Sunday, 29 January 2012

PRESENTING A PERSONAL PERUSAL OF A 'POWER PACK' PUBLICATION...

 

One of my very favourite
comics from the past is one that
regular readers of this humble
blog will doubtless have noticed
me refer to before - FANTASTIC.
This worthy weekly was published
by ODHAMS PRESS, the debut
issue being cover-dated February
18th, 1967. At the time of its
release, I was too busy lusting over
the feminine charms of SUSAN
STORM in the pages of WHAM!
to pay much heed to the arrival of
this new paper, but my mother
bought me a later issue from a
newsagent's kiosk on our way
home from shopping one day.
 
The issue in question was #7
(cover-dated April 1st) - and I
was hooked! How could I not be,
with stories like THOR - "THE
THUNDER GOD AND THE
THUG!" X-MEN - "TRAPPED:
ONE X-MAN!", IRON MAN -
"VERSUS KALA, QUEEN OF
THE NETHERWORLD!", along-
side the superb adventures of THE
MISSING LINK for good measure?
I soon acquired the earlier issues, and
it wasn't too long before I became a
POWER COMICS junkie, buying
all five publications regularly.
(Wham!, SMASH!, POW!,
Fantastic, and TERRIFIC.) 

Fantastic had 40 pages per
issue, but not even that could
accommodate the above tales
in their entirety, so only the
first halves of the Thor and
X-Men stories were presented,
the remainder of these particular
adventures being completed the
following week. These early
LEE/KIRBY/HECK MARVEL
epics were printed in black and
white, but that - and the fact
that some characters' names
were changed from their
American originals - didn't
seem to spoil the readers'
enjoyment one whit.

For example, THE BLACK
WIDOW's name of NATASHA
was altered to NATASIA ('though
perhaps they're pronounced the
same, who knows?) and THE RED
GHOST's moniker was changed
(for reasons that later became
obvious to me) to THE APE
MASTER. I can still remember
my astonishment in a shop one
day at seeing this same FF story
in an issue of COLLECTORS'
ITEM CLASSICS after I had
already read it in WHAM! and
being bewildered at the altered
appellation of the baddie. How
was it possible, I wondered?

Nowadays, of course, I can
see that the amended lettering
in the British reprints is readily
discernible, although it wasn't
quite so apparent to me back
when I was a lickle kidlet.
(Okay, I was 8 - but that's
still 'lickle' in my book.)

Anyway, I have very fond
memories of Fantastic #7, so
I thought I'd kindly share a few
pages with you here. Remember,
if you enjoy them half as much
as me, then I'll have enjoyed
them twice as much as you.
(Profound, or what?) Doh!

2 comments:

Dougie said...

The design and colours of both covers are beautiful.
Fantastic was my favourite although I read at least two issues of Terrific (and an unknown number of Pow and Smash, where I probably first saw Batman and Robin.)

I loved the original line-up of the X-Men and I can picture my mum reading the issue with the Mimic and the Super-Adaptoid to me.

The next British comic to make an impact on me was Thunder. But Power Comics were my gateway drug to the U.S. originals.

Kid said...

I well remember reading that Mimic/Super Adaptoid story in Fantastic myself. Whenever I look at the issue now, I'm straightway back in the house I lived in at the time.

As for the original line-up of the X-Men, I always preferred them, so I was glad when they were reunited in X-Factor back in the '80s. It was one time I didn't mind seeing a character (Jean Grey) resurrected from the dead.

I think my brother only started buying Smash! for Batman & Robin 'cos it was on TV at the time, but we both also enjoyed Rubberman and The Hulk. I soon started buying it for myself.

Thunder was also one of my favourite comics. I've posted the covers of the three Annuals it spawned somewhere on my blog - and I only need to acquire a few issues to have a full set. Not long now.