Fantastic Tales

May 1, 2015

Fantastic Tales 8

I’m puzzled. Did issue 10 have the same contents as issue 8 ?!?

8

10

Fantastic Tales 10

More Thorpe and Porter

April 1, 2015

This article found inside an old copy of “Paperbacks Pulp & Comic Collector” magazine sheds some more light onto the beginning, middle and end of this Leicester based publisher and distributor. Most of the article refers to paperbacks rather than comics. However the Grand Comic Database has recently begun to expand it’s listings (and sometimes cover images) of these increasingly forgotten UK comics.

Thorpe and Porter

pp&cc

PS: As well as producing their own comics, and tearing off thousands of comic covers to create the “Double Double” publications, Thorpe and Porter are most well known as the people who imported and distributed Marvel/DC/Dell/Charlton/ACG (and others?) comics to British newsagents in the 1960s and early 1970s. Marvel had the foresight to print covers with British prices already on. DC and the rest made Thorpe and Porter work. I wonder how many (or how few) people Thorpe and Porter employed to stamp the prices onto the covers of (predominately) DC comics back then. First it was 9d, then 10d, 1/-, 5p, 6p, 7½p etc.  That must have been a mind-numbingly thankless task. It was evidently done manually, rather than by machine as each cover would have the price in a different place. Mostly a light-coloured area was chosen, which usually meant the hero’s face! Can YOU spot the Thorpe and Porter British price stamp on these covers?

Superman 174

Lois Lane 119

Metal Men 34

Here it is enlarged…..

Thorpe and Porter 1 shilling price stamp

And enlarged again………..

close up

Further Out of this World

February 1, 2015

Out of this World 6

Out of this World 6 Thorpe and Porter 1960

Charlton Comics “Out of this World” ran for 16 issues from 1956 to 1959. British black and white reprints appeared first courtesy of Thorpe and Porter. Of course being 68 pages and square-bound additional stories, often from other Charlton comics or even other publishers were also used. For some reason the Grand Comics Database, using logic only a Gallifrayan could understand, believes that the British reprints were issued five years before the original Charlton comics when the Thorpe and Porter comics clearly use the Charlton covers and logo.

Out of this World 15

The cover image of the Thorpe and Porter reprint had to be stretched to remove the bizarre Charlton “win a swimming pool” competition.

Soon after the Thorpe and Porter series finished in the early 1960s Alan Class began his own series of “Out of this World” (and further issues would be re-reprinted in the 1970s). 

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PS: Out of this World 6 contains the classic Ditko tale “The Little Things”. Even the powers that be at Charlton must have thought it was one of their better stories as it featured on the cover when it first appeared in “Out of this World” 16. And even if you don’t like science Fiction comic strips there is always the back cover of the Thorpe and Porter reprint to enjoy. The inside back cover contains a classic Ellisdons Novelty advert and the back cover gives you a useful checklist of all the British Classics illustrated comics published up to that point.

The Little Things in black and white

The Little Things in colour

Out of this World 16

Eerie number one

December 1, 2013

Eerie

If you count a few hundred “Mads” and a number of “pocketbooks”, Thorpe and Porter produced a couple of thousand (mostly black and white reprints of American) books and comics between the early 1950s and the mid 1970s. I believe there were only three issues of “Eerie” circa 1952. This British version contained the contents of Avon’s “Eerie” No 1 and to fill up the remainder of the 68 pages, SF/Fantasy stories “Dara the Viking” and “The weapon out of time” from Avon’s “Strange worlds” No 2 and “Crom the Barbarian” from Avon’s “Out of this World Adventures” No 1. But not all issues of Eerie No 1 appear to be the same !?!

Crom

The copy available on the Interweb doesn’t contain the strips from “Strange Worlds” or “Out of this World Adventures”. It consists of black and white versions of the whole of Avon’s “Eerie” No 1 and No 2 between different inside and back covers. Either this was a “copy-and-paste” job (which is doubtful considering the source of the file) or my copy has been tampered with (looks original to me), or there were actually two completely different versions of this comic !!! Looking at the “Classics Illustrated” ads It appears that my copy is the earlier of the two. The images on the blog are from my issue. Here is the “other” issue.

Thorpe and Porter comics 1952

Many Thorpe and Porter titles disappeared after a few issues, but Kid Colt, Tomahawk, Laurel and Hardy and Korak had respectable runs. The “Classics Illustrated” issues were very popular. Here is the back inside cover and the back cover from my “Eerie” number 1.

CI 1952

Classics illustrated UK advert 1952

Spine roll

January 1, 2013

Adventures into the Unknown 20

ACGs “Adventures into the Unknown” is claimed to be the first ever continuing horror comic, beginning in 1948. After the Comic Code was introduced, unlike EC who cancelled most of their comics in disgust, ACG more pragmatically continued publishing by replacing their vampire and werewolf stories with (often quite cleverly written) mysteries and ghost stories.

There were at least 20 (monthly?) issues of the UK version of ACG’s “Adventures into the Unknown” published between 1958 and 1960 by The Arnold Book Company and/or Thorpe and Porter/Strato Publications Ltd depending whether you look on the front cover or the back cover or at the indicia inside. Issue 20 was probably published in 1960. It has an advert on the back cover showing issue No 2 of the UK version of “Mad Magazine” and issue No 1 of “Mad” is documented as having begun in October 1959. As well as containing the entire contents of AITU 107 (April 1959) this magazine also includes the contents of Marvel’s (quite recent!) “Tales to Astonish” No 7 (January 1960) and two stories from “Astonish” No 5. You got value for your shilling in 1960, despite those “big 68 pages” being only in glorious black and white. Now, a mere 52 years later, you get a crumbling, yellowing artifact still only worth a shilling but now also suffering from the dreaded “spine roll”. Although it sort of survives digitally here the comic itself barely survives. It didn’t like being scanned and is now well and truly broken.

Space Comics

September 1, 2011

Being completely underwhelmed by the avalanche of No 1 DC comics I find myself reading a comic from before I was born.  Issue 75 of the Arnold Book Company’s Captain Valiant, Ace of the Interplanetary Police Patrol….or is it called “Space Comics” ?  From what info I can find, this comic began with issue number 50 (!?!) and after a few weeks as a monthly was published twice a fortnight until the final issue, number 81 in 1954. Other Arnold comics such as Black Magic and Justice Traps the Guilty were more often published monthly, and often consisted of 68 squarebound pages rather than 28. The usual suspects of Mick Anglo and Denis Gifford etc were involved in this issue. The Arnold Book Company was headed  by Arnold Miller, son of Len. Mick Anglo would soon be opening his own studio and launching the Marvelman franchise for Len Miller. 57 years later it would be raining.

Space Comics 75 ABC Comics (Arnold Book Company) April 1954

They say a picture is worth a thousand words….so thats just saved me explaining any of the above.