Thursday, 31 January 2013

Back with some Action

Okay, lets go to the polar opposite with the next post - Action dated 14th August 1976.
We're getting close to cancellation at this point, and the cracks are beginning to show. Not from the themes and tone, which are as strong as ever (and would lead inevitably to the titles downfall), but art-wise. "Dredger" hasn't got bad art, just a really duff tale that's dated badly - the Germans are still our enemies and it plays out like a WW2 drama. Instantly forgettable. "Green's Grudge War" is not much better story-wise, but i react the same way now as i did back then, Belardinelli' stunning work sure makes you sit up and pay attention. Any strip he worked on i'd read, just to marvel at the talent on show:
"Hookjaw" was almost at the bottom art-wise at this point, and the colouring sure didn't help. Its a shame Strip magazine has ceased re-running the tales, as i'd loved to have seen what changes they'd have made to this tale. But, ignoring the art, the tale is fantastic - some poor sod is trapped on a remote control shark that Hookjaws chasing. The big beastie first destroys the robot, then takes off the poor schmo's legs before swallowing him whole in front of Mason. Mason's response is hilarious - a guys just been eaten about six feet in front of him and, rather than swimming away as fast as he can while his nemesis is busy chewing, he floats there shouting "Hookjaw, you monster... One day i'll kill you!"
The other thing of note this time is from "Death Game 1999", where Taggart finally has his showdown with his foe Rico. And it ends very oddly - no battle to the death here, just Joe watching Rico slowly drown:
"AIEEEE" WATCH: Surprisingly, none.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Ever seen someone's moustache and eye-brows take off?

Really had to go back to my post yesterday and show this fantastic panel of Percy the Dentist losing his afore-mentioned hairy bits pinging off at the shock of seeing the shark. Total and utter genius.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Back - with a Pow! and a Wham!

Well, belated Happy New Year to you all. Sorry that i've not updated for a while, but i worked all over Christmas, then went to France, then worked all over New Year. It was while at my in-laws in France that, for some reason, my mind turned to Ken Reid. Don't know why - guessing it was the combination of fine food, cheese and wine that did it? Anyway, as soon as we got back, i had a hankering for a piece of Reid magic and decided to take a chance and get me a Smash! and Pow! from the late 60's as i knew he was on the title then. And this is what i got, the 30th March 1968 issue:
"The Tiddlers and the Dolls" on that there cover is yet another "Bash Street Kids"/"Swots and the Blots" type tale of warring school factions that was so prevelant back then, although this pair doesn't have anything like the charm nor memorable characters of the other two i've mentioned. Inside we've got classic Marvel superhero reprints, predating what Marvel UK would be doing for a good few years, here with some classic Dikto Spider-Man:
"Georgie's Germs" again is part of a trend, the hook this time of lil' creatures inhabiting our heroes body. What's interesting here is that this tale seems to be riding on the tail of the Batman TV show (odd, in that its a partial Marvel title) by having "Catgerm" and "Batgerm". Its a nice tale, although let down by some so-so art:
In this issue as well we've got "Sammy Shrink" (pretty forgetable), "Experiment X" (ditto), "The Cloak" (widely held up as a classic. But i don't get it), "The Two Faces Of Janus" ( a story i don't know at all, but will be looking at soon), "The Greatest Goalie Ever! (its football, so i didn't touch it then, and sure won't now) and another classic Marvel strip - Lee/Kirby "Fantastic Four". 'Nuff said. Its sure a case of leaving the best to last though as, nestled at the back, we find "Dare-A-Day-Davy" by the Master, Ken Reid. A fantastic idea, give Davy a dare to do and Ken will depict it for you. This time we've got "Robin Brown of Manchester" who gives Davy the task of pulling a tooth from a shark. Enlisting the aide of Pericival Puller "Dentist, whose hair fell out when an all-in wrestler lost his head and tried to beat his brains out with a cannister of laughing gas". Its brilliant, surreal, barking mad and hilarious stuff. Made all the more impressive/awe inspiring in that its all on ONE PAGE. With NINETEEN panels. And a heck of a lot of text:
Jaw dropping stuff, even more so when each panel is examined and the level of detail is revealed. Astonishing stuff:
It finishes with a toothless shark in London Zoo (predating "Jaws" by quite a bit) and threats to contributor Robin Brown. Really, can't see any modern kids title threatning its readers eh?