Wednesday, 30 August 2017
The latest issue of 2000AD hit the newsstands today and does not disappoint as the Judge Dredd story War Buds continues as some of the "Apocalypse team" try to rescue there buddy from euthanasia. Things are starting to go wrong.
I'm not familiar with the alternative history story set in the magical world of Hope but it gets a bit saucy in this issue as the dominatrix takes stage in this instalment. They didn't make comics like this back in the sixties. Well not one my parents would have let me buy anyway!
All the current story lines will wrap up by prog 2049 as prog 2050 is going to be an extra-large jumping on issue.
Which brings me to the Collected 2000AD books. I gave in and purchased the first issue (which is number 32 in the collected series as I don't have the issues with Slaine: The Thorned God and and for just £1.99 this was an opportunity too good to miss.
Don't expect and Dredd stories as he had his own collected editions which ran for 70 issues and the last one is due out shortly I believe as #69
Sunday, 27 August 2017
One of Warrens shortest running titles Blazing Combat turned out to be it's most controversial release because of a strong anti-war theme running throughout the magazine. The distributors and retailers were not only refusing to stock it but threatening to boycott his other titles effectively putting the company out of business.
So much for freedom of speech and expression in the land of the free. However this was the sixties, the USA was at war and the anti-war movement was a problem for the establishment. Even in the UK there was a movement against American involvement in Vietnam. The far-left and pacifist movement demonstrated outside the US Embassy in 1966.
A riot followed as Trotskyists led by Tariq Ali broke away from the main march. Similar events took place across the USA. Feelings were running high so James Warrens decision to publish this comic magazine was a brave one and was a moment he remained proud of.
Politics out of the way this actually is a splendid magazine. Most American war comics are a bit too "gung ho" for me. These gritty tales with excellent artwork are a joy to read.
There are four issues to collect or if you can find a copy Fantagraphics published a hardback collection back in 2009.
The launch of a new multi-part collection of 2000AD stories has been at the centre of much discussion on social media by comics fans. Hey it was even advertised on TV so may bring some "civilians" back to the hobby. This collection is the second 2000AD related project Eaglemoss having already published a long running Judge Dredd series.
To be fair these volumes are good value and if for those who want to read comics but can't be bothered with the whole "collecting thing" these are a great way to read complete stories. And the first volume features Slaine in The Horned God a classic story.
I won't be getting these volumes as I prefer to read the originals but thought since there was some interest in Slaine at the moment it was time to look at some of his other adventures.
Set in Ireland in the days before the floods Slaine originally appeared in prog 330 back in 1982 along with his treacherous little sidekick Ukko the dwarf. These were Celtic times from prehistory and the world was with magic, dragons demons and druids, the latter being a right bunch of evil bastards.
In prog 1100 we see an adventure in which Slaine tried to remain in his warped state channelling the power of the the Earth through his being and leaving humanity behind. Shunning his comrades and his wife & lover Niamh Slaine negates his responsibilities to his tribe to look after the creatures of the forest.
Such a luxury is not to be as a rebel druid and his Skull Swords appear in the forest threatening both Slaine and the very survival of his tribe. Slaine must return to human existence to save the day.
The whole issue is dedicated to this one Slain story and is well worth picking up. Slaine is one of my top three 2000AD features, the others being Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog.
Saturday, 26 August 2017
The latest addition to my small but growing collection of Skywald's horror output is Psycho #13 which I picked up purely because of the number....Thirteen! Unlucky for some perhaps but not for a reader wanting some bizarre horror tales to read when the mood takes!
A woman looking to continue her immortality gets her comeuppance when she tries to make victims of three men in the Himalayan Mountains. Her fellow passengers are also not what they seem in The Day Satan Died.
Next up is Monster, Monster in the Grave a pretty average Werewolf story to be honest but Lets All Drink to the Death of a Clown which follows is both weird and scary. Clowns are funny aren't they?
The regular adventures of The Heap turn up next but this one asks readers if they want any more and there's a coupon to return to the publishers. No idea of the outcome. As I collect later issues guess I'll find out.
Cannibalism is the theme of the twisted two page tale that comes next and then some science-fiction. The Horror Within and Without is a tale of humanity and war gone mad. Did I mention the computer?
This issue finishes off with three tales The Raven, a two page shocker and there be flies in The Taste of Carrion. Finally two pages bring The Mummy back to life.
Overall a mixed bag but a solid read.
Keep that light on kids....
Wednesday, 23 August 2017
The latest issue of 2000AD hit the newsagents today and what a surprise the lead story turned out to be! Older readers, even lapsed ones will remember the 25 part Apocalypse War which ran in progs 245 to 270 (sans one issue when they got behind).
East Meg City One attacked Mega City first by trying to poison the inhabitants and then in an all out nuclear strike and invasion killing 400 million people and destroying about two-thirds of the city.
A war the Judges nearly lost except for the actions of Judge Dredd and his hand picked team to sneak through East Meg City's defences and use the Sovs own weapons to destroy their enemy.
Ever what happened to the team other than Dredd and Judge Anderson? Now the tale can be told and it it ain't a pleasant one. Judge Costa is now insane. Full of self hate and self harm. The guilt of destroying all those babies lives has destroyed the man. Only one of his old friends visits him and the doctors looking after Costa want to carry out euthanasia.
Enter the old team. Will they let this happen even though Dredd has agreed to the doctor's actions? Where will this all end. War Buds is an epic in the making one hopes.
Also starting this issue is a three part Tharg 3riller Mechastophles set after the fall......
Other regular features continue as the enemy is made known in The Alienist, The Grey Suits catch up with another episode and the magician wakes from his slumber to find he's been robbed. That damned woman buggered off with something important. Hope has another chapter.
Sunday, 20 August 2017
One of Marvel's more eclectic titles produced for the British market was Savage Action which launched in November 1980 featuring The Punisher, Dominic Fortune and Moon Knight. These were stories not from the four colour monthlies. The Punisher story came from the adult orientated one shot Marvel Super Action and Dominic Fortune from Marvel Preview. I'm not sure about Moon Knight as I've never been a fan and not read much of the characters appearances.
This issue is worth buying for the Punisher story alone which continues in issues #2 & #3 and are now on my personal "want list".
There's also a text feature of Night Raven which doesn't appeal. I have never understood why comic publishers felt the need to do these other than as cheap space fillers.
Savage Action went on to feature quite a lot of material from Marvel Preview, a magazine firmly aimed at the older reader in the states. Blade, Man Thing, Man God and in the last issue horror.
The exception to this was Ka-Zar, Marvel's "Tarzan" set in the hidden land inside Antarctica with dinosaurs, monsters and aliens. These tales were from the "normal" monthly Ka-Zar The Savage.
Lasting just 15 monthly issues Savage Action merged with Marvel Superheroes (as of #382) with only the Night Raven feature surviving. An interesting experiment but I'm more inclined to collect the Marvel Preview issues other than the Punisher one-shot which is difficult to find and generally quite expensive.
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
The latest issue of the Judge Dredd Megazine hit the newsagents and specialist comic shops today and what a special issue this is turning out to be. Not only is there the usual Judge Dredd and Anderson tales, the Dark Judges also make their appearance in part two of Dominion. What makes this issue special is the supplement.
Sometimes a hit and miss part of the package this one featuring the never before reprinted story The Lawless Touch from Tornado issues 11 to 22 plus a short story from the Tornado Annual 1981. This was a short lived comic (only lasted 22 issues) which merged with 2000AD back in prog 129 (Sept 1979).
The Megazines editor tells us to look out for more "lost classics from the Ergmont archive being showcased here in the future. That combined with Rebellions programme of reprinting collected classics in their Treasury of British Comics series will showcase material for not just us oldies but a whole new generation of readers.
Along with the forthcoming Scream & Misty all-new special in October a sort of mini-revival is going on for us Brits and not before time too!
Also out this week is the latest issue of 2000AD. Grab your copies of these gems now!
Difficulty in getting a copy? There's always a subscription: https://shop.2000ad.com/catalogue/subscriptions
Sunday, 13 August 2017
Valour was one of Marvel UK's short lived titles which lasted just 19 issues. It did however produce a one-off Winter Special which is well worth picking up if you come across a copy. This issue contains two complete stories with Thor and Doctor Strange plus some colour "pin-ups" of the stars of the comic.
The extra long story Thunder over Troy sees a young Thor taking his wicked brother back to Asgard for punishment (as usual) when both of them disappear and Thor finds himself rescuing a young man who it turns out is from the ill-fated city of Troy.
With no memory of who he is or where he is from Thor declines at first to aid the besieged city despite the pleas from his new found friend Aeneas. But Thor needs to tread carefully. This realm is under the protection of other gods. The Gods of Olympus.
Inevitably Zeus discovers Thor's presence and several misunderstandings with fighting between men & gods and Thor & Zeus, the young Asgardian makes his way home unaware that his evil brother has left behind the suggestion on how the Greeks (or Argives) can penetrate the great walled city.
Only Loki eh.
The second shorter feature with art by Gene Colan (which I always think looks better in black & white) sees Doctor Strange take on the demon "god" N'Garai.
Splendid stuff that Marvel just doesn't do right anymore if you ask me.
Saturday, 12 August 2017
With the upcoming release of a Scream & Misty Special for Halloween I thought I'd pick up a copy of this one-off release from the publishers of 2000AD back in the early nineties which featured a whole range of old British comic book characters from long gone comics.
Starting with The Steel Claw from Valiant in the sixties our invisible anti-hero takes on the role of government assassin in this short story. Not bad. This is followed by the spooky Cursitor Doom from the pages of the post Power Comics SMASH! when it was turned into a more traditional "boys paper". The tale The Man Who Died Every Day showed a potential for this short lived feature which only lasted around six months despite excellent artwork by Eric Bradbury.
Up next was another refugee from Valiant in the form of Kelly's Eye who along with Robot Archie did actually appear in 2000AD, albeit the latters was very brief in Zenith.
The best story by far was the re-imagining of The Spider who turns into a British version of The Joker in this violent little tale in which the villain escapes prison. Watch out for the sequence amongst the down & outs where a certain retired soldier weaves wild tales to a young boy with a snake and a superhero has stitched his costume to his body to prevent his secret identity being exposed.
Finishing off is a tale of the crusading Doctor Sin in The Strange Case of the Wyndham Demon which is very British and takes the proverbial out of the Mary Whitehouse brigade.
The only story not up to scratch in this compendium was the oddly Kirbyesque Mytek The Mighty but then I was never a particular fan of that one.....
Sadly the copyright to most if not all these characters is held by DC/Warner Brothers so these probably won't see the light of day for a while.
However Rebellion has plenty of other goodies from the wonderful world of British comics to re-release and re-imagine.
Vampirella was the final "core" title of Warren Publishing released in 1969 and whilst horror orientated was to become something a little different to Creepy or Eerie. Vampirella was the name of the host who was to morph into a super-heroine that still gets published today!
Some years back I obtained a reprint of the first issue which is ferreted away somewhere but couldn't resist picking up a reasonably priced copy of the second issue. Vampi isn't quite herself yet so to speak. In this issue she's very the host but a bit more involved than Uncle Creepy or Cousin Eerie.
There are no less than seven stories in this excellent issue from a variety of writers and artists kicking off with Evily supposedly Vampirella's evil cousin who gets her comeuppance at the hands of our heroine. Not sure if she ever got her revenge.
Montezuma's Monster follows up with Vampi introducing the story in traditional Aztec dress or at least what the artist thought a native woman would be wearing. An average tale of greed and a well deserved fate.
Down to Earth featuring Vampi as the central character is up next and not all goes well in her search for stardom.
Queen of Horror follows on and although the reader should have seen the inevitable twist coming this is a great story.
The Octopus is one of those house oddities produced by Warren writers and sees how a father protects his children even after death. Still not sure how the evil uncle turned into a giant octopus but this is a supernatural tale is it not....
A tragic tale of a love that should not exist is the theme of One Two, Three and a sad ending it has to. My favourite story from this issue.
And finally hidden behind more than a few ad pages is the inevitable vampire tale Rhapsody in Red, though the Countess didn't count on this outcome!
Terrific stuff that would lead to a run totalling 113 issues before Warren closed up shop.
Sunday, 6 August 2017
The Phantom #1 (Hermes Press)
Ian Herman & Ron Goulart (w) Sean Joyce (a)
John F Kennedy, a PT boat meets Kit Walker (The Phantom) during World war Two in the Pacific campaign against the Japanese. In 1962 Kennedy is now President and needs the assistance of The Phantom to rescue two astronauts who have been taking photos of Russian nuclear missile positions from space before they are captured by the KGB.
Pure "pulp" adventure involving secret agents, a glamourous female spy, the Phantom and his wolf plus the Singh Brotherhood takes place in Bangalla.
Who will find the astronauts first? Who will live and who will die? This mini-series from Hermes Press is set to be a good read. Pity it's bi-monthly.
My one criticism (if you're reading this guys) is the font size. Even with my new glasses the print is too small. Remember your older readers. Please!
Alternative cover and future cover for issue #2.