Friday, January 20, 2017

Nightmare Suspense Library #2: The guessing game

Here's another Page Publications digest-size comic I snagged recently - Nightmare Suspense Library #2:

I've checked all my usual sources and I can't find a reference to the original appearance of the story "When Mountains Moved", but I'm going to take a punt and say it originally appeared in Nightmare Suspense Picture Library #10 from MV Features. I say this because the pages include a job number "n10" as a prefix to the page number, and i'm assuming "n" refers "Nightmare" and "10" to the issue number. As per the link, there are two issues missing from the GCD gallery - #'s 10 and 13 - and my guess is that #10 included this story. 

Furthermore I'm guessing that Keith Chatto's cover is based on the original cover, as per other instances of this pattern

Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised to find "When Mountains Moved" has been reprinted elsewhere by Page.

We shall see in due course.

Three Chatto covers for Night of the Blood Beast

"Night of the Beast" was originally published in Tales of Terror Picture Library #3 by the UK publisher M.V Features Limited/Famepress:

This was reprinted by Page Publications at least three times - firstly in Tales of Terror Picture Library #2:

Secondly in Tales of Terror Picture Library #4:

And thirdly in Horror Suspense Library #2:

So Keith Chatto produced three different covers for the same story.

The first one is obviously based on the original cover.

The next two appear to be original - that is, not based on the source material, as the images do not resemble any such panels in the story, apart from the green monster.

The cover to Tales of Terror Picture Library #4 has long been a favourite of mine.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Avengers #7: The curious case of The Swordsman's helmet

There was a time Page Publications' The Avengers #7 was a bit special. For some reason, this digest edition presented an alternate cover to the US edition of The Avengers #19.

The interesting difference is not so much the colouring as the line work, evident in the Swordsman's helmet. The original has a sharp fin, whereas the alternate has a broader, flatter top. See below for image courtesy GCD:

As I understand it, the sharper fin was a modification by Don Heck over Jack Kirby's original, but I'm happy to be corrected on this.

All well and good. Until I discovered, some months ago, courtesy of an overseas collector that the original version had been published many years before the Australian edition in the UK edition of Terrific! #28:
The colouring may be even poorer on this edition, but the linework is clearer for the purposes of comparison.

Again, all well and good. Until I happened to be browsing through my copy of Marvel Masterworks #19, and realised that the this original version is the one which has been included in this volume too:

So it would appear that as far as Marvel is concerned, this is the image which is part of the official Avengers canon. Probably not intentionally, but effectively, this is the image most readers will be familiar with.

Well. sort of... because, on further digging, courtesy of GCD, I've found more instances in which the original image was used, before the Masterworks edition was published. For example:

No doubt there will be more International editions with the original cover image. And I expect there are other Marvel editions with the correct image, the Masterworks edition notwithstanding.

But it does mean the little Australian edition is not quite as exclusive as it once appeared.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gunfighter Library #7 and Western Illustrated Stories #9

Western Illustrated Stories #9 appears to be a reprint of Gunfighter Library #7, with an all-new Keith Chatto cover.

Gunfighter Library #7 is the first $0.30 cover price issue of the series. According to Ausreprints, Gunfighter Library #6 was published in 1972, which places Gunfighter Library #7 in 1972/73.

I'm not sure if there is a further issue in the Gunfighter Library series, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is another reprint of this issue under another Page Publications title.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Killer Western Library #2 and Gunsmoke Western Library #9

Killer Western Library #4 is a reprint of Gunsmoke Western Picture Library #9 with a new Keith Chatto cover illustration. The $0.65 cover price not only suggests a few years between printings, but also that there may be another printing of this issue between these two.

In fact, apart from the cover price, there's nothing to suggest this issue doesn't belong circa 1972-74. Many other such digest western reprints were published with painted covers by the time this came out, such as Bullet Western Library #2, and to my mind, the overall impression of the cover, from the art style to the colouring to the font, suggests it may well have looked out of date by the time it hit the stands.

Yank me any way you want: Popular Yank Comics #74

Hey, kid - want some Super Yank Comics? Ace Yank Comics? Star Yank Comics? Howabout some Big Yank Comics? Or Famous Yank Comics? Or maybe just some Popular Yank Comics. Trust me, it's the real stuff...

You get the drift - Ayers and James Pty. Ltd. (and Frew, and likely others) flogging U.S reprints as the real deal in the 40's and 50's during the wartime embargo. You can read a bit more about this syndrome on Kevin's blog.

I happen to have a copy of one of these comics lurking in the Junkyard -  Popular Yank Comics #74:

This issue features two Doll Man reprints: "Crimetown, U.S.A.!", originally published in Feature Comics #130, January 1949; and "The Conjuror's Conscience!", originally published in Doll Man #26, January 1950. It also features 4 pages of Captain Easy strips, under the title of "Crazy Music".

The cover is a slightly modified reprint of the splash page to "Crimetown, U.S.A.!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dossier Negro and Gredown covers

Some more Dossier Negro covers and their Gredown counterparts:

This last pairing is fascinating - check out what James has traced on AusReprints. I was aware of the two Yaffa Psycho covers, but the rest will knock your socks off!

Dossier Negro and the Gredown connection

Black Dossier was a pioneering Spanish horror series which began in 1968 and lasted 217 issues until it folded in 1988. Although it published its share of American horror comics from publishers such as DC, Warren and Skywald (including some covers), it's best remembered for the Spanish stories and artists.

Some of it found its way into Gredown publications, most likely from the Second Period 1974-1979.

I'm just beginning to acquaint myself with this series, and I'm keen to identify more covers and stories which turned up in Gredowns. I'm hoping at the very least to identify some of the cover artists and their distinctive styles. I can see I'll be relying on Google Translate more than I ever have before.

To begin with, here's a match that popped out to me immediately:

It appears Dossier Negro #76 was published in 1974, and Planet of Vampires #4 in 1976. 

Despite the cover they do not appear to share the same contents. Not that this was really expected, but I had a go at translating the four titles on the cover of Dossier Negro #76 , and there do not appear to be matches to Planet of Vampires #4. Indeed, Planet of Vampires #4 appears to me not to contain Spanish material, but rather mainly reprints of redrawn pre-code stories as published in the U.S in the late '60's/early '70's.

The Wiki entry mentions the Second Period was published by Garbo Editorial. This is not one of the Spanish publisher credits I recognise in Gredowns, such as Selecciones Ilustradas or Editorial Vilmar. However, the timing cannot be coincidental - a new Spanish publisher in 1974, and material appearing in a new range of horror comics in 1976.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I've spotted some Murray covers which appeared first on Dossier Negro.

Another connection to be teased out.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Doomsday Album #14: An elusive blue Lee

Doomsday Album #14 has been indexed on both AusReprints (by my friend Mark Muller) and on GCD (by a number of people), but for some reason the cover image is missing, so here it is for all concerned:

I've been searching for the source of the cover image with no luck, other than noting it is clearly Christopher Lee in blue.

Given this is two separate images my guess is the distressed damsel in the foreground has appeared on another cover, but again, no luck so far identifying any previous source, other than the fact she appears to be similar in appearance and art style to the woman on the cover of Doomsday #24:

The artist for this issue has not been identified. They may or may not be linked, but I note in passing that many of the covers for Doomsday and Doomsday Album appear to have the same models as reference for their covers, as do many of the Gredowns. A gallery is in order,

Anyway, I look forward to both of these mysteries being solved.