Saturday, 15 December 2018
The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian #167 (Marvel Magazine)
Gerry Conway (w) Michael Docherty (a)
Every so often I like to dip into the world of Conan especially the black & white magazine size Savage Sword series, These are usually terrific adventures and I have yet to be let down.
This issue features part two of A Hyborian Odeyssey and sees our hero and his crew kaming their way along the coast of an unknown land when the need to make landfall for water and supplies and come under attack.
Birds carrying fire nearly destroy their vessel which is only finally saved by Conan chopping down the mast leaving him and his crew stranded for the time being. Who or what is responsible for his plight?
Attacked and captured by the locals Conan finds himself captive of a wizard controlling a seemingly unhappy tribe but his control over beasts trumps the ways of old with his ways of blood and sacrifice. Taken with a young girl (there's always a maiden involved somewhere the captive pair are thrown in a cave of a rather large bear.
However as one would expect Conan and his companion escape and head to the woman's tribe. She tells the story of the coming of Anpakh who had taken over the neighbouring tribe of Malagu. War had now come to their lands.
Conan of course leads the Shuta against the wicked wizard frees all and gets help to go on his merry way. A minor but entertaining chapter in the barbarians journey through life.
I have a few more of these to read over the weeks ahead but for now have just ordered the relaunch of The Savage Sword of Conan which has returned to Marvel though in the full colour format like its companion title Conan the Barbarian which precedes it by one month. At least it's a "mature readers title" so I'll wait & see whether the comic will be a worthy successor to the original.
Here's the cover of #1 due in stores Feb 13th 2019!
And artwork for the cover of #2 due Feb 27th 2019
Friday, 14 December 2018
Secrets of Sinister House #5 (DC)
Lyn Marrion & Michael Fleischer (w)
Mike Sekowsky & Dick Giordano (a)
I finally got around to picking up a copy of this short lived series from DC in the seventies. Over the years I've devoured both DC, Marvel & Charlton horror comics but this somehow got missed. Issue five is the actually the "first issue" of the renamed comic which originally ran as The Sinister House of Secret Love.
I have a strong feeling the content of this edition was originally planned to be run under the previous title. Usually these "mystery/horror" comics are anthologies. This one isn't. There is a single 36 page story Death at Castle Dunbar.
It's a murder mystery with journalist Mike Hollis ( a woman. don't ask) who comes searching for her missing sister, finds love and mystery galore in the Castle of Dougal Dunbar.
There's a "ghost" and it has (unusually) a happy ending.
A surprisingly good read worth picking up if you fancy something different and happen to come across a copy.
Sadly Secrets of Sinister House lasted just 18 issues including it's forerunner.
Thursday, 13 December 2018
The Bite Me Comic (Revamp)
Various (w) & (a)
I'm not usually one to pick up "Independent Comics" but decided to give this professionally looking one a chance and ordered a copy. I was not disappointed. This mix of new and reprint comic strips for girls (and boys) was a terrific read.
The comic starts off with The Moonlight Girls by David Braysher an entertaining of a group of schoolgirls initiating a potential new member to their group deep in the woods at night. Judy our plucky little applicant tells of The Countess and how the heroic vampire slayer Ingrid Holst rode off to save the blacksmiths daughter. Nice little twist to this one.
Night Light follows. There are things in the night only a light can protect you from. Lucy where are you? A very short tale to scare you from Will Pickering
Colin Maxwell brings us The Doll Sitter about a babysitter and a doll. What could go wrong....
Next up are a couple of stories from Misty with permission of Rebellion Publishing (2000AD) which was nice of them. Bite Me reprints Who killed Teacher and Twin Catastrophes both well worth a read!
The comic strips end with Clarabelle and the Ghostly Locket is a fun little story set in a girls boarding school. "Chuffing"horrors you say. Just watch that language young lady.
As for me MORE I say.
Go to: www.bitememagazine.com just £3.50 plus postage.
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Eerie #96 (Warren Publishing)
Various (w) & (a)
One of Warrens three main successful titles, Eerie is always worth picking up occasionally . If you just want horror then go for the earlier issues ans this title started publishing a lot of continuing stories about various characters, some great like The Rook who has his own comic for a while. This one feature MacTavish: Robot Smasher which is a sort of Magnus Robot Fighter/Star Wars mash up.
However the comic also features several short stories featuring a group of fallen angels who repented after the fall and were left on Earth to earn their way back to heaven. We catch up with them in their latest incarnation as a group of avengers inside Harlem.
The Fallen Angels are a dwarf known as "Hot Chocolate", a bruiser known as "Knuckle", theres the honey trap "Marlene" and the giant "Tic-Toc" who brutally intervene on a number of occasions to send the evil to hell and avenge their victims but after being told they are far too harsh they are to stay on Earth.
McTavish: Robot Smasher is not quite the hero one expects. Lazy and self centred comes to mind and is his mate Spider Andromeda looks a bit like a Wooky and he has a plan to free his planet with a group of droids. No not those droids but lookalikes. They attack a giant spacecraft that is a weapon in itself with a fleet of fighters and find it's weak spot..shades of Star Wars or what? The story is to be continued. Not sure about this strip I have to say. I'd need to read more.
The Ark: a short story by Roger Mckenzies with art from Carmine Infantino & Walt Simonson rvives interest as the rains come to the west and one man has built a ship, all Noah like and as the floods rise other locals try to smash their way in. There is a nice little twist even if it isn't entirely logical.
The Shining Sea by Nicola Cuti (who works on the modern day Creeps Magazine) sees a sole human live with erm... sort of dolphin and other sea creature heads but human bodies. One day he seeks his origins and returns to the poisoned sea and discovers a dark secret.
I might pick up up the following issue one of these days but will probably stick to the horror for the moment. Mind you there's the Corben attraction....
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
I only came across this magazine by accident whilst I was surfing the Internet looking for Comichaus whose website had been off-line, but I'm certainly glad I did. I purchased these two issues that were still available and ordered the pilot issue. After that I'l get Comics Scene via my local comic shop 30th Century Comics in Putney.
These arrived yesterday morning and although I've only read a few articles in both of them ( I tend to dip in and out of these kind of magazines) there's plenty for everyone.
In the third edition (Cover dated December 2018) the contents are dominated by War comics which is fine by me. Charley's War (Battle/Eagle) is covered as are the reprints. I'm only familiar with the strip from Eagle (vol 2) when Battle was merged into that comic.
There's also features on The Rat Pack also from Battle. Marvel UK's short-lived Fury, DC Thomson's Commando, Rogue Trooper from 2000AD (one of my favourites) and an Eagle book from 1958 called The Happy Warrior which is all about Winston Churchill. Might look out for a copy of that, probably a reprint as it could be expensive!
There's plenty of other stuff to read including a a feature about the late, great Stan Lee, Roy of The Rovers and a section on Indy comics which I will get around to reading later.
The fourth issue (Cover dated January 2019) tales magic as it's theme with articles about Scream (which I collected) Horror Hosts in Girls comics (sounds fascinating, never read any of these until I was an adult and found out about Misty, now there's more!).
The Sandman and Books of Magic from DC Comics get a look in as they are from a British creator, Crossed (have loads of these. The grossest comic like ever!) and Marvel UK has Dracula Lives on show!
There's other features which I have yet to really look at including the 13th Doctor and a section on Indy Comics but what I did have a look at was the article on "vintage comics. Wham!, Smash! and Pow! along with a Dandy & Beano Summer Special were all on show.
Vintage? That's my childhood! I loved those comics and still pick up copies from time to time. I consider "vintage" comics to be from the forties and early fifties. Yikes I am getting old. 61 going on 16!
I've already pre-ordered the re-launch issue and highly recommend the two available back issues. There's also a comics Annual which I'll review when it arrives!
And coming on 20th December to WHSmiths and McColls is the new volume.
Please grab a copy we need this type of magazine for British Comic fans.
Comic Scene is also available from the publishers direct: comicsflix.org
and Your local Comic Shop (via Previews)
Monday, 10 December 2018
2000AD 100 page Xmas Mega Special
Various (w) & (a)
With Christmas nearly upon us the last of the weekly British adventure comics brings us it's oversized seasonal edition with the usual 100 pages of action and some humour for us (mainly) adult kids. Subscribers normally get their copies earlier than the shops do which is why I am able to review and recommend this comic to everyone. Go and grab a copy or you'll miss out on:
Judge Dredd starts off this appropriately square bound volume with Jingle All The Way where Dredd comes across Gareth Hue Block celebrating Christmas. There's one small problem. It's mid-March And why is everyone living their afraid of Mr Jingles. And why are they all suffering from malnutrition?
Caballistics Inc has it's last chapter in Visiting hour some years after it officially "ended" with this sort of Epilogue tale to wrap everything up. All due to the fact Rebellion are about to publish a collected edition in February next year and needed a proper ending. I'll be buying that as I certainly didn't read the original story.
Deadworld returns with a short story Running scared. Set in the world of the Dark Judges the remainders of mankind fight for their survival as the penalty for the crime of life is death!
Skip Tracer begins a new story line with part one of Louder Than bombs which sees Skip chasing down drug runners but runs into a major little problem down the underground.....and counting down...
Slaine returns as a wanderer in The Bogatyr and we discover where Ukko comes from as our hero confronts a dragon warrior seeking the thief who stole a precious treasure. I wonder who that was. We are promised a new on-going serial of Slaine in the new year. Tell the Earth Goddess his fans await!
Brink continues it's long running story line, High Society which will continue into the new year.
Fiends of the Eastern Front return in a story set during the first world war. Now this is interesting as an old villain from Thunder and Lion is woven into their continuity and it involves giant bats and a certain Baron. Need any more clues? Highlight of the issue! Worth the entry fee alone!
Durham Red bookends the prog with a second "festive" tale, Three Gifts which is at least set in the snow. The blood is spilled indoors as she helps out an old friend. Cute.
Add to that some lengthy interviews with creative droids Kevin Gosnell and Richard Burton plus a double letter page and that's a feats for the eyes that readers won't forget. Highly recommended.
The weekly schedule starts again on January 2nd! Get this and reserve a copy at your newsagents or comic shop.
Please support British Comics
Sunday, 9 December 2018
Creeps #16 (Warrent Publishing)
Various (w) & (a)
The latest issue of the quarterly Creeps comic magazine came out a few weeks ago but for a variety of reasons I have only just got around to reading it. So this is a wee bit of a belated review, There may be copies still available from your local store but you can buy direct from the publisher.
This is a fan based comic in the tradition of long defunct publisher Warren who gave us the great adult orientated horror comics Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella. Creeps certainly fits the bill and is such a success the publishers are going bi-monthly in 2019 and there are even rumours of a companion title. One can only hope!
Creeps is an anthology comic with around seven stories an issue done by a variety of creators so not every story may appeal, that's the nature of the beast. However every issue published thus far is well worth the purchase so let's have a look at the latest editions contents:
First up is Gummed Out by Don Glut with art from Benito Gallego. A vampire stalks the streets and makes a mistake biting a crucifix around a woman's neck. Losing his fangs it's a trip to the dentists simple you think? Well yes but why is the dentist so helpful. Thumbs up for this!
Shades of Dorian Gray by Don Glut with art by Nik Poliwko does almost as it says on the tin. Just watch out for the pretty lady. There's a twist!.
Next up is The Invisible Horror which see's a horror writer take residence in an old haunted house to write his tales but gets disturbed by something he cannot see. Only candles will now see a solution.
Devils Hand is a western set around a card shark who meets his nemesis and wins but does he want the prize. Heh! Story by Robert Flood and art by Steve Rupp.
Dracula Returns is a great story about the villain wishing to rid himself of his harem and hires a witch to help him. Nicola Cuti Nad Reno Manquis certainly deliver i this twisted tale!
The sole Science fiction story Silence Please sees some human smugglers trying to rob humanities arch enemies from Uranus. The moral of this story is don't take an asthmatic with you! Nikola Cuti and Nik Polikwo weave a worrying adventure in space.
Finally we have an adaptation of a ghostly tale Diagnosis of Death over 115 years ago from Ambrose Bierce adapted by Artie Godwin with moody art from Santos Zaballos. When does a man need to know he is to die...
A great compilation worth every penny (or cent if you are reading this in the US of A!)
Creeps website can be found here: http://www.thecreepsmagazine.com/
Saturday, 8 December 2018
Amazing Stories of Suspense #42 (Alan Class)
Various (w) & (a)
One of the best value comics a one could pick up in the sixties was one from the line of those published by Alan Class. These were all black & white reprints of stories from American comics. Usually mystery but some Marvel, Archie & ACG heroes did make it into the pages of the very interchangeable titles.
There was never any guarantee of what might be in one issue to the next. Mystery, science fiction, the occasional cowboy or war story and these could be from any number of publishers. Marvel, Charlton, Fawcett, Archie, ACG and some other publishers.
This particular issue has 68 pages of all ACG material most of which is an entertaining read. For a shilling (1/-) this was a good buy for me as a child so more than a few editions made their way into my first collection of comics. Long lost of course as happened to most of us who moved on to other things as we grew older.
Alan Class stopped publishing in 1989.
I've been happily renewing a small collection of these and was Lucky enough to meet Alan a couple of years back. (See: here)
30th Century Comics in Putney have an excellent guide to Alan Class Comics which you can find find here on their website. Go to: 30thcenturycomics.co.uk. They also stock an extensive range of these titles including file copies from Alan Class's own collection.
Friday, 7 December 2018
All American Men of War #99 (DC)
Hank Chapman (w) Jack Abel (a)
DC comics published several war-related comics over the years and other than the occasional issue of Sgt Rock or the Unknown Soldier it's only recently I've started picking up other titles. As a child I'd seen ads for Johnny Cloud but limited pocket money stopped me from trying them out when there were so many other American comics in the local newsagents racks.
I miss those days but they wouldn't be viable now unfortunately.
I picked up this issue at random mainly because of the cover highlighting some king of Nazi rocket that never existed. The image neither showed the V1 (Flying bomb) nor could it be the V2 (Rocket) which would't be even seen until the explosion.
Still these are comics and I've seen some really weirs Nazi weapons illustrated in both US and British comics over the years. Still the story of Johnny Cloud and his dreams is central to this story. Johnny being a Navajo Indian is an ace flyer who appeared in 32 issues of this comic.
Forewarned of the veracity of his dreams by his childhood shamen Johnny has repeating nightmares until sent for a rest by his superiors. It just happens he meets a Spitfire pilot and manages to end up in the cockpit of a spitfire and saves the day just as he foresaw.
I did rather enjoy the backup story Attack from Yesterday which saw World War 2 soldiers use weapons from a museum containing World War 1 exhibits to counter attack the Germans. I'm sure none of the exhibits would have had petrol and live bullets in their display plane and tanks but tthis is the world of comics. Just suspend disbelief!
Thursday, 6 December 2018
Ghostly Haunts #53 (Charlton Comics)
Various (w) & (a)
If there's one thing that attracted me to this it's the cover. I wasn't bothered about the contents (which are good anyway) but I just had to have this. I thought it was quite sweet.
First there are two stories before the cover feature. The Bayou Devil Cat should teach people to leave cats alone. At least were ones. After his friend is attacked by a big cat, a man rushes off to get the local sheriff.
They return and catch two people a man & a woman in the swamps both of whom accuse the other. So the posse decide to wait until the moon's up. Bad idea that doesn't end well!
Next up is The Happy Medium, about a trickster who plays the wealthy for their sins, or money. On the brink of retirement Sarah Leech (a rather appropriate name given the circumstances) who has just one more client to see, a Mr Kenneth Kirby, a famous "Ghost Breaker".
Preparing to fool Mr Kirby, our Sarah murders a grave thief and steals a valuable ring for her nefarious plan. Trouble is she is so good at faking her spiritualism she gets murdered herself. The reason Kirby is on a crusade to find real spiritualists who might expose the fact he murdered his wife and she vowed to return from the dead to expose him.
In one final twist as sarah dies she triggers her camera to take a picture of her murderer!
Finally the cover story The Creep. Herbie is an ugly boy and doesn't get many breaks from bullying or even mistreatment by his foster parents. After finding his "date" is just a stunt (hence the cover) off he's sent to bed.
Then after encounters with his tormentors Herbie meets a beautiful girl in need of help and gets a real date. Caught out in the rain the happy couple head for shelter where Millie disappears apparently kidnapped. Rushing to her rescue he finds himself in another world.
As an infant Herbie had wandered off now he was back in the world of the Trolls where the men are ugly and the women beautiful but don't mind the men.
A happy ending for a change.
Ghostly Haunts is usually worth picking up and has some great covers including more than a few from the late, great Steve Ditko!
Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Capt Savage & his Leatherneck Raiders #1 (Marvel)
Gary Freidrich (w) Dick Ayers & Syd Shores (a)
Hot on the heels of the success of Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos which had reached it's 50th issue when this comic was released came Capt Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders. This was firmly in the same style of Fury but mostly set in the Far East as far as I can tell though the team did get to confront Baron Strucker and Hydra over the next two issues which I may well pick up sometime.
War comics aren't to everyone's tastes and I've never been sure they had any particular appeal to the British reader. We had our own war comics including those gritty little pocket library titles like the still running Commando! Much more realistic than continuing adventures of the same group who never died.
Still an occasional trip into war-time Marvel can be rewarding as can some of the DC books of the same genre.
In this story, The Last Banzai we are introduced to the team. Captain Savage himself, His sometimes insubordinate deputy Sgt Yaketty Yakes, Cpl Jaques Larogue, the resident red skin Jay Little Bear and Seaman Blarney Stone. Heh love the last one's name.
Their mission? Destroy that munitions store! Simples? Not. Lovely moves by our resident red Indian saves the day.
Mission completed. Just happen to get on the same submarine as Fury and the gang. Oh well that's the Marvel universe!
Capt Savage lasted for just 19 issues, changing it's name to Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders as of #9.
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Archie #700 (Archie Comics)
Nick Spencer (w) Margurite Sauvage (a)
Archie Comics have really been pushing the boat out with their titles and properties of late. Until the the "Wedding of Archie" (imaginary) story line I hadn't picked up a copy in years. Archie was never big in the UK but I do dip in from time to time as the character and his supporting cast have been translated for a modern age.
The impetus for this was the Afterlife with Archie comic which featured a zombie invasion of Riverdale caused by Sabrina and infected the most ravenous resident of Riverdale none other than Jughead himself. The series was never competed despite getting critical acclaim and bringing many lapsed readers back the the Archie universe.
Since then we've seen Sabrina in a dark series about her witchcraft, Veronica as a Vampire and Jughead as a werewolf. Cheryl Blossom is also about to get her turn in Blossom 666. I've ordered that one!
Archie himself has got a makeover along with Betty, Veronica and the rest of the Riverdale gang. Heck they relaunched the whole comic from #1. This issue is a mash of the old numbering with the new image and sees the girls of Riverdale chase after our eponymous hero except he has a secret. Only Veronica has guessed what it is is, but not who it is.
Did I mention Jughead actually got a job? Also appearing are Josie and the Pussycats and the gorgeous Cheryl Blossom. Yes I know they're only comics but heck just suspend beleif and enjoy.
For those of you with Netflix you can watch Riverdale and Sabrina as TV soaps! Sadly I don't but there's comic book versions.
Told you Archie Comics were utilising their characters for the 21st Century.
Pity the superhero line didn't work out. I liked them but the Dark Circle line just didn't prove commercial enough.
Still there's always Archie!
Monday, 3 December 2018
Monster Monthly (Marvel UK/1981)
Various (w) & (a)
Monster Monthly was a very short lived comic lasting just 8 issues and was obviously not very popular which is a pity as this comic/magazine contains stories from the by then defunct marvel black & white" horror line launched in the seventies.
First up is part one of a Frankenstein revival from Chris Claremont with art by John Buscema & Syd Shores. I prefer my horror in black & white as this comic presents them. Old Frankie is found in an exhibit at a funfair by a rather obsessive and murderous nuero-surgeon wanting to make his name. You can guess what happened next. And of course the story continues in Monster Monthly #2!
Tigra is the second main feature, promoted as a "were woman" but for those unfamiliar with the character sh's a cat not a wolf. Nuff said. The Sernity Stealers is the tale of a rat like creature stealing the life force of humans to, as Tigra discovers feed it's mistress hidden in the caves.
There is one more story, a short horror/mystery tale One Foot in the Grave (no not about Victor Mildrew) but a miserable florist who steals from the dead to make a living until.....
The rest of the magazine is filled with features that held no interest to me. I noticed the covers of the comic don't really indicate it's a actually a comic magazine with photos of horror movies for some reason. Perhaps because of that it got passed over by fans.
Not a priority for collecting but an interesting pick up if you come across a copy.
Sunday, 2 December 2018
Marvel Super Adventure #1 (Marvel UK)
Daredevil: Stan Lee (W) Gene Colan (a)
Black Panther Jack Kirby (w) & (a)
The comics industry was changing rapidly in the eighties and Marvel UK was adapting to the new market as best it could despite actually being in competition with the American imports which could be found in Newsagents around most of the UK and specialist comic shops were starting up.
This title was ostensibly aimed at the "more sophisticated" reader and they decided to offer a full length story plus a shorts serialised backup as an alternative to the normal British comics (including Marvels own output).
Daredevil was chosen as the main feature with Black Panther as a backup. Both are perfectly good stories but Daredevil had already had these stories published in earlier versions of Marvel's British output. The Jester was the villain chosen for the start up story.
Kirby's very bizarre seventies Black Panther were featured in the back up from the US editions of Jungle Action/Black Panther comics. I'm not sure what readers would have made of Kirby's output. I loved his wacky stories but they didn't appeal to everyone.
This is a decent comic to collect and I managed to at least start with the first issue which came with the free gift, a Daredevil "iron on sticker". (Did anyone actually do that?). Now just 25 issues to collect.
Well I liked it!
Marvel Super Adventure merged with Captain America weekly which I have yet to get a copy of.
Saturday, 1 December 2018
Sea Devils #15 (DC Comics)
France Herron (w) Jack Adler (a)
One of DC Comics quite weird series of the sixties was the Sea Devils, the tales of a group of deep sea divers who got into fantastic adventures with fantastic creatures and villains. Almost as bizarre as some of the stuff churned out by Archie comics in their superhero titles like The Fly.
These were family friendly adventures but with hindsight one might think the creators were tripping when they wrote these stories. The book length adventure Secret of the Sunken Sub is no exception to the rule.
In this tale Professor Walton goes to sea in an experimental submarine only to get lost at sea. His daughter not wanting her father to be blamed for any disaster is a member of the Sea Devils and together the team go off in search of the missing sub.
Due to the need to deep dive in search of the sub the foursome cover themselves with a special oil. This makes them start to behave like fish. Yes you heard right and then there's this giant underwater spider that spun a web to catch well a submarine. Go figure.
Did I mention the artist wrote himself into the story?
Told you it was weird and worth a read. Pick up a copy or two if you come across them in your local store.