Sunday, 27 December 2015
One of the titles I used to read avidly when it came out was the short-lived Cor!! Oddly I don't recall ever getting an Annual so I thought the the time had come to put that right when I saw this one (published in 1973) in my local comic shop.
1974 was the year I left school and my interest in comics was waning at the time as slightly more adult preoccupations were weighing on my mind. However now that I'm well into my second childhood as I head towards retirement the time has come to restore or fill in memories of times long gone.
Most of the strips in this handsome, if somewhat read volume were ones I remember such as Chip, Wonder Worm, Jelly Baby and Whacky but there was one feature that I must have missed as Cor!! went lower on my priorities in the early seventies.
For some reason I thought this strip appeared in Buster (which Cor!! merged with the following year) but here it is. An oddity that can only be British comics and made them so much fun!
Like many British comics this Annual outlived it's parent title being published from 1972 until 1986 by which time Buster must have merged with several other titles! Might be worth picking up one of the later editions to see how much (if at all) the contents changed.
Anyway if you want to relive those early days of comics goodness from the seventies grab a copy when you see one.
Saturday, 26 December 2015
Batman 66 meets The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (DC Comics)
Jeff Parker (w) David Hahn (a)
Only in comics is this kind of wacky but entertaining crossover adventure possible. Two great iconic TV series from the sixties Batman (Adam West) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. are brought together for the very first time!
Actually whilst the story intertwines in the first issue Batman hasn't met Napoleon Solo or Illya Kuryakin as yet, but the scene is set as the Penguin breaks out of Arkham Asylum with help from an as yet unidentified benefactor .
Meanwhile Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin have been captured by agent of T.H.R.U.S.H, Queen Olga a woman with nefarious plans for our heroes.
I can't recommend this enough frankly. It's great fun, reminiscent of the sixties TV programmes themselves.
The first issue of this six issue mini-series is in comic shops now!
So here to remind you of the shows themselves are two sets of clips.
Monday, 21 December 2015
One of my all-time TV series was rebooted as The New Avengers in the late seventies and saw Mrs Peel/Tara replaced by the stunning Purdey and turned into a trio with the addition of Gambit. Steed and his team were in place for a series of new and quite often bizarre adventures.
I came across this copy whilst doing a rummage. Belongs to the missus but couldn't resist reading and commenting on it. Like most Annuals of its type, The New Avengers Annual is devoted to features and photographs of the actors and characters. However there are two comic strips. Fangs for the Memory gives us a "Vampire" story (I won't spoil the ending) and Hypno-Twist which sort of explains the plot.
The art and scripting isn't bad and the other features include a couple of text stories plus biogs of all three main characters.
There was a second one of these which maybe I'll keep an eye out for.
In the mean time here's the opening credits to a much loved TV show!
Not a comic exactly, but based on our favourite residents in Riverdale. I'm not sure that this series was ever broadcast on the telly box here in the UK but I've been watching these on You Tube once in a while.
Great fun and something to start the holidays with.....
Great fun and something to start the holidays with.....
Sunday, 20 December 2015
One of the joys of Christmases past was receiving Annuals of your favourite comics. Today's children have such a limited and much poorer choice than we had back in the days of British comics. Not even the sole surviving weekly 2000AD does Annuals any more and resorts to a semi(?)promotional giant sized edition to attract new or lapsed readers.
However in 1970 there was a new comic in town, Whizzer and Chips who inevitably brought their first Annual, cover dated 1971 to extend the shelf life of the book.
And what a whopping edition this is. 158 pages of fun and adventure with all the usual suspects from Sid's Snake, Minnie's Mixer, Shiner, Little Saver, Footsie the Clown and much more.
There's also adventure with Sid's Specs, It came on Fireworks Night and Kings of the Castle.
Chortles all round, even to this day with this one. Never had a Whizzer and Chips Annual as a lad, but did read the comic at the time.
There were 23 Annuals in total Like many British Comics these festive specials outlived the weekly. Whizzer and Chips merged with Buster but the Annuals lasted until 1994.
Saturday, 19 December 2015
By the late seventies DC Thompsons titles were beginning to look a tad dated as their "family friendly" comics were more suited to an earlier, more innocent age. The advent of of 2000AD, Action and competition from American rivals Marvel made the publishers of Victor and The Hotspur attempt something new.
They came up with The Crunch.
This comic launched in January 1979 had the same format as DC Thompsons other adventure comics but the content was a bit edgier.
The reader was treated to a full "splash page" to introduce Arena, a tale of a political dissident in the near future sentenced by an obviously totalitarian regime to die in combat in the Arena reserved for criminals. And someone wants Mark dead quickly....
Another splash page leads us to the US based story, The Mantracker. A quite violent story of revenge and redemption in which Jay returning from service as a Green Beret witnesses the murder of his grandfather and upon dealing with the miscreants uses the reward to set him on the path of being a Bounty Hunter.
After the usual football feature which isn't of interest to me we are taken to the Walking Bombs. This tale set in the Cold War sees unexplained nuclear explosions taking out the West's top brass. The title rather gives away the future mystery and the hunt is on for a certain Professor Hagan who may be in danger and is the key to solving this mystery.
Then there's Hitler Lives. Set in the dying days of the Third Reich a mutinous German soldier sets off to assassinate the Fuhrer only to find Hitlers body being burnt...but it isn't and loyal Nazi's are smuggling the dictators body out of the country so that the Reich might rise again. Jacob Lindt decides to go with them so he can stop this nefarious scheme.
The final story is yet another crime story set in America, Who killed Cassidy which sees a traffic cop framed for neglecting his duty.
The Crunch lasted just 54 issues before being merged with the Hotspur which was itself an ailing title.
Overall not a bad comic and may pick up a few more over time.
Friday, 18 December 2015
Daredevil #56 (Marvel Comics)
Roy Thomas (w) Gene Colan (a)
Swinging through New York is our scarlet clad hero Daredevil.
And he's singing much to the bemusement of the public who hear and witness and hear this rare, probably one off event.
In a few moments old horn-head will be seeing the love of his life again and will reveal that the man she loves, Matt Murdoch is not dead and he'll crate a new alter-ego and head for the alter.
Except this being an angst ridden adventure comic, the reader is not surprised to learn that this just doesn't happen. At least not in this issue.
Karen Page has buggered off to Fagan Corner from whence she came and all is not well.
There's a villain in town and he's not happy with the Pages.
The Death's Head he calls himself.
But Daredevil is on his way avoiding autograph hunters by sitting atop the express train and jumping off at the station and arriving in the nick of time...
Of course the story doesn't end in this issue so having purchased this I now have to see if I can find a reasonably priced copy of Daredevil #57 with it's shocking revelation....
Monday, 14 December 2015
The Mighty World of Marvel was the first attempt by Stan Lee and co to break into the British comics market and by the time it reached #50 tow other titles joined MWOM to bring the adventures of The Hulk, Fantastic Four and Spider-man in glorious black and white to these shores.
Previous attempts to market Marvel characters had taken place back in the sixties with Power Comics (Odhams publishing) incorporating them first in their weeklies and then in two short lived but fondly remembered titles Fantastic and Terrific.
These had ceased publication after just 89 and 43 issues a piece with Terrific being "merged" with the stronger title Fantastic. Power comics had been long gone by the time MWOM was launched featuring Spider-man, who went into his own weekly and the Hulk who became the mainstay of MWOM itself.
The fiftieth issue of Mighty World of Marvel featured the fight between Ben Grimm: The Thing and a rather different Hulk to the one mostly featured before. It seems that chronological order had not been maintained. The Hulk that appears here is the one from the first series of The Hulk which had only lasted six issues.
This story brings the Fantastic Four and The Avengers together for the first time. Originally printed in Fantastic Four #26.
A straightforward story of two super-beings fighting it out in an area of New York that just happened to be awaiting demolition with squalling heroes from the two competing super-groups squabbling over who should deal with the rampaging behemoth known as the Hulk.
Nobody really wins or loses but its a great opportunity to see all Marvels early heroes cram into one story.
And unlike the American original available at a much cheaper entry price on the second hand market.
The next issue features the lovable green one fighting the Space Parasite.
And Hulk simply "smash" in this one unlike the grumpy version seen in the issue before. But as kids did we really care? Nah. Even as an adult I'm not bothered after all since those classic days the Hulk has developed multiple-personalities.
Make Mine Marvel UK!
Sunday, 13 December 2015
The Incredible Hulk #126 (Marvel Comics)
Roy Thomas (w) Herb Trimpe (a)
Following his battle with the Absorbing Man in the previous issue, the Hulks battle and subsequent transformation back into puny Bruce Banner is witnessed by a group of hippies that turn out to be more than they seem.
Cultists for the "Undying Ones", previously seen in Sub-Mariner #22 where they were stopped by the combined might of Namor and Doctor Strange.
These worshippers of evil have use for his power.
"If the green skinned Hulk falls, he dies", "but if he triumphs..then the entire earth falls screams Mandrake their deranged leader.
And off to a mystical dimension our hero goes to face a dilemma he cannot win.
One of the cultists, a certain Barbara Norris changes her mind and tries to intervene. For her betrayal she too is banished to the realm of the Nightstalker.
The fight is on as Hulk smashes his way to victory, meeting an imprisoned Doctor Strange during his struggle and Barbara makes the ultimate sacrifice by changing places with the good doctor to be imprisoned for all eternity.
One of the stories that made Marvel great back in the day and was not the last we saw of young Barbara either.
Thursday, 10 December 2015
When I noticed a copy of this in my local comic shop I just had to pick it up as it's been years since I either saw or read about this programme from the seventies. The missus grabbed it from me as soon as I got it out the plastic covering because the main star was non other than Patrick Duffy of Dallas fame.
Dallas never meant much to me, never heard of it until JR got shot and it was all over the papers. But this programme starring Bobby Ewing, I mean Patrick Duffy was a Saturday early evening treat that I used to watch before going to work.
Complete nonsense of course, but aren't all the fun programmes.
Man From Atlantis lasted for just 13 episodes which surprised me as I thought it lasted longer but despite having "kids" appeal it did not attract enough of an "adult" audience to make it a viable TV programme.
However it did spawn on British Annual and a Marvel Comics series, though the latter lasted just 7 issues.
As for the Annual itself?
Disappointing I have to say. No comic strips and only text features with a few photos. I must say if I had found a copy in my Christmas stocking my initial excitement would have been short lived.
Better to track down the Marvel comics version, sadly my shop didn't have any but I'll look out for them.
Finally a reminder of the shows opening credits!
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Marvel Two-In-One #11 (Marvel Comics)
Roy Thomas & Bill Mantlo (w) Bob Brown (a)
I was reminded of this comic after reading Stan Lees latest blog post These are the top 8 Jewish Super heroes this evening as not only did it star the mighty Thing but also featured the Golem from Jewish folklore.
The Golem (no, not the deformed Hobbit) was a magically animated being of matter (tone or mud) who was both a force to save and to destroy.
Prague Golem: Michal Maňas
During the seventies as the Comic Code Authority relaxed it's rules there was a big boom in horror comics. Amongst the ones produced by Marvel was a feature in Strange Tales # 174 to 177 simply called The Golem: The thing that walks like a man, published in 1974
The feature didn't last long but Golem did get to meet Ben Grimm (The Thing) in Marvel Two-In-One #11 a year later. Not a particularly memorable story but entertaining enough as Grimm and the Golem slug it out due to the manipulations of the inevitable demon seeking world domination.
The cover misleadingly shows the Golem speaking, which of course "he" never does. Silence is more Golem's style.
Oh and Happy Hanukkah!
Sunday, 6 December 2015
Dan Dare: The 2000AD Years Volume 1 (Rebellion)
Various (w) & (a)
This is not your grandfathers Dan Dare, or so Garth Ennis reminds us in the introductory essay.
Dan Dare was a character originally launched in the then (and now) defunct Eagle comic. Far from having the stiff upper lip and manners expected of a British officer from those different times, the Dare is a rebellious somewhat more action hero version of the classic character.
The Eagle had been discontinued in 1969 as sales fell but Dan Dare did survive in the newly merged Lion and Eagle until that title went the way of so many classic British comics. With the "new wave" of grittier comics now appearing in newsagents like Action and Battle, the newly launched 2000AD comic revived Dare for the late seventies.
This volume collects the early adventures of the "new" Dan Dare that appeared in the first fifty or so issues of 2000AD. These adventures are grimmer and far more frightening than the original fare as we see the Biogs come to our solar system to use mankind as "fuel" for their race.
But how did they arrive from distant parts of the galaxy with knowledge of Earth's existence?
Enter the instantly recognisable Mekon, the little power mad alien who has threatened Earth since Dare himself came on the scene.
A rebellious and discredited Dare is resurrected as a hero and sent into the Lost Worlds to seek out the mystery of the missing spaceships and colonists that have disappeared in this unexplored region of space.
His "army" is made up of 200 or so of the worst characters that the galaxy has to offer. And boy does he need them as episode after episode he meets a new threat.
The volume ends mid story and will be picked up in volume 2 which hopefully will not be too long in being published.
This book is an expensive hardback with over 320 over sized pages costing thirty quid, but well worth the price of entry.
Rebellion list the Progs that these adventures originally appeared in:
- Dan Dare (2000 AD Progs 01-11)
- Hollow World (2000 AD Progs 12-23)
- Legion (2000 AD Progs 28-33)
- Greenworld (2000 AD Progs 34-35)
- Star Slayer (2000 AD Progs 36-51)
- Dan Dare: Untitled (2000 AD Summer Special 1977)
- The Curse of Mytax (2000 AD Annual 1978)
- Visco (2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1978)
- Dan Dare: Untitled (Dan Dare Annual 1979)
- Dan Dare: The 2000 AD Origin (Dan Dare Annual 1979)
Saturday, 5 December 2015
As a youngster I became a big fan of DC comics which in those days were widely available in newsagents across the country. Superman, Batman, the Justice League and the Legion of Superheroes all ranked amongst my favourite characters.
These 12 cent imports cost 1/- which was expensive in comparison to British comics which cost about half the price.Hence the decision of DC to make a foray into the world of British comics publishing was more than welcome.
Super DC was launched after the collapse of Power Comics which had featured Marvel Comics superheroes and had a similar format to Fantastic and Terrific. The main difference being that DC's title featured complete stories reformatted for larger pages in black and white.
As would be expected Super DC featured Superman and his friends Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen along with Superboy. Batman filled the remaining pages. Most of these stories were from an earlier period in comics "silver age" and with reading habits being changed by Marvel may not have had the same appeal. Certainly the comic didn't last long, just 14 issues plus if I recall correctly a "special".
One of the other reasons this comic may have failed was it's price. Double that of it's British rivals and competing with itself as DC advertised and promoted the imports which were also eagerly grabbed by hardcore DC fans such as myself.
As far as I can remember I only purchased a couple of these which now seem quite quaint when compared to contemporary British comics such as Smash! published by IPC/Fleetway.
I've been trying to get hold of copies for a while and two (issues 5 & 6) turned up at my local comic shop in excellent condition.
A fine addition to anyone's collection if you can find them.