Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Avengers #7: The Newton edition


Newton Comics' The Avengers #7 was published 4 October 1975:


The cover was originally published on the cover of Marvel Comics' The Avengers #7:


The story contents are as follows:

Their Darkest Hour!, originally published in The Avengers #7, August 1964 

Hawkeye, The Marksman! [Part 1], originally published in Tales of Suspense #57, September 1964

Their Darkest Hour! appears unmodified, apart from the erasure of original page numbers. The editor could have intervened to correct a couple of references to previous issue numbers in this series but didn't.

Hawkeye, The Marksman is an 18-page story. Six pages are included in this instalment. Unfortunately the editor botched it...

The splash page and following page are as per Tales of Suspense #57. However, the rest of the pages are not from this story at all - they are from In Mortal Combat with Captain America!, originally published in Tales of Suspense #58!

Here's a photo of pp 2-3 as printed by Newton:


The page on the left is the second page from Hawkeye, The Marksman!, and the page on the right is the third page from In Mortal Combat with Captain America!

The saga continues in The Avengers #8...

This issue includes a poster and Swap Card:


The poster is recoloured and slightly modified from the cover of Marvel Comics' The X-Men #2:


It was shortly to be adapted for Newton's The X-Men with The Avengers #2:


This poster is also included in Newton's The X-Men with The Avengers #1.

The Swap Card is Fantastic Four Series A (1 of 15) No. 3 with the cover to Newton's The Fantastic Four #3.

This issue does not contain any in-house advertisements for other Newton Comics issues. 

It does include an ad for the Mail Order Only Origins Of Marvel Comics:


The contest expires 17 November 1975.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Avengers #6: The Newton edition


This is the cover to Newton Comics' The Avengers #6:


It originally appeared on the cover of Marvel Comics' The Avengers 3:


This issue contains one story: The Avengers Meet.. Submariner!, originally published in The Avengers #3.

This is the story which was skipped in Newton Comics' The Avengers #3.

The main instance of editorial modification in this issue occurs on the splash page:


The page is cropped at the bottom to accommodate the indicia. The banner at the bottom of the original page is omitted: 


This scan is from my copy of Marvel Masterworks Volume 4: The Avengers Nos. 1-10, Third Printing.

This issue was published 20 September 1975. It is the first issue in the series to appear with a reduced page count from 44pp to 36pp and a cover price increase from $0.30 to $0.35. This change was effective 13 September 1975 in conjunction with the introduction of the Swap Cards.

The poster in this issue was The Amazing Spider-Man and the Human Torch, and the Swap Card was Spiderman (sic) Series A (1 of 15) No. 5:


The poster is adapted from the splash page to Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas! as published in Newton's The Amazing Spider-Man #2, and was previously included as the poster in Newton's The incredible Hulk #1. The Swap Card features the cover to Newton's The Amazing Spider-Man #5.

This issue carries in-house advertisements for The Amazing Spider-Man #8:


and The Incredible Hulk #6:


 and Conan the Barbarian #3:


The Swap Cards Cometh Bulletin is also in this issue.

The contest expiry date is 3 November 1975.

Update 7/72019: Robert Thomas has sent me some photos of his rather bizarre copy of this issue - essentially a double-sized issue with two copies of the one comic under the one cover, including two posters and one Swap Card. A genuine rare Production Error Variant!



 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Avengers #5: The Newton edition


This is the cover to Newton Comics' The Avengers #5:


It originally appeared on the cover of Marvel Comics' The Avengers #6:


The story contents are as follows:

[The Mighty Avengers Meet The] Masters Of Evil!, originally published in The Avengers #6, July 1964

[Iron Man Battling] The Black Knight!, originally published in Tales of Suspense #59, November 1964  

The reprint of Masters of Evil! has some notable modifications. This is the splash page:


The panel has been cropped at the bottom in deference to the indicia, which means the credits on the original page have been omitted. Here's a scan of the original page as per my copy of Marvel Masterworks Volume 4: The Avengers Nos.1-10 Third Printing:


The other modifications are corrections to editorial references to previous issues. For example, the reference to Strange Tales #110:


This has been altered to reference Newton Comics' Fantastic Four #4:


Unfortunately, the practise is not consistent. For example, in one panel, there is a reference to The Avengers #4:


The Newton reprint erases the text box:


Not only that but the opportunity to reference the reprint in Newton's own The Avengers #3 was bypassed, and no one bothered to otherwise attend to the white space.

Other references to the original Marvel Comics issues are left intact.

The Black Knight! has also been modified - the final panel has art extended in lieu of the next issue blurb:


This is a scan of the original page as per my copy of Essential Iron Man Vol. 1, Third edition, Second printing 2010:


The poster in this issue features Dracula:


This is from the cover to Marvel Comics' Tomb of Dracula #8 and would later be printed by Newton Comics as the cover to Dracula #7:


This issue includes in-house advertisements for The Amazing Spider-Man #7 and The Fantastic Four #5, and a full-page advertisement for Planet of the Apes tee shirts and iron-on decals:


Planet of the Apes merchandising was prominently advertised in the Sunday Observer. I will survey such promotions in a future post.

This issue was published 6 September 1975. The series was now firmly on a fortnightly schedule. The expiry date for the contest is 20 October 1975, two weeks after the expiry date for the contest in The Avengers #4

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Avengers #4: The Newton edition


This is the cover to Newton Comics' The Avengers #4:


It originally appeared on the cover of Marvel Comics' The Avengers #5:


The story contents are as follows:

The Invasion of the Lava Men!, originally published in The Avengers #5, My 1964

Trapped by the Red Barbarian, originally published in Tales of Suspense #42, June 1963

Both of these stories are reprinted without undue editorial modifications based on my comparisons to reprints in Marvel Masterworks and Essentials editions.

This issue contains a Captain America poster:


This is modified from the cover to Marvel Comics' Captain America #109:


Note the Marvel branding has been replaced by Newton branding in the poster.

This poster would be repurposed by Newton as a Free King Size Super-Hero Poster in 1976.

This issue includes in-house advertisements for Conan the Barbarian #1 and Doctor Strange #1. They are both advertised as On Sale Now, and are both listed on the subscription page. 

As mentioned re: The Avengers #3, to this stage The Avengers was being published every three weeks. The Avengers #3 was published 9 August 1975, so The Avengers #4 would have been scheduled for publication 30 August 1975. 

However, in response to a fan letter in this issue, John Corneille advises that The Avengers "appears fortnightly from now on." This is ambiguous - it could mean effective immediately, or from next issue onwards. Given there is a two week gap between the contest expiry dates in The Avengers #3 and #4 - 22 September and 6 October respectively - it firmly suggests the fortnightly schedule was effective with this issue. I have cross-checked this with subsequent issues and I am satisfied this is correct.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Dating Newton Comics' Conan the Barbarian #1

When I was indexing Newton Comics series such as Planet of the Apes and The Amazing Spider-Man a few months ago there was one issue which kept intruding into my schema and messing up my orderly data. It has happened again as I attempted to attribute publication dates to The Avengers in August and September 1975, but I think I may have finally resolved the conflicting information.

Conan the Barbarian #1 was advertised in various Newton comics as On Sale 30 August 1975:


However, I believe it was published earlier on 16 August 1975.

The advertisement above is scanned from The Avengers #3 which was published 9 August 1975. 

Conan the Barbarian #1 was advertised as On Sale Now in The Avengers #4:


The Avengers #4 was published 23 August 1975 -  a week before 30 August 1975. This is the contradictory information which needs to be reconciled.

The Avengers #4 was the first issue in the series to be issued fortnightly - the first three issues were published every three weeks - and this was announced in John Corneille's letter column in this issue. 

The new fortnightly schedule is reinforced by the contest expiry dates in The Avengers #3 and #4 - 22 September and 6 October respectively.

Given the scheduling was changed, it is reasonable to presume that The Avengers #4 was originally scheduled for publication 30 August and, having brought the date forward by a week, the discrepancy in the advertisement was overlooked by Newton, or it was too late to change. 

However, there is mounting evidence that the advertisement in The Avengers #4 is accurate.

For example, the Conan series is listed on the subscription page in The Avengers #4. In itself, this is not conclusive evidence that Conan was published before 30 August, as it could be symptomatic of the earlier than expected release of The Avengers #4.

However, consider the expiry date for the contest in Conan the Barbarian #1 is 29 September 1975 - a week after the contest expiry date in The Avengers #3, and a week before The Avengers #4 contest.

Consider also that Conan is listed on the subscription page in The Fantastic Four #4 and The Amazing Spider-Man #5, which were both published on 16 August, and have the same contest expiry date as Conan the Barbarian #1. 

These three issues also share the same letters page

Indeed, the subsequent issues in these series - The Fantastic Four #5, The Avengers #4, The Amazing Spider-Man #6 and Conan the Barbarian #2 - all share the next letters page, and are all published after 16 August 1975.

In fact, the only evidence pointing to a 30 August 1975 publication date for Conan the Barbarian #1 is the advertisement above. All of the other evidence suggests otherwise. And when I balance the merits of crosschecked data against a single outlier, I know which way I land. 

Having said all that there is still a small thread I have yet to fully untangle. 

Planet of the Apes #6 also carries the Out Now advertisement for Conan the Barbarian #1. I have previously provisionally dated this to 16 August 1975. The contest expiry date in this issue is 6 October 1975, as per The Avengers #4, which would suggest this pair were published simultaneously. - except that I date The Avengers #4 to 23 August, and the letters pages do not match. I need to investigate this a bit further but wilI have to wait until further information (ie: missing posters in my collection) comes to hand. I do not yet know how this may impact my conclusions.

It should also be noted that the contest expiry dates, whilst generally useful, are not an infallible guide. Certainly in early 1976 many contest dates were manifestly incorrect, as I have previously noted. But even some June and July 1975 issues have anomalies, which makes it difficult to assess when to heed them and when to dismiss them.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Avengers #3: The Newton edition


This is the cover to Newton Comics' The Avengers #3:


It has been slightly modified from the original which appeared on the cover of Marvel Comics' The Avengers #4:


The story contents are as follows:

Captain America Joins... The Avengers!, originally published in The Avengers #4, March 1964

Iron Man Faces The Crimson Dynamo!, originally published in Tales of Suspense #46, October 1963

I have compared both stories to reprints in Marvel Masterworks and Essentials editions and neither story appears to have been unduly modified.

The poster in this issue is a Jim Steranko double-page splash from Captain America #110


This issue does not have a cover date but it appears it was published 9 August 1975. At this stage The Avengers was published every three weeks. The Avengers #2 was published three weeks earlier on 19 July 1975, and one of the in-house advertisements in this issue is for The Fantastic Four #3, which is advertised as On Sale Now and was published a week earlier on 2 August 1975. The expiry date for the contest in Fantastic Four #3 is 15 September 1975, and the expiry date for the contest in The Avengers #3 is a week later on 22 September 1975. 

This issue also contains an in-house advertisement for Conan the Barbarian #1, which is advertised as On Sale 30 August 1975. 

It is also worth noting that Newton skipped the reprinting of Marvel Comics' The Avengers #3. They would publish it shortly afterwards in The Avengers #6.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Avengers #2: The Newton edition


Newton Comics' The Avengers #2 was published 19 July 1975:


This cover originally appeared on Marvel Comics' The Avengers #2:


The story contents are as follows:

The Avengers Battle... the Space Phantom, originally published in The Avengers #2, November 1963 

Now Walks The Android, originally published in Tales to Astonish #61, November 1964

The first story is presented in this edition without any notable editorial interference, apart from the erasure of the page numbers. 

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Now Walks The Android. This is presented as a 14-page story, as per the original printing in Tales to Astonish #61. However, the third page of the original story is omitted and in its place is the third page from the story Captured At Last! - the Hulk story sharing space with Now Walks The Android in Tales to Astonish #61!

If you don't believe me, here's a photo of the two-page spread in this issue:


Captured At Last! was reprinted by Newton in The Incredible Hulk #3. You will no doubt be relieved to hear that the story is presented intact in that issue, and does not contain page 3 from Now Walks The Android.

The poster in this issue advertises the forthcoming Conan the Barbarian series:


This poster was also included in Planet of the Apes #5.

This issue includes inhouse advertisements for two other Newton issues designated as On Sale Now: The Fantastic Four #2 and Dracula #1. The Fantastic Four #2 was published 12 July 1975, and Dracula #1 appears to have been delayed until 26 July 1975.

The contest on the rear cover has an expiry date 4 August 1975.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Mighty Thor in Super Giant #8 and #12


Following the appearance of The Mighty Thor in Horwitz Publications' Strange Tales #6, the feature next appeared in an Australian edition a good 10 or so years later in KG Murray's Super Giant series. Thor was cover-featured on Super Giant #8 and #12.

This is the cover to Super Giant #8:


It is rather crudely modified, with elements rearranged in the frame, from the original art on Thor #144:


The Thor content is as follows:

--And, Soon Shall Come: The Enchanters!, originally published in Thor #143, August 1967

This Battleground Earth!, originally published in Thor #144, September 1967

Abandoned on Earth!, originally published in Thor #145, October 1967

The first two stories are reprinted in full. Only the first six pages of Abandoned on Earth! are reprinted in this volume, and the sixth page is butchered. This is a scan from the original issue:


And this is the same page as it appears in Super Giant #8:


I see no reason why the original final panel could not have been included with the abrupt END advisory as per the penultimate panel. Clearly, advertising Red Wolf was a pressing concern at the time.

Thor was also featured on the cover of Super Giant #12:


The cover image originally appeared on Thor #200:


The Thor story in this issue is titled If This Be Death..! and runs for 39 pages.

It is in fact two stories combined - If this Be Death..!, originally published in Thor #199, May 1972 and Beware! If This Be... Ragnarok!, originally published in Thor #200, June 1972.

Three pages have been culled from If This Be Death..! reducing the total page count from the original running total of 42 pages.

Here are the three missing pages:




These three pages comprise a 'meanwhile, back at the ranch...'-type sequence, signposted by a text box at the bottom of page 7:


Given the sequence is omitted in Super Giant #12, it makes sense for the text box to be erased:


However, the editors neglected to follow through on erasing the references to the preceding episode on the next page, which results in the exclamation "--A Battle--For a GOD!" being followed up incongruously with "But now, that scarcely matters--":


There are other significant modifications to the original story. Firstly, the title Beware! If This Be...Ragnarok! has been deleted from the top of the splash page:



And secondly, the art has been extended on the right hand side of the final panel on the last page in lieu of the Next Issue box in the original issue - its beginning is visible as a vertical 'crease' mark above and to the right of the text captions:



The Mighty Thor would be published in Australia shortly after this in Newton Comics as a short-lived self-titled series, an Annual and various one-shots, as well as a backup series in The Amazing Spider-Man. Longer running series would subsequently be published by Yaffa/Page Publications and Federal Comics.

Thanks to Mark Cannon for providing some scans in preparation of this post.