Thursday 29 December 2011

Strip magazine issue 2

Finally got down to my local comic shop and picked up this latest issue.
Reading it, the oft-cited "we're filling a gap in the market" really does ring home and you're left wondering why on earth these anthologies were ever done away with.
So great to see not only new, original British strips, but also the championing of small press titles and, with this issue, local small stores.
Long may they continue.
Read-wise, of the new strips, "Recovery Incorporated" and "Age Of Heroes" are still tops but favourite, of course, is "Hook Jaw".
This is proving to be a multi-level, multi-pleasure experience as:
(A) We get to read the strip again
(B) We get to compare and contrast the two lettering styles
(C) We get to do ditto with colour or not.
Especially interesting this time for me as we've two of my all-time favourite panels from the strip.

This one i'd rate #4 on my list. Even reading it first time round, i recognised it for the copy of the photo that it was, it being an iconic shot used in pretty much all the books that were churned out in the wake of Jaws' success. Most publishers would i guess, if they were using it, would use it as is. Its a true mark of the bods in charge to come up with the outrageous notion of a diver swimming right into it. Would love to know how it came about - did the script say "diver swims into the maw" and Sola decided to use the image, or was he given the image after it inspired Mr Armstrong to write the moment.
It still is a fantastic moment in colour:

with the now bright white of the teeth really standing out. Only niggle is that if the speech bubble hadn't been moved then we'd see more of them. But can understand why it was done and it doesn't distract at all.
This is my #2 panel,a classic iconic moment - if you wanted to sum up the strip in one panel, this would do it:

I used to stare and stare at it for ages, horrified by the snapping limbs and stunned by the length of the beast compared to the bloke.

In colour, it still has impact, the red making it more so, but the colouring on the face has rather obscured the face, alas.
Still, a terrific read and can't wait for more.
None. Can we have some please?

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Merry Christmas to y'all

Okay folks, up at an unearthly hour in the morning to travel to France to see family, then back again Christmas Eve eve.
So, very best wishes to you all and i'll see you back here soon.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Merry Christmas from... 1970

This time out we have a festive cover, though being Thunder, its a factual piece and therefore, to an 8 year-old, boring.
Inside we're still at the point where no-one belives Wilson about the Black Max and here we have him running from a court-martial, only to run into - literally - Max in the woods he's hiding out in. He's saved by some Tommies inadvertantly letting Max's bat out of his plane and we get, yet again, "the incredible Tardis plane or the ever growing Bat" as the creature goes from being small enough to fit in the tiny cargo box to being bigger than the plane itself in the space of just one panel:

"Adam Eterno" is set in WW1, which you'd think would be a the setting for some really dark, gritty art. Not so with this artist alas. Its all very light and forgettable, but the story itself is of note as it strays from the usual formula. Instead of the usual plot device of plonking Adam down in a time period just moments before it all hits the fan - something Slaine would do again and again decades later - here we have the start of a tale, with Adam being introduced as a stretcher-bearer, although he's not named and, if you're not a fan already, you wouldn't have a clue he was the hero of the tale. Its not until he's survived a bomb blast and the onlookers identify him as "Private Eterno", that we're tipped off to what's going on.

Seems he's been fighting for a coupla weeks and that fact that he never sleeps and has survived countless bullet hits is making him a bit of a pariah. That looks like its all at an end though with the arrival of "General Von Gruber" who also can shrug off bullet hits. And is armed (what are the chances eh?) with a solid gold sabre.
Much moodier art is on "Fury's Family", a strip i didn't care for, but there's no denying the effectivness of the art:

There's a few strips that mention Christmas in a panel or two, but "Phil The Fluter" has the only proper Christmas tale, although the moral of it is a tad dodgy, given the time of year. Its Christmas Day, Phil's parents haven't got round to getting a tree, so off he goes to the local woods to dig one up. When the owner of the woods tries, quite rightly, to stop him stealing one, the flute's used to dunk him in the river. So the guy in the right gets a dunking, but the tea leaf gets his tree using unfair means.

Not an utterance nor a variance

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Merry Christmas from... 1972

Back in '72, so lets see what the 10 year-old me was reading shall we?
Well, nothing to do with the festive period for sure here - not one strip even mentions the time of year, let alone wishing anyone festive greetings.
Instead, we have in the way of highlights here:

Adam Eterno resolving the problem of how to cope with a gold-topped tower falling towards him in Napleonic times. Which he does by being shot, thereby moving just out of the way of the tower. Worthy of a 50's serial get-out that. Excellent art but a so-so tale.

"Secrets Of The Demon Dwarf" continues the Black Max sequel, and has the British fighting the Germans still going on in the 60's. Pretty duff stuff if it wasn't for the fact that it was a Max sequel and that, somehow, there's still a Wilson to thwart the dasterdily plans.

Best of all though is "The Spider", which, as always, has stunning art, though this tale of him vs the Android Emperor is pretty foregettable.
Not a very distinctive issue then.