Friday, April 27, 2018

Heart to Heart Romance Library #206: Weird Love

Heart to Heart Romance Library #206 features the story 3 Loves Have 1, which was originally published in Charlton's Secret Romance #20. This is one of those utterly implausible romance stories in which both the guy and the girl act like dicks but true love wins in the end, so you know they truly deserve one another. It also has the distinction of being selected for an issue of IDW's Weird Love series.

This is also the highest numbered issue of the series I have seen, so it may be the final issue in the series. Maybe the Murray editors read the story and figured enough is enough. Maybe that's why the original owner of this copy defaced the characters on the cover. And maybe I hope there is a Heart to Heart Romance Library #207 for the sheer heck of it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bumper Western Comic #65: Another K.G. Murray variant

If you look closely at the top right hand corner of my copy of Bumper Western Comic #65 you'll find the numeral 4 printed. I've checked with other collectors, and sample cover scans available online, and it doesn't appear on those copies. So this is another K.G. Murray printing error variant - not as obvious as the printing errors on copies of Bumper Western Comic #1 or Superman Supacomic #87, but a variant nevertheless.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Young Love #17 and Love Song Romances #41: Covering the backup splash

Here's a curious thing I hadn't noticed about K.G. Murray romance comics - or rather, something curious about the US sources of the local romance comics. For example:

The cover to Young Love #17 originally appeared on Charlton's For Lovers Only #71.

The cover to Love Song Romances #41 originally appeared on DC's Young Romance #141

In each case, the cover is sourced from the splash page of the respective story. This was rather common practice for Australian reprint issues, but I wasn't aware it was a widespread practise in the US. Further, the Australian issues would generally source the splash page from the opening feature story. In other words, it was common to turn the cover and find the cover image facing on page 3 in black and white. What's curious about the US issues in this regard is that in each case above, the cover-featured story was the backup or support feature in the issue, not the lead feature. Was this consciously done to hide the double-dipping?

Now, this is admittedly from a minute sample of two issues. But they are samples ranging from the mid-1960's to the mid-1970's, and from two different publishers, which suggests it was not only common and longstanding but widespread. Presumably a cost-cutting measure - my understanding is that cover art page rates would be different to regular page rates. So there's a story therein which I haven't been privy to.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Federal Comics western one-shots: A logocentric perspective

Western Lawmen is an unnumbered one-shot western comic published by Federal Comics c.August 1984. By mid-1984 Federal Comics had transitioned to the black Australian Edition DC logo, so why does this issue carry the earlier FC logo? Well, because there are no DC comics in this issue - it contains a mix of Charlton and Spanish comics. Makes sense, right? 

A few months earlier c.April 1984 Federal Comics published another unnumbered one-shot western comic - The Fastest Gun Western:

This issue also contains a mix of Charlton and Spanish reprints - no DC reprints - yet it has the new black Australian Edition DC logo on the cover. Of course, The Fastest Gun Western had been a long-running K.G. Murray series, and I guess there was some DC content during its tenure, but by the end of the series even the Spanish material had dried up and it was predominantly if not wholly comprised of Charlton reprints. But hey, it's published in the transitional phase, so let's give Federal Comics a bit of leeway. Makes sense, right?

A couple of months earlier c.February 1984 Federal Comics published another unnumbered one-shot western comic - Scalphunter:

This issue collated a number of DC's Scalphunter stories, including a Batman team-up. Now, the Federal Comics logo had been in place for well over six months, and the new black logo had recently taken over the red logo. Just a month or two later Scalphunter would have had a legitimate Australian Edition DC logo. But hey, if you squint a little and hold the issue at a certain angle, the F under SC kinda looks like a D. Sort of. If you try. Makes sense, right?

Some eight months earlier c.June 1983 Federal Comics published another unnumbered one-shot western comic - Frontier Marshall:

This has the transitional Murray the Cat/Federal Comics logo. The transition began c.March/April 1983, and by July 1983 the fully-fledged Federal Comics logo was in place. This makes sense whichever way you look at it. Right?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Three Thunder Valley Chatto covers

Thunder Valley originally appeared in MV Features' Western Trail Picture Library #7:

The cover image was swiped by Keith Chatto for Page Publications' own edition of Western Trail Picture Library #1:

Page Publications recycled this story at least two more times, under new Chatto covers. The issues I have to hand are Maverick Western Library #2:

and Real Western Library #44:

No doubt more Page Publications editions will turn up.