Saturday, 30 September 2017
The sixties were a real "golden age" for British comics. So many were created and published some lasting longer than others but plenty of choice for the boys & girls of our generation. Trouble is there was never enough pocket money to buy them all so choices were made.
TV Tornado was one of several television titles that co-existed for a while. The most famous of course was TV 21, home of the Gerry Anderson heroes. It had companion titles. Lady Penelope (ostensibly for the girls but surreptitiously read by us boys) and the less successful Joe 90.
Nevertheless I do recall getting the odd issue of this comic which featured a number of TV related stories and err..some that weren't!
In September 1967 the short lived Solo was merged with TV Tornado bringing the Gerry Anderson based tale The Mysterons to a wider audience. It joined The Saint, Tarzan and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Other stories included in this comic included The Phantom and Flash Gordon which were reprints from the American King/Gold Key series and seemingly a bit out of place though the Phantom certainly proved popular at the time. I recall reading the Phantom in Alan Class comics such as Secrets of the Unknown.
TV Tornado ran for a respectable 67 issues before merging with the much more successful TV21 in 1968
One of the short lived comics that I missed back in the sixties was Solo, a very much Walt Disney based title with a few worthwhile additions. I picked up #12 which for it's condition wasn't that cheap but a useful introduction to a comic I have never read.
Quite a few of the strips will be familiar since Donald Duck, Goofy, Uncle Scrooge & Chip n' Dale are well known cartoon characters whilst the Disney adventure strips will probably only be remembered by the generation they were screened in. I have a vague memory of Scarecrow and The Adventures of Seaspray but that's about it. Don't think I was that interested even at the time they were shown.
However the comic did feature a well drawn rendition of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and later issue featured the Mysterons from Captain Scarlet. Now that might have caught youngsters attentions except for one small problem. These were published before Captain Scarlet was shown on TV. Go figure.
A companion comic to TV Tornado and TV Comic this title lasted just 31 issues before it faced the inevitable "good news" that it was to be merged with TV Tornado.
With the exception of the Mysterons stories this is really one for the younger reader.
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
The long awaited "jump on board" issue of 2000AD has arrived with a bumper 48 page issue featuring classics old and new. If you haven't picked up a prog for a while this is an ideal place to start.
Kicking off with a story about Judge Dredd who faces both critics and fans as a statue is erected to him for saving (what's left of Mega-City One following the Chaos Day event). Not everyone is happy and there's one particular perp lurking in the background to make mischief.
As Dredd would say..."Drokk!"
Rogue Trooper returns for one last battle in a one-off story A Soldier's Duty. Cracking stuff.
Then in the not too distant future after the "God Star" incursion, Earth has become a heavily defended planet and ET is confined to certain areas. However there remain artifacts scattered around the world which are to be left alone. Trouble is one has fallen in the gulf and a certain rogue state has attacked and captured a site with alien tech that should be left alone.
Everyone's favourite Celtic barbarian returns in the latest chapter of the Britannia Chronicles. It's time for war with a mad god. Again. Slaine is no slacker so with the Diluvial Triple Horn in hand the challenge begins.....
Two old favourites return in continuing stories. Indigo Prime (with top notch art by Lee Carter) starts off with A Dying Art. Are we dead yet? Plus of course our two favourite paid assassins Sinister & Dexter are Down in the Dumps. The action begins!
Finally a prelude to Deadworld, home of the Dark Judges rounds off this splendid prog. The full story of Deadworld is set to return in prog 2061.
Meanwhile grab your copy now. This is bound to sell out!
Ask your newsagent to reserve you a copy every week. With your parents permission of course!
Sunday, 24 September 2017
You always knew it was summer when these oversized specials hit the newsagents and this was the first of many from 2000AD. Still a comic in it's youth the main feature and attraction was Dan Dare with Judge Dredd growing in popularity but not quite evolved into the character he was shortly to become.
The odd tale of Flesh with mankind farming dinosaurs without having an effect on the future was one of the main stories of the day. Disturbing, strangely entertaining and completely absurd. This was our generations Jurassic Park.
Meanwhile Britain had been invaded by the Volgans. No, not aliens but err renamed Russians as this was still the cold war. Not just North Korea under a psychotic madman but an entire array of armies in the warsaw Pact arrayed against the feeble democracies of the West. This was our fate in Invasion if we did not defend ourselves.
Lessons to be learn't but this isn't my political blog so back to fiction for the time being.
There's The Harlem Heroes, not a strip I liked much but popular with most readers and there's this weird war strip, The Phantom Patrol with a band of plucky Brits, a tank and landing craft stuck in the past fighting romans. Originally appeared in Swift (a companion comic to the fifties Eagle). Don't know if they ever got home. Perhaps someone who read or collected Swift could leave a comment.
This changed into the 2000AD Sci-Fi Special the following year.
Saturday, 23 September 2017
Wonder Woman/Conan #1 (DC/Dark Horse)
Gail Simone (w) Aaron Lopestri (a)
Two of my favourite comic book characters are Wonder Woman and Conan so teaming them up, bizarre as that might seem is a great idea. DC and Dark Horse (the current licence holders of Conan) have produced what promises to be a great 6-issue mini series.
Conan manages to embroil himself with a half-wit debtor who takes him in search of gold to see a gladiatorial match for a wager. The fight will be a walkover as the one to bet against is a "mere woman".
However this is no "mere" woman. This is Wonder Woman captured by slavers and Conan has met her before as a child in the distant past. Attempting a rescue Conan manages to get himself captured and is to be pitted against Diana in the arena.
To be continued........
Great start to this story with the mystery of Wonder Woman's memory loss to be resolved. Out Now!
Thursday, 21 September 2017
The latest issue of the Judge Dredd Megazine hits the newsagents this week with all the usual Judge Dredd goodness and this time "collateral damage" by the Judges comes under scrutiny.
Acceptable losses or not. Should you decide, or leave it to the Judges?
Meanwhile the Judges face a threat from the Cursed Earth in the form of a secret society. Can Judge Anderson win this battle?
Meanwhile the Vatican's favourite vampire makes a return to the forbidden library in a search for his brother whose debts have caught up with him.
Devlin Waugh is back.
Plus the final instalment of the movie orientated Dredd story whilst the Dark Judges cause murder and mayhem in outer space....
This months classic supplement features a number of "What happened to.." stories including the fate of Dredds much abused housekeeper...........
Oh and of course this weeks 2000AD is out with all current storylines concluding in preparation for next week's bumper jump-on issue! Find out the final fate of the Apocalypse Crew!
Sunday, 17 September 2017
Launched in 1951 TV Comic was a long running comic (published for 33 years until 1984) absorbing a couple of other titles during its lifetime. One of these was the short lived Target which merged with TV Comic in August 1978 after just 19 issues.
Never a priority on my reading list, especially at this late date the merger like the Target comic itself completely bypassed me in the late seventies. In fact the merged TV Comic with Target only ran as a headline for 7 issues as the comic reverted to simply TV Comic from #1401.
Aimed at slightly younger readers TV Comic added Kojac, Charlie's Angels and Target to it's existing lineup which included Doctor Who (in his Tom Baker incarnation), Basil Brush and Bugs Bunny amongst others.
TV Comic struggled on for a few more years with a format change later on but like so many British comics fell to declining sales. One of many titles that simply ended as there was nothing left to merge it with.
Saturday, 16 September 2017
Launched as a companion title to the long running TV Comic, Target hit the newsagents in April 1978. Aimed at a slightly older audience Target contained a number comic strips based on high profile American & British TV shows.
With Charlie's Angels, Kojak and Cannon plus Hackett what else could a young teenager want from a TV comic. The answer isn't hard to find. Besides having quite boring covers and very low production values it was no match for ITV's Look In which frankly outshone all the remaining TV related comic magazines at the time.
Target lasted just 19 issues before being merged with TV Comic.
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
One of my favourite ever Marvel Comics titles, Marvel Two-In-One returns with a whole new number one in December. Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm join forces to seek and find Reed & Sue Richards. Doctor Doom is hiding a secret and the re-uniting of two of the Fantastic Four can't be a bad thing!
I haven't ordered a Marvel title since the Fantastic Four ended its long run. Marvel obviously realises that their universe is missing something and that something is it's first family. I eagerly await the return of a full FF comic.
One thing is certain. The Richards and their kids ain't dead not that any of us really believed that..did we?
In the meantime the adventure begins with The Thing & The Human Torch exploring different universes and hopefully will lead to a proper restoration of a Marvel Universe that respects its legacy as much as DC has shown in Re-birth.
Oh and did I mention a lenticular cover.
Sunday, 10 September 2017
The Thing (a.k.a Benjamin Grimm) of the Fantastic Four is one of my favourite Marvel comic book characters and when he got his team-up series in the form of Marvel Two-In-One it became a must grab when it appeared on the newsagents shelves.
As a result I completely overlooked this Marvel UK comic when it was released. In part because I had already got or read the stories and I felt the tile was, well a bit childish. Couldn't they have come up with something better. It sounded more like a preschool title than a mainstream superhero comic.
Fast forward to today and having restarted collecting comics and taking much more of an interest in Marvel UK's output than I did at the time I thought I'd pick up a well preserved copy from my local comic shop. After all it was just four quid!
Unlike earlier Marvel UK editions this was not just in full (over-sized) colour but had a nice cardstock cover. Oddly this was printed in Hungary.
There's just the one Thing story which is a team-up with Modred the Mystic and a guest appearance by an early version of Spider-Woman hailing from Marvel Two-In-One #33.
The rest of the Summer Special is taken up with early adventures of the X-Men in a story Computo, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Arnold Drake finished off with another X-related story Female of the Species which focuses on Jean Grey in her younger Marvel Girl guise.
The Thing is Big Ben ran for just 18 issues with the one Summer Special.