Monday, 29 October 2018

Film Fun #1,661 (Amalgamated Press/1951)

Film Fun # 1661 (Amalgamated Press)

No credits published

A friend picked this up at a car boot sale for just 50p and sent it to me as he thought I'd be interested. Certainly was. Unfortunately there was no image of the actual issue to be found and the one above was the nearest I could locate.

This comic represents a long lost period and probably only Laurel & Hardy would be familiar to today's kids. Maybe a few may have heard of George Formby. I only just remember Abbott and Costello whose antics haven't stood the test of time as well as Stan & Laurel.

There are some strips that I am not at all familiar with myself. Joe.E. Brown and Old Mother Riley I barely know by name.

Given the Eagle had been launched a year earlier one can see why that comic was seen as "revolutionary. This edition of Film Fun was old fashioned, though it did change a bit in later years. It was a long running comic that actually started in 1920 and ran until 1962 when it merged with the up and coming Buster!

And just for fun.....

Friday, 26 October 2018

House of Mystery #301 (DC/1982)

House of Mystery #301 (DC)

Various (w) & (a)

One of DC comics longest running comics, House of Mystery was always a joy to dip into from time to time. It's content had varied a bit over the years containing some superhero content like the Martian Manhunter at times but became best known as a "horror comic.

Like all anthologies these could be a "mixed bag" and I have to be honest this one was.  The first story Virginia is a forlorn love story about a woman in colonial clothing being rescued from the sea. Bit of an odd ending that was less than satisfying to be honest.

There's a one page story The Choice is a bit of a space filler though New Generation which follows is a little more interesting. The final story Pipeline to Hell is a nice twist on dealing with the devil.

The later issues are usually cheap though generally less interesting than the stuff in the seventies. Doesn't stop me grabbing the occasional copy though!

I'm hooked to this format. Frankly wit the successful relaunch of the black & white Creeps magazine sized comic I don't see why a four colour one couldn't be sustained in today's market.


Thursday, 25 October 2018

Suspense #28 (Atlas/1953)

Suspense #28 (Atlas)

Various (w) & (a)

Published int the early fifties this is now the oldest comic in my collection and came cheap at a lower price because the cover is off but the rest are intact and the contents well worth the entry price.  Normally these things are outside my budget.

This edition was published before the introduction of the "comics code".

Atlas of course was what became Marvel in the sixties and was one of a number of horror comics they published. There are four  stories and a letters page with one addressed "Dear Stan Lee", even then a star in the making.

The first story With Intent to Kill was actually written by Stan lee with wonderfully dark art from Joe Manely.  An old man wheelchair bound called Spencer Creeze needs looking after so advertises for a servant come body guard  who will simply follow his orders and shoot any intruders, gun provided.

Of course our villain is only here for the money and starts looking for the old guys fortune only to find himself in trouble and burned to death whilst Creeze amuses himself with the information the money is with him on his lap all the time! The death is displayed in a four panel sequence, quite graphic for the time.

Two Hands comes up next with the tale of a shop owner who wants to make money selling a statue to a rich customer but it has no hands. You can guess where they eventually come from....

The "you get what you deserve" story comes next as a ghost follows a ruffian down the road in He Walks With A Ghost.  Akl Dixon was the "brains" of the two when he was alive and committing crime. Trouble was his "pal" Joe slapped  him around so much that he set out to kill Joe. Trouble is he got tun over and died on the way.

 Somehow managing to drop a large bit of building he succeeds in his ghostly form of killing Joe. Thing is Al gets a rap on his shoulder and is slapped by the ghost of Joe who will be around forever!!!

You Have Got To Kill Me is one of those stories where a terminally ill man decides suffering a long painful death isn't worth living through. He hires someone to kill him. Trouble begins when the doctor rings to say the results were mixed up....the killer succeeds but discovers it was his records that were mixed up and he is the one who will suffer!

Finally we get another tale by Stan Lee The Poor Fish in which a poacher loves watching fish suffer from being unable to breath. He kills the Game Keeper when caught and heads home to torture his goldfish when there's a loud bang.

It's aliens (of course it is) who take Ronald back to Mars as a "specimen and forget that humans need oxygen so see poor old Ronald choke to death. Plenty more where they come from the aliens think and head back to Earth for another, plus some oxygen!

Suspense (not to be confused with Tales of Suspense launched in 1959) laste just 29 issues between 1949 and 1953.

The first ever comic book appearance of Dracula took place in Suspense #9.

First and last issues.


Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Two-Gun Kid #100 (Marvel/1971)

Two-Gun Kid #100 (Marvel Comics)

No Credits (w) & (a)

If there was a disappointment for me after picking up this edition of the Two-Gun Kid it was entirely due to the fact this issue was all-reprint from 1964 according to the small print. I'd expected something a little special for such a landmark issue. Boy was I mistaken.

I'm more familiar with the DC Western characters (Jonah Hex, Batlash, Scalphunter) than Marvel. I've only read two issues of Kid Colt from the Marvel stable which was why I picked up this book.

The stories are a mixed bag with old fashioned artwork. Quite liked the first story (which was what the cover was based on) but the others are pretty forgettable.   On the basis of this I doubt I'll pick up another. Can't like 'em all!

Two-Gun Kid actually runs from #60 (the previous 59 issues had a different Two-Gun Kid) not that I care about that much.

For once not recommended.


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The Outer Limits #17 (Dell/1968)

The Outer Limits #17 (Dell)

No Credits (w) & (a)

The Outer Limits was one of my favourite shows on TV and despite some corny costumes and story lines, like it's cousin The Twilight Zone entertained a whole generation. A show for all the family which is probably why Dell picked up the publishing licence in 1964.

This issue was the penultimate one and a reprint of the very first comic (#18 was a reprint of #2) so it had already been demoted to being a reprint title before it's cancellation the following year. There was for some strange reason a year between issues and Image wasn't on the scene yet!

The story is a classic sci-fi story with disappearing people, a records department man realising there was a pattern and a scientist whose machine brought aliens to Earth. Enter a panicked civilian and the inevitable shooting begins.

Unharmed by bullets or tank shells our intrepid heroes, a newspaper man, scientist and bespectacled clerk try to save the day but only at first bring the aliens enemies to Earth. The ensuing battle sees the city torn apart. However the evil aliens get defeated by the scientists ray and the benign aliens go home.

Then the missing people from the past century are all returned. Not sure how the UN building got rebuilt,maybe I wasn't paying attention. OK all a bit corny but these comics were really aimed at kids in  a more simple age.

Sometimes I wish the world was still that way.

Just sometimes.....


Friday, 19 October 2018

Ghostly Haunts #34 (Charlton/1973)

Ghostly Haunts #34 (Charlton)

Various (w) & (a)

As regular readers of this blog will know I have a soft spot for Charlton comics. They have an amazing output of so many different genres. Mafia run or not (that was the rumour) their comics contained some gems and were overlooked by so many due to their poor production values and frankly had poor distribution with so many copies never even leaving the warehouses.

Nevertheless this was one of Charlton's fairly successful run of horror titles, most of which all had the word "ghost" in one form or another on the cover.  Ghostly Haunts ran for 39 issues from #20 as the comic was originally called Ghost Manor. No idea whatsoever why they changed the title. Charlton did all sorts of things with their comics so it must have made sense to them.

These were at least all new stories and there are three in this issue which is graced with a cover by the late Steve Ditko. Always a joy to see his work. The comic kicks off with an evil garden and a wicked professor hiding his wares. The Hungry Garden by Joe Gill (w) and Fred Himes (a) isn't the first time this sort of plot has been used but is OK as a starter.

The main course is a tale of sorcery gone awry in The Puppet Master by Joe Gill (w) with art by Warren Satler. An evil puppeteer gets his just deserts. Which neatly brings us to the third course, A Little Witchcraft also written by Joe Gill but also with wonderful art by Steve Ditko. This is almost the classic kind of story Ditko used to deliver in old Marvel mystery comics back in the early days. The moral of this story is: don't rob witches! I think.....

These comics are worth both picking up on a whim or collecting outright. Of course anthology titles are always hit and miss but sometimes it's worth it just for the cover! I'm after a couple more (not those below) which I'll highlight on this blog when I get them!

Meanwhile these are the first and last issue covers!


Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Blue Peter 60th Anniversary: The Annuals

With Blue Peter hitting it's 60th anniversary I thought it might be nice to have a look at that old perennial, the Blue Peter Book. An annual by any other name which inevitably ended up under the Christmas tree from some aunt or uncle.

Blue Peter was essential family viewing in millions of households and the book part of a lot of children's lives. This is a gallery of a few with a snippet of an episode featuring The Doctor & Daleks at the end.


 Image result for blue peter book

Image result for blue peter book konnie huq

Image result for blue peter books

And a quick visit to the studio!

See also: Sixty Years of Doctor Who! Down Shep! at my other blog.

Tales of the Unexpected #70 (DC/1962)

Tales of the Unexpected #70 (DC)

No credits (w) & (a)

One of those anthology titles that used to hit the stands for years. This one was all science fiction for a period and the cover star was the Space Ranger. Quaint old fashioned family entertainment all-round I have to say,  but those were gentler times..

Three stories herein. A family becomes stranded on an alien world whose sole inhabitant doesn't like intruders. The Hermit of Planetoid X is the sort of adventure you would get in Lost in Space as things turn out well, all a bit family Robinson sans robot & Dr Smith!

Next up is Planetary Bodyguard in which our hero whose seemingly only known by his surname "Lawson"gets tricked by an alien enemy spy using a disguise and false name of Syr Synge escape from aliens called the Thugians. Gotta laugh at that name, bet the writer was having a glass or two of Old Kentucky when he wrote that!

There's more as Syr whips off his head mask and holds Lawson hostage to get to Earth, but this alien has a weakness that Lawson remembers from his office so lands in a field of tobacco and sets the plants alight which knocks out the alien and saves the day.

Not sure what the subliminal message was supposed to be there kids. Is tobacco bad for your health or just the thing to fight aliens with? Don't ask me gave up nearly two years ago already!

Finally we get to the cover star, Space Ranger who is facing his Invincible Enemy. The Martian criminal Xorog is not only committing crimes but has superpowers no one has seen before anfd is apparently unstoppable. What is the secret behind this nefarious development?

Of course Space Ranger, lady friend and alien shape changing buddy in tow do there best and manage to stop Xorog makes his final theft.

Not sure if the covers below illustrate the same villain but they do look like Xorog makes a couple more appearances.

Great little comic for a rainy afternoon!


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Superman #255 (DC/1972)

Superman #255 (DC)

Cary Bates (w) Curt Swan & Murphy Anderson (a)

Back-up feature: Gary Frederich (w) Dick Gordiano (a)

Superman is the hero that started off my interest in American comics around 1964/65 and I quickly got into Superboy, Jimmy Olsen and of course Action Comics. I thought Lois Lane was for the girls! Everything else evolved from here.

Of course my purchases even by the seventies (when I had developed other interests) were subject to limitations. What I like about DC was there seductive covers even if the story inside either didn't exactly match.

This cover where the Earth is doomed by the arrival of an orange sun is stunning. Even Superman can't save us can he?. Actually the threat is "real" as Superman see's the objects arrival. The "sun" entices Superman out of the solar system where he meets the inhabitants the Sun Thrivers.

And guess what these aliens created Krypton!  Hence the story's title The Sun of Superman. They were the planets sun. So many Krypton connections in those days. Anyway they need Superman help to get hold of a piece of giant Kryptonite which as we all know is fatal to our hero, so how?

From a distance it seems and to make things more difficult there's some giant tentacled space beastie holding on to the rock utilising the radiation for it's own purposes. Of course Superman wins! He usually did and helped the aliens create a new world leaving Superman to ponder on whether this planet will have a new civilisation in time.

Only trouble is one day the planet will blow and then the aliens are doomed once more......

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Amazing Spider-Man #74 (Marvel/1969)

The Amazing Spider-Man #74 (Marvel)

Stan Lee (w) John Romita (a)

From the heydays of Marvel as the established themselves on the comics scene as a major player comes this issue of Amazing Spider-Man which as I discovered after purchase is mid story so sometime the next issue will need to be sought out!

Most of my interest in Spidey was developed from the early run by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko which ended when Ditko fell out with Stan and buggered off to work for Charlton and the Distinguished Competion as the "man" used to call it.

I got to read these in one of those "giant size" reprint books, Marvel Tales which ran the Ditko issues and introduced me to Peter Parker the Amazing Spider-man. Those first 36 issues are seminal and unrivalled by any other team of creators who have subsequently worked on this comic book.


Still this issue sees Dr Connors aka "The Lizard" held hostage by the Maggia and under threat of harm to his wife and child is forced to translate a formula that no one else ever has. Meanwhile Spidey is confronting a bent lawyer and gets knocked about and blown up for his troubles as he tries to rescue the good doctors family.

The villain of the story Silvermane is old and getting decrepit and is searching for something that Dr Connors finally figures out, The formula is the fountain of youth!

Continued next issue. I'm sure there will be a  twist in the story of Silvermane reverting to being a younger man......

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

DC Star Spangled War Stories #162 (DC/1972)

Star Spangled War Stories #162  (DC)

Joe Kubert  (a) otherwise no credits known

DC published a wide range of genres across the fifties sixties and seventies though war comics and westerns did start to lose their attraction. This particular comic had been previously famous for the long running The War that Time Forgot which featured soldiers vs dinosaurs on a strange island. Then came Enemy Ace who ran for a few issues.

The Unknown Soldier began in issue 151 and quickly took over the comic dropping the Star Spangled War Stories title and simply continuing as The Unknown Soldier. Obviously like all characters some stories are better than others but Coward or Hero did portray a real problem on the battlefield. Not everyone is a hero,. Men are afraid before battle but when the time comes it's duty first.

As this was in the period of 52 page comics with lots of reprints there were two other stories, the first set in the First World War (for a change). An American flyer is the anti-hero in this tale entitled The Ace of Sudden Death. Steve Savage is a maverick praised by the brass but not so popular with his CO or his colleagues in his squadron who just see him as a glory hunter who is potentially dangerous to their lives.

A visit to the front line trenches convinces  Savage he must  take action against the spotter balloons and once more takes to the skies. Suspended he takes one more unauthorised flight to meet his destiny.

The last story about recruits to the British (Colonial) Army was barely worth a read frankly and I'm a patriot. Back of Beyond was a disappointment.

However two out of three isn't bad and I actually preferred the reprint to the main story which wasn't that bad I have to say. perhaps my own tastes have moved on a bit.

  Unknown Soldier

Monday, 8 October 2018

Strange Adventures #158 (DC/1963)

Strange Adventures #158 (DC)

No credits (w) & (a)

One of my favourite genres was the "mystery" comic where a variety of weird and wonderful stories could be found where anything can happen. From science fiction to horror and beyond that was the promise these anthology titles held.

This particular one came out from a time just beyond my memory. The only thing I actually remember from that year was watching the first episode of Doctor Who (and isn't the new one great! 10/10 I thought!).  Strange Adventures was a comic that I eventually did pick up but although there was some mystery stuff I recall mainly Deadman stories.

However this is a fun little issue with three stories including the very cosmic The Mind Masters of Space which for once does illustrate what happens on the cover. So many DC comics had misleading but rather wonderful covers that promised a shilling well spent. (for US readers make that 12 cents).

The second story, The Room of Forbidden Inventions sees a reporter go somewhere he shouldn't see things he has no right to and gets into trouble for his actions. The fact he is conned into freeing an alien whose engines will destroy all life on Earth was something he didn't see coming. Not sure the ending is logical but heck it's just a comic.

Finishing the comic sees a regular character Star Hawkins save the Earth (that's three times in one comic, how come we're still here?) from an alien threat through his servo-robot in The Case of the Romantic Robot.

 Image result for star hawkins dc

Any issue is worth picking up.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Amazing Adventures #7 (Marvel/1971)

Amazing Adventures #7 (Marvel Comics)

Gerry Conway (w) Neal Adams (a) (Inhumans) Don Heck (a) (Black Widow)

One of Marvel's "double feature" comics, this early run had tales of the Inhumans comics and the Black Widow. A winning duo one would have thought but unlike their more famous predecessors suffered from being bi-monthly so changed content quite a few times

That aside I actually liked this comic though when it first came out was less enamoured with the Black Widow strip because I didn't think her stories were strong enough to keep my attention and given my limited pocket money abandoned this title. Of course now I'm older my tastes have changed and I have softened in old age to enjoy her stories.

Both stories of course are continued from the previous issue or issues which means I'm gonna have to invest in a couple of more comics because the Inhumans adventure An Evenings Wait for Death looks good. Neal Adam's art helps!

Medusa, Triton Karnak and Gorgon are searching for Black Bolt who presumably has lost his memory. They wake up on a beach and get in an unecessary fight with Chinese soldiers before miraculously finding a craft hidden in a cliff in the exact spot they have landed in. Suspends disbelief and off they journey to the USA.

Landing on a beach the intrepid Inhumans fight a group of muscle bound bozo's who don't lik their private beach being invaded. You can figure for yourself how that goes for them.

Black Bolt is currently being kidnapped by what turns out to be some kind of Black Power/Communist cell who want to use Black Bolt as a weapon.

In Sting of the Widow Natasha, the Black Widow muses on the death of some youth from the last issue and ignores her faithful sidekick Ivan on return to her flat. The villain she seeks and confronts is the Astrologer. However revenge is not always sweet.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Atom and Hawkman #45 (DC/1969)

The Atom and Hawkman #45 (DC)

No credits (w) & (a) Joe Kubert (c)

Two of more of my favourite DC characters shared a book following low sales which cancelled Hawkman and could have done the same to the Atom, but the publishers did something unusual for American comics, they "merged" the titles.

That's something British readers were used to so many lesser selling comics over her in the UK suddenly told us that "there's good news inside for all our readers".  These combined our "favourite features into a combined comic e.g Buster and Jet or Lion and Eagle.

The numbering of the combined comic continued from The Atom.


The "feature length" story in this issue was Queen Jean: Why Must We Die?. An adventure that starts in the courtroom as Jean Loring (the Atoms's girlfriend) suddenly starts hallucinating seeing the face of a criminal that she defended and lost who was sent to the death chamber.  The judge sensing her illness adjourns for the day.

Ray Palmer (the Atom's real identity) finds Jean in a distressed state and takes her home where he discover radiation effecting her behaviour and turns into his superhero alter-ego to make a journey into the centre of her rug . Here a hostile alien appears and the mystery commences.

Defeated Ray rings Hal Carter (the Hawkman and travels down the phone to ask for help. (always amused me that little trick!). Off they go to the desert to rescue Jean. Here they are attacked by aliens of mechanical birds and travel to the microscopic world where the miscreants live.

here they discover Jean Loring has been made their Queen and is quite crazy ordering her subjects to capture and enslave our intrepid heroes. Of course they escape and turn the tables rescuing Jean. They discover these aliens once lived on Earths surface but disease had forced them into micro-verse (or one of them anyway).

They had awoken from suspended animation and chosen Jean as a descendent of the right type of human to become their Queen. Tradition had it that she had to be mentally unbalanced. (Yeah go figure that one). The Atom and Hawkman return to Earth taking Jean with them..

It is from this issue that Jean begins to have mental health problems that decades later would lead to murder in Identity Crisis.

Sadly this was the last issue of a seven issue run. One more comic with this name appeared during Blackest Night, one of DC's best epics.


Friday, 5 October 2018

Green Lantern #46 (DC/1966)

Green Lantern #46 (DC)

Gardiner Fox & John Broome (w) Gil Kane (a)

When I was a child back in the sixties the big super-hero name in the playground was Batman due to the fabulous TV show with the late Adam West. Everyone wanted to be him (never Robin) or sometimes Superman. Nobody wanted to be Wonder Woman because that sort of thing wasn't done back then...

My favourite hero however was the Green Lantern and I liked him because he was a space-cop , could go anywhere in the universe and meet beautiful alien women. I don't know of it's a false memory but I seem to recall a double breasted red skinned women somewhere along the line. Heck I had eyes for Barbara Eden (I dream of Jeannie), Samantha (Bewitched) and Diana Rigg (The Avengers). Obviously I was a tart from an early age!

This is a comic I have had for some time and picked up to read in my retirement. This issue contains two stories, The Jailing of Hal Jordan which sees our hero's secret identity get imprisoned for robbery. In this we see the rings ability to "mind read" and force confessions from the real culprits. Don't remember those abilities and GL certainly doesn't have those powers in the modern age.

However it was the story on the front cover that attracted me. In The End of a Gladiator Dr Polaris has seemingly killed Hal and his body is taken lifeless to Oa, the planet at the centre of the universe inhabited by the little blue men called The Guardians. The Green Lantern Corps prepares to find out the truth. Trouble is this story is continued next issue. One day I will get a copy which is illustrated below.