Magnus Robot Fighter

July 30, 2008

Growing up in the UK with a plethora of weekly comics I never understood the reason for Dell and Gold Key to issue comics like this that only appeared quarterly. How would you ever remember to pick up the next issue?

I presume “Now only 12 cents” on the covers in 1962 and 1963 refers to the fact that Gold Key had recently taken over a number of titles from Dell Comics who had been charging the outrageous price of 15 cents for their (admittedly advert-free) comics.

Back covers with “pin-ups” were just asking for the comic books to be defaced.

Painted covers always look impressive. The interior artwork by Russ Manning was ok in a neat/sanitised sort of way but the boring layouts of mostly six panels to a page gave Gold Key comics an old-fashioned appearance. I actually preferred the regular back-up strip called “The Aliens”.

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Captain Zahl

July 29, 2008

Perhaps I’m getting a little TOO OBSCURE here. When I came across this record many years ago I thought wow, what a cool name for a pop group…to name themselves after an obscure villain from DCs “Doom Patrol” comic of the 1960s.

Alas Captain Zahl’s O Rainy Days didn’t really live up to my expectations. The world remained indifferent to this light-weight pop tune from 1974. But you never know…perhaps one day it will be discovered that someone who is now a mega-star was involved in this record. Until then this single is for “Doom Patrol” completists only……

Action 303 was one of the first DC comics I ever owned. It was cover dated August 1963 but due to its slow boat trip across the Atlantic ocean I wouldn’t have seen it until perhaps 1964. Along with a fun Red Kryptonite story it contained this advert for the 80 page giant celebrating Superman’s first 25 years. I spent months visiting all the shops within cycling distance until I had tracked down a copy. Now Superman is celebrating his 70th birthday (along with The Beano). Little did I realise I’d still be buying Action Comics today. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun !!

Nuff Said 8

July 25, 2008

Another of the numerous Alan Class black and white reprint anthologies that appeared in the UK from the early 1960s to approx 1990 was “Amazing Stories of Suspense” (usully just shortened to “Suspense”). Containing reprints of Atlas, Marvel, ACG, Charlton and Archie superhero comics with no continuity you never knew what to expect in each issue. Some of the stories reprinted (especially in the earlier issues) have probably never ever been reprinted in the States. For instance in this issue there are stories from the early 1950s from Atlas’ Strange Tales and Marvel Tales.

Even the young me realised the contents were far from being “All Brand New”. Issue 19 (probably published around 1965) contains the classic Ditko story called “It happened on the Silent Screen” from Marvel Comics’ Tales to Astonish 21 of 1961. Interestingly the whole story unfolds without a single word balloon being used. Perhaps Steve Ditko should be recognised as the one who first came up with the character called “The Hulk” many months before the “Incredible Hulk” first appeared in his 6 issue series (Marvels first ever mini-series ??) of 1962.

The back cover reminds you of the other titles avaiable. Journey into Danger only lasted a few months but most of the other titles were published for years.

I purchased Issue 93 (undated as were all of these “Class Series” comics) when it was new, probably around 1970. The main story comes from Archie/Radio comics Mighty Crusaders 5 originally published 3 or 4 years earlier. Again the back cover reminds you of the other five monthly comics Alan Class was to issue until the demise of his company. The final “Suspense” is believed to be number 241.

IW/Super Comics

July 23, 2008

I seem to have a few of these semi-legal IW (later to call themselves Super) Comics. At least in the USA they were often sold as three comics in a plastic bag for 25 cents. Gold Key employed a similar means of using up unsold back-issues.

There was a Planet Comics No 1 but strangely the next issue was No 8. You open the cover of Planet No 8 and where there should be the splash page is a full page advert! I’m not even sure if its a current advert or the ad that appeared in the original comic that is being reprinted!! Theres no Comic Code Stamp either. Just Mr Waldman’s bold claim that you’ve got a “top quality comic”. What you’ve actually got is ancient reprints from “Fiction House”, or “Avon” or some other defunct Golden Age comic company.

Israel Waldman was doing just what Alan Class was doing in the UK…buying old plates and printing whatever was on them …horror..funny animals… IW/Super comics appeared sporadically between 1958 and 1964. Mr Waldman would re-appear a few years later as the second half of SkyWald.

Strange Planets 11 from 1964 reprinted the entirity of Avons 1951 one-shot “An Earthman on Venus” drawn by Wally Wood. It did however boast a new Andru/Esposito cover with a similar theme to the original comic.

The Old Robot

July 23, 2008

        

                    

                                   

                                                    

                                                                     

                                                   

From Charlton Comics Outer Space No 18 from August 1958.