Saturday, 25 October 2014

Gerry Anderson Comics from the sixties

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.

Valiant and TV21, 2 Oct 1971

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

Enter the Twilight Zone at your own risk!

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 a 92 issue series from 1962 until 1982.

Classic covers 

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 returns to comics!

[Cover Art Image]

Doctor Who: New adventures with the Twelfth Doctor 
(Titan Comics)

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

The Beezer

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 the Witchboy

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.

Hosted by

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 is back!

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.

ARCHIE & FRIENDS ALL-STARS - Volume #15 "The Best of Sabrina"Season 1

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.....

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Vampirella: Feary Tales

Vampirella: Feary Tales (Dynamite Entertainment)

Various (w) & (a)

When I saw this in Previews I don't think I read the solicitation properly and had expected this to be Vampirella returning to her "roots" as the hostess of a series of horror tales as she had been in Warrens long running Vampirella black & white magazines back in the day. Not quite right it would seem, but I am far from being disappointed.

This five issue mini-series is indeed a selection of "tales" framed by Vampy herself inheriting a house with a library in which she finds a book.

A book of "feary" tales into which she falls......

And so each twisted tale sees versions of familiar tales featuring Vampirella in danger.  Her first two vignettes are Blue Beard and Cinderella.

But who is the voice of the book. Four issues to go and we're in for one scary ride!

Comes with multiple choice of covers.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Parallel Man

Parallel Man (Future Dude)

Jeffery Morris (w) Christopher Jones (a)

On a parallel Earth the USA develops a way of travelling the multiverse instead of inventing the atom bomb. They defeat their enemies but leave their world virtually uninhabitable. The only way to survive is to plunder alternate Earths.

And we are next on the list.

The action opens with not just the kidnapping of President Obama but the whole Air force One Jumbo jet. Off we go to meet the leader of the Ascendancy in a Washington DC that lies in ruins.

We are not alone there is a resistance and they are amongst us, including a alternate Carl Sagan.

So the adventure begins across worlds ruined and backward including one entirely covered in Fungus that you would die in if you breathed the air. Did I mention dinosaurs, some of whom are a bit more evolved?

This will be a seven part mini series and frankly is quite obviously material for a blockbuster movie.

So good luck to Future Dude, the publishers of this recommended comic.

Go to: for more!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Squirrels come to comics

Squarriors (Devils Due)

Ashley Witter (w) Ash Maczko (a)

This forthcoming comic from the recently revived Devils Due studios caught my attention in the latest issue of Previews, the comic shops monthly catalogue. Subtitled "the meek shall inherit the earth" the story is set in a post human apocalyptic world.

The solicitation reads:

Squarriors is the epic saga of warring animals in a post-human world. Specifically a small tribe known as the Tin Kin, and their struggles building a life in the new world while confronting the hostile neighbouring Maw tribe.

A variation of the Planet of the Apes, but with squirrels.

This is a 4 issue mini series due to hit comic shops in December, however given its from a small publisher pre-ordering is recommended

As if one squirrel orientated title wasn't enough there's this from Marvel Comics!

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Yup, that's Thanos she's standing on. One of Marvels most dangerous villains and the big guy at the back is Galactus (the one that eats planets to survive) who is rumoured to be in the first issue of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

My only knowledge of her is as Luke Cages Nanny in the Avengers titles. Her superpowers are apparently those of a squirrel proportional to her size. 

Originally appearing in the short lived Great Lakes Avengers, she's a guilty pleasure for most fan boys I would imagine, but this title has attracted a lot of hype in the comics related media and will be released in January 2015, so look out for it in the November issue of Previews.

This comic is certainly going to be on my pull list.

Can't wait for the inevitable movie......

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Godhead: The Green Lantern/New Gods War

Godhead #1 (DC Comics)

Various (w) & (a)

At long last the New Gods make their first major appearance in the DC Universe, complete with origin in a extra size "one shot" that marks the beginning of a war between them and the various "Lantern Corps" that wield the "light of life".

Having previously been seen briefly in the revamped Wonder Woman title, the New Gods in the "New 52" universe are not quite as benevolent as those old fans might be used to. Highfather in particular is someone whose desire to beat Darkseid means taking that which mere mortals wield, the power of the various rings.

The first issue, with multiple artists is an exciting read, but the consequences of Highfathers actions are far from what he expected. Gods eh!

The New Gods were a creation of Jack "King" Kirby when he defected to DC comics in 1970. Along with the Forever People, Mister Miracle and Jimmy Olsen these titles formed the short lived "Fourth World" saga which introduced the horror of Darkseid and Apokolips to comic readers .


For those of you who might not be familiar with the newly revamped DC universe a lot of this will be new. There are not just green Lanterns, but Red Lanterns, Yellow Lanterns, Indigo ones, the Star Sapphires, Black Lanterns (you don't want to meet up with those I assure you ) plus a couple of one-offs, Orange and White rings which belong to Larfleeze and the deceased Kyle Rayner?

Kyle died in the battle against Relic, but "death" in the world of comics isn't always permanent. Superman died and got better back in the nineties! As did Green Arrow, Captain America, the Human Torch, so expect a "surprise" or two maybe.

Green Lantern #35 (DC Comics)

Robert Vendetti (w) Billy Tan (a)

Also released this week is part two of this major story line which will stretch across the entire line of Lantern comics with annuals and the odd crossover, so expect a new part or two every week to appear in not just Green Lantern but Red Lanterns, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians and Sinestro. Expected to last several months this does actually promise to be quite an exiting storyline and might just be a lead up to an expected war with Darkseid himself in the Justice League next year.

Next year is of course the anniversary of Crisis on Infinite earths, so something big is in the making.

Oh nearly forgot in this second part Hal Jordan leads the Green Lanterns to the "Source Wall" to arrest the New Gods.

Doesn't go well.......