Saturday, 28 November 2015


Images copyright DC COMICS

I thought I'd already published a post on DOUBLE DOUBLE
COMICS, but I can't locate it anywhere on the Blog.  That doesn't
mean it doesn't exist of course, only that I can't find it.  Anyway, a few
days ago, a pal gave me this issue from the famous U.K. series, created
by distributor THORPE & PORTER, who combined four coverless
U.S. comics returned by newsagents into one big bumper periodical
with a 'new' cover derived from the front of an American title.

T&P were apparently breaking the law doing this, as the indicia
at the foot of each comic's splash page said that it "shall not be sold
or distributed with any part of its cover or markings removed", but
perhaps they had special dispensation.  The interesting thing about the
DD Comics was that there was no guarantee that any two copies with
the same new cover contained the same four comics, and sometimes
the odd MARVEL mag or two was included in what was usually a
DC COMICS mix (hence the new covers always featuring, as
far as I can determine, characters from the DC stable).

As you'll notice below, chronological issues weren't bound in
sequence unless by sheer coincidence, and I doubt that any special
effort was made for continued stories either.  However, four issues
originally priced at 10d or 12d each for only 1'9d represented ex-
tremely good value for money.  The price later increased to 2'6d,
or 12 and a half pence in decimal money, but then reduced to
10p.  However, I've read that some of the later issues contained
only three comics, so maybe that explains the lower price.

More issues in future posts, Criv-ites.  Don't miss 'em!


TC said...

Never saw a copy of Double Double, but I had several of the original comics collected in this issue.

The cover is from Detective Comics #345, which had the origin and first appearance of Blockbuster. I first read that story when it was reprinted in Batman #261.

The comics themselves are Detective #352, #357, #358, and #359. I had all except the last one, which marked the first appearance of Batgirl.

I remember reading #352 at my grandparents' home on a Saturday afternoon. IIRC, it came in one of those plastic bags that contained three comics. I think one of the others was Justice League or World's Finest, and the third may have been Metal Men or Wonder Woman. It was 1966, the height of the Batman TV fad, and each three-pack usually contained two comics with Batman.

"The Counter of Monte Carlo" involved spies smuggling microfilm, and I remember Sue Dibny saying it sounded "James Bondish." I vaguely understood who James Bond was, although I did not see a real Bond movie until 1970 or so. By 1966, the name was commonly used as a metaphor for both espionage and a cool action hero. And the spy-fi fad was influencing comics (S.H.I.E.L.D., T.H.U.N.D.E.R.) and TV (U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, Wild Wild West, I Spy).

A coloring goof in "The Tragedy of the Too-Lucky Thief" changed Elongated Man's costume from red to yellow, and there were complaints about it in the letters-to-the-editor page a few issues later. IIRC, there was a similar coloring glitch in one issue of Plastic Man at about the same time.

DC really played up "guest star" William B. Williams on the cover of #357. At the time, I had no idea who he was. Almost ten years later, he was the announcer and sidekick on a TV talk show, hosted by Sammy Davis Jr. To this day, that's the only thing I remember ever seeing him in IRL.

Phil said...

One reason I like your blog is you find stuff I have no idea even existed! Gorgeous art, crazy stories. Almost certainly illegal but since it was in the UK they figured who cares if we sell comics which were going to be thrown out! And you know what you have cheap reading material which isn't worth a lot of money but gives you great joy to read what more can you ask for.

Dougie said...

Interestingly, those are exactly the contents of my childhood copy! I thought I was very lucky to read the origin of both Batgirl AND The Spellbinder, who was CLEARLY going to be a major villain!
I wasn't keen on Elongated Man as a child but now I can see the basis of a light comedy tv series and the art is beautiful.

I've posted before about my favourite DD comic, repackaging Adventure Comics 365 with the cover of 366 and featuring the Powers and Origins of the Legion. I have two copies now but neither exactly matches my original from around 1970/71.

I owned four more- Superman ( punching effigy of Brainiac) , Action ( "Negative Crisis" JLA/JSA & Teen Titans at the Olympics) and Detective (False Face Society, 1962 Batman). I look forward to seeing if they are posted and with the contents I remember.

Kid said...

TC, when I received this comic on Wednesday, it was the first time I'd ever heard (that I remember) of Willian B. Williams. Being Sammy Davis Jr.'s sidekick on a chat show hopefully wasn't the apex of his career. I'd wondered about the colour change of EM's costume, so thanks for the info.


The good things about those DDCs, Phil, is the little gems you find inside. The first comic in this ish has the Carmine Infantino/Murphy Anderson rooftop Batman & Robin poster. Wow!


I won't spoil your sense of anticipation by telling you whether or not any of those issues make an appearance, Dougie. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy future posts in the series. Stay tuned.

TC said...

Apparently, Williams was a popular DJ on a local radio station in New York in the 1960's, but I don't recall him ever being a big star nation-wide. And the station's format was adult contemporary, so I doubt if his name would have meant much to preteen kids (then the main audience for comics), even in New York.

DD's collecting the comics at random, and in no particular order, was probably not a huge problem with Silver Age DC. Most of them had a complete story in one issue. It would be impractical today, with both DC and Marvel doing long serials, tie-ins, and line-wide crossovers.

Kid said...

Most of them indeed, TC, but DC did two or three part continued stories on occasion. I wonder if any of them were ever published in the DDCs and, if so, were they in sequence? Anyone know?

John Pitt said...

I have only recently found out that Top Sellers and Thorpe & Porter are one and the same!
And that it was T&P who published the Classics Illustrated Comics for the UK market - some of the very first Comic books I ever had, pre- DC. 1/- each, but welll worth it!!

Kid said...

I'd forgotten that, JP. I think they later changed their name to something else, but I can't remember what.

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