Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Images copyright relevant owner

When COUNTDOWN comic came out in 1971, I gave the first issue a cursory browse-through on my local newsagent's counter, but wasn't particularly impressed by it.  Consequently, I didn't start buying it until later, when it began reprinting some FIREBALL XL5, STINGRAY, and CAPTAIN SCARLET strips from TV CENTURY 21.  (I think they reprinted some THUNDERBIRDS ones too, but that may have been later - can't quite recall offhand.)  Only six or so years had elapsed since I'd first read the Fireball and Stingray strips, but that was half my life away at that point and therefore seemed a much longer period of time.

There was one Fireball adventure I particularly loved, which takes place on URANITURE, a planet seemingly populated by living snowmen.  Countdown reprinted the colour pages in black and white, two pages to one, but that didn't overly bother me as it was great to see MIKE NOBLE's dynamic, action-packed art again in any form.  I decided to extract these pages and assemble them in their own mini-comic, but I made a bit of a hash of it and, embarrassed by my less-than-perfect attempt, eventually discarded my homemade efforts to the dustbin of history.

However, over the years, it always bothered me slightly that I hadn't succeeded in my lofty goal, and though I now possess various colour and black and white reprints of this particular tale and don't really need any more, I decided to have another crack at it.  I own quite a few issues of Countdown, but not the numbers containing this particular adventure.  I do have access to them though, so I printed them out and assembled them under a cardboard cover, and - viola - I've finally completed the task I set myself 46 plus years back.  It does my heart proud to finally finish something begun so long ago.  Why, I'm almost overcome with emulsion.

Have you any similar tales to tell, frantic ones?  If so, let loose in the comments section.  And if you'd like to read this Fireball tale, click here for part one.

(Update:)  If I may be permitted a little self-indulgence, this adventure, as I said, first appeared in colour in TV Century 21 (#34, September - #39, October, back in 1965), and whenever I look at the colour version, I associate the strip with the house I lived in at the time, plus the route leading to the newsagent's around the corner from me, and the shop itself, from where I usually bought the comic.

Jump forward six years to October 1971 and Countdown #38, when the first episode of the strip was reprinted (ending in #43, December), and the black and white version has different associations for me.  I was living in a different house in another neighbourhood by this time, and purchasing my comics from another newsagent's, so obviously they're what spring to mind when I look at Countdown's monochrome pages.  Remarkably though, the manager of the first shop (Chamber's) was now in charge of the second shop (R.S. McColl's), so I also associate both incarnations of the tale with him, a gentleman by the name of Mr. Smith.

I'm also astonished to realise that a mere six months after the story ended in Countdown, I was living in yet another house in yet another area, because it seems that I held on to my homemade 'collected edition' in the previous house for far longer than that.  Isn't it strange that the same strip can have two separate associations with two different times and places, simply because of the different way in which they were presented?            

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...