The Power of Three

May 1, 2020

Do you remember this short-lived UK comic from the late 1970s with the odd title “The Power of Three”? Probably not as there was only this first issue ever available.

Actually very few of the first issues were sold to the public. The newsagents kept most back for themselves due to the remarkably generous free gifts of beer and cigarettes sellotaped to the fronts. With the help of my local newsagent I did acquire four copies of that elusive issue and consequently can share a few interior pages right here. 

The publishers went bust in the process of acquiring the even more generous free gifts for the second issue… brand new Honda CG125 motorbikes!!

As I was buying them off the spinner racks at the time I well remember the period of 1978 – 1981 when many (but not all) DC comics sold here in the UK sported 12p/15p prices properly printed on the covers rather than the more usual Thorpe and Porter ink stamps.

What I’d forgotten about until reminded by the Marwood/Steve posts was the aborted experiment to do the very same thing back in 1971. I love a good mystery and would like to know why just 5 DC titles in 1971 were printed in the States for distribution here in the UK with 5p/7½p prices placed in random places around the covers. In fact at first glance the UK prices in white boxes look like stickers..but aren’t. Only the price on the Jimmy Olsen comic looks “real”. As no one appears to have discovered any others it seems that only those 5 comics out of the two or three dozen DC would have published that month had UK prices. How strange! No further DCs would have UK prices printed on the covers at the point of manufacture for the next 7 years. After digging through my shelves/boxes I eventually found my copies of these books originally purchased by a younger me.

I note that they even went to the trouble of removing the (two) 25c price(s) from the spine of the UK Flash price variant.

An even bigger mystery is what proportion of distributed comics had UK prices printed on the covers as there also exist standard comics that reached the UK bearing the more usual T&P stamp in circulation.

Speech Bubbler

Jan 1, 2020

Visit: http://www.coverbrowser.com/bubbler
Then refresh your browser to see random different 1950s comic book covers where you can add your own words into the word balloon(s) and save the image.

Forty One

Jan 1, 2020

This photo was taken in 1959 when the whole world was in black and white. Can you guess which is me?

The Forty Oneth one.  Available to download for a limited period. It’s just for my personal listening amusement.

Get Marwood and I

Dec 1, 2019

I can’t get too enthused about the modern fashion for comic collectors sending their “valuable” comics to a company called CGC. They grade your comics (for a price) and then seal them inside flimsy plastic boxes so you can never read them again. Until quite recently this company didn’t appreciate the difference between a UK Marvel etc reprint comic and a comic printed in the States at the same time as the original but with a different price to be shipped to the UK, Canada or Australia. Thanks to the sterling (sic) work of an individual with the unlikely alias “Get Marwood & I”, the CGC has finally acknowledged that these comics are “variants” rather than “reprints”.

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I mentioned these UK price variant comics years ago here and here. One day the world will wake up to how undervalued these books are as I suspect they represent perhaps a mere 5% – 10% of the published output of each issue.

So “Marwood/Steve” has spent the last few years compiling lists of all the comics ever printed in the States that bear UK prices. Marvel, DC, Dell, Gold Key, Archie, Charlton and King. No ACG it seems. Rather him than me although I confess that it is an interesting niche to worldwide comic collecting. The big pity is that all his hard work is hidden away on the CGC forums where it will only be seen by a handful of comic obsessives endlessly sharing images of their old comics and the odd person like me (admittedly an ex-comic obsessive) who’s just passing through.

Get Marwood & I

Sounds strips

Dec 1, 2019

The Original Writer wasn’t a child prodigy. In fact you could probably call him a late developer. Born in 1953 his early published work was done for free and found within a couple of dozen fanzines in the 1970s.
From 1979 to 1983 he got a regular paying gig as writer/artist of a half page strip in the music newspaper “Sounds” whilst also drawing a comic strip for his local newspaper. He wrote strips for Dr Who weekly/monthly and then 2000AD from 1980, Warrior from 1982 and finally found fandom fame at DC comics from 1984 when he was in his thirties and remained quite prolific up to Americas Best Comics at the turn of the century. His last comics work appears to have been the 12 issue”Providence” in 2015. Then he worked on his epic 1200 page novel “Jerusalem” published last year.

This particular post is to remind readers of Curt’s time as an artist as well as a writer during the period March 1979 to March 1983. I acquired these strips a decade ago from a site that may no longer exist. The collection isn’t complete by any means but it’s quite interesting to see Curt’s earlier work in view of the body of work that would follow. As we live in strange times I’d better add a disclaimer that these strips contain a few swear words. some nudity, and the ability to annoy at least one “Sounds” reader who assumed the views expressed by a comic character in a comic strip must also be the views of The Original Writer.


Curt Vile

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