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!