Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Monster Hunters #11 (Charlton/1978)

One of Charlton Comics numerous horror/mystery titles, Monster Hunters started off life with "all new" stories only to end up as a repository for reprints as its run continued to an early demise. That said there is much to look out from Charlton as Steve Ditko contributed so much material over the years.

This issue was the penultimate edition with all-new material and contained three stories. The Monsters have Surrounded the House was a great mixture of horror and science gone wrong with a rather good twist. Following up was Montego Frame a story of love and vanity with a second tragic ending.

The last story Giant on the Beach was the weakest of the three but reminds the reader of simpler times when it easier to suspend disbelief. Silly.

Monster Hunters ran for 18 issues between 1975 and 1979.


Saturday, 28 October 2017

G.I. Combat #226 (DC/1981)

There was a time when comics published a much wider range of genres than today which is almost totally dominated by superheroes. By the eighties only DC was still putting out a variety of comics including horror, science fiction and war.

G.I. Combat was one of these and this edition represents part of a long run in the much loved "Dollar Comic" format that DC thought might be the future. This over-sized editions were a joy to read containing a lot more material for you hard earned pennies (cents if you are reading this in the USA).

There are no less than six stories in #226 including two from the Haunted Tank which had a ghostly guardian in the form of a Confederate General from the civil war! All the other features were "one-offs ranging from the ordinary to the tragic depending on your tastes.

Some of the action is quite unbelievable but fun to read for a certain generation.  GI Combat was published from 1956 (the first 43 issues by Quality Comics) until 1987 when DC finally pulled the plug after a grand run of 288 editions!


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Deadline #2 (1988)

Created by Brett Ewins & Steve Dillon two well known 2000AD creators this was a magazine I never came across or ignored during the years it was published but having recently decided to collect 2000AD comics and related material, Deadline finally came on my Radar.

To be fair I had heard of both Tank Girl and Johnny Nemo but until now hadn't read any of their strips, though it's not so long ago that I came across the Tank Girl movie on one of the Freeview channels which was, well quite dire....

I can't judge a strip entirely on the basis on just one short story so I'm prepared to give Tank Girl the benefit of the doubt for now. Johnny Nemo however was quite readable and wouldn't have been out of place in 2000AD.

Steve Dillon's Sharp was worth the price of entry as was the rather amusing short story One for the Road. As for the rest? Not that bothered.

To be frank this magazine smacks of eighties counter-culture which didn't attract me much then let alone now. It must have had some appeal since it managed to last seven years and seventy issues until 1995. Not a priority for me though.


Saturday, 21 October 2017

A Charlton Mystery Miscellany

There are many genres within the comics industry ranging from Superheroes which dominate the industry today to those seemingly lost to time like the mystery/horror story anthologies which used to fill the racks. One of the companies that churned these books out was the long gone Charlton company.

Charlton published a wide range of mystery titles over the years and much of the early material will be familiar to UK readers through reprints in the Alan Class range. However Charlton did continue to out out new material and one of their main attractions was the wonderful art of Steve Ditko.

Whether it be puppets or ghosts, demons or simply men (or women) of ill intent Ditko's art always hit the mark. With this in mind it's always worth looking out for Charlton horror comics.

Haunted #51 for example was all Ditko art and just picking up a handful at random can lead to more!


Back issues vary in price but a lot can be picked up quite cheaply and frankly most are a good read even if the production values are err..shall we say, a little lower than their mainstream rivals DC and Marvel.

Grab some old fashioned mystery if you can!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Scream & Misty Halloween Special (Rebellion)

The long awaited Scream & Misty Special finally hit the newsagents and comic shops across the UK today. And well worth buying it turned out to be for not just old fans of British comics but new ones too!  There are no less than six all-new stories to read with some recognisable old British comic characters updated for the 21st century but there's also a Misty orientated "variant cover".

Scream was a short lived horror comic that was published for just 15 issues between March and June 1984 which failed due to industrial action that took place affecting the publishing industry. It was merged with the second volume of the long running Eagle comic in September 1984.

Misty was a weekly "gothic" horror comic aimed at girls which ran for 101 issues between 1978 & 1980 before being merged with Tammy another title aimed at girls which had quite gritty and realistic stories whose writers included a certain Pat Mills of 2000AD fame.


The publishers of 2000AD recently managed to purchase the rights to a whole swathe of British comics from the seventies and have started publishing collections of stories under the Treasury of British Comics imprint. Dracula (Scream), Marney the Fox and The Leopard from Lime Street (Buster) plus Monster from Scream & Eagle are amongst the volumes already published with more on the way.

This special kicks off with one of the longer lasting strips from Scream which continued well into the later runs of Eagle after the Scream logo was dropped from the cover. The Thirteenth Floor features Max who controls a tower block and has a secret for any who dare threaten his building or the tenants who live there.

However the years have not been to Max as we find in this splendid little story.....

Of course Dracula has to return after some years in hiding....

Plus there's this chap from the FCBD copy of 2000AD in 2016. Something is coming and he meets some allies at the end who will be remembered by long term fans of Lion, Thunder, Buster and 2000AD.

Talking of Thunder where has Black Max been all these years since the First World War. He should be dead by now surely?

Then there's the return of two strips from Misty. This tale from The Sentinels will send a shiver down your spine mixing horror and politics in one stunning story.

Then there's this....

In my opinion the best comic published all year! (I'm a biased Brit!) Grab a copy before they all go!

Also out today! Latest issues the weekly 2000AD and this month's Judge Dredd Megazine. All titles available from WH Smiths and all good newsagents.


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Buster Summer Special 1969

One of my favourite comics as a schoolboy was Buster, a weekly mixture of action and comedy. Named after the son of Andy Capp from the Daily Mirror, Buster was the lead character for the near on 40 years that this title appeared. In addition to the weekly comic there were the annuals for Christmas and of course the Summer Special of which this one was the start of a run which lasted until 1997.


This was a massive 96 page tome which took a long time to read and for  half a crown was damned good value, though my copy cost a lot more than 2/6!

Features included Fishboy who had somehow learned to breath underwater and speak to fish including it turns out oysters. Don't ask, just go with the flow. Dizzy Dimwitty and the Haunted Lake which was a retitled story from the Eagle in 1964 originally published as Cornelius Dimworthy. Set in a public school this adventure involved crooks and the search for a lost treasure chest.

Charlie Peace, a Victorian crook who time-travelled to the 20th Century and carried on well doing bad things and not very well most of the time appeared in a complete adventure! Also in this issue published in two parts was Red Scarlet and the Siege of Stowford set in medieval times as civil war raged between supporters of King Richard and Prince John. This was also a reprint but I'm not sure where from? possibly Swift? Perhaps a reader could let me know.

Finally of course there was the comedy. Buster was joined in his comic antics by Rent-A-Ghost and Freddie Parrot Face Davis (a well known comedian of the era), Tin Teacher, Cruncher and The Happy Family amongst others.

A much missed comic.


There was a distinct lack of comedy sketches from Freddie Parrot Face Davies on Youtube but there was this.......

Friday, 13 October 2017

Forbidden Gallery #2 (ACP)


Forbidden Gallery #2 (ACP)

William Mull, Rene King Thompson, Nicola Cuti (w)
Craig Hamilton, Karl Comendador, Tim Holtrop, Brian Postman, Nik Polikwo (a)

There was a time when mystery/horror/science fiction anthologies were published by all the major comic companies Marvel had Tales of Suspense, Strange Tales & Journey into Mystery these were turned into superhero comics as Marvel challenged the ascendency of DC in the sixties. DC lasted longer than most with it's House of Secrets, House of Mystery, Ghosts and Mystery in Space titles amongst other but these too fell by the wayside as comics changed.

Then of course there were the smaller publishers most notably Charlton who put out a whole range of mystery books with both new and old material employing people like Steve Ditko to turn out some excellent material (and let's face it some bad) over the years until the company gave up the ghost...

ACP Comics

Recently there has been a successful attempt to revive a black & white horror mag for the "top shelf so to speak with Creeps from Warrant publishing. Now another company, ACP has appeared on the scene with Forbidden Gallery, an anthology of stories to entertain and horrify!

There have been two issues so far with the format improving with the second issue. There are five stories plus a "risque" opening scene with the series host Archimedes. 

The Book opens with sacrifices being made in Scattercrow only for everything to go wrong. Reflections in a Black Pool comes up next with a rather compelling tale of lynchings, savagery and prejudice by the human race. This has a twist which I won't spoil but brings back memories of other similar if not so violent stories from the old days.

Pumpkin Smoosher, The Other Side and my personal favourite The Wire Brain finish off the book. No spoilers here. Overall a high standard of art and writing that renews the genre for the modern age.

The first issue is still available. Here's a sneak peak!


See more at: www.acpcomics.com. Available through Diamond and digitally from Comixology. You can also order here: www.indyplanet.us

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Fighting American #1 (Titan)

Fighting American #1 (Titan)

Gordon Rennie (w) Duke Mighten (a)

The return of a classic Joe Simon & Jack Kirby creation, the patriotic Fighting American. Courtesy of a British comic company Titan! Who says we don't have a "special relationship" with our North American cousins.....

Originally published in the 1950's by Prize Comics this comic was yet another all-American boy fighting the good fight against the red menace! The commies were a real threat to freedom back in the fifties as the Cold War got colder and the Cuban missile crisis was still in the future. The Soviet Union was at the height of Stalinism, though the murderous dictator himself died in 1953.


Kruschev's speech exposing Stalin's crimes was also yet to come as was the suppression of Hungary in 56. The world was a truly divided place. There were "reds under the beds" everywhere according to contemporary ideology.  The Communist Party and it's cadres were agents of a foreign power biding their time to seize power if freedom loving americans and their allies didn't watch out.

With that in mind the arrival of Fighting American and his sidekick Speed Boy by time travel into the 21st Century is going to prove a real culture shock. The Communist threat is long gone (except in the British Labour Party Party with Jeremy Corbyn and his Marxist mates) and the threat today comes from religious fanatics.

Pursing Red Ivan and his cronies the Fighting American is at first oblivious to some changes despite being forced to sleep in an alleyway as his Liberty HQ has long been torn down....

There's some great quotes in this first issue well worth the price of entry on their own, though perhaps someone does need to explain the difference between Stalinism and Trotskyism to the writer. Variations of a theme I know but the followers of Stalin and Trotsky hate each other more than, well even the Capitalist ruling class and their running dogs......

Put that little "Red Book" away.