Sunday, 14 December 2008

Judge Anderson original art

Falling outside of the 1968-1978 remit of this site, but Judge Anderson almost made it within that bracket, and i'm dead pleased with it, so:

Been a fan of Dave Taylors work since his work on Dark Horse's "Tongue Lash" and knew he was going to be doing an Anderson tale for the Megazine from his previews on his Blog.
When it arrived it didn't disapoint - an old school Mega City tale involving sentinent buildings getting up and smushing stuff.
And the art was top notch. Dave is excellent at both inticate machinery and the female form and this strip showed both off brilliantly.
So, dead chuffed to get this page. I wanted this one in particular as the final panel is an excellent example of what i'm talking about - a stunning Anderson giving off loads of attitude in front of a very detailed city (the panel itself is relatively small but the amount of tight, tiny detail is astounding).

Friday, 12 December 2008

Action - 28th August 1976

Got this rather yellowing copy off eBay a couple of weeks ago and - yet again - its a case of "they did this for kids????"

From the off the tone is set with Steve McManus rolling out an anecdote of the Editor popping in and offering him a cigar. "Can't stand the things" replies our Steve, "But if you line me up a bit of crumpet..."


On to Dredger and some quite nice art - a change as by this point its usually gone right down the dumper. Its amazing how a complete, self-contained story can be done in just 3 pages but here we get a Chinese garden of death, a double cross, a shoot out in a Mall and a show down back in the garden.

Lovely art from Belardinelli, still unsuited to the rather dull story. For me a case of studying the art and ignoring the script.

Appalling art on Hookjaw and a very silly script - the big fella is stunned by a bomb blast, Mason and two others tie him up (while holding their breaths) but then he's woken up by bubbles rising from a lava fissure. Oh dear.

And pretty duff on Hellman, although the story's a good one.

Bit of a let-down issue.

"Aieeee!" Watch:

A 100% spot-on makes an apperance in Dredger, along with a rather protracted "Aaaiiieeee!" as the bad guy falls into the spike pit (must've been a long drop).

Two guys in one of Hellman's tanks buy it, one with a shortned ""Aieee!", the other with a longer "Aieeeeee!".

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Lion and Thunder - 4th Sept 1971

Continuing my goal of having every Black max installment, here we are in 1971 - and what a silly development we have.

Tim Wilson is sent back to London to recuperate - nothing wrong with that.

At exactly the same time Black Max travels there - hmmm...

And he's staying in a "sinister gothic mansion" near Tower Bridge - double hmmm...

Max has a double task of having his Bats guiding the Zepplins through the foggy nights and to capture Proffesor Dutton, who can make the Bats ten times as intellegent - don't have any trouble with that.

But Wilson is hanging round by a gun emplacement that just happens to be right next to Max's mansion - triple hmmm....

And when the guns open fire is told to "turn away... or the flash may hurt your eyes". So he does and, at the moment of the flash, he just so happens to be looking up at the very window that Max is looking out of - quadruple hmmm....

Very, very silly.

But great fun too.

Only other thing of note this issue is Adam Eterno, which is curious by being a self-contained one episode story. Never came across this before and dunno if it was commonplace? Anyway, lovely art, with the old fella suffering troubles in ancient Rome, with the gold threat being a piddly lil' dagger.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Dogbreath 19

An up to date title here? Sure:

(A) Its a really nicely produced fanzine devoted to Johnny Alpha and the rest of the SD Agents, so falls in the remit of this here Blog

(B) I wrote a tale, i'm chuffed to see it in print, and the arts lovely.

So there.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Thunder - Issue 2

So, two copies plop on my mat this morning to add to the collection.

The first is the ever elusive second issue. Didn't come with the Black Max Bat, but at only 3 quid i can live with that.

Its actually a very good copy - nice and tight, no pulling at the staples and little in the way of browning.

Open it up, there's Black Max and, blast, the colour has bled through to the first page, as sometimes happens.

Doesn't prevent reading though, and how interesting it is too. Not got the first issue yet with its Eric Bradbury opening but here in issue two we've got past the introduction of Max and now meet Wilson. He arrives on the scene wet behind the ears with his only concern being his C.O, the brilliantly named "Groucher Gromett". But he's also in a region where airplanes have taken off, never to be seen again... Of course its Max and his - singular - pet Bat. Of note here are the classic lines ("First FEAR to freeze the blood... then DEATH!") and the VERY odd look to the Bat.

Other than that, its quite a weak issue for a second issue, even Adam Eterno dumped in 70's America's not much cop with some pretty duff art, and the only thing of note is the odd two-tone colouring on some of the strips, the most striking being Furys Family seen here.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Mind Wars & Jesus Redondo

Been having a re-read of all my Starlords. The Strontium Dog and Ro-Busters strips are as familair as ever, Timequake was a bit of a plod after a while, Planet Of The Damned was an interesting idea wasted and Mind Wars was pretty crap.

Can understand why i'd forgotten this dull, repetitive, cliche rubbish but the BIG suprise is the art of Redondo.

How did i never appreciate this guy back then? A brilliant artist (who must be one of the best from back then for drawing women) and an incredible draughtsman - look at the shape of some of those panels and how they overlap.

Its been a joy to read this strip to see how he went about things.

What a brilliant bloke.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

2000AD - Prog 62

Has the rightly praised Cursed Earth epic in Dredd, but other things of note going on here for me is the stunning art in Inferno by Belardinelli - he'd truely made Artie Gruber his own by now (and this perspective shot... well, words fail) - the vastly over-looked Brian Lewis on cover and Dan Dare duties and Tharg doing an Action by nicking the latest popular whatever and bunging it in - here we have Mach One doing a Close Encounters.

Warlord - 31st January 1976

Blimey, haven't read any of these since they first came out. Can't remember much and, judging by this example, i don't blame myself.


Cliched plots, terrible scripts, worse art.

And what's with the limited colouring? Here's the only interior example (from the main strip. You'd think they'd made an effort art-wise wouldn't you?) - a red plane and a pink control centre. Why'd they bother?

The only strip i can remember liking was "Union Jack Jackson", which could've been in Battle, but its not much cop here. And the racisism is quite disturbing.

What a let down. Doubt i'll be getting more.

AIEEEE! COUNT: one singular GI "Aieee!"

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Starlord - 10 June 1978

Massive, massive, MASSIVE apologies to anyone who's kept returning to this here site expecting an update and being denied.

Sorry about that - getting deeply back into modelling (especially of the Ma.K sort as seen on this sister site - ), along with a resurfaced interest in Arthurian legends and WW2 history and a total disinterest in the comics i buy weekly/monthly (you bad boys know who you are), has made for little compulsion to dig out a dusty, musty back issue.

Feeling really guilty about that, so promise from now on to post here more regularly and get back to eBay for more fixes.

To balance it up i've had another delve at random into my childhood and here we have an issue just about falling into my remit of June '68 - '78 (the point i left school and become an adult. Whatever that means.)

I LOVED Starlord. Loved it more than 2000AD. By this time Tharg's organ had become pretty much established and, therefore, rather predictable. Starlord was different. i couldn't have cared less about the "editor" and his woes, these stories had a feel to them that 2000AD had kinda lost in the couple of years it'd been out. At least that's what i thought back then and still do now.

So what floats my boat in this issue?

First up, a stunning cover by Kevin O'Neill. Does it still exist? And if so, how much is it worth now? Its a measure of the titles still newness that things like characters colour schemes aren't set yet - witness the rather fetching blue of Ro Jaws.
Inside there's some brilliant art from Ian Kennedy on Ro-Busters, especially the stunning colour splash page, which brings back memories of Frank Bellamys work on Thunderbirds. One day Ian is going to get the credit he oh so much deserves for his work, and it won't be a day too soon. Its criminal how much he's been over-looked all these years. As for Ro-Busters, it was my favourite strip of the title and it still holds up very well now. Give me the upcoming GN of these tales rather than the palid, instantly forgettable ABC Warriors in the Prog right now.
Find it interesting that all the pull-out games in this comic are still in there. Guess all my friends had grown out of comics at this point so there was no reason to take them out?
Planet Of The Damned has a following these days, and quite rightly so. It was the nastiest of the strips and a lot of fun too - here we have Hell's Angel's types up against a Nazi submarine crew on an alien world. Brilliant.
And finally Timequake. A very much overlooked strip, with a a main character who was basically Dredger transplanted sideways, it had a lot of nice ideas, like this one here - the Nazis have won WW2 and Martin Bormann is a Time Traveller.
You'll notice i haven't mentioned Strontium Dog. That's for the reason i didn't - heresy - rate him that much at this time. Too 2000AD.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

The return of Garth - and Shako?

Strangely non-trumpted by The Mirror, this month saw the long awaited revival of Garth.

Hmmmm... what to think?

Pro: Of course its brilliant that the big fella's back,

Con: but kinda wish it was in the actual paper than only online.

Pro: Reads very well and the character's captured nicely,

Con: would've preferred the 4 panel strip rather than a whole page.

Pro: Nice that they've gone back to the pre-WW2 origin

Con: but personally, i'd prefer the barrel-chested time traveller meeting melon chested damsels in distress.

The above makes me out to be rather ungrateful, but really i'm not. I'm pleased as punch he's back, it reads well, the art is very good (IS that Shako's great great grandfather?) and i hope its a success - and i look forward to the inevitable graphic novel.

But part of me that's reading it is the me that grew up on the Bellamy/Asbury version, cutting each strip out daily and pasting it in scrapbooks and therefore is always comparing.

I know there's no comparison - unless it does into the paper in strip format and the artist becomes a B/A clone.

Nice interview here over on Down The Tubes:

Monday, 25 August 2008

Action - 11th Sept 1976

First up, massive HUGE apols for anyone popping back here to look for an update but finding nowt.

Been real busy with my modelling hobby, as a look over there will attest.

Anyway, kinda modelled out today so i picked a back issue out at random for a bit of a change.

And here we are back with Action.

Only just a month away from the ban - and you can see portents already.

First strip inside from the fab, groovy cover is the first episode of "Kids Rule Ok". Its infamous now for its ultraviolence, as you can see here from the very first page, but even though i was a 14 year-old it didn't appeal to me at all. Just found it a nasty, shoddy tale.

Still think that today.

Moving through, we come to "Dredger", who's art has improved immeasurably compared to previous issues. Classic moment here - Dredger and Breed are trapped on a train and their hostage has copped it. They need to get out, bluffing it with Breed impersonating the stiff. When he points out to Dredger he doesn't look anything like him, this is the Man's response.


Final thing of note. Hookjaw's good guy finally goes up against the beastie and loses in the most graphic way. Strong stuff, despite the shoddy art. If this was an issue looked at while debating the whole "has it gone too far?" issue, it was sure presenting a stong case in favour.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Look In

Bit of a diversion here - and also a ponder:

Just HOW much pocket money was i getting???????????????

Aside from the titles already covered, i was also regularly getting Mighty World Of Marvel, Dracula Lives, Planet Of The Apes, Spectacular Spiderman (and all the other Marvel variants that followed) a lot of humour titles, Plop!, Mad, Dez Skinn's horror mags and Look In.

Look In was great.

Could've done without all the Gary Glitter, Sweet, Bay City Rollers stuff, ditto the How? and Magpie features.

No, the sole reason for getting was the extra adventures of my then TV heroes, be it the Six Million Dollar Man, Tomorrow People, Catweazle, Space 1999 etc.

Seemingly always drawn by John Burns, an artist that has always left me cold.

But it didn't matter - here were further adventures, long after the shows had stopped and very often with plotlines far more ambitous than the show that spawned the strip could've hoped to attempt.

Posted a pic here of Kung Fu here not because i liked it or the show but even now, 34 years after the event, i can still feel the deep misery of getting the issue with the free medallion only losing it on the way to school and having to stand there in the playground while everyone else ran around with theirs.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Smash annual 1973

Thought i'd have a re-read of this this morning.

Along with The Swots And The Blots, the highlight for me are the two Janus Stark strips.

The first is odd in that its in colour. Its a nice tale - but colour REALLY doesn't suit the strip - part of the strips appeal is the moody b/w artwork, evocative of its Victorian setting. Doing away with it takes something away from the strip i feel.

Much better is the second strip, back to black and white and set in India.

And here we have a couple of classic Janus moments, squeezing through gaps far too narrow for a human to fit though.

I remember from my childhood the oft-uttered phrase "... the pain..." as he underwent his trial, but its only now as an adult that its occured to me that he gets through the gaps with his hat on. Ha!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Vulcan 13th March 1976

Two strips of note in this issue.

First, a Spider tale i've not read before. And a silly one it is too. A shape changing alien comes to Earth because he enjoys imitating criminals of the past (!). When the Spider tries to stop him, the alien fires "Peril-Bubbles" (!!) which turn the Spider into a giant and his slave (!!!). The Spider disposes of his friends by chucking them and the Helicar into the sea, where they're captured by Mermen Warriors (!!!!). And this issue has the Spider regaining his will, defeating the alien by turning him into a handsome prince charming lookalike (!!!!!). And then goes down to the sea bed to take on the Sea God (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

As i say, silly.

The other strip is Mytek the Mighty. Not a character or strip i really care for, especially with this awful colouring. But thought this idea here is really neat - to round up and detain hostages, he picks up sheds, ties them upside-down round his waist and drops the people in. Brilliant idea.

Sorry for the absence.

Indeed. Been real busy at work, plus i've got the modelling bug again, as seen on me other Blog:

Thursday, 26 June 2008

The brilliance of the Lion and Thunder 1971 Christmas issue.

I got this as i needed to fill in the gaps in my collection and had never read it before.

Cor! What a treat. Not only do you get an excellent cover with most of the characters sitting down to a Christmas meal (no Black Max though. Couldn't he have been "bah! Humbag"ing in though a window?) but MOST OF THE STRIPS ARE SET ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

Can't figure out if that was the intention all year long and the writers were giving the spec in advance to do something for this issue, or the setting was shoehorned in.

Think it must be the former as none are too jarring.

Not all the strips went along with it, but this is how the one's that did went abut it:

"Carson's Cubs" - The team are spending Christmas at the eerie Troll Manor.

"Black Max" - See's the possible end of the giant King Bat by the end of page two. Page three is devoted to Wilson and the rest of 12th Squadron celebrating, with Black max slinking past to look for the remains of his pet.

"Fury's Family" - Set at Christmas. Grateful for this strip as i now know that animal speak for "lion and tiger - pull this cracker" is "Tharrga moorka throol! grikka Marrgg!" Which they then do. Dunno if you can make it out, but the tiger is actually wearing the party hat. Genius!

"Spellbinder" - Jolly japes on Christmas Eve.

"The Spooks Of St Luke's" - A Christmas mail story.

"The Can-Do Kids" - Trouble with Father Christmases.

"Steel Commando" - Set on Christmas day

"Zip Nolan" - A Christmas Eve crime

"Adam Eterno" - My favourite of these. Adam's adventure in 18th century England ends half way into page three. The rest of the tale is given over to him being rewarded with a brilliant Christmas day and it ends with him leaving, as he says, "like a Christmas Spirit". And very Christmas Carol it reads too. And so nice to see the old fella laughing and enjoying himself. Bless.

"Mowser" - Jolly japes on the big day.