Sunday, February 23, 2020

Marvel Tales #3: The Yaffa edition

This is the cover to Page Publications' Marvel Tales #3:

The cover image is a composite of previously published cover images. The Thor image originally appeared on the cover of Marvel Comics' Journey Into Mystery #89 and was published by Yaffa on The Mighty Thor #3:

The Spider-Man image is from The Spectacular Spider-Man #6:

And the Human Torch figure is from Marvel's The Human Torch #2:

The latter two covers may have inspired the three-point clockwise design.

The contents:

The Return of the Vulture, originally published in The Amazing Spider-Man #7, December 1963
Prisoner of the Wizard Part 1, originally published in Strange Tales #102, November 1962
Wizard' Wiles Part 2, originally published in Strange Tales #102, November 1962
On the Trail of the Tomorrow Man! [Part 1], originally published in Journey Into Mystery #86, November 1962
Flight to the Future Part 2, originally published in Journey Into Mystery #86, November 1962
The Vengeance of the Scarlet Beetle!, originally published in Tales to Astonish #39, January 1963

All of these stories were previously published in Marvel Tales #4, September 1966:

Given this issue reprints the original covers to the stories, it is clear why Yaffa felt the need to contrive an original cover for their edition.

Marvel Tales #3 is a digest-sized edition. My best guess is this was published early-1982.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Blazing War Picture Library #2

The cover to Page Publications' Blazing War Picture Library #2 is by Keith Chatto:

This issue contains war stories from the 1950's, mostly from Atlas/Marvel with a few Charlton stories in the mix, as follows:

Captured by the Nazis!, originally published in Battle #68, February 1960
No Retreat!, originally published in Battle #68, February 1960
Guard Duty!, originally published in Battle #68, February 1960
When We Attack the Commies!, originally published in Battle #68, February 1960
The Reds Were Waiting For Us!, originally published in Battleground #20, September 1957
Advance Under Fire!, originally published in Combat Casey #33, May 1957
The Reds Strike at Night!, originally published in Combat Casey #33, May 1957
The Weak Man, originally published in Attack #55, December 1958
You Can't Retreat, originally published in Attack #55, December 1958
The Congressional Medal of Honor, originally published in Attack #55, December 1958
The Man in the Iron Monster, originally published in Battlefront #41, July 1956
Mysterious Mission!, originally published in Tales of the Marines #4, February 1957
Rockets Away!, originally published in Battle #61, December 1958

This issue was also recycled with new Chatto covers as World War Library #12:

and as War in the Army #7:

This issue appears to have been originally published by Page Publications as Wartime Library #2:

The cover is loosely based on two panels from Captured by the Nazis:

There are probably more Page Publications editions of this issue.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The recycling of Batman #88: The K.G. Murray edition

Colour Comics' Batman #88 was published c.September 1957:

The cover originally appeared on DC's Detective Comics #243, May 1957:

This cover was recycled by Colour Comics for Giant Batman Album #14 c.November 1967:

The contents:

Professor Eureka [Begins "Oh, My--Space Ships! From some other planet!"], originally published in House of Mystery #63, June 1957
Batman the Giant!, originally published in Detective Comics #243, May 1957
Fingerprint Oddities [Begins "In order to read fingerprints, a chemical...], originally published in Big Town #46, July-August 1957
The Strange Circus of Mr. Sinistro, originally published in World's Finest Comics #89, July-Aug 1958
Moolah the Mystic [Begins "Lying on a bed of spikes!"], originally published in Tales of the Unexpected #15, July 1957
The Big Batman Quiz, originally published in Batman #108, June 1957

My copy is missing the rear cover, so it is possible there is another filler strip on page 31.

The contents of this issue - main features and fillers - were recycled in Colossal Comic #24. The main features and some of the fillers were recycled in Giant Batman Album #14.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Batman Poche #6: There Is No Hope In Crime Alley

If you're even vaguely familiar with Batman lore I'd wager the cover to Detective Comics #457 needs no introduction:

Nor do I need to relate the relevance of There Is No Hope In Crime Alley to Batman continuity other than to say Leslie Thompkins made surprisingly few subsequent appearances in Batman pre-Crisis but has a rather more prominent profile post-Crisis.

I'm note sure where I first read this story - probably in Detective Comics #457, but it was possibly in Batman Album #40:

The impact of the original cover is diminished in this quadrant of covers, but not so the full-size splash page which has an impact all its own in black and white:

Anyway, it was my fondness for the original cover which prompted me to seek out the French edition of this story:

Batman Poche #6 ("Batman Pocket") is dated April-May 1977, a year or more before Batman Album #40, and this edition does justice to the cover image with a black bleed and minimal intrusion by trade dress. Indeed the Batman title logo is both bolder and less intrusive than the original Detective Comics masthead which blocked the ears, and the cover design is much less cluttered by the DC type and banners and logos. 

The GCD lists two other international editions of this cover c.1977 - Swedish and Norwegian - and interestingly they both opt for black and white versions of the cover which are also appealing, but the French version is the best to my eye.

Batman Poche #6 is also interesting in that it contains another classic Batman tale The First Batman:

I like the colours on this page - even the incorrectly coloured Robin costume - and the overall palette is more appealing to me than the brown version published on the cover of Planet Comics' Batman Album #32:

However, Batman Poche #6 is only partially printed in colour. Each two-page spread alternates between a colour and a black and white printing. Such machinations, not uncommon in certain Murray editions, have always irritated me - they come off as cheap and desperate - which is a shame  as the French colour pages are so appealing.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The 'unpublished' inventory Ghost Rider stories in Australia: The Second Thunder Valley

The Second Thunder Valley is another of the ME inventory Ghost Rider stories.  This was published by K.G. Murray in Bumper Western Comic #32:

Thanks to Mark Cannon for the scans.

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
The 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.