Thursday, April 24, 2008

Free Plug: Word Balloons #6

A free plug for Word Balloons #6, Philip Bentley's “Australian Magazine of the Graphic Story Arts” which came out late last year, and includes an interview with local collector/dealer Mick Stone, and also reprints an updated version of Robert Thomas’ article on Newton Comics (which I think first appeared in an issue of Collectormania… or was it some other paper…? can’t remember, I know I have a photocopy of it here somewhere… but I digress).

And hey, even The Junkyard rates a passing mention!

You can order copies directly from Philip for $5, PO Box 286 Sandringham Victoria 3191, or

Fear #2: The Yaffa edition

Here’s a nifty Yaffa issue I picked up this morning – Fear #2, which happens to be a facsimile reprint of Marvel’s Fear #1, November 1970.

It’s no surprise that the Yaffa edition reprints a complete US issue, I’ve come to expect that sense of order and fidelity from Yaffa.

I have no idea how many issues were in the Yaffa series, nor if there was a #1 for that matter, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a digest edition of Fear.

Also interesting to note that some, if not all of the stories in this issue were previously published in K.G. Murray issues. For example, I immediately recognized “I-Am-The-Genie!” (a Kirby-Ditko collaboration!) from Doomsday #8, as well as “Something Lurks Inside!” from Climax #12, both of which I’m sure were sourced from Fear #1 to begin with.

Fantastic Four #2: The Yaffa Digest

Following on from yesterday's post, the Yaffa digest Fantastic Four #2 reprints US Fantastic Four #'s 26-28, omitting splash page #28, and using the original cover from #27 for cover duties.

I'll also put up a scan of #3 after Danny sends it through. In the meantime, if anyone has a cover scan of #4, or can even confirm sighting one, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fantastic Four #1: The Yaffa Digest

I don’t know how many Fantastic Four #1’s have been published since 1961, but few would be as charming and small as this digest from Yaffa circa 1981.

This issue reprints the original Fantastic Four #'s 23-25, omitting the splash page from #25 and opting for that issue’s cover image for cover duties here. The next issue continues where this one leaves off.

I’m not sure how many issues were in this series, nor how many titles Yaffa published in the digest format, other than the number is substantially higher than I would have guessed some months ago – they seem to be suddenly turning up everywhere I look!

I have a sneaking suspicion that the contents of some of the Yaffa digests might be related to the end of the Newton Comics series. According to Danny Best, after the Newton Fantastic Four title ended with #15, the series of US reprints numbered in the mid-20’s mostly turned up in scattered one-shots and specials. The US #25 appears to have been reprinted a few times, yet no mention of #’s 23 and 24. The regular Yaffa Fantastic Four series reprinted contemporary US issues, not 1960’s issues. So maybe there’s a continuity of sorts between the exhaustion of the Newton series and the Yaffa digest series. I understand Yaffa picked up the license to reprint Marvel comics after the demise of Newton, but I had not considered that there might be a form of continuity between the Newton reprints and some of the Yaffa digest issues. Something to mull over as more of these strange little things turn up.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Battle Action Album #14: Paydirt Award April 2008

I’m not very interested in war comics in general (surely I've mentioned my barely defensible genre biases before...?). I pick up the K.G. Murray war comics in much the same way I might pick up other K.G. Murray genre material of only passing interest, such as a western or a romance comic. That is, partly as a representative sample to complement the main K.G. Murray collection, and partly in the hope of snagging a choice reprint by the likes of Alex Toth or Bernie Krigstein.

As such, Battle Action Album #14 gets the Paydirt Award for April 2008 for featuring Toth’s “The Tally” from Our Army At War #254, February 1973 (subsequently reprinted in Sgt. Rock Special #2, 1988). It’s the best value I’ve had for my $1.50 all year! I’ve come across a few more Toth reprints since my last tally, I hope to update it in the near future.

The other interesting thing is that, like other issues in this series, this issue reprints stories from early issues of All-American Men of War circa 1953, stories which, according to the GCD, did not appear in later DC reprints as one might expect. I’ve been coming across quite a few instances of unexpected reprints of this type in various K.G. Murray issues from the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, that is, reprints which don’t appear to have been sourced from contemporary DC issues. Too early to draw conclusions, but a pattern may emerge when all these issues are finally indexed.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who knows of DC war comics/series being reprinted in Australia in the 1950's or 1960's. I can't recall any such regular series in K.G. Murray titles, but in conceding my scant interest in the genre, I must also concede a possible blind spot in this regard. I'm aware of other war comics reprints in Australia eg Horwitz, I'm just curious whether these DC-sourced reprints in the late 1970's/early 1980's appeared in previous Australian comics.