For the best comics?

June 1, 2015

¿Perhaps, in the 1950s, if you were a big fan of Westerns?

¿On sale everywhere? I can’t recall ever seeing any in my local Shoe shop or the Fishmongers for that matter.

And I’m still looking for a copy of that mysterious comic entitled “etc, etc”.

For the best comics

What the Pl*ck?

April 1, 2015

pluck

This might actually have been a real comic…….

Sock Thrills!

March 1, 2013

Can’t say I’ve ever found socks particularly thrilling. Everyone to their own fetish I suppose….

31 cover

Len Miller’s UK comic concerning the adventures of the real-life C18th American “frontiersman” Daniel Boone was popular enough in the mid/late 1950s to run for 35 monthly issues. There were only 14 issues of the Quality/DC “Exploits/Legends of Daniel Boone” so even allowing for the smaller page count of the British editions at some point Mr Miller must have run out of reprint material and began new stories using British artists sourced via Mick Anglo. (It had worked well enough a few years before with Captain Marvel/Marvelman).

Ironically the Daniel Boone comics of the 1950s in the USA may well have come about due to the popularity of the TV show featuring that other famous “frontiersman” Davy Crockett.

Daniel Boone 31 Miller 1958

PS: For completeness I’ll mention that Charlton issued 4 Daniel Boone comics in the mid 1950s three of which appeared under the title “Frontier Scout Dan’l (?!?) Boone”. Perhaps they were trying to avoid trademark issues? There was a one-shot Daniel Boone comic from Avon in 1953 (later re-printed by IW/Super) and there were a number of Daniel Boone comics produced by Gold Key based on the mid 1960s TV show.

Battle Stories

February 1, 2013

Battle Stories024

Battle Stories 02 Fawcett

Battle Stories 02 UK version

I understand that Roy Lichtenstein’s famous pop art painting “Whaam” was taken from a late 1950s DC Star Spangled War Stories comic. But he could just as easily have used this 1952 Fawcett cover for inspiration. The UK version of the comic was another of the 1000s churned out by Len Miller. For some reason he had this issue printed in France.

Red Comet revisited

April 25, 2011

Gosh, he certainly does look red on the cover. The muddy black and white interior artwork isn’t that marvelous either but I’ve scanned it anyway. It was difficult to read in the comic also, with the last story looking particularly washed out as if they were running out of ink in the printing press. I suffer for my art. Now it’s your turn.

Red Comet – The Interplanetary Marvel No 3 Atlas Comics UK

I never liked Judge Dredd (or 2000AD for that matter). That comic began during a period when I had little interest in comics and was perhaps buying just a couple of Warrens each month. I wouldn’t return to purchasing UK comics on a regular basis until the 1980s and Warrior. I’d buy an issue of 2000AD perhaps once a year just out of curiosity. At the risk of enraging Tharg and his supporters, I don’t see that Mr Dredd has any personality to engage the reader. I wouldn’t care if he got blown up or not. I’m sure that was the idea. He’s just a cypher. Like in the Astro City comics that came much later it is the characters both good and bad inhabiting the Megacity that drive the plots. A couple of years ago I purchased a random issue of 2000AD which contained what I consider to be one of the better Judge Dredd stories. So to contrast and compare here is a UK SF comic strip from almost 50 years after the Red Comet. If nothing else it shows how the printing processes have improved immeasurably. Splundig Vur Thrigg. 

Judge Dredd story – 2000AD

PS: These comics below appeared in a forum earlier this year as jpg images. I decided to convert them into cbz files for my own convenience.  As you seldom see copies of Miller and Atlas comics these days, let alone scans of them I thought they were worth putting back out to the Interweb again…….

Diamond Adventure Comics No 11 Atlas Comics UK

Captain Tornado No 86 Miller Comics UK

Marvelman No 328 Miller Comics UK

 

PPS: The Marvelman comic is from 1959. The back cover has this advert for the Magic Tricks/Novelties Mail Order Company (and shop) Ellisdons. They were still going strong in the 1960s when I would send off for a variety of fab gear/tat that usually required a Postal Order of around 1/6d not forgetting the 6d post and packing. Do you remember the strange “throw your voice” device you had to hold in your mouth and be careful not to swallow !! Or the wonderfully named “Seebackroscope” ??

Loose Ends

June 1, 2009

ITEM:   WordPress gives you some basic statistics about the numbers of visitors to your blog. I seem to get a reasonable number considering the odd subject matter and my amateur IT skills. There’s a daily running total of how many “clicks” are made but that could be a few people looking at lots of stuff or many different people arriving here by mistake and clicking away to somewhere more suitable. Other stats available list the different catagories in total visits from the most to the least. This is interesting if only for the fact that  the majority of the subjects I’ve most enjoyed mentioning on this blog languish way down at the bottom of the list. There’s no accounting for taste……

Spectre Stories 03

ITEM: For instance nobody seems very interested in John Spencer comics. They have no value and little merit. The fact that they aren’t much cop is the very reason I am on the lookout for more!

SP002

For the record Spectre Stories was one of 4 titles issued by John Spencer Publishing. The other three were Fantasy Stories, Macabre Stories and Strange Stories. Each lasted for approx 6 issues. Much of the odd artwork in Spectre Stories Number 3 was allegedly completed by Michael Jay (although the artwork reproduced above from No 1 isn’t by him…it looks more like the work of Ron Embleton). John Spencer Publishing were better known for their range of pulp paperbacks which were churned out monthly under the imprint of “Badger Books” by just a handful of prolific writers. The paperbacks were mostly Horror or Science Fiction and as they were numbered as if they were monthly magazines some people collected them in the 1960s (and even today??).

Spectre Stories 01

ITEM:    Last year I mentioned L.Miller & Son Comics of London. Between the late 1940s and approx 1966 they published numerous black and white comics in the UK, mostly reprints of Fawcett and Charlton comics (especially Captain Marvel and many many Cowboy comics). They did however commission some UK sourced books..most notably Marvelman who ran from 1954 to 1963. The “& Son” part of the company was Arnold Miller who also published his own stuff as The Arnold Book Co. An extremely unexpected place to find an exhaustive index of all the Miller/Arnold comics ever issued is within Nos 15 and 16 of Peter Normanton’s UK Horror magazine  “From The Tomb”. The index along with a  fascinating article is by Frank Motler. There’s even a photo (thanks to Alan Austin and Steve Holland) of the less than scintillating premises where these comics originally emerged from !!

Miller

ITEM:    Still talking comics I’ve just finished re-reading some early issues of the small circulation UK underground(ish) A5 magazine “Escape” from the 1980s. One contains this fascinating article by Alan Moore regarding his first ever visit to the USA (and Marvel and DC of course). I hope they won’t mind my sharing a couple of pages here.

ITEM:     I see that Joan Alexander died recently. She wasn’t quite the first Lois Lane but evidentally a very popular one appearing as the damsel in distress and the thorn in Clark Kent’s side for more than 1600 episodes of the american “Superman” radio serial. Superman’s popularity must have been virtually instantaneous as the radio show began in 1940 and along with many of the other famous fictional characters on the radio moved over to TV in the early 1950s. Of course I never ever heard any of the Superman radio show episodes until this very week when I discover there are a number of  “Old Time Radio Serials” now sloshing around the Internet as mp3 files.

Lois

ITEM:   Another subject that is belatedly receiving more coverage on the Internet along with more interesting downloadable mp3 files is Offshore Pirate Radio. As far as Europe is concerned this probably all began in Denmark in 1958. In the UK it began in 1964 with Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline. They quickly joined forces to make Radio Caroline North and Radio Caroline South. They, and numerous others, sailed on the crest of the 1960s pop music explosion in the UK. Here is an audio clip from Radio Caroline of an advert for the NME from perhaps 1965. It may have been the swinging sixties but doesn’t the announcer sound as if he’s just escaped from the BBC’s Light Programme or Third !!   

Marvelman Junior

April 4, 2009

After more than 10 years you’d think that L. Miller & Co Ltd would know the name of one of their Super Heroes but by 1963 as sales declined there seems to have been some confusion.

young-marvelman-or-marvelman-junior

The final Young Marvelman hardback Annual was issued for Xmas 1963. The title of the book now calls the character “Marvelman Junior” and yet throughout the book are “Young Marvelman” stories from the 1950s comic of the same name. And he obviously still sports his “YM” logo !!

marvelman-junior-annual

There has already been much written on the Internet about Marvelman and The Marvelman Family (as opposed to Captain Marvel and The Marvel Family) and their 1980s revival. The adult character “Marvelman” had to cry out “Kimota” to transform himself. This Young/Junior version merely had to cry “Marvelman” to gain his powers. Tragedy would befall him many years later when he fell into the clutches of Dez Skinn and Alan Moore.

ym