Monday, 29 February 2016
The Gingerdead Man #1 (Action Lab Comics)
Brockton McKinney (w) Sergio Rios (a)
If you are a fan of those marvellous but entreatingly corny "B Movie" type horror films then this is the comic for you!
They brought a doll to life in Chucky but worse still in this story convicted killer Millard Findlemeyer returns to the world of the living as a psychopathic cookie.
Yeah sounds ridiculous but here is a three issue mini-series to appal and entertain you!
When I ordered this from Previews I didn't know there had been a film about The Gingerdead Man let alone three. The whole idea seemed so absurd I just had to buy and I have to say I wasn't disappointed! With strong (adult) dialogue an matching artwork this was an entertaining read.
So if you go down to a long deserted bakers, don't use the cookie mix, you never know what might happen......especially when there's a little black magic involved!
On sale at your local comic shop now, if not order it! There's trade paperback of the complete series in the latest Previews catalogue. Go on you know you want to!
Oh and here's the trailer for the original movie never released in the UK (as far as I know).....
Grab a glass of milk now!
Sunday, 28 February 2016
There are certain comics that I remember having as a child and this Buster Book cover dated 1966, but actually issued in 1965 was one of them. What I didn't recall was that unlike most British annuals these were published in paperback rather than the usual hardback format which explains why any remaining good condition copies are a little pricey.
However if you have the opportunity to pick a copy of this book do so, you will not be disappointed. Besides Buster himself you also have tales of Johnny Samson, Charlie Peace, Willie Marvel and his Talking Cat, Rob Roy, Brett Shane: Frontier Scout and more.
Along with TV based comedy with Charlie Drake, Jimmy Edwards in Whacko and original strips like Sonny Boy these were a "must have"back in the sixties.
The annuals or "books" as Fleetway marketed them ran from 1962 to 1994.
Saturday, 27 February 2016
It's a long time since I saw an advert for a comic on TV (Eaglemoss collections aside) so thought I'd share this with you from 1977. 2000AD is the last of the British weekly "adventure" comics still going along with it's sister publication the Monthly Judge Dredd Megazine.
Next year will be the fortieth anniversary. Oy vey do I feel old!
Next year will be the fortieth anniversary. Oy vey do I feel old!
Tuesday, 23 February 2016
One of the great joys of summer was being able to pick up a giant sized edition of your favourite comic. Lion was one of the better boys comics which produced no less than 17 of these between 1967 and 1980.
What is even more remarkable was that the comic itself had ceased being published in 1974 when it was merged with Valiant, then IPC/Fleetway's flagship title.
These are difficult to find and in good condition generally more expensive than the annuals due to there being taken on holiday, subsequently damaged or left behind on the beach or in the back of the car!
The 1980 Holiday Special was to be the last, but was or is a cracking read. The lead story as seen on the cover was a meeting of two old Lion favourite Archie and the reformed villain The Spider which was presented in two parts inside.
Also of note was a lengthy Black Max feature which for the uninitiated was a story set in the Great War about an RAF pilots battle against giant bats. Yes you read right! Originally appeared in the short-lived Thunder comic which merged with Lion in the early seventies.
There's also three adventure with Zip Nolan, motorcycle cop, some comedy with Mowser and The Spooks of St Lukes plus a whole wrath of features including a look at the second Star Wars movie.
Grab a copy of this or any other Lion Holiday Special if you get the chance!
Monday, 22 February 2016
Tomb Raider #1 (Dark Horse)
Mariko Tamaki (w) Phillip Sevy (a)
Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider returns in a new (second) series to Dark Horse comics and the search is on for a mushroom. Yes you read that right. It's a mushroom that bestows immortality apparently and Lara isn't interested until a man asking for her help is killed and some nasty looking men turn up.
The game is on...
Tomb Raider started life as one of those computer games that I've never played but came to us in both film (with the gorgeous Angelina Jolie) and comics with a Top Cow version that lasted some time and crossed over with the likes of the now Witchblade.
The latest version is more akin to what I would expect of the character outside the previous "Top Cow" universe version and the first issue is well worth reading. Makes a change from the superhero world that most comics revolve around these days.
Here's a short preview courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.
Sunday, 21 February 2016
Over the years there have been a number of short lived comics on the British market and Jet was one of these launching in May 1971 and lasting just 22 issues before merging with the long running Buster. This was a comic that passed me by when it came out but it's actually rather good and a shame it didn't last longer.
Jet opens with Von Hoffman's Invasion an offbeat story about a mad Nazi scientist who after spending 25 years in prison for his crimes is released into the modern world and decides to have his revenge on old blighty. His weapon? Enlarging gas that he uses not just to create monstrosities out of local insects and other wild life but is somehow able to control these creatures with his voice.
This popular strip lasted into the merger with Buster so may be remembered by those who didn't get Jet at the time.
Other features included The Sludgemouth Sloggers about a town that lives in permanent rain and is going broke who enter a competition to change their fortunes, Partridges Patch which tells yarns of a village copper and his dog unappreciated by his career orientated boss and the inevitable world war two story Sergeants Four.
Paddy McGinty's Goat comes up next and is about an alien stuck in Ireland who changes himself into a goat to escape detection. The stuff British comics were made of!
Humour in the form of The Kids of Stalag 41 takes the full colour centre pages and is exactly what the title suggests. The Germans have not reckoned with the antics of British school children!
This beng a the era of Wacky Races sees a bizarre car race take place in jolly old England in Crazy Car Capers. There's a footy story (which I always skip) Adare's Anglians, more humour from Faceache, Athletics with the Kester Kid, and adventure with Bala the Briton set in ancient times.
Overall well worth a read. Some strips lasted a little longer in Buster and there was one Annual published that year. Deserved a longer life.
Saturday, 20 February 2016
One of the more unusual Marvel UK comics was the short-lived Forces In Combat which featured a number of second if not "third tier" characters. Release in May 1980 it lasted just 37 weeks but for those of you interested in non-superhero fare this isn't a bad comic.
Leading off with Sgt Fury and his Howling Commando's, there was science fiction with ROM, based on a short-lived Hasboro toy of the same name which actually was a very good comic that in the US outlasted the toy itself.
For western fans there was the Rawhide Kid, and in a sign of the times Master of Kung Fu also got a feature.
Other than ROM, the other outstanding feature was the Steve Ditko version of Machine Man. This character originated in Marvels adaptation of 2001 A Space Odyssey and was created by Jack Kirby. Ditko's reboot didn't last long but brought Aaron Stack into the mainstream Marvel universe.
Other strips included Kull, the deposed King of Atlantis, and Lifeboat. There's also a reprint of Wulf a twenty year old colour adventure that "our fathers would have read according to the introduction. This was originally published in Express Weekly, a comic I am not familiar with.
With all the competition for everyone's pocket money this comic never found the audience it needed to survive. Nevertheless worth a dip. I was lucky enough to get a copy with the free gift still inside. A large sticker with a picture of a Matilda tank.
Sunday, 14 February 2016
One of the comic "oddities of the sixties was the short-lived Super DC published monthly directly by DC comics themselves rather than their material appearing in established British comics as both the Alan Class and Power Comics lines had done.
Super DC lasted just 14 monthly issues costing 1/- but was quite good value in terms of the amount of stories contained inside each issue along with text stories, features and letters. Surprisingly this last issue didn't even tell readers that this was the end. A fans letter requesting more (of everything) wasn't even responded to. Sad really.
Unlike the early issues which had quite bad covers which were almost always the same, the later comics had a more inviting front page picture but alas too late to make a difference.
The stories featured Superman, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and of course Batman. Almost completely out of place was a two page text story about football. Go figure.
The title had one more surprise for readers as a "Bumper Book" appeared in time for Christmas. An Annual really and too slim to be called "bumper" by any stretch of the imagination.
It wasn't until 1980 that another attempt to break DC into the British market would take place, by which time their rivals Marvel were well established.
Saturday, 13 February 2016
As the comics market changed at the beginning of the nineties so did the Eagle which went through a major makeover. Gone was the newsprint, mainly black & white, mainly comic content. In came the glossy nearly all colour comic with magazine features that marked the final years of the second run of Britain's most famous comic, The New Eagle
The announcement made by computer editor "Max" (from The Thirteenth Floor strip that was the longest surviving story from the short-lived Scream comic) was made the week before as all the strips were brought to an end.
Not all satisfactorily I have to say!
However The New Eagle was worth the extra price of entry, up a whopping 13 pence to 45p. Four full colour pages of Dan Dare (the original one now returned as his descendant had been sidelined), along with Computer Warrior which featured readers playing the games, The Eagle One Off (short stories) and Dark Angels (a group of kids on skateboards).
The comic almost returned to it's roots having educational features on science, pop music and culture but also featured the Eagle cut-out picture featuring amongst other things diagrams of Polaris carrying submarines. Rather relevant to today's debates kids!
I was lucky enough to pick up the first three issues of this run which would last until the Eagle made it's last stand as a monthly starting the following year.
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
One of the most famous and long running British comics is the pocket book size Commando published by DC Thomson, who also issue The Beano which is now the worlds longest running comic book. Both of these titles survive on our newsagents shelves to this day.
Commando has four issues published every fortnight which includes two new stories along with one "silver" reprint from 25 years ago and one "gold" featuring a story from the earlier days of this great comic.
Back in the sixties and seventies this was just one of a whole range of "pocket book" libraries that we used to buy and swap with our mates. These little comics always had a complete self contained story and were always more gritty than their American (or weekly British) counterparts because the heroes didn't always survive.
While most of these titles (including Commando) focused on the Second World War, there were stories from other conflicts over the years mainly the First World War, but also Korea and in more modern times tales from further back in history such as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. amongst others.
There were also science fiction stories and one series about a lost Roman Legion which I'll leave for another day.
The Wrong Enemy (Commando #4886) is a tale about an Italian soldier and his change of sides from fighting the British in North Africa to the Nazi's in his home country. This story was originally published in 1991 and like all the reprints carries a disclaimer about politically incorrect language.
There's certainly plenty of these to collect given the numbering will reach 5000 issues later this year and with the variety of conflicts covered there should be something for everyone to enjoy.
Sunday, 7 February 2016
The first memory of actually being given a comic of any sort was when my father brought home a copy of Wham! #1 which was back in 1964 when I was around six or seven. This wasn't the first comic I had or read but the beginning of an interest that I have pursued for most of my life (with a couple of inevitable gaps) until my late childhood as I approach 60.
As a child growing up in the sixties entertainment was somewhat limited. Only two TV channels until BBC 2 came on the scene and other than Saturday mornings/lunchtimes not much to watch there either and there was no Internet. Even the science fiction novels I began to read later on didn't even reference such a thing and the use of "video phones" was clearly in the world of fiction.
How little we knew then..
However there was one form of entertainment readily available in every newsagents in town.
There were lots of them too. I became a major fan of what eventually turned into the "Power Comics" line of which Wham! was just the first. Smash! and Pow! were soon to appear. But these were not the only comics either available or that I read.
One of my earliest interests were American comics which unlike British ones were in full colour and featured the adventures of Superman, Batman, Hawkman and many others that have over the years remained staple favourites.
There were also the early Marvel comics and I was introduced to them in the main through their great value reprint titles such as Marvel Collectors Item Classics and Marvel Tales. These contained the early adventures of the Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange and the Ditko drawn Spider-Man who in my opinion was the best artist old Spidey ever had.
DC published their 80 Page Giants and other publishers appeared in the spinning racks our newsagents use to have that attracted this young reader to the joys of The Fly and The Mighty Crusaders (Archie), Blue Beetle and Captain Atom (Charlton) and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents amongst others.
British comics were aplenty. I often purchased stalwarts such as Lion, Valiant and TV 21 but in those days there were far to many to choose from (we should be so lucky today!).
For a giggle The Beezer, Topper and Buster also joined the growing pile in my room. Sadly like so many others these did not stay with me after childhood. A common complaint of my generation.
As a kid I didn't realise how lucky we were in the UK. Not only did we get American comics we had our own. The variety on the market was fantastic. Every genre was covered from war (in those little pocket size editions that used to get passed around) to sports, not my cup of tea but highly popular with my mates.
Then there were the Summer Specials and Annuals which appeared during the summer holidays and Christmas respectively.
As you might expect Wham! and Smash! annuals were on my list to Santa every year.
My interest in comics waned in the early seventies but both Cor!! and Whizzer and Chips made their way into my hands.
For me and many others, the sixties this was a true golden age of comics.