|Howard Corn in April 2016|
The Eagle Society Gathering at Sevenoaks, Kent
It is with great sadness that we have to report the death on 2 November of Howard Corn, Editor-in-Chief of Eagle Times and one of its major contributors, at the age of 73 years.
Howard was born in Cheshire on 23 June 1943. His father was a cattle farmer, and Howard spent the first 23 years of his life on various farms across the country, which resulted in a disrupted schooling, as the family moved from one farm to another.
He was six years old, nearing seven, when a bright new magazine for children hit the newsstands on 14 April 1950. He read Eagle from Number 1 and, though it was not his sole interest, Eagle was destined to have a major impact on his life. Unlike most Eagle readers at the time, his favourite strip was not 'Dan Dare' but, rather, 'The Adventures of PC49'. The western strip 'Jeff Arnold in the Riders of the Range' would become another firm favourite. Both these stories had started life as radio shows, which were listened to by the young Howard Corn.
The first that many of us fellow Eagle enthusiasts knew of Howard was following his attendance at the Eagle Conference, held in London in 1980 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the birth of Eagle. His first contribution to Eagle fan literature was 'A History of PC49' for the Eagler magazine, serialised over three issues from 1983 to 1985. In 1985 Howard hosted a mini-con for Eagle fans at his home in Northampton. There would be another in Kidderminster the following year, followed by an Eagle Dinner at Bosham in 1987, which started a tradition for Eagle Society Annual Gatherings that has continued to the present.
When Eagler announced a new magazine, Eagle Days, in 1987, Howard became Assistant Editor of the new magazine, and one of its major contributors. As well as writing under his own name Howard would write anonymously or use pen-names. Eagle Day's first issue, Spring 1986, would see the first part of 'Jeff Arnold: A History' written under the pen-name Cowhand Horn, a name chosen due to Howard's cattle farming background and his penchant for westerns. The series would appear in all seven issues of Eagle Days.
Without Howard, there would have been no Eagle Times. Following the collapse of Eagle Days in 1987, Howard instigated an emergency meeting of like-minded fans at the Westminster Central Hall Comic Mart and afterwards at a nearby cafe, presenting copies of an Eagle Times pilot issue entirely produced by himself. His enthusiasm ensured that an Eagle Times editorial team was swiftly created, with Howard fully at the helm. The first Eagle Times was published in the Spring of 1988, a quarterly journal for the Eagle Society that has had a regular, unbroken run to the present. There have been some changes over the years, but the enduring factor has been Howard. Howard's dedication to Eagle Days and Eagle Times surely stands as a publishing record for fanzines. His editorial hand has been on no less than 116 issues of Eagle Times, every one of which has had more than one article written by him under his own name or one of several pen-names, including: Cowhand Horn, Harold Harpole, James Howard and Jon Johnson. He had a great knowledge of Eagle and its creators, its companion papers (Swift, Girl and Robin) and wrote about these and other 1950/60s publications, including Express Weekly, Rocket, and Lion. He was also a great ambassador for and promoter of the Eagle Society, seeking out and building links with the original contributors and creators of Eagle, and with provincial news media.
Howard showed a great commitment to others, running a youth club in his younger days (like his fictional hero, PC49) and over his lifetime, he donated enough pints to the National Blood Service to fill a milk-float. His other interests included Speedway and Grasstrack racing; he had a love of music, and would often attend Country Music festivals. He was a member of the Cambridge Comics and Story Paper Club (otherwise known as the Cambridge Old Boys' Book Club) and in the 1980s he contributed articles about cowboy movies to their publications. Until he retired from his day job, Howard was a book company representative, and travelled widely across East Anglia and South East England servicing Christian bookshops for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK).
He had been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year, and whilst he had informed those closest to him and the Editorial Team, it was through the letters page of Eagle Times (published at the end of September this year), that most of our readers were made aware, when he wrote "to thank all the members of the Society who sent me get well cards and best wishes after I was was diagnosed with lung cancer." He was optimistic, as he expressed his appreciation for the thoughts and prayers of members, and he remained so throughout. He described his labour of love on Eagle Times as therapeutic, and was working on it very shortly before he died. Most of the content for 2016's last issue had already been been planned by Howard, and this Christmas will see the completion of 29 years of Eagle Times. Latterley, Howard had wished to see Eagle Times reach a full 30 years of publication, and it is the intention of the Eagle Times Editorial Team to endeavour that it does.
Our sympathies go out to his family and friends, particularly his wife Rosemary, his second wife whom he married in 1992.