Saturday, May 26, 2018

Federal Comics' Fantastic Four: The complete cover gallery

Here's a cover gallery of my recently completed run of Federal Comics' Fantastic Four:

 Fantastic Four #1, c.May 1984

 Fantastic Four #2/NN, c.July 1984

 Fantastic Four #3, c. September 1984

 Fantastic Four #4, c.December 1984

 Fantastic Four #5, c.January 1985

 Fantastic Four #6, c. May 1985

 Fantastic Four #7/NN, c.June 1985

 Fantastic Four #8, c.July 1985

 Fantastic Four #9, c.September 1985

 Fantastic Four #10, c.December 1985

Fantastic Four #11, c. February 1986

The dates are my best guesses with the data to hand. Many are certain, however there are a few issues which may be tweaked, but only by a month either way. 

Whilst the advertisements on the rear covers and inner front and rear covers tally almost completely with their Federal DC counterparts, I realised some time ago that the Federal Marvel issues contained tailormade letter columns in the last few issues of their respective series. I've started to identify, log and date them, but I still have quite a few issues to get through before I can finalise that exercise.

Seeking Land of No Tomorrow: Teenage Confessions #2 and Love and Romance Library #279

Page Publications' Teenage Confessions #2 features a cover illustration by Keith Chatto and, as per the cover blurb, the interior feature is titled Land of No Tomorrow.

This issue was recycled some time later under a new Chatto cover as Love and Romance Library #279:

The job code for the story is D19. This suggests that Land of No Tomorrow, as per other such Page Publications romance stories, was originally published by MV Features Ltd., in Dream A Romantic Picture Story #19 c.1965/66. Unfortunately I cannot verify this at the moment as there is no detail on the GCD site for this issue, but I expect to be able to do so in the fullness of time.

To continue the guesswork: I expect there is an earlier printing of the story by Page Publications given that the cover image to Teenage Confessions #2 doesn't reflect a scene from the story, which presumably means it doesn't reflect the original cover art for Dream A Romantic Picture Story #19, which means it's unlikely Chatto cribbed it for Teenage Age Confessions #2.

Further, I'm going to guess that the cover  for Dream A Romantic Picture Story #19 features a horse because horse riding is rather prominent in Land of No Tomorrow. Or it may just be another sombre grey-toned romance cover as per the majority of the incomplete cover art gallery for this series on the GCD.

Update 4/6/2019: Land of No Tomorrow was also published by Page Publications in Real Life Romances #48:

The cover is sourced from the last page:

Unfortunately my copy has a piece missing from the cover so the price is missing. However, given the cover is from the interior art, my guess is this is a $0.60 or $0.65 cover price edition.

That bloody Chatto: Bring it on!

Gunshot Western Library #1 was published by Page Publications c. December 1971.

This issue was recycled as Six Gun Western Library #3, presumably late 1972 (Six Gun Western Library #2 has a confirmed date c.July 1972):

Page Publications recycled the issue at least one more time, as Fighting Western Stories #33:

All three covers are illustrated by Keith Chatto.

I like how the cover images become progressively more violent. I suppose subsequent reprintings will feature brain-splattered corpses. One can only hope. His horror issues certainly knew the drill, even if the westerns lagged behind in this regard - consider the cover to Nightmare Suspense Library #3, a $0.20 cover-priced issue:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Mission by Moonlight: Four Page Publications editions

Mission by Moonlight was originally published in 1966 by MV Features Limited in Action War Picture Library #7:

It was reprinted by Page Publications c. December 1970 in War Adventure Series #2:

Page Publications recycled Mission by Moonlight at least three more times, in the following issues:

War Stories #1, c. February 1972

War Adventure Series #7

Second World War Picture Library #28

All the Page Publications issues feature cover art by Keith Chatto, and as we've come to expect, the first cover is a swipe of the original art on the MV Features issue.

There is probably at least one more edition to be unearthed.

One thing I don't think I have noted on the blog before regarding the MV Features issues is that many were distributed in Australia, as well as New Zealand and South Africa.

I've often wondered what the reader of Page Publications comics in the mid-1970's thought of encountering stories they may have read in earlier editions, given the turnaround in some instances was only a matter of months. Maybe the generational turnover was such that very few noticed the recycling of material that might have been encountered in a UK comic 4 to 10 years earlier.

Update 21/12/2018: Another edition has turned up:

This instalment in the Second World War Library series is unnumbered, and recycles the front cover from Second World War Library #30.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #11: The final issue! Again!

A year ago, almost to the day, I posted a cover gallery of my complete collection of the Yaffa Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man series. A few months later I came across another issue in the series, Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #10. It made sense at the time that there would be a 10th issue, given most if not all the long-running Yaffa series included two $0.70 cover-priced tall digest issues. And whilst I thought the discovery of a 'new' issue left the door open for a another issue in the series such as a $1.10 cover-priced magazine-size issue, I was pretty confident that the run had indeed been completed and accounted for.

So imagine my surprise and pleasure to come across yet another digest-sized issue in the series - Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #11:

I'm sure this is from 1982, and presumably from March-May, but this is just an educated assumption.

I don't know of any other Yaffa Marvel series which include three $0.70 cover-priced tall digest issues. So this is not only a scarce issue in terms of Yaffa Spider-Man comics and the Peter Parker series, it's quite an anomaly in the Yaffa Marvel publishing profile.

Whilst I'm willing to now call this the final issue in the series, I'm happy to be proven wrong should a subsequent issue turn up. 

And whilst I still think there were typically only two $0.70 cover-priced digest-sized issues in the Yaffa Marvel line-up in 1981/82, the door is now ajar for more to turn up.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Air Action Library #2: Searching for Tiger in the Sky

Having spent a bit of time over the last year or two tracing printings of Page Publications digest comics - war, romance, horror, spy and western comics - I've become a bit more confident in anticipating what I will find in many issues, based on the cover art and cover price and story titles on the covers. However, now and again, an issue pops up which leads me down an expected path but leaves somewhere a little unexpected.

For example, consider Air Action Library #2:

I could tell pretty much straight away a few things about this issue as soon as I picked it up. For example, I was pretty sure that the cover was a reprint of interior art, and sure enough, it comes from page 16:

I could also tell that this would not be the first printing of the story Tiger in the Sky - a bit of searching on the GCD and AusReprint websites would reveal previous Page Publications printings of the story, the original source of the story, and likely a cover swipe of the original cover by Keith Chatto. However, much to my surprise, this issue isn't to be found on either site, and even stranger, the story Tiger in the Sky isn't listed on either site. I doublechecked my own database and again, no other reference to this story.

I did find the cover to the original source of the story on the GCD website:

Action War Picture Library #23 was published by MV Features in the mid-1960's, but the GCD listing doesn't list the story. I tracked it by following the job code number (you can see a sample on the page scanned above) and assuming it would be an MV Features series.

So here's a couple of rather safe assumptions about Tiger in the Sky which I look forward to confirming in the future:

1. There will be a Page Publications issue reprinting Tiger in the Sky with a swipe of the Action War Picture Library #23 cover;

2. There will be at least one other - possibly more - reprintings of this story by Page Publications with cover prices lower the $0.60;

3. The cover to the third issue will be an original Chatto illustration;

4. One of these reprintings may be in Air Action Library #1;

5. I will be more excited than you if and when I confirm any or all of the above.

As you were.

Update 20/9/2018: OK. I'm excited. Here's the cover to Air Ace Picture Library #1:

And sure enough, Chatto swipes the cover to Action War Picture Library #23.

So check your pulse and get back to me.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Modern Love Stories: Considering the Candid Confessions paradigm

Page Publications' Modern Love Stories #49 reprints The High Life of Molly Brown, which originally appeared in Famepress' Juliette Picture Library #12:

Modern Love Stories #49 features a Keith Chatto cover. Based on previously established patterns I expect that there is an earlier edition of this story from Page Publications, and that Chatto would have been tasked with swiping the cover from the Famepress edition.

What really interests me at the moment is the high issue number of the Modern Love Stories #49 issue. The cover price $0.20, as per the only other issue in the series that I am aware of - Modern Love Stories #50:

Given the Famepress edition was published in 1966, and the Page Publications editions were published in the early 1970's, the basic math equation suggests The High Life of Molly Brown, and indeed a number of the issues in the Juliette Picture Library series, could have been published by Page Publicatons from say Modern Love Stories #1 onwards if they were loosely monthly issues as far back as 1966. But I don't know whether there was such an issue. I certainly haven't seen any in the relatively short time I've been following the Page Publications romance comics, and there are no such early issues listed on GCD or AusReprints - and James has been tracking these for much longer than I have. So I'm guessing that at some point, Modern Love Stories picked up its numbering from some previous Page Publications series.

Or maybe even from another publisher's series. This paradigm is evident in another high numbered Page Publications series, Love and Romance Library. According to AusReprints, this series began in 1951 as a Frew Publication and morphed into the Page Publications series c.1965 with the Candid Confessions cover title. 

So, was there a  Modern Love Stories #1 comic? And was it published by Page Publications? 

Gunslinger Western Library #6: Three editions so far...

Page Publications' digest-sized Gunslinger Western #6 features a Keith Chatto cover and is a reprint of Silver Star Western Library #3:

and Rawhide Western Library #2:

It's possible there is a subsequent reprint of this issue - if so, it is likely to be published with a non-Chatto cover sourced from a splash page or other interior art. I expect there is at least one more edition pre-dating Rawhide Western Library #2.

Update 14/1/2020: So, it turns out Gunslinger Western #6 is a replica - cover and contents - of Gunslinger Western #3:

No doubt more to come...

Update 3/4/20:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Planet Series 1 No. 6: Love 1978: The Junkyard salute!

Some 20 years ago I made a list of K.G. Murray comics I wanted in my collection. This was a list of 100-page (or more) titles which began publication in the mid/late 1950's such as Superman Supacomic, All Star Adventure Comic and the Hundred Comic Monthly, series which ran into the 1970's, often under new titles such as Tip Top Comic Monthly and Wonder Comic Monthly, encompassing new branding along the way such as Planet Comics and Murray Publishers.

As you might imagine, that's quite a lot of comics. And as my collection grew and my knowledge deepened I became interested in other K.G. Murray comics, some of which stemmed from the 1960's, and many besides which were 1970's series, such as Super Giant and Doomsday and Haunted Tales. I deemed this my secondary collection.

As my primary and secondary collections grew, so did my accounting of my collection. That is, rather than relying on a Word doc. or an excel spreadsheet to help me keep up with everything, I invested in a purpose-built database to keep abreast of what I owned, what I sought, and what I needed to replace. This database serves a further purpose - it's populated with indexed entries of the issues I own, links to relevant sites, personal notes on a variety of topics, and a record of purchases. It also serves as a log of where my collection can be found. As the collection has grown, I now need references to box numbers in order to locate a particular issue. Increasingly over time it's become a record of tracked sales and prices - a personal price guide.

As far as my primary collection is concerned, I can count on one hand the number of issues I'm still chasing to complete that collection. And of those issues there is only one I have not yet seen.

As far as my secondary collection is concerned, I only need three fingers to count them. Ironically, they are all issues I have not seen. I may have come across some of them in the past and not noted them as I should have, but for all intents and purposes, I'm deeming them unseen.

These reflections stem from this issue landing in the Junkyard:

Love 1978, Planet Series 1 No. 6

I have not seen this issue in the last 20 years, and speaking to some collectors, they were unware of it either. It's not even on the AusReprints site or the GCD. So by any definition that is meaningful to collecting such comics, this issue is scarce.

And it's interesting because it belongs to two series - the Planet Series and the Love series.

I've covered the Love series in various posts before: Love 1971Love 1974 and 1979; Love 1975 and 1977; And as you can tell from those posts, knowing what was published was guesswork until samples appeared in various guises. For example, Love 1979 is an instalment of Planet Series 2, others are standalone issues. It's also interesting that it's the only issue in Planet Series 1 run to not carry the Planet Comics logo. 

The cover is sourced from Charlton's My Only Love #3, with minor psychedelic flourishes added. It's a shame none of the contents are drawn from the Charlton issue, as it contains the Alex Toth-drawn The Loveliest of All! (This issue was reprinted as I Love You #130 a few years later, so it with a bit of luck, this Toth story may have been reprinted in a K.G. Murray or Federal comic).

Twenty years ago I would cross a number off my list when I scored a comic I was chasing. With my database I transitioned to inputting data and holding out for the dopamine rush when I would mark the green tick next to the box which designates a title or series as complete. Now, when I score something from the handful of issues I'm still chasing for my primary and secondary collections, I just hold up one less finger and salute.