Great for Decoupage

Jul 1, 2021

There aren’t many comicbook bargains on EebuygumBay in C21. In the early days of the auction site (now over 20 years ago) I used to win the odd treasures when people would put comics up for sale (without photos!) saying things like “20 old DC comics” with a £1 starting price and I’d take a punt and for £2 plus postage I’d win (although I didn’t know what to expect) early 1960s Green Lanterns and Showcases. Those were the days.

Recently I won 8 old Annuals for £9 advertised as “Great for Decoupage”. They aren’t in that bad a condition (I already own worse) and someone else would have put each of the books up at a £10 starting price.

Perhaps rather than me continuing to throw crap (usually published in the last 20 years) comics into the recycling bin I could have a go at Decoupage. Perhaps old Victors would make good wallpaper. I used to frequent a pub that was wallpapered in 1930s – 1950s newspapers.

In 1973/1974 Hallmark Minting Service Inc in the States produced three “Official Marvel Collectors Medallion-Coins” featuring Spider-man, the Hulk and (oddly) Conan the Barbarian. Interestingly each coin was individually numbered on the outer rim. These coins were available in Gold, Silver and Bronze. I wonder how many/how few Gold and Silver ones were produced? The cheaper Bronze ones were by far the biggest sellers as they were advertised for $2 in 1973 increasing to $2.50 by early 1974 in Marvel comics of the time. Buying three or six coins entitled you to a discount. People living in Michigan had to add a sales tax!


Hallmark offered a number of accessories to go with these Medallions/Coins. A Lucite Holder, Key Chain, Neck Chain, Money Clip, Bolo Tie, and Small or Large belt buckles. The Lucite holders and neck chains appear to have been the most popular. 

I believe that there were plans to produce further Medallions/Coins featuring other Marvel characters but this never happened. Currently someone is (trying to sell) selling a bronze Hulk coin and neck chain just like mine for an eye-watering £495.

How I came to purchase this 47 years ago is lost in the mists of time. I didn’t buy things directly from the States in those days but unusually this second advert contains a UK address and a price of £1.25 per coin. Did I send off then in mid 1974 or perhaps were they advertised in UK Marvel comics too?

The Spider-man coin naturally includes the quote “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. The Hulk coin has the quote “Within Each Of Us Oft Times There Dwells A Mighty Raging Fury”. It seems that was the first time that particular quotation was used regarding the Hulk. The quote next appeared on the back cover of a Marvel Treasury Edition large size comic in 1975.

PS: By the time we had reached the third ad in mid 1974 the UK price had increased to £1.75 each. The price of the comics climbed every few months in those days too.

Another UK reprint “album” that is misleading. The (Ditko) cover is from a 1958 Charlton comic but the interior contains no Charlton material at all. The reasons why they decided to add a “the” and remove the “worlds” we’ll never know.

It is full of Captain Future and similar stuff set in far flung (well it was in 1959) 2028. The team of The Buccaneers of Space consist of Slim and Tubby and Jock and the Prof etc. How original!

You have to admire G.T. Ltd’s audacity of inventing a ficticious seal of approval for their “albums”.

Sinister Tales

Jun 1, 2021

This early Alan Class comic is unusual for featuring three or four 1950s Atlas war strips that have never been reprinted again by Alan or anyone else. Mostly the main six Class comics contained SF/Horror/Fantasy fare. It seems early Class comics had adverts on the inside front cover and on the back cover. Admittedly the fist ad was for other books he was selling. The back cover was an ad for stamp collecting (we did that in those days for some reason?!?). For most of the runs of Alan’s comics they contained no adverts at all apart from a list of the other comics he was selling. I wonder why? Was it too much trouble or didn’t potential advertisers think the comics were selling in sufficient numbers compared to “proper” UK comics like Lion and Valiant etc?


Jun 1, 2021

Spellbound and Mystic were Len Miller’s final comics. Did he copy Alan Class or was it the other way round? These comics were similar to the Class comics, featuring old sf/horror/fantasy from ACG, Marvel/Atlas and Charlton mixed in with the odd Marvel Superheroics. In fact over the last year or so as the price of old comics have gone through the roof any UK reprint like this one from Len or Alan with Marvel heroes on the cover is now changing hands for silly money. When I was REALLY collecting comics, back issues (no matter how old or even if they were “key” issues) sold for half the cover price of new ones.

Lois says…………

Jun 1, 2021

And at last I finally own a copy once more. 

Codeg Dalek

Apr 1, 2021

In 1965 Marx toys produced a battery operated toy Dalek standing 5 inches tall and costing 10 Shillings. These days they sell for £££s. The British (???) firm Cowan de Groot also known as Codeg released tinplate clockwork Daleks in 1965. Slightly larger at 6 inches tall in my opinion they were superior to the Marx Daleks. Available in blue or black, the black ones sell for twice the price of the blue ones today.

I received a Codeg Dalek (costing the princely sum of 16s 5d) amongst other things like Annuals and selection boxes, for Xmas 1965. Alas the cardboard box it was packed in most likely wouldn’t have survived until 1966. We lived in the moment when young and couldn’t imagine I would be talking about a toy 55 years later. I’m talking about the toy because I still own it 55 years later!!! There wasn’t an awful lot you could do with it once you’d wound it up a few times and watched it spin round on the table (it wasn’t great on carpets).

So by the new year the Dalek was in a cupboard. Circa 1970 I rescued it from my brother’s clutches and stood it on a shelf. It has stood on various shelves in various houses for the last 50 years.

It seems that the original key was mislaid at some point and there is a Triang key sticking out the side which does fit and winds the clockwork up. If the Dalek was boxed and still complete with all protrusions then according to the Interweb it could sell for £800. So mine, with bits missing, would probably fetch £20 if I was very lucky. But it’s been on that shelf this far. It can stay right where it is alongside the Aurora Frankenstein’s monster and Corgi Batmobile which (not counting the Merit Magic Robot board game !?!) are possibly the only toys still in my posession after 50 years of ownership.

Superman on Trial

Apr 1, 2021

In 1988 the Radio Times still only covered BBC programming. If you wanted to know what was on ITV you needed the TV Times as well. Personally I got by looking at the TV listings in the newspaper. Admittedly if you wanted to know the names of actors in BBC radio plays then you did need the Radio Times. On Sunday 5th June 1988 at 4pm a 45 minute BBC Radio4 play was broadcast. It was immediately followed at 4.50pm on BBC1 TV by a programme celebrating Superman’s 50th birthday. The radio play was repeated on Tuesday 7th June at 8.30pm.

I listened to/watched both programmes at the time. Only today did I realise that the radio play was released on CD in 2010 and is still available today. Amazon describes it thus:

This exclusive special edition of the BBC Radio full-cast drama with never-before-heard scenes features Adam West, Jenette Kahn (President, DC Comics) and Dave Gibbons (Co-creator, “Watchmen”). This long-awaited release features Stuart Milligan as Superman, Shelley Thompson as Lois Lane, William Hootkins as Lex Luthor and Bob Sessions as The Batman and was written to celebrate Superman’s 50th birthday. Accused of crimes against humanity, the Last Son of Krypton stands powerless before a court dominated by Lex Luthor – criminal genius turned Prosecutor. Has Superman really corrupted our children? Can he justify his continued interference in world affairs? Do we know the truth about his powers? Can Lois Lane defend ’50 years of the Man of Steel’? Packed with spectacular sound effects and a thrilling orchestral score, mixed in cinematic Dolby Surround, this specially-extended and unedited recording can now be heard as writer/producer Dirk Maggs originally intended, remastered and with a new background sleeve note. Guest appearances include Adam West (TV’s Batman), Jenette Kahn (President, DC Comics) and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics artist/Co-creator, “Watchmen”).

This particular Radio Times is interesting as it contains a 2 page comic strip as a teaser for the plot of the upcoming play. Drawn by Dave Gibbons I don’t think they have ever been published anywhere else.

PS: It seems there were a few more Superman (and Batman) BBC Radio4 plays.


Apr 1, 2021

Blimey, that was unusual.

Doctor No

Mar 1, 2021

Classics Illustrated commissioned a comic book version of Ian Fleming’s Dr No. Then they had second thoughts and decided it was too raunchy to put alongside their other classic comics and never actually issued it in the States. It ended up being sold to DC comics. They stuck it into an issue of Showcase.

Thorpe and Porter in the UK were publishing their own versions of the Classics Illustrated comics and very popular they were too. They were comics my father approved of and he bought me a number of them in the 1960s including Dr No which Thorpe and Porter had no qualms about publishing. I wish I had kept it as it now changes hands for lots of money.

It seems that reprints of Classics Illustrated here in the UK were available until quite recently but I haven’t seen any for years.