Saturday, 18 September 2010
Bullet Number 1 - a memory cheat?
So, finally, FINALLY, a proper update here. Should have been about a month ago but the package of 1 and 2 of this title vanished after being sent to me - then finally ended back up at the seller...
Oh well, they're here now so lets get on with it shall we?
I know i bought at least the first few issues of Bullet, as i did with all new tiles, as i was really after the free gifts. When they ran out i kept with it if the stories engaged me enough and i could divert my pocket money to them rather than a quarter of sweets or the latest bubblegum cards.
Guess was pretty usual?
Anyway, as i say, i know i had the free gift issues at least, but haven't re-read any of them since 1976 - so, will memory cheat?
First up is Pic 1 and the cover. Two things to mention here. One is the very sparten use of colour - usually red to accompany the black and white. As a 14 year old i thought it looked cheap, and still do now. Other thing is the ring free gift. Remember it well, and how the skull and crossbones sticker on the cover here was by far the best to use.
Turn the cover and first strip is "Smasher" - a whacking great robot controled by Doctor Doom, who seems content to have it just destroy stuff, with no word yet of how he built such a titan nor what he expects to get from duffing up a non-existant country. Quite fun though, helped immeasurably by the art of Ian Kennedy, a shockingly over-looked artist, who had a unique, distinctive style far superior to the scripts he was ilustrating.
Next is "Twisty". So called because he's a "cripple" who goes from destitute beginnings, rising above them to be a footie star (if bells are ringing, you're not the only one). Very so-so art that looks rather familiar...
"Survivor" has young Dick's plane blown up by his dasterdly cousins so they get to inherit his grandfathers wealth. Very, very humdrum.
Then we have "Fireball". One part Jason Wyngarde, one part Bond, and a wee part of Dredger, its a massive NINE pages chronicalling the lead characters adventures, taking in Brands Hatch and, er, Norway, its a rollicking romp of mustacheoed, medal swinging capers. Only thing stopping it being a Bond is the total absence of any "totty". Which is understandable i guess. What's odd to see here is how the fella not only crops up in his tale, but every so often in the guise of fictional Editor/Creator of the comic (there go those bells again).
"3 Men In A Jeep" i guess is Bullet's take on Battle's "Rat Pack", having a bunch of Allied troops going their own way to take on the Nazi threat. Trouble is, the story and art are nowhere near as good.
Last strip is "Vic's Vengeance", the tale of a barrow boy fighting against the mob after his dad is killed by the mob. Very dull, very forgettable.
So that was that. Issue 1.
Nowhere as bad as i thought it'd be. I've always looked back on it with disdain and maybe later issues will bear it out - or back then i was reading it alongside Battle and Action and it couldn't compare - bit we'll see.
Biggest impression is though how similar things felt. Thinking about it a bit more and its a bits of a suprise as to just what came first:
Comic advertised as a new, tough, different comic to the norm for boys:
Bullet - 14 Feb 1976
Action - 14 Feb 1976
2000AD - 26 Feb 1977
Fictional Editor character who frequently pops up to talk to the readers:
Bullet - Fireball
2000AD - a year later with Tharg
Tough, do it my own way goverment agent:
Bullet - Fireball
Action - Dredger
2000AD - M.A.C.H 1
Kid rising out of the gutter of a poor, dysfunctional family to be a footie star player:
Bullet - Twister
Action - Look Out For Lefty
So, all in all, not the gamble i thought it'd be and quite an enjoyable read. But do i dare read more?
"AIEEEE!" Watch: A somewhat shortened "Aiee!" from a German trooper in "3 Men In A Jeep".