Monday, January 26, 2015

Captain Hurricane arrives!

VALIANT No.1. Cover by Geoff Campion.
I was never a fan of war strips and I must admit I often used to skip the four pages of Captain Hurricane that were at the front of Valiant every week. However it can't be denied that he was a popular character, lasting the duration of the comic's 14 year span. 

In the early days he was depicted in a more 'straight' adventure style but after a while the art and stories became more exaggerated. The main artist was R. Charles Roylace, who drew both the strips I'm showing here today, although other artists such as Jack Pamby and Fred T. Holmes also filled in from time to time. Looking back at it now, the strip does have a certain charm, could be very funny, and it's certainly well illustrated, although some of the racist remarks made by Hurricane towards Germans and the Japanese make one wince today.

Without further ado, here's the very first Captain Hurricane story from Valiant No.1, dated 6th October 1962, (scanned from a photocopy)...




Now a story from ten years later, from Valiant and TV21 dated May 27th 1972. This exaggerated, more humourous style, is the one that most readers will remember...




Captain Hurricane was a character very much of his time, when war strips appeared in virtually every boys' adventure comic. By 1976, when Valiant merged into Battle Picture Weekly, he'd had his day. Presumably not as popular as he once was, and perhaps too jocular for the deadly serious Battle comic, the strip was dropped and he only appeared in the merged comic as a mascot on the letters page, eventually being phased out altogether. He later turned up alongside other old comic characters in the mini-series Albion written by Leah Moore and John Reppion, illustrated by Shane Oakley. 

FRANKENTHING: A new Banx creation!

Many of you will be familiar with the work of Jeremy Banx, inventive creator of excellent strips such as Burp, Mr. Bignose, and Hector Vector and his Talking T-Shirt for Oink!, co-creator of The Driver for the original Toxic, and cartoonist for the Financial Times amongst other publications. Now he's unleashed another creation upon the world in the form of Frankenthing.

Frankenthing is a new comedy horror e-book written by Banx, profusely illustrated with his expert penmanship. It's available for the Kindle for just £1.99. (And there's a Kindle app for the iPad so you can read it on that instead if you wish.)

Here's the description of the book:

Dr Frankenstein tries to make a friend for his Monster. But it’s not so easy. The locals have locked up their cemeteries, they’re patrolling the streets and even the village butcher won’t serve him anymore.
So he makes one from something the castle cat (called Igor, of course) dragged in from the garden. Even though he hasn’t a clue what the something is.
Thus Frankenthing is born.
Frankenthing and the Monster become great friends. They play and laugh and dance. But Igor is lurking. He enjoyed killing Frankenthing so much the first time; he can’t wait to get his teeth and claws stuck in again.
Written and illustrated by award-winning cartoonist Jeremy Banx, FRANKENTHING is a humorous horror story filled with jokes, quirky characters and bizarre plot twists. For children and adults of all ages.
 


It's a great read and Banx's artistic skills are better than ever. A must for fans of his work and for anyone interested in a good fun story with an edge to the humour. To go to the Amazon page to buy it click here

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Double take!

Above is the back cover to Valiant No.1, dated 6th October 1962. A fantastic piece of artwork that I believe is by Geoff Campion. 

The main figure was considered so striking that it was used as the inspiration for the cover to Smash! Holiday Special 1969, also by Geoff Campion...

And why not? It's a powerful image and made a very eye-catching cover to that special. Same artist, same publisher, two versions. The second version simplifies things a little by streamlining the head-dress and doesn't include the shield but it's clearly inspired by the Valiant art from seven years earlier.

Friday, January 23, 2015

That 1964 WHAM! promo - more info!

Remember a couple of weeks ago I showed an ad for Wham! No.1 from 1964 that collector 'stevezodiac' had kindly let me post here? Well, I found a copy of the mag it was in on eBay and promptly bought it, so here's a bigger scan of the advert. It appeared on the back cover of Odhams' Today magazine dated June 20th 1964.

But that's not all! Inside the magazine on page 26 is a little promotion for the comic...

Here's a bigger image. Click to see it larger.

...and a close up of the accompanying cartoon by Leo Baxendale, which I think was drawn exclusively for the magazine...

Good stuff eh? Interesting that Wham! was promoted as "a new concept in children's comics, designed to include everything the youngsters enjoy". It was pretty accurate I think, as Wham! seemed more modern than other comics of the time.

I had to smile at the back page ad saying that the comic was "wholesome". Conductive to good health or moral well being? Well, it certainly cheered us all up that's for sure! If you're interested in looking for a copy of this issue of Today on eBay or wherever, here's the cover. Despite appearances it's not a naturist magazine!

The Mega-Collection begins!

As reported here a month ago, Hachette are publishing a new partwork called Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection - and the first edition is in newsagents now!

You won't be able to miss it. Volume one is mounted onto a huge display card (see above) and is prominently displayed in shops. This first issue has a special low price of £1.99 which is an absolute bargain.

So what do you get? A chunky hardback book reprinting the famed Dredd saga America in full, along with associated back up stories. There are also a few background notes and Colin MacNeil's character sketches. 

There's also a free A2 poster with this first volume, with art by Brian Bolland. 

Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection will be published every fortnight, building up to 80 volumes. Volume 2 will feature Machismo, and will be priced £6.99, and volume 3 features The Apocalypse War and will be £9.99 which is then the regular price. Even at a tenner, it's still good value compared to most graphic novels.

Some readers may have preferred the books to reprint the stories in chronological order but it's understandable that they'd hook buyers with some of the most acclaimed stories first. The quality of the books look great, and this is a fantastic way to bring in new readers and to give older readers a nostalgia fest. Hopefully it will also boost sales of 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine.

Judge Dredd is one of the best known British comic characters of all time so he's a natural choice for a partwork. It would be ideal to see Hachette expand to produce books on other classic UK comic characters too, but that's not too likely unfortunately. In the meantime, let's celebrate the fact that Dredd is getting this treatment which hopefully will prove to be a success. 

Here's the official website to read more about it and subscribe:
http://www.judgedreddcollection.com/

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