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11 January 2019

Ron Smith's lost adventure comic

This was up for sale recently on that ebay and while I didn't win it I kept copies of the images that the seller has included. Why? Because it looks to me like an attempt Ron Smith made to get an adventure comic off the ground. Due to my own tardiness I never passed these scans to Ron's family and it's too late now. Instead I leave you with the images and a transcription of the letter that Ron [Smith] sent to a potential collaborator [Ron Holland] 

Dear Ron [Holland]
I was pleased to have met you last Monday and even more delighted that you could be able to produce three pages of artwork for my new comic.

Unfortunately, I cannot put you into the full picture as to the style and market of the comic; at the moment it is only a gleam in my eye which I intend to work up to 'dummy' stage and then take it from there. However I can say that I hope to produce three pre-production dummies and from that point review the ongoing possibilities of the venture, either in its current programmed state or in a revised from.

I understand that the three pages you are producing for me is treated as 'Spec' work and that accordingly the rate for this work will be the agreed £240-00p for the three pages. Rather than trust the post, I should like to collect the pages from yourself, when ready, approx' 21st/25th November? I will of course pay you at the time of collection.

I think Ron that I was able to convey most of the main points to you as to the sort of adventure story that I'm trying to achieve, however, there was one main point I might have left out. That is :-

I am a strong believer in the Tarzan style of illustration, it is very seldom in this type of adventure strip do you find an excess of detailed violence, that is - if a person is shot or killed do you see any explosion of or gore. It is possible that this comic could be read by a number of younger children; not only do I not want to offend them, I do not want their parents writing to me pointing out this attention to the macabre. I would like this comic to be read by all members of the family, and to offend no-one. Therefore when the two flyers are shot by the Zero, I should think a turn of the head and a pained expression, should suffice. Where the bird 'Gets Splat' on the Perspex of the forward gun, I think it is safe to show the disintegration of feathers etc., after most kids have seen an insect splat'ted [sic] on the windscreen of a car. At the same time as not dwelling on blood, gore, or other nasty things - I still want to maintain a very high degree of story tension and detail that would pass the discerning eye and mind of any experienced adventurer or professional flyingman. This was I gain their respect and that to me is paramount.

No pretensions, this hero is no masked crusader, nor will he be endowed with special powers - he will have the frailties and strengths of a normal human being.

Keep the frames clean and simple, I will add the lettering and balloons etc.

Initially the comic is to be produced in B&W, but who knows it could go out in full four-colour letterpress; therefore Ron please draw as you would for colour, that is with the minimum of shading lines?

I feel very excited that you should be drawing these pages and look forward to seeing them.

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