Tuesday, 2 September 2014

CLASSIC COMICS: TV ACTION #59...



Okay, Criv-ites - as a special treat, I thought I'd present you with
TV ACTION + COUNTDOWN #59, which I featured the cover of
in part four of my FAVOURITE COMICS Of The PAST series some
time back.  This time around 'though, you get the complete issue, plus
I've also thrown in the elucidating exposition which accompanied the
aforementioned previous pulsating post.  (Saves you looking it up.)

******

As I lay in bed on that lazy March or April mid-morning in 1972, I
was unaware that, in a few short weeks, I'd be moving house for the fourth
time in my thirteen and a half short years of existence.  Through the slightly
open window the sound of kids in the playground of my old Primary school
at the foot of the road reached my ears, as I sipped American Cream
Soda and enjoyed not having to attend the local Senior Secondary
educational establishment a couple of streets away.

Surrounded by a monumental mountain of comics, the inconse-
quential illness which had kept me from school was soon forgotten, as I
luxuriated in the privileged status of idle absenteeism while my classmates
busied themselves with the enforced academic application that such scholarly
study demands.  Looking back, it's strange to realise that, were it not for the
date on one particular comic cover establishing almost the exact moment
in history, my recollection of events would suggest them as having
occurred many months before their actual point in time.

The comic in question?  The 59th issue of COUNTDOWN, which
also happened to be the first issue relaunched under the new title of TV
ACTION.  Cover-dated April 1st, it had gone on sale on March 25th, and
perhaps the subsequent issue may even have been in that pile of comics on
top of the blankets.  I'm not 100% sure, hence my hesitation in pinpointing
the exact month of that school 'sickie' all those years ago.  All I know is
that it was around the end of March or the beginning of April.

However, as I said - that was only a mere handful of weeks away
from moving to a 'new' house in another area.  I was blissfully unaware
of the fact, although no doubt my conspiratorial parents had been making
arrangements for some time.  I was only told of the move about a fortnight
in advance, which, with hindsight, I'm actually glad of, as the knowledge
would probably have spoiled the last occasion I had a day off from
school in the house I'd lived in since I was seven years old.

One glance at the above comic and I'm once again lying in bed on
that morning in 1972, listening to the faint noises from the street as they
drift in through my inch-open window - the knowledge that one chapter
of my life was about to end and another begin still concealed behind
the enveloping cover of Time's cascading curtain.


******

If you have any fond memories of this particular issue,
feel entirely free to share them with your fellow Criv-ites in
our captivating comments section.





















20 comments:

John Pitt said...

Brilliant! - yet another one given back to me in its entirety. I did have this, but not at the start. I missed out when it first came out, but one day I came across a full set of TVA plus the last few Countdowns for a few pence each.Needless to say I bought the whole lot! And when I got them home I couldn't believe what I had missed. - Itwas like TV21 all over again!

Kid said...

For some strange reason, I passed on Countdown when it first came out, JP. I remember looking through the first issue in my local newsagent's and deciding it wasn't for me. However, once the comic started reprinting Fireball XL5 and Stingray strips from TV21, I started buying it regularly. That's why I continued to buy it when it became TV Action. 'Twas a good little comic.

Dunsade Dave said...

The Gerry Haylock art in that Doctor Who strip is stunning! He captured Pertwee's likeness perfectly. Thanks for sharing, Kid.

Kid said...

A pleasure, DD. Thanks for commenting. I guess Gerry used photographic reference for the Doctor, but I thought his Daleks were a bit skinny. Still great art 'though.

John Pitt said...

Gerry Haydock's Daleks may not have been perfect, but they were a lot better than Patrick Williams's, who was excellent at drawing Patrick Troughton ( again, did he use photographs? ), but, bless him, his Daleks were very two - dimensional. This is what made his 68 annual story instantly recognizable as " the artist who drew the Wall's ice lolly cards "!
[ By the way, I forgot to mention that it was on a market stall where I picked up the comics so cheaply! ]

Dunsade Dave said...

Something I've really come to appreciate over the past few years is just how high the standards were in British comics in the past. Artists like Frank Bellamy and Ron Embleton (and his brother Gerry) in particular produced some fantastic work, but they seem to be relatively underappreciated these days, maybe just because their work is harder to find for the casual reader than the latest Marvel or DC trade paperback.

Kid said...

Patrick Williams must've had inadequate reference I assume, as his Daleks only had one light on their heads. In that '68 strip, JP, he's forgotten to white in the 'grill' on a Dalek's head in one panel. So I agree that Gerry Haylock's Daleks are better (I even remember noticing at the time - 1972 - that his Daleks were, in the main, more accurate), but the perfectionist in me wishes he'd got the body shape more spot-on. Have you still got those TV Actions?

******

I think part of the problem, DD, is that younger readers are unaware of them because their work doesn't appear in contemporary publications - except for reprint editions aimed at an older readership interested in nostalgia. If the Gerry Anderson programmes were big on TV at the moment, the classic TV21 strips could be reprinted for a younger age group.

John Pitt said...

Curse my blurry eyesight! I typed "Haydock" instead of Haylock. Really SHOULD check before I submit.
Anyway, what's Sinestro doing in the Countdown strip?

Kid said...

You know these villains, JP - they like to get around.

John Pitt said...

Sadly I sold them in'96 along with many other comics. I now wish I had every comic back.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Ahh American Cream Soda that's a blast from the past - I haven't had that drink since I was a wee boy - it was the sort of ginger I would have drank when I was about 10 years old along with a Caramac bar (just to put an edge on that sugar rush) whilst reading my comics - only Cremola Foam ( 4 scoops)or an Irn Bru ice float was better.

Some amazing artwork in these TV inspired comics - were they all based on TV shows as I don't recall "Tightrope" or Countdown" at all. I assume "Let the Aliens land" is a "UFO" spin-off or TV film based on the series? - good to see Brian Lewis art on that strip. I seem to have a distant memory of "Autocat and MotorMouse" (10 years of "Sugar rushes" does that to your memory)but not sure if they had their own cartoon series or if it was a back up feature to something. Nice looking comic (Dr Who art is very striking)

Kid said...

Wish I had all mine back, JP - and all my toys. I'm getting there, slowly but surely, but I can't guarantee I've got enough years left to finish the quest.

******

McScotty, Tightrope was a 1972 programme starring Spencer Banks from Timeslip fame. I'm not sure if I ever saw it on TV or not - probably did 'though. Actually TV Action got it wrong - the Hanna-Barbera cartoon was actually called Motormouse & Autocat, and was a segment of a longer programme in America. I think it was only a 'filler' on British TV, but I could be mistaken. Countdown, I believe, was an original strip created for the comic, using designs from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Philip Crawley said...

Great post Kid! Even though I have the whole run in digital form it's not the same as being able to pull a book off the shelf or open up the box / filing cabinet /drawer (or wherever old comics live at your house) and take a trip into your past. Great art on the whole, with Doctor Who and the Anderson series usually being blessed with the best artists. John Burns work on the Countdown strip was always a highlight for me and any of the TV21 reprints with the great Embleton at the brush. Bit late I know but I will just mention that I enjoy being able to comment in the comments section, read all of your posts and quite often the comments on an almost daily basis.

Kid said...

PC, I have a number of original issues, plus the complete run in digital format. In general, sometimes I'll scan my own issues of a particular series, sometimes I'll use digital issues, and sometimes I'll mix and match to get the best possible quality. Glad to hear you're a regular reader.

John Pitt said...

Getting back to DW, I have recently discovered that they are rerunning old episodes on the "horror channel"!
By, the late Elisabeth Sladen was SO beautiful! ( sigh )

Kid said...

I was shocked when she died - at far too young an age, sadly. I'm glad she got her own series in the last few years of her life - she deserved it.

DeadSpiderEye said...

John Burns, not Byrn, as I referred to him last time, his pen-work is sublime but some of his characterisations, like Crosta here, got a bit wild for me, during the later run of the strip. He remains one of my favourite draughtsman too, he's got something of the flair that was more common amongst the Spanish artists from the 70's. Not sure what I can say about the colour, very 70's, I think he was the first to take it that far, although Frank Bellamy was a bit of trendsetter in that department but his use of stylised colour slightly more restrained.

Kid said...

I have to confess that I wasn't wild about some of the art in Countdown, John Burns included. All those half-faces in colour, devoid of detail, just didn't do it for me. Of course, I wasn't aware then that the Countdown artists were under enormously tight deadlines, so no doubt shortcuts were taken in order to get things done on time. I saw John Burns art in 2000 A.D. some time ago, and I though that it was much better and more detailed - very nice indeed.

DeadSpiderEye said...

So it's all down to time constraints?and I thought it was early 70's exuberance. Do you know what sort of pressures they were under cos I can't recall the workload going much over 2 pages for any of the strips.

Kid said...

From what I understand, DSE, some stories (usually ones by Dennis Hooper) hadn't even been scripted when issues were almost due to go to the printers. As the artist was dependent on the writer for the story, that meant the strip then had to be turned around in double quick time. That's a lot of pressure for any artist to work under.

(Originally posted on 5 September 2014 at 20:41.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...