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the overall impression of the cover, from the art style to the colouring to the font, suggests it may well have looked out of date by the time it hit the stands.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.

Doomsday Album #6 and the Merlin photo cover: It's a Mirakel!

Can I be both right and wrong?

Years ago I claimed that the photo cover of Doomsday Album #6 was based on the splash panel to The Demon #1, featuring Merlin, which was also the first page in this issue. See below for the evidence:

As AR commented at the time, "It's interesting these guys would set up a photo-shoot for the cover of a cheap reprint comic... A conventional cover would be less trouble, surely, not to mention far less expensive."

As it turns out, AR's scepticism was justified. Murray did not set up an expensive photoshoot. The image had been published earlier on the cover of Dan Shocker's Macabros, a pulp novel series published in Germany in 1976:

I found this image on James' entry for Doomsday Album #6 on That's some fine sleuthing!

I don't know how or if the Macabros image is related to the Merlin story. Being a pulp series it would not, presumably, be reprinting the Jack Kirby comic.

The titles don't help too much either. I don't need Google Translate to tell me "Macabros" means "Macabre" and "Mirakel" means "Miracle", but it does help informing me that "Mann der Geheimnisse" translates as "Man of Secrets". But this doesn't shed any light on any connection to "Unleash the One Who Waits!"

So, I stand by my claim that the photo cover for Doomsday Album #6 is directly related to the lead feature, but my implied assertion that it was solicited or produced by Murray for this issue isn't supported by the evidence.

But it does suggest a rather firmer editorial hand by Murray at this stage of the game than is often otherwise evident or assumed.

And I'm quite happy to be both right and wrong!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Junkyard Tales: Completing Super Giant and The Hundred Comic Monthly

A few weeks ago I mused on the challenges of collecting full runs, noting that some may take as little six months, but as serious collectors understand and accept, many take ten or twenty years or more. I have full runs of titles running over 100 issues, but I also have incomplete series with stubbornly elusive issues which have thwarted me from completing runs of less than 20 issues. This year I have completed my collections of two titles, and they provide both a stark contrast in scale, and an illustration of my point.

Super Giant ran for 28 issues over a period of four years or so in the mid-1970's. My first copies were picked up in 2008 - maybe 3 or 4 issues - but I didn't begin consciously collecting it until around 2001. My 27th issue was secured in late 2009, the 28th this year. That's seven years between drinks, and at least fifteen years to source a complete set. The good news in all this is that the average price I paid for these issues was less than $5, including the last issue.

The Hundred Comic Monthly ran for 102 issues over 10 years until 1965. My first copy was also purchased around 2001/02. My 101ist issue was purchased in mid-2011, and the last copy just a few months ago. That's 5 years between issues, and again, a good fifteen years of legwork.

The prices paid for the Hundred issues is a different story altogether. On the one hand more than half cost me less than $20 each, and quite a few of those were under $10. That still leaves plenty of issues which averaged $30-$40. Two issues cost me $100 or more. It's no surprise that the last one falls in that bracket.

It's fair to say that The Hundred has always been a greater priority to me than Super Giant. I'm sure there were copies of Super Giant I came across in my travels which I didn't purchase due to their condition or price, figuring another copy would turn up sooner or later. If I knew then how long it would take to complete a full run I might have been more vigilant. and less choosy.

As for The Hundred, I hunted it with a fervour bordering on mania. And I reckon I done good. Sure, there's a few poor condition specimens which require an upgrade, and I possibly paid too much for a few issues, but there's also plenty of beautiful copies which would be amongst the best condition vintage pre-decimal K.G. Murray comics that I own, and all things considered, it's a damn good set that I'm proud to own.

So there it is: A tale of two very different complete sets. Whodathunkit?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A gallery of recycled Gredown covers

Some time ago I posted a few samples of Gredown's recycled covers so I thought I'd bring them all together in a single gallery:

And a triple treat...:

Some of the images were recycled without any modification, but in most cases they were tweaked - close-ups, reversed images, filters. Occasionally the art was modified eg. the blood stain on Thirst of Blood, the figure omitted from Future Shock.

The pattern is quite clear - it's the $1.00 cover price issues which have the recycled covers, from the earlier Gredown comics. Occasionally they double-dipped on the $1.00 issues eg. Portrait of Peril/Wild Fear!, Curse of No Return/Eyes of Night.

It's also evident that they made some effort to source relevant images for the new issues. For example, the witch image on Spells of Darkness; the blind eyes on Blind Despair; the tombstones on Tombstone Terror. In the case of Edge of Fear, the source issue Ghosts of Terror #1 featured a story titled "Edge of Fear". 

There are more pairings to be added to this gallery and I'll do so as I come across them. There's at least two more I've spotted in the past which are eluding me at the moment, and I'm sure I'll identify even more in the fullness of time.

Regarding my sources and caveats I'll refer you to my notes on the Yaffa Digest Gallery.