Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Range War Westerns #3, Gunslinger Western #2, Badman Western Library #4 and The Fastest Gun in Cheyenne!


The cover of Page Publications' Range War Westerns #3 is by Keith Chatto:


This issue is indexed on AusReprints. It was also issued under another Chatto cover as Gunslinger Western #2:


The lead story in these issues is The Fastest Gun in Cheyenne!, originally published in Western Gunfighters #25. It is also the lead story in Page Publications' Badman Western Library #4:


I initially assumed thought this was another reprint of the two issues above, however the rest of the contents differ

And the moustachioed hombres differ too. Just saying.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Climax Adventure Comic #6


KG Murray's Climax Adventure Comic #6 was published c.November 1967:


The cover art is tentatively attributed to Pete Costanza. It is based on an interior panel:


The publication date is based on the date code on one of the advertisements.

The contents:

Warning! Plutonium Pirates!, originally published in Adventures into the Unknown #167, September 1966

Through the Time Flaw!, originally published in Adventures into the Unknown #167, September 1966

Sammy's Secret!, originally published in Mystery Tales #40, April 1956 
The Marksman!, originally published in Battlefront #39, March 1956

The Real End, originally published in Texas Rangers in Action #7, April 1957

Mister Morgan's Monster, originally published in Strange Tales #99, August 1962

The Walker The Dragon The Army and the Navy 

Human Bait!, originally published in Rugged Action #2, February 1955 

The Bowie Knife 

The Cosmic Sleepers, originally published in Ciclone #81, 1962

The Peddler's Revenge

There are two unidentified single-page features in this issue. The feature title is Weapons of the West, and the instalments are The Walker... and The Bowie Knife. I have scanned the respective pages below:



The Cosmic Sleepers is a Johnny Galaxy story translated as The Sleepers of the Cosmos on AusReprints' Johnny Galaxy story tracking list:


The Peddler's Revenge is a Gringo feature presented as a Ringo story. As per AusReprints, the series was renamed in Australia specifically for the KG Murray issues. 


It would be published in Australia as a Gringo story many years later by Gredown in Wild Cat Western:


As you can see the page has been reformatted and whilst the translation is the same, the lettering differs.

Climax Adventure Comic picked up from where the first dozen issues of All Star Adventure Comic left off and was effectively superseded in the KG Murray stable by Super Giant. The series ran for 21 issues over some 14 years, and this extended timeframe may be a contributing factor  to the difficulty collectors face completing the series. This issue was the last one I needed to complete my collection but there was a 9 year wait until I finally scored a copy, and I know of a couple of other collectors who are one frustrating issue short of completing their runs. 






Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Modifying Daughters of the Moon: Federal Comics' World's Finest Comics #4


This is the cover to DC Comics' World's Finest Comics #295


And this is a modified black and white print of the cover without the trade dress and Superman:


This is interesting in and of itself, but what's even more interesting is that this is found in Federal Comics' World's Finest Comics #4 - not as a pinup, but as an inserted page in the story Daughters of the Moon. 

Daughters of the Moon is a 23-page story centred on Superman's attempts to rescue Batman from an incurable virus. It is presented as a 24-page story in the Federal edition, and this page has been purposefully inserted after page 8 to symbolically represent Batman's battle with the virus and the Moondancers who infected him, which is referenced in the preceding panel. It is for this reason that the Superman figure has been deleted, and I'm sure this explains why the moon has been modified with globular formations.

It was common practice to accommodate the page count in these Australian editions by deleting pages or reducing the art and merging pages. This is a rare example of a story with an increased page count. 

Kudos to Neil Hansen and AusReprints for spotting this some time ago.

Monday, June 29, 2020

World's Finest Comics #9: The Federal edition


Federal Comics' World's Finest Comics #9 was published c.November 1985:


The cover is from DC Comics' World's Finest Comics #308, October 1984:


The contents:

Night and Day!, originally published in World's Finest Comics #308, October 1984 
[First Face:] The Child "Childhood's End", originally published in Batman Annual #9, July 1985 

Night and Day! is a 23-page story presented here as a 20-page story - 3 pages are omitted.

The Four Faces of Batman is a 4-part story in Batman Annual #9 which begins with this title page: 


The next 4 chapters are each 10-page instalments titled First Face, Second Face etc. The reprint in World's Finest Comics #9 contains only the first part, hence the omission of the First Face chapter title:


Compare to the original page:


Divorced from the context of the title page, this chapter is presented as a standalone short story.

Unfortunately it is also presented as a 9-page story. This is the missing page:


This is quite a striking page with an appealing Batman illustration by Jerry Ordway, an artist whose work I enjoy.

I note that Second Face was published by Federal Comics as a standalone chapter in Batman #19, the final issue in the series - indeed, one of the last Federal DC issues - so it is unlikely that Third Face and Fourth Face were reprinted by Federal.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #4: The Federal edition



Federal Comics' Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #4 was published c.January 1984. It's a rather anomalous issue and its publication appears to have been delayed.

The series began as Super Heroes in late 1982. Murray Comics published the first issue; the second was published by Federal comics under the transitional Murray the Cat/Federal Comics logo and cover-dated March-April 1983; and the third issue was published by Federal Comics c.July/August 1983.

Federal Comics' one-shot issue The Flash was also published c.July 1983, so it would have been on  newsagency stands at the same time as Super-Heroes #3. The final page of this issue advised that the Flash story Mishmash would be Next in Super Heroes #4:


 By the time Mishmash!! appeared six months had elapsed and the series had changed its name.

The final page of Mishmash!! advises the story is To Be Continued in.. Batman and The Flash:


This issue was published as Batman and The Flash #6 in February 1984, a month after Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #4.

Given the next issues were advertised it suggests the preparation of these issues was well on the way. For this reason I believe Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #4 was delayed.

The new series title did not last beyond this issue. By the fifth issue the series title was shortened and Legion of Super-Heroes #5 appeared c.April 1984 some nine months later. Maybe this wasn't so confusing in 1983/84 but when I first started collecting Australian reprints it took me quite a while to place it in this rather confusing continuum of series titles and logos. And that's without mentioning the Planet Comics iteration of Super Heroes/Album - a mishmash indeed!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Glob-Thing Cometh in TACC Vol.4 No. 10


And so it came to pass that the Watchmen universe crossed over with the DCU

But betcha didn't know there was Swamp Thing/Watchmen crossover years before Alan Moore wrote either of these series... And so, for your edification, here is The Glob-Thing Cometh: A Short Story by Marcus Brazil:



Prescient. Or maybe not. But I did giggle at the smiley t-shirt, and there is a Heap (sic) of swamp monsters in comics, so we can add this one to the list

The Glob-Thing Cometh was published in The Australian Comic Collector Vol. 4 No. 10, cover-dated February 1980:


I invite Marcus to give us the lowdown on this story and its publication.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Young Love #29


KG Murray's Young Love #29 was published c.late 1977:


The cover is from Charlton Comics' Secret Romance #31:


The cover also happens to be from the splash page of Stolen Love. 

The stories:

Stolen Love, previously published in Secret Romance #31, March 1975
Tender Loving Care, previously published in Secret Romance #31, March 1975
They Talk About Me, previously published in Secret Romance #31, March 1975
A Bad Scene, previously published in Secrets of Young Brides #3, November 1975
Lovers Can Meet Anywhere, previously published in Career Girl Romances #69, June 1972
Back to Paradise, previously published in Secrets of Young Brides #4, January 1976
Love Cures All, previously published in I Love You #111, March 1975
Not His Way, previously published in Secrets of Young Brides #4, January 1976
Devoted Son-In-Law, previously published in Secret Romance #31, March 1975
Another Place, Another Love, previously published in Career Girl Romances #70, August 1972

This issue is exclusively Charlton reprints, and contains all the stories from Secret Romance #31.

Some of these stories also appeared in other KG Murray issues. For example, Tender Loving Care appeared later in All Love Romantic Stories #20,  and Lovers Can Meet Anywhere was published earlier in Magic Moment Romances #103.

I believe the attributions above are correct but I note the job numbers have been removed from all the stories, so I've based my information on the story titles and page counts as per the GCD links.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Green Arrow: The second Federal edition


Federal Comics' first one-shot Green Arrow issue was published c.April 1983, and the second followed over a year later c.August 1984:


The cover is adapted from Detective Comics #521:


Some elements of the cover were removed eg. the batsignal, and there is certainly some extra linework on the Federal cover eg. the bricks in lieu of the batsignal, the third motion line near Green Arrow's elbow, the rock behind the DC blurb. Some elements are also rearranged eg the rat on the bottom right and the open tin can. The Battling Bowman subtitle has also been added - I'm not sure what this is based on, and it may be a Federal concoction.

The original cover is also notable for being one of the very few covers since Detective Comics #27 not to feature Batman.

The contents:

The High Tech Highwayman!, originally published in Detective Comics #521, December 1982
Automatic Pirate Chapter 2, originally published in Detective Comics #522, January 1983
Mob Rule! [Mob Rule I] Chapter 3, originally published in Detective Comics #523, February 1983
Mob Rule II: Heat of the Moment! Chapter 4, originally published in Detective Comics #524, March 1983
[Mob Rule III: The Irresistible Rise of Machiavelli Part 5], originally published in Detective Comics #525, April 1983
Whatever Happened to the Black Pirate and Son?, originally published in DC Comics Presents #48, August 1982
Getting Up [Part I], originally published in Detective Comics #527, June 1983
[Getting Up II: Poisoned Art], originally published in Detective Comics #528, July 1983
[Getting Up III: Lost in the Ozone], originally published in Detective Comics #529, August 1983
Survival of the Fittest, originally published in Detective Comics #530, September 1983
[Survival of the Fittest II: Shelter from the Storm!], originally published in Detective Comics #531, October 1983
[Survival of the Fittest III] Soft Targets! Chapter 2, originally published in Detective Comics #532, November 1983

Whilst the previous Green Arrow issue mined the backup features from World's Finest Comics, this issue is virtually wholly based on the Detective Comics instalments, beginning with the first entry in the 4-year-long run. The exception is the Black Pirate feature - I don't know why it was included in this issue.

And if you're reading the list of story titles with the excessive parentheses and thinking this is likely  one messed up issue, well, let's just say there's some Newton-standard editing herein.

Many of the Green Arrow shorts have amended titles as Federal added their own chapter numbering to the original instalments. Having said that, the first story has not been amended as Chapter 1, even though subsequent instalments suggest it should have been. The main adjustment to this story is that the next issue advisory has been omitted, which occurs in many of the stories in this issue.

The second story is renumbered. This is the original splash page of Automatic Pirate!:


And this is the amended splash page in the Federal version:


The Chapter font used here is the same for all the amended chapters.

This is the original last page of Automatic Pirate!:


And this is the Federal version without The End:


Also note the image of Hi-Tek on the screen in the first panel is omitted in the Federal version, no doubt due to the absence of black linework.

The splash page to Mob Rule III: The Irresistible Rise of Machiavelli is omitted in the Federal printing. This is the missing page:


The End advisory is included at the end of this three-part story in the Federal version.

Getting Up was originally a 3-part story. The Federal version is presented as a single 18-page story. 

The first 7 pages are reprinted intact as per Detective Comics #527, without the Next Issue blurb.

Following these 7 pages are 6 of the 7 pages of the next instalment from Detective Comics #528, sans the splash page: 


This is the final page of Getting Up II: Poisoned Art:


This page has been modified in the Federal edition:


The panels have been reduced, rearranged and reordered on the page, and some elements also modified. Two panels have been inserted between the fourth and fifth panels of the original page.and the next issue blurb is omitted.

The panels not native to page 7 of Getting Up II: Poisoned Art are from the second page of Getting Up III: Lost in the Ozone from Detective Comics #529:


The second panel from this page is omitted from the Federal version.

This is the missing splash page to Getting Up III: Lost in the Ozone:


Survival of the Fittest is a 21-page three-part story presented as two chapters in the Federal edition. This is the last page from the first instalment in Detective Comics #530:


This is the version published in the Federal edition:


The integrity of the page design has been maintained, however the large third panel is different - because it is adapted from the splash page to Survival of the Fittest II: Shelter from the Storm! from Detective Comics #531:


The remainder of this instalment is reprinted intact apart from the Next Issue blurb. 

This is the splash page to Survival of the Fittest III: Soft Targets! from Detective Comics #532:


This instalment has been retitled Soft Targets! Chapter 2:


Beyond the two one-off Federal issues of many of the Green Arrow backup features - in particular those originating in World's Finest Comics - can be found as support features in various Murray and Federal series and issues.



Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Green Arrow: The first Federal edition


Federal Comics published two eponymous Green Arrow issues. The first of these is cover-dated April-May 1983:


The cover is from DC Comics Presents #20:


Note the CCA stamp is also on the cover, as it was on other Federal Comics in this period.

The contents:

Inferno From The Sky!, originally published in DC Comics Presents #20, April 1980
The Falcon's Lair!, originally published in The Brave and the Bold #185, April 1982
A World Gone Mad!, originally published in World's Finest Comics #270, August 1981
A Bloody Crown for a Cold Corpse!, originally published in World's Finest Comics #272, October 1981
Assault on Kastle Vertigo!, originally published in World's Finest Comics #273, November 1981
Shackles of the Mind!, originally published in The Brave and the Bold #168, November 1980
I Shot an Arrow into the Air, originally published in World's Finest Comics #266, December 1980-January 1981


Here's the first three pages of The Falcon's Lair! as they appear in The Brave and the Bold #185:




These three pages were condensed into two pages in the Federal version. The first page was modified by taking advantage of the space reserved for the indicia and slotting in the title at the top of the page:


The next two pages were crammed into the second page with all manner of reformatting including cropping, resizing, reshaping and some omission:


A Bloody Crown for a Cold Corpse! was also heavily edited. This is the splash page from World's Finest Comics #272:


The top tier Green Arrow origin banner has been omitted and the caption box and speech balloon  slightly adjusted in the panel:


However this is a minor outpatient procedure compared to the radical surgery on the next page. Here's the next two pages as they appear in the DC comic:



These two pages are represented on one page in the Federal version:


Six of the ten panels are omitted, and the remaining four panels - the first two and the last two - have art extensions.

There may be slight modifications to some of the other stories but these are the two conspicuously by the altered page count.

This issue is cover-dated April-May 1983 but I think it may have been on the stands late March 1983.