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 Publications a few years later, with a new Chatto cover, as Second World War Library #33:

This issue is indexed on AusReprints.

Update 19/6/2018: This issue was published earlier than the above editions by Page Publications, again under a Chatto cover, as Wartime Library #5:

Update 7/11/2019: Here's yet another couple of issues with the same contents, naturally with Chatto covers:

War Stories #2 

War Battle Series #39 

The cover to War Stories #2 is interesting as the cover promotes the second story in the issue, Blockade! (with exclamation mark added). I expect there is at least one more edition of this issue to be unearthed with a $0.20 cover price. 

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.

Update: Sky Devils Die Hard was indeed subsequently recycled by Page Publications  - in Air Warfare Picture Library #2:

In this instance, the cover art is sourced from interior art:

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.

See Update:

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:

It was also on the cover of Newton's Captain America #3:

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.

Update: Having secured a copy I can confirm this is a 'short' digest edition.

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.