Thursday, January 18, 2018

Chatto Confessions: Revealing Confession Stories #1 and Exciting Confessions #4



Page Publications' Revealing Confession Stories #1 is a digest-sized romance comic featuring a Keith Chatto cover, and contains the story Holiday of Love.

This story was also published around the same time by Page Publications in Exciting Confessions #4 with another Chatto cover illustration:


I expect there are other Page Publications reprints of this story. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Giant Batman Album #8: The 'missing' piece



K.G. Murray's Giant Batman Album #8 is based on the US edition 80 Page Giant #5 Batman:


Giant Batman Album #8 reprints the cover and main feature contents of the 80 Page Giant, whilst adding a couple of fillers which are different to the ones included in the US edition. 

One of the features reprinted in the local edition is [Rustling on a Reservation], a Complete Sunday Newspaper Syndicated Story, as advertised prominently in both printings.

However, the US edition contains the following single page feature, also a syndicated strip:


It's a shame this wasn't included in the local edition. The art is already in black and white, and assuming the blue background was printed in black, it would have made a stark and bold impact. And I'm not sure whether this piece was reprinted in any other subsequent K.G. Murray comic.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Superman, Batman and Robin at Perisher Ski Resort: The Murray connection


Colossal Comic #26, July 1963

That's Superman, Batman and Robin doing their skiing thing on the cover of Colossal Comic #26, at the Perisher Ski Resort.

Or so I like to imagine. Why?

It turns out that the publisher, KG Murray, was involved in the development of the Perisher Valley. Further, according to Wikipedia, "Murray Publishers...traded under the name of Perisher Ski Resort...(and) in 1995 Murray Publishers Pty Limited and the Alpine Australia Group Pty Limited merged to form Perisher Blue Pty Limited."   

That's evidence enough for a legitimate leap of the imagination.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Master Comics #24: Captain Marvel Jr. and the (Dis)Appearance of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Would you trade the Statue of Liberty for the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Captain Marvel Jr. did - or rather, Larry S. Cleland did in Master Comics #24:


Here's the original cover to Master Comics #107:


I give Cleland credit for taking advantage creatively of the landscape format of their issue in contrast to the portrait format of the source material - the horizontal bridge for the vertical statue is an aesthetic decision, not just a patriotic turn.

I also give Cleland credit for adapting the interior art:




If you're interested, the original story can be read in full on comicbookplus.com.

My only gripe with the modification is the spelling of Harbor - did Cleland imagine it would be sold back to the Americans?

Daring Love Confessions Library #1: The Forgotten Years

Daring Love Confessions Library #1: The Forgotten Years looks like a Page Publications digest-sized romance comic, but isn't - it's a pulp novel.


Nevertheless the cover by Keith Chatto makes it suitable for filing alongside your other Australian digest-sized romance comics, and there's another issue in the series if you're a completist.

Update: This image was redrawn for Page Publications' Wonderful Love Stories #1:


The story Autumn of Desire had previously been published in Page Publications' Real Romance Library #43:


Autumn of Desire was originally published in MV Features' Dream A Romance Picture Story #14 in 1965.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

$0.15 for a comic in 1959? You must be dreamin'...!

This is a scan of the front cover of my copy of Yaffa's Two-Gun Kid (Vol.1) #40:


This is a scan of the rear cover of my copy of Yaffa's Two-Gun Kid (Vol. 1) #40:


And just in case the scan above is too small to read, here's a zoom shot of the coupon including the advertiser's date code.


'Nuff said. Anything more would be mansplaining.

The Young Eagles: Four Yaffa editions and counnting...

The Young Eagles was originally published in MV Features' Action War Picture Library #15:


It was published by Yaffa in the following digest-sized comics:

  Air Combat Library #1


Second World War Library #30

Air Combat Library #1

As you can see, none of the covers appear to be swipes of Action War Picture Library #15. As the earliest published issue above has a $0.25 cover price, I expect that there is an earlier $0.20 edition with a swipe of the original issue's cover.

The cover of Air Combat Library #1 is from an interior panel:


War Action #1 and Second World War Library #30 are both cover-priced $0.30 - I'm not sure which one was published first.

A loose pattern is emerging in these 1970's Yaffa digests whereby the first publication of a UK digest comic carries a cover swipe, the subsequent recycled editions - often in a new series - feature newly commissioned artwork, and then the last gasp edition is slapped together by reprinting an interior panel for cover art duties. This is parallel to instances in which previously published cover art is itself recycled over 'new' content, or indeed over 'old' content. And this doesn't just apply to material sourced from UK comics - I'm pretty sure it's the case for Marvel westerns and any other Yaffa digest material of this era.


Navy Warfare #'s 2, 3 and 4: A different kind of triplicate Chatto

So we've seen Keith Chatto provide multiple versions of a cover for the same story, and we've seen the same Chatto cover recycled for two issues in the same series, not once but twice, but how about the one cover being used three times on three consecutive issues of the one series? I give you Navy Combat #'s 1, 2 and 3:




The Burning Ocean is the story printed in Navy Warfare #'s 2 and 4; The Unknown Warriors is the story in Navy Warfare #3. The Burning Ocean originally appeared in MV Features' Action War Picture Library #17, and The Unknown Warrior originally appeared in MV Features' Action War Picture Library #24. The latter cover was swiped by Chatto for War At Sea #1.

It is possible this image is a swipe from a UK source, but if it is, I haven't identified it yet. It isn't based on a panel from either The Unknown Warriors nor The Burning Ocean, so it would appear this is an original conception by Chatto.

I haven't seen a copy of Navy Warfare #1 so I don't know what is on the cover, but you can guess what my perverse wish is... 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Three Chatto covers and a double swipe!

 Death before Dishonour! was originally published in Battlecry #7:


It has been published by Yaffa four times that I'm aware of, as follows:

Wartime Library #1, c. March 1971

War Adventure Series #4, c. March 1972

Battle Victory Picture Library #1, c. 1974

Battle Victory Picture Library #2, c.1977

The dates for Wartime Library #1 and War Adventure Series #4 are based on advertising date codes on the issues. The dates for the two issues of Battle Victory Picture Library are from Ausreprints, and I think are reasonable guesses on the limited data available.

What interests me here is not the dates so much as the publication sequence and the cover art. Following on from my query regarding Keith Chatto's art for reprinted and recycled stories, I thought reviewing another sample may shed some light on the matter. For this purpose, all that matters is that the issues above are presented in the order of publication, based on available dating information and cover prices.

The first three issues feature Chatto's cover art. The cover art for the first issue is clearly a swipe from the source material, as is the art on the third issue. The second issue features art which does not appear to relate to a specific panel in the story. Indeed it appears to be rather generic, and could have been intended for any war comic featuring an Australian rather than an American soldier (it's all in the hats and helmets...). The cover of the fourth issue is a copy of an interior panel:


Now, allowing for gaps - there may be more Yaffa printings of this story along this timeline - it does appear that the appeal to common sense should be trusted, and it is wise to assume that the first printing of a story which is recycled a number of times will most likely be the issue with the cover swiped from the source material. There may be exceptions to the rule, and there may be conflicting data, but this will be my standby position until such time as I learn otherwise.

I think this is the only time I've noticed Chatto swipe and adapt from the source material twice. Something else to keep my antennae attuned to.

Chatto and The Fanatics: Spy Action Library #1 and Spy Stories Picture Library #3

Spy Action Library #1 is a digest-sized Yaffa comic published c.1974:


The cover is by Keith Chatto and, as was often the case with his covers for Yaffa, it is based on the source material - in this case, S.A.T.A.N. Picture Library #6:


The Fanatics was also published by Yaffa in Spy Stories Picture Library #3:


Again, as was often the case, Chatto was tasked with supplying a cover image for recycled material for which he had already provided a cover. There is no similar panel in the comic to suggest he swiped/tailored it for his purposes.

I say he had already supplied a cover, but I'm not sure of the publication sequence of these issues. I can usually tell which edition was published first by the cover price. In this instance each edition has a $0.30 cover price, leaving me to make deductions. Common sense dictates that Spy Action Library #1 was first out the gate, given the cover is based on the source material.

However, I note that Spy Stories Picture Library #1 was published with a $0.25 cover price, and ran for at least 4 issues, whereas I'm not sure there were any further issues of Spy Action Library. So it is possible Spy Stories Picture Library was considered the primary series, and Spy Action Library was an afterthought.

I also note there is a 7 marked in pen on my copy of Spy Stories Picture Library #3, indicating a publication date around April/May 1974. AusReprints has an indicative date of December 1974 for Spy Action Library #1, based on the advertiser's code MMBO/1274. The code on Spy Stories Picture Library #1 is MPHO/1274. Should I accept that they were both published simultaneously? It's possible, I guess, but it doesn't scan with the April/May date ascribed to Spy Stories Picture Library #3.

I must admit I tend to be a bit frustrated and sceptical about the accuracy of the date codes on Yaffa comics. I think they're useful for indicating a year, but less accurate regarding the month of publication. My impression is that they tend to be too generic or 'long term' compared to the date codes on  K.G. Murray Comics. I may change my mind about this as I become more familiar with the early/mid-'70's Yaffa catalogue. I don't yet have a handle on this period as I do on Yaffa's Marvel period.

Oh, and I look forward to spotting another issue recycling the Fanatics!