Monday, 29 June 2015

Thunder (1970)

Thunder was a very short lived comic launched in October 1970. It lasted just 22 issues in what was then a very crowded market before merging with Lion. It's one of those titles I obviously missed as a kid since I don't remember it all but having purchased the first few issues I have to say worth reading and not too difficult to collect given it's short run.

The stories in this comic are fairly standard fare for the time but quite enjoyable all the same.

The first issue opens with The Terrible Trail To Tolmec described as "the most dangerous journey in the world, Tom Taylor goes in search of his missing father using a map (of sorts) which indicates a number of obstacles and dangers the traveller must fact to get to Tolmec, the forbidden city of gold, oddly situated somewhere in the "Asian wilderness". So off he sets with Dr Wolfgang and his treacherous manservant Troll. Yeah I know... but this was the seventies and this was aimed at kids!

Black Max came up next with an adventure set in the skies of World War One. This featured the evil Baron Maximelien Von Klor who's dark secret is a giant bat he uses to destroy allied aircraft.

Then there was Adam Eterno, "doomed never to die, he wandered the earth for centuries on end" as a result of betraying his "master" all those years ago. He could only be killed by a weapon of pure gold, however such things are never as simple as they seem, hence his longevity.

Other features included the rather charming Fury's Family about a circus boy who takes their animals to a safe haven "hidden" in the hills of England.  Comedy with the Spooks of St Luke's and the Steel Commando, a tongue in cheek story about a robot in World War Two teamed up with the only person who can control him the layabout Ernie Bates.

Like all anthologies there are some strips that didn't really appeal like Dusty Binns (whose dad wouldn't let him play football) and Cliff Hanger which was corny even for the seventies.

There's also a surprise in the form of Sam which is a renamed reprint of Biff from Power Comics Wham!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

DC War: Our Army at War #161 (1965)

Our Army at War #161 (DC Comics)

One of DC's longest running war comic titles was Our Army at War which became best known for introducing the world the the iconic Sgt Rock character. This issue published in 1965 is fairly typical fare containing Sgt Rock in the lead story with an eye on a "green" addition to Easy Company whose brother was shot for cowardice.

Add a secret Nazi multiple rocket firing position holding up the advance of the American army and you have average war story about sacrifice and redemption that would be familiar to readers of the genre both in the USA and UK.

What did differ in this particular issue was the back up story set in the Korean war. MiG Bait tells the story of a group of jet pilots who set up one of their colleagues as "bait" to draw out the reds MIG 15 fighters so they can pounce on them.

Not a safe position for any pilot to be in and our hero takes exception to the role.

Our Army at War ultimately ran for 301 issues until 1977 when it's title was changed to Sgt Rock who now had the comic to himself.

Not as well remembered as Sgt Fury of Marvel Comics (and didn't survive the war like his more famous counterpart) but many of his adventures are worth reading.


Saturday, 27 June 2015

DC Western: Bat Lash #3 (1969)

Bat Lash #3 (DC Comics)

Will he save the West or ruin it?

So ran the headline above the short lived Bat Lash title from 1968 to 1969. Not a comic I picked up as a kid, but certainly one that I recall being advertised across DC's line of comics around that time. So I thought it time to pick up a copy.

Bat Lash is a comedic western tale about an outlaw who is a wee bit of a womaniser and small time thief who always manages to get himself into and out of a fix. This issue was published at a time when writing and art credits were not published, which is a pity because this story is fun and has very good artwork.

Opening with the obligatory gunfight and a pretty gal pleading for his life of our "hero" shoots into the sunset only to find himself drawn to the beautiful singing of a woman in the local creek.

Yes of course he gets caught, falls in the water gets frogmarched back to her place where he awaits the return of her husband the local sheriff. Whilst waiting he befriends her gets fed then hubby comes home.

Oh dear.

Add a corrupt and somewhat barking mad judge (who thinks he's Nero), a lynch mob and the story rounds off with a bang.

Worth adding a couple of issues of this to your collection and I say that as someone who hasn't been a fan of the genre for some years.

Except for Jonah Hex....


Friday, 26 June 2015

Preview: Aliens vs Vampirella!

The latest issue of Previews the comics catalogue contains a solicitation for one of those unusual cross-overs that can only happen in comic books!

We have recently had a string of Star Trek crossovers with Doctor Who, Planet of the Apes and currently Green Lantern with IDW. Now Dynamite Entertainment brings Aliens vs Vampirella.

The solicitation reads:

Humans have begun to colonize Mars, but something ancient and sinister got there first. Now Vampirella is faced with a mystery only she can solve, and the bloody realization that some monsters should never be awakened.

On sale 2nd September. I've pre-ordered mine. Do you dare to join me for the horror?


Sunday, 21 June 2015

The New DC: Martian Manhunter #1

Martian Manhunter #1 (DC Comics)

Rob Williams (w) Eddy Barrows (a)

Finally the Martian Manhunter gets his own title after a gap of several years and this time set in the new "converged" DC universe. J'onzz J'onzz is the last surviving Martian who has made the Earth his home. In prior incarnations was a central figure in the Justice League of America, now the Justice League, his place taken by Cyborg for diversity reasons.

But what if everything you knew about yourself was a lie?

And how are these hundreds of terrorist attacks across the globe connected to your heritage? Are you truly the last?

Are you really far from being a superhero and really a weapon of mass destruction?

This opening chapter raises all these questions and more. For long time DC fan boys the seeming appearance of the "White Martians" will come as no surprise. That much was obvious half way through the story.

And just who is Mr Biscuit who we see in the opening pages? What is his connection to our favourite Martian.

Worth reading. Rush down to your comic store and get a copy now. This series is going to be a good one!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The New DC: Prez

Prez #1 (DC Comics)

Mark Russell (w) Ben Caldwell (a)

One of the most surprising additions to the post Convergence DC line is the revival of Prez, the story of America's first teenage President. A title originally conceived and published in the seventies for just 4 issues, this time "Prez" is a girl!

A satire of American politics that has both it's light and dark moments this series looks like it might be a blast even if (like in Family Guy) some of the references are unfamiliar to us in old blighty. 

"Corndog Girl" becomes a "write in candidate" and starts on her road to victory, but the secret coterie of businessmen that run the USA meet in secret to see how they should respond to this new threat to their hegemony.

DC are to be congratulated for taking a risk when such "non spandex" titles rarely find an audience in the big two publishers efforts.

Nevertheless with an almost "Disney like" approach the comic will hopefully find an audience.

Here's some sample pages.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The New DC: Starfire #1


Starfire #1 (DC Comics)

Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotti (w) Emanuela Lupachino (a)

A beautiful alien woman stranded on Earth. What do you do? Where do you go? And of course what do you wear? Such basic questions are not as simple as you might think.

Did I mention our Princes is a bright shade of orange? Long time DC fans will know this but just in case you're picking up her adventures for the first time, Koriand'r is descended from a cat like race on the plane Tamaran?

Find that hard to believe? We are descended from apes remember.

So back the world where we set aside disbelief and get on with the adventure.


As a teenager who has had a life spent in captivity and high adventure Starfire as she calls herself seems a wee bit naive about life, but lands on her feet by trading in a couple of stones she had with her for "three big ones" at the local jewellers. Off she goes to live in a trailer and gets help in choosing her clothes from Ms Gomez and a quite obviously gay shop assistant.

"Why would you ever cover legs like that" muses Javi, "And the colour of her skin is to die for"

Quite, even though this is fiction of course. I do remember that..most of the time.

The first issue has a comedic feel as the alien and her neighbours settle down together.

Then the storm breaks out.....