January 1, 2013
ACGs “Adventures into the Unknown” is claimed to be the first ever continuing horror comic, beginning in 1948. After the Comic Code was introduced, unlike EC who cancelled most of their comics in disgust, ACG more pragmatically continued publishing by replacing their vampire and werewolf stories with (often quite cleverly written) mysteries and ghost stories.
There were at least 20 (monthly?) issues of the UK version of ACG’s “Adventures into the Unknown” published between 1958 and 1960 by The Arnold Book Company and/or Thorpe and Porter/Strato Publications Ltd depending whether you look on the front cover or the back cover or at the indicia inside. Issue 20 was probably published in 1960. It has an advert on the back cover showing issue No 2 of the UK version of “Mad Magazine” and issue No 1 of “Mad” is documented as having begun in October 1959. As well as containing the entire contents of AITU 107 (April 1959) this magazine also includes the contents of Marvel’s (quite recent!) “Tales to Astonish” No 7 (January 1960) and two stories from “Astonish” No 5. You got value for your shilling in 1960, despite those “big 68 pages” being only in glorious black and white. Now, a mere 52 years later, you get a crumbling, yellowing artifact still only worth a shilling but now also suffering from the dreaded “spine roll”. Although it sort of survives digitally here the comic itself barely survives. It didn’t like being scanned and is now well and truly broken.
September 1, 2011
Being completely underwhelmed by the avalanche of No 1 DC comics I find myself reading a comic from before I was born. Issue 75 of the Arnold Book Company’s Captain Valiant, Ace of the Interplanetary Police Patrol….or is it called “Space Comics” ? From what info I can find, this comic began with issue number 50 (!?!) and after a few weeks as a monthly was published twice a fortnight until the final issue, number 81 in 1954. Other Arnold comics such as Black Magic and Justice Traps the Guilty were more often published monthly, and often consisted of 68 squarebound pages rather than 28. The usual suspects of Mick Anglo and Denis Gifford etc were involved in this issue. The Arnold Book Company was headed by Arnold Miller, son of Len. Mick Anglo would soon be opening his own studio and launching the Marvelman franchise for Len Miller. 57 years later it would be raining.
May 27, 2010
September 21, 2008
Super DC was another UK black and white anthology of various DC characters published by Thorpe and Porter under the guise of “Top Sellers”. Issue No 1 appeared in June 1969 and it continued monthly until No 14 in July 1970. I believe there was also a hardback Annual for Xmas 1969.
The back page of Issue No 4 reminds us of the “proper” DC comics imported by Thorpe and Porter. Although I never knew of anyone being able to order specific titles. Most newsagents just received an assorted bundle of comics for their spinner racks.
I can’t imagine that even if you did create an interesting new foe for Batman it would be seen by anyone outside of the “Top Sellers” office.
As this comic was “magazine” sized rather than the usual american comicbook dimensions there was often cut-and-pasting with the original panels re-arranged to fit the available space for the UK reprints.
July 20, 2008
Thorpe and Porter sometimes called themselves “Strato” despite putting a “TP” logo (over the comic code stamp) on the front of their square-bound black and white reprint comics of the early 1960s. Being square-bound and glued many have suffered from the dreaded spine roll.
For completeness here is the original ACG comic. The Thorpe and Porter edition has half of the ACG logo on the cover !! The contents are a mixture of ACG material along with DC Science Fiction from My Greatest Adventure, Mystery in Space, House of Mystery/Secrets or similar. Stupidly the reprint even reprints the letters page from Forbidden Worlds 77 in our Forbidden Worlds 8 even though some of the letters refer to stories featured in ACGs number 73 which wouln’t make much sense to British readers. I think there were only 10 issues of this reprint title. By the early 1960s Thorpe and Porter were importing the original ACG comics (along with DCs etc etc) into the UK.
Other reprint titles that were available from “Strato” in the UK at the time included Mystery in Space, Adventures into the Unknown, Out of this World, Justice Traps the Guilty, Blackhawk and one lone Superhero……The Flash. Issue No 1 began appropriately enough reprinting the original Issue 105 along with other DC fare…albeit in black and white.
April 17, 2008
I couldn’t resist buying this comic recently. I owned a copy when it was first issued in the mid 1960s and immediately wished I’d spent the money more wisely. It was quickly disposed of. Now it just seems a nostalgic purchase. I was a big fan of “The Man from Uncle” and “Danger Man” on TV and “James Bond” on the big screen at the time and this was evidently a cash-in on the fad for secret agents from the UKs Thorpe and Porter.
There was only ever this one issue of “The Man from S.U.N.D.A.Y” with very good reason. The art is supposedly by Mick Anglo who had spent the previous ten years drawing a quite acceptable “Marvelman”. Perhaps he drew “Charles Rand” in the dark as the character’s heads, arms and legs don’t seem in the right proportion to their bodies.
To the best of my knowledge “Charles Rand” never appeared anywhere ever again. So he must therefore be the World’s most secret Secret Agent.