Rereading: WILD GEESE FLYING by Cornelia Meigs

Dick Milton and his family have lived in many places, following their father to jobs around the world, but now their mother and her four children have settled in the Vermont small town home willed to her by her deceased father, while the children’s own father continues to work far away. They love the large house and the woods around it, but for some reason they can’t understand, the people of the town are unfriendly and don’t seem to want them there. It’s more than New England disdain of newcomers, there’s a mystery here that no one will explain to them. Dick makes one new friend in the woods, Jerry Stewart, but he can’t or won’t explain either. As the Miltons become more known, and have opportunities to help their neighbors, some of them thaw and become more friendly, and eventually the truth comes out. Jerry Stewart had been a good friend of their grandfather, and entrusted him with a large sum of money to be invested before Jerry went away to military service. Now that he’s back, there’s no trace of that money anywhere, and the town feels the house should be his to make up for it. Can Dick and his family discover the truth of the missing funds, or must they turn their new home over to Jerry Stewart?

This is my favorite of the Meigs books I’ve read, and I think the only one that has a contemporary 1950s setting rather than a historical one. The characters and plot are engaging, and the writing is excellent. I also like the illustrations by Geer. Recommended.

Wild Geese Flying by Cornelia Meigs


Images © DC Comics

Just arrived here is another giant collection of comics I lettered. iZOMBIE ran for 28 issues from Vertigo, written by Chris Roberson, art by Michael and Laura Allred. I’ve never been a zombie fan, but these stories were interesting and fun, with great writing and art. There’s also some new material. The series became a popular CW TV series that ran five seasons from 2015 to 2019. I think there was already an omnibus under the Vertigo imprint, this version is due out Oct 24, 2023. Order from your comics retailer or use the link below. Retail price $125.

The iZombie Omnibus


From BEWARE! #6, Jan 1974, this and all images © Marvel

Readers of Marvel Comics in the 1970s probably thought they knew the names of all the Marvel letterers because they were listed in the story credits. There was one busy letterer who remained anonymous because his work was mainly on the covers, and therefore not credited: Danny Crespi. The cover above has an early example of that lettering in the bottom blurb, and I suspect he might also have designed this title’s logo, though I have no evidence for that. It’s not by the other frequent Marvel logo designers of the time: Artie Simek and Gaspar Saladino, and it has a style that reminds me of Danny’s cover lettering.

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From DOCTOR STRANGE: SORCERER SUPREME #72, Dec 1994, image © Marvel, logo design by Todd Klein

Logo design is an important element of comics, both creatively and from a sales standpoint. A strong, memorable logo helps sell the product, and will help buyers identify more comics like ones they already enjoyed. Here’s an overview of comics logo design, above is one of mine, and more about how it was designed is HERE.

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And Then I Read: MERLIN’S SISTER by J. A. Thornbury

I’ve read quite a few novels dealing with King Arthur and the legends and stories surrounding his rule and court, a subject also known as the Matter of Britain. There is no historical record of Arthur so far discovered, he may have been a real person, or not. Most versions of his story were written hundreds of years after the fact, the most important being the Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth (1136), and Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory (1485). Both those works are fictional, and set the stories in medieval times. This book takes place in a much earlier era, around 500 AD, not long after the Roman Empire withdrew from the country in 410 AD, a time when a possible post-Roman Briton Arthur might have lived and ruled, and a time which ties in to some archaeological research. The book also includes some of the legends and stories that fit in with this approach, but for instance, there are no knights in shining armor, and no round table. The map of Britain included uses all Roman names for places, with a list of current names beside it, but the Latin names are used throughout.

In this book, Arthur is raised in Cumbria in northwest England, the adopted son of Ector and Drusilla, with their own son Cei. When Arthur is a boy, Merlin arrives to tutor him. This is familiar from other versions, but there are a few twists. We eventually learn that Merlin is himself the king of a section of Britain, and his sister Ganieda is queen in another section. The country at this time has no overall ruler, but is divided into small kingdoms, and part of eastern Britain is held by the Saxons, invaders from Germany who war upon the Britons, trying to expand their holdings. The country needs a unified king, and at a meeting to discuss that, the familiar gambit of a sword in a stone that can only be pulled out by the true king, is engineered by Merlin, and of course Arthur is the only one who can remove it.

From that point forward, this book is different from others I’ve read, in that Arthur must first do battle with rivals for the throne, and when he accomplishes that, he and his united country must take on the Saxon invaders. The central portion of the book covers these battles and struggles, and is well written. During this time, Arthur also meets a beautiful young maiden, Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere) at the court of his mother at Tintagel in western Cornwall.

Some of the book also focuses on Merlin’s life and activities both with and without Arthur, bringing more of the old legends into play, and there is treachery and danger that even his ability to sometimes see the future can’t always protect him from. I’m a bit puzzled about why the book is named after his sister Ganieda, as she plays a minor role until near the end.

I have a favorite author about King Arthur, T. H. White, whose books The Sword in the Stone and The Once and Future King are the ones I love best on this topic. Where this book covers the same ground, it doesn’t do it as well. In areas not covered by White, this one appealed to me more. I’m not sure if I will read the rest of this trilogy (only the second book is out so far), but I may, and I can recommend this one.

Merlin’s Sister by J A Thornbury