I spent four days with Harry Harrison this week, and was able to gather some information from his files which will enable me to make some significant additions to my bibliography of his works. Hopefully I’ll be able to put out a completely new edition in summer of 2008.
I have tear sheets (literally pages torn from the original comics) from Harry’s collection, going right back to the summer of 1949, and including most of the work he did in collaboration with Wally Wood. So far I’ve identified about 100 of these and have 20 or so left where I haven’t figured out which comic the story came from. Harry and I went through each of the pieces, and I have notes on which stories he inked, pencilled, or wrote.
During the four days of research a number of odd coincidences cropped up. We talked about Harry’s article for Writer’s Digest on writing for comics, which neither of us had been able to track down. The next morning, the first file we opened had a copy of the article in it.
We talked about Julie Phillips’ recent biography of James Tiptree Jr., which has a number of references to HH and quotes from the two writers’ correspondence, and the next day we found a photogaph of ‘Tip’ signed and dedicated to HH.
We talked about Harry’s ‘men’s adventure’ articles and ‘true confessions’ pieces, which I only had a few vague references to, and the next day found a file in the back of a filing cabinet with tear sheets of virtually all of them.
We talked about one of the ‘true adventures’ HH had written – sadly missing from the file – which had been titled ‘I Cut Off My Own Arm’ and had featured a photograph of artist Roy Krenkel in Harry’s jacket with the sleeve pinned up. And in that day’s Guardian newspaper was a story about a farmer who had had to cut off his own arm with a pocket knife when it became trapped in a machine.
Before going to see Harry I’d discovered some references to a couple of ‘unknown’ HH short stories – written in collaboration with Hubert Pritchard. I’d managed to track down one of them and bought a copy of the magaine it was in, but hadn’t located the other one… you’re probably already ahead of me here, and won’t be surprised to learn that in one of Harry’s files were some tear sheets of his early stories, and one of them was the ‘missing’ story…
Also among Harry’s files were the screenplays he had written over the years – most of which I only knew of from a list of titles he gave me when I did the original bibliography. I’ll be sitting down to read these shortly, and will post a few comments on them as I do.
I also have some of the screenplays by other writers based on HH books – there have been a lot of those over the years.
I’ll share more of my discoveries over the coming months – though I’ll be keeping back some of the information until I publish the bibliography so that I have something new to present to the world.
But, despite all of these serendipitous discoveries, I know that I’ll never have a 100% complete list of everything HH ever wrote or drew – but that’s fine, because it means I’ll keep having the pleasure of discovering something new and obscure.