Sunday, 27 November 2016
Dan Dare: The 2000AD Years Volume 2 (Rebellion)
Various (w) & (a)
At long last the second and final volume of the adventures of a resurrected Dan Dare, 2000AD style has hit the shelves and well worth the wait it was. A rather weighty tome which not only collects all the stories from the comic itself, but also the material from the annuals! Pricey at thirty quid but collecting the original comics would not only cost more but may prove time consuming and difficult especially if like me you only want the Dare stories.
This volume collects Dan Dare from 2000AD Progs 52 to 126 plus material from the 2000AD Sci Fi Special 1979 and the 1979 & 1980 Dan Dare Annuals.
Dare faces up to continuing threats across the galactic area known as the "lost planets including telepathic aliens, a nightmare world, icebound space squids and even a mutiny from his own crew. But the bulk of the book is devoted to the return of the evil Mekon.
Sdaly this version of Dan Dare comes to an end though Dare or at least his great grandson will reappear in the relaunched Eagle done in a much more "traditional Style".
But fear not Though the Eagle is no more Dan Dare returns in comic form. Look out for it in Previews next week from British publishers, Titan Comics.
Saturday, 26 November 2016
The Jetsons (Charlton Comics)
No credits (w) & (a)
Another trip down memory lane, this time with The Jetsons a wonderful cartoon we used to watch on TV around tea time back when we were young. Set in the far future of the 21st Century this was the tale of the Jetson family as seen through somewhat rose-tinted lenses as hope was the mark of the sixties.
Created by Hanna-Barbera after their success with The Flintstones this series ran from 1962 t0 1963 and was revived in the eighties making up a total of 75 episodes. There was also a movie which I managed to watch on You Tube a few weeks ago.
The first comic book series was published by Gold Key from 1962 to 1970 and ran for 36 issues. The licence was then picked up by Charlton who published a further 20 issues. OK this was for kids, but like the Flintstones did have a wider appeal.
I came across this short documentary about the Jetsons featuring interviews with William Hanna and Joseph Barbera which gives you a flavour of the ideas and concepts behind the creation of this fondly remembered cartoon.
Friday, 25 November 2016
Space 1999 (Charlton Comics)
John Byrne (a)
One of the programmes I used to look forward to on a Saturday morning back in the seventies was Gerry Anderson's live action show Space 1999. The story of a colony on the moon who get rocketed out of the solar system at a colossal speed following an explosion of nuclear waste on the far side of the Moon. The adventures begin...
Meeting all sorts of aliens as they traverse the cosmos the show lasted two seasons with a total of 48 shows. In the UK the series spawned a weekly comic strip in ITV's Look-In magazine. In the USA the licence was picked by Charlton Comics.
I have been on the lookout for copies of the Charlton Comics version for some time. There were in fact two different series. This one was a "four color" comic which lasted 7 issues between 1976 and aimed at the younger market. The other (which I have yet to find) was a black & white magazine sized comic aimed at older readers which also lasted just 7 issues.
The comic contains art by none other than John Byrne who had previously created Doomsday +1 for Charlton. Byrne of course would later become famous for his stellar work on the New X-Men and the Fantastic Four. As a result this comic is of a much higher standard than much of Charlton's other varied output. You have to remember they produced comics more to keep their presses rolling than anything else, paid their creators poorly, even Steve Ditko (who it is said did get more than the others) and had comparatively low production standards using poor quality paper.
Nonetheless I remain a fan of Charlton's output mainly because it was not just varied but had less editorial interference than other publishers.
Finally for those too young or others like myself who are getting longer in the tooth here's the very first episode. Pity they didn't do more, both TV programmes and comics.
Sunday, 20 November 2016
Conan The Reaver (Graphic Novel) Marvel Comics
Don Kraar (w) John Severin (a)
The advent of the original graphic novel led to Marvel producing a run of no less than 75 magazine style editions between the eighties and the nineties of which three featured Conan the Barbarian, one of Marvels big sellers. These tales were pretty average for Conan and did not have the more adult content that one would expect of The Savage Sword of Conan magazine.
Nevertheless this edition is a solid read seeing Conan as King of the Thieves and planning to rob a dying King who figures out Conan is a bit of a rogue, but an honorable one. Promising to save the Kings young wife and her bastard son, Conan gets embroiled in yet another adventure from which he he puts his barbarian honour before profit.
Worth picking up if you can find them and not too expensive.
Saturday, 19 November 2016
Giant Size Fantastic Four #3 (Marvel Comics)
Gerry Conway/Marv Wolfman (w) Rich Buckler/Joe Sinnott (a)
The Fantastic Four provided the fictional "spine" around which the Marvel Universe was created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby. Sadly the comic is no more, having been put on hiatus because the company want the franchise back for movie making or so the story goes. The fact sales had drastically slipped didn't help either.
However back in the seventies the Fantastic Four could be relied on to provide a good yarn month after month along with The Thing getting his team up up series in the form of Marvel Two-In-One. Marvel also gave their first family a Giant Size quarterly edition which featured a new 30 page adventure plus a bargain basement reprint.
Lasting for four issues these are great fun to read.
In #3 the FF meet the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who have returned to earth after being beaten and exiled in disgrace. Only the Fab Four can stop them! Nuff said.
The back-up reprint is a reprint of Fantastic Four #21 in which the team face The Hate-monger who turns out to be..Hitler or one of his doubles? Guest stars Sgt Fury.
Thursday, 17 November 2016
The Dandy is one of the most famous British comics ever published running from December 1937 until December 2012 for an incredible 3610 issues. Korky the Cat and his pals entertained countless generations of children. Only the Beano and The Eagle (for older readers) can lay claim to having such a presence amongst young minds over the years.
Produced by Scottish family publishers DC Thompson the comic also saw no less than 79 Annuals which even continue to this day and the latest is the shops as I write. This particular edition cover dated 1975 would have been released in the run up to Christmas 1974, the year I left school though by then the Dandy was not on my reading list.
Featuring the adventures of Desperate Dan, Smasher, Dirty Dick, Bully Beef and Chips plus Corporal Clott amongst others will bring back memories of the world when life was simpler.
Monday, 14 November 2016
Tomahawk #100 (DC)
No credits (w) & (a)
One of the long running comics produced by National/DC Comics was Tomahawk, the tales of a soldier set during the American Revolution or War of Independence whatever your history teacher called it. I recall reading just the one issue as a lad and being British (and proud of it) I was none too happy at the depiction of us Brits as the bad guys.
However history is not as simple as seen through the eyes of a child and the actions of King George III & his ministers led to the revolt in the colonies, creating the nation now known as the United States of America. That is history.
Tomahawk of course is fiction and some of the scrapes were, well unbelievable and not based on historical event. In this edition he turns into a "Giant Liquid Man" as the result of the beating of a sacred Indian drum.
In other issues he faced various monsters, cavemen flying pterodactyls as well as us Brits and a more than a few hostile Injuns.....
Running from 1950 until 1970, the comic abruptly changed into Son of Tomahawk for the rest of it's run finally ending in 1972.
Sunday, 13 November 2016
One of the first "mature readers" titles on the market was Warren Publishing's Creepy magazine which lasted 145 issues from 1964 to 1983. Published bi-monthly at first then increasing to 9 issues per year Creepy was one of three stable titles that Warren produced, the others being Eerie and Vampirella.
In 1978 Creepy reached its 100th issue with a wonderful Cthulhu inspired cover by Bob Larkin. This issue contained no less than eight stories of varying interest.
Starting with The Pit at the Centre of the Earth our two heroes Sebastian and Jill are engaged in a firefight over the worlds declining resources. Trouble is that the bombing brings forth the fifth element which will ultimately destroy the owrld.
And they can warn no one.
Much more "creepy" was Professor Duffer and the Insuperable Myron Meek. An artificial construct as a comedian. Nothing could go wrong, right? Except Myron finds love via a prop from an old movie...
Tale of a Fox is set in ancient China where a plot to usurp a throne involving a Princess goes awry due to the power to turn into a fox.
Science fiction short "Nobody's home" follows and tell of a alien trying to make contact with us despite such acts being banned by law. Does he make it? Do we notice? Nah. All for nothing.
This issues colour supplement tells of a barbarian a wizard and demon though not all is as it seems in Winner Takes All.
Hellhound is one of the more original tales with a good ending that I won't give away
For me the issue is let down by the last two stories which do not appeal Whisper of the Dark Eyes and They're going to be Turning Out the Lights. Depends on individual tastes I suppose, an iherent problem with anthology titles.
Still over-all a good issue to collect
Saturday, 12 November 2016
One of the best but short-lived British comics was Scream!, fondly remembered despite lasting just 15 issues before being merged or absorbed into the Eagle. This wasn't the end though as no less than four oversized Holiday Specials appeared between 1985 and 1988.
Like most "Holiday" or "Summer" specials these are difficult to get and are usually pricey in comparison, but I decided to treat myself after being laid up with illness for the past week or so.
This edition contained stories of Dracula (their version from the on-going comic) plus Tales from the Thirteenth Floor featuring Max the overprotective computer including a reprint of his origin for those who may have missed it.
There are a number of short "one off" tales such as The Witch, Food for Thought and and Dead Wrong plus humour from Fiends & Neighbours which although appeared in Scream! was from another IPC title.
These specials are worth picking up if you can find 'em.
Now Rebellion has the licence maybe they'll try a new run. We can only hope!!!
Monday, 7 November 2016
Land of the Giants #4 (Gold Key)
No credits (w) or (a)
One of the more fondly remembered TV shows from my misspent youth was Land of the Giants, a wonderful production from Irwin Allen who also produced other cracking shows such as Lost In Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. This story saw a band of travellers pass through a space warp into a parallel dimension where everything was so much bigger.
The world inhabited by the giants was similar to Earth but had a sort of fascist government who were aware of previous visitors from Earth, most of whom did not survive for long. The crews weekly battel for survival entralled us in an age when special effects were not as sophisticated as they are today.
The show only lasted two seasons 1968 to 1970 with 51 episodes and sadly was never concluded but had an enjoyable run.
Gold Key's comic series was short lived having just a five issue run with material that was like most of it's publications pretty standard fare for the day. Difficult to find in the UK, most people will probably remember the comic strip that appeared in Joe 90.
This post is dedicated to Don Marshall who recently passed away.
Thanks for all the entertainment RIP
Sunday, 6 November 2016
The Invaders (Gold Key)
No credits (w) & (a)
One of the often overlooked publishers of the sixties is Gold Key, who actually put out a ton of material from all genres, especially adaptations of TV programmes. The Invaders was one such short lived title published to coincide with the TV programme of the same name. The comic lasted 4 issues, the TV show two seasons and 43 episodes.
The background? Aliens from a dying planet taking human form to wipe out humanity and claim planet Earth as their own. One man David Vincent (played by Roy Thinnes) became aware and made it his mission to warn mankind.
Trouble is no believed him until it was nearly too late in each episode and one or two people at a time he gained support. However that was part of the problem. David Vincent always managed to turn up and defeat them which was kind of difficult to believe which was why this show never had a proper ending. It got kind of monotonous.
As a young child I recall watching this more because it was on the telly rather than being a big fan and the repeats of the Horror Channel have long passed below my radar of interest.
The comic is a fair enough representation of what the show had to offer but with all the competition out there in the silver age of comics this title did not last.
For those of you who are old enough to remember are the opening credits which seemed to promise more than the programme ever delivered.