|About the Book|
Denis Gifford was a British writer. He specialized in the history of popular entertainments such as comic books and horror films. In his lengthy career, he wrote and drew for British comics- wrote more than fifty books on various topics- devised, compiled and contributed to popular programmes for radio and television- and other, related work, including film.In addition to being a regular at comics conventions, Gifford helped established the genre in Britain with Comics 101 in 1976, attended by dealers and comic artists. In 1978 he established the Association of Comics Enthusiasts (ACE), which ran for 14 years proper and, in reprint form in the British Comics Journal, until his death.As a 14-year-old at Dulwich College, Gifford began drawing for Dandy, after sending a comic strip to its publisher D. C. Thomson of Dundee. His efforts caught the imagination of Bob Monkhouse, in the school year below, and they became friends and collaborators. They toured in the South East, giving charity performances with Monkhouse as the “straight man”.After RAF service during WWII, Gifford drew cartoons for the London Evening News, Empire State News and Sunday Dispatch. He was a writer as well, not only completing the first TV series by Morecambe and Wise (for which the initial scripts had been criticised), but also providing material for the opening night of ITV and the first comedy show to be screened by BBC2, in 1955 and 1964 respectively. He wrote for Junior Showtime and contributed to The Generation Game by conceptualizing stuns.Gifford also compiled a comprehensive list of British-made films, along with primary cast: The British Film Catalogue. It was a labor of many years, as Gifford tracked down retired industry professionals and pored through back issues of trade publications.His collection of more than 20,000 comics and other paper ephemera (including books, popular magazines and sheet music) dominated his lifestyle and his habitat, once described in one of the colour supplements as the den of “a boy who had run away from home” and never returned. His walls were lined with bookshelves, with other bookshelves installed at right-angles to these. As well as being unable to use the oven, he could reach neither his radiators, nor a broken curtain rail. At least once he fell, due to boxes of ephemera narrowing his way upstairs to bed.Despite hints that he might bequeath this vast collection “to the country”, via the Victoria and Albert Museum or similar, this was broken up and sold off after his death, having been rescued from the black bags of a non-specialist house clearance company.