Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shock Stories: Another Chamber of Chills digest


The Shock Stories digest (mentioned in passing in a previous post) reprints the contents of US Chamber of Chills #'s 13, 14 and 15, omitting "I Was Locked in a... Haunted House!" from COC #15, and includes a black and white print of the cover to COC #14. The front cover is sourced fro COC #15.

Where Monsters Dwell: The Proxy Yaffa/Page Digest Crypt of Shadows #1



A couple of months ago I discussed the Yaffa/Page digest comic Crypt of Shadows #4. This issue contains reprints of the US COS #’s 10-12. I presumed there would be other issues in this series, each reprinting three issues of COS.

I haven’t found any more COS digests yet, but I have found a proxy – this unnumbered Where Monsters Dwell reprints the US Crypt of Shadows #'s1, 2 and 3 (omitting Thru the Door from COS #2).

Based on previous examples I won’t be surprised to find that this is a small-scale reprint of a standard-size Yaffa/Page edition of Crypt of Shadows #1. I would however be surprised to find that Where Monsters Dwell is a facsimile of a digest-sized Crypt of Shadows #1 – that would suggest a new pattern of reprints from Yaffa/Page ie: a standard-size issue; a digest reprint; a retitled digest reprint. It may even suggest a fourth instalment ie: a standard-size retitled reprint.

All just guess-work and speculation of course.

Back to the issue at hand - the cover of Where Monsters Dwell is reprinted from Crypt of Shadows #3 (the covers for COS #'s 1 and 2 are not reprinted). And the title is, of course, borrowed from the Marvel series of monster comic reprints.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Night of the Vampire: Page's Tomb of Dracula digest


Night of the Vampire is another nifty little digest comic from Page Publications, reprinting Marvel’s The Tomb of Dracula #'s 7, 8 and 9 (note the splash page from #7 is omitted).

The cover is from TOD #7, which was also used as the basis for the Newton Tales of Horror: Dracula #6. I like this version with the bold and sparse green background, making it a garish companion to Monster on the Swamp.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Monster of the Swamp: A Bite-Sized Man-Thing Deathwatch Sandwich!



Page Publications Pty. Ltd. liked to do things right. They preferred to reprinted US issues in full, and in sequence, rather than to sort and match features into new titles by character or theme. If possible, space allowing, they would opt to include black and white reproductions of the US covers in the issues, for completeness’ sake. If they needed to avail themselves of the rear cover to present a complete story, so be it. If the inner cover pages were not required, they would just as often as not leave them blank, without advertising. Sure, sometimes the series cover titles would differ from the US titles, but that was not the norm, and regardless, it was hardly tampering in the first degree when it comes to scheduling reprint material.

So I think they would be embarrassed to realise they stuffed up with their third digest Man-Thing reprint.
Monster of the Swamp is the follow-up to the second Man-Thing digest reprint, Swamp Creature. Swamp Creature reprinted The Man-Thing #’s 4, 5 and 6. In turn, Monster of the Swamp should have carried The Man-Thing #’s 7, 8 and 9. The cover is a reprint of the cover to #7, and the other two covers are reprinted in black and white in the book. But instead of kicking off with “The Old Die Young!” from #7, the buggers have mistakenly slotted in “Deathwatch!” from #9 both before and after “The Gift of Death!” from #7 – a “Deathwatch!” sandwich!.

Based on samples of other Page/Yaffa digests, it wouldn’t surprise me to find the Man-Thing digests are in fact reprints of standard-size Page/Yaffa issues. In other words, there is probably a series of three or four Page/Yaffa Man-Thing issues reprinting the first dozen or so US issues. I‘m guessing the digests are quasi-one-shots retitled for the purposes of recycling. So I wonder whether the ‘original’ Page/Yaffa Man-Thing #3 - assuming such an issue exists - also has this error or not.

I also wouldn’t mind knowing the title of the first Man-Thing digest – surely there is such an issue.

Not that these questions keep me awake at night or anything…

Friday, August 15, 2008

Seeing Double: Nightmare #'s 2 and 10




Musing further on recycled issues and covers from a few days ago…

I’m not sure how many editions of Skywald's Nightmare were published by Page Publications by Pty. Ltd., but I’m guessing there weren’t too many numbered higher than #10.

Why? Because #10 is a facsimile of Page’s Nightmare #2. The only difference is that the colour on the last page is yellow on #2 and blue on #10.

Evidence of scraping the bottom of the barrel… unless Skywald pulled a similar stunt, and Page dutifully followed suit… but I haven’t seen any such duplication on the GCD cover gallery.

At any rate, #2 is based on the US Nightmare #9.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ironjaw - From 40c to $1.00 cover price!




It’s quite common to come across $1.00 cover price Gredown issues which recycle previously published material, whether it’s covers (or cropped portions thereof) or complete issues. Yet what appears on first pass to be a facsimile issue may in fact have some notable changes. Case in point: Ironjaw.

The original 40c issue included the Adult rating on the cover, and proclaimed the value of the Big 68 pages. The later edition also contained 68 pages, but with a $1.00 cover price, this was no longer a proud boast. Nor was it rated for A for Adults anymore. However, there was a new compensatory banner: Barbaric Fury Unleashed! I wonder which issue sold more copies…?

The other difference is in the contents. Both issues reprint the same Ironjaw material from the original series, but they differ in the extra material offered – the 40c issue reprints a 9-page Tom Sutton-illustrated Werewolf story in the middle of the issue; the $1.00 issue offers a 9-page Spanish Adult horror story with plenty of nudity, no doubt courtesy of the lapsed.

Other than that, the differences are minor – one is paginated, the other isn’t… one includes “continued” inserts at the end of the chapters, the other doesn’t bother with them… that sort of thing.

At least they both have the same cover. It looks like an original Australian cover, probably by Phil Belbin based on the whites of the eyes and the white hair of the sorcerer on the left hand side… (I'm happy to be corrected by any Belbin experts)... indeed one benefit of the $1.00 cover issue is there is less cover clutter over the painted image.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Complete Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer Special










I've had some requests (and bribes… and late-night phone calls... heavy breathing…) for scans of the The Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer Special, so I figured I may as well load them here for all to see.

I know it’s not quite the same as having an original copy to complete your Newton Planet of the Apes collection, but hey, nothing stopping you taking the image files (high res scans!) to your nearest Snap Printing or Kinkos for high quality printed copies and slotting them into your Newtons longbox. It’s scarce enough to warrant the effort and expense. If it helps, I’ll even email the files to you (in case the resolution is reduced when uploaded onto Blogger…)

And if you’re really keen to show your appreciation, there’s a nifty little PayPal donation button at the top of this blog which is touch sensitive…

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Giant Batman Album #16: So scarce you wouldn't know it was scarce...


Seeing as The Junkyard is in a - well, ‘rarefied mood’, so to speak… here’s one that I don’t often hear spoken of as scarce, but I assure you it is just as difficult to lay one’s hands on a copy of Giant Batman Album #16 as it is to try and score its more famous companion in the Most Wanted stakes, Giant Batman Album #14.

Giant Batman Album #16 is unassuming. Some might even say bland. To the casual observer it looks like yet another regular instalment in a long series of US facsimiles. And so it is, being based on the US Batman #193 (aka Batman Giant #14 aka 80pg Giant G-37, July-August 1967), reprinting the complete contents apart from (Holy Smoke), the Sunday newspaper strip, and appended with “Bruce Wayne's Aunt Agatha” and “The New Batman”, both of which had previously appeared in K.G. Murray issues.

I wouldn’t be surprised if casual collectors of Giant Batman Album haven’t realised how difficult it is to find a copy of #16. I think it was only after I found my second or third copy of #1 that the absence of #16 was conspicuous. After asking around I managed to find a single collector who had a copy and was able to send me a cover scan, and that seemed to break the spell as I found a copy for myself only a few months later.

That was over 2 ½ years ago, and in the 10 years or so in which I’ve been collecting these comics, these are the only two copies I’ve come across. To put that into perspective, in that time I’ve seen more copies of the first issues of Superman’s Supacomic, Century The 100-Page Comic, Colossal Comic Annual and Giant Superman Album, just to name some of the most sought-after 100-Page K.G. Murray issues.

I have some ideas as to why Giant Batman Album #14 is so scarce, and I’ll profile this issue in a blog entry shortly. The scarcity of #16 is more difficult to rationalise.

So rather than try to rationalise it, I’ll just offer a suggestion: If anyone is considering putting together a full run of Giant Batman Album from scratch, don’t bother accumulating any issues until #’s 14 and 16 have been secured (an exception should be made for particularly well-preserved, above-average pre-decimal specimens…). Once these two are in the vault, the rest should take a serious collector not more than a few years to source.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Blackhawk #1: Spotters Rejoice...! Now, where's the Kleenex...?


Hot on the heels of Superman Supacomic #7 comes confirmation of another genuinely scarce and ‘previously unseen’ 100-Page K.G. Murray issue - Blackhawk #1!

It was only a week or so ago I that I prodded some Blackhawk collectors on this issue, only to be advised that to the best of their knowledge, no such issue existed. Indeed one prominent Blackhawk collector had been led to believe if a #1 existed at all, it was likely to be the first issue of some other K.G. Murray anthology series.

There are not many such unearthed issues left for the intrepid KGM-spotter. The underground network of KGManiacs has managed to fill in most of the gaps in the collective cover-image grid, so that the blank spots now resemble the burned-out pixels on a cheap plasma screen.

Sometimes the triumph at the end of the struggle is tinged with sadness... Consumation and tristesse