Monday, 27 July 2015
Buster was one of the longest running titles published by IPC/Fleetway and as a result absorbed many other titles in it's 40 year existence. Unlike most other British comics which where either all humour or all adventure, Buster was always (until it's latter days a mixture of both. A factor that probably contributed to it's longevity.
I started reading Buster back in the mid sixties and always will remember him as the "son of Andy Capp" even if that had been long dropped, but by the seventies had lost interest so picking up early copies of this combined comic was an adventure.
First I had to try out a copy of Jet another short lived title lasting a mere 18 issues in early 1971, which frankly is a pity because I found the content of this comic rather good.
The excellent Von Hoffman's Invasion started off in Jet and made it to the combined title, as did the Sudworth Sloggers, The Kids of Stalag 41 and Faceache.
The features from Buster included Rent-A-Ghost Ltd, Fishboy, Galaxus and the long running Charlie Peace amongst others.(Charlie seems to have travelled in time to the seventies which was interesting).
I'll have a look at earlier issues of Buster some time as I remember features based on TV comedians like Charlie Drake, Harry Secombe and others.
Sunday, 26 July 2015
Showcase #100 (DC)
Paul Kupperburg & Paul Levitz (w) Joe Staton (a)
The one hundredth issue of Showcase published back in 1978 was a special issue to feature as many of the characters featured in this comic. Whilst some heroes only managed cameos they did manage to keep to their promise of featuring 60 superstars on the cover.
Showcase was certainly an important comic that helped rebuild the DC comics Universe with The appearance of the Flash in #4 back in October 1956, being considered the start of the "Silver Age" of comics.
The Challengers of the Unknown followed in #6, Lois Lane, Superman's Girlfriend got her solo try out in #9 (August 1957), Green Lantern followed in October 1959 and Aquaman re-appeared in #30 (Feb 1969).
There are far too many to list here but if you get a chance pick up a copy of this interesting, but very seventies story whereby everyone from Anthro to Tommy Tomorrow set out to save the earth from being kidnapped and destroyed by aliens.
Some of the characters introduced in Showcase and appearing in this fun issue were less successful and some are long forgotten but here's a gallery of to remind older readers and encourage younger readers to dig out some of these issues from the back issue bins.
With the recent Convergence story line having undone Crisis on Infinite Earths you might see some of these characters again.
One can only hope!
Saturday, 25 July 2015
Whenever a comic reached sales levels that made the title unprofitable, the powers that be usually sought to merge the failing title with one of their more successful weeklies. So when Thunder failed to make the grade off it and it's more popular features went to the Lion, a long running stable title. The new comic was simply entitled Lion and Thunder, the masthead of which actually lasted quite a long time.
Now having reently covered Thunder's short life of just 22 issues I picked some of the early merged comics and got a bit of a suprise.
So many of Thunder's stories made it to Lion.
Black Max, Fury's Family, Phil the Fluter, Steel Commando and Adam Eterno just to name a few. Lions own features had shrunk somewhat which indicates to me that that they must have had a large inventory to be used.
There's even Sam, a renamed strip from the long gone Wham! an Odhams/Power Comic that ended back in 1967, you'd know him better as Biff.
I used to read Lion in the sixties so this period is new to me. No Robot Archie? Maybe he reappears later on I'll find out one day...
This comic is actually a good read and back issues are not that expensive.
Sadly Lion itself doesn't last that much longer. Having run from 1952 the comic ceased publication in 1974 after a very respectable run of 1,156 issues.
Lion merged with Valiant, a story for another day.
Thursday, 23 July 2015
Superboy starring The Legion of Super-Heroes #208 (DC Comics)
Various (w) & (a)
The Legion of Super-heroes are one of DC Comics most iconic supper-groups that part of the re- foundation of the DC Universe in the "silver age" of comics. Originally appearing in Adventure Comics, they ended up relegated to being a back up feature in Action Comics sharing that long running title with Superman.
By the seventies the team had been merged into Superboy's solo title which was renamed as Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes. This issue was published in 1975 in the short lived bi-monthly 100 page format.
The leading story was new material and starred the Legion of Super-Villians who went to a lot of trouble to foil the legion by keeping Superboy and Mon-El stuck in the past and Ultra Boy a prisoner on his home plane of Rombor.
The jailers? The parents! Given away by the cover to be honest, though DC did have a habit of publishing misleading covers....
Why these particular Legionnaires? They all have one thing in common. Can you guess reader?
And will the remaining Legionnaires be able to stop the villains plot? Of course they will! They are the Legion!
Two other stories appear in this issue Lana Lang's Superboy Identity Identification Kit (originally published in Superboy #93) and The Evil Hand of the Luck Lords (from Adventure #343)
Worth picking up?
This IS the Legion we're talking about!
Wednesday, 22 July 2015
Fantastic Four #85 (Marvel Comics)
Stan Lee (w) Jack Kirby (a)
With adverts for the new Fantastic Four movie currently showing on TV it's a shame that there isn't a comic currently being published by Marvel. It got cancelled and brought to an end by the company for the foreseeable future, which is a shame as this iconic title actually forms the backbone of the Marvel Universe.
Created by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack "King" Kirby the Fantastic Four was an all time favourite back in the sixties and even though the comic had it's ups and downs over the years, some story lines are simply unforgettable.
The coming of Galactus in #49 (which I no longer have) was an event to remember as it starred the planet devourer himself, the Silver Surfer, the Watcher plus the fab four and the ultimate nullifier.
This issue is a bit more down to Earth and finds the team in Latveria as prisoners of Doctor Doom. Sue Richards the Invisible Girl is replaced by Medusa for this adventure which sees the team unable to use their powers to stop Doom's latest nefarious world dominating scheme.
Continued next issue....
Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Superman: True Brit (DC Comics)
Kim Johnson & John Cleese (w) John Byrne & Mark Farmer (a)
As Krypton explodes a rocket containing a bay is sent into space. Destination Earth, the British Empire to be exact.
And so it lands in Weston-Super-Mare. where a young Kal-El is found by Mr & Mrs Clark who load the rocket on top of their car and take the baby home. If any one sees anything they'll just deny it.
The adventures of Colin Clark begin.
What will the neighbours think?
A story of Cricket and tabloid smears begins as Colin graduates University to work for the Daily Smear in the big city.
Did I mention Colin managed to impale a fellow with a cricket bat? Never mind that will be relevant later on.
Still despite hiding his powers from the world Colin decides to put on the uniform with the big "S" in the middle of a union jack on his chest and saves the day. Nothing good will come of this you know. The tabloids are watching.
J.J. Jameson? You ain't got nothing on Mr Whyte-Badger who owns all 400 newspapers here in jolly old blighty. Check the facts? That's against Whyte-Badger policy you know old chap.
You never cross the Smear y'know. Not if you want your secret identity protected. Especially if former page 3 girl Lois Lane's British cousin is on yer case.
And a certain Bat-Man. (See that previous cricket related statement was relevant, told you to pay attention).
Anyone seen Basil? Oh wait wrong sketch.
Monday, 20 July 2015
Doctor Strange #170 (Marvel Comics)
Roy Thomas (w) Dan Adkins (a)
One of the founding characters of the Marvel universe Doctor Strange is currently off the scene except for the occasional appearance as a "guest star" in other titles. Originally conceived by Stan Lee with complimentary artwork by Steve Ditko, the good Doctor has always been a personal favourite.
I read his early adventures in either Marvel Collectors Item Classics or as black & white reprints in Alan Class comics published here in the UK.
For some reason Doctor Strange has never been able to keep a solo title going since his inception, though one series did last some 88 issues, but that might change soon.
After the Secret Wars storyline finishes across Marvel, their "new universe" is launching no less that 45 new number one issues. Doctor Strange is one of them.
There's also a movie on the way!
This issue is fairly typical fare for Stephen Strange as he faces Nightmare once again. The mixture of sorcery and dramatic speech makes this comic a great little read.
Finding his mentor the Ancient One in an induced coma, Strange switches to his astral form the enter the old man's mind. Here in the dimension of dreams he finds himself in a trap.
Only the all seeing Eye of Agamotto may be able to save him!
The numbering of Doctor Strange continues from the long running comic Strange Tales.