In 1986 I was asked by a London book packager called Multimedia Books to supply movie stills for a range of their film books. I think the first one I did picture reasearch for was Directors: The All-Time Greats
by Neil Sinyard. A couple of others followed and then one day, I mentioned in passing to one of the editors there that I had written a biography of Harrison Ford. This led to a commission to do picture research and supply text for the book Hollywood Tricks of the Trade
, a whistle stop tour through the special effects on films like Star Wars
, Close Encounters
and Blade Runner
The book also included a section on Hollywood Stunts by veteran British stunt player Derek Ware, who'd been involved in movie and tv stunts for a couple of decades.
My sections covered Special Effects - everything from Stop-Motion and Computer Animation to Puppetry and Explosions - and Makeup - everything from classic 1930s work of Jack "Frankenstein" Pierce to the more recent efforts of Tom Savini and Rick Baker.
After being involved with magazines like Starburst
and House of Hammer
, I had more than a passing familiarity with the subject of Special Effects, though nothing like the encyclopedic knowledge of my friend, the late, great John Brosnan
Nevertheless, I did my research and soldiered through the book, turning in what I thought was a pretty decent job.
I never did receive a voucher copy from the publisher and for years I wasn't able to track down a copy of the book for my files.
However, a recent search on Amazon.co.uk turned up a couple of copies in the "New & Used" section, so I was finally able to buy a copy and see the book I had written 20 years earlier for the first time.
What I didn't know at the time was that right around the corner, another book-writing assignment was waiting, one that would give me the opportunity to write about my other enduring passion, comic books, and would be in and out of print for the next twenty years.