Monday, 29 May 2017
The latest of DC's animated movies hit the stores last week and I finally got around to watching it last night though maybe I should have saved it to see while May & Corbyn slug it out on TV for an hour and a half (Zzzz). Still this movie won't send you to sleep even if you know the plot from the comic book all those years back....
The Teen Titan are two teams in modern comics, the originals are just known as the Titans and are a bit of an anomaly in the modern DC universe. Wally's back and people don't remember him except of course the love that unites the Titans gives him hope.
This film creates it's own continuity and Starfire leads the team which contains not just Nightwing and Batmans son Damian but also Raven, the new Blue Beetle, Beast Boy and ....Terra?
The battle against Brother Blood and Deathstroke begins.
Who is the traitor?
Worth watching. Pick up your copy now and look out for the next movie, Vixen which should be in the shops soon.
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Tower of Shadows #6 (Marvel)
Various (w) & (a)
From 1970 hails an edition of Mighty Marvels horror/mystery title Tower of Shadows. I used to pick this up from the newsagents back in the day. Always been a fan of the genre and this issue contains three gems from Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Steve Skeates and Gene Colan.
Kicking off with Man in the Rat-Hole by Lee & Ditko from 1960 that tells the tale of a shrinking spy. Usual dramatic ending with a dilemma that cannot be resolved...or can it? What would you do!!
Next up is The Ghost-Beast with both story & art by Wally Wood. Beowulf comes to conquer and faces a mythical beast that causes madness in those that see it. Only when he thinks he's killed it does the story begin...and how Beowulf saves the day will horrify & amuse in equal measure.
Last up is The Scream Beyond by Skeates & Colan. A fast moving story of an ugly little man whose special effect recordings of accidents are caused by the real thing. But where is that sound coming from....? No I'm not giving away the ending. Pick up a copy if you come across one.
Tower of Shadows ran for 9 issues before having its title changed for no apparent reason to Creatures on the Loose.
Saturday, 27 May 2017
By the late seventies most of the comics I knew as a kid had gone. Lion had been merged with Valiant as had Smash, last of the "Power" range of comics along with TV21. In turn Valiant had been absorbed by newcomer Battle. Such was the way with British comics. Mergers were a way of bringing readers from a flagging title to another comic which featured "the best" of both.
A "new wave" of comics were hitting the stands as Fleetway/IPC tried to compete with Marvel UK in a changing world. Battle and Action were two such comics.
Action was a controversial title that had to be suspended" after just 36 issues due to its controversial content. Questions were even raised in Parliament. When it returned the stories were toned down and it was never the same again and lasted just under a year with 50 further editions before it was merged with Battle.
Action requires an post all of it's own one of these days....
Battle was a hard-hitting war comic which featured such oddities as Johnny Red, the tale of a pilot wrongly dismissed from the RAF who found himself fighting on the Eastern Front with a Hurricane fighter as part of the Soviet Air Force.
The combined edition contained what the "paper" called the "big seven". Spinball Wars, Dredger, Hellman, Major Eazy, The Sarge and of course Johnny Red.
I wasn't able to pick up the first merged issue so have started the run with the second issue and have to say it's a good comic updating the "boys comic" genre to a modern age.
Battle went on to last 664 issues before being absorbed by the second volume of the Eagle in 1988.
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Come the end of the school year we'd (amongst other things) all be looking forward to the summer special of our favourite comic and back in the day there were lots to choose from There were even one's for the girls!
Not to be left out 2000AD joined the fray with their "Sci-Fi" specials which were a mixture of new stories and reprints with a few features to keep us occupied for a while. This one issued in 1982 had a whopping 64 pages featuring of course Judge Dredd and other favourites such as Mach 1 (which went on to appear in Eagle (Vol 2), Invasion, Black Hawk (from Tornado), Rogue Trooper and Ace Trucking Co amongst others.
This edition also contains reprints of stories from the Daily Star which I'd never seen before.
The Sci Fi Special went on hiatus for a while there being 19 issues up until 1996 but was revived in 2014 and will hopefully be back on our newsstands this year given the success of their 2000th and 40th Anniversary editions!
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
I can't remember the last time I went to a comic shop other than 30th Century Comics in Putney but couldn't resist popping into Orbital Comics when I passed by whilst in Central London. I thought I'd have a look. Be rude not to I thought.
Glad I did as it turns out because I was able to pick up some backs issues of Savage Sword of Conan that I hadn't seen until now. These were editions close to the end of of this long lived titles run which I had been looking out for.
For some reason this issue was described as a "special anniversary edition", not entirely sure why, maybe it just had the number 25 in it probably. This was the nineties and comic publishing went somewhat awry during this period driving many long standing readers (including myself) away from the hobby.
The stories contained within were quite good, though nothing particularly special. Swords of Sukmet was a prequel to Red Nails featuring Valeria and a load of seemingly invulnerable cannibals. plus as a bonus Valeria of the Red Brotherhood which tells the origin tale of our heroine.
Worth picking up, but slightly spoilt by the nineties style pinup pages in between the stories. The early Image influence has a lot to answer for......
I noticed there was somewhat of a glut of Conan books, no less than four being published at the time. Bit of an overkill which perhaps weakened the franchise just that little bit to much and led to the demise of what was the longest running black & white comic magazine ever published. Pity. I love the format.
Sunday, 21 May 2017
World Reader #1 (Aftershock)
Jeff Loveness (w) Juan Doe (a)
Aftershock are a new entrant to the comics field and are bringing out a range of titles including the excellent Animosity set in a world where all the animals develop intelligence. It's worth keeping an eye out for their other publications as this one World Reader is also worth picking up.
This review is a wee bit late as my copy arrived in a damaged shipment and had to be (along with a number of other titles) be replaced. No matter as it was worth the wait and issue #2 arrived at the same time.
This is the story of a spaceship discovering that mankind was once not alone, but every civilisation they come across is no more. Something is killing life and the resident psychic is not taken seriously by the captain so Sarah takes matters into her own hands. Talking to ghosts can be dangerous.
Who is the faded man? Will Earth face the same fate? And why?
Issues #1 & #2 are on sale now.
Saturday, 20 May 2017
Whenever the words "great news inside" or a banner that says "together at last" appeared on the cover of comics it meant there was a merger and the latter named title had failed so the publishers were attempting to bring those readers to a another comic..
Thus we saw 2000AD absorb the short lived Tornado comic, which was actually a good comic but just didn't make the grade to survive.
2000AD was still a young title back in 1979 though Judge Dredd was already beginning to pick up a cult following. The comic had already merged with Starlord and was the lead title despite on that occasion being the lesser selling title.
The merger brought a strong lineup to 2000AD: Judge Dredd, Black Hawk, The Mind of Wolfie Smith and Disaster 1990. The other strip, ABC Warriors has it's fans but I'm not one of them. Oh and there was also Captain Kelp, a one page humour strip.
This was the last merger that 2000AD had despite other comics frantically swallowing each other up until this comic was the sole survivor.
2000AD and Tornado ran from prog 129 to 177.
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Red Sonja: The Long Road to Oblivion #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Erik Burnham (w) Tom Mandrake (a)
The new Red Sonja series is set in the modern world which gives her story a twist. I doubt if she'll stay here forever but for the time being it's great fun. So what exactly led to our flame haired heroine being trapped in the twenty-first century. And what other mysteries await Sonja?
This extra length one-shot from Dynamite tells the tale. Here's a preview.
And if you ask me that fella in the bar was lucky she only cut off his nose....
Monday, 15 May 2017
One of Britain's most enduring comic book characters is Judge Dredd a hard-line cop borderline fascist who lays down the law in Mega-City One. Adventure which mixes violence, satire and science fiction in the far future.
You really wouldn't want to live there.
However Dredd and the comic he appears in has caught the imagination of thousands of fans both in the UK and abroad for the past 40 years. 2000AD is the last British weekly adventure comic.
And of course in the past there were the Annuals of which this was the second (of 11) which features stories of Dredd and his supporting cast which then included Walter the Robot and Max Normal.
There's even a reprint of Dredd's first story from 2000AD #2!
Sunday, 14 May 2017
Valiant was one of my favourite comics when I was growing up and always looked forward to the Summer Specials and always grab a copy when I can.
This edition comes from Valiants last days (it merged with Battle in 1976) and contains a mixture of new material and reprints.
Old favourites like Captain Hurricane, Billy Bunter, Adam Eterno and Mowser are all here along with newer features like Paco (about a dog) and One-Eyed Jack a sort of twentieth Century Judge Dredd in New York.
Sadly no Steel Claw....
These specials continued despite the demise of the comic as did the annuals.
Sunday, 7 May 2017
Not to be confused with the British comic of the same name, Scream was a short-lived black & white comic magazine from Skywald in the early seventies. A companion to the publishers other mags Psycho & Nightmare this was of course a horror anthology.
I find these either difficult to track down or a bit pricey but occasionally a bargain can be found. And it's usually worth the entry!
This issue contains six stories kicking off with the ongoing story of Lady Satan in Satan Wants a Child in which a woman finds herself possessed and pregnant. Daddy turns out to be the Lord of Flies. Who knew?
The Oblong Box by Edgar Allan Poe follows and is as one might expect somewhat disturbing. Less interesting is The Skull of the Ghoul which despite it's title is a rather formulaic vampire tale.
However the issue picks up with the cover story The Legend of the Cannibal Werewolf. Interesting twist. Nuff said?
The three final tales include the disturbing tale The Lunatic Mummy, The Vampire Kingdom plus another gross ending with When The Dusk Falls So Does Death.
Go on grab a copy if you find one. The horrors are just fiction aren't they......
Thursday, 4 May 2017
Youngblood #1 (Image)
Chad Bowers (w) Jim Towe (a)
Here we go again. Yet another Youngblood series from Rob Liefeld. I've lost count of the number of relaunches reboots, remakes and updated redrawn and rescripts. None of them have ever finished, mots didn't make it past one or two issues before they disappeared off the publishing schedule.
Like most fans I get annoyed then resigned to the fact, swear I'll never buy another Liefeld comic and as soon as one is solicited off I send my order half expecting it to never arrive. This month the third issue of the series has been solicited. There's even a redraft of the first issue of Brigade which may or may not get published , but it's on my pull list.
Love him. Hate him. Liefeld never seems to give up and neither do we. I don't know why.
As for the story? There is one. Will it finish? Doubt it. Will I get annoyed again. Probably. Will I order yet another #1. Oh yeah, and I'll kick myself every time.
Oh and there's a back up story in this issue by Liefeld himself.
Enjoy while it lasts.
Tuesday, 2 May 2017
Dan Dare is the eponymous British Hero. Dashing, brave and a heart of gold, Dare defends the Earth along with his sidekick Digby against crime, alien fungus and of course the Mekon, overthrown dictator of the Treen. First appearing in the Eagle in 1950, his adventures spanned twenty years and several generations of children, some of whom never grew up and still read his adventures today.
This volume published by Hamlyn in 1981 was a great find and contains a range of short stories none of which I'd read before. Most of these adventures appeared in Eagle Annuals which outlived the comic itself and were published up until 1974 (cover-date 1975)
The stories in this volume are in no particular order but start with Operation Crusoe (1964), Fire in the Sky (1965), Operation Silence (1957), Space Race (1957), The Vanishing Scientists (1960?), Space Rocks (1966), Operation Moss (1958), The Men from S.T.E.A.L. (1967), The Unseen Enemy (1968), The Double Headed Eagle (1954), Operation Triceratops (1955) and The Solid Gold Asteroid (1962).
Worth grabbing a copy as it'll save money for Dare Fans who can't obtain every Annual!