Saturday, February 13, 2016

U.S. Spotlight: HORROR BY HECK

I've always liked the work of Don Heck and thought the dismissal of his style by some people overlooked the talents he had. After all, this was a guy who was one of the main artists at the dawn of The Marvel Age of Comics in the 1960's. He was the co-creator of Iron Man and had a memorable stint on The Avengers amongst other comics. Before that he illustrated many short stories for non-superhero genres. Now Craig Yoe and his Yoe Books team have compiled a hardback selection of Don Heck's great 1950s horror comics stories in the latest volume of The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics
Horror By Heck is a faithful reproduction of those forgotten strips and proves what a great artist Don Heck was. The choice of cover image was obvious, - it had to be the notorious bullet wound cover from Horrific No.3 (Jan 1953) but Yoe Books take it a stage further and it's an actual die cut hole in the cover! Ban this filth! No, sorry, BUY this filth!

Hardback, 160 pages. $24.99
ISBN: 978-1-63140-463-4

Friday, February 12, 2016

UK comics sales

Over on the Down the Tubes blog, John Freeman has the circulation figures for British comics for the last six months. While no one is saying the British comics industry is thriving it's definitely holding its own, with some titles showing an increase in sales. 

True, sales look grim compared to 40 or 50 years ago, but the world has changed with more things competing for people's leisure time. (Even TV shows don't get the same viewing figures as they did decades ago.) The important thing is that there are still British comics being bought in their thousands. (With some outselling most American comics.) Toxic and The Beano even rank in the top 100 UK magazine sales. Yes, some people will always focus on the negative for reasons of their own, but true comics fans will support the industry.

You can see the figures for yourself over at this link:

Any thoughts on the matter? Post your opinions below. All comments welcome. (Only spam and abusive comments are blocked on this blog but all comments are held until I log on again, so if yours doesn't appear right away don't resend it multiple times. Thanks.)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Out now in newsagents...

Another stack of titles have arrived in UK newsagents. Here's a quick rundown of the British comics out this week starting with Viz No.253. Another 52 pages of fun for adults of all ages and still the funniest comic on the top shelf. 

2000AD Prog 1967 came out on Wednesday with a cover by Patrick Goddard. Inside, strips continue by some of the best creators in the UK. Not to be missed!
On to comics for all ages, The Beano No.3821 comes bagged with gifts to keep kids occupied during the school break. The comic itself is again packed with great material by some of Britain's best cartoonists.
Toxic No.267 is also bagged, with a toy crossbow and more. Inside the mag is my Team Toxic strip plus Captain Gross by Russ Carvell and another Ruined Ronaldo strip.
There are also four issues of Commando out this week. I covered the details the other day and you'll find that post here: 
From Titan Comics there's Tales From the TARDIS: Doctor Who No.3, with a cover by Lee Sullivan and 100 pages of strips featuring the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. Creators include Nick Abadzis, Elena Casagrande, Cavan Scott, Rachael Stott, Neil Slorance, Rachael Smith and more.
A new issue of The Phoenix will be in WH Smith this Saturday and I'll add a scan of the cover here then.

On to British comics reprinting American material and there's quite a few on sale this week. From Panini UK there's The Mighty World of Marvel No.22 continues the adventures of Daredevil, Agents of SHIELD, and the Silver Surfer...
The Astonishing Spider-Man No.29 features Spider-Man plus new sagas begin for Silk and Spider-Woman...
Essential X-Men No.21 guest stars Miles Morales Spider-Man...
...and from Titan Comics there's Batman No.48, reprinting recent DC Comics stories, and Supergirl No.3 featuring Supergirl, Black Canary, and Batgirl.
This of course just covers comics on sale in newsagents and doesn't include ones only available in comic shops or digital comics. (Speaking of the latter, don't forget Aces Weekly!

The SOCCER SPOOK (1972/73)

Continuing my look at the strips Ken Reid did for Scorcher and we arrive at an unusual one. Harry Hammertoe The Soccer Spook began in Scorcher and Score issue dated 19th August 1972 but it was drawn by Reg Parlett. Superbly done as always...

A few issues later however, someone else ghosted Reg's style (possibly Ian Knox or Joe McCaffrey?)...

Then with issue dated 30th September 1972, Ken Reid illustrated an episode, obviously instructed to imitate Reg Parlet's style as best he could...

The artistic musical chairs settled down a few weeks later with Ken Reid as the regular artist drawing in his own style...

The Soccer Spook had a decent run of a year, ending with Scorcher and Score dated 18th August 1973...

Pages scanned from my complete collection of Scorcher. More soon!    

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ken Reid's THE SOCCERNAUTS (1972)

Continuing my occasional look back at the strips Ken Reid drew for Scorcher weekly, here's The Soccernauts. This was a very short-run series that began in Scorcher and Score dated 13th May 1972 and ended in the issue dated 12th August 1972. Unusually for Ken, it was a science fiction strip, but that did give him the opportunity to draw monsters, which of course he excelled at.

Here's a selection of his best ones...

For whatever reason, a couple of the later ones were clearly ghosted by another artist valiantly trying to ape Ken's style. I'm guessing those may be by Peter Davidson but I may be mistaken. Here's one of them, which was the final episode...

All pages are scanned from the comics in my collection. More Ken Reid greatness soon! 
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