. I find this book of interest as I don't remember seeing any Western Millers where I lived in the Midlands. Besides Marvelman and Spellbound there were the titles that would eventually be the Defenders of Earth, but that's all I can recall.
Anyway, you are right about the fifties, so when you get the time to do so, please take me back there again!

Tiniebras said...

Good to see Mike Higgs is still busy. I heard a rumour that he's finally putting that long awaited "The Cloak" anthology together for release as a UDP book. Take my money!

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, that's Mike's next project I think. It'll take a while to scan all the pages, plus he's doing new material for it, but hopefully we'll see it appear sometime next year.

John, good to hear you're interested in the 1950s material. Although it's slightly before my time (I was born in 1959) I find it an interesting period for comics. I've covered a few other Fifties comics on my blog but it's an era I'll return to again soon.

John Pitt said...

In the 50's, there used to be westerns on the telly every night. My late Dad loved them, which got me into them. He would get me western annuals and my first American comic books - the Dell westerns.
This Miller book is calling out to me, especially with all the pics of covers.

Lew Stringer said...

Yep, lots of covers in the book, John. I didn't know that Miller had produced so many reprint comics so this book is an education.

Unknown said...

Lew, I am an American collector of Western comics and would very much like to order "Miller Western Comic Books", but I find no internet profile for the book company and don't even know if any are still available. Could you help me- is it still available and how do I get in touch with a publisher, book company, any one who might be willing to sell a copy? Thanks for any help!

Guy Budziak said...

I finally acquired this book not too long ago, and I'm wondering as to how I might be able to contact author John Fairclough. I've been able to fill in the blanks found in some of his entries. L Miller's Action Series' two initial issues, Ghost Riders and Prairie Guns, have been scanned and indexed by myself and can be found on the Grand Comics Database website. Also, Fairclough shows only two issues of the final Rod Cameron Western series. There was in fact a third issue, which can also be seen on the GCD site. Cheers.

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