Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ringo Kid Western #6: True Maneely and Faux Maneely

The cover to Horwitz's Ringo Kid Western #6 looks like Joe Maneely's art on the cover of Ringo Kid #1 but it’s not quite a true reprint, as the art has been modified.

I doubt any such modification occurs on the reprints inside this magazine, which feature Maneely and John Severin amongst others I have yet to identify.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bumper Western Comic #3

The cover of Bumper Western Comic #3 is taken from Masked Raider #15, October 1958, but for some reason, all the Masked Raider features reprinted in this issue are from Masked Raider #14, August 1958 - the issue which provided the cover for Bumper Western Comic #2!

The issue contains a mix of Charlton and Atlas reprints, including some by Pete Morisi from each publisher.

The main attraction for me in this issue is the 4 pages by Al Williamson in a story titled "Where Larrabee Rode!" The plot itself is no great shakes, but it's very nice to see Williamson's art in black and white with zipatone. I'm not sure where this story originally appeared, but it was reprinted in the early 1970's in an issue of Rawhide Kid.

I understand copies of Bumper Western Comic #3 are very hard to find, and this is a beaut copy in above-average condition, as you can see from the scan.

Friday, October 31, 2008

...too many digests lurking in the junkyard...

Here's another batch of Yaffa digests which I found lurking in the junkyard... No idea where or when or how I got these... It ain't called the junkyard for nuthin'...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World's Finest Comic Monthly #21: The cover without a story...

What's wrong with this picture...? Well, staring at it for hours might not provide any answer... but flip through the book and you'll realise the problem quicksmart: the story featured on the cover doesn't appear in the book!

That's right - the cover is reprinted from Wonder Woman #162, May 1966, but the story The Return Of Minister Blizzard! had already been printed three months earlier in World's Finest Comic Monthly #18.

The main Wonder Woman feature in this issue of World's Finest Comic Monthly is the back-up feature from Wonder Woman #161, April 1966.

Even with all of the charming quirks of K.G Murray's reprint comics, you could pretty much depend on seeing the cover feature leading the issue - and in the rare instances when it wasn't the lead feature, at least it was represented somewhere in the pecking order.

But not this time. Someone screwed up. Don't blame me. I just call it as I see it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another swag of Yaffa digests...

Here's another great little swag of Yaffa digests I picked up yesterday... Haven't had a chance for an intimate look at them yet but they look great on a first cursory browse... and always nice to see the covers for identification purposes anyway... So enjoy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Death-Face to Face! NN

...signed by Faba...

Quick or Dead NN

Shoot-Out Western NN

Snagged a few more Gredown Westerns today… I’ll be putting up an updated checklist of Gredown titles - horror, western, sci-fi etc. - shortly, so I might just put up some cover images, just for reference purposes… just waiting on confirmation of a few more titles which should be forthcoming very soon…

This one is signed by oteirP anairuM (sic), so don’t be surprised if a similar looking cover appears on another Gredown Western comic.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2001: A Space Odyssey digest

When I first spied this digest edition of 2001: A Space Odyssey, a mischievous thought occurred - could this be a decoloured and reduced version of Jack Kirby’s tabloid adaptation from 1976?

No such luck. The irony would have been acute, but really, I knew better because I not only recognised the cover from the 1st issue of the 10 issue U.S series, but also from the regular-sized Yaffa reprint from 1978.

What I couldn’t quite recall offhand was the contents of the full-size Yaffa edition. Turns out it reprints the first three issues of the U.S series.

Which I would have safely guessed anyway, but I was second-guessing myself when I was pondering this late last night because the digest edition also includes a reprint of Paul Reinman’s “I Defied the Curse of Tut-Ah-Anka!”.

This originally appeared in Tales to Astonish #15, January 1961 and was later reprinted in Fear #2, January 1971. It also appeared in Doomsday #10 c.1973.

This probably means that “I Defied the Curse of Tut-Ah-Anka!” also appears in a Yaffa reprint of Fear… maybe in Fear #1, assuming it exists, but it’s not in the Yaffa Fear #2.

Anyway, if you haven't read Kirby's 2001 and you're fond of the movie and come across this little edition, don't let the size fool you - by the end of it, you might find you've bitten off more than you can chew!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A personal note regarding emails...

A personal note regarding emails... I've lost all my emails and address book effective a week ago... and as many of you know, 90% of the commentary/discussion generated via the blog happens offline... so would those of you who do contact me offline please send me a short email, even if it's blank, just so I can rebuild my address book... in case I wish to contact you before you next contact me... Cheers!

Another piece of the digest Man-Thing puzzle...

For those of you still following the saga of the digest Man-Thing reprints…

Well, just when I thought all the digest Man-Things had been retitled, such as Monster of the Swamp and Swamp Creature, along comes a conventionally self-titled issue.

This issue is numbered six with a 70c cover price, and reprints in full the U.S Man-Thing #’s 16, 17 and 18. The front cover is from #16, and the cover from #17 is included in black and white.

There is also a black and white cover reprinted preceding #18, but for some odd reason, rather than being the cover of Man-Thing #18, it is actually the cover of (Adventure Into) Fear #18, which also featured Man-Thing. I have no idea why Yaffa did this - maybe they just mistook one ’Man-Thing #18’ for another…?

I don’t know… but I’m guessing that if there was a regular-sized man-Thing #6 by Yaffa, that it would be just like this digest issue…

This issue slots in quite neatly as the sixth digest with the other two mentioned above - that is, each issue basically carrying three U.S issues - except for the fact that this is a 70c cover price issue, and the others are 75c cover price issues… which suggests that there were two digest editions… so it does appear (as suggested before regarding some of the horror digests) that there was a series of conventionally-titled editions, followed by some retitled editions… which may or may not also explain why some Yaffa digests are shorter than others… more pieces of the puzzle to ponder…

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blazing Six-Gun Adventure: Wander into something bizarre...

Here’s yet another unnumbered Murray Western one-shot, which I briefly alluded to in a previous post for a memorable Jim Aparo-illustrated tale: Wander Takes on “The Fastest Gun in De Wast”, originally from Cheyenne Kid #70, January 1969.

It’s memorable for two reasons – the zipatone shading; and the weird space opera/western/comedy hybrid genre.

From what I can discern Wander was a regular back-up feature in Cheyenne Kid (I stand to be corrected) so chances are other instalments are scattered throughout other Murray westerns. I haven't noticed this feature before, something of a bizarre little treat to keep an eye out for.

Oh - and whoever painted this cover does a fair rendering of Clint Eastwood!

Superman The Comic #5/Superman The Comic #1 Volume 2

There are a number of K.G. Murray issues circa 1980 which I and other collectors believe may not exist. I have previously discussed some of them such as Supergirl #37, Adventure Comics #5 and Super Heroes Album #18*. I think we should now add Superman the Comic #5 to this list.

There are two series of Superman the Comic. The first series began with an unnumbered issue circa December 1978 published at the time of Superman: The Movie. Over the next few years a few more issues with the same title were issued:

Superman The Comic NN/#1 $1.00 1978**
Superman The Comic #2 75c 1979
Superman The Comic #3 80c 1979
Superman The Comic #4 90c 1980
Superman The Comic #5 ?
Superman The Comic #6 95c 1981

I believe the dates are reasonably accurate approximations based on the cover price, page count and contents. And for the sake of the exercise, I’ll designate these issues Volume 1.

Volume 2 of Superman the Comic resulted in the following two issues:

Superman The Comic #1 $1.25 1980
Superman The Comic #2 99c 1982

Again, I believe the dates to be reasonably accurate based on the cover price, page count and contents.

Superman The Comic #1 Volume 2 was also intended to piggyback on the box office success of Superman II, and this is where I think the hiccup in the numbering of Superman The Comic Volume 1 occurs. Superman The Comic #1 Volume 2 is the 5th issue of Superman The Comic. As a Special 128 Page issue at a premium price, it reflects the first unnumbered Superman The Comic issue from 1978, so it would appear the folk at Murray’s decided to designate this as a #1 too.

Then, as they play catch-up, things go a bit haywire again. The 6th issue of Superman The Comic is published in orderly fashion after the 5th (Superman The Comic #1 Volume 2), but when the time comes for the 7th issue, the numbering begins again from Superman The Comic #1 Volume 2, hence Superman The Comic #2 Volume 2.

At least that’s the way it looks to me. I’d love to be proven wrong and to actually find there is a Superman The Comic #5. But I doubt that will happen.

I mentioned above all these possibly/likely missing issues are circa 1980. This appears to be a period of flux in the Murray offices. For example, after a long period of relative stability, new cover logos start to appear only to be succeeded by new variations shortly afterwards, cover prices and page counts begin to vary in a relatively short period of time, titles and series morph and move in new directions… One can only really guess it would most likely be due editorial/personnel changes.

*Super Action Album #18 is another issue on my radar which may be missing from the same period - pending further examination.
**I note that the contents indexed for this issue seem to have some 1979 DC content, which may or may not knock the actual published date for Superman The Comic #1 Volume 1 out a tad… The copy I have to hand does not appear to include the competition details, which would help to confirm the date... regardless, this is just a distraction from the main point, it does not really impinge on the argument or timeline presented re: Superman The Comic #5.

Cowboy Adventures, Renegade Raiders, Frontier Fighters... the never-ending list of Western one-shots...

...and a few more Western one-shots with rather generic titles, and rather generic masthead typography, probably a default Murray house style...

Western Album NN: Between Super Western Album and Wild West Album...?

…and another unnumbered Western one-shot loosely related to Super Western Album. Indeed this would have been published before Wild West Album, given it’s a 90c cover price issue.

Wild West Album NN: It ain't blood...

As Western Heroes is to Bumper Western Album, so does this Wild West Album appear to be loosely related to Super Western Album, at least based on the similar typography.

I love this cover for the striking twilight vibe. It reminds me a bit of another K.G. Murray Western cover for Super Western Album #10. Nothing to do with cowboys or horses, but everything to do with mood and light contrast.

Or, it ain't blood, it's red...

Beautiful stuff. Who needs photoshop…?

Western Heroes NN: A 'Bumper Western Heroes Album'...?

Based on the “Western” typography I’d say this unnumbered one-shot issue follows on the heels of the unnumbered Bumper Western Albums which in turn followed superseded the long-running Bumper Western Comic series. Bumper Western Heroes Album sounds fine to me...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tomb of Darkness: Vault of Evil #'s 7, 8 and 9

Snagged another nifty little Page Publications horror digest – this unnumbered Tomb of Darkness, which was previously mentioned in passing a few months ago.

This issue reprints Vault of Evil #'s 7, 8 and 9, omitting The Dictator! from #9 (based on this index).

The cover is reprinted from Vault of Evil #7, and it includes a black and white reproduction of the cover to Vault Of Evil #9.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Planet Series 2 No. 8: Love Diary

This is one of the harder-to-find one-shots to be published as a Planet Series issue.

Well, it’s the only copy I’ve seen to date, and I’ve had my eyes peeled for these for a few years now.

Not that I expect there to be any great demand for it. It’s basically just Charlton reprints.

Possibly the most noteworthy feature is that it includes Jim Aparo art with zipatone, which is always nice to find (I spotted some in a Western comic recently too, which I must remember to blog).

I also note that the cover is based on the splash page of the first story, which is kind of expected from K.G. Murray comics of this ilk, but the surprise is that this also happens to be the cover and splash page of the U.S Charlton edition too.

Actually, given it's Charlton, maybe that’s not so surprising after all.

Yang: Remixed and Remastered (sic)

I’m not especially disciplined when it comes to picking up stray K.G. Murray comics. At the right time, in the right place, for the right price, and in the right condition, even a copy of Hot Rods has been known to activate certain primordial neurons and endorphins.

Which is just my way of saying that even though I have been able, up to this point, to resist each and every Planet Comics issue of Yang I have come across - and I believe I’ve seen them all more than once - even I found myself irresistibly drawn to this wonderful cover.

It’s just the colours and the layout which appeal to me. And if the reproduction of the scan on the GCD of the original issue is true, then it’s a quantum improvement on Sanho Kim’s original painting. (Well, that’s my opinion anyway. I doubt I would have purchased the original Charlton issue based on the cover.)

It does appear someone has gone to some lengths to remix the colours. Or could it be that the original was so poorly printed in the first instance that they only look like different mixes...? I'm no colour expert, nor printing expert... I just know which one I like better.

Texas Rangers in Action, One-Shot Murray Westerns, and the Absurd Drama of the Never-Ending Quest.

When it comes to one-shot Murray Comics Westerns, I think there’s only one workable theory: There’s Always One More.


Don’t even think in terms of a finite wants list. Think instead of a wave, with ebbs and flows, shallow ends and deep centres, quiet moments and hot spots, quantum particles and virtual black holes. Only then will you be properly primed for this particular absurdist quest.

Then, when you’re ready for your zen moment, in which you decide Enuff! The Quest Has Ended, you can take one more peek over your shoulder, knowing full well you will spot the likes of this Texas Rangers in Action one-shot. Bang.

But it will not matter. Your task will have been done. Your karma will be settled. Your angst just a memory. Your loss a balanced ledger. Yes, you will understand without a shadow of a doubt there are more Murray Western one-shots out there. But it will no longer matter as it once did. You will have moved onto the second stage of collecting Murray comics (seeking upgrades!). The circumference is everywhere, and no centre can be drawn until this point.

Yes indeed. There’s Always One More. But the question is: How Much Is Enough?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Super Adventure Album #1: A bumper issue of vintage DC comics

I don’t know how I missed this issue the first time around. I can pretty much recall owning most of the Super Adventure issues immediately before and after this issue, but not this one.

I was certainly familiar with the ‘new’ Super Adventure logo, which had been appearing on Planet Comics issues for a few years by the time this first issue of Super Adventure Album hit the stands in 1976.

And I doubt the transition from Super Adventure Comic to Super Adventure (3 issues) to Super Adventure Album would have caused much of a continuity blip as far as my antenna was concerned at the time. After all, the Justice League of America cover feature was still present and accounted for.

If anything, the cover image should have attracted my attention, being a reformatted version of the Planet Comics advertisement which was everywhere in these comics at the time (sourced from 80-Page Giant Magazine G-8, March 1965).

All I know is that I didn’t see a copy of this issue until the last five years or so, and it may as well have been an ‘unseen’ pre-decimal issue.

Which is not as much an exaggeration as it seems, for this issue is a bumper issue of vintage DC comics, featuring Superman from 1946, The Flash from 1947, The Justice Society of America from 1948, Green Arrow from 1952 – and, to top it all off, a Silver Age classic - the origin of The Justice League of America from 1962.

Of course each of these reprints reflects contemporary sources, and you can check all the nitty-gritty details here on James’ site.

All in all it’s a great example of how the Murray crew could contrive a new issue from miscellaneous material, complete with a homemade cover, and end up with a standout issue.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tracking I, Vampire.

Late last year I briefly noted a one-shot issue titled Villain of the Supernatural which mainly contained reprints of the I, Vampire series originally published in House of Mystery #’s 305-310.

The I, Vampire series originally began in House of Mystery #290 and, with a few breaks in between, continued through to #321.

The first instalments of this series - House of Mystery #’s 290-291, 293, 295, 297, 299 and 302-304 – were reprinted by K.G. Murray in the one-shot magazine-sized I…The Cursed.

So in terms of tracking the series of I, Vampire reprints in the K.G Murray titles, I…The Cursed is ‘Volume 1’; Villain of the Supernatural is ‘Volume 2’; and ‘Volume 3’ is… well, assuming it exists, I’ll let you know as soon as I find out!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shock Stories: Another Chamber of Chills digest

The Shock Stories digest (mentioned in passing in a previous post) reprints the contents of US Chamber of Chills #'s 13, 14 and 15, omitting "I Was Locked in a... Haunted House!" from COC #15, and includes a black and white print of the cover to COC #14. The front cover is sourced fro COC #15.

Where Monsters Dwell: The Proxy Yaffa/Page Digest Crypt of Shadows #1

A couple of months ago I discussed the Yaffa/Page digest comic Crypt of Shadows #4. This issue contains reprints of the US COS #’s 10-12. I presumed there would be other issues in this series, each reprinting three issues of COS.

I haven’t found any more COS digests yet, but I have found a proxy – this unnumbered Where Monsters Dwell reprints the US Crypt of Shadows #'s1, 2 and 3 (omitting Thru the Door from COS #2).

Based on previous examples I won’t be surprised to find that this is a small-scale reprint of a standard-size Yaffa/Page edition of Crypt of Shadows #1. I would however be surprised to find that Where Monsters Dwell is a facsimile of a digest-sized Crypt of Shadows #1 – that would suggest a new pattern of reprints from Yaffa/Page ie: a standard-size issue; a digest reprint; a retitled digest reprint. It may even suggest a fourth instalment ie: a standard-size retitled reprint.

All just guess-work and speculation of course.

Back to the issue at hand - the cover of Where Monsters Dwell is reprinted from Crypt of Shadows #3 (the covers for COS #'s 1 and 2 are not reprinted). And the title is, of course, borrowed from the Marvel series of monster comic reprints.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Night of the Vampire: Page's Tomb of Dracula digest

Night of the Vampire is another nifty little digest comic from Page Publications, reprinting Marvel’s The Tomb of Dracula #'s 7, 8 and 9 (note the splash page from #7 is omitted).

The cover is from TOD #7, which was also used as the basis for the Newton Tales of Horror: Dracula #6. I like this version with the bold and sparse green background, making it a garish companion to Monster on the Swamp.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Seeing Double: Nightmare #'s 2 and 10

Musing further on recycled issues and covers from a few days ago…

I’m not sure how many editions of Skywald's Nightmare were published by Page Publications by Pty. Ltd., but I’m guessing there weren’t too many numbered higher than #10.

Why? Because #10 is a facsimile of Page’s Nightmare #2. The only difference is that the colour on the last page is yellow on #2 and blue on #10.

Evidence of scraping the bottom of the barrel… unless Skywald pulled a similar stunt, and Page dutifully followed suit… but I haven’t seen any such duplication on the GCD cover gallery.

At any rate, #2 is based on the US Nightmare #9.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ironjaw - From 40c to $1.00 cover price!

It’s quite common to come across $1.00 cover price Gredown issues which recycle previously published material, whether it’s covers (or cropped portions thereof) or complete issues. Yet what appears on first pass to be a facsimile issue may in fact have some notable changes. Case in point: Ironjaw.

The original 40c issue included the Adult rating on the cover, and proclaimed the value of the Big 68 pages. The later edition also contained 68 pages, but with a $1.00 cover price, this was no longer a proud boast. Nor was it rated for A for Adults anymore. However, there was a new compensatory banner: Barbaric Fury Unleashed! I wonder which issue sold more copies…?

The other difference is in the contents. Both issues reprint the same Ironjaw material from the original series, but they differ in the extra material offered – the 40c issue reprints a 9-page Tom Sutton-illustrated Werewolf story in the middle of the issue; the $1.00 issue offers a 9-page Spanish Adult horror story with plenty of nudity, no doubt courtesy of the lapsed.

Other than that, the differences are minor – one is paginated, the other isn’t… one includes “continued” inserts at the end of the chapters, the other doesn’t bother with them… that sort of thing.

At least they both have the same cover. It looks like an original Australian cover, probably by Phil Belbin based on the whites of the eyes and the white hair of the sorcerer on the left hand side… (I'm happy to be corrected by any Belbin experts)... indeed one benefit of the $1.00 cover issue is there is less cover clutter over the painted image.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Complete Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer Special

I've had some requests (and bribes… and late-night phone calls... heavy breathing…) for scans of the The Planet of the Apes Sunday Observer Special, so I figured I may as well load them here for all to see.

I know it’s not quite the same as having an original copy to complete your Newton Planet of the Apes collection, but hey, nothing stopping you taking the image files (high res scans!) to your nearest Snap Printing or Kinkos for high quality printed copies and slotting them into your Newtons longbox. It’s scarce enough to warrant the effort and expense. If it helps, I’ll even email the files to you (in case the resolution is reduced when uploaded onto Blogger…)

And if you’re really keen to show your appreciation, there’s a nifty little PayPal donation button at the top of this blog which is touch sensitive…

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Giant Batman Album #16: So scarce you wouldn't know it was scarce...

Seeing as The Junkyard is in a - well, ‘rarefied mood’, so to speak… here’s one that I don’t often hear spoken of as scarce, but I assure you it is just as difficult to lay one’s hands on a copy of Giant Batman Album #16 as it is to try and score its more famous companion in the Most Wanted stakes, Giant Batman Album #14.

Giant Batman Album #16 is unassuming. Some might even say bland. To the casual observer it looks like yet another regular instalment in a long series of US facsimiles. And so it is, being based on the US Batman #193 (aka Batman Giant #14 aka 80pg Giant G-37, July-August 1967), reprinting the complete contents apart from (Holy Smoke), the Sunday newspaper strip, and appended with “Bruce Wayne's Aunt Agatha” and “The New Batman”, both of which had previously appeared in K.G. Murray issues.

I wouldn’t be surprised if casual collectors of Giant Batman Album haven’t realised how difficult it is to find a copy of #16. I think it was only after I found my second or third copy of #1 that the absence of #16 was conspicuous. After asking around I managed to find a single collector who had a copy and was able to send me a cover scan, and that seemed to break the spell as I found a copy for myself only a few months later.

That was over 2 ½ years ago, and in the 10 years or so in which I’ve been collecting these comics, these are the only two copies I’ve come across. To put that into perspective, in that time I’ve seen more copies of the first issues of Superman’s Supacomic, Century The 100-Page Comic, Colossal Comic Annual and Giant Superman Album, just to name some of the most sought-after 100-Page K.G. Murray issues.

I have some ideas as to why Giant Batman Album #14 is so scarce, and I’ll profile this issue in a blog entry shortly. The scarcity of #16 is more difficult to rationalise.

So rather than try to rationalise it, I’ll just offer a suggestion: If anyone is considering putting together a full run of Giant Batman Album from scratch, don’t bother accumulating any issues until #’s 14 and 16 have been secured (an exception should be made for particularly well-preserved, above-average pre-decimal specimens…). Once these two are in the vault, the rest should take a serious collector not more than a few years to source.