Monday, 21 May 2012

'A TOUCH OF CLASS' - PART ONE...



Here's a cover that brings back happy memories for me.  There
used to be a hospital shop in my town from which could be obtained
comics and magazines that were extremely difficult or impossible to find
in other outlets.  Black and white MARVEL and WARREN horror mags?
This shop had 'em.  ALAN CLASS comics?  This shop had them, too.  The
above comic was obtained from the hospital shop some time between 1976
and '78, and I remember sitting on a bench next to a burn (a Scottish word
for a watercourse, from a large stream to a small river) and reading it on my
way home.  (I should perhaps add that I only visited the shop as a customer
and not as a patient, lest you become overwhelmed with sympathy
for my seemingly poor constitution.) 

It was my custom as a youth to clear space in my collection
from time to time, whenever I needed to make some room for new
comics or simply because certain issues had supplied as much enjoyment
as I considered they were ever likely to and were now no longer essential to
my requirements.  Consequently, I was forever passing comics on to my pal
JOE, who was an eager recipient of my cast-offs.  Occasionally I regretted
parting with an odd issue or two and Joe seemed perfectly happy to relin-
quish them back into my fickle care.  Amongst the many mags I bestowed
upon him were all but one of my Alan Class titles, and I presumed
that was the last I would ever see of them.

Cut to over thirty years later, and - as related in an earlier post -
Joe turns up at my door one night clutching various carrier bags full of
comics:  "I thought you might like these back", quoth he.  Well, I didn't re-
claim all of them, but amongst the ones I did were eleven surviving Alan
Class mags I had last seen more than three decades before.  (Although no
sign of the one with MR. GREGORY AND THE GHOST, which I also re-
member reading on that bench back in the '70s.  It would've been nice to
re-acquire that one too, but Joe never kept every comic I gave him,
alas.)  Added to the one I'd kept, I now had an even dozen.
  
So here, to start things off, is the first of a series of Alan Class covers
(derived, of course, from various American titles by different publishers)
for you to feast your eyes upon.  Hopefully it may stir pleasant memories of
happier, more innocent times in your life, too.  A new hospital with interior
shop now stands close to where the originals were once located, 'though
somehow, whenever I look at certain Alan Class comic covers, it's not
too difficult to imagine that things are exactly the same as they were
back in my teenage years. 

7 comments:

Dougie said...

I discovered the THUNDER Agents and Captain Atom through Alan Class comics. I looked on them as very poor substitutes for Marvel and DC, though. They tended to be more prevalent in bus and railway stations, I seem to recall. Did they survive beyond the early 70s?

Kid said...

That's also how I discovered the THUNDER Agents, Dougie. Alan Class published his comics up until 1989 before calling it quits. Let's hope he's enjoying a well-earned retirement.

Anonymous said...

Same here I remember so many great Wally Wood (Ditko etc) Thunder Agents strips in Sinister Tales etc- also those great Ditko. Kirby etc (Atlas comics) reprints. I especially love these titles for the obscure (at least they were to me then) characters like like Judo Master, Captain Atom, Fly-Man, the Jaguar, Sarge Steele,Thunderbolt, Phantom, Mandrake the Magician,Steel Sterling, The Webb, Black Hood and (my fav at the time ) the Crusaders (I enjoy rattling of a list) and a character that was basically a fat boy wit a strange hair style - basically I really liked Alan Class comics poor printing but mostly a good read - McScotty

Kid said...

The printing certainly got worse as the years passed, McScotty. The plates must have been worn thin, as the same issues were churned out ad infinitum. (Or so it seemed anyway.)

Dougie said...

I'd forgotten that I read some of the Mighty Crusaders stories in Alan Class comics. I liked Fly Man, Fly Girl and the Hangman best.

Nick Caputo said...

Although I'm a Brooklyn boy, I'm fascinated by Alan Class comics, as I am by Pow, Smash and all the other British reprints, as well as the stories of youthful collecting that go with them. As far away as we were logisitically, they mirror my own thoughts and images that rush back when I look on the comics I purchased sd s lad.

For instance, that first Human Torch story was seen in Marvel Tales #4, bought by my older brother John (you know him - he's been seen slummimng around your blog lately) while on a trip to my grandmothers house. There was a large store on the corner that sold sodas and ice cream, but also had a large display of comics and magazines. It was always a thrill to go there and purchase a few comics, and I distinctly recall my brother buting the 25 cent Marvel Tales, Fantasy Masterpieces, Marvel Collectors Item Classics and magazines such as Monsters and Heroes, which also had comic book content.

Thanks for making those wonderful memories flood back.

Kid said...

Thanks for sharing those wonderful memories, Nick. I always enjoy reading your little 'slices of life' reminiscences whenever you visit my humble blog.