Monday, February 17, 2020

The 'unpublished' inventory Ghost Rider stories in Australia: The Vanishing Herd!

The Vanishing Herd is another ME inventory Ghost Rider story, published by K.G. Murray in All Favourites Comic #62 c.September 1967:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The 'unpublished' inventory Ghost Rider stories in Australia: The Scream in the Night!

Magazine Enterprises' Ghost Rider has a rather labyrinthine history which I don't wish to rehash in detail here. What interests me for the moment is the original stories illustrated by Dick Ayers.

Or rather, the stories not published.

When Mark Cannon exchanged some emails with Dick Ayers c.2000, he mentioned reading Second Thunder Valley, a Tales of the Ghost Rider story that didn't appear to have been published in the US during the original Ghost Rider run. Ayers told him that a number of Ghost Rider stories were completed but weren't published in the US as the series was cancelled due to the Comics Code. He recalled ME publisher Vin Sullivan  once mentioned licensing a lot of ME material for publication in Australia, some of which may have been inventory stories 'leaked' onto the Australian market. 

Bill Black's Best of the West: Golden-Age Greats Vol. 7 contains a checklist of Dick Ayers' work for ME which lists the following Ghost Rider inventory stories:

The Small Green Snake
Warrior From The Dead
Scream in the Night
Vigilantes of Hate
Second Thunder Valley
Man of Gold
The Vanishing Herd

To date I have found four of these stories in K.G. Murray issues published c.August 1967:

The Scream in the Night!: All Star Adventure Comic #46
Vigilantes of Hate!: All Favourites Comic #61
The Vanishing Herd!: All Favourites Comic #62
Second Thunder Valley: Bumper Western Comic #32

Ghost Rider was also published in Australia by Apache Comics in King Size Comic, so it is possible some of the missing stories appeared in this series.

And so, for your edification, here's The Scream in the Night! as it appeared in All Star Adventure Comic #46:

I will post the other inventory Ghost Rider stories I have in my collection over the next few days and update the links.

I began this post by saying I didn't want to rehash the publishing history of Ghost Rider. That's my way of inviting Mark Cannon to fill in the details in the comments section. Mark knows more about Ghost Rider and ME than I do, and was invaluable in providing much of the information above, spurred by my query when I couldn't locate a source for The Scream in the Night! For ages now I've been urging Mark to run his own blog on Australian reprint comics. I've even suggested a title: Shots from the Cannon - but to date he has resisted the temptation, preferring to lie low as one of my operatives. So consider this a proxy Shots from the Cannon post.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Omega the Unknown: The complete Yaffa cover gallery

Here's a cover gallery of my complete collection of Page Publications' Omega the Unknown:

Omega the Unknown #1, c.late 1977

Omega the Unknown #2, 1979

Omega the Unknown #3, 1980

Omega the Unknown #4, 1980

Omega the Unknown #NN, c.1982

The first two issues are regular/magazine-sized, and the rest are digest-sized.

As per the covers, #1 was recycled twice.

There may be more Omega issues published by Yaffa. I note there are no 'tall' digest editions, no reprints of #'s 2 and 3, and no recycled and retitled editions in this set. 

Each issue reprints three stories from the US series. This means there is one US issue unaccounted for in the Yaffa series. So, there is scope for a 1981 'tall' digest edition with some miscellaneous backup features. However, if this has been published by Yaffa, my guess is it is more likely to lurk as backup feature in another title.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #25: The K.G. Murray edition

K.G. Murray's Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #25 was published c.April 1957:

The main features are:

Jimmy Olsen in the 50th Century, originally published in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #17, December 1956
The Phantom Space Ship!, originally published in  Action Comics #171, August 1952
The Daredevil of the Seven Seas!, originally published in Adventure Comics #198, March 1954

There is also a full-page Shorty filler from Action Comics #195, August 1954, and smaller fillers Quick Quiz and Movie Mirth at the end of the Tommy Tomorrow and Aquaman features respectively. The three main features were subsequently recycled by K.G. Murray in Colossal Comic #27. They were accompanied by the associated shorts.

This issue contains an in-house advertisement for the Superboy series:

The cover to Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #25 is by an Australian artist. This was necessary as the lead story was not the cover feature in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #17 - and besides, that cover had already been published in the previous K.G. Murray issue.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Gredown's Ghosts of Terror #1

Gredown's Ghosts of Terror #1 was published in 1976:

The cover - likely by Phil Belbin - is swiped from Tom Sutton's cover for Charlton's Ghostly Haunts #49:

The ghostly background figure is inspired by panels on the final page of the lead story The Edge of Fear:

The Edge of Fear also appeared in Gredown's Edge of Fear, which recycled the cover to Ghosts of Terror #1:

The contents:

The Edge of Fear, originally published in Ghostly Haunts #49, April 1976
...To Die A Witches' Death, originally published in Ghost Manor #27, January 1976
A Special Victim, originally published in Beyond the Grave #4, February 1976
A Quiet Place To Die!, originally published in Beyond the Grave #4, February 1976
That Personal Touch!, originally published in Ghostly Tales #120, March 1976
...If Gold Be Life!, originally published in Ghostly Haunts #48, February 1976
The Exorcism, originally published in Ghostly Haunts #48, February 1976
The Hell Pit, originally published in Ghostly Tales #118, November 1975
The Werewolf's Ghost, originally published in Haunted #26, March 1976
The Whispering Box, originally published in Haunted #25, January 1976

This issue also has a contents page:

Contents pages such as this were a staple of US horror magazines, and the earliest Gredown magazines followed this trend - however, the contents page was readily sacrificed if the prime real estate was required for a story. Note also the rather formal No. 1 Vol.1. 

All of the stories in this issue hail from Charlton, and I can confirm that almost all of these stories were reprinted - sometimes more than once - in other Gredown issues, predominantly in the $1.00 editions. Indeed, some of these stories were also published in K.G.Murray titles. (There are two stories I have yet to see reprinted, but I daresay in the fullness of time these will also be confirmed).

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Spider-Woman #6: The Yaffa edition

Page Publications' Spider-Woman #6 was published c.April 1982:

The cover is from Marvel Comics' Spider-Woman #14:

The contents are as follows:

Suddenly...The Shroud!, originally published in Spider-Woman #13, April 1979
[Cults and Robbers], originally published in Spider-Woman #14, May 1979
Into the Heart of Darkness!, originally published in Spider-Woman #15, June 1979

The first page of Cults and Robbers is omitted, so Suddenly...The Shroud is presented as a single 33-page story. I also note that the editorial commentary boxes directing the reader to events in previous issues are omitted too.

This is likely the final issue in Yaffa's Spider-Woman series.

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Mighty Thor #8: The Yaffa edition

Page Publications' The Mighty Thor #8 was published early 1982:

The cover is from Marvel Comics' Journey Into Mystery #104:

The contents are as follows:

Giants Walk The Earth!, originally published in Journey into Mystery #104, May 1964
The Cobra and Mr. Hyde!, originally published in Journey into Mystery #105, June 1964
The Thunder God Strikes Back!, originally published in Journey into Mystery #106, July 1964

This issue also contains a black and white print of the cover to Journey Into Mystery #105:

The Mighty Thor #8 is a digest-sized edition and is, to the best of my knowledge, the final numbered issue in this series.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Gredown's Bite of the Vampire

The cover of Gredown's Bite of the Vampire is recycled from a previous issue, in this case Planet of Vampires #2:

The cover is likely painted by Phil Belbin, and is based on a variety of panels from the first story in Planet of Vampires #2, The Night of the Capture:

The contents are as follows:

Macabre Joke [aka A Macabre Joke]
The Vampire Hunter, originally published in Mad House #97, January 1975
An Unfinished Tale, originally published in The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves #42, October 1973
The Hungry Vampire, originally published in Weird v6#3, April 1972
Who Prowls The Night, originally published in Monster Hunters #6, July 1976
The Bloody House originally published in Weird v5#5, October 1971
Return to Die!, originally published in Ghostly Tales #86, June 1971 
Enter Freely And Of Your Own Free Will!, originally published in Haunted #21, April 1975
The Happy Dead, originally published in Mad House #95, September 1974

This issue includes a 1-page feature, Facts for Ghouls:

Facts for Ghouls was a filler feature used in a number of Eerie Publications. I have identified another Facts for Ghouls filler used in over half a dozen Eerie Publications, but as yet have not identified the first instance this one was published. 

Most, if not all of the stories in Bite of the Vampire were published in earlier Gredown issues, and at least one - An Unfinished Tale - was published by Murray in Planet Series 2 #7 The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Gigantic Annual #5 revisited

Many years ago I posted an entry on my copy of Gigantic Annual #5. I now have another copy:

This copy contains the following rebound issues:

Century Comic #88, c.October 1963
Superman Supacomic #50, c.October 1963
Superman Supacomic #51, c.November 1963

These three issues were published just a few months later than the rebound issues in my first copy which are dated c.June-September 1963. AusReprints dates Gigantic Annual #5 to May 1964, which is a reasonable guesstimate. 

I purchased the new copy as my previous copy is incomplete - it is missing the rear cover - and some of the pages were coloured in by the original owner.

However my two copies also differ in an unexpected way.

This is the advertisement on the inner front cover of my first copy:

This is what appears on the inner front cover of my new copy:

This is a surprise. It suggests to me that these two issues were published some months apart.

This is the ad on the rear cover of my new copy:

The ad on the inner rear cover is identical to the Seven Seas Stamp ad on the inner front cover of my first copy.

It occurred to me that one of these copies may have been published in New Zealand. I have New Zealand editions of Murray comics of this vintage which differ in this regard. However, given the Seven Seas Stamps ad has a Sydney address, I doubt this is the reason for the difference.

There is a numeric code on the bottom right hand corner of the Air/fix ad: 557P. This is unhelpful in dating this issue as it is clearly not published in May 1957. 

I also note that the Man Without Fingerprints feature appeared as early as 1952 in an issue of Gang Busters. I suspect this was deployed as a filler in more than one Murray comic.

So, I have something of a mystery, with something of an answer, but not anything conclusive.

But I do have a reason to keep both copies.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Wild Cat Western: Gredown erratum

There are two stories in Gredown's Wild Cat Western: 

 Journey of Hate splash page

The 20-page Peddler's Revenge opens the magazine, and Journey of Hate fills the next 47 pages. 

And each splash page includes the indicia. Someone stuffed up.

Maybe one of these was reprinted from a previous issue and the indicia was carried over. Possible - but I haven't seen a previous Gredown printing of either story.

Maybe Journey of Hate, being the feature-length story, was intended as the opening story but was mistakenly printed second. Possible - but Gringo stories were prominent in Gredowns.

Maybe the cover provides a clue. Journey of Revenge does sound like Journey of Hate - and to be honest, my initial theory was this may be an alternate translation of the title.

Then again, Journey of Revenge is not so far removed from The Peddler's Revenge...

Ah, but what if Gredown cottoned onto their error in time to adjust the cover but not the contents...? And voila, a compromise redolent of double A-sided singles - think We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper and Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever - and Journey of Revenge it is!

Well, that's my working theory until other copies of these stories surface. (And I got to sneak in a Beatles reference...)