Tuesday, 13 November 2018
The creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee passed away yesterday at the grand age of 95. It's a sign of the impact that Stan had that his passing attracted so much attention across mainstream media.
Besides making Marvel Comics the premier comics publishing company in the United States, his characters have captured the public imagination since the sixties through such titles as Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four and so many others including The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The Avengers, Doctor Strange, the Black Panther not forgetting the X-Men, Daredevil and the Silver Surfer.
A whole fictional universe in which all of his heroes co-existed. For the first time there was "continuity" within a publishers comics which along with making his character falwed with very human problems despite their superpowers changed the industry forever.
And so did it's fans. As the Marvel Universe became more complex, it's readers stayed loyal and grew up with these comics which meant comics had to grow up with us.
That is his legacy.
These are some of his creations:
There are so many more but this meme I found on a Facebook page sums up Stan's contribution to our entertainment.
Monday, 12 November 2018
The Beano Summer Special 1968 (DC Thompson)
Various (w) & (a)
When I saw my local comic shop had this in I just had to buy it. This is one of those comics I knew I had as a child and although by then was more interested in Power Comics like Wham & Smash they never published Summer Specials, though Fantastic had one.
These are for me the "classic years" of The Beano which I had read on/off since before I can actually remember. These specials differed from IPC/Fleetway in that they were over-size and had a lot of colour. Other specials that came my way were Victor and the Dandy. Don't recall ever seeing a Hotspur one.
Still with Dennis the Menace, Lord Snooty, Little Plum, The Three Bears, Mini the Minx and the Bash Street Kids these were the fun characters my generation grew up with. Great to see and read once again, it's actually been a long time. I did pick up a Dandy Summer Special but even with the great Desperate Dan the Dandy always came second to the Beano in my eyes.
The Beano is still going though not quite the comic I remember. The Dandy went a few years ago but they still publish Summer Specials I believe, certainly annuals. If you see one of these golden oldies pick one up.
And remember Dad had a slipper in those days, though some us got a "thick ear". Well we all misbehaved sometimes didn't we?
Monday, 29 October 2018
Film Fun # 1661 (Amalgamated Press)
No credits published
A friend picked this up at a car boot sale for just 50p and sent it to me as he thought I'd be interested. Certainly was. Unfortunately there was no image of the actual issue to be found and the one above was the nearest I could locate.
This comic represents a long lost period and probably only Laurel & Hardy would be familiar to today's kids. Maybe a few may have heard of George Formby. I only just remember Abbott and Costello whose antics haven't stood the test of time as well as Stan & Laurel.
There are some strips that I am not at all familiar with myself. Joe.E. Brown and Old Mother Riley I barely know by name.
Given the Eagle had been launched a year earlier one can see why that comic was seen as "revolutionary. This edition of Film Fun was old fashioned, though it did change a bit in later years. It was a long running comic that actually started in 1920 and ran until 1962 when it merged with the up and coming Buster!
And just for fun.....
Friday, 26 October 2018
House of Mystery #301 (DC)
Various (w) & (a)
One of DC comics longest running comics, House of Mystery was always a joy to dip into from time to time. It's content had varied a bit over the years containing some superhero content like the Martian Manhunter at times but became best known as a "horror comic.
Like all anthologies these could be a "mixed bag" and I have to be honest this one was. The first story Virginia is a forlorn love story about a woman in colonial clothing being rescued from the sea. Bit of an odd ending that was less than satisfying to be honest.
There's a one page story The Choice is a bit of a space filler though New Generation which follows is a little more interesting. The final story Pipeline to Hell is a nice twist on dealing with the devil.
The later issues are usually cheap though generally less interesting than the stuff in the seventies. Doesn't stop me grabbing the occasional copy though!
I'm hooked to this format. Frankly wit the successful relaunch of the black & white Creeps magazine sized comic I don't see why a four colour one couldn't be sustained in today's market.
Thursday, 25 October 2018
Suspense #28 (Atlas)
Various (w) & (a)
Published int the early fifties this is now the oldest comic in my collection and came cheap at a lower price because the cover is off but the rest are intact and the contents well worth the entry price. Normally these things are outside my budget.
This edition was published before the introduction of the "comics code".
Atlas of course was what became Marvel in the sixties and was one of a number of horror comics they published. There are four stories and a letters page with one addressed "Dear Stan Lee", even then a star in the making.
The first story With Intent to Kill was actually written by Stan lee with wonderfully dark art from Joe Manely. An old man wheelchair bound called Spencer Creeze needs looking after so advertises for a servant come body guard who will simply follow his orders and shoot any intruders, gun provided.
Of course our villain is only here for the money and starts looking for the old guys fortune only to find himself in trouble and burned to death whilst Creeze amuses himself with the information the money is with him on his lap all the time! The death is displayed in a four panel sequence, quite graphic for the time.
Two Hands comes up next with the tale of a shop owner who wants to make money selling a statue to a rich customer but it has no hands. You can guess where they eventually come from....
The "you get what you deserve" story comes next as a ghost follows a ruffian down the road in He Walks With A Ghost. Akl Dixon was the "brains" of the two when he was alive and committing crime. Trouble was his "pal" Joe slapped him around so much that he set out to kill Joe. Trouble is he got tun over and died on the way.
Somehow managing to drop a large bit of building he succeeds in his ghostly form of killing Joe. Thing is Al gets a rap on his shoulder and is slapped by the ghost of Joe who will be around forever!!!
You Have Got To Kill Me is one of those stories where a terminally ill man decides suffering a long painful death isn't worth living through. He hires someone to kill him. Trouble begins when the doctor rings to say the results were mixed up....the killer succeeds but discovers it was his records that were mixed up and he is the one who will suffer!
Finally we get another tale by Stan Lee The Poor Fish in which a poacher loves watching fish suffer from being unable to breath. He kills the Game Keeper when caught and heads home to torture his goldfish when there's a loud bang.
It's aliens (of course it is) who take Ronald back to Mars as a "specimen and forget that humans need oxygen so see poor old Ronald choke to death. Plenty more where they come from the aliens think and head back to Earth for another, plus some oxygen!
Suspense (not to be confused with Tales of Suspense launched in 1959) laste just 29 issues between 1949 and 1953.
The first ever comic book appearance of Dracula took place in Suspense #9.
First and last issues.
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Two-Gun Kid #100 (Marvel Comics)
No Credits (w) & (a)
If there was a disappointment for me after picking up this edition of the Two-Gun Kid it was entirely due to the fact this issue was all-reprint from 1964 according to the small print. I'd expected something a little special for such a landmark issue. Boy was I mistaken.
I'm more familiar with the DC Western characters (Jonah Hex, Batlash, Scalphunter) than Marvel. I've only read two issues of Kid Colt from the Marvel stable which was why I picked up this book.
The stories are a mixed bag with old fashioned artwork. Quite liked the first story (which was what the cover was based on) but the others are pretty forgettable. On the basis of this I doubt I'll pick up another. Can't like 'em all!
Two-Gun Kid actually runs from #60 (the previous 59 issues had a different Two-Gun Kid) not that I care about that much.
For once not recommended.
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
The Outer Limits #17 (Dell)
No Credits (w) & (a)
The Outer Limits was one of my favourite shows on TV and despite some corny costumes and story lines, like it's cousin The Twilight Zone entertained a whole generation. A show for all the family which is probably why Dell picked up the publishing licence in 1964.
This issue was the penultimate one and a reprint of the very first comic (#18 was a reprint of #2) so it had already been demoted to being a reprint title before it's cancellation the following year. There was for some strange reason a year between issues and Image wasn't on the scene yet!
The story is a classic sci-fi story with disappearing people, a records department man realising there was a pattern and a scientist whose machine brought aliens to Earth. Enter a panicked civilian and the inevitable shooting begins.
Unharmed by bullets or tank shells our intrepid heroes, a newspaper man, scientist and bespectacled clerk try to save the day but only at first bring the aliens enemies to Earth. The ensuing battle sees the city torn apart. However the evil aliens get defeated by the scientists ray and the benign aliens go home.
Then the missing people from the past century are all returned. Not sure how the UN building got rebuilt,maybe I wasn't paying attention. OK all a bit corny but these comics were really aimed at kids in a more simple age.
Sometimes I wish the world was still that way.