Saturday, 25 October 2014
One thing you couldn't miss growing up in the sixties were the wonderful Gerry Anderson adventure series such as Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds and Stingray. It's hardly surprising given their popularity that these stories made it to comics in the form of TV Century 21 (later just TV 21).
I picked up the copy illustrated above cover dated June 17th 2067, which of course was 1967 but pandering to our futuristic expectations from the first page, also designed to look like a newspaper.
This particular edition not only carries the stuff you would expect from a Gerry Anderson comic but other strips based on the shows we all watched in those days before multiple channels invaded out homes. You'll find the spoof spy story Get Smart and The Munsters running alongside specially created spin off stories from the world of the twenty-first century.
For a brief time there were two "companion" comics Lady Penelope (for your sister) and Joe 90.
Lady Penelope ran from 1966 to 1969, and featured strips such as The Man from Uncle and The Beverley Hillbillies. Eventually it broke with the Anderson theme until declining sales saw it merge with another girls comic. Princess Tina.
Joe 90 was launched in 1969 featuring stories such as Land of the Giants, The Champions and Star Trek. However it only lasted 34 issues before being merged with TV 21.
TV 21 and Joe 90 itself ran for another 105 issues (though dropping the Joe 90 tag after a short while). As interest in the franchise waned, at least in comic form the title (now taken over by IPC) was eventually merged into Valiant.
These comics are all gone now mores the shame though there are some reprints of the main features available in bookstores, but for old gits like me there's nothing like the originals. TV 21 and it's companion comics are a bit more expensive to collect than the average British comic, especially the early issues and Summer Specials.
And then there's the Annuals, the perennial Christmas present!
To finish, a quick reminder of the opening theme from Joe 90. Those were the days!
Saturday, 18 October 2014
The Twilight Zone: Lost Tales (Dynamite Entertainment)
Mark Rahner (w) Various (a)
The Twilight Zone was one of those iconic TV shows that people of my generation grew up with. A series of weird tales with twisted endings. Dynamite Entertainment have been publishing a regular title based on the TV show, of which this is a prestige format edition that I purchased on a whim. There's only so many titles that I have time to read or money to buy!
There are three stories in this edition with good artwork and with the exception of the first story an enjoyable read. A victim of torture seeking revenge, moral dilemmas on a new planet for mankind and a device to see souls are the themes within.
This isn't the first time The Twilight Zone has been a comic. The now defunct Gold Key company ran 92 issue series from 1962 until 1982.
Meanwhile Dynamite continue the fine tradition which may be worth a try if you dare enter..The Twilight Zone yourself!
Written by the maestro Michael J Straczinsky himself!
Friday, 17 October 2014
Doctor Who: New adventures with the Twelfth Doctor
Robbie Morrison (w) Dave Taylor (a)
The Doctor has been in comics almost since the TV show began in the sixties. Mostly appearing in British comics, the licence once was used by Marvel Comics but since then his adventures have been limited to the pages of Doctor Who Magazine and in the USA, a couple of series published by IDW which were not available in the UK.
Every Doctor has had his adventures published in a comic book so the introduction of the latest incarnation with Peter Capaldi is only a surprise because the company publishing it is actually British.
This first issue takes the Doctor and Clara on a trip to go skiing, not on Earth, but an ice planet. The Doctor even warns her to watch out for "ice sharks". Well he would wouldn't he.
So dressed up for harsh weather they arrive on a... tropical world?
Something is up (as if the Doctor hadn't known already) and the whole planet has been terraformed so its not long before they get into trouble.
Add a foolish scientist, one of the universes richest men and a threat to the whole universe and you have part one of a story.
I don't usually collect Doctor Who comics but this one will be on my reading list.
For those of you who are fans of David Tennant and Matt Smith you may be interested to know there are companion titles already being published by Titan.
Doctor Who and related images are copyright BBC and used for review purposes only.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
One of the titles that I remember reading in the sixties as I grew up was The Beezer, a comic that was for "boys and girls". Now this comic was BIG, in format being the size of a newspaper and a bit unwieldy to read but contained some great strips.
Colonel Blink Ginger
Most of the strips were the normal humorous types you would expect from Scottish publishers DC Thompson (who are still publishing The Beano and Commando comics to this day). Ginger was the cover feature and amongst those I recall with glee are The Numskulls, The Badd Lads and Colonel Blink the short sighted gink, the latter being a British version of Mr Magoo!
Published from January 1956 until 1990 when it merged with its large format sister title Topper. Regretfully the combined title only lasted another three years, though my favourite characters The Numskulls continue in The Beano to this day.
I've never read the merged title, but its not too difficult to pick up back issues of this wonderful comic. The ones from the mid to late sixties and early seventies are the ones I try to get. And then of course there are the Annuals.
Not forgetting Pop, Dick and Harry who used to appear on the back!
If anyone from DC Thomson is reading this how about a Beezer (and Topper) tribute book along the lines of the ones you do for the Beano & Dandy. Just asking!
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
Klarion (DC Comics)
Ann Nocenti (w) Trevor McCarthy (a)
The latest addition to the revamped DC universe is a take on an obscure but not forgotten creation of the late Jack Kirby, Klarion the witch boy. Originally appearing in the seventies in Kirby's Demon series, Klarion has popped up from time to time most notably in the epic Seven Soldiers epic.
Frankly he can be a bit of brat in whatever incarnation of the character you choose as this scene from the Demon illustrates.
However he can be good fun if used in the right hands and after turning his teacher into some kind of small creature off he goes in search of refuge and a new home. At the crossroads of the multiverse he picks up a lift from Beelzebub the barber...right.
After being dropped off in mainstream DC reality (I nearly said "our", go figure. I do realise this is fiction y'know!) his adventures begin with his intervening to prevent bullying and attracts the attention of a girl.
Of course this being comics. nothing is straightforward (as his choice of lodgings shows) and he is being watched....
Klarion is a brave choice for DC to publish given so many titles based on minor characters have failed in the "New 52", but one I will be giving a chance.
Monday, 13 October 2014
Sabrina (Archie Comics)
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (w) Robert Hack (a)
It's here! One of the most anticipated releases in ages has finally hit the stands as Archie Comics publish a new take on an old character, Sabrina. The witch if you didn't know already. Already previewed in their successful Afterlife with Archie, the story unfolds of a new born witch and the tragedy of her mother who had the misfortune to marry a warlock.
Against the rules apparently, so it doesn't end well.
Set in the sixties this story leads us into the adolescence of Sabrina as she tries to make her way in the world of mere mortals.
This isn't the cozy stuff that either readers of her previous and "mainstream Archie-verse" stories. The world she now inhabits is cruel and vengeance is coming from someone in "her" past.
Not connected in any way to the other stand alone Afterlife with Archie book this promises to be an interesting ride.
Buffy with balls?
Time will tell.
Recommend to all your friends. This one is gonna be a hit!
Don't go into the woods.....
Sunday, 12 October 2014
Earth 2: Worlds End (DC Comics)
Various (w) & (a)
Out there in the multiverse are 52 versions of Earth according to the new DC mythos. Earth 2 is the one most focused on in the regular titles that DC publishes with Earth 2 being a lead title. This version of Earth is not so different to the main DC Earth in that there versions of regular characters and places that readers will be familiar with.
Except they have fought a war against Darkseid and despite "winning", this required the sacrifice of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all of whom died in the final battle. Seemingly so did Power Girl (Supergirl) and The Huntress (daughter of Batman and Catwoman), except they ended up on Earth 1, even getting their own title, Worlds Finest.
Other heroes rise as do other villains, mainly in the form of Darkseids son, Steppenwolf and another battle ensues in which he is killed. That is far from the end as Darkseids armies come back.
The first, over sized issue (at the regular price!) really does kick off the weekly adventure that will see a battle royal take place in this and the monthly Earth 2 title.
Lois Lane is "dead", but resurrected in the form of the Red Tornado, another Kryptonian takes the place of Superman and Power Girl and the Huntress return to their earth just in time for what seems like the final battle.
There's another Batman too. Thomas Wayne (Bruce's father) and Helena (the Huntress) is not impressed. You'll need to pick up Earth 2 #27 to get more on that.
Meanwhile for no apparent reason John Constantine suddenly turns up on Earth 2 and there's another one of him we find out, though they have yet to meet as our mage fights for his life in this tie in to the main story.
Finally the Worlds Finest title changes from a Power Girl/ Huntress team up title to Superman/Batman one, but these of course are the Earth 2 versions and we are treated to what is simply referred to as The Secret History of Earth 2.
An exiting adventure where anything can happen. Is the future as we have seen in Futures End? Or can history be changed?