Saturday, June 17, 2017

War in the Army #4: Atlas/Marvel war comics

Page Publications' War in the Army #4 is a digest-sized war comic reprinting a number of 1950's Marvel war comics with art by the likes of Gene Colan, Joe Orlando, Joe Sinnott and Jerry Robinson, and a cover by Keith Chatto.

It was recycled by Page a few years later, with a new Chatto cover, as Second World War Library #33:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Air Warfare Picture Library #1: Another Chatto swipe from MV Features

Air Warfare Picture Library #1 is a digest-sized war comic published by Page Publications late 1974.

It reprints the story Sky Devils Die Hard which originally appeared in the M.V. Features issue Action War Picture Library #13, 1966. The cover to the Page Publications is illustrated by Keith Chatto, and is based on the original cover to Action War Picture Library #13:

Such recreations of M.V. Features editions by Chatto are not uncommon in the Page Publications editions. It will be interesting to see if subsequent reprintings of this issue by Page pay homage to this image, or whether they appropriate an image from the interior art, say the splash page or some other key image.

For an example of this pattern, see Chatto's version of the cover to M.V. Features' Action War Picture Library #2 for Page Publications' War in the Desert #1, and the cover for the subsequent reprinting by Page for War Adventure Series #11. See also the cover to War at Sea #1, based on Action War Picture Library #24, reprinted with a new cover in Navy Battle Library #2 - the latter doesn't appear to have a signature, but to my eye, the waves are similar enough to other such illustrations to attribute it to Chatto.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Captain America #1: The Newton edition

Yaffa advertised the Captain America story The Sleeper Strikes from Captain America #102 on the cover of their Captain America #5 issue in 1980.

A few years earlier Newton Comics published this story as the cover feature of their Historic First Edition of Captain America #1:

This issue also includes the first 5 pages of The Origin Of Captain America from Tales Of Suspense #63. As the GCD entry advises, this version of the origin is identifiable by the renaming of Professor Reinstein from the original version to Dr Erskine.

I expect the remaining 5 pages were reprinted in the next issue, but I don't have a copy to check, and honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if it just went AWOL. Just as it doesn't surprise me that the first Captain America issue by Newton begins with a reprint of Captain America #102 rather than #100. In fact, I don't recall seeing The Monster Unmasked in a Newton edition, but it may be lurking somewhere. I do know that When Wakes the Sleeper from Captain America #101 appeared in segments as a backup feature in Newton's The  Incredible Hulk #'s 9-11, which I suppose justifies a Captain America #1 being based on Captain America #102.

But I digress. It's curious to see The Origin Of Captain America reprinted in this issue. The only contemporaneous U.S printing of this story that I can find is from Giant-Size Captain America #1 from 1975, so presumably this is the source. If I find the other stories in this issue are also reprinted by Newton, that will settle that question.

My copy is missing the poster but I understand from the listing on AusReprints that it was of Dracula #7.

Oh, and to supplement the Captain America iron-on transfer re: Captain America #100, here's the advertisement on the rear cover of this issue:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Marvel's Greatest Comics #1: The Yaffa edition

Seek, and ye shall find...

This is a composite image from two separate sources.

The Doctor Strange portion of the image originally appeared on the cover of Doctor Strange #3, and was reproduced in black and white in Yaffa's Doctor Strange #1:

It also appeared earlier in Australia on the cover of Newton Comics' Doctor Strange #2:

The Hulk segment originally appeared in The Incredible Hulk #3 as a splash page (or part thereof):

This scan is from the first page of my Fireside softcover edition of The Incredible Hulk. I expect that similarly to the Doctor Strange splash page above, it was reproduced in black and white in Yaffa's The Incredible Hulk #1, but I don't have a copy to check.

I don't have a copy of either of the first two issues of Marvel's Greatest Comics! to check whether these two stories are also reproduced within. They may be, but I don't really expect to find that they are.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Captain America #100: The Yaffa editions

The iconic cover to Captain America #100 was reproduced, with slight modifications - and a major change to the background colour - by Yaffa for the first issue of their Captain America series:

By my reckoning this was published in December 1977, and reprints the main features from Captain America #'s 100-102 (minus the splash page from Captain America #100).

This issue was reprinted in digest form as Captain America #5:

The cover for this issue was modified to advertise the third story in the issue, The Sleeper Strikes!, in lieu of the Big Premiere Issue! stamp. Such a modification was highly irregular for recycled Yaffa issues but I guess in this instance the motivation is self-evident. I date this issue to December 1980.

It was reprinted again as an unnumbered $0.75 digest-sized issue, with the Big Premiere Issue! boast intact:

This issue would have been published some time after mid-1982.

This cover was reprinted at least one other time by Yaffa, before the $0.75 issue above, as Marvel Super Action #1:

However, in this instance it is not a reprint of Captain America #100, but rather a reprint of Marvel Super Action #1 itself. I say this because the listing for this issue on includes a scan of the splash page to the first story which, as I mentioned above, is missing from the Captain America reprints. This edition also includes some cover reprinting, so it is clearly from a different source to the other Yaffa editions.

I'm not aware of any other Yaffa reprints of this issue, but some if not all of these stories were published in other Australian reprint editions such as Newton's Captain America series.

Of course, readers of a certain vintage are familiar with this image in the context of Newton Comics courtesy of the free iron-on transfers which adorned the rear cover of a number of their issues:

As I said: Iconic!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Yaffa/Page Publications' The Incredible Hulk #3

Yaffa/Page Publications' The Incredible Hulk #3 reprints the first three issues of The Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #'s 102-104.

This is a regular/magazine-sized edition published in 1978 with a $0.60 cover price.

The front cover is a recoloured reprint of The Incredible Hulk #104, and the rear cover reprints the cover to The Incredible Hulk #102.

The Incredible Hulk #10: An anomalous/transitional Yaffa Marvel edition

A few weeks ago I attempted to profile the Yaffa/Page Publications Marvel editions. The aim was to provide a guide to dating the issues based on the changing formats and cover prices. In doing so I also outlined some of the problems encountered and provided examples of anomalies to my schema.

One of the significant patterns to emerge was that the $0.75 cover price digest issues were all recycled editions of previously published Yaffa editions. These were unnumbered issues and were often retitled

I have come across just one issue which bucks this trend:

The Incredible Hulk #10 has a $0.75 cover price. It is a reprint of The Incredible Hulk #6. I don't have a copy myself but it does appear to be digest-sized, not regular/magazine-sized.

Generally Yaffa ended their series with a numbered regular/magazine-sized reprint of the first issue in the series. So this issue is anomalous for being digest-sized and $0.75, and for recycling a mid-term issue rather than a first or early issue to formally end the series.

As I say, I don't have a copy to check, but I'm pretty sure this was published early/mid-1982, probably April/May 1982, and may in fact be the first of the $0.75 digests -  a transitional issue before the fully-fledged unnumbered/retitled format was settled upon for the final stage. And I don't think there was a regular/magazine-sized #11/$1.10 issue reprinting #1. All supposition on my part - TBC.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Chamber of Chills #4: Mopping up leftovers

We know that Page Publications did their best to present their reprints in an orderly fashion - consecutively numbered issues reprinting three U.S issues in order between their covers, and in some cases numbering their series as per their U.S counterparts. But sometimes things got out of whack and a bit of mopping up was required.

For example, Chamber of Chills #4:

Given the pattern established in the preceding three issues this would be expected to contain reprints of Chamber of Chills #'s 10, 11 and 12. It does indeed begin with the covers and contents of Chamber of Chills #'s 10 and 11 - front cover honours to #10, and a black and white reprint of #11 on the inside rear cover - and the fact that the short stories contained herein are published in a different order to the U.S issues is but a trifling.

However, instead of continuing with a reprint of Chamber of Chills #12, this issue ties things up by reprinting two stories which  missed the cut in previous issues: Jerry's New Job was dropped from Chamber of Chills #3, and Haunt and Run! is missing from Chamber of Chills #2.

Murray and Yaffa would often need to come up with creative ways of accommodating the restrictions of their page count, say by reducing the size of the page or removing a splash page, printing pages sideways, or printing on the inside and back covers. I suppose the short stories in these issues removed the pressure of tampering with the artwork so they could offer complete stories which accorded with their page count.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Doomsday Album #14 and Guilty as Charged: Cross pollination between Murray and Gredown

I still don't know the origins of this image, but it does appear in modified form on the cover of the Gredown magazine Guilty as Charged:

The Guilty as Charged image is courtesy of AusReprints. I came across it while I was searching for something else. All credit to James for establishing the connection first, but I did discover it independently too, so I'm patting myself on the back regardless.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Federal Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man #10

Federal Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man series differs from the other Federal Marvel series in two notable ways. Firstly, it doesn't have a bone fide #1 in the series, as it begins with Marvel Tales #1;, and secondly, the colour issues in the series begin much earlier than other series.

The Amazing Spider-Man was a 64-page, black and white bimonthly series as per the other Federal Marvel series, but beginning with #5 in February 1985 it converted to a 32-page "All Color" (sic)series. All the other Federal Marvel series converted to colour issues towards the end of 1985, typically for one or two issues (there are exceptions) before reverting to 64-page black and white editions with a cover price of $1.25. These colour issues had a glossy cover until #10 in December 1985. The final issue in the series was also a colour issue - this series did not revert to black and white.

To go back to #10 - I date this December 1985 based on the Funtastic Toy Offer advertisement on the rear cover.  My copy of #10 has 3 written on the cover. If these are bimonthly issues #10 would be dated January 1985, but I don't think this is the case - it's not plausible that the issue would be published after the expiry of the offer. It's possible - just very unlikely. But I'll be keeping an eye out for other copies of this issue for date markings. I also note that this early 1985 period has symptoms of some flux eg. format changes, so it's possible that issues were indeed published in a less orderly fashion than one was accustomed to from Federal.

The Amazing Spider-Man #9

I said above the black and white issues in 1985 were $1.25. This cover price was effective from The Amazing Spider-Man #9, which also has the Hanimax advertisement on the rear cover. I date this from October 1985, but it may be from September 1985. TBC.

Dating the Federal Marvel advertisements

Federal Comics published their Marvel editions over a two year period - May 1984 to April 1986, give or take a month at either end.

If you want to put a date to the Federal Marvels begin with the indicia dates which will give you the year. Newsagency markings will be two months previous to this date for bimonthly series such as The Mighty Thor. But of course, not all issues have such markings.

A very reliable alternate guide is the advertisements on the rear cover. The samples below also list the relevant issues of The Mighty Thor and Daredevil, as they are my representative complete series from 1984-1986:

Professor Teddy Woods ad, June-August 1984
(The Mighty Thor #1 and #2, Daredevil #1 and #2)

Culture Club Australian Tour Souvenir ad, October 1984
(The Mighty Thor #3, Daredevil #3)

Star Rockers ad, December 1984-April 1985
(The Mighty Thor #4, #5 and #6, Daredevil  #4, #5 and #6)

Battle of the Sounds ad, June 1985-August 1985
(The Mighty Thor #7 and #8, Daredevil #7 and #8)

Hanimax ad, October 1985-November 1985
(The Mighty Thor #9, Daredevil #9)

Funtastic Toy Offer ad, December 1985
(Daredevil #10)

Madonna ad, January 1986-April 1986
(The Mighty Thor #10 and #11, Daredevil #11)

Some of the advertisements - Battle of the Sounds, Hanimax, Funtastic Toy Offer - are especially informative as they include competition dates.

There are some gaps: September 1984; November 1984; May 1985; and September 1985. I could make a reasonable assumption on these, but I'd prefer to identify an issue with a date marking before claiming an ad date. I don't expect this will take too long as I go over my other Federal issues.

Dating Federal Comics' Daredevil series

Daredevil #10

The publication dates for Federal Comics' Daredevil series match up precisely with those for The Mighty Thor - until they point they veer off on their own trajectories late in the piece. And of course, the exceptions prove instructive.

Fewer of my Daredevil issues have newsagency dates than The Mighty Thor issues, but the ones that do have dates line up uniformly. Further, the advertisements on the back covers match up, and indeed, these advertisements provide a reliable guide to the publication dates of Federal Comics issues of the period in general.

Here's how they line up:
The Mighty Thor/Daredevil #'s 1-2: Professor Teddy Woods ad
The Mighty Thor/Daredevil #3: Culture Club Australian Tour Souvenir ad
The Mighty Thor/Daredevil #'s 4-6: Star Rockers ad
The Mighty Thor/Daredevil #'s 7-8: Battle of the Sounds ad
The Mighty Thor/Daredevil #9: Hanimax ad

To this point they line up perfectly.

The Mighty Thor #9 and Daredevil #9 are the first colour issues in their respective series. They also have glossy covers, unlike subsequent colour editions which have a matte finish. The advertisements on the inner covers also match. I have dated these as being published October 1985. The Hanimax competition closes 29 November 1985. I have also previously owned a copy of The Mighty Thor #9 which had 12 written on the cover, which corroborates this evidence.

Daredevil #10 is also a colour issue, and it has a Funtastic Toy Offer advertisement on the rear cover. The offer expires 31 December 1985. There is no corresponding colour The Mighty Thor #10, but as you can see on my The Mighty Thor gallery, I noted a delay in publication for this issue and some degree of disorganisation or confusion regarding the format. Daredevil #10 and the Funtastic Toy Offer advertisement fill this gap for December 1985.

Daredevil #11 is the final issue of the series and is also a colour issue. This issue has the Madonna advertisement on the rear cover, as does the delayed The Mighty Thor #10, and #11, the final issue. I expect this dates Daredevil #11 February 1986, but it may be January 1985.

In reviewing these two titles I have also briefly checked my almost complete runs of The Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, and they also line up accordingly (with one exception which I will detail in a future post).

I will also post samples of the Federal advertisements in a separate post shortly.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man: The complete Yaffa cover gallery

Here's a cover gallery of my complete run of Yaffa/Page Publications' Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man series, with notes following:

 #1, c. November 1977

 #2, c. May 1978

 #3, c. December 1978

 #4, 1979

 #5, c. June 1980

 #6, c. December 1980

 #7, c. May 1981

#8, c. June 1981

#9, c. November 1981

The first four issues are regular/magazine-sized issues, and the rest are 'short' digest-sized, apart from #9 which is a 'tall' digest-sized issue.

The dates are approximations based on available information.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Federal Comics' The Mighty Thor cover gallery

Here's a cover gallery of my complete run of Federal Comics' The Mighty Thor series, with notes following:

 #1, June 1984

 #2, August 1984

 #3, October 1984

 #4, December 1984

 #5, February 1985

 #6, April 1985

 #7, June 1985

 #8, August 1985

 #9, October 1985

 #10, January 1986

#11, March 1986

All issues are 64 pages (not including covers), except for #9 which is a full colour 32 page issue.

All indications are that these issues were published on a regular bi-monthly schedule. Six of my copies have newsagents' dates marked in pen or pencil, and the dates are corroborated on three of the issues by dates related to competitions on the rear covers. The exception is the one month delay after #9, which is the sole all-colour issue. Considering that The Amazing Spider-Man had seven colour issues in the 1985-1986 period, and that Federal's tenure ended early 1986, it would appear both the switch in format and the looming end of licence were factors in the delay.

The black and white editions carried three stories each, often modified eg. dropping the splash page, or reducing two pages to fit onto one.