Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Planet of the Apes #1: The Yaffa Edition

Under the strictest criteria the Yaffa edition of Planet of the Apes #1 does not quite qualify as a facsimile of the U.S magazine, for it does not include the endpaper photos and Table of Contents, nor Roy Thomas's editorial Road to the Planet of the Apes, nor, of course, the various ads and subscription notices... But it does include virtually everything else, including the three text articles complete with black and white photos: Escape from the Battle of the Planet of the Apes: An Overview of the Apes series by Gary Gerani; The Face of the Planet of the Apes by Ed Lawrence; and Rod Serling Recalls by David Johnson. They may not be reprinted in the same sequence as the U.S magazine, but the layouts are identical, and they are dutifully flanked by the two main features - the Prologue and first two chapters of Terror on the Planet of the Apes, and the first instalment of the movie adaptation.

This issue was published in 1978 with a 50c cover price. Yaffa recycled this issue a few years later with a $1.10 cover price and no issue number.

I'm pretty sure Yaffa didn't publish any other POTA comics, but would be happy to be proven wrong.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ringo #1 and Gun Western

James has done some great work covering the history of the Ringo series on his website, so head on over for the lowdown. I don't have much to add other than to show off a cover scan of my own spiffy copy of Ringo #1... (It is a K.G. Murray #1 issue after all, right...? And it's not as if there's plenty around to choose from, right...?)

I can at least confirm that a couple of the Ringo stories are reprinted as Gringo in the Gredown issue Gun Western. "The Secret of the Swamps" and "A Cross in the Snow" in Ringo #1 are retitled "The Swamps Secret" (sic) and "Cross on the Snow" in Gun Western.

Gun Western also includes another Gringo story, "The Kidnapping".

And yes, this spiffy copy is mine too!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Daredevil #1: The Yaffa Edition

It's hard to tell whether the Yaffa/Page sub-editors intentionally - that is, with deliberation - altered the colour scheme on this cover, or whether they just inadvertently stumbled onto a red Daredevil costume, given the original cover of Daredevil #2 featured the yellow Daredevil costume. Either way, the Electro costume is wrong... unless there's a golden Electro in Marveldom that I'm blissfully unaware of...

Regardless of intent, this issue is a beauty for Daredevil fans, reprinting the first three issues of Daredevil in glorious black and white. The first issue is reprinted sans the splash page, but apart from that, and some editing of the next issue boxes (and the covers to #'s 1 and 3) I believe the reprints are complete.

I wouldn't be shocked to find this issue is reprinted later in this series, just as the Yaffa Avengers #1 is reprinted as #10 in the series.

The rear cover advertises The Fantastic Four series at a cover price of 35c. Curious, as the Daredevil issue has a 50c cover price. The same advertisement appears on the rear of Yaffa's Conan the Barbarian #1, which is also a 50c cover. The Avengers #1 also has the 35c Fantastic Four advertisement on the rear cover, the only difference the blue and red ad text components are reversed, which suggests to me The Avengers #1 was released slightly earlier or later than Daredevil #1 and Conan #1.

Crypt of Shadows #1

Well, it's only taken a bit over a year to prove my little theory, but I can now confirm that the unnumbered digest sized Where Monsters Dwell is indeed a facsimile reprint of the earlier standard size edition of Crypt of Shadows #1.

I'm not sure how long the COS series ran for, but I do know #'s 2 and 4 (and presumably #3) are digest sized, so #1 may be the only regular large size issue in the series.

It's well worth seeking out this larger edition for the greater printing clarity. The Wolverton and Maneely strips especially benefit from the larger scale, although the Heath reprint still suffers from a degree of muddiness, which I guess was inherent in the U.S reprint source.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Panico #2, Fingers of Fear and Avenging Spirits... or, "So that's where the Gredown covers come from...!"

You may think you've seen this cover before, and you could bet your Fingers of Fear and Avenging Spirit that you have... but Panico #2 from 1978 came in first, courtesy of Vilmar ... and if you spend a bit of time browsing http://www.tebeosfera.com/ you will find many such samples of original sources of Gredown covers and reprint material.

I've made a start on matching many of the covers on this site to the Australian issues... It's easy to get lost on this site given both the wealth of material and the translation hurdles... But for the willing and patient, there's plenty of information on issues, artists and writers, cover artists, contents... I say roll up your sleeves, bookmark your favourite online translator (I've been using http://www.translate.google.com/), and get stuck into it, fellow Gredownphiles!

Thanks to James for putting me onto this site... and check out James' excellent articles on Johnny Galaxy and Ringo.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Two in One - Another K.G. Murray Format Experiment

In the mid-late 1950's K.G. Murray experimented with the format of their reprint comics. Joining the regular line-up of 24- to 32-page black and white pamphlet issues were a variety of formats: 100-page titles; 148-page titles; colour issues and titles; gray-scale reprints; 292-page volumes of coverless rebound issues; digest-sized issues...

The Two in One series is one of the most curious and short-lived experiments. As the title suggests, the magazine represented twice the value to the consumer by presenting two comics pages side-by-side on the one page in the landscape format. This in itself was not uncommon for K.G. Murray - they would routinely resort to this tactic in the regular pamphlet series for one or more of the back-up features. What was novel was to use this so prominently as the rationale for a new series.

It wasn't very successful. Like the 100-page Color Giant experiment, it appears to have only lasted for a couple of issues. But at least it afforded us another couple of local (Hart Amos!) illustrations featuring popular and minor (almost forgotten - The Dodo and The Frog!) DC Comics characters.

My thanks to David Studham for the great scans.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Magic Moment Romances and Lover's Secrets

Lover's Secrets #'s 125 and 126 surprised me - I was aware of the unnumbered one-shot by the same title, but surely I would have seen one of the previous 124 issues of this series somewhere along the line... And could it just be coincidence that Magic Moment Romances #124 was the highest numbered issue of that series that I'd seen...?

Well, until I see a Magic Moment Romances #125, I'm going to file my Lover's Secrets next to my Magic Moment Romance issues.

And the unnumbered Lover's Secrets and Magic Moment Romances one-shots can vie for the honorary #'s 127 and 128... Maybe a pillowfight can settle it...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dating the Murray Romance Library Imprint

It's great to find a run of consecutive issues of K.G. Murray romance titles, especially issues which span the transition from one logo/imprint to another.

I've checked with James and his timeline, and we're reasonably confident that the Murray Romance Library imprint was effective January/February 1980, in concert with the first red Murray Comics logo.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Murray Romance Library one-shots

Here's a half a dozen more Murray Romance Library one-shots I picked up over the weekend, most of which I haven't seen before.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Digest-Sized Romance Comics from Page Publications

Here's a pair of digest-sized romance comics published by Page Publications, each sporting a Keith Chatto cover. At the top is Unforgettable Love Stories #11, and beneath it is Modern Confessions Library #1.

If you look closely at the cover to Modern Confessions Library #1 you can see the original owner has dated the book 29 May 1971. No idea if she still lives at the same address...

The Murray Romance Annual Series: Love 1974 and 1979

Following on from a previous entry on K.G. Murray's series of Romance Annuals, here are the covers to the 1974 and 1979 instalments, courtesy of a small haul of romance comics snagged over the weekend.

This series takes its cue (title and masthead) from the Super DC Giant series even as cover images are drawn from Charlton comics...

The 1979 issue is also part of the Planet Series titles.

Presumably there were Love Annual instalments for 1976 and 1978 - TBC.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Digest-Size Man-Thing #4

Following on from previous instalments interrogating the Yaffa/Page digest-size Man-Thing series... The Man-Thing #4 reprints #'s 10-12 of the U.S series (possibly omitting one page from #12, TBC). The cover is from #11.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Horwitz Strange Tales #3

Horwitz Publications’ Strange Tales #3, c. May 1963 sports a Maurice Bramley cover with Ant-Man in graceful flight, and also includes a single-page Bramley feature titled Bones.

Apart from this Australian content, this issue reprints the contents of the U.S Tales to Astonish #40, February 1963.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Five-Score Plus Comic Monthly #23

By request... the cover to Five-Score Plus Comic Monthly #23... this appears to be an elusive issue for collectors... I think it's fair to say that sometimes, issues aren't necessarily scarce as they are elusive... that is, there is no reason to assume there are fewer copies in existence than other similar issues... and yet, they nevertheless remain stubbornly elusive and unsighted for a period of time... until such time as a few copies start to appear, and we all wonder why we thought they were so scarce... and I'm betting we'll be saying the same thing about Five-Score #23 in a year or two...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fastest Gun in the West

This Fastest Gun in the West unnumbered one-shot is to the Fastest Gun Western series as the Western Heroes one-shot is to the Bumper Western Album series, or the Western Album and Western Action and Adventure and Wild West Album one-shots are to the Super Western Album series - essentially unnumbered instalments of those series in magazine-size format with adapted titles and mastheads.

Sharp Shooters of the Wild West

Sharp Shooters of the Wild West is another in a line of one-shot Murray Comics westerns.

This issue carries features such as Texas Rangers in Action and Cheyenne Kid, each of which was afforded its own eponymous one-shot issue in this period. This is one reason I think this issue was cobbled together from extraneous material (though I hasten to add these features did appear in other one-shot westerns too...)

The other clue is the title typeface, a generic, overused style from the 1970's/early 1980's found in many magazines and advertisements of the period, unlike many other one-shot issues which adapted existing type from other related series.

The cover is signed by Prieto Muriana, a name rather familiar to Australian readers of Gredown western issues such as Bullet Western, Gun Western, Outlaw Gunslingers and Wild Western Action, just to name a few.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Will the real World's Finest Comic Monthly #13 please stand up...?

Here it is - the long-sought-after cover to World's Finest Comic Monthly #13!

I know there are a few of you KGManiacs out there who will be rapt to finally see this cover. It's been the subject of speculation for a quite a while now.

Indeed, not so long ago, a crude yet effective cut-and-paste fake-alternate-proxy of this issue was in circulation, courtesy of moi... we had no idea what the real one looked like, so I mocked something up which could have plausibly been a facsimile of the real thing... I took a punt on an unreprinted DC Flash cover of the period... and some did think it was the real thing on first look... I got my cheapies out of that... mischief is contagious in the junkyard... all of which only whet the appetite and anticipation for the real thing... and so I naturally assumed the duty and responsibility to present the real thing in due course, to compensate for my indiscretion and giggles...

And if you think the real thing looks good on the blog, well, I assure you, it looks even better in my collection, as this issue completes my run of this series!

Of course, there are still a few poor condition issues which really need an upgrade, and even a coverless rebound issue in primo Gigantic Annual real estate which has been holding up its end of the bargain for a good while now...

Oh, and if you still can't tell the real one from the fake, you should either take more pills, or stop them altogether!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Man and Woman #15: Slipping through the CCA net...

First one to say Comics Code Approved Bondage has probably already seen this site, but if not... And when you come back you can check out the original cover on DC's Love Stories #150, June-July 1973...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yaffa/Page Presents: Night Nurse!

If you want to know what I know about the short-lived 1970's Marvel Comics series Night Nurse, well, just search for the entry on Wikipedia and you'll see almost all of it for yourself.

As for the other two things I know about Night Nurse:

1. The Yaffa/Page issue above reprints the first 3 issues of the Marvel series, omitting the splash page from #2, and;

2. According to a friend of mine (who should probably know better than to know about these things, but alas, it is far too late now) Night Nurse is something of a running joke amongst Bronze Age enthusiasts and original issues are in relatively high demand for a series which is not exactly a regular fanboy favourite.

Apparently the fourth and last issue of the series took a Gothic turn away from the previously established 'urban drama' genre, so just as it's unlikely there is a second issue to the Yaffa/Page series, it's possible the fourth U.S issue is reprinted as a back-up feature in another Yaffa/Page mystery or horror issue.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blazing Western Stories #4 and Nightmare Suspense Library #5: Keith Chatto Page Publications Digests

Here’s a couple of intrepid Page Publications digests which managed to find their way into the junkyard… A nifty pair of Keith Chatto covers by anyone's reckoning… I especially like the green tinge highlight on the Nightmare Suspense Library cover… just the right finishing touch…

The Romance Annual Series

I assumed Love 1977 was a one-shot issue from K.G Murray until I recently came across Love 1975. It appears there was a series of ‘Romance Annuals’ - presumably there was a 1976 instalment, and possibly more. Curiouser and curiouser....

Romance Comics 1970's-style

Charlton's pastel tones on the cover of Secret Romance #30, January 1975 may have been nuanced and subtle (note the colour gradation on the skin), but I reckon the comparatively garish K.G Murray rendition above is far more in tune with the pop culture spirit of the times.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer Special #2

I don’t know if the recent earth tremors felt in Melbourne have had anything to do with shaking loose so many hard to find comics but it’s been an unexpectedly bumper period for collectors of scarce Australian comics. I can report off the top of my head from the last week or two:

Copies of Giant Batman Album #’s 14 and 16 surface on eBay;

A second copy of Colossal Comic #18 has been brought to my attention, hot on the heels of my own copy and Colossal Comic #14;

A few other stubbornly elusive (if not bone fide scarce) issues such as Giant Flash Album #5, All Star Adventure Comic #50 and Superman Supacomic #113 were retrieved in, shall we say, somewhat irregular circumstances;

A bunch of very early Superman Supacomics and similar pre-decimal material was secured in a single lot with some fellow KGM Kronies;

And now comes confirmation of the long-rumoured second edition of the Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer Special. This cover scan was generously sent to me a couple of days ago from a fellow who says he has a few copies of each in pristine condition. The date on this issue is 15th June 1975, two weeks after the first supplement.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bumper Western Album #75: More Toth

I picked up a few more K.G. Murray Westerns over the weekend, including this Bumper Western Album #75, which has an Alex Toth reprint: "The Real Johnny Thunder", originally from All-American Western #122, 1951, and presented here via Johnny Thunder #3, 1973 (full issue contents details available on the Ausreprints site).

It appears I've missed this in previous instalments of The Alex Toth Stocktake so I think a new stocktake might be due.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

True Junkyard Tales: Colossal Comic Annual NN/#1

It was two and a half years ago. I remember I was ill with the flu and a fever. I had resolved to stay in bed for the next couple of days and not move an aching muscle. My wife was at work and my son had gone to his playgroup for the day, so there would be no distractions from much needed rest and sleep. I was dead set on not moving and had dosed myself up with sudafeds and whatnot appropriately.

Then the phone rang. This guy reckons he's got some comics I might be interested in. I'd dealt with him a few times before and admittedly scored some gold off him, but the last time I'd seen him he'd been dry, and I thought that would be it. So I wasn't in the mood for indulging him in conversation. Besides, he was prone to popping over armed with books and hanging around for one coffee too long. You know the sort.

So I just asked what he had, prompting him a bit to keep him on track but not really concentrating. I didn't really care about his digest-sized westerns and romance comics and whatever other narcotic titles he was reeling off.

But then he said the magic words. Colossal Comic Annual. He continued... no number... no back cover... a bit rough... Superman and Batman standing on one another...

I've never injected but I immediately knew what a hit must feel like. I didn't ask for any more information. I didn't ask for a price. I didn't ask him to deliver. I just told him to sit tight and I'd be there in 20 minutes. And I was off like a rocket!

I have no idea how I navigated traffic in my drug-induced stupor. All I know is that an hour later I was driving back home with the above Colossal Comic Annual NN/#1 on the passenger seat, and I've never been so distracted by a comic whilst driving. I'm sure I stalled at traffic lights and probably caused accidents along the way, completely oblivious like Mr. Magoo. But I couldn't resist. I just kept looking over to it and muttering to myself: I'm sitting next to my own copy of Colossal Comic Annual #1! I can only blame some of that on the drugs.

Needless to say, it sure cleared my sinuses.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Colossal Comic #18

If you're just interested in the contents you can probably crib together a facsimile of Colossal Comic #18 by ransacking later issues of the series, along with a couple of issues of All Star Adventure Comic and Tip Top Comic Monthly, an issue of All Favourites Comic and Super Adventure Comic, and one or two other pamphlet issues.

And I wouldn't blame you if you resorted to this. Issues like this one are very difficult to find. The earlier issues may have more cachet, and may fetch the highest prices, but there's also more chance of finding copies of them. The Colossals numbered in the teens are some of the most difficult issues to find.

But there's more to Colossal Comic #18 than the contents, and it's all evident on the cover. Another beautiful outer space cover by Hart Amos, this time with a satellite front and centre (Space Station No 1? Not Sputnik I guess...) And Australia even makes a cameo appearance on the green mudball in the bottom left hand corner (Earth tended to be green on Colossal Comic outer space covers for some reason - see Colossal Comic #13 - let's call it another Amos trademark!) This cover is unsigned but, unlike Colossal Comic #15 discussed yesterday, the style is typical and representative of Colossal Comic and Amos of this period.

Oh, and just in case there’s any doubt, no, I haven't seen another copy besides this one, and yes, this one is also mine, and yes, I scored them both together, and... BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAAAAA!!!!