Friday, December 28, 2018

The Amazing Spider-Man #4: The Newton edition

Newton Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man #4 was published 19 July 1975:

The cover originally appeared on Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man #4:

The story contents are as follows:

Nothing Can Stop... The Sandman!, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #4, September 1963

Marked for Destruction by Dr. Doom!, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #5, October 1963

Only the first 13 pages Marked for Destruction by Dr.Doom! are included in this issue. Readers are urged not to miss the next issue:

The Amazing Spider-Man #3 had things back on track but the trajectory was suspended with this issue. The Thor backup feature was suddenly awol and would not be restored until The Amazing Spider-Man #6.

The poster in this issue is Conan the Barbarian vs, the Grim Grey God!, an image originally published on the cover of Conan the Barbarian #3:

Naturally it's coloured in Newtonese… The poster advertises the forthcoming Conan the Barbarian series, and this image would adorn the cover of Newton's Conan the Barbarian #3 in fresh Newtonese tones.

This issue includes in-house advertisments for The Avengers #2, The Incredible Hulk #2, The Fantastic Four #2, and Dracula #1, which is also added to the roster on the subscription page.

The Spiderman (sic) Suit contest expires 4 August 1975.I have nothing more to say about this specimen than I did 10 years ago, other than I still haven't seen one and would like to.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Marvel Collection #5

The Marvel Collection #5 is a softcover squarebound volume of rebound Marvel UK comics. 

My copy contains the following issues in the following sequence:

Star Wars Weekly #8, 29 March 1978
Star Wars Weekly #9, 5 April 1978
Star Wars Weekly #11, 19 April 1978
Star Wars Weekly #12, 26 April 1978
Super Spider-Man #268, 29 March 1978
Super Spider-Man #269, 5 April 1978
Super Spider-Man #270, 12 April 1978
Super Spider-Man #271, 19 April 1978

The issues are rebound with covers intact.

As we know about such volumes of rebound comics the contents vary in each issue. It's interesting that the two series included in this copy are not only neatly segmented and sequenced in order of publication, but they all hail from a one month period. This suggests the issues were purposefully sequenced, and that a similar volume was produced for the next month. 

That's just guesswork on my part. There is very little information about this series online. It is not listed on the GCD, and I have found two scant entries with minimal information - makes reference to the first three numbered volumes in the series, and Comic Vine lists the fourth volume.

I don't recall when or how this issue turned up in the junkyard but I'm glad it did. Longtime readers of this blog will be well aware of my fondness for such anthologies. Longtime readers of this blog will also have rather quickly diagnosed a new collecting obsession. From little things...

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Amazing Spider-Man #3: The Newton edition

Newton Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man #3 was published 5 July 1975:

The cover is modified from Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man #3:

The story contents are as follows:

Spider-Man Versus Doctor Octopus, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #3, July 1963

Trapped by the Carbon-Copy Man!, originally published in Journey Into Mystery #90, March 1963

If The Amazing Spider-Man #2 sent the series off the rails, this issue put things back on track. The template set in the previous issue - a Spider-Man lead feature with a Thor back-up story - was ratified in this issue, and the third issue in the series once again aligned with the cover and main feature of the third Marvel issue to reprint vintage comics. 

There is little to complain about in this issue in terms of fidelity to the source material. In fact, if anything, this issue overcompensates in this regard. The job code X-219 is omitted from the splash page to Spider-Man Versus Doctor Octopus, but that pales into insignificance given the original print of this story contains an embarrassing error: on page 8 Doctor Octopus refers to Spider-Man as Super-Man! This was corrected in subsequent reprintings but is intact in this edition:

Further, the Thor story Trapped by the Carbon-Copy Man! is a 13-page story but is presented as a 14-page feature in this issue courtesy of an introductory page:

This is a print of the front cover to Journey Into Mystery #90 without the Marvel logo and related bits, as per the Thor reprint in the previous issue.

The poster in this issue is an edited image from the cover of The Invincible Iron Man #76, July 1975 - an issue on the stands just months earlier.

This issue also carried in-house advertisements for The Avengers #1, The Fantastic Four #1 and The Incredible Hulk #2, and a subscription page for the five series available at the time. There was no letter column, and the contest on the rear cover did not contain an expiry date.

The Amazing Spider-Man #3 was advertised in the Sunday Observer 6 July 1975:

It was also advertised the following week 13 July 1975:

It was also the beneficiary of in-house advertising:

This is scanned from The Incredible Hulk #2.

This issue set the series on track in another sense: it was now a fully fledged fortnightly publication.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Avengers #1: The Newton edition

Newton Comics' The Avengers #1 was published 28 June 1975:

The cover image originally appeared on The Avengers #1. There is some recolouring evident, and possibly some minor linework extension along the borders.

The story contents are as follows:

The Coming of The Avengers!, originally published in The Avengers #1, September 1963

The Origin of Dr. Strange, originally published in Strange Tales #115, December 1963

Dr. Strange Master of Black Magic!, originally published in Strange Tales #110, July 1963

Comparing the reprints in this issue to the original stories (as they appear in my Marvel Masterworks volumes) this edition does not suffer excessively from Newton's predisposition towards culling and reformatting pages. The most notable editing occurs on the splash page to The Origin of Dr. Strange:

This is the same page in Marvel Masterworks Vol. 23:

The text box in the original issue refers to the origin story being told after a few Dr Strange stories had already been published. This is redundant in the Newton edition as this is the first Dr. Strange story they published in their new comic books (the character previously appeared in the Sunday Observer comics supplement) - so Newton filled the text box with a redundant sub title.

There is also some partial cropping at the bottom of the splash page to The Coming of The Avengers! in order to print the indicia:

This page is reprinted in full in Newton's Origins of Great Marvel Comic Heroes:

Apart from this there are minor slippages in which the original page numbers escape erasure.

The poster in this issue is The Thing:

This issue was advertised in-house:

This advertisement is scanned from The Incredible Hulk #2.

On 29 June 1975 a full page advertisement for the issue appeared in the Sunday Observer: 

As per the advertisement for The Incredible Hulk #1 a week earlier, the cover to the first issue appears beneath a larger image referencing the modern incarnation of the team. This is a composite image which originally appeared in a Marvel calendar for April 1975:

Forensically, The Vision is from the cover of The Avengers #57; Iron Man is from the cover of The Avengers #58; and Captain America is from the cover of Captain America #154. 

The Scarlet Witch is image is an interesting case. I haven't identified this image in a comic book, but the image was used on a card in a board game in 1978:

The same set of cards employed the image of The Vision as per the calendar:

The Scarlet Witch appears to be a stock promotional image for merchandising purposes so it likely appeared on a number of products, but was certainly in circulation from as early as 1975.

The Thor source eludes me for the moment. The consensus amongst my operatives is that it is a John Buscema illustration. TBC.

Kudos to Neil Hansen for providing a scan of the calendar and identifying it as the source for the advertisement. Special mention to Mark Muller for identifying the Scarlet Witch image and providing scans. Mark's sleepless night scratching that itch until it bled was all for a worthy cause. And thanks to Mark Cannon for pitching in on our collective enterprise to identify the components of the composite,  which engaged us for much of the day yesterday and was loads of fun. 

A Love So Lonely - Chatto style

Page Publications' Unforgettable Love Stories #11 is a digest-sized romance comic featuring cover art by Keith Chatto:

The story in this issue is A Love So Lonely. This story originally appeared in Famepress' Juliette Picture Library #3:

In between Juliette Picture Library #3 and Unforgettable Love Stories #11 Page Publications published at least 3 editions of this story, each with a new Chatto cover:

Love and Romance Library #267

Romance Experiences Library #2

Lovers World Library #9

Lovers World Library #9 was reissued after Unforgettable Love Stories #11 as Lovers World Library #12:

There may be more Page Publications editions of this story. Note that none of the covers above are swipes of the original Famepress edition. It's probably too bland for Chatto to get his hands dirty but he may have swiped it after all. TBC.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Exciting Confessions #6: South Sea Love

Page Publications' Exciting Confessions #6 is a digest-sized romance comic with a cover illustration by Keith Chatto.

The story in this issue is titled South Sea Love. It was previously published in the UK by Sabre in Sabre Romantic Picture Library #1. A story with the same title and page count was published earlier by MV Features in Dream A Romantic Picture Story #15.

It was also published by Page Publications under a different Chatto cover in Romance and Confessions Library #85:

There are likely other Page Publications editions of this story.

Revealing Confession Stories #2

Revealing Confession Stories #2 is a digest-sized romance comic published by Page Publications with a cover illustration by Keith Chatto.

The story in this issue is titled No Other Love. It  was previously published by Page Publications in Personal Romances #5. It was also published in Love Illustrated Stories #50.

I haven't identified the original printing of this story - the pages do not provide an abbreviation of the source title and issue number - but curiously, the page numbers from the original issue appear on the top right hand corner of the pages rather than on the regulation bottom right hand corner. the job number is 3705, and it appears to be from a UK comic published in the early/mid 1960's.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Incredible Hulk #1: The Newton edition

Newton Comics' The Incredible Hulk #1 was published 21 June 1975:

The cover image originally appeared on the cover of The Incredible Hulk #1, May 1962.

This issue was advertised in the Sunday Observer 22 June 1975:

The advertisement includes the front cover of the new title but is overshadowed by the image which would shortly adorn the cover of The Incredible Hulk #2.

A pre-production image of the front cover was published in The Amazing Spider-Man #2:

The Captain America support feature title is missing from this version of the cover. Captain America was advertised in the poster in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 as appearing "soon" in Newton Comics. He would debut for Newton in this issue and continue in the support slot sporadically until being promoted to his own title in December 1975.

The story contents are as follows:

[--This World Not His Own!] Origin How a Man Became The Hulk!, originally published in The Incredible Hulk #102, April 1968 

A Titan Rides the Train!, originally published in Tales to Astonish #63, January 1965 

The Horde of Humanoids!, originally published in Tales to Astonish #64, February 1965 

The Hero That Was!, originally published in Captain America #109, January 1969 

Origin How a Man Became The Hulk! is a 2-page feature:

These two pages originally appeared in --This World Not His Own!, the lead story in The Incredible Hulk #102, the first issue in the relaunched self-titled series. The story itself continues from Tales to Astonish #101, and embedded in the story is the origin of The Hulk as told by Oldar the Oracle. Here's a photo of a two-page spread of the two pages above as they appear in Essential Hulk #2:

As you can see they have been modified in the Newton printing. The Newton print has a new title, and the verse narration in the first caption has been replaced by contextual scene setting relevant to the origin. The title and script appear to be written by Newton staff - probably John Corneille. The bottom tier of panels has been cropped. Concluding text is inserted in the final panel on the second page. This is cribbed from the end Oldar the Oracle's narration in The incredible Hulk #102. Here's a photo of the panel in question as it appears in Essential Hulk #2:

Having dealt with the origin, the issue then presents two Hulk features which originally appeared in consecutive issues of Tales to Astonish. The Horde of the Humanoids! is a 10-page story reprinted as an 8-page story in this edition. The 7th and 8th pages are omitted.

As per the Hulk introduction, a Captain America origin story is presented after a fair bit of surgery. The origin of Captain America is told in a flashback sequence in The Hero That Was! The original story in Captain America #109 is 20 pages and is presented as a 16-page story in this edition. The culling begins with a cut and paste of the art on the fifth page. This is a scan of the fifth page as it appears in the Newton edition:

This is the same page as scanned from another Australian reprint, Page Publications' Captain America #4:

The bottom panel has been replaced in the Newton edition by a reprint of a portion of the cover to Captain America #109, along with text in Marvelese, in order to introduce the origin component of the story without any of the linking passages to the flashback sequence. The bottom panel of the fifth page and the whole of the sixth and seventh pages are omitted in the Newton edition. 

The last two pages of the story are also omitted. Here's a scan of the last page of the Newton edition: 

Newtonese concludes the story and also advertises the next Captain America story as appearing in the next issue of The Incredible Hulk. It doesn't.

Both The Hulk and Captain America origin stories presented in this issue were reused with variances in Newton's Origins of Great Marvel Comic Heroes, an issue which warrants its own detailed indexing.

The poster in this issue is titled The Amazing Spider-Man and The Human Torch:

This image is adapted from the splash page to Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas! as published in Newton's The Amazing Spider-Man #2:

The contest in this issue is as per The Amazing Spider-Man #2 and renamed Hulk's Identity Contest, with the same expiry date. 

Thanks to Mark Muller for identifying the source of the Hulk origin story and providing photos from his Essential Hulk #2, and to Mark Cannon for following up some leads for this entry.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Badman Western Library #1: 1950's Marvel reprints

Badman Western Library #1 is a digest-sized western comic published by Page Publications c.January 1971 and features a Keith Chatto cover. 

It contains a variety of western features, mostly from 1950's Marvel comics, with work by artists such as Joe Maneely, Joe Sinnott, Dick Ayers, Gene Colan, Matt Baker and Bob Powell - perfect!

This issue was reprinted by Page Publications c.August 1972 under a new Chatto cover as Maverick Western Library #3. 

It was also recycled a few years later as Maverick Western Library #8:

Secret Hearts: The Murray Romance Library

Secret Hearts is an interesting entry into the Murray Romance Library catalogue. 

Secret Hearts was a long running DC series which provided material for many KG Murray romance issues, but to my knowledge was not itself a Murray title. The DC series ended in 1971 but in 1980 the title and masthead was adapted for this unnumbered one-shot issue.

The cover originally appeared on Secret Hearts #139. According to the GCD entry the cover does not match any story in the issue, and indeed, non of the stories in that issue appear in Murray's Secret Hearts. 

However, the cover does match the lead story in Secret Hearts. Sister, Don't Steal My Man! was originally published in Young Romance #183, and quite closely the theme and plot of the cover. Note that speech balloons with references to "my best friend" have been omitted as the story concerned involves a sister.

I'm not sure why Murray was compelled to contrive a cover image for this story - I assume they reprinted both cover and story from Young Romance #183 before and I just haven't spotted it yet - but I do like the sense of an editorial hand being familiar enough with the material being published to go to the trouble of matching a cover with the contents.

This issue appears to have been published around the time the Murray Romance Library imprint was launched c. February 1980. 

The Amazing Spider-Man #2: The Newton edition

Newton Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man #2 was published 28 June 1975:

The cover originally appeared on Marvel Team-Up #1, March 1972:

The story contents are as follows:

Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas!, originally published in Marvel Team-Up #1, March 1972

Trapped by Loki, the God of Mischief!, originally published in Journey into Mystery #85, October 1962

Part 2: The Vengeance of Loki!, originally published in Journey into Mystery #85, October 1962

If fidelity to the continuity and sequencing of the US issues was compromised in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 it was off the rails by the second issue. Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas was originally published just a few years earlier in the inaugural issue of the Spider-Man team-up series, and bore no relevance to the previous Newton issue. One wonders what compelled Newton to issue this material as the second instalment. It may have been a flow on effect from whatever necessitated the inclusion of two stories in The Amazing Spider-Man #2 in Newton's The Amazing Spider-Man #1. The series would quickly revert to the classic Lee and Ditko era for the duration (apart from a short suspension in The Amazing Spider-Man #'s 8 and 9). It appears unforeseen production delays were a factor.

One possibility is that this was earmarked as the first issue of an ongoing Marvel Team-Up series. On page 5 we can clearly see Team-Up 1 marked in the border:

This suggests the art was provided to Newton with an indication of where the material stood in the scheme of things. Whatever the reason, the publication of this story in this issue is anomalous.

Despite the problems encountered with the 44-page format, which resulted in the unfortunate but necessary omission of pages from stories, The Amazing Spider-Man #1 set up the appealing prospect of three vintage stories reprinted per issue. This expectation was reset with this issue as the new format of two stories per issue was introduced - the lead feature would be a Spider-Man story, and the The Mighty Thor would be the backup feature. 

Rather than beginning with Thor's debut appearance in Journey into Mystery #83, the Newton instalments begin with the complete 13-page 2 part story originally published in Journey into Mystery #85. The instalment begins with a reprint of the cover to the issue, sans the cover price, issue number and CCA stamp:

The new format was set and would remain intact for much of the run. However, the Thor backup series would suffer a rather schizophrenic non-sequential series of instalments. 

The poster in this issue was a recoloured Dr. Strange cover of Marvel Premiere #8, May 1973:

This issue included the "personal message from Stan Lee" which appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #1, and the first letter column for the series entitled The Spider's Web. Half of this page was taken up by Stan Lee's Soapbox, but future issues would regularly carry a two-page editorial/letter column. There were also in-house advertisements for Planet of the Apes #1, The Incredible Hulk #1 and the pre-production version of The Fantastic Four #1.

The contest on the rear cover offered a SHARP cassette recorder:

"Spiderman's Relative Contest" expired on 21 July 1975. The hyphen was still optional.

It appears that the publication of The Amazing Spider-Man #2 was delayed. It was advertised in The Incredible Hulk #1:

The Incredible Hulk #1 was published 21 June 1975. The advertisement above is a pre-production image. If you look closely you will see it is numbered 1, not 2. 

The correctly numbered cover was advertised a week later in The Avengers #1, published 28 June 1975:

The corrected cover was also visible in an advertisement the next day in the Sunday Observer:

The Amazing Spider-Man series was advertised in the Sunday Observer on 22 June 1975 - the day after The Incredible Hulk #1 was published - but this ad carried the cover to The Amazing Spider-Man #1:

The other detail relevant to the publication date is the contest expiry date. The contest in this issue expires 3 weeks after the expiry date of the contest in The Amazing Spider-Man #1. This plots the release date of this issue to 21 June 1975, as per The Incredible Hulk #1. 

Consider also that Planet of the Apes was published 28 June 1975. It makes sense that this issue would appear a week after The Amazing Spider-Man #2, given there was a week separating the first issues of the respective series. 

It appears to me that The Amazing Spider-Man #2 was scheduled for publication 21 June, and may indeed have appeared on this day, but was likely delayed a week to 28 June. Either way, The Amazing Spider-Man #2 did not appear a fortnight after The Amazing Spider-Man #1.