Saturday, 7 December 2019

The Amazing Spider-Man King Size Special #3 (Marvel/1966)

Amazing Spider-Man King Size Special #3 (Marvel)

Stan Lee (w) John Romita (a)

One of the comics I've always wanted to read and either missed or couldn't afford when I were a lad was this Spidey special where our favourite web-slinger is invited to join the Avengers way back in the early days of Marvel.  My copy is a lowish grade as the spine's taped but since this was the only way I could afford a copy that's fine by me. I collect comics for fun not their value!

Of course it wasn't Peter Parker's first attempt to become part of a group he tried to join the Fantastic Four early in his career.

As with all fist time meetings the inevitable fight takes place between the good guys before the Avengers send Spidey on a quest to bring back the Hulk. Obviously the Hulk doesn't like being bothered and they fight until bombarded by gamma radiation The Hulk briefly returns back into Bruce Banner and Spidey decides to leave The Hulk alone and returns to the Avengers saying he failed. Thor thinks there is more to this than meets the eye and off Parker goes to look after Aunt May and get on with his ever troubled life.

This 72 pager also contains reprints of the Lee/Ditko issues of The Amazing Spider-Man #11 & #12 featuring Doc Ock. Bargain reading as I don't have these in any other format.


Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Conan The Barbarian 2099 #1 (Marvel)

Conan The Barbarian 2099 #1 (Marvel)

Gerry Duggan (w) Roge Antonio (a)

Being a big fan of Conan I erred about buying this as Marvel have been overdoing their Conan titles of late and hadn't bothered with that series where they brought him into the modern Marvel Universe. The other problem was or rather is I have never read a Marvel 2099 title so am totally unfamiliar with that timeline.

However I decided to give it a go and found it....interesting and mildly amusing as Conan wanders into the future cursed by a yet another sorceress. It's only a one off story that sees the Cimmerian thrust into outer space for the final confrontation.

Really only for the completist and then they would have to be really obsessive.

Oh and I'll be avoiding any Marvel 2099 comics in future.

Mildly amusing.

Rating: 1 Star (just...)

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Star Trek: Picard Countdown #1 (IDW) Out Now!

Star Trek: Picard #1 (IDW)

Kirsten Beyer & Mike Johnson (w) Angel Hernandez (a)

In time for the release of the latest Star Trek featuring Jean-Luc Picard IDW bring us a prequel in an adventure where the then Admiral Picard is on a mission to save lives, Romulan lives as their sun prepares to go supernova.

It took a great deal of effort by the Federation to get the Romulans even agree to help in the necessary evacuation so paranoid are their rulers, but with conditions attached such as limiting access to their planets ad colonies and banning plantar scans (which would be blocked in any case) Star Fleet does it's best.

Picard is sent to a seemingly much more open Romulan agricultural colony. However not is all as it seems....

A great opening chapter in this tree issue mini series and the trailer shows that the new TV series will have much to offer. Having now watched the extremely good box sets of Star Trek: Discovery I am once again enthralled in the world of the future.

However how all these series fit in with the continuity of the films may confuse. Still these are all good yarns!

Rating: 5 Stars: Recommended

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Look-In: The Junior TV Times #43 (1979)

TV related comics were a big feature of the British scene and numerous titles appeared over the years some more famous than others. Some short lived and some long running but amongst these titles was Look-In a hybrid of comics and features aimed at children who watched ITV programmes.

Billed as the "Junior TV Times" it was regularly advertised when Children's broadcasting was on after school and the family sat around the TV to watch everything from Magpie, The Smurfs to The Tomorrow People. 

Of course there plenty of other shows which were essential family viewing including Benny Hill, Sapphire & Steel and The Famous Five (which I don't remember at all) plus American imports such as The Bionic Man and Battlestar Galactica, the latter a personal favourite. I first saw this in a drafty old cinema at the Elephant & Castle back in the day.

Look-In contained features on pop music and sport aiming at both boys and girls. It was certainly successful as it ran from 1971 to 1994. If you choose to collect it please note the numbering starts from #1 at the beginning of each year. There are also twenty Annuals cover dated 1972 to 1991.

Plenty of memories to be found in these pages.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Countdown Annual 1973 (Polystyle Publications)

Originally launched as "the comic for the space age", Countdown was very much the home of Gerry Anderson properties and Doctor Who in it's 132 issue existence though when the comic changed it's title to TV Action as of #49 there was a gradual change towards more crime orientated stories though the good Doctor continued to appear in most issue.

This annual issued halfway through the comics life was the 1973 edition and the second of three the third becoming TV Action. Annuals were once a great present to receive from various relatives come Christmas.

A mix of comic strips and text features including a Persuaders story, this edition is a good addition to anyone's collection.  There are two UFO stories, one from Captain Scarlet and of course there's an appearance of Thunderbirds.

Doctor Who finishes off the Annual in it's end pages. There's a couple of humour strips including Dastardly and Mutley. which was essential team-time viewing for this schoolboy back then. Actually I'd watch it now. More character than some of these modern cartoons that I skimmed over on TV.

First and last Annuals:


Saturday, 23 November 2019

Stan Lee A Marvellous Life Biography

Comics have long been part of our culture even if today their circulations are so much smaller due to the development of other distractions such as gaming. However only one comics creator has ever become a household name and that's Stan Lee.

Marvel Comics gradually came out of Martin Goodman's Timely Comics company founded in the forties and edited by Stan though until the creation of The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Doctor Strange their comics were just some of those available on the racks.

It was Stan's ability to connect with his readers through Soap Boxes and letter pages that created a read fandom for his characters and comics. Of course Stan Lee did not create this fictional universe on his own. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were also instrumental in making Marvel different and distinctive to the competition.

A Marvellous Life by Danny Fingeroth (Simon & Schuster HB £20)takes us through Stanley Lieber's life including the highs and lows warts and all since Stan the showman sometimes attracted ire from his fellow creators and peers but his contribution to making Marvel and the industry grow up is considerable.

Having recently read a rather dire book about Ditko one of the things I would recommend about this book is that you learn a fair amount about Ditko and Kirby in these pages. In fact it's rather a "must" read for any fan. Of course Stan wasn't perfect but he gave us a show and that we all enjoyed it is beyond question.

Before this book was released I obtained a copy of Alter Ego #161 ($9.95) which is a tribute to Stan Lee and contains an article about Marvel Comics around the world particularly focusing on Marvel UK and it's predecessors such as Alan Class and Power Comics which helped promote the Marvel brand in this country.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Sgt Rock #413 (DC/1988)

Sgt Rock #413 (DC/1988)

Various (w) & (a)

One of the genres of comics that seems to have long disappeared are the war comics we all used to read as a kid. I admit I was more interested in the little pocket book book "Picture Libraries" that British publisher put out but I did enjoy the occasion copy of Sgt Fury from Marvel or Sgt Rock from DC.

Of course Commando Comics is still going in the UK and I picked one up the other day. Over 5,000 issues now quite an achievement and still going strong. It prompted me to pick up a copy of Sgt Rock at my local comic shop.

The cover of this one caught my attention. A Priest and a Rabbi praying over the dead bodies of their comrades. Sad and poignant given the nature of the Second World War.

In I Owe You One Rock takes a backseat to the main characters of this story one Private Harry Cohen who we meet being berated by the Lieutenant for not having his helmet on and asking what is on his head. A Yarmulke worn by all "Orthodox" Jews. Harry ends up being allocated to look after Father Kelly who has just arrived to take care of Easy Company's religious needs and a friendship is struck up.

The use of religion as complimentary to each other makes for a good and unusual tale one that still needs to be told in this age of religious intolerance and the rise of anti-Semitism particularly on the left of politics in the UK.

There are two other short stories in this comic. The amusing A Job for Super-Soldier which relates a tale of a comic geek in the pacific theatre and what is essentially a horror story Glorious to the Grave set just after Dunkirk.

An issue worth collecting I thought.

And I have another for later.....