Archive for the ‘General’ Category
Monday, December 8, 2014
I have dealt with a number of comics featuring Huckleberry Hound and the UK’s Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear Weekly more than once. So why cover this 1967 issue of that title? Two words; Space Ghost! Or, is that Space Ghosts? Please to check out the cover:
Now, check out the covers of the following two issues:
See it yet? How about now?
That’s right, for some reason on the cover the comic refers to Space Ghosts, plural. Now, being a man of a certain age I grew up watching the show and am just enough of a know-it-all that I like to think I know everything about the show. But is it possible that at some point in its development was it called Space Ghosts plural, the entire team being known as Space Ghosts? Or, did this British comic just make some kind of mistake? Weird.
As with previous issues of this title this one is a mix of what appears to be US produced material, which is good to great, and British material that’s pretty shaky.
One point of interest about the above ‘eh’ Jonny Quest strip? Jonny’s backing heat!
Along with being pretty lame this two page spread features a Space Ghost with a mask with visible eyeslits.
As someone who loves The Impossibles this strip is pretty painful. I’m just glad that Frankenstein Jr. was spared.
And finally, an ad for Jelly Babies!
Monday, December 1, 2014
As previously established I am more of a mere rank, yank enthusiast than an actual expert on British comics so slack must be cut for me. For instance, I’ve frequently said that the British comic industry was pretty much dead and done by the 1980′s and that’s not entirely true. Both of the major of publishers, Fleetway and DC Thomson, made some valiant efforts to try to turn things around during this period by making their comics more contemporary and more violent. I speak specifically of the notorious ‘comic nasty’ Action but you could lump Warlord, Bullet as well as the revival of Eagle and the launch of 2000AD. A much milder attempt at doing a new story paper for slightly younger boys was DC Thomson’s Buddy.
It ran from 1980 to 1983 and was aimed at “boys who like action, adventure and sport” and serving as a combination mascot and host was generic regular kid named Buddy. As is often the case the first issue included a free gift in this case a “Pop Pistol with Two Free Bullets”. And is often the case it wasn’t canceled, but ‘merged’ with Victor, another DC Thomson comic.
To my admittedly American eyes DC Thomson comics of this era were drawn in a rougher, darker style and each strip featured a striking, eye catching logo.
First up is Limp-Along Leslie (which was originally a text feature in the comic Wizard from 1922 to 1963). It featured the adventures of an orphan kid who walked with a limp due to a car accident, making him an early differentially abled protagonist.
Another strip that began like as a text feature was The Wolf of Kabul, about a British agent named Bill Sampson who was disguised as a native.
Deep-Sea Danny’s Iron Fish was another long running feature that began life as a text feature about a kid named (naturally) Danny and his one-boy super submarine that was shaped like a fish. Originally it was boyed by a Danny Gray but in the Buddy version it was (for some reaosn) Danny Boyle.
Tuffy, A Boy All Alone, about a homeless kid and his faithful dog.
Each issue featured a biography of a current sports hero or TV personality.
There’s the nicely drawn historical strip Hammer.
Buddy was short on humor features but it did have the brilliant Jonah by the great Ken Reid.
I had no idea there was an 80′s revival of one of my all time favorite British characters, Billy the Cat.
And finally there was the nightmarish Boy On The Run. Sure, it was a standard ‘kid in trouble on his own’ strip but rarely has the word ‘nightmarish’ been more accurate. By keeping the details maddeningly vague of who the kid is and who’s pursuing him makes things seriously creepy.
According to the internet future issues included adventures of such classic characters as General Jumbo and Q-Bikes so I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
I’ve been away from these pages for awhile, and I won’t bore any of you with why.
I’m back today, because I just last week traded roughly half of my San Francisco Illustrated Wasp issues to Richard Samuel West (who wrote the definitive book on The Wasp, which you can find and purchase by clicking here. I highly recommend it.) Before I traded those issues away, I snapped lots of pictures of them, which I’d like to do something useful with. Such as sharing them here.
San Francisco’s Wasp was the West Coast equivalent to New York City’s Puck, both beginning publication within months of each other. The latter 1870′s was the period of the western Indian Wars, during which the U.S. Government conquered and locked onto reservations, the final free Native American tribes. I previously showed a sampling of cartoons on this subject, published by East Coast publications (click here to see those). November being Native American Heritage Month, I present here a few pictures on the subject, as seen by California residents, via The Wasp.
Keep in mind, that these are pictures drawn by whites, for a white audience. They are historically accurate only so far as being a record of how whites back then viewed the topic. All images are by the Wasp’s primary cartoonist & founder, George Frederick Keller. Let’s get to it.
At top, from the front cover of the July 28th, 1877 issue (number 52), we have “A New Method of Fighting the Indians”, making fun of U.S. General Oliver Howard.
The prime target of Howard’s western campaign, was the Nez Perces. Beneath, the left center page from issue 57, September 1st, 1877, “The Nez Perces Campaign Idaho”.
Above, the right center page from July 28th, 1877; below, whites’ ultimate goal for natives (from the rear cover of issue 49, July 7th, 1877).
Monday, November 24, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
Sadly this British weekly comics isn’t an adaptation of Carla Lane’s situation comedy of the same name*. This Solo was a masala of strips based on movies and TV shows of the era that’s kind of oddball even for a British weekly comic. It’s probably best known for the strips and other material based on the Mysterons, the bad guys from the Gerry Anderson show Captain Scarlet..
First up there’s Project Sword a strip based on a toy line created by Gerry Anderson that for some reason never got a TV series of its. own.
There was quite a bit of Disney material, like this true-fact page taken from one of their nature documentaries.
The internet tells me The Adventures of the Seaspray was an Australian kids series and I have no reason to doubt it.
Here’s a chance to see some glorious Dan Spiegel artwork in black and white, as in this adaptation of That Darn Cat.
1967 seems a bit late for there to be a Sgt. Bilko comic but I assume the repeats were currently running on British television.
Here’s that Mysterons strip I was talking about.
Here’s an intriguing original about a time traveller in the old west.
As well as a not bad Man From U.N.C.L.E. strip.
The real oddity here though just might be a one pager based on the short-lived American sitcom Run, Buddy, Run which had the hilarious premise of a regular guy constantly on the run from the mob.
And here’s another couple of pages of wonderful Dan Spiegel black and white art from an adaptation of the Disney movie Bullwhip Griffin.
*Having seen Good Neighbors a.k.a. The Good Life at a vulnerable age I have had a livelong Felicity Kendal addition. So I was much pleased that while studying in London I was able to see the first season of Solo. I assumed I would never get a chance to see the second. But thanks to the magic of illegal downloads I was finally able to see it about a year ago. And, as so often is with the highly anticipated, season two is more than a bit of a disappointment. Mostly because the initial premise, a young woman struggling to find her place in the world after being cheated on by her boyfriend, lost most of it’s playful tone. Like Lane’s other notable situation comedy, Butterflies it suffers from a central character who’s vague dissatisfaction with a male dominated middle class existence. But like it her unhappiness is cloaked in feminist rhetoric but what she really needs (in my opinion) is therapy and/or antidepressants.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Today’s installment concerns yet another Captain Atom. In a previous installment I revealed there had been a little know and lesser seen Captain Atom back in the 50′s who had appeared in a short-lived series of comics in a less than the standard format. Well there was an even lesser known (in America anyway) one from Australia written and drawn by Arthur Mather for Atlas Publications in the late 40′s. My experience with Australian comics is less than I would like, but I have noticed they seem to like their costumed adventurers to be of the regular guy two-fisted variety. But Captain Atom is a proper superhero with actual atom powers. And the art is, well, distinctive. Me, I like it, but you don’t often see an artist who’s clearly inspired by both Dick Sprang and Milton Caniff.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Having always been a fat kid I probably shouldn’t have any tolerance for wholesome super student athletes along the lines of dime novel hero Frank Merriwell. But that having been said I must confess I have a grudging tolerance for Dick Cole. Perhaps because he started life as a “Wonder Boy”, one of those “raised by a scientist to achieve the peak of human development” types. But he then upended all expectations by instead of fighting crime in a homemade costume he became a military cadet. He started out battling mad scientists and punching dinosaurs but was quickly shorn of his super strength and dealt with the usual assortment of jealous rivals, crooked gamblers and spy rings. He had a fairly long run in Target Comics and appeared in three issues of his own title.
One of the interesting to the verge of oddball thing about Novelty Press were the little “messages” they frequently placed at the bottom of their pages. They didn’t seem to be directed so much as the kid reader as the adult buying the comic. As I’ve said before, Novelty Press titles seemed to be carefully designed to not offend Grandparents and Great Aunts.
First up is a Dick Cole adventure drawn by Jim Wilcox in the awkward, blocky style the series was known for.
I’m on the record for liking the adventures of street level supernatural crimefighter Sergeant Spook but honestly, the art was usually only so-so at best. But not here. Al McWilliams delivers some really handsome, well laid out pages, though I do have to wonder how exactly orphan boy Jerry (no last name) got invited to go on an Egyptian archeological dig. For the record in the series the afterworld was known as “Ghost Town” and in his early adventures the Sarge would regularly visit to get help from the various spirits. He did it less frequently after his psychic sidekick Jerry was introduced, but the concept is referenced in this outing.
Edison Bell was originally a classic comic book boy inventor. Meaning he created robots, fantastic vehicles and the like, but that clearly was too much for the Grandmas so he became a “real world” boy inventor. Meaning he did little science projects and/or experiments to get out of scrapes and the stories would end with tutorials for the kids on how they could do the same at home. But in this “adventure” he doesn’t even do that; here he heroically puts on a Halloween costume.
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