February 12, 2010
In 1973 I was well on the way to owning a complete set of Marvel Comics from 1961 to 1970. I was missing the first 3 FFs and a few Strange Tales featuring The Torch but I certainly had a full run of Spiderman, Daredevil, Xmen, The Avengers etc. At that point I decided I had outgrown comics and sold them all for what seemed to be a reasonable amount at the time but in hindsight……..
Then, as now, some comics were more popular than others. Nobody wanted to buy my stacks of Patsy Walkers, Gunsmoke Westerns, Sgt Furys, Archies, Dells, Mighty, Gold Key, Alan Class Comics, or TV21s (!!) . I couldn’t GIVE my Busters, Valiants, John Spencer comics and similar away so I just threw them out. I then went off to College (and almost immediately began buying/collecting comics all over again !!)
Now my collecting is virtually on hold but I sometimes buy random odd books I remember from those days. Like these. I’ve just acquired the complete run of this title….all two of them!!
I can’t add any details to the history of John Spencer Comics. A handful of diferent comics with titles such as “Spectre Stories” appeared in my local newsagents in 1966/67 and sat on the shelf unsold and unwanted for many months mixed amongst a heap of Alan Class Comics of unknown vintage. They didn’t seem the best use for my precious Shillings. I had a big enough job of keeping up with purchasing the endless parade of new UK comics that appeared weekly on the counter ( I collected “Number Ones” at the time) competing for my money with the heaving spinner rack of Marvels and DCs.
Curiosity must have made me buy a few John Spencer comics. I was a big fan of the TV show “Time Tunnel” then currently showing. I think the writer of “Mark Tyme” also took his inspiration from that too.
In his first adventure our hero bemoans the fact that he forgot to bring a weapon with him. Later when he realises that his “wristwatch” time control is malfunctioning he curses the fact that he didn’t bring his toolbox (or his glasses!!) with him either. Not too smart then!
By the end of issue 2 Mark Tyme was lost in the space-time continuum for ever…or until the Internet was invented. If you Google his name you can find one or two people writing about his less-than-scintillating exploits along with details of another two-issue John Spencer hero known as “The Purple Hood”.
PS: John Spencer comics were an offshoot of Badger Books. They churned out horror and science fiction paperbacks throughout the 1960s. Lionel Fanthorpe was responsible for writing a goodly number of them and it seems likely that many of the horror strips in Spectre Stories etc were adapted from earlier paperbacks. A visit to this site is the best place to see dozens of covers and even some John Spencer comics.