Sunday, 22 January 2017
One of the programmes we all used to watch as a family back in the sixties was Dixon of Dock Green with Jack Warner. If I recall correctly this came on straight after Doctor Who. Dixon of Dock Green ran on the BBC from 1955 to 1976 for a total of 432 episodes.
This particular comic is published by Pearson in a weekly series featuring different TV programmes. The first issue was William Tell another family programme I vaguely remember along with Robin Hood with Richard Greene. These "pocket sized" editions were published in the early sixties and I would probably have been too young to be aware of these, my earliest comic memories being of the the Beano, Dandy and Wham!.
The art and script which are uncredited are of a high standard for the period and depending on your age and memories an interesting little addition to anyone's collection.
In the this story The Case of Mrs X, PC Dixon investigates the blackmail of of a mates wife by an ex-boyfriend and manages to keep her name out of the papers. Hence Mrs X. Oh these were gentler times.
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Before Marvel UK, before Power Comics there were reprints of Marvel superhero stories published in the UK by Alan Class in his famous black and white comics. Secrets of the Unknown was one of six core titles that were published over the years and this issue contains one of the early solo Human Torch stories from Strange Tales #120 in which Johnny Storm meets Bobby Drake from the X-Men.
Taking a day trip on a pleasure boat the Torch and Iceman have to contend with pirates in a tale penned by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby.
Also featured in this issue is the Doctor Strange adventure in which the mystic investigates a haunted house which turns out to to be an extra-dimensional being that is observing mankind with foul intent. A great little tale from Stan Lee and art by Steve Ditko. I actually love seeing Ditko's art in black & white, it's so suited to the medium.
Of course this being an Alan Class comic there's also a variety of short mystery & science fiction stories from various publishers including ACG & Charlton in this issue.
These comics are becoming very collectible these days. I also picked up a copy of Sinister Tales from the seventies.
Monday, 16 January 2017
Red Sonja #1 (Dynamite)
Amy Chu (w) Carlos Gomez (a)
Following the best selling #0 issue which reintroduced Red Sonja last month, everyone's favourite red-haired barbarian returns in her own full blown solo series and she's here in our time causing mayhem in down town New York. What's not to like.
The cops think she's raving mad and can't understand a word she says and my, what a big sword you're waving about luv. One for the looney bin?
Except on arrival at the local asylum some NSA agents pick her up. Sonja is above the cops "pay grade" who knew. So what or who is manipulating events? Yeah you can probably guess but how come there's this one cop who can communicate with her?
What is the connection?
Oh and you guessed it Sonja escapes into modern day New York.
The great game is afoot!
Sunday, 15 January 2017
Giant-Size Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel)
Roy Thomas (w) Gil Kane (a)
During the seventies Marvel Comics published a number of "Giant-Size" titles many of which were just reprints, other contained new material plus reprints. This one-off edition of Captain Marvel reprints issues 17, 20 & 21 and contains the key story where Rick Jones leaves the Avengers after trying out as Captain America's sidekick and finds the Nega-Bands which allows him to trade places with Captain Marvel who is trapped in the Negative Zone.
Good old fashioned Marvel adventure ensues as Rick and Cap try to find a permanent method of removing this cursed existence.
The cover which proclaims that our cosmic hero is to face off with both the Hulk and Captain America is misleading. There is no confrontation with Steve Rogers, in fact his opponent in the first story is none other than his old Kree enemy, Yon-Rogg.
Oh and a robotic Carol Danvers makes an appearance, briefly.
Marvel does however confront the Hulk who is off to sort out some protesting students threatening an academic. Long before the "safe spaces" movement this story. Politically correct types need to avoid upsetting the green skinned one lest he get angry.
Frankly a good read especially since the originals are a bit pricey. Grab a copy if ya see one!
Saturday, 14 January 2017
For me the best Spider-Man stories were the ones penned by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko from the early days of Marvel. In a tale reprinted from the US edition of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2 Spidey meets another Lee/Ditko creation Doctor Strange.
The story The Wondrous Worlds of Doctor Strange sees our favourite master of the mystic arts clash with Xandu a villainous sorcerer who seeks the second half of the Wand of Watoomb to "possess the greatest power of them all as he muses out loud to himself after enslaving two bar-room brawlers.
Catching Doc Strange by surprise, the two mindless thugs overpower our hero and make off with his half of the wand. Just by chance a certain web-slinger happens to be passing and realises a crime is afoot. No match for the mystically enhanced villains it takes the combined efforts of Spidey and the good Doctor to overcome Xandu.
Published in black & white with added red colouring, this early Marvel UK edition introduces British readers to an early tale from 1965.
The second feature in Spider-Man Comics Weekly was Thor in an equally early adventure from Journey into Mystery in which everyone's favourite Asgardian clashes with The Cobra & Mr Hyde.
Wednesday, 11 January 2017
Silver Surfer vs Dracula #1 (Marvel)
Marv Wolfman (w) Gene Colon (a)
When I saw this in my local comic shop I just had to pick it up. The Silver Surfer vs Dracula. The power cosmic vs the supernatural. Good vs evil. Whilst I was aware this comic was a reprint, I didn't know from where until I got it home. It is in fact a complete reprint of Tomb of Dracula #50, Marvels longest running supernatural comic from the seventies.
Written by Marv Wolfman and with art by the late, great Gene Colan this adventure is a treat. Deep in the outskirts of Boston one Anton Lupeski has decided that there is no longer any need for Dracula's continued existence and plot unfolds in which he and his coven "enlist" the Silver Surfer in their mad scheme to end the Lord of Vampires himself.
Needless to say despite Norin Radd's best efforts he does not succeed. Only low sales will end the adventures of Dracula.
As a bonus there are three short stories included in this edition including one from Howard the Duck who is incarcerated by Commissioner Gordonski...yeah you got the reference right after he faces the terror of Hellcow. Don't ask. Read.
Sunday, 8 January 2017
From the early days of Marvel UK hails this issue of Mighty World of Marvel featuring the Incredible Hulk fighting for his survival in the "Hidden Land" on the Antarctic continent. Co-starring Ka-Zar and his sabre tooth tiger Nabu, the pair are trying to save Earth or rather mankind from the effects of an ancient machine that is changing the axis of the world.
What Ka-Zar needs is Bruce Banner, not the Hulk but old greenskin thinks he isn't "puny Banner" and its' all just a trick. Then Hulk gets captured by the followers of Umbu the Unliving which turns out to be a robot connected to very machine that needs stopping.
The battle royale commences.
This story continued from the previous issue which I neglected to pick up but is a reprint from the US Marvel series of The Incredible Hulk #110.
The back-up feature is the Fantastic Four as they meet Diablo for the very first time.
Those were the days.