Revolver

September 29, 2008

The then publishers of the UK Science Fiction weekly 2000AD attempted to find a more adult audience for this monthly magazine. Revolver only lasted 7 issues between July 1990 and January 1991. Perhaps they found what so many others have discovered before or since….there just doesn’t seem to be enough readers out there to sustain a non-focused adult anthology title. It featured an oddly neutered version of the long-running character Dan Dare.

Rogan Gosh did later appear in a DC/Vertigo comic in the USA.

The oddest/best strip was the Paul Neary/Steve Parkhouse “Happenstance and Kismet”.

“Dire Streets” was written and drawn by Julie Hollings.

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Warren’s 1984 number three

September 26, 2008

Warren’s 1984 number 3 cover dated September 1978 featured 9 and a bit stories and a letters page entitled “Telemetry”. I’ve just had to go and look that word up!

I never know if letters of comment in american comic books are genuine or made up by the editor as the names and places of the addresses always sound so implausible. R.A.Ziers? Curtis Cyeda? Barry Smith? And surely there can’t be a real address called East 32nd Street NY NY ???

In the lead story a new President discovers that the entire armed forces of the USA and USSR are actually controlled telepathically by two (intoxicated) old men. The Government assumes them to be mutants when it appears to be their home-made liquor that gives them their extraordinary mental powers!

“Whatever Happened to Idi Amin” is another odd and wordy tale by Bill Dubay (with art by Maroto). The former (despotic) leader of Uganda was close to world domination by using “ethnic missiles”. By some means not made too clear in the story (“we came up with a powder that when applied to the skin…one night old Idi went to bed..the next morning he awakened to the surprise of his lascivious young life” ????) the USA end his threat by transforming him into a female. Not just a female but a young white female! We then appear to be in some post-nuclear holocaust world where Idi is the last desirable woman on the planet. Unfortunately Idi’s brain is still male and he resists all amorous advances. Plots just don’t get any more bonkers than this one.

“In the Beginning” by DuBay and Nino is a fun time-travel tale. Travelling back to the moment life began on earth it seems that life began due to some passing alien defecating into earth’s lifeless waters!

“Bring me the head of Omar Barsidian” features “Sally Starjammers” in pursuit of a guy attempting to escape from “Orgasty the City of Passion” where life is one endless orgy.

“Doctor Jerkyll” is another “humorous” story by Nebot. The twist in this Jekyl/Hyde is that the good doctor’s potion transforms him into a woman. After much partying etc the doctor finally returns to his original male form albeit a very pregnant male form!

“Scourge of all Disneyspace” features a pirate spaceship that looks just like a C17th pirate galleon with a female crew that has escaped from the “insemination centre of the Galaxy”. Their booty…one of the few men who hadn’t suffered impotence/castration in “the great Corporate sterilization wars.” There definitely seems to be a theme going on in these magazines…

Commfu (which is evidently a Snafu only worse) was written by Alabaster Redzone and drawn by Abel Laxamana. Its the only story in the magazine that takes place in an almost recognisable here-and-now. The Government has lost one of their brainwashed assassins. The visuals show the assassin preparing for and then completing his mission. He carries out his mission efficiently…only his targets are the wrong (ie innocent) people. Juxtaposed with the artwork is a running commentary of captions describing a military hearing evidentally debating the aftermath of these events. Paralells could be made between this story and real events of the last few years.   

I’ll pass on the final story “The Harvest” written by Bill Dubay as it doesn’t have any redeeming features whatsoever. A far better use for those 8 pages would have been some (any!) Captain Company adverts.

The inside back cover contains the shortest story ever to appear in a comic since “Cap’s Hobby Hints”. It’s certainly the only one page story I’ve ever seen with a credit for two writers!!

I’ll give this book 6 out of 10 mainly for the artwork. The cover by Patrick Woodroffe was quite impressive too.

Up the Junction

September 24, 2008

I’ve just purchased the recently re-issued DVD of the 1968 film “Up the Junction” directed by Peter Collinson and starring Suzy Kendall and Dennis Waterman. Its an account of life in a grim Battersea and Clapham Junction that the swinging sixties hadn’t then reached. The writer of the novel upon which the film was based had herself  moved from upmarket Chelsea to live in the backstreets of working class Battersea. (I’m sure its now a trendy chichi place to live). 

With a soundtrack by Manfred Mann and the cute Adrienne Posta as the brassy factory dollybird ultimately suffering a backstreet abortion the humour is decidedly black. But as a social document of the times its invaluable. Highly recommended.

The book (her first) was written by Nell Dunn in 1963 and it became a BBC TV play before ultimately becoming a film. Nell was then married to Jeremy Sandford, famous for the equally harrowing and even more famous BBC TV plays “Cathy come home” and “Edna the inebriate woman”.

Super DC

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.

Strip

September 19, 2008

Another UK Anthology magazine that must have seemed like a good idea at the time was “Strip”. Despite the attractive (albeit reprinted) artwork of Don Lawrence’s “Storm” in the first few issues the magazine folded at issue 20 in 1990.

The usual suspects were to be found within the pages of “Strip”.

Here is another failure. “Point-Blank” was a UK monthly meant to feature the best of European comic art. Although there was masses to choose from they must have had a change of heart as the magazine only lasted a mere two issues.

“Zones” was another of the UK’s periodic DC reprint titles “for mature readers”. Initially bi-monthly it did contain a number of classic strips.

Deadline

September 17, 2008

Deadline magazine appeared with a flourish in 1988 and faded away in 1995. It was basically an Underground Comic book yet it was available in UK newsagents. Following the usual anthology format the quality varied but the “punk” lead character Tank Girl immediately gained a fan following.

Deadline’s appeal was broadened with britpop articles to attract the more casual reader. Unfortunately the Tank Girl Movie didn’t cross over from cult to mainstream acceptance and probably helped bring about the magazine’s demise in 1995.

Shakey Kane’s art can never be mistaken for anyone elses.

My favouite strip was “Hugo Tate” drawn by Nick Abadzis. Hugo was the blank faced universal everyman character forever beset by doubts and insecurities.

Moore for less

September 15, 2008

These days when you need to take out a second mortgage just to fill up the car with petrol, and when your Electricity bills are so large you have to call them “Williams” its nice to find something that is actually a bargain.

At a mere £2.79 this book doesn’t cost much more than a single “floppy” comic yet it contains five legendary comics within its 168 pages.

It would be worth the price of admission for the fab Jonni Future story alone.

The book contains the premiere issues of the five “America’s Best Comics” that Alan Moore was connected with.

In a comic shop you may have to pay £3.99. If you’re somewhere that accepts $$$s you may have to pay the cover price of $4.99. What a bargain.

PS: Amazon in the USA usefully inform their customers that this book weighs 9.9 ounces. Why?