Sunday, 20 December 2009

A Christmas Annual

As this is my last posting before the big day, thought it apt to take a look at a staple from British childrens pressies, the annual.
So here we are with Thunder from 1972 and, inside the typically lurid covers, there's a real mixed bag - but i'll focus on the strips that float me boat.
First up, The Black Max. The nature of the annual dictated that all the tales had to be self-contained stories - easy for the comedies, less so for the drama one's. Usually they were rather substandard in both script and art but here we have Font doing sterling work worthy of the weekly and a nice, barmy tale of Max being courtmarshalled for interfering with "The Prussian Butcher"'s plans of dominating the skies. Resigned to his fate, he decides to kill the hated Wilson before his arrest, only to find Wilsons plane that he shot down actually was piloted by the Butcher, getting him out of the fix. As i say, barmy - but brilliant - stuff.
Top notch art on The Spider. I look and marvel at the crosshatch detail in the whole strip, but the standout has to be this stunning shot of the ships. SUCH effort put into it. I'm in awe.
Adam Eterno bears out what i said about the art in annuals. Rather duff stuff here, not at all what we'd been used too. Not so jarring though than if it was set in the usual Victorian/Elizebethen eras, here the total lack of moodiness is helped that its in Arthurian times and in broad daylight. Makes it more fairytale-like.
Last to thing to mention is Jet Skaters, a strip i wasn't too keen on, them coming across as some sort of Famous Five relatives. But i look at it now and still feel the urge to have a pair of those boots.
"AIEEEE!" WATCH: Its 1972, guessing before the exclamation was born. Instead we have mainly derivitives of "ahhhh!"

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