Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ghoul Tales #1: Some answers, and yet more questions...



Following on from musings and promises in my previous post on Page, Portman, Stanley and Ghoul Tales #1/NN...


Page Publications’ Ghoul Tales #1 exists (above), and it is a reprint of Stanley Publications’ Ghoul Tales #2.


Page Publications’ Ghoul Tales #5 (above) is a reprint of Ghoul Tales #1 – except for the cover, which was contrived by cutting and pasting (and touching up/redrawing) a couple of panels from the first two stories (below).



Portman also put out a Ghoul Tales #2, which also appears to be a reprint of the Stanley Publications’ Ghoul Tales #2 – which doesn’t help me at all in my musing over which came first, the Portman or the Page.

Nor does it really help in placing the Ghoul Tales NN issue (below). 


The $0.50 cover price is the spanner in the works. If it had a $0.60 cover price it would appear as another in a long line of Page issues reprinting previously published issues as unnumbered editions, sometimes retitled, sometimes not, typically at the end of their licence. As it is, it’s a reprint of #6, which does suggest it came out after #6.

And yet, it’s quite possible that it predates Ghoul Tales #1. As unlikely as it sounds, given this is contrary to any established pattern by Yaffa/Page that I’m aware of, it would explain the lower cover price compared to the last issue. Unless it came out between #6 and #7 – also quite possible, even if it meant the same issues was published twice in succession in the same series, and then #7 was published with the higher cover price and a resumption of the series numbering.

I don’t know. It’s quite the anomaly. And it doesn’t quite fit at the beginning of the series, the middle, or the end.

An unholy trinity of Ghoul Tales


Ghoul Tales #7 has a $0.60 cover price and is a reprint of Ghoul Tales #3, which has a $0.50 cover price.

Ghoul Tales #3 is itself a reprint of the Stanley Morse Ghoul Tales #4 from 1971, which was also reprinted by Portman U.K as Ghoul Tales Vol. 1 No. 1 (pictured above). 

I suppose the new photo cover was intended to attract an adult reader, similarly to the K.G. Murray Doomsday covers. Many of the Doomsday covers also featured skulls and candles and moody lighting, and it’s possible they were produced by the same person or studio, but maybe not – the Doomsday cover images have a distinctive tone and style all their own.

Other Page Publications editions of Stanley Publications material also featured photo covers, for example Stark Terror #3, but more often than not the original illustrated covers prevailed.

I've always assumed that the Page Publications editions of the Stanley Morse comics were sourced via the Portman editions, but I'm not 100% certain of this. Somewhere along the line someone suggested to me that it was the other way around - that Portman sourced their editions from Page. I think the argument was based on the publication dates. But this cover merry-go-round would suggest Page either had access to the Portman/Morse version and rejected it, or otherwise didn't have access and therefore contrived their own. Either way, if Portman relied on Page, surely they would have used the Page version? I don't know - it's still guesswork on my part. If anyone can clarify this for me...

To the best of my knowledge this Ghoul Tales series ran for 7 numbered issues and an eighth unnumbered issue being a reprint of issue #6, but there may be more unnumbered duplicated issues.

Speaking of the the unnumbered reprint of #6, James has it listed as an unnumbered #1 in his series cover gallery. On the one hand that makes sense - given it has a $0.50 cover price and later issues in the series have a $0.60 cover price it's a reasonable guess that the first issue may have been unnumbered and was subsequently reprinted when the recycling stage began, as Yaffa were prone to do. However there is a bone fide Ghoul Tales #1 by Page Publications. But I'll detail what I know about that issue and it's own peculiar reprint history print in another blog when I check a few more details.

Oh, and for those keeping track, all three of these Ghoul Tales issue feature the complete uncensored version of "The Gossips!"

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Haunted Love Tales of Gothic Romance Planet Series 3 No. 2


House of Fear
Original: Haunted Love 7, January 1975
Reprint: Scary Tales 33, July 1982
Australian reprint: House of Fear!

The Bloody Mermaid!
Original: Ghostly Tales 91
Reprint: Ghost Manor 35, February 1978

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!
Original: Haunted Love 4, October 1973

Wrong Turn
Original: Haunted 13, July 1973

El Toro Diablo
Original: The Thing! 2, April 1952, Charlton

The Vampire Lives!
Original: Haunted 13, July 1973
Reprint: Haunted 41, March 1979

Melvin Comes Home!
Original: The Thing! 12, February 1954
Australian reprint: Doomsday 18

Eternal Teacher
Original: Haunted Love 1, April 1973, Charlton
Reprint: Haunted Love 1, 1978, Modern
Australian reprint: Doomsday Annual 1, 1975

The Wall of Flesh!
Original: This Magazine is Haunted 12
Wall of Flesh 1; The Comics Journal 290, May 2008
Australian reprint: Doomsday 6

Mother's Boy
Original: Haunted Love 5, December 1973

The Hideout!
Original: Ghost Manor 8, November 1972
Reprint: Ghost Manor 57, July 1981

I’ve traced, mainly via the Grand Comics Database, the U.S Original and, where available, the Reprint printings of the contents of Haunted Love, but note that it’s quite likely that the Reprint issue is the actual source for this edition.

My main interest in recording the contents and sources this time around was in tracing the Australian reprint, that is, the printings of the contents in other K.G. Murray issues. For the moment I’ve only found other printings in Doomsday and Doomsday Annual, and at least one of these stories – The Wall of Flesh! – appears to have been recycled from the previous K.G. Murray issue.

I’m sure that when I get around to indexing the rest of the K.G. Murray horror comics I’ll find further iterations all over the place. But that is a longterm task.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Satan's Lagoon and the Haunted Love series


There are 11 issues in Charlton’s Haunted Love series of 1973-75 .

K.G. Murray published at least 5 of these covers. Four of them were published as Haunted Love comics under the Planet Comics or Murray Comics imprints:
1. Haunted Love NN one-shot, reprinting the cover from Haunted Love #1
2. Haunted Love Planet Series 1 No. 3, reprinting the cover from Haunted Love #9
3. Haunted Love Planet Series 2 No. 3, reprinting the cover from Haunted Love #3
4. Haunted Love Planet Series 3 No. 2, reprinting the cover from Haunted Love #7
The fifth cover provided the cover image for the unnumbered one-off digest-sized title Satan’s Lagoon, which reprints the cover from Haunted Love #11.
The four Haunted Love issues mentioned above each contain some or all of the stories originally published under their respective covers.
Satan’s Lagoon does not. It may take its cover image from the Haunted Love series, but its contents are sourced from various other Charlton titles. Indeed its title is adapted from the lead story “Satan’s Pools”, sourced from another Charlton series, Ghost Manor, which was also the title of a short-lived 4-issue Planet Comics series.
On closer examination, Satan’s Lagoon has more in common with House of Fear than it does with the other Haunted Love issues. To begin with, both are unnumbered one-off digest-sized titles with 68 pages and a $0.60 cover price. Further, they share a design template in that their painted front cover images are duplicated in full on their respective rear covers. The Murray Comics logos differ slightly, but other than that they appear to have been published hot on one another’s heels. I haven't checked the contents of Satan's Lagoon against the original but I expect that they are similarly surgically adapted as the contents of the House of Fear issue.
There were many other Planet Comics/Murray Comics titles which carried material from the Charlton Haunted Love Series, not only in the Charlton-centric titles but in other titles such as Doomsday.
But these are the only covers I’ve come across to date. I like to think that there are some more one-off digest-sized issues to be discovered with Haunted Love covers.

Spider-Man the Invincible: A true one-off



Spider-Man the Invincible is a one-shot unnumbered digest-sized Yaffa issue which reprints the previously issued The Amazing Spider-Man #194-195.
Of course, reprinting previous issues – whether as part of a regular series or in new one-shot titles - is part of a well-established pattern by Yaffa in the latter stages of their licence, or even more likely, after the end of their tenure.
What’s curious about this issue is that reprints of The Amazing Spider-Man - or any of the Spider-Man titles, such as Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man or Marvel Team-up – appear to be very thin on the ground, compared to the Yaffa horror titles.
In fact, this is the only one I can recall spotting, and I don’t see any others on James’ site. There is another one-off digest-sized Yaffa issue – What If Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four – but I don’t think there is a complementary regular-sized issue. And besides, it’s not a retitled one-off issue.
I imagine there are more. But to this point, this is the only one I know of.
For the record, this issue reprints the main features from the U.S The Amazing Spider-Man #’s 194 and 195, and The Return of the Green Goblin from the U.S The Amazing Spider-Man #17, including a black and white reprinting of the front cover.

Postscript:  I said above re: What If Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four "I don’t think there is a complementary regular-sized issue".  I now believe this is indeed a reprint of a previous issue, whether of a digest-size or regular-size issue. TBC.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Apropos of nothing...


...other than it's nifty and scarce: The Avengers #9 digest-sized issue from Yaffa.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

House of Fear! A bit of Murray surgery




House of Fear! is an unnumbered one-shot digest sized issue from Murray Comics circa 1982-83.

It contains two stories - House of Fear!, originally from Haunted Love #7, January 1975, reprinted in Scary Tales #33, July 1982; and Sleep, My Love..., originally from Haunted Love #6, October 1974.

House of Fear! previously appeared in Murray Comics’ Planet Series 3 No. 2 issue of Haunted Love in 1980, and I believe this is where the House of Fear! version is sourced from.

What’s interesting is the rather radical surgery performed on the strip to reformat it into the digest-sized dimensions, as you can see from the sample scans above. This is one way in which the Murray digests differ from the Yaffa/Page digests, as the latter tend to simply be scaled down versions of the source material with their pages otherwise intact and in proportion. This sort of surgery has a long track record from Murray, going back at least to the 1960’s Superman Super Library series.

Murray digest-size titles and issues aren’t as common as the Yaffa/Page ones, at least for the superhero and horror genres, but there are a few around, and pending a bit more research I want to present another one soon. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Smells like Mighty #67



Following on from yesterday's post on off-colour K.G. Murray covers and Mark Muller's expert commentary and correction, here's another beauty, courtesy of Mr M.

If more of these turn up I'm going to have to retract my comments about Newton Comics!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Smells Like Space Western: Bumper Western Comic #1


As mentioned some time ago, colour register printing errors are relatively scarce as far as the K.G. Murray covers are concerned, especially compared to Newton Comics.
I’m fond of this Bumper Western Comic #1 cover. The blue faces and pink/green/yellow background virtually qualify the image as a candidate for the space western genre.
There’s a Leonard Cohen line that goes “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” Words to live by.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Murray Romance Library: Secrets of Young Brides


Secrets of Young Brides is an unnumbered one-shot digest-sized issue published under the Murray Romance Library imprint. It has a $0.60 cover price, and appears to date from January 1983.

The cover image is sourced from Charlton’s Secrets of Young Brides #5 (1975 series). However, the contents do not come from this issue – they are from various other romance comics form the early/mid-1970’s.

And browsing though the GCD covers gallery of the Charlton Secrets of Young Brides series I note that the cover for issue #4 was used on the Murray Our Love Story one-shot, which is also published under Murray Romance Library imprint.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Yaffa Marvel Team-Up Cover Gallery









For your pleasure and edification – the Yaffa Marvel Team-Up cover gallery.

The first two issues are regular/magazine size comics, the remaining five are digest-size editions.

I believe this is the full run. If anyone has seen any others, let me know.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Gunfire Jumbo Edition: Jubilee Publications do their stuff


I don’t profess to know much at all about Jubilee Publications and their comics – the history, the genres published, their profile or status within the local publishing industry. Even James’ fine detective work doesn’t clear up too much for me in this regard. And I don’t expect to be too distracted by JP in the near future.

Having said that, I’ve enjoyed digging around and picking up some information on this particular issue - Gunfire Jumbo Edition #46001. I traded for a copy some years ago, attracted by the Alex Toth reprint of “Gun Glory”, a 23-page story which originally appeared in Dell’s Four Color #846, October 1957.

Other than that I didn’t really pay any attention to the rest of the contents. I’d often see copies at fairs and the like and make a passing mental note that it was ‘a Toth comic’ but other than that I didn’t give it a second thought.

But clearly the cover image made some sort of impression on me, as browsing around on eBay recently I chanced upon a copy of Cheyenne #3218 and recognised the cover image immediately. As per James I understand this issue was originally published in 1972 and Gunfire a few years later in 1976.

So Gunfire #46001 recycles the cover from Cheyenne #3218, another Jubilee Publications issue. Interesting enough. But it doesn’t stop there.

Further digging reveals that the contents of Gunfire Jumbo Edition #46001 are based on yet another Jubilee Publications comic – Gunfire Giant Edition #4 from 1965. Indeed Gunfire #46001 reprints the first five stories in sequence from Gunfire #4, omitting the last 17 pages, and adding a single-page sequence titled “Rodeo Wrinkles”.

So Gunfire #46001 from 1976 is a mashup of two previous Jubilee Publications comics - Gunfire Giant Edition #4 from 1965 and Cheyenne #3218 from 1972. That counts as rather interesting to me.

As I said, I know very little about Jubilee Publications, but I suspect this kind of recycling was rather common for them by the mid-1970’s, as it was for other Australian comics publishers.

In fact, I’m sure I’ve seen another later edition of a Gunfire issue with the same gaudy yellow and pink tones as Gunfire #46001 with a higher price than $0.45, obviously published at a later date. I would have presumed at the time that it was a facsimile of Gunfire #46001, but who knows – the contents could be completely different after all.