Thursday, 28 February 2019
The latest issue of the British comics magazine Comic Scene is now out and in major newsagents which is a big coup for a small publisher. Hopefully this will be a success that will be followed by comic fans in the UK.
The "Zero issue" was previously distributed and on sale for a couple of months over Christmas/New year, now Comic Scene goes on a monthly schedule.
Each edition has a theme, this one is devoted to all those sporting characters that were so beloved by so many readers, Roy of the Rovers (recently relaunched by Rebellion, Billy's Boots and so on. If that's your thing there's plenty for you here. I didn't read any of the related articles because I have never been interested in sport and always skipped any sports stories in any of the comics I read. That's me.
However there's plenty of other stuff to keep my interest including part one of a series outlining the history of Marvel UK. The early years are familiar but I wasn't aware that Stan Lee wasn't too keen on the Power Comics line where his characters shared pages with humour strips. A cultural divide I suppose. Most British comics were anthologies, many mixed genres which is why they succesful in their time.
I happen to be a big fan of Power Comics and purchased Wham!, Smash! & Pow! religiously back in the sixties when I had the pocket money. The other two less frequently as I collected more than a few Marvel US editions when I could.
There's also a nice little article about "free gifts" that occasionally came with our comics. They were never what they promised and the free drink given with the first copy of Cor!! was disgusting but we always got them when we could.
Other articles cover 80 years of the Batman, the new Shazam & Captain Marvel movies plus Umbrella Academy. As always there's the Indy comics section and more.
Grab a copy and support the British comics industry!
You can still order issue #0 from the publishers:
Wednesday, 27 February 2019
One of Marvel UK's short lived titles from the eighties when I was no longer buying British reprints as the originals were so widely available. This title reprints the adventures of the original X-Men from the first US issue and contained a back-up feature about the origins of the X-men.
I've recently read this story in one of the many Marvel annuals I have picked up of late (and remain to be reviewed) plus I recently purchase Fantastic #1 (Power Comics) from the sixties which also reprinted this story.
A nice addition to my growing collection of Marvel UK as it came with the free gift still attached. The Original X-Men merged with Thor after a short run.
Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Batman #186 (DC)
No credits (w) & (a)
Every so often I come a cross a comic I had as a child. This was one of them. My original copy had loose covers so this is in better nick than I had it back in the day. Like a lot of people I lost my early comics for one reason or another, but that's the joy of collecting as an adult, finding that thing, that comic which brings back the memories.
I would have been at Junior School when this came out (I recall the teacher calling me a nuisance for bringing in comics). This was a simpler time and of course there was the Batman TV show so th comics were abit erm...silly sometimes. This issue where the Joker brings along a side-kick is pretty sad stuff in retrospect.
Gaggy as he is called is just plain creepy with his obsessions to please the Joker and do in the by wonder. He even tries to unmask Dick Grayson as if that bloody silly little mask ever hid his identity anyway.
Still the Jokers out to steal models and is successful until our Batman stops him.
In the second feature we see Commissioner Gordon kidnapped by a villain who had promised revenge when set to jail some years ago. Batman and Robin to the rescue.
I didn't remember the second story at all.....unsurprisingly bit too generic. Sometimes old comics are not as good as you thought they were. Still a memory it is. Not sure if "Gaggy" ever appeared again or disappeared into that limbo of characters writers want to forget about
Monday, 25 February 2019
Tales to Astonish (Marvel)
Stan Lee (w) Bobby Powell (a/Giant-Man) Steve Ditko (a/Hulk)
Another of Marvel's "double feature comics and not one I had much interest in probably due to a mixture of pocket money and availability. I only remember buying #98, though did pick up a few Sub-Mariner & Hulk comics after they went their separate ways.
The change of Hank Pym from Ant-Man to Giant-Man and a costume change was the attraction of this issue as I'd never read one. Madame macabre was an interesting villain even f as it turned out her powers were hidden in her hair piece. The shame! A cameo appearance by The Mandarin showed the Marvel Universe maturing.
The Hulk story was a sad one set in a generic communist country and this was the cold war after all. The Cuban Missile Crisis was still fresh in peoples minds and my parents did tell me later on when I was old enough to understand that they went to bed one night wondering whether they would ever get up again. Scary times indeed.
The Hulk drawn by Ditko was a joy as were his early issues which I had in a little paperback booklet which I still have a copy of on a bookshelf hidden by boxes of comics. One day if my eyesight is still OK to read the tiny print I may read it once again....
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Image: By Source, Fair use
Judge Dredd - Mechanismo (2000AD)
John Wagner (w) Colin MacNeil & Peter Doherty (a)
Judge Dredd is currently facing up to the return of the Robot Judges in 2000AD so when I spotted this trade on sale in my local comic shop I thought I'd pick it up to see what happened last time. I was not disappointed.
With a shortage of Judges following the deaths during Necropolis a decision has been made to put robots on the street to act as Judges. They've used Joe's personality as a base so nothing can go wrong can it?
Of course there will be teething problems but as Joe Dredd points out machines cannot have possibly have power of life and death over humans he is proved right as components overheat and they all go out of control one by one.
They eventually get them all back for refitting and possible rehabilitation but Dredd thinks otherwise when one of the robots, number 5 comes alive and the rampage begins.
Great story, great art. If you can find a copy or it's been reprinted in one of those "Essential" editions grab a copy. Meanwhile don't forget it's all happening again in Mega City 1 now isn't it...
Originally printed in Judge Dredd Megazine (Vol 2) #12-17 and #22-26
Saturday, 23 February 2019
Tales of Suspense #70 (Marvel)
Stan Lee (w) Various (a)
From the fledgling days of Marvel comes this double feature issue of Tales of Suspense featuring Iron Man and captain America. I started reading Marvel comics around this time (and had the next issue featured below plus two of the Annuals advertised inside.
I have read the Iron Man story in full courtesy of a Fantastic annual from Power Comics but the colour version was interesting. Comics are far less wordy these days. No boxes of text at the top for starters.
The Captain America story was part of an on-going saga set in WWII with Nazi's running around in full regalia inside Britain. Same sort of thing happened in Captain Britain. Seems strange but all these super villain types managed similar so suspending disbelief it is.
My problem with these comics was that though I liked them I never had enough pocket money or sources in Dorking to always get these books which is the main reason I tended to stick with DC who generally did stories in one go. Continuing stories were always problematic.
A lot of people these days prefer trades to the floppies for similar reasons. Less hassle in getting the full story. Of course the problem now is these are quite expensive! However lower grade "reading copies" come along and add to the weekly pile!
Friday, 22 February 2019
Guardians of the Galaxy #2 (Marvel)
Donny Gates (w) Geoff Shaw (a)
The second issue of the new look Guardians begins with a soul searching Peter Quill conversing late at night with Kittie Pryde of the X-Men at 4AM Earth Time. Peter then wanders around the ship taking bits & pieces to Moondragon and her lover and then finding Groot and Cosmic Ghost Rider slugging it out. Amusingly bits of Groot have grown into stablings.....you'll see.
The search is on for Gamora the woman who killed Thanos but Peter Quill and and team are not alone and Hela is on the scene. Who will lead them to Thanos and where is the evil one hiding after he died and in who?
A stepping stone to wider action with good characteristic so if you are like me and have been out of touch with Marvel for a while things are beginning to make sense. Stick with this great series.
Rating: 4 stars
There was only one comic waiting for me at 30th Century comics so got a few back issues which I'll share with you shortly. However this week also saw the arrival of my subscription copies of Rebellions great comics. First up the Megazine.
Four great stories starting with a new multi-part adventure for Judge Dredd in Planted. This sees some escaped super-vegetables rampage through Mega-City 1 and the Judges can't stop these muties. Who are they and who are they after?
Then there's the sad tale of Lawless in glorious black & white. Are the Khind not what we thought? Judge Stone continues her investigations in Green & Pleasant Land set in Brit City. The Dark Judges have a real suprise for us all in The Torture Garden.
Then there's Blunt II, well you can't like them all.......
Rating: 4 Stars
The latest Prog sees Joe continuing to oppose the return of the Robo-Judges. I'm enjoying this so much I grabbed a collected edition of Mechanismo from my local comic shop and devoured it in the Hospital waiting room yesterday (always take. something to read!)
Skip Tracer is getting interesting and Grey Area continues, never been able to get into that one but the rest of the comic includes a complete Future Shocks story: Grave Negotiations. What goes round comes round, no?
All is rounded of with Jaegir who finds herself in The Bonegrinder without hope! What will she do? Pity they killed off Rogue Trooper (and Strontium Dog while we are on the subject) but the blue trooper is going to get a movie can't wait.
Rating: 4 Stars
Thursday, 21 February 2019
The Beezer was one of my favourite humour comics when I was younger equal to the Beano in my book, which is co-incidentally what they called their Annuals. The Beezer Book was a favourite at Christmas time, though Power Comics Wham! and Smash! were my highest asks as they put it these days!
Over the years I did get a selection of Beano, Dandy and Beezer Books plus a couple of one's from Topper which was lower on my wants list. I always seemed to get bloody Blue Peter Books. I didn't mind the programme but preferred proper comic annuals under the artificial Christmas tree we had in the sixties.
The Numbskulls were my favourite which is probably why I took so easily to Georgies Germs in Wham! and The Nervs in Smash! The little buggers are still going in The Beano last time I looked.
I have now managed to pick up two of the one's I had including the 1970 Book which is pictured above and prompted this post.
Here's a Beezer Gallery for old times sake!
Tuesday, 19 February 2019
The Book Palace are issuing a reprint of Jet Ace Logans's adventures reprinted from the Fleetway Pocket Libraries, Thriller Picture Library #383, #410, #418 and #442 (1962/63) This is a limited edition of 500 copies to be released in May. If you are interested you'll need to order now:
Go to: bookpalace.com
They are also doing a western reprint but that didn't appeal to me but if you are interested it's this:
Reprints: Lone Rider Picture Library #1, #4, #9 and Cowboy Picture Library #463 (1961/62)
Monday, 18 February 2019
Every so often I get the urge to pick up something "Archie". I hadn't read any of these comics for years, not since the sixties in fact other than their line of superheroes (Red Circle) when they got revived. That changed when I saw..the Wedding of Archie.
A fun imaginary story which meant the forever asked question "Betty or Veronica was never answered. In fact things got a little more complicated as in this issue he marries Veronica from Josie and the Pussycats. Didn't see that coming. Archie boy, you are a tart!
Of course this wasn't real either but I missed it when it came out so picked this up on a whim. Of course in #700 he's going out with..Sabrina!
Confused? So is Archie..and so are Betty, Veronica, Valerie and Sabrina probably.
What would I do. Betty of course or maybe Sabrina, quite fancy marrying a witch ever since I saw Samantha in Bewitched and told my dad that. He said not to worry you probably will son. Now I know what he means....Hey the missus isn't reading this I hope.....!
Saturday, 16 February 2019
Savage Sword of Conan #1 (Marvel)
Gerry Duggan (w) Ron Garney (a)
The second of Marvel's revived Conan titles hit the stands this week with a pricey oversized issue which was a bit generic in tone for me. Conan is found in the sea, sole survivor of some battle and gets picked up by pirates to be sold as a slave revived and rebellious Conan begins a new adventure to face a new villain in a couple of weeks as there will be two issues this month.
Not as strong a start as the main Conan The Barbarian comic and annoyingly (for me anyway) not in a black & white magazine format like the original.
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Wonder Twins #1 (DC)
Mark Russell (w)Stephen Byrne (a)
The first of the "Wonder Comics" line from DC aimed at teenage readers but still quite fun for thos of us who remain teenagers into our erm.. sixties. The Wonder Twins are a pair of aliens brought to Earth by Superman and have been placed in a school and given a part time job at the JLA's Hall of Justice.
Of course these are not new characters simply re-imagined ones that originally appeared in the Super Friends cartoon and comic. Their powers? The lad, Zan can turn into water and the girl Janja can turn into animals. The learn to fit into human society and confront Mr Mxyptlk!
I actually thought this was a fun start to this six issue mini-series.
Rating: 4 Stars
Hawkman #9 (DC)
Robert Venditti (w) Bryan Hitch (a)
The latest retro-origin of Hawkman begins in this epic confrontation with Carter Hall's own past as a Deathbringer continues. Carter has gone to see Madam Xanadu when they arrive for revenge. Earth will be punished for harbouring this fugitive.
If you haven't read this yet do pick up the last three issues or wait for the Trade. This is an epic adventure with great writing and superb art. I can't fault it.
Rating: 5 Stars
Superman #8 (DC)
Brian Michael Bendis (w) Ivan Reis & Brandon Peterson (a)
The saga of the return of Jon Kent continues but Superman isn't happy that Grandpa (Jor-El) has stolen so many years of Jon's growing up with him and decides to punch out Mogul half way through the story. Gosh Clark was angry!
I missed a chunk of DC whilst in hospital so I'm doing catch-up but if this issue is anything to go by then Superman hasn't been this good for years. I soon tired of the New 52 reboot and wait the outcome of the (as yet unread, will wait for collected edition) confrontation with Dr Manhattan to see how DC finally ends up.
Jon continues his tale and his problems with Grandpa and his meetings with Killowog and Aritisa from the Green Lantern Corps. The next issue looks a doozy so no spoiler from me..
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Friday, 15 February 2019
I posted about Vampirella yesterday and suggested that Dynamite and Warrant Publishing should team up to do an old fashioned black & white Vampirella special! After all that's how she started out first as a host and then as a major feature that has a fan base today! I have suggested this to Warrant on their FB page, so let's wait and see.
Meanwhile the latest issue of their now bi-monthly magazine has hit the stands! I ended up reading this in the hospital waiting room...
As usual the mag starts off with the old fashioned letters page, a joy to see in this age of the internet. I'd like to see these return to mainstream comics. The Fantastic Four and Conan have them at least but DC where are yours?
Right full marks go to The Sorcerers Daughter that kicks off this comic with a great story by Nicola Cuti with art chores done by Tom Grindberg. A wicked wizard kidnaps a Kings Daughter to replace his wife. A group of knights set off on a quest. Will they succeed?
Next up is Jungle Ghouls! by Don Glut with art by Benito Gallego. A hunter is saved from one cats dinner thinking he's in luck since his rescuer is a beautiful Caucasian blond but even though I guessed the outcome this didn't spoil my enjoyment. Dinners up guys!
Vampires in prohibition USA in Blood Oath by Lou Mougin and art from Reno Maniquis comes next. Different!
The Revenge of Frankenstein from the pen of Nicola Cuti moody pencils from Santos Zaballos is my favourite story in this issue Nazi's and the undead a great mix with a little twist. Cackles....
The Last Spook Show from Don Glut with art by Nik Poliwko entertains and horrifies in one sweep. You sometimes do get the blood you ask for...
Second to None is a fairly run of the mill ghost story by Bob Fisher and great art by Mansyur Daman.
The last story after the ads just in case you forget to go past them was a nice little yarn about The Phantom Coach. Moral of the story never go for a walk in a blizzard...
Rating: 4 stars
Thursday, 14 February 2019
Vampirella Valentines Day Special (Dynamite)
Happy Valentines Day: Leah Williams (w) Maria Sanapo (a)
Matinee: Michael Golden (w) & (a)
A horrific addition for Valentines day the special contains two stories. the first sees Vampy come to New Orleans at the invite of Madame Toussaint only to discover she has been tricked and faces a lamia who has been eating local kids whole, digested in her system alive. Thus begins an adventure with a companion who holds a secret and leads to a nice ending of sorts after the two battle it out across the night against evil.
Michael Golden's adventure set in a movie theatre sees a story worthy of the old Warren Comics originals. If only Dynamite could come to an arrangement with publishers of The Creeps for a crossover....
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Meanwhile here's a preview.
Happy Valentines day everyone.....
Tuesday, 12 February 2019
The third and much shorter lived of the three weekly Hulk titles published by Marvel UK was released in October 1989. Blink and you'll have missed it since it sadly lasted just 12 issues.
Other than old Green-skin himself this comic features Action Force (nope never heard or read it before, assume some toy line), an excellent Doctor Who strip featuring the seventh Doctor and Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade.
A rather eclectic mixture I thought. It didn't catch on though. Sign of the times or bad choice of mix? Guess we'll never know. This comic didn't make the end of the year it started in out.
Still my copy had the free gift attached. A Hulk Tattoo! No I'm not going to try it out!