Friday, 19 April 2019

REVIEW: THE COR!! BUSTER HUMOUR SPECIAL...


Copyright REBELLION

So much for The COR!! BUSTER Humour Special being on sale in WHS from the 17th - my local shop hadn't got their nine copies in when I checked yesterday (yes, I asked), so I had to wait until today to get my grubby mitts on the two issues I wanted.  Was it worth the wait?  I really hate reviewing comics, 'cos I'm always going to p*ss someone off if I don't give their work a glowing review, but someone has to give an honest opinion, as opposed to the fawning flattery that some bloggers are prone to.

REBELLION must be given credit for trying to revive these great British humour characters from yesteryear, but I'm not quite sure exactly what readership this publication is aimed at.  Is it for those who have fond memories of growing up with the characters, or is it for a completely new young audience?  If the former, then I'm not convinced they've been 100% successful.  The strength of strips like FRANKIE STEIN, FACEACHE, and KID KONG was the style of the artists who originally drew them, artists such as KEN REID and ROBERT NIXON, not to forget LEO BAXENDALE.  Not that there's much danger of that last bit, as the masterful TOM PATERSON does a bang-up job of capturing Bax's manic madness and mayhem without, in Grimly's case, being an outright imitation.

If it's the latter group, then some of the characters bear such little resemblance to their original incarnations that it makes me wonder if it's even worth reviving old characters when entirely new ones would probably serve just as well.  Kid Kong is no longer rendered in the cute and loveable way he used to be, and Frankie Stein has none of the magic of either the Reid or Nixon versions.  In fact, I'm obliged to ask - was the new Frankie artist even allowed to see any of the old strips?  PROFESSOR CUBE's manufactured 'offspring' bears no resemblance to the character that we of a certain age know and love, being more of a generic cartoon Frankenstein Monster knock-off.  (However, it's nice to see MICKY back, though here his name is now spelt Mickey.)

The SWEENY TODDLER and GRIMLY FEENDISH strips are the standout pages in the comic, and Rebellion should take note that they look much like they used to in happy days of yore, which is surely a strong indication of the way to go in any future Specials.  Regarding the title, I'd have gone with The BUSTER & COR!! Humour Special, seeing as that was the order of billing in the '70s.  If they're trying to appeal to 'nostalgists' like me, capturing the mood and the magic of yesteryear is what they should be aiming for, and using an original '70s title would have covered that.

One or two of the artists need to brush up (pun intended) on their layouts, as they're not leaving adequate space in the panels for lettering, resulting in some speech balloons being a bit 'all over the place', instead of in an easy-to-read sequence.  (Though in some instances it's the fault of the letterer.)  Also, the X-RAY SPECS artist, while doing a decent job, needs to pay more attention to his proportions and composition, as there's a couple of panels where RAY looks to be around six feet tall.

And yet, despite those observations, it's good to see the comic in the shops and I wish it well.  If it does take off, I hope the publishers decide to go back to the established, traditional look of the characters, rather than the updated visual appearance that most of them now sport.  Overall, they've done a good job though, and should you decide you'd like one, my local WHS has seven copies left, and they're only £4.99 each (for 52 full-colour pages).  Other branches are likely to have even more, but be sure to buy one before they get nicked.






DC SPECIALS UPDATE...



I've just updated my post about DC COMICS Limited Collectors' Editions by adding the SUPERMAN Vs. MUHAMMAD ALI Special from 1978.  Wanna take a look?  Then click here, effendi.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

BELATED THOUGHTS ON THE PASSING OF DEREK PIERSON...



Back in the mid-'80s, I used to visit London once (sometimes twice) a week for around two years, for the purpose of collecting (and delivering) freelance work I was then doing for IPC Magazines, based at the time in King's Reach Tower in Stamford Street.  I had a desk on the 26th floor, next to one used by art assistant KEVIN BRIGHTON, and sometimes one of his pals who worked in the building would pop up to see him.

His pal was DEREK PIERSON, who I've just this moment learned died back in 2016, and though I didn't know Derek well, I'm still saddened by the news.  Kev, Del (as Kevin called him), and myself sometimes lunched in the IPC canteen, wherein the above photo (taken by myself) was snapped circa 1986.  It's not a great photo, but I have a better quality copy of it somewhere, and I'll add it to this post when I find it.

Derek (among many other things) was a 'resize' artist, who used to resize the MARVEL reprints in the Odhams POWER COMICS back in the '60s, something that Kevin also did with reprint strips in much later IPC publications, and I assume it was that shared background (in different decades) which formed the basis of their friendship.  Anyway, I just wanted to belatedly note Derek's passing, as my days down in London in the company of Kev and Del are still ones I think back fondly on.

Cheers, Derek.  (And if anyone can tell me what Kevin is up to these days, I'd appreciate it.)

******

Makes you wonder what kind of scumbag would tick a post about someone's demise as funny.  Where do these morons come from?

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

MIGHTY MARVEL CHECKLIST - ON SALE APRIL 18th...


WOLVERINE & DEADPOOL #17

Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

76 pages of Marvel's Toughest Heroes!  Three awesome stories!

The Wolverine of the future invades Latveria with the help of Honey Badger, Hawkeye and Captain Marvel!

Logan is stalked by the deadliest hunter alive:  Kraven!  By Ed Brisson and Francesco Manna!

Deadpool is targeted by the Punisher!  Can Spider-Man and Daredevil help him out?  By Mike Benson and Carlo Barberi!

Features material first printed in All-New Wolverine #34, Old Man Logan #41 and Deadpool:  Suicide Kings #4-5.

On sale 18th April.

£4.99.

 ******

AVENGERS UNIVERSE #18 


76 pages of Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

The ‘No Surrender’ saga explodes as the Hulk is resurrected – and that’s NOT good news for the Avengers!  By Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub and Maco Medina!

Features material first printed in Avengers #685-688.

On sale 18th April.

£4.99.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

'TREASURY EDITIONS' POT LUCK COVER GALLERY...


Images copyright their respective owners

They might not wear the name of TREASURY EDITIONS (aside from the fourth one), but they certainly bear the dimensions, so here's a batch of random images from the few big mags I have left in my collection.  (Actually, that's not quite true - I have a MARVEL PIN-UP mag in this over-sized format, but I can't remember exactly where I put it.  I'll add it to the Marvel TE post when I eventually find it.)

Anyway, to start off with, here's a mag that I got back in 1982, possibly early '83 - the famous 'KING' KIRBY PORTFOLIO.  You'll see the TWOMORROWS reissue of it at the foot of this post, so have fun trying to spot the differences.  Next up is STERANKO's two volume set of the HISTORY Of COMICS, but apparently he got it wrong in places.  If you check 20th CENTURY DANNY BOY (in my bloglist), you'll see that DANIEL BEST talks about Steranko claiming that SUPERMAN's costume was inspired by The PHANTOM's;  however, The Phantom didn't appear until 1936 and although Superman wasn't published until 1938, he was actually created in 1933.

Then we have IDW's The ROCKETEER mag, which is a very nice item to have.  This collects his first adventure, but I don't know if there was a second volume with the wrap up.  Not that it matters too much, as I have the original issues, plus a hardback deluxe edition of all the DAVE STEVENS-drawn episodes.

Then, as previously mentioned, the TwoMorrows edition of JACK 'KING' KIRBY's 1970s mag.  I remember seeing the original advertised in the comics of the time and wondering what it would be like, but it took around ten years for me to find out.  The TwoMorrows version is expanded and printed on superior paper, so if you don't have it in your collection, you should have.  Straight on to ebay with you - after you share your reminiscences in the comments section of any or all of these great publications. 

Got a favourite?  Tell the world, effendi! 













Monday, 15 April 2019

A THIEF, A REAVER, A SLAYER...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS, the Estate of ROBERT E. HOWARD,
and GOR BLIMEY PRESS

For those of you who enjoyed the recent selected MARVEL TREASURY EDITIONS post, #4 has now been added.  Check it out here, CONAN fans!

Sunday, 14 April 2019

REMINISCING REPOST: STRANGE BUT TRUE DEPT...


Actor Robbie Coltrane

Isn't it funny the things that stick in your head as the years go by?  I remember one day, back in the late 1960s, my brother asking our parents about his middle name.  It turned out that he shared the same middle name as our grandfather on my mother's side.  This led me to ask from whom mine had come.  "You're named after Doctor McMillan", I was told.

DOCTOR McMILLAN - Doctor IAN McMillan - (now sadly deceased) was our family doctor whose Practice was in Rutherglen. I remember him as a tall, thin, kindly-faced gentleman, with grey or white receding hair and spectacles.  I also recall sitting in his waiting room on occasion, and, before that, him coming out to our house to attend to me when my mother splashed a kettle of boiling water on me when I was an infant.  Don't worry, it was an accident.  (Well... that first time anyway.)

Doctor McMillan was the kind of doctor that older people often lament doesn't exist anymore.  On many an occasion, I'd hear my mother extolling his virtues as a doctor and as a person to her friends.  Both my parents thought very highly of him, and were much saddened when he died.  They held him in such genuine regard and affection that he must've been a very fine man indeed.  It's safe to say that, as far as my parents (and doubtless his other patients) were concerned, a lot of doctors have since been measured against him - with no doubt quite a few found to be severely wanting.

Imagine my surprise then, when, sometime in the early '80s, I read a profile about actor ROBBIE COLTRANE in a local newspaper, and discovered that he was the son of our old family doctor.  Robbie's real surname is actually McMillan - he took the name Coltrane from the famous Jazz saxophonist JOHN COLTRANE.  I wonder if John put up much of a fight?  (Little joke there.)

So there you go.  I'm named after Robbie Coltrane's dad.  What's even more strange is that my father was called Robbie.  Thoughts of a NEW GENESIS-APOKOLIPS 'pact' spring to mind, but as to which one of us is ORION and which is MISTER MIRACLE I'll leave for others to decide.

(You must've known I'd squeeze some kind of tenuous comicbook link in there somehow.)

Saturday, 13 April 2019

(BOND) BABE OF THE DAY - CAROLINE MUNRO...



I only asked the seductive CAROLINE MUNRO if I could have one of her Jelly Babies, and she immediately assumed a threatening posture.  "You'll have to pry these Jelly Babies from my cold dead hands!" she growled.  A bit rich I thought, considering I'd bought them for her only five minutes before.  Never mind, I got my own back - I kept all my Liquorice Allsorts to myself.

DC COMICS LIMITED COLLECTORS' EDITIONS SELECTED COVER GALLERY (UPDATED)...


Copyright DC COMICS & MARVEL COMICS

Okay, so the DC COMICS large-sized Specials were (usually) actually called LIMITED COLLECTORS' EDITIONS, but they were essentially the same thing as a TREASURY EDITION, weren't they?  So we'll start off with DC/MARVEL collaborations, of which there are four here 'cos that's all I've got of the big 'uns.  I remember being ill in bed one day and waiting for a pal to finish work in Glasgow, as he was going to drop in on his way home and deliver my SUPERMAN Versus SPIDER-MAN.  I was so excited, I actually forgot that I was supposed to be ill.

I've got memories associated with the other ones too, but I won't bore you with them as I'm sure you'll have your own.  Anyway, enjoy remembering these great issues if you had them originally.  Regarding the FAMOUS 1st EDITIONS, some of them were also available in hardback and probably command a small fortune these days.  I've only shown the front cover of The AMAZING WORLD Of SUPERMAN, 'cos the back cover was the exact same, except that it didn't have the price.

Did you have any of these over-sized publications, Criv-ites?  Then let's here what you thought of them and whether you've still got them.  As for the next post, I've got a few surprises for you in a similar vein - don't miss it!

******

Update:  I've now added the SUPERMAN Vs. MUHAMMAD ALI Collectors' Edition, but I'm cheating a bit, as I've used the hardback facsimile edition, which I received earlier today (April 18th).  I never bought the original back in 1978, but purchased the smaller deluxe edition around 2010, which had bonus features (pencil art, etc.).  However, I kind of hankered over the facsimile as it's the same size as the original, and when I saw a still shrink-wrapped copy on ebay recently for a mere £15 (post free), I snapped it up.  (Another seller is currently asking for £168.28 for the same volume.  Not the original, the facsimile.  Unbelievable, eh?)   


This is actually a numbered Marvel Treasury Edition, but I've included it anyway 







Copyright from this point on, DC COMICS











And below is what the original looked like.  Have fun comparing.




Purchased in Southsea or Portsmouth in 1981.  Ah, memories



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