Nuff Said 49

April 1, 2015

no wheels

In the 1960s Mercedes Benz experimented with hover cars. Unfortunately the not-inconsiderable power required to keep the car aloft was at the expense of forward motion. A top speed of 10 mph and nasty letters and phone calls from tyre manufacturers halted the project.

When the Leicester based magazine distributor Thorpe & Porter found themselves wondering what to do with heaps of returned unsold comics someone had the bright idea to tear off the covers and repackage them four at a time inside new covers to create large 128 page books. I guess that the original idea was that at least the first of the four comics would match the title of the “Double Double” book, but evidently not always.

My copy of “Strange Adventures Double Double Comics 1″ oddly enough doesn’t contain a single coverless Strange Adventures comic. For the record it contains coverless issues of DC’s “Unexpected” 107, Marvel’s “Strange Tales” 165, DC’s “Challengers of the Unknown” 57 and last (and least) ACG’s “Forbidden Worlds” 142.

Strange Adventures Double Double Comics No 1

I would have thought that the only reason for choosing a particular cover image for these re-packaged comics would be that that was the title they had the most returned unsold/remaindered copies of and that title would go first in the bundle. But it seems almost any comics could be between the covers. Another “Strange Adventures Double Double Comics” sold recently contained “Unexpected” 107 first, followed by “Strange Tales” 164, “Challengers” 56 and “Unknown Worlds” 50 !?! Basically the Double Double Comics could consist of anything that was lying around the Thorpe and Porter warehouse……

Strange Adventures 186

Here’s where they got the cover image from. It looks like Thorpe and Porter re-coloured it. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to read about the Gorilla Witch !!!

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Here are the 24 different issues that were available circa 1967 – 1970. But of course collecting the full set would be impossible as no one knows just how many dozens/hundreds of variations exist !?! And it’s interesting to note that although they originally cost 1/9d and then 2/6d/12½p the last few issues cost a mere 10p (Two shillings). It’s not very often that things come DOWN in price!

More Thorpe and Porter

April 1, 2015

This article found inside an old copy of “Paperbacks Pulp & Comic Collector” magazine sheds some more light onto the beginning, middle and end of this Leicester based publisher and distributor. Most of the article refers to paperbacks rather than comics. However the Grand Comic Database has recently begun to expand it’s listings (and sometimes cover images) of these increasingly forgotten UK comics.

Thorpe and Porter

pp&cc

PS: As well as producing their own comics, and tearing off thousands of comic covers to create the “Double Double” publications, Thorpe and Porter are most well known as the people who imported and distributed Marvel/DC/Dell/Charlton/ACG (and others?) comics to British newsagents in the 1960s and early 1970s. Marvel had the foresight to print covers with British prices already on. DC and the rest made Thorpe and Porter work. I wonder how many (or how few) people Thorpe and Porter employed to stamp the prices onto the covers of (predominately) DC comics back then. First it was 9d, then 10d, 1/-, 5p, 6p, 7½p etc.  That must have been a mind-numbingly thankless task. It was evidently done manually, rather than by machine as each cover would have the price in a different place. Mostly a light-coloured area was chosen, which usually meant the hero’s face! Can YOU spot the Thorpe and Porter British price stamp on these covers?

Superman 174

Lois Lane 119

Metal Men 34

Here it is enlarged…..

Thorpe and Porter 1 shilling price stamp

And enlarged again………..

close up

Valour

April 1, 2015

Over a period of around 20 years, beginning in 1972, Marvel UK produced umpteen different titles in umpteen different formats. Newsprint covers, glossy covers, landscape-shaped comics, pocket sized comics, weeklies, monthlies and eventually even comics that looked just like the American ones. However initially it was decided that to successfully enter the British market their comics would have to resemble current British comics like “Buster” and “2000AD” so newsprint covers and mostly black-and-white interiors were used. Despite a few glossy-covered weekly comics in the 1970s like “Captain Britain”, “Dracula Lives” and “Planet of the Apes”, by 1980 they were still issuing some all-newsprint comics featuring the Hulk and Spiderman along with anthology titles like this.

Valour

“Valour” wasn’t a particularly valiant effort surviving a mere 19 weeks before merging with the similar-looking science-fiction themed “Future Tense”. The only “interesting” thing about issue one of “Valour” was that for reasons unknown it was one inch taller than all the subsequent issues.

From Cents to Pence - icon, bordered (5-11 redesign)

Perhaps we’re getting nearer to the publication of Rob Kirby’s much-needed book that might or might not be entitled “From cents to pence” but will include an introduction written by that legendry comic creator Mr W. Known. An article Rob wrote in “Back Issue” magazine a while back showed he has done much detailed research concerning the people and processes involved in producing the bewildering amount of issues published by the British arm of Marvel comics.

Kim Fowley claimed this single of his was the worst record ever made. I’m not so sure. It does have some kind of “Louie Louie” riff beneath all the shouting.

I’d nominate this as the worst record ever made. “A nice cup of tea” is just talking and some cups rattling. No music at all. Ironic then that it is the B side of “Blue Skies” which is probably one of the best records ever made.

A nice cup of tea

On second thoughts, John’s B side of “King Wonderful” may be even more boring than “A nice cup of tea”.

Feeding the cat

Housewives Choice

April 1, 2015

HC

Naughty version

And whilst I’m looking at early 1980s B sides, here is another that doesn’t get played very often.

Rock and Roll madness

April 1, 2015

The H Bunch produced a couple of dozen British underground comix in the first half of the 1970s. I bought “Rock n Roll Madness Funnies” number 2 a massive 41 (gulp!) years ago. Perhaps I bought it in an early comic shop. Perhaps I bought it at one of the Comic Marts that took place in Westminster Central Hall and Camden London which I religiously attended. Perhaps I bought it in a Record shop. Perhaps I bought it in the Virgin record shop in Birmingham. Back then Richard only had a couple of shops along with his lucrative mail-order business. In those days you could spend whole afternoons in his shops listening to records without being hassled to buy anything.

Comic Mart

RnR madness 2

Here are some of the H Bunch’s output. Only “Bijou Funnies” appears to consist of reprinted stuff from the States. Some of the comics are priced in cents as well as pence but I can’t imagine distribution/production runs being very great. Weren’t they ahead of their time with a comic entitled “Sin City”.

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