Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Man and Woman #21

Here's a cover scan of K.G. Murray's Man and Woman #21:

The cover is from Charltons' Time For Love #35, and is itself a montage - the image in colour in the forefront is a portion of the splash page, and the monochrome rear imagery is from an interior page. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Yaffa's Captain America #8: Method to the madness?

In my overview of the Yaffa Marvel editions I noted that in 1981 the price rise from $0.60 to $0.70 coincided with a change in size from a 'short digest' to a 'tall digest' format. I also noted that a typical run would include two 'tall digest' issues, possibly with an indicia date. As it turns out, the pattern which has established itself is that the first of the two 'tall digest' issues is likely to include a 1981 indicia date, the second unlikely to include a date at all.

I further noted that "Indicia dates can be perplexing and manifestly incorrect at this stage of the game." I'm not sure which issue(s) I was specifically thinking of in that regard at the time, but an issue which squarely fits in that frame is Captain America #8:

The Page Publications date in the indicia is 1977. This qualifies as both perplexing and manifestly incorrect. Suffice to say that Captain America #7, the first of the two 'long digests' in the series, duly contains a 1981 indicia date. 

I've surmised before that it is possible - even likely -  that Yaffa consciously fudged the publication dates towards the end of their licence in order to evade scrutiny. As the licence began in 1977, a 1977 date on a 1981 issue might be intended to suggest the rights to this material was in hand from the inception of their licence. If this is the case, it may be that this was tried for a short time before a change in strategy to publishing issues without any designated publication date in the indicia. 

I don't know. But it's something I'll keep an eye out for in terms of identifying an interim stage the Yaffa Marvel editions c. late 1981/early 1982, and ascribing some plausible method to the madness.

The Invaders #7: The Yaffa edition

As I suspected when I first posted my cover gallery of Yaffa's The Invaders a couple of months ago, there was another digest issue in the series to unearth - and here it is, The Invaders #7:

As expected, this is a 'tall' digest issue with a $0.70 cover price from 1981.

The cover is from The Invaders #19, and the issue reprints the contents of The Invaders #'s 19-21, including the Sub-Mariner backup features from the Invaders #'s 20-21. It appears the splash page is missing from the first story, War Comes to the Wilhelmstrasse.

The Invaders series ran for 41 issues through 1979. This means there was plenty more U.S material to be published in local editions. As per my cover gallery, the next issue I'm aware of is the unnumbered edition from 1982 recycling the first issue of the series. There is scope for another Yaffa 'tall' digest issue to have been published in this series. I'll let you know if one turns up.   

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Whatever Happened to Superman in Australian Supergirl comics?

If I ask you to name a Superman story involving a breach of the Fortress of Solitude, Supergirl in a support role, and illustrated by Curt Swan, I'm betting the first story you'll think of is Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? in Superman #423 and Action Comics #583. And rightly so - it's a drop dead classic.

However, if you're steeped in Superman lore from the 1970's, you might upon reflection consider a lesser-known story which appeared in Action Comics #411:

This is the issue in which Superman is legally deemed to be a squatter! In a nutshell, an oil prospector has purchased the land on which the Fortress of Solitude stands, and as such the building and its contents legally belong to one T.J. Person, and Superman's lawyer advises him he has no rights in the matter. Of course, Superman finds a way out of this mess - no spoilers here - but you gotta love the mock-earnest 1970's riff on silver age goofiness in this synopsis.

I'm still a big fan of this era of Superman comics, especially anything with Swanderson art. Yet remarkably, I only came across this story recently in, of all things, the Federal Comics edition of Supergirl #1:

This issue was published in 1983. However, it turns out that The Day They Sold Superman's Fortress was published some 10 years earlier in Supergirl Comic #5:


I know for a fact that K.G. Murray Supergirl issues are a prime focus for at least a couple of KGManiacs, but I'm not one of them, and never have been, so I wouldn't have read this issue as a kid, hence my coming late to a story I would have thoroughly appreciated as a 10-year-old when I was buying Planet Comics off the shelf. By the time Federal Comics were in town I'd well and truly stopped reading comics. But, if I had been reading them over that 10-year span, I would have preferred the Supergirl Comic #5 version over the Supergirl #1 edition, purely for the botched layout of the title splash page. Compare the following:

Supergirl Comic #5 pp 14-15

Supergirl #1 p. 9

Supergirl #1 p. 10

It's not just the flow from the one panel to the other which works in the two-page spread, but the text box caption leads into the title. Splitting the two pages - and having to turn the page from page 9 to page 10 - extends the timing, and suspends the resolution in the caption box.

There was even more editorial tampering in these two editions. Here's a scan of the first page from the original presentation in Action Comics #411:

The reprint in Supergirl Comic #5 replaces the classic "Superman" masthead with what appears to be a homegrown facsimile:

The subsequent reprint in Supergirl #1 takes this a step further by adding the "Supergirl" masthead, contriving a fully-fledged team-up story: 

Not what one might call a Federal crime (sic), but hey - if we didn't obsess over this minutiae, we wouldn't be here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Love 1971: A Super DC Giant KGM-style!

 Love 1971 is based on Super DC Giant #S-21:

Love 1971 reprints the cover and main contents of Super DC Giant #S-21.

It does not include the Love, Tina letters page. However it does include three one-page instalments of the Mad Mad Modes for Moderns feature. This is a feature which appeared in a number of DC romance comics between 1967 and 1970, and was used as filler in various other K.G. Murray issues. Here's a sample Batman-inspired sample as printed in Love 1971:

The Beauty Bar is another one-page feature, in this instance titled Do's About Hairdo's..., which hails from Girl's Romances #153

Other instalments in this series have been referenced in passing previously on the blog here and here. There are possibly more issues in this annual series, maybe appearing as Planet Series issues.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Newton Spectacular and the Free King Size Super Hero Poster

When I first came across this Newton Spectacular some ten years ago I thought it was another in a substantial line of crudely-coloured Newton montage covers with a random mess of Marvel reprints within.

Of course, the cover is not a Newton contrivance, but is in fact a reprint of the cover to Silver Surfer #10:

Sure, I should have known better, but I wasn't a Silver Surfer reader as a kid, and as familiar as I am with the covers of some classic Silver Surfer covers through osmosis, this one did not register with my spider sense. And frankly, from my vantage point, the figure in the hat and trenchcoat looked to me more like Rorschach from Watchmen than a disguised Silver Surfer - especially in the purple. 

Anyway, my copy is better than yours. Why? Because my copy comes with this poster:

Now, as you can see from the folds, this is not a regular Newton poster.

The first phase of Newton Comics included posters and cards stapled into the comics, and the covers advertised the Free Super Color Poster. Then things started to go off the rails a bit. Posters may have been advertised but not included; posters may have been included but were in black and white; or posters may have been offered, but you had to send away for them.

This is an oversized poster, folded and loose in the centre of the comic. The issue has all pages intact, the centre pages being 2xletters pages, and 2xBay City Rollers ads. However, the cover does promote a Free King Size Super Hero Poster - and sure enough, here it is!

And in case you missed it, there's an advertisement on page 16 for the same issue (!) which also mentions the "super colour poster with every copy":

I have not seen another one of these, or a similar one in any other Newton comic, nor do I recall seeing them when I was a kid. It stands to reason that loose posters would be much more likely to go awol than the stapled posters, which are missing often enough as it is. 

And as for the random contents, check out the details on

Friday, October 27, 2017

Two-Gun Kid: The complete Yaffa cover gallery

Here's a cover gallery of my complete collection of the Yaffa Two-Gun Kid series:

 #1, 1978

 #2, 1979

 #3, c. January 1980 

 #4, 1980

 #5, c. April 1981

 #6, c. June 1981

 #7, c. November 1981

 #8, c. February 1982

#9, c. May 1982

#NN, post mid-1982

The first two issues and #9 are full-size issues, and the rest are digest-sized issues. #'s 7 and 8 are 'tall' editions.

#9 is a reprint of #1, and completes the series proper.

The #NN digest-size issue is a reprint of #4, and is included here as part of the collection as it is titled Two-Gun Kid, but this issue belongs in the post-licence phase of Yaffa digest reprints which comprised in large part of retitled reprints, which included at least one confirmed Two-Gun Kid reprint (#3 as the Masked Gunslinger #NN), and I suspect at least one more. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Recycled Chatto covers: Nightmare Suspense Library #'s 8 and 9

In a recent post on consecutive issues of Yaffa's Mystery Suspense Library I mentioned that it was irregular to find a recycled cover for fresh interior content. In that instance, the new story beneath the recycled Chatto cover was Black, the Blood Of Evil. This story had in fact been published before by Yaffa in Nightmare Suspense Library #8:

This is an issue I'd previously referenced briefly, unaware at the time that the cover was recycled for the next issue in the series, Nightmare Suspense Library #9:

As per the recycling in the Mystery Suspense Library issues, the content of this issue is different to Nightmare Suspense Library #8 - the story is titled The Edge of Fear.

Now, not only had The Edge of Fear previously appeared in Yaffa's Horror Suspense Library #1, but it was subsequently published in Nightmare Suspense Library #11:

And, in this instance, the cover art was sourced from an interior panel:

In my earlier post on the recycled Chatto cover I mused rather humorously that Chatto may have been somewhat mischievous in reproducing a previous image. The incidence of recycled cover art on $0.40 cover price Yaffa digests - and, in the case of Nightmare Suspense Library #11 above, resorting to reprinting interior art - has me thinking that something happened in the Yaffa office around this time, related to either licensing, or to hiring of artists, or both. The regular recycling of the contents is not surprising, having been a longstanding strategy by Yaffa, but the recycling of covers has an altogether different whiff about it.

I also note that the stories in Nightmare Suspense Library #'s 8 and 9 are secret service/spy stories, not supernatural/horror stories as both the series title and cover images suggest. Again, some loosening of the editorial reins is evident.

My collection of digests from this mid-1970's era is not extensive enough to draw too many firm conclusions but as my collection grows I expect this is something which will become much clearer. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Human Torch #5: The Yaffa edition

Some time ago I mentioned that I had a Yaffa The Human Torch #5 listed in my database, but could not confirm whether it was a legitimate entry or an erroneous reference to an unnumbered reprint of the first issue in the series.

Well, here it is:

I found this the old fashioned way - browsing through a secondhand collectibles shop, which I didn't even know existed, just a few kilometres from home. Talk about lucky!

As I mused in my previous entry on this series, there is not a lot of material left to cover more issues in a title like this. This issue contains three Human Torch stories from the last couple of issues of the U.S series from 1975, and is padded with an Omega the Unknown story from 1977. So, I'm guessing there aren't any more issues in this series, but if there are, no doubt they will be recycled reprints of previous issues. 

And I'm once again deeming this series in my collection complete!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Giant-Man Doctor Strange 100 Page Mammoth Marvel Masterpiece: Anatomy of a Newton cover

Newton published a number of comics with covers produced in-house, especially in their second phase of one-off titles. Typically these covers were collages of images cobbled from interior images, although there were exceptions whereby the images were culled from other sources

Giant-Man Doctor Strange 100 Page Mammoth Marvel Masterpiece reprints a number of Giant-Man and Doctor Strange features, but oddly enough does not feature Doctor Strange on the cover:

The various images are sourced from interior contents as per below:

The other thing that stands out on these in-house collages is the colouring. You'd swear they were done with textas! Utterly charming, of course - nowhere near as stomach churning as their bone fide printing errors.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Invaders: The complete Yaffa cover gallery

Here's a cover gallery of my collection of Yaffa/Page Publications' The Invaders:

 #1, c. November 1977

 #2, c. January 1978

 #3, 1979 

 #4, c. August 1980

 #5, c. March 1981

 #6, mid/late 1981

#NN, c. May 1982

The first four issues are regular/magazine-sized editions, and the last three are digest-sized editions.

I believe this is the complete run of this series. However, I am mindful that the digest-sized issues #'s 5 and 6 are 'short' editions, and a series such as this, with many more issues ostensibly in the can to be published, generally had one or two 'long' digest editions published before the recycling began. So, like my Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man cover gallery, I'll call it complete until another issue turns up.

The dates noted above are approximations based on my information to hand. I have a mental asterisk next to a couple of them pending future evidence that will hopefully be forthcoming.

Update: I can confirm there is a 7th issue in this series.

Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #10: The Yaffa edition

Sometimes I love it when I'm wrong...

A few months ago I presented a cover gallery of my complete collection of Yaffa's Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man. I didn't know at the time that my collection was incomplete - there is in fact a 10th issue in the series:

This issue is quite scarce. I certainly had not come across a copy until I secured this copy for myself. I checked with a few other collectors, none of whom could recall having seen a copy before, and there is no reference to it on AusReprints either.

Scarcity aside, I should have guessed it might exist, as according to my own profile of Yaffa Marvel editions, long-running series tended to include a couple of 'tall digest' issues with new content before the reissues started.

Hmmm... I wonder whether there was an unnumbered $1.10 cover price magazine-size reprint of the the first issue following #10...?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Origins of Great Marvel Comic Heroes: The pukey Newton edition

Longtime readers of this fair blog may recall my perverse appreciation for printing errors on Murray Comics and Newton Comics - samples for the cause include Bumper Western Comic #1, Superman Supacomic #87 and Captain America Giant 100 Page Annual.

Well, feast your eyes on this ripper variant of Newton Comics' Origins of Great Marvel Comic Heroes:

Perfectly pukey, right? Well, if you feel the bile rising maybe the proper edition can serve as mouthwash:

This cover image is taken from an interior page in Fantastic Four Annual #6:

As you can see both linework/inking and colour modifications are evident on the repurposed image. No doubt the purists amongst you will choke on your secondary bile at the heresy of such modifications.

But not me. I reckon the existence of the blue stinker kinda compensates for the initial crime against Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott. 

Interestingly both versions of this Newton comic were widely distributed at the time and can still be found, unlike the Captain America Annual which, as far as I am aware, was only ever issued in its pukey glory.