Sunday, 19 April 2015

Bargains galore in Wales

Just back from a lovely holiday in North Wales, driving 'round visiting tons of neat places.
Llangollen was neat and then made even neater when we stopped into a combined cafe/second-hand book shop and found, laying in piles and piles on the floor stacked high, tons and tons of 70's and 80's British comics.
2000AD, Bullett, Warlord, Cor!, Beano, Battle - pretty much every title out back then, loads of them, and pricing from 25p to £1.50 a pop.
This is what we got - some for me, some for the Sprogs - alas, not too many for me, as i don't need too many Actions etc now.
Highly recommended should you be in the area.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

"AAAAHH! SHARKS ON LEGS!"




Slightly out of the remit for this here Blog but please indulge me.
It was a case of love at first sight when this appeared in 2000AD - big first panel kicking off some joyous imagination and bampot notions taking me right back to the early days of the Prog, Action, and a whole slew of early 70's titles when an ordinary, real life thing or situation is given a fantasy/SF angle.
And that's classic Dredd to just dispatch the threat so cooly.
And that caption is right up there with the classic "please let me drown before the Giant Scorpions get me".
So, love at first sight.
I got in touch with Carl, just on the off-chance that he might still have it, expecting the answer "no".
Stunned then when he said that, yes, he did.
And it became mine within a few days :)
Lovely piece of work - A3 with very fine linework. The backgrounds are missing out of a couple of the lower panels as Carl added them in Photoshop.
That don't matter not a jot - i've got sharks on legs and i'm a happy bunny ;)

Friday, 13 March 2015

Starlord issue 2



For my next dip i'm going almost to the end of the school years remit for this site, only two months before i left school.
So, issue 2 of Starlord and we've an odd cover - the Timequake figures at the bottom are certainly by Brian Bolland, but the Droon up top? Sure not his style at all.
Anyway, turn the page and we've got the first episode of "Mind Wars". I've gone on record as not being a fan of this strip, but the stunning art of Redondo makes it a must-read. Its a bit of an odd introduction to a hero twins - she's bathing ina very Forbidden Planet-style rock pool affair and her brother gallantly turns away as his sister emerges. This is very unusual for a strip of the time, to have actual nudity. I wonder if that was in the strip, or something Redondo came up with?



After that, we get a break-neck 4 pages of action depicting their parents murder, their abducution, their ship crashing, and their powers manifesting. Phew! Exhausting stuff, with superlative art:



We've next got "Timequake" with, bless him, the recently departed John Cooper on art duties. Quite a neat premise but hampered by having such a dunderhead as Blocker for the hero - him twigging they've started the Great Fire Of London is a classic.



"Strontium Dog" next and nothing more to say on that other than it was a bona-fide classic from the get-go, with a firing on all cylinders Carlos Ezquerra, complete with lovely garish 70's colouring:



And then we're on to "Planet Of The Damned," I LOVED this strip and i really don't understand why its not mentioned more. Fantastic art from Pena, with a real nasty edge to it - this could've been in Action two years before.



Finishing off, the superb "Ro-Busters" and this issue is noticble for me for two things - this shot of the Preying Mantis being attended to by Maintenance Droids, and the very first glimpse at Hammerstiens first head, pretty different to what we're used to it looking like:



"AIEEEE!" WATCH:
Despite quite a few deaths this issue, none.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

RIP John Cooper

And another childhood hero leaves us.
So long John, thanks for your body of work.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Ro-Busters re-created.

Clint Langley was at a Con i went to on Sunday and he had a bunch of ABC Warriors pages for sale.
So loads to choose from, but how could i resist this, a brilliant re-creation of the very first panel of the very first episode of Ro-Busters?



Sunday, 8 February 2015

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Action 7th August 1976 - vicious



We all know Action, yes? We all know about the thrills and the violence and the, er, action and how great and groundbreaking and different it was.
Well, i've just gotten this issue to fill in my collection and re-read it for the first time in nigh-on 39 years and was quite taken aback at just how nasty and vicious some of the strips were.
Now, i'm no prude, you'll know if you've been here for a while what a fan i am of the comic and how it pushed all the right buttons for me back then, and to this day. But here, it just doesn't have the excellence of past issues and seems to be focussing on the outrageous over originality.
Lets look at some cases in point.
After the glorious cover we go straight into "Dredger" and here he is being briefed by his M-style boss, who's hidden in the shadows in a very Blofield way. I don't remember him, nor him being hidden like that and i don't know if anything ever came of it but, really, that fact and the novelty of the speech balloons with their straight lined tops and bottoms really are the best things about the strip:



Its some piffle about a US politician setting up another politician for a fall, which Dredger susses out really quickly and could've arrested the crokk pretty easily. Instead we get a couple of innocent CIA men killed for just doing their jobs and the baddie is dispensed with thus at a function:



Next up is "Greene's Grudge War" and its the usual thing for boys comics of the time, the hook of the story being played out exactly the same each week slightly differently. So we get, yet again, Greene seething over Bold, trying to do something to set him up for a fall and failing. But the artwork by Belardinelli is his usual top-notch work:



"Hell's Highway" was the usual plod, with standard action scenes:



And then we get to the centre colour pages and "Hookjaw" and unfortunately we're in the middle of the island resort story. Which not only means rubbish story, but truly rubbish art. Still, we do have a bonkers moment, with a lovely panel being my highlight of the issue - the bloke who's made a remote control, full size, great white shark (as you do) swims out to try and stop Hookjaw eating it (why would he?) and lovingly gives the dorsal fin a cuddle:



Next we have "Hellman". This used to be my second favourite strip, but that was when we had fantastic art by the like of Mike Dorey on it. But such talent has long gone and, boy, does it show.
Anyway, we have another staple of boys comics here, a plot device crudely dropped in at the start which you just know (even as a nipper) will be important later on. In this case, the Nazi's lovingly looking after their flag:



As i say, decent art had long gone by now. The splash page made a big deal about which of the three types of tank will be victorious in the battle, but just look at what we get for tanks - all three types just look like shoeboxes with guns stuck on. Go back and compare with the Belardinelli page for a contrast:



When we get further into the story, the unpleasentness is back - tank crews being burnt alive:





And, wouldn't you know it, the petrol-sodden SS flag being useful by being thrown on the flamethrower unit to burn them alive too:



The violence is even in "Look Out For Lefty", where the football is being used like a guided missle:



But the issue ends on a quirky note - if you've ever wondered what a badly damaged cyborg sounds like as he limps away, now you know, courtesy of "Death Game 1999":



So, a strange old issue then, would've been a pretty duff one if it wasn't for Massimo's art and the guy hugging a fin.

"AIEEEE!" WATCH:
An elongated "AIEEEEEE!" from the Nazi tank and again from under the burning flag in "Hellman".
The almost there "AWWWWEEEEEE!" from Rico the Cyborg in "Death Game 1999".