PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

Here’s Johnny!

Suprisingly managed to set up a visit from Johnny Mains last Saturday. I was supposed to be in Austria but dates changed and when I saw Johnny was visiting a bookshop locally (the one from which I’m banned) I invited him over. I think he liked my collection of books including the PANs , commenting on the quantity, something my wife often does, but not with the same feeling! Here are a couple of selfies he’s posted on line plus a photo I took of him holding a copy of ‘Tales of the Supernatural’ I gave him as his had disappeared.

Johnny is working on several different things at the moment but is hoping to get his ‘PAN Book of Horror Stories Scrapbook’ out before Christmas. Here is a rough draft of the cover.11902318_950785201651510_8942821977901518419_n[1]
Just added another screen capture to the ‘PAN as Seen on TV’ section with a shot of presenter Paul Martin from ‘Flog It’ on BBC1 26th August 2015. He was walking down a corridor at Prideux Place in Cornwall and I noticed on the right there were several PAN editions of Georgette Heyer titles of various vintage (sorry about the page formatting as it has life of its own and screws everything up whenever I add anything to it. It will get a complete rebuild – one day)

Lastly sad to see ‘Reader’s World’ second-hand bookshop in Birmingham has closed down. I’m not surprised as I rarely saw anyone in there when I undertook my twice yearly visit to say ‘Hi’ to some old friends that had been on the shelves for many a year.

Australian Special

I was going to try and tie this in with an Australian holiday but missed what sounded like a great idea namely  “Picnic Day” on 1st August in the Northern Territory.

I’m going to look at three titles with an Australian link.

“Variable Winds at Jalna” was printed in the UK but only has prices on the back for Australia and Canada. On the front is a sticker I’ve seen before which I’m presuming was put on by an Australian distributor? Can anyone enlarge on that?
I found a website that said the cover was by Gordon King and I was really pleased as I have the original artwork but it is not signed. I contacted Gordon who wrote back to say it is DEFINATELY not one of his and he only did 4 of the 16 in the Jalna series.

I’ve not seen this Piccolo title on sale anywhere but in Australia so maybe it was one exclusively for there, the only Australian printed Piccolo I’ve come across. The cover is by Walter Cunningham  who was born in 1910 in Surrey, England and emigrated to Australia in 1924. He joined the staff of John Sands in 1926 eventually becoming manager of the art department. He died in August 1988 at Mona Vale, New South Wales.

The last title was printed in Australia but on the back cover the only price says  it was £1.75 in the UK. Is this a rare case of books being sent from Australia and priced here in the UK instead of the usual other way around? The cover looked like it could be by Paul Sample (Tom Sharpe covers) and so I emailed him to ask if he remembers doing it or if I’ve insulted him as well by implying it could be one of his. He replied very promptly to say;

Dear Tim
Yes, it is one of my illustrations, dating from the early 70’s……….I can remember drawing it, dip pen, ink and watercolour. I did quite a few bookjacket illustrations besides all the ones for Tom Sharpe’s books. Not all of the jackets were for Pan though.

Original Artwork from Alan Cracknell etc.

First blog since upgrading to Windows 10 – so far so good!

I mentioned in the last blog I was trying to contact an artist, namely Alan Cracknell, but no success so far but then again I may not have the right one. The artwork this time features his interpretation of that famous character form Enid Blyton “Mr Twiddle” in “Hello Mr. Twiddle” There were three titles in this series but only two were published by PAN under the Piccolo imprint who didn’t include “Don’t Be Silly Mr. Twiddle” I’ve also included a couple of his other Blyton covers. I’ll put on another piece of his artwork soon.Twiddle1Alan was born in Harrow in 1937 and attended art school before working as an illustrator in advertising in London eventually became freelance.
“His beautifully detailed artwork influenced by Russian Icons and Medieval miniatures incorporates Nursery Rhyme Characters, Flora and Fauna, Field names and Artifacts in a surreal manner into his work. Medieval meets Alice in Wonderland” (Bell Fine Arts)

I meant to include this cutting last month when it actually appeared but it went missing and turned up a bit ripped!MorphPan published three Morph titles under the Piccolo imprint where Tony Hart is shown on the covers but it is Peter Lord who is credited inside.


Mastering the beast before being let loose in the woods.

….. and finally, although this is probably ‘old hat’ to all of you and for once nothing to do with books I got around to having a ‘Segway Experience’ last week. I was quite pleased, for once, to be told off for going too fast around the corners but as I didn’t crash into anything or fall off I thought I’d mastered it pretty well!

Book Fair Two plus Michael Johnson

Isn’t it always the way, no local book fairs for months then two come along in the same week. On Friday we went to the annual fair at the Methodist Church in Lichfield, one of my favourites as I don’t think they let dealers in before hand, but not as successful as visits in the past. The pile of the left is mine, the ones of the right are those of my wife, probably a draw this time!

There were a lot of old friends in the boxes, I think some of the Penguins from the 30’s and 40’s were nearly new when they first went out! I ended up buying five paperbacks and one I was really pleased to find was a Jean Plaidy with a signed cover. Usually they are unsigned and attributed to Renato Fratini but this one was signed ‘Raynes’ so another to add to John’s page and I now need to look at the Plaidy titles more carefully.  Louismag
No original PAN artwork this week as I’m still waiting to hear back from the artist himself to see if he has any memories of producing the covers. To compensate I’m showing some artwork by Michael Johnson including one I have for a Coronet title.  Johnson painted five covers for PAN in the ‘Angelique’ series plus a sixth title for Putnam in the States. Why PAN didn’t use the sixth or Putnam the other five I don’t know.

Just added a couple of Piccolo covers by Gavin Rowe whom I mentioned in the last blog. I’m sure he must have done more than two so I’ll keep looking.

Original Artwork plus Book Fair

This weeks original cover art work is by Gavin Rowe who trained at the Croydon School of Art and then at The Royal College of Art in Kensington. Since 1970 he has worked with many publishers including Faber, Hodder, Penguin, Pan, and Magi as well as being commissioned for BBC’s Jackanory series. He is well known for his ‘painterly’ jacket covers for paperback novels. Gavin lives in Sussex, and continues to work as a full time illustrator. I spoke to him on the phone last Thursday and hope to have more about his work in a later blog.

The annual Baddesley Clinton Book Fair to raise funds for the National Trust  is on now, it started on Saturday and runs to next Saturday. As usual we were there as soon as it opens in case we miss ‘all the bargains!

It is not everyday that I get to buy books in the grounds of an 16th moated manor house but then again as a life member of the NT I am supposed to actually part own it – I think I’ll have the room over the entrance! There were tables everywhere, several I’ve not photographed including the storeroom where John,  retired bookseller who runs the fair, let me mooch.

BC7Here are our purchases and for once my wife has a bigger pile than me but that is down to buying larger books. The top three paperbacks shown are all in unread condition, the Steinbeck being by Brian Sanders with Alan Lee modelling on the cover and T12 ‘The Robe’ having a cover by Pat Owen. I have the original artwork for this but unfortunately not signed. T13 ‘The Fisherman’ is in the same style and that appeared in the Bonham’s auction catalogue of 1991 credited to Pat Owen so I’m 99% sure mine is as well. I think Pat is still with us living down on the South Coast but I have not managed to contact up to now. Amongst my others are several Piccolo titles plus some newer PAN’s with covers I liked.



Bookseller, New Scanner and Violette Szabo

As I’ve told my wife so many times I just can’t help buying books and now I’ve discovered why. It’s in the genes as both my Great Great Great Grandfather and Great Great Uncle (both named Charles Lowe) ran ‘The Great Book Mart’ in New Street Birmingham from around 1855 to 1903.Masthead I’m putting together pages with some of their bits and pieces like fliers and signed books they published plus miscellaneous newspaper cuttings. Unfortunately the firm came to a sudden end as shown below.GladstoneTrying to scan documents for the above has been proving difficult as I’ve only had an A4 scanner up to now. I set out this week just to buy an A3 scanner and ended up with an all singing, all dancing wireless scanner/printer/fax/phone with 3 media drawers etc. but it still won’t let me stack up a pile of books to automatically feed through and scan. Am I asking too much? I’m sure it must be possible which reminds me of my Sony C7 Betamax Recorder which had a Betastack. This allowed you to stack four tapes with either a different recording on each or twelve hours continuous recording apart from the two minute tape changeover when the most important bit of the film usually happened! This was almost completely mechanical and I was really pleased to find this site about it. I still have it all in the loft somewhere.

More original artwork scans next week when I have mastered the new scanning beast but in tribute to Violette Szabo G. C. whose medals were sold at auction this week I’ve rescanned G105 ‘Carve Her Name With Pride’ signed by the author R. J. Minney. Szabo

Mark Peppé etc.

This weeks original artwork is the Piccolo 1972 edition of ‘The Foxhole’ by Ian Southall with cover artwork by Mark Peppé. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to get a good photo with my camera and the colours are no where near as washed out as they appear. I think a visit to the library to use their photocopier is called for again.

Hector1I recently picked up a copy of ‘Make and Share’ from the HECTOR CLUB which was started by the charity ‘Help the Aged’ I have only found the one title so far but I have added a few of the club badges plus details of a competition winner and his ‘wonderful’ prize!

I recently featured the original artwork for a couple of slightly salacious covers for Caldwell titles by artist Hans Helweg. Helweg painted many titles for PAN and one day I’ll get around to putting them all on one page but he also did a two/three covers for Piccolo featuring ‘Oggy the Hedgehog’ The reason I put two/three is in two of them if definitely states Hans produced the covers and illustrations but in the third he is only credited with illustrating the contents.

Peter Charles artwork etc.

This weeks original artwork is by Peter Charles It is the cover for ‘The House At World’s End’ by Monica Dickens. There were three other titles in the ‘World’s End’ series published by Piccolo in the 70’s all with cover artwork by the same artist. Any information on Peter Charles would be gratefully received.

HitchI’ve also been checking up on other pages that have been on the site for a while and realied I’ve been a title short on one of the Alfred Hitchcock pages namely ‘Stories Not For The Nervous Book 2’ which I’ve now rectified.

Another page I’ve now updated was showing the four titles in the ‘Rogue Herries’ series by Hugh Walpole with covers by John Raynes. I’ve added later editions with photo covers but not really too sure if I like them.

…. and finally is this a record for a first edition of ‘Casino Royale’ on eBay?

Alan and Alice In Wonderland

TalesFromTheGalaxiesAs I’ve mentioned before over the next few weeks I’m showing some of the original cover artwork I was luck enough to purchased recently. One of them was by Alan Lee and I’ve put it on a page along with one I already had which we are pretty sure is by Alan although not signed. I hope to be able catch up with Alan to get him to sign them for me.

On July 4th 1862 Charles Dodgson is supposed to have told his tale to Alice Liddell in a boat on the River Isis. This tale ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was first published in 1865 and has never been out of print for 150 years. PAN as usual decided to do something odd with their numbering and published it as G1 in 1947 and again as GP1 in 1948 but what happened to G2 to G100? It was published as a Piccolo imprint in 1973 and 1977.

Hans Helweg Original Artwork

I’m going to be including the original artwork I was lucky enough to get recently in the next few blogs. Today I am showing the only two PAN titles (the others being from PAN’s children’s imprint Piccolo) I was really pleased to find they were for two Erskine Caldwell titles and both signed by Hans Helweg.SigThey are about as raunchy as PAN got back in the late 50’s and early 60’s
Helweg was Danish and I think his dates were 21st Feb 1917 to 23rd June 2008. Information is scarce but I did find this on a blog from Hereford College of Art

“The widow of Illustrator Hans Helweg, Sue Bell has kindly donated his easel, brushes and other art materials to the Illustration course. Hans was a brilliant Illustrator who is most famous for his work with Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond on his Olga da Polga books. Olga1Hans also illustrated many book covers for Pan in the early 1960’s and his artwork is still much collected by fans of the English/European ‘pulp fiction’ scene. I will be writing more about Hans later in the year”

I have contacted both the author of the blog (last updated 2011?) regarding the last line and the college regarding the donation and possible contact details for Sue Bell but up to now have heard nothing.

Just found a Reader’s Digest Condescend Book version of ‘River God’ which was illustrated by Neville Dear . As his page has always been a bit thin I’ve now included the frontispiece.