Saturday, August 27, 2016

Satan's Lagoon and the Haunted Love series

There are 11 issues in Charlton’s Haunted Love series of 1973-75 .

K.G. Murray published at least 5 of these covers. Four of them were published as Haunted Love comics under the Planet Comics or Murray Comics imprints:
1. Haunted Love NN one-shot, reprinting the cover from Haunted Love #1
2. Haunted Love Planet Series 1 No. 3, reprinting the cover from Haunted Love #9
3. Haunted Love Planet Series 2 No. 3, reprinting the cover from Haunted Love #3
4. Haunted Love Planet Series 3 No. 2, reprinting the cover from Haunted Love #7
The fifth cover provided the cover image for the unnumbered one-off digest-sized title Satan’s Lagoon, which reprints the cover from Haunted Love #11.
The four Haunted Love issues mentioned above each contain some or all of the stories originally published under their respective covers.
Satan’s Lagoon does not. It may take its cover image from the Haunted Love series, but its contents are sourced from various other Charlton titles. Indeed its title is adapted from the lead story “Satan’s Pools”, sourced from another Charlton series, Ghost Manor, which was also the title of a short-lived 4-issue Planet Comics series.
On closer examination, Satan’s Lagoon has more in common with House of Fear than it does with the other Haunted Love issues. To begin with, both are unnumbered one-off digest-sized titles with 68 pages and a $0.60 cover price. Further, they share a design template in that their painted front cover images are duplicated in full on their respective rear covers. The Murray Comics logos differ slightly, but other than that they appear to have been published hot on one another’s heels. I haven't checked the contents of Satan's Lagoon against the original but I expect that they are similarly surgically adapted as the contents of the House of Fear issue.
There were many other Planet Comics/Murray Comics titles which carried material from the Charlton Haunted Love Series, not only in the Charlton-centric titles but in other titles such as Doomsday.
But these are the only covers I’ve come across to date. I like to think that there are some more one-off digest-sized issues to be discovered with Haunted Love covers.

Spider-Man the Invincible: A true one-off

Spider-Man the Invincible is a one-shot unnumbered digest-sized Yaffa issue which reprints the previously issued The Amazing Spider-Man #194-195.
Of course, reprinting previous issues – whether as part of a regular series or in new one-shot titles - is part of a well-established pattern by Yaffa in the latter stages of their licence, or even more likely, after the end of their tenure.
What’s curious about this issue is that reprints of The Amazing Spider-Man - or any of the Spider-Man titles, such as Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man or Marvel Team-up – appear to be very thin on the ground, compared to the Yaffa horror titles.
In fact, this is the only one I can recall spotting, and I don’t see any others on James’ site. There is another one-off digest-sized Yaffa issue – What If Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four – but I don’t think there is a complementary regular-sized issue. And besides, it’s not a retitled one-off issue.
I imagine there are more. But to this point, this is the only one I know of.
For the record, this issue reprints the main features from the U.S The Amazing Spider-Man #’s 194 and 195, and The Return of the Green Goblin from the U.S The Amazing Spider-Man #17, including a black and white reprinting of the front cover.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Apropos of nothing...

...other than it's nifty and scarce: The Avengers #9 digest-sized issue from Yaffa.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

House of Fear! A bit of Murray surgery

House of Fear! is an unnumbered one-shot digest sized issue from Murray Comics circa 1982-83.

It contains two stories - House of Fear!, originally from Haunted Love #7, January 1975, reprinted in Scary Tales #33, July 1982; and Sleep, My Love..., originally from Haunted Love #6, October 1974.

House of Fear! previously appeared in Murray Comics’ Planet Series 3 No. 2 issue of Haunted Love in 1980, and I believe this is where the House of Fear! version is sourced from.

What’s interesting is the rather radical surgery performed on the strip to reformat it into the digest-sized dimensions, as you can see from the sample scans above. This is one way in which the Murray digests differ from the Yaffa/Page digests, as the latter tend to simply be scaled down versions of the source material with their pages otherwise intact and in proportion. This sort of surgery has a long track record from Murray, going back at least to the 1960’s Superman Super Library series.

Murray digest-size titles and issues aren’t as common as the Yaffa/Page ones, at least for the superhero and horror genres, but there are a few around, and pending a bit more research I want to present another one soon. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Smells like Mighty #67

Following on from yesterday's post on off-colour K.G. Murray covers and Mark Muller's expert commentary and correction, here's another beauty, courtesy of Mr M.

If more of these turn up I'm going to have to retract my comments about Newton Comics!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Smells Like Space Western: Bumper Western Comic #1

As mentioned some time ago, colour register printing errors are relatively scarce as far as the K.G. Murray covers are concerned, especially compared to Newton Comics.
I’m fond of this Bumper Western Comic #1 cover. The blue faces and pink/green/yellow background virtually qualify the image as a candidate for the space western genre.
There’s a Leonard Cohen line that goes “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” Words to live by.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Murray Romance Library: Secrets of Young Brides

Secrets of Young Brides is an unnumbered one-shot digest-sized issue published under the Murray Romance Library imprint. It has a $0.60 cover price, and appears to date from January 1983.

The cover image is sourced from Charlton’s Secrets of Young Brides #5 (1975 series). However, the contents do not come from this issue – they are from various other romance comics form the early/mid-1970’s.

And browsing though the GCD covers gallery of the Charlton Secrets of Young Brides series I note that the cover for issue #4 was used on the Murray Our Love Story one-shot, which is also published under Murray Romance Library imprint.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Yaffa Marvel Team-Up Cover Gallery

For your pleasure and edification – the Yaffa Marvel Team-Up cover gallery.

The first two issues are regular/magazine size comics, the remaining five are digest-size editions.

I believe this is the full run. If anyone has seen any others, let me know.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Gunfire Jumbo Edition: Jubilee Publications do their stuff.

I don’t profess to know much at all about Jubilee Publications and their comics – the history, the genres published, their profile or status within the local publishing industry. Even James’ fine detective work doesn’t clear up too much for me in this regard. And I don’t expect to be too distracted by JP in the near future.

Having said that, I’ve enjoyed digging around and picking up some information on this particular issue - Gunfire Jumbo Edition #46001. I traded for a copy some years ago, attracted by the Alex Toth reprint of “Gun Glory”, a 23-page story which originally appeared in Dell’s Four Color #846, October 1957.

Other than that I didn’t really pay any attention to the rest of the contents. I’d often see copies at fairs and the like and make a passing mental note that it was ‘a Toth comic’ but other than that I didn’t give it a second thought.

But clearly the cover image made some sort of impression on me, as browsing around on eBay recently I chanced upon a copy of Cheyenne #3218 and recognised the cover image immediately. As per James I understand this issue was originally published in 1972 and Gunfire a few years later in 1976.

So Gunfire #46001 recycles the cover from Cheyenne #3218, another Jubilee Publications issue. Interesting enough. But it doesn’t stop there.

Further digging reveals that the contents of Gunfire Jumbo Edition #46001 are based on yet another Jubilee Publications comic – Gunfire Giant Edition #4 from 1965. Indeed Gunfire #46001 reprints the first five stories in sequence from Gunfire #4, omitting the last 17 pages, and adding a single-page sequence titled “Rodeo Wrinkles”.

So Gunfire #46001 from 1976 is a mashup of two previous Jubilee Publications comics - Gunfire Giant Edition #4 from 1965 and Cheyenne #3218 from 1972. That counts as rather interesting to me.

As I said, I know very little about Jubilee Publications, but I suspect this kind of recycling was rather common for them by the mid-1970’s, as it was for other Australian comics publishers.

In fact, I’m sure I’ve seen another later edition of a Gunfire issue with the same gaudy yellow and pink tones as Gunfire #46001 with a higher price than $0.45, obviously published at a later date. I would have presumed at the time that it was a facsimile of Gunfire #46001, but who knows – the contents could be completely different after all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dune - A Federal Super Special

This Federal Super Special edition of Dune is a facsimile copy, from front ocver to back cover, of the Marvel edition, which was part of the Marvel Super Special/Marvel Comics Super Special series of album-sized comics. This Marvel series of comics was virtually a separate imprint, printed with cardstock covers and focussing on movie properties and adaptations such as Conan, 2010, Star Trek and pop music-related content such as The Beatles and Kiss.

Federal put out a few of these with similarly upscale production values – the larger dimensions, the cardstock covers, the full colour reproduction, and the “A Federal Super Special” banner or text box, indicating a line of sorts separate to the rest of the Federal line-up. Some of the titles Federal published included Sheena, Conan the Destroyer, 2010 and The Last Starfighter. Unlike their Marvel counterparts, the Federal editions did not have their own series numbering. For example, the Marvel edition of Dune is Marvel Comics Super Special #36 – The Federal edition is unnumbered.

These Federal editions are about as upscale as Murray/Federal comics ever got – large full-colour pages, cardstock covers, no advertisements, premium cover price; a long way away from the black and white more-bang-for-your-buck reprints, and on the cusp of the wave of graphic novels which were about to hit the comics reading market. So consider these few issues circa 1984 as the Federal Comics series of graphic novels. It’s only a bit of a stretch, and I don’t think anyone would begrudge them the courtesy.