Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ironed Man 1967

When Terrific was launched in April 1967 it came with a free Iron Man T-shirt transfer, and there is is above. My mum ironed it onto a T-shirt for me when I was 8 years old, back in 1967. Clearing out some stuff the other day I discovered I'd kept the section of the T-shirt, cut out and perfectly preserved (after it had been washed of course) like some sort of Turin Shroud. So I thought I'd show it here.

Here's a photo below of me in Blackpool in the summer of 1967 wearing it, and eating a plate of shrimps. As you did in Blackpool in the sixties. The colours of the transfer look too pale on the photo but you can see how vivid they were in the image above. (The background of the actual transfer is more of a fluorescent orange but that doesn't pick up too well on a scan.)
...and I couldn't end this post without showing a scan of the cover to Terrific No.1 of course! As is evident, the colours on the cover image were not an accurate portrayal of the actual transfer but it's interesting to compare. (Well, interesting if you're into 1960s free gifts of course!) I suppose they contrasted it more to make a bolder cover image. 

How's that for just about the most trivial post you've seen here? :)

Pup Parade is back!

I can now reveal what my new regular strip for The Beano is, because it starts this week! It's a revival of Pup Parade starring The Bash Street Dogs! The strip originated back in the 1960s drawn by the great Gordon Bell, although the pups first appeared in The Bash Street Kids strip by David Sutherland. Over the years the strip has returned on and off by various artists and now the reins, or dog leads, have been passed to me. I hope I'm worthy! 

The first full page strip appears in The Beano today! Don't miss it! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

DWM 498 preview

Here's the cover to Doctor Who Magazine No.498, out on Thursday. This issue contains part two of the 12th Doctor comic strip Witch Hunt by Jacqueline Rayner and Martin Geraghity, another Daft Dimension strip from me (this time featuring the Daleks), and of course loads of articles and reviews, including new interviews with David Tennant and Catherine Tate who are reprising their roles as the 10th Doctor and Donna for Big Finish audio dramas. 

Doctor Who Magazine No.498, published by Panini UK. 84 pages for £4.99. On sale in newsagents, supermarkets and comic shops from Thursday 31st March. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Easter WHAM! (1966)

Wham! was one of the liveliest, funniest comics of the 1960s, - or any decade, come to that. Here's a few pages from issue No.95, dated 9th April 1966, which was the Easter edition for that year. The Tiddlers on the cover was a strip originated by Leo Baxendale, but by this time it was being 'ghosted' by other artists such as Mike Lacey, who drew this one.

The Tiddlers continued on to the back page in black and white...

There were a few strips using the Easter theme inside too, such as General Nitt and his Barmy Army, drawn by Terry Willers...


The Humbugs were later reprinted in IPC's version of Smash! as The Terrible Twins. Here they are under their original name. Again, it's by someone imitating Leo Baxendale's style but I'm not sure who. Possibly Mike Lacey again...

Lastly for this Easter selection, a fantastic two page Georgie's Germs strip very nicely illustrated by Cyril Price...


Were you a reader of Wham! and the other Odhams weeklies? Or are you experiencing them for the first time here? Do you have any thoughts to share about these comics, pro or con? Feel free to comment below...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The JOKER - Easter 1929

Hop on board the Blimey-Timey Machine and let's go 'way back in time to Easter 1929 to see a popular weekly of the day. The Joker was a black and white tabloid consisting of 8 pages, much like most of the other comics published by Amalgamated Press back then. 

Advisory: The Jim Crow and Oliver Twitter cover strip is very much a product of its time with its racial caricature, and should be seen in that context. It's a weak, contrived story but the artwork by Percy Cocking does the job. 

As with all A.P. comics back then, the centre pages featured five shorter strips. Here's a couple of them. Our Wandering Boy is by Albert Pease...

Tilly Tappit the Typist is by Louis Briault...

Here's another strip using stereotypes that would be considered unacceptable today. (There was a lot of this stuff around in those days, and for decades afterwards unfortunately.) O'Doo and O'Don't - The Irish Two. I'm not sure who drew this...

Again, as with the other A.P. comics, the 8 page format featured a 50/50 division of prose stories and comic strips. Here's one of those prose stories, a complete tale called The Spurtfire's Easter Eggs!

On the back page, The Cruise of the Winklepin, drawn by H.C. Milburn...

These early British comics are mainly ignored and overlooked by most fans and the news media now but I think it's good to remind ourselves of our comic art roots. I hope you've enjoyed this brief look back. Happy Easter!

Heads up, Earthlets!

The issue of 2000AD that would have been published next Wednesday is actually out today, no doubt due to the Easter holidays disrupting distribution. You'll find Prog 1974 in the shops now, with a cover by the supremely talented Dylan Teague (https://mobile.twitter.com/dylanteague). 

Inside, there's the second chapters of all the news stories that started the previous week, when 2000AD had its Spring revamp. Did you miss that issue? If you're lucky you'll find that one still on sale in WH Smith too, next to the new issue.

2000AD is a consistently good title featuring some of the best creators working in the UK comics industry. Don't miss it! (And if you prefer a digital version, the 2000AD app is available so you can read each Prog on your phone or tablet. http:www.2000adonline.com)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dalek colouring book (1965)

A new and surprising fad at the moment is the popularity of colouring books for adults, sold on the theory that they're therapeutic stress relievers. There's even a Doctor Who one out but it's not the first of course. Back in 1965 Souvenir Press in association with Panther Books published a colouring book to tie in with the first Doctor Who movie starring Peter Cushing. Paint and Draw the Film of Dr.Who and the Daleks was a 64 page A4 softback, with glossy card covers and pulp paper interiors. An early item of Doctor Who merchandise.

The story was told as a sequential comic strip of sorts, but with each 'panel' taking up a full page. The uncredited illustrations were closely based on frames from the film, with a short caption underneath as the narrative. Some pages also featured dot-to-dot elements as part of the story.
Here are a selection of pages from the book. I was never that interested in colouring books so, as you can see, I only made feeble attempts at colouring a few Daleks in pencil. That said, I was grateful for anything Dalek-related and I obviously treasured this book for it to have survived the last 51 years.  



There was also a Dalek Painting Book around this time too, which I also had, although I discarded that one decades ago. 

Good cause for a good guy

One of Jon's covers for Panini UK
Jon Haward has been an artist in the UK comics industry for many years, illustrating various strips for Egmont, Panini UK, and more. Unfortunately, as could happen to any of us, he's going through a bad time at the moment due to circumstances not of his making and he could use some financial help.


Jon's one of the nice guys in comics and another one of the good guys, John Freeman, has thoughtfully set up a Just Giving page for him. In less than one day it's already passed the target thanks to a fantastic response from the comics community but to reach a higher figure would be even better. If you feel you can donate a sum, large or small, you'll find more info over at the Down the Tubes site:
http://downthetubes.net/?p=30160

Jon's cover for a Hulk Pocketbook.

Jon's cover for an adaptation of The Tempest.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Essential Easter reading

Panini UK have just published The Essential Doctor Who No.7, their thrice-yearly bookazine dedicated to various themes of Doctor Who. This time, the spotlight falls on The Time Lords.

Comic fans may be interested to know that amongst the contents is a six page article by Alistair McGown looking at how the Doctor's race and his homeworld of Gallifrey have featured in comic strips over the years. 
There's also a feature on the Time Lords' appearances in various books too, from the Target novels to the recent War Doctor story...
This issue has 116 pages so obviously there's a lot more content besides the comics and fiction articles. There are numerous items focusing on the Doctor Who episodes the Time Lords have appeared in, plus interviews and many other features. A bumper Spring special for any fan of the series to enjoy over the Easter weekend!
The Essential Doctor Who No.7, 116 pages, £9.99. Available from WH Smith, comic speciality shops, supermarkets and selected newsagents. 

Civil War revisited

On April 7th Panini UK are adding a new comic to their line of Marvel reprint monthlies. Civil War No.1 will be a 100 page special, representing the 2006 story that inspired the upcoming movie Captain America: Civil War

The story by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven was originally a seven-issue mini series in the USA and was reprinted in the Panini UK comics several years ago. I'm presuming this new title will have an even shorter run, as a 100 page first issue will easily use up three or four issues of material. Even so, it's a good idea to have a comic relating to a major movie, and in a relatively cheap format rather than a graphic novel. 

Civil War No.1 goes on sale April 7th, available in WH Smith and selected newsagents. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Mystery of Lorna Doone


Anita O'Brien, the director/curator of London's Cartoon Museum, contacted me the other day for information about the original art pages shown above, an adaptation of the romance novel Lorna Doone. Does anyone know who illustrated them, and where they were published? There's a reference on the back of the pages for 'Nine Star Press, London' but it's not a publisher I've heard of. (I did Google it but it led to a publisher of gay literature currently using the name, which is not the same publisher.) 

I'm guessing the art is from the late 1940's/early 1950's, and that Nine Star Press were one of the many small independent British publishers around at that time, but I've no idea of the artist or where it appeared. The instruction to the printer at the foot of the pages, to print it at a width of 6 3/8" suggests it was published in American size format (which was common for UK indie comics of the 1940s/50s). Equally puzzling is why the captions were re-lettered in upper case for page one. 

Can anyone out there help? Please leave a comment below or contact me at lew.stringer@BTopenworld.com if you have any info.

Thanks!

Monday, March 21, 2016

SPACESHIP AWAY for Spring

The classic version of Dan Dare is kept alive again in brand new installments in the latest edition of Spaceship Away that has just arrived. Issue 38 (or Part 38 as it's called) is another 40 page package with superb reproduction on quality paper. 

The contents include the latest episodes of Tim Booth's ongoing Dan Dare serials, Mercury Revenant and Parsecular Tales across eight pages. Booth puts a lot of work into his pages and they look fantastic. My only gripe, again, is that there's no resumé captions to remind us of the story so far. With four months between each issue it's a long time to expect readers to remember what's gone on. I appreciate that Tim might not want such captions cluttering up the pages but a small paragraph or two on page 2, next to the editorial, would be very useful. 
All-new art and story by Tim Booth.
Other strips this issue feature the conclusion of the Jet Morgan reprint The World Next Door (which does include a Story So Far caption) and Part Four of the Nick Hazard story Planet of Doom by Phil Harbottle and Ron Turner, nicely coloured by Martin Baines. 
Vintage Ron Turner artwork.
There are some great articles in this issue too, with the conclusion of Andrew Darlington's retrospective of Dan Dare in the New Eagle covering 1989 to 1994. There's also a good lengthy eight page feature on Keith Watson's distinguished career, and a well illustrated article on Authentic Science Fiction magazine showing some excellent 1950s covers. 
One of the superb 1950s covers shown in the issue.
To top it off there's a new cutaway illustration by Graham Bleathman of Gogol's Personal Phant Transport printed across the centrespread. It's always good to see new work by Graham and this is another intricate job. 

Spaceship Away No.38, 40 pages in full colour, £8.50. Copies will be available soon from the official website:
http://spaceshipaway.org.uk/

The Easter BEANO (1967)

This year's Easter issue of The Beano will be out on Wednesday but for today, let's look back at a few pages from the issue of 49 years ago in 1967.

The Beano No.1288 dated 25th March 1967 (on sale March 22nd) had the regular Biffo the Bear strip on the cover by Dudley Watkins but with an Easter egg design to the panels. A simple but eye-catching cover. 

Inside, the theme of the Easter hare is used in the Billy Whizz strip drawn by Mal Judge...
In their usual centre page position, The Bash Street Kids with great artwork by David Sutherland...
That week's Minnie the Minx pages by Jim Petrie were fun as always but the most memorable thing about this issue was right underneath the Minnie strip; our very first glimpse of British superhero Billy the Cat in a teaser ad for his series that would begin in the following issue.

On the back page, great stuff by Davey Law with Dennis the Menace and an ostrich. Easter Eggs at 5 shillings (25 pence) each! I've no idea how much they cost now but it's sure to be a lot more than that. Then again, the average wage was only about £20 a week then!
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