Saturday, 25 February 2017
Crypt of Screams #1 (American Mythology)
Mike Wolfer (w) & (a)
Just like buses while you are waiting for a new horror/mystery anthology title two come along at once. Both from the same publisher, American Mythology. (See post below for their other comic). This one is a Kickstarter project from Mike Wolfer whose work Avatar readers will be familiar with.
To be published "quarterly" (but somewhat late in arriving since it was actually solicited last July) Mike has done all the work on this premier issue himself. He says he was inspired by the old comics such as Where Monsters Dwell but even more so it would seem by Eerie, Creepy and Vampirella which actually shows in the material in this first issue.
There are three stories starting Speed Demon set in the "Old West" which revolves around a young boy seeking revenge, The Pond which is a brutal story of seduction, humiliation & revenge finishing with an apocalyptic science fiction tale Burn Out.
All in glorious black & white which is a much better format for horror than colour.
Out now and worth collecting.
Friday, 24 February 2017
Bedtime Stories for Impressionable Children # 1 (American Mythology)
Various (w) & (a)
There was a time when mystery & horror comics were dominated the comic racks with all major companies producing a range for every taste. With the removal of some of the restraints of the Comic Code Authority these boomed once again the seventies, yet today are non-existent except for the occasional small press title.
Frankly anthology comics were always a hit and miss, but having consumed so much material from DC, Marvel and the Alan Class reprints I've always been a fan and on the look out for a revival. The first of two from the new publisher American Mythology arrived this week.
Produced in glorious black & white this comic has three stories linked by an "Uncle Lorenzo" sequence which were a joy to read.
The first story, 40 Whacks is from the legendary Jim Shooter with art from Joe James and has a moral about bullying. The second Feature Flash of Inspiration tells the tale of a a loudmouth who should have kept his trousers on, some gangsters and an atom bomb. Don't ask, just read.
Finishing with a nightmare story simply called One of those Mother-Daughter Things will simply make you really afraid to cross the mother-in-law.
Support this title we could do with more!
Oh and here's the variant cover....
Sunday, 19 February 2017
Undersea Agent #2 (Tower Comics)
Various (w) & (a)
Tower Comics are best remembered for their T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents title that lasted twent issues in the sixties with a small number of spin-offs for Dynamo and Noman. However they did publish a limited number other comics of which Undersea Agent was supposed to be a sort of "companion title" for the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents, who get a mention but never crossed over.
This was a short-lived title with just six quarterly, though oversized issues with art from classic artists such as Gil Kane. When this was published I don't recall ever seeing a copy and certainly didn't buy one but was aware of Undersea Agent because like many other Brits read Undersea Agent in the Alan Class black & white reprint editions.
Undersea Agent tells the stories of Davy Jones a former navy man who joins U.N.D.E.R.S.E.A. (United Nations Department of Experiment and Research Systems at Atlantis) in a secret base beneath the oceans. They fight for world peace against such villains as the evil Dr Fang (who seemingly "dies" in this issue) and explore the seas facing both terran and alien threats.
The stories whilst passable (and in this issue quite short) never really quite caught the imagination of this young reader at the time and I would guess the decision of Tower to produce it's comics in a (comparatively) expensive 25c format didn't help their sales.
These characters are in the public domain due to an incorrect copyright notice being published but don't expect to see them any time soon.
Saturday, 18 February 2017
TV based comics were all the rage in the sixties and one of the earliest I recall getting frm time to time was TV Comic which amongst other features had a Doctor Who strip. I only recall seeing Patrick Troughton in TV Comics pages but this one from March 1965 shows William Hartnell the first Doctor whose adventures I followed avidly from the beginning.
Other stories included an adaptation of Space Patrol, a puppet science fiction show which was similar to, but not from Gerry Anderson. Also included were The Telegoons, a puppet adaptation of the famous radio show with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe.
Then there was Dickie Henderson who me mum always liked which is probably why I recall his shows.
Still rather than just blather on, I thought this was an opportunity to see some clips from these programmes.
First off a compilation of William Hartnell's rather grumpy original Doctor Who....
The excellent childrens show Space Patrol.
Bizarre humour from the TV version of the Goons
And finally a short clip with Dickie Henderson....
Classic days of television.
Sunday, 12 February 2017
Big Finish is a company that produces mostly audio adventures of Doctor Who and other TV related material, a large number of which I purchased until the good Doctor returned to television. Now they have turned their attention to The Avengers with audio stories of Steed & Mrs Peel based on adventures originally published in the girls paper/comic Diana.
When I saw this tucked away in Previews it was an immediate "want" added to my "pull-list" at my local comic shop. As a young boy there was no way I would have been seen reading "soppy girls comics" as was the general outlook of my generation. More fool me!
These stories (there are eight in all) are beautifully illustrated and in colour! If I have any criticism of this book it's the shrinking of the format which strains my ageing eyes! Still maybe it's a sign I need new reading glasses, so don't let that put you off.
These adventures were originally published in Diana #199 to #224 in the sixties.
Story Images: lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk
Saturday, 11 February 2017
The comic of my early childhood was WHAM! published by Odhams Press, a Leo Baxendale created "super-Beano" which was much more anarchic than previous British humour title and appealed to this young rebel from the first issue.
This issue published in 1965 is one I do recall having ( I tried hard not to miss an issue) as I was also lucky enough to get the first WHAM! annual published that year (cover dated 1966 as was the practice in those days) so when when my local comic shop advertised a copy I just had to have it.
And of course I wasn't disappointed. Tales of The Tiddlers, General Nitt and his Barmy Army (stealing the grub as usual) and The Wacks plus of course Eagle Eye, Junior Spy which originated Grimley Fiendish, "the most rottenest crook in the world"
However for me the highlight of every issue of WHAM! was Georgie's Germs. In this Christmas edition Georgie swallows a sixpence (if you remember those!) and a battle begins between the germs and Georgie to hang on to the prize. Great fun. Glad I never really grew up.
Photo: Lew Stringer/Blimey! Blogspot
By the following year WHAM! was part of the growing Power Comics line which would include SMASH! and eventually POW! both of whom would begin reprinting early Marvel stories for the weekly British market. WHAM! was not left out and contained the adventures of the Fantastic Four.
Highly collectable comics.
Friday, 10 February 2017
John Carter: The End #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Brian Wood & Alex Cox (w) Hayden Sherman (a)
John Carter Warlord of Mars and Dejah Thoris return for their "final" adventure in this mini-series from Dynamite. Set in the future of the fantasy world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mars is in it's final death throws as a brutal dictator rampages across the surface of the Red Planet bringing conflict and genocide to all the races of barsoom.
Only John Carter and his wife Dejah Thoris can even hope to bring an end to this holocaust. However they are nowhere to be found as the pair are in seclusion on one of the moons of Mars.
An interesting take on the Warlord of Mars concept with stylish art from Hayden Sherman that radically differs from the past series produced by Dynamite.
Worth a dip in my opinion.
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Richard Hatch who starred as Captain Apollo in the seventies TV series Battlestar Galactica has sadly passed away at the age of 71. Of the original crew he was the only one who appeared in both incarnations of the programme returning as Tom Zarek, a terrorist in the reimagined and updated Battlestar.
Photo: By Source
A great actor who also appeared in other programmes such as The Streets of San Francisco, Dynasty, The Love Boat and Baywatch.
As a youth Battlestar Galactica was essential science fiction viewing and I recall seeing the original movie at the cinema when it was shown at a now long-closed theatre in the Elephant & Castle. The TV show lasted for just one season, a total of 24 episodes before it was cancelled.
Richard Hatch did attempt to get the show relaunched, but sadly his attempt failed though the re-boot with modern special effects did make up for this especially given Hatch's role.
Battlestar Galactica spawned many comics that tried to continue the serial in graphic form. The first attempt being from Marvel Comics. Currently the licence is held by Dynamite who occasionally publish limited series of tales of both the original and rebooted programmes.
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Detective Comics #483 (DC)
Various (w) & (a)
DC comics celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Detective Comics in May 1979 with this special issue which was then being published in the "dollar comic" format. Batman had first appeared in Detective #27 in May 1939. Created by Bob Kane, Batman along with Superman and Wonder Woman became one of the three most iconic superheroes of all time.
This issue had a special story in which Batman returns to Crime Alley where he was "born" and a struggle begins with the mysterious Mr Zeus...to be continued.
There are five other features in this issue including the Human Target, the weakest link in my opinion as I was never a fan of the character, but Batgirl and Robins features pick up the pace somewhat and there is a second Batman story at the end which involves ...kangaroos.
That makes five.
There is one more feature which in my mind is the pick of the crop. Steve Ditko takes on Jack Kirby's creation The Demon in a wonderful old style story Return to Castle Branek. Worth buying for this alone!
These are worth collecting but can be a bit more pricey than the average back issue from the period.
However with Detective Comics now being published fortnightly it won't be too long before the monumental issue 1,000!
Monday, 6 February 2017
Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #1 (Boom! Studios)
Robbie Thompson/Justin Jordan (w) Barnaby Bagenda (a)
Having been somewhat disappointed with the Tarzan/Planet of the Apes crossover from Dark Horse it was with some trepidation that I picked up this comic. There is after all a second series of Star Trek/Green Lantern still going from IDW. Could this be a bit of an overkill?
I have to say this series gets off to a great start. Sinestro sacrificing some of his Yellow Lanterns for as un-yet specified purpose and Cornelius finds an artifact whilst out in the wilderness looking for the remains of human civilisation.
Thing is this artifact a ring is not the product of human handiwork and as expected an alarm is rung on Oa. The Guardians order Hal Jordan and Kilowog to stand down. Nothing to worry about. Yeah right. It's a long time since us readers trusted the words of those conniving little blue men.
However Hal, Guy Gardner and the rest ignore their orders and go to investigate and bump into a rampaging Sinestro. Meanwhile when Corneilius puts on the ring something happens.
An old universal power is reborn.
Sunday, 5 February 2017
The second volume of the Eagle ran for 505 issues between 1982 and 1994 until it followed the majority of traditional British comics into cancelation. The series is of course famous for several strips including Dan Dare (the grandson of the original) and saw in later years the return of the original.
Of course there was also Doomlord and Bloodfang.
All these stories appear in this summer special published in 1985.
Doomlord heads off to outer space to stop two ex-NASA scientists burning the Earth and succeeds of course but the villains meet their fate in the vacuum. No arrests warranted here. Just left to their deaths. Justice "alien style".
Dan Dare goes to the planet Nirvanus which despite appearing to be a virtual paradise contains a deadly and murderous secret. The colonists are suddenly attacked by a colossus of alien origin. It's one of four criminals sentenced to 500 years suspended animation by the long dead civilisation that once flourished here.
Only the children can save them. How is this possible.....
Bloodfang has to fight for his leadership of the pack in a prehistoric story before man.
Other stories include One Eye Jack, the New York detective and the News Team.
The special also includes as usual factual and educational stories which were traditional in the original Eagle and continued in this second volume.
I was interested to read about the Battle of Matapan in which the British navy trashed the Italians. For those of you not familiar with the story here's a newsreel from the period.
Saturday, 4 February 2017
Originally launched as Countdown in 1971, this comic changed it's name to Countdown and TV Action for a few issued until reversing the title with #59 as TV Action & Countdown with this edition in 1972.
According to the editorial:
When Countdown began over a year ago I'd hoped for a continuing stream of space orientated TV programmes. Unfortunately for all the film producers have cooled on the subject and no new series are on the horizon. Even the master of them all Gerry Anderson has deserted this scene in favour of more Earth-bound adventures. He is, at present engaged in making his all-action series The Protectors which will star, The Man from Uncle himself Robert Vaughn
To keep up to date with these trends we at Countdown have followed suit. From now on ACTION is our motto - and TV Action is our target. With the inclusion of HAWAII FIVE-O and TIGHTROPE, I'm certain that no other paper can offer such an impressive list of TV ACTION.
There's a good selection of stories for all in this comic regardless of any changes. Dr Who being the main attraction with excellent artwork and storyline based on the incarnation of the good Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee. In this issue the Daleks have seemingly turned him into one of their own and are off in the TARDIS for conquest. But all not is as it seems....
Other features do include Tightrope which for the life of me I do not remember but Hawaii Five-O and The Persuaders were favourites that I would watch when not at school.
Other features included Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, Stingray and UFO. The former two being reprints from TV21. The origin of the UFO strip is not known and would welcome comments from readers..
Great comic that brings back youthful memories.
Thursday, 2 February 2017
Vampirella #0 (Dynamite)
Paul Cornell (w) Jimmy Broxton (w)
The search is on through the snow and the mists of time to find a tomb where for a thousand years where a woman sleeps/
Vampirella returns at last in a new series from the current licence holder Dynamite Entertainment with a vengeance. This special priced introductory issue introduces Vampy to the future and it looks like the world needs her.
Trouble is she is hungry.....very hungry after such a long sleep.