Well, that sure was a surprise - popped into one of the local charity shops today and there was this copy sat all by itself on a pile of cookery books:
Had to have it, so lets see what's inside shall we?
As usual, i'll skip "Captain Hurricane" as its a strip i never cared for back then and have do desire to revisit now. After that its "The Nuts", a comedy strip i didn't bother with as, back in '70, i was firmly into Leo Baxendale's work in other titles and they don't exactly compare do they? Next, "Kelly's Eye", a strip i've passed over before, and will do here, as he's quite a drip. But may do a feature when the premise of a tale is worth noting.
"Raven Of The Wing". Hmmmm... One of those "football strips with an angle to stop it being Roy Of the Rovers" that seemed to be in every title back then. The angle here is that the lead character is "a gipsy boy" - as if that should make a difference. I haven't bothered with it, but did notice it as it has some excellent Lopez art - especially this last panel:
An excellent example of the artists character work and darn menacing to boot - would anyone dare put imagery like this into kids comics today?
Next up, "College Cowboy". Pass.
"World In Peril". Pass.
"The Steel Claw" follows, and what a treat this is - in just two pages (!) Crandall's all-too visible steel hand is trapped by a pitchfork, he escapes and follows new villain "The Wraith", a bad guy who also turns invisible, except for his"... spectacles... The only thing that didn't vanish".
Seeing a pair of glasses going "C-curse it..!" as he realises he's been rumbled is a treat. More so The Wraith ducking into an opticians to blend in. Anyway, Crandall gives up, goes to a telephone box (remember them?) to report in and then we get another one of those "no WAY would you show kids that these days" moments as the Wraith positions a live electrical cable in front of the door for when our hero emerges.
Next, "The House Of Dollman", another strip i've been over-looking. And i don't know why - the strip is very similar to "General Jumbo", in which our hero has a whole bunch of animated toys/mechanical folk at his command. Where this strip has the edge over Jumbo though is the bizarre and really quite distburbing notion that Dollman's artificial friends can't actually talk - its Dollman doing it as he "often amused himself by throwing his voice into the mouths of his puppets". Yes, really. They bicker and banter, often without Dollman being anywhere near. Strange. This episdoe has the puppet Hovero, handless and therefore useless, accidently being sold at a jumble sale, only to save the day when the days takings are stolen.
Its all very Toy Story in feel, with great Eric Bradbury art and the favourite strip this time round with my Sprogs, who i've let read.
The rest of the issue is pretty forgettable, but it ends on a high with this back cover Sugar Smacks ad:
I remember this cereal for its TV tie-ins, mainly Captain Scarlet and UFO, and partially Star Trek, but don't remember these gifts at all.
Was given this for my birthday by my good friend Ian and, boy, was i pleased.
So, SO nice to start seeing other classic boys characters of the seventies given the same decent amount of care and respect and presentation as Charleys War has had for so many years now.
Well done Titan Books and thank you very much.
Its strange reading it though, in large chunks of this hero, with no intervening strips of other characters.
First thing of note is just how much Daly is a support act - almost like Ernie Wise to Eazy's Morecombe - and what a likeable charcater he is. Sure, he doesn't exactly develop over time, but his loyalty to Eazy is without question.
Second up is what a surprise to not have that many tales that i remember Eazy for - him being discovered doing something unconventional, then told to do something, then does something unconventional that gets the end result, but his own way and usually better than if he'd just done what he'd been told. Usually in an amusing way.
There's a bunch of them here to be sure, but we soon get a seriousness creeping in to the tales and, before long, we're almost in Charleys War or Darkies Mob territory: assisting suicides, shooting a woman in the back:
a massacre in a church of women and children:
and a fair bit of racism to boot. Also of note is how Carlos' art changes for a while, guessing he was having an experiment with different techniques:
In all, a great read. I like the serious tales but must say i prefer the more lighter one's as that's how i remember the fella. And glad to see his opposite number being in here, Major Leicht. The explanation of what his name means is a bit clumsy, but guess was neccesary.