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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Return Of The Gestetner, or, "This Is What I Was Talking About!"

Sadly my article on Gestetners and the small press has suffered bloggers famous image vanishing act, though the post is still there

But to finally explain and SHOW what I have been writing about I have updated this posting from 2015.

"The Man", Oz Magazine and a magazine Banned!

 Above: Narroways Hill in St.Werburghs c. early 1960s?

But it was while there that several things happened.  The first was my long detentions for attempting to sell a certain magazine titled Oz -still can't remember how I got copies but you can find out why "The Man" (in this case our religious nut Head Master) was so offended here:

Later, I was offered the chance to publish a school mag that would be in competition with my brother (Peter) and his school mag, Barmy.  Mr Wright, the Deputy Head, an ex-RAF man, helped support our effort and came up with a title (remember this was 1974) -Starkers: The Magazine That Tells The Naked Truth.  Someone told me a proper publication with that name later existed but I've never seen it and, despite a couple of claims by people, it had nothing to do with me.

You can guess that my brother's mag was for the more "classy" whereas the one I was to edit was more down-to-earth, as imagined by the title.  There were lots of funny situations based around the class we had as Editorial office -it was actually an auxilliary large, windowed cupboard -I also (at 14) had to teach Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi kids a bit younger than me English because I was good at that "and you get on well with the Asian children" -and the local authority and school was not paying for a part time or full time teacher.  Anyway, eventually I drew the illoes and typed stuff up and then it went to the school secretaries to be typed-up using the old "cutting" setting on the type-writer to cut through the special sheets to be used on the hand cranked gestetner copier.
People keep asking about Gestetners so here:

Below~ This is the type of Gestetner we used -for Science and Biology classes I has one of the boys assigned using this to produce class note sheets.

Anyway, one day we were called up to the Deputy Head's office and he told us that the Head Master had banned Starkers!! Now, the Head was a big supporter of my brother's magazine and it was made clear that this was the reason we had suddenly been banned (let's not get into the dirty behind-the-scenes goings on).  So what was the official reason the mag that had taken three months to put together was banned? "The title"....that...the Deputy Head himself had put forward. Now I was the only one really committed to the mag in a hardcore way so I said without thinking -"We'll call it 'Crikey' -it won't take a few minutes to change that cover header!"  The nod said it all. The Head Master had decided and that was it.

Dirty deeds.

On that day I raised my fist to the sky and....well, a fly went in my mouth but let's imagine I yelled: "As God is my witness - I shall have revenge!!"  Yeah, well, I didn't believe in God even back then but it makes a dramatic scene for when Tom Hiddleston plays me in the movie.

In Art I was a bit rebellious.  Also, during "Free Art" periods -note the FREE bit- I was told off for teaching class mates how to draw super heroes, monsters and other comic stuff. I argued that a "Free Art" period was just that and that pupils WERE learning to draw and techniques. The boy who supported me had to go to the Head Master with me.  The Head was, it seems, my first major nemesis in art and publishing.  Fed up with my attitude he gave my friend the cane once across the palm of the hand -and all that entails physically.  Poor kid had to rush out to be sick. Smug head then did the same to me but did not get the same reaction so used the cane again and he was purple with anger. I said: "That's twice. Next time it'll be my turn"  He raised the cane but stopped and told me to get out. Two months of detentions which I used to read through the school library!

Did all this put me off?  No.  At least three pupils used to come to my home where I'd talk comics but teach them how to draw -and before anyone asks "Why didn't you become an art teacher?" -the Head blocked my exams.   But it's a pity that just as I was getting some other lads up to a good standard of comic work they were told by their parents they'd need to get better jobs and to give up the "silly drawing".
Bloody hell, it was like a prediction of my whole future life in a few short years.  A warning ignored!!

So when, about 4 years ago I was asked if I'd set up a table about comics at a St Werburgh's event -they had billed me as a "local boy who has become a well known name in comics"- how could I refuse? But despite trying to sort things out, year after year new people took over and, this year, I gave up.  I would like to do some type of comic event in St. Werburgh's and bring things full circle. But fate...and lack of opportunity.

The way things go these days I doubt the opportunity will arise -it's far more likely I'll teach comic art to kids in Dalborn, Germany than Bristol.

Just a musing.

Now, AIGA, the Professional Association for Design, has a great piece on how Gestetners were used for newsletters and school mags and you can find that here

I still have two portable typewriters with the stencil lever.  Basically you pushed that lever up and the type was cut into the stencil (corrections made to the stencil with nail varnish).

So here are some videos showing Gestetners in use

Above the Gestetner 230
Below the Gestetner 180
Gestetner 180 0n auto

Below Mimeógrafo Copiatic hand cranking the only way!
So now you all know.  This is how we did it "Old School"!

Justice League War: Creating Heroes The Life And Art Of Jim Lee

Blutengel "Nachtbringer"

A Point I Need To Make About Recent Posts

Firstly, I have never ever made it a secret that I hate Disney.  It treats its workers as though they were underpaid servants but the company also rapes other cultures to make a fast buck. Now that cgi has made it quicker and easier to produce features they turn out whatever dross they want.

How they treat creatives is another thing they need to be despised for.  Ask Don Rosa -or look up the subject:

Every company they take over, particularly comics, the work is no longer allowed to originate from anywhere other than the United States where Disney can get full control (Europe has very strict creators rights laws that Marvel and now Disney do not like. Every penny MUST be theirs.

Just do your research people.  "They put on a good show"/"They make great movies" but at what cost.

I am not saying do NOT watch anything Disney makes nor that you should never read anything Disney produces. If you don't care and it makes you happy go for it.  Your kids love the movies fair enough but at least try to add some animated classics into their viewing so they don't grow up thinking cgi is the only way.

That said, as with the last posting, I do understand that it is a business.  Businesses are there to make money and in this case entertain you in return for your money.  That is fair if you deal with a fair company.  So when I wrote that they will put Indiana Jones on the back-burner while pushing franchises that will guarantee making far more profit quickly I am not saying that is evil. Not giving a damn, yes, but it makes sense for them with their ethics to push for more cash quickly.

It does not matter which film studio it is, that get in there while the property is hot and make money is the business plan.

"Blacksploitation" movies.  1970s Star Wars rip off movies, musicals, horror -whatever genre or film makes big money studios will put their money into movies that can latch on to the craze while it lasts.

Jumping onto the SJW comics band wagon is a good example of when not to jump into a craze and follow it.

Business is business.  You make the product it costs and so you want to make a profit back (some of us more than others!).  With that last post I was pointing out why delaying Indiana Jones made commercial sense.

Indiana Jones 5 Delayed.....It's Just About Business Plans You Know

According to Jack Shepherd of The Independent

Indiana Jones 5 release date pushed back by Disney
The film was originally scheduled for 2019

Disney announced a whole bunch of release dates last night (25 April), revealing when fans can expect Star Wars: Episode IX, Frozen 2, and the live-action adaptation of Lion King to touch down.

Perhaps one of the more exciting announcements was Indiana Jones 5, which was given an exact date: 10 July 2020.

Previously, chairman of Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn had said the company would "bring him[Jones] back to the screen in 2019.”

The fifth film in the Indiana Jones series will see both Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford (who will be in his late 70s) return, with a script penned by David Koepp, who also worked on the widely panned Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull.
A delay on the release should come as no surprise to those familiar with Spielberg's upcoming schedule: the director is currently working on Ready Player One and the Tom Hanks-starring story about The Washington Post, tentatively titled The Post.

Producer Frank Marshall also previously confirmed the fifth entry's plot will be a direct continuation of its predecessor; whether Shia LaBeouf will return is currently unknown.

Meanwhile, Star Wars: Episode IX will reach cinemas 24 May 2019, a surprising move considering both other main-saga sequels touch down in December. However, Disney will likely still dominate Christmas 2019 as Frozen 2 is set for release late November that year.


When you think about it this hasn't got much to do with busy schedules. Jeez, Ford ain't getting any younger. The Crystal Skull had some good performances and Blanchett was one of the hottest villains -and I ought not to have been rooting for the villain.  But, come on (though I did laugh) hiding in a refridgerator will not save you from a nuclear blast.  Also…there were things popping up out of nowhere that made no sense. So, yes, it got panned.

Now look at it from Disneys point of view. Star Wars as a franchise has a lot of followers. Probably more followers than the Catholic Church. Okay, long time fans are ditching the Marvel Star Wars comic for a lot of reasons but the movies make money. The merchandise makes a lot of money.  Oh, so much money that for the executives it’s better than sex with a high priced hooker. Star Wars =money making guarantee.

So get the movies out and make a quick mound of cash –it is the “business plan” used with Marvel comics also (check out that Comicgirl19 video).

Frozen…seriously?  They throw this cgi swill out in the bucket load like slop to pigs and people still go to watch it –pay money….buy merchandise.  Almost guaranteed.

Lion King live action….well, Beauty and the Beast got quite panned but it still took 18.4 million over its opening weekend.  Money. It made money.  That Indiana Jones movie made $100,137,835 on its opening weekend but the serious panning it got…

Disney really do not know or care about the “product” or the investment in a character that fans give.  They only understand money.  So go with the most likely to make big money first and three Star Wars films will do that. After all, interest in them might wane so get them out and money in now.

I think that if Disney could get one Star Wars film out each month they would. It would kill the franchise eventually but they’ll do what they have done with all their other properties –store them in a cupboard and bring them out for special events….a bit like Uncle Walt’s head.

So those fans of Indiana Jones who are screaming about the delay: tough. This is about making money.  It’s a business.  They do not make movies because it makes them feel “creatively happy”!