Tuesday, 29 January 2019

PART TWENTY-TWO OF COMIC COVERS 'SNAP'! - PINK PANTHER #1 & AMAZING FANTASY #15...


Images copyright respective owners

Just saw the above comic on ebay and had to buy it.  When I was a secondary school kid, one of the repertoire of comics and cartoon characters I drew was the PINK PANTHER, so I've always had a soft spot for him.  (I had the impression that 'he' was actually a 'she' in the animated titles of the first PP movie, starring PETER SELLERS, but having just checked the opening credits, I see it isn't so.  I'll have to watch the end credits to see if that was what gave me the notion.)  Anyway, as you can see, it's an 'homage' to AMAZING FANTASY #15, which contained SPIDER-MAN's first appearance.  Hard to tell them apart, isn't it?  (He said, jokingly.)


Friday, 25 January 2019

MIGHTY MARVEL CHECKLIST - ON SALE NOW!!!


Copyright MARVEL COMICS, published by PANINI

AVENGERS UNIVERSE #15

100 page special!

A new epic begins!  All the Avengers teams are united as Earth is stolen!  Two teams of alien warriors wreak havoc!  The Grandmaster returns – and so does Voyager, the lost Avenger!  Don’t miss the start of ‘No Surrender’ by Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub and Pepe Larraz!

Featuring material first printed in Avengers #675-678.

On sale from 24th January.

£4.99.


WOLVERINE  & DEADPOOL #14

76 pages of mutant mayhem!  Three wild stories!

Wolverine travels into the past and meets her father – and the lethal Sabretooth too!  By Tom Taylor and Ramon Rosanas!

Old Man Logan tackles Bullseye, the world’s deadliest assassin!  By Ed Brisson and Dalibor Talajic!

Deadpool accepts a job from the worst client in the world – and soon wishes he hadn’t!  A new story begins: ‘Suicide Kings’!  By Mike Benson and Carlo Barberi!

Featuring material first printed in Generations: All-New Wolverine #1, Old Man Logan #38 and Deadpool:  Suicide Kings #1.

On sale from 24th January.

£4.99.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

BABE OF THE DAY - RAQUEL WELCH...



Must be murder going for a stroll along the beach dragging a gammy leg.  However, the lovely RAQUEL WELCH bravely soldiers on, despite the pain.  Hope it gets better soon, Raquel.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

FRANKIE, FRANKIE, WHEREFORE ART THOU, FRANKIE...?



You're looking at two pages of artwork that I once owned for many years.  Before I parted with them, I had them professionally duplicated, actual size, at a printers in Glasgow.  They're as close to the original art as it's possible to be, without actually being the original art.  KEN REID generally drew each page in two halves, which were then joined together before publication in WHAM! comic back in the '60s.

I generously supplied high quality copies of them (as well as a half page of The NERVS, the first one to feature Ken's hand-drawn masthead for the strip) to a part-time publisher to help him sell two volumes of Ken Reid's ODHAMS PRESS work, on the understanding that I would receive prints of whatever was used in promoting the product.  As yet, the four half-page Frankie prints are outstanding, so I'm hoping this gentle reminder will prompt him to fulfill his obligation to me for providing the pages to him in the first place.

You may be wondering why I want them if I already have the images in a larger size, but the answer is simple.  "A promise made is a debt unpaid", and as I always pay my debts, I expect others to do the same with me.  That's not too much to ask, is it?  No, I didn't think so.

Great images, eh?  Are you a Ken Reid fan?  Fell free to wax lyrical as to why in the comments section.
     


Monday, 21 January 2019

CONAN THE TRUE BELIEVER...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  The 2019 reprint of CTB #1

At long last!  CONAN The BARBARIAN is back where he belongs - at MARVEL COMICS.  I saw the TRUE BELIEVERS reprint of #1 on RIP JAGGER's blog on Friday and promptly bought a few copies from various mail order dealers.  The first of them arrived today (that's it above) and is a joy to behold.  Around a year or two ago, I purchased the original 1970 issue, but had the TB edition been available, I might not have bothered.  (But, then again, might have.)

If you're not lucky enough to own the original, then the new reprint is the next best thing, the main difference being that the height of Conan's name in the logo has been compressed to allow for the True Believers banner.  The story has, of course, been reprinted quite a few times over the years, so I thought I'd present the ones which featured the original cover (in some form or other) from my own collection.  So here they are, starting in reverse order from the one above.

The name was amended to 'Conan The Adventurer', but that aside, this UK
weekly featured the original Barry Smith tale.  The mag lasted 3 issues 

This 11 issue run preceded the UK weekly title by just a few
months.  (Despite the cover date, it went on sale in March)

This b&w UK Pocket Book hit the shops in 1980, and lasted for 13 issues

Savage Sword Of Conan #1 hit newsagents in 1975, lasting 18 weekly issues

The original 1970 issue that started it all

The first and the latest - side-by-side

RUMINATING REPOST: BOB - BETTER BRING BILL - BATMAN'S BACK...


Images copyright DC COMICS

Remember the BATMAN craze of the '60s?  TOPPS published a set of cards to cash-in on the interest that the TV show had incited, and to anyone who had them back in 1966, the above and below images will surely bring back happy memories of their childhood.  A further two sets were released after the first, and - fortunately, for people like myself who never kept the originals - Topps reissued them back in 1989 when the TIM BURTON/MICHAEL KEATON/JACK NICHOLSON big-budget Batman movie hit the screens.

What amazes me is that the reissue came out around 30 years ago, whereas there was only a 23 year interval between them and the originals.  That means I've now owned the reissued cards far longer than I would've had the first set, had I kept them (which I didn't) until the new ones came out in '89 - yet it doesn't seem like anywhere near 30 years ago since I acquired them.  In fact, sometimes it doesn't even feel like it was 53 years ago since '66 - other times it does, alas.

Ah, happy days.  More '60s Batman merchandise soon, perhaps.

Incidentally, in case you were wondering about the contrived title, it alludes to BOB KANE and BILL FINGER, the men who brought Batman to four-colour comicbook life back in 1939.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

HORROR HUMOUR...


Voice off:  "Fido, what have I told you about sitting on the furniture?"
(Or:  "Get down, Shep!")

Okay, Criv-ites, time for some fun!  Take a look at the three photos and see if you can dream up a humorous caption for each of them.  I've started things off with some mediocre lines of my own - see if you can top them.

Man on right:  "I'm gonna have you, big guy!"
Hermit:  "Leave it, Frankie, he's not worth it!"

"It wasn't my fault she fell - she walked into me!"

Friday, 18 January 2019

HUNK OF THE MONTH - BIG BAD BORIS...



Here's a great publicity photo of BORIS KARLOFF as the MONSTER Of FRANKENSTEIN.  No other actor was quite so effective in the role - he really looks like a resuscitated corpse, don't you think?  So give it up for Karloff the Uncanny!

Thursday, 17 January 2019

MIGHTY MARVEL CHECKLIST - ON SALE NOW!!!


Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

THE ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN Vol. 7, #19

100 pages!  Stan Lee Tribute issue!

As well as the usual arachnid-action, including the next awesome chapter of the Spidey/Venom crossover, Venom Inc., this issue celebrates the life and legacy of the legendary Stan Lee with some of his greatest tales - from his very first printed story to one of his most recent.  An issue to be treasured by Marvel fans for years to come.

Reprinting material from Spider-Man/Deadpool #25, Venomverse #5, Stan Lee Meets Amazing Spider-Man #1, Fantastic Four Annual #1, Amazing Spider Man #87, Captain America Comics #3Tales Of Suspense #78, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.

On sale 17th January.

£4.99.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

ROGER'S BOND - OVER, BUT NOT OUT...


Copyright News UK

The late ROGER MOORE never received the credit he deserved for what he accomplished in his acting career in my opinion.  He played two iconic characters, The SAINT and JAMES BOND, and despite a valiant attempt by IAN OGILVY (who had the voice, but not the visual 'presence'), no one has ever successfully replaced him in the former role, and only PIERCE BROSNAN managed to recapture the same degree of charm that Roger had in the latter.

When Roger took on the role of Bond, he had to do two things:  First, he had to shake off the shadow of SIMON TEMPLAR (with whom he was yet associated, the show then still being occasionally repeated on TV), and second, he had to fill the shoes of SEAN CONNERY - which GEORGE LAZENBY had already demonstrated was no easy feat.  The fact that Moore achieved both seemingly insurmountable tasks - against the odds - is testament that his talent was more than simply being able to raise an eyebrow.

I'd been lucky enough to see Connery's Bond films on the big screen before Roger's debut as 007, and when I heard the announcement that he'd been given the role, my first thought was that Bond movies would now be just like extended episodes of the Saint.  After all, the characters were more-or-less cut from the same cloth, and, budgets aside, the stories weren't too dissimilar.  Okay, one was a secret agent and the other was a lone operative, but some of the Saint stories could easily, with minor amendments, be Bond plots - and vice versa.

So, as I say, initially I was skeptical when news of Roger's new role was revealed, but my reservations evaporated completely upon seeing LIVE & LET DIE - Roger was James Bond.  Let's be honest, although great in his first three movies, Sean (as I've said before) had tired of the role in subsequent instalments of the franchise, and the role had likewise tired of him.  From the lean, mean, hungry agent of Dr. NO, From RUSSIA With LOVE, and GOLDFINGER, he had become a puffy, jowly, bloated and bored-looking 'get me outta here' actor in THUNDERBALL, You Only LIVE TWICE, and DIAMONDS Are FOREVER.

Familiarity, and the fact that events in the real world soon caught up, have dulled our senses to the comicbook elements of the fantastic that the early Bond movies contained.  Undersea lairs with nuclear reactors, rockets capturing lunar modules in space, secret HQs concealed within hollowed-out volcanoes, etc., would've seemed pretty outrageous to audiences at the time, but no longer so fantastic or unlikely when seen on TV today.  That's because they don't seem so over-the-top when measured against the achievements of modern technology.

Bond's ASTON MARTIN D.B.5 simply isn't big enough to contain the gallons of water emitted in the pre-credits sequence of Thunderball, so Sean's films were every bit as absurd as Roger's are accused of being by some people.  The LOTUS ESPRIT 'submarine' car is just another step in that direction (as is the hovercraft gondola), but these factors were dictated by each new movie having to outdo the ones that preceded it, not by the actor in the role.  (Connery himself concedes that Moore inherited the move away from 'reality'.)

It seems to me that Roger unfairly copped the flak for things that the scriptwriters dreamed up, and had Sean continued in the part, the same things would've been in his movies too.  It was TOM MANCIEWICZ who set the direction that Roger inherited, when he came onboard with Diamonds Are Forever, upping the camp aspect of the films.  Remember the scene in DAF where Bond is apparently snogging a woman below an outdoor stairway, but it turns out that he isn't?  Audiences laughed (despite the scene only working from their pov - PETER FRANKS, climbing the stairs, had he looked, would've sussed it immediately), but had that been Roger, his detractors would never have let us hear the end of it.

Remember Bond (in Goldfinger) emerging from a lake with a duck on his head, with a dinner suit under his wetsuit?  Who can forget it?  The point is, however, that the Bond films have always had elements of self-parody from day one, so it's unfair to blame Roger for characters like JAWS (who was cast in the same mould as the seemingly invincible ODDJOB), when all he did was say the lines given to him and not trip over the furniture.

But I've strayed from my initial point.  Most people at the time thought Bond was over with Connery's departure, but Live & Let Die out-performed Diamonds Are Forever at the box office and proved that Roger was the right man for the role.  To successfully take over an established character (and make it his own) was no mean feat, and Roger was perhaps the only man in the acting world who could do such a thing at the time.  Connery had been the Bond of the '60s, but Roger was Bond for the '70s (and part of the '80s), and I for one enjoyed his Bond movies every bit as much as his predecessor's.

So here's to Roger - nobody did it better!

Saturday, 12 January 2019

JOE KUBERT'S TOR 2008 COVER GALLERY...


Images copyright relevant owner

In 1975, DC COMICS released the first issue of a new bi-monthly comic by JOE KUBERT, called simply TOR.  I bought it, but I was unaware that five subsequent issues followed in it's wake until many years later, though they were merely reprints of 1950s stories featuring the character.  I couldn't tell you how long I kept that first issue, but sometime in the late '80s or early to mid-'90s, I obtained a replacement for it, which I retain to this day.  And, just last year, in October, I managed to acquire issues 2-6 in that '70s run.

However, in 2008, DC released a new, six-issue series of Tor, again by Joe Kubert, and I bought that first issue too, meaning that I then had two first issues of the same character, divided by 43 years.  Well, guess what?  Today I received issues 2-6 in that run also, meaning that I've now completed the set just over ten years after it first came out.  Believe it or not, there was also a four-issue MARVEL/EPIC series of Tor in 1993, but I'll probably not bother with that as I didn't know about it at the time, and only learned of it back in October.

And, truth to tell, I can't claim to be a huge fan of the character (though I do like Joe Kubert's art), and only bought the original first issues because they were new number ones.  The collecting compulsion can be a powerful thing, and that's the main reason I eventually decided to complete both sets - simply in order to finish what I'd begun back in 1975 and 2008.  (It was almost like revisiting the past in the process.)

So, as I never knew about the Marvel series and never bought the first issue back in '93, I can live without them.  Having said that, if they should ever come up at a reasonable price, I may indulge myself.  After all, never say never.  Not that you're interested in any of that, you're just here for the pictures.

So - here they are...   





BELATED BEANO 2018 CHRISTMAS ISSUE REVIEW...


Copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

I've only just received it from the publishers (missed it in the shops, had to order it direct from DCT), so here's a belated BEANO review of #3964, the Christmas issue for 2018.  Not a big fan of the tat that comes with it, but perhaps kids will love it, though I suspect the ones that do will be at the younger end of the spectrum.  However, didn't mind the poster and joke book as they're the sort of things I'd have liked as a kid.

I've been buying the Christmas Beano every year since 1978 and 40 years later I'm still doing so, but I'm undecided as to whether this'll be my last or not.  40 years is a long time, but then again, 50 years has a nice ring to it and it's only a further 10 issues, so maybe I'll keep going until 2028.  I'll wait until the next one before I make up my mind.

So, what's the verdict?  Got quite a few chuckles out of it so it gets a thumbs up, though I'm not sure I like the idea of Beanotown where all the characters live and attend the same school.  I think I preferred things when, the occasional guest spot or symbolic cover aside, each character seemed to operate in their own self-contained environment.


Also don't like the feminist agenda of having MINNIE The MINX getting the better of DENNIS The MENACE (he is supposed to be the star of the comic after all), nor the tag-line of 'She's tougher than all the boys...'  Dennis is diminished by this sort of thing and this sort of PC indoctrination on behalf of the 'sisterhood' doesn't really belong in a comic.  By all means make her the equal (as she always was) of Dennis (and ROGER and the like), but not his superior.


Still dislike the 'new look' Dennis's Dad and would prefer to see the original DAVEY LAW version.  It's been sort of suggested in a previous strip or two that Dad might be the original Dennis that my age group read when we were kids, and the current one is his son, but that wouldn't explain GNASHER & GNIPPER, nor him being contemporaneous with the original BASH STREET KIDS and other characters.  However, this sort of thing will only bother some long-time readers like myself, not the current crop of younger readers unaware of the characters' histories.

So, my usual nitpicking aside, it was good to continue a 40 year tradition and add this issue to my collection, and, overall, I enjoyed it.  I still prefer the 'classic' look of Dennis, but the art is of a professional standard and the absence of the inferior art style that dominated the doomed DANDY in its final couple of years was reassuring.  I still wish it was a standard weekly issue instead of a boxed 'special', but perhaps that's just my personal nostalgia for the past speaking.

Did you buy this issue, readers?  (And if so, are you brave enough to admit to it if you're an adult?)  Share your opinion of it in our comments section.    

Thursday, 10 January 2019

MIGHTY MARVEL CHECKLIST - ON SALE NOW!!!


Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI


MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL #11

76 pages!  Four awesome Marvel Universe adventures!

Star-Lord and Nova discover a shocking secret in deep space!  By Gerry Duggan & Marcus To!

The Thing and the Human Torch team up with Hercules to battle Hydro-Man!  By Chip Zdarsky & Valerio Schiti!

Hawkeye uncovers the dark secret of the Take Back Control cult!  By Kelly Thompson & Leonardo Romero!

A 1960s Marvel classic – Doctor Strange battles the sinister Demon!  By the legendary Stan Lee & Steve Ditko!

Featuring material first printed in Guardians of the Galaxy #147, Marvel Two in One #3, Hawkeye #4 and Strange Tales #128.

On sale 10th January.

£4.99.



ESSENTIAL X-MEN #10

76 pages of Mutant Mayhem!

Something is seriously wrong with the X-Men's history, and the Blue Team are in big trouble!  Guest-starring Generation X!  By Cullen Bunn & RB Silva!

The Gold Team enter the Negative Zone to rescue Kitty and Nightcrawler! By Marc Guggenheim & Ken Lashley!

Featuring material first printed in X-Men: Gold #17 and X-Men: Blue #17-19.

On sale 10th January.

£4.99.



DEADPOOL UNLEASHED #23

76 pages of Marvel’s hottest hero!

Deadpool is on the run, and Rogue has sworn to bring him in!  Good luck with that, sugah!  By Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli & Scott Koblish!

The Assassins Guild attacks!  Deadpool battles Razor Fist in New Orleans!  By Cullen Bunn & Mark Bagley!

Featuring material first printed in Despicable Deadpool #293-294 and Deadpool: Assassin #1-2.

On sale 10th January

£4.99.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

DON'T FORGET TO REMEMBER NOT TO FORGET...


Copyright relevant owner

Something that occurred to me a good while back is just how fickle memory can be when it comes to seeing something or someone out of its/their usual context.  For example, if a woman assistant in one of my local shops says hello to me on her day off, because I see her in civvies and away from the surroundings with which I associate her, I might wonder who she is - until I see her in the shop the next day and then it hits me.  (Who's the buggah who said I should be hit more often?  Cheek!)

It's the same with actors.  I remember watching IVANHOE on TV in the '60s, and remembered the theme tune and everything.  Everything except that it was the same actor, ROGER MOORE, who I saw playing The SAINT a few years later.  Same goes for PETER PURVES, who played one of DOCTOR WHO's assistant before joining BLUE PETER - yet it never once occurred to me at the time that it was the same person.  Was I just a total thicko?  (Too enthusiastic a response in the affirmative there, Crivvies.)

I'm sure that most of you will have seen VIC REEVES' & BOB MORTIMER's version of classic TV show RANDALL & HOPKIRK (DECEASED).  I recalled the first episode years after the fact - then I watched it again on DVD and was surprised to see DAVID TENNANT playing a prominent role.  Why didn't I recognise him when I saw him in CASANOVA and Doctor Who?  

So, is there something you thought you remembered long after the fact, only to find on re-encountering it that there was an element of it you'd forgotten - but shouldn't have?  Do tell.  It doesn't have to be about actors or TV shows - anything's fair game. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

ROGER MOORE - THE 007 DIARIES...


Photo copyright TERRY O'NEILL

Just a little over five years ago, I managed to acquire a replacement for a paperback book I'd first bought (and read) back in 1973 - ROGER MOORE As JAMES BOND 007.  Over in the United States, I believe it was called ROGER MOORE'S JAMES BOND DIARY, and aside from that US edition, I don't think the book was ever reprinted - until last year that is.  Bearing a title reminiscent of the US printing, it was issued in a limited edition hardback volume (and in paperback) by The HISTORY PRESS, with a touching foreword by actor DAVID HEDISON (the best-ever screen incarnation of FELIX LEITER in my opinion), who talks about his long-standing (50-plus years) friendship with Roger.  (I've been meaning to buy this book for a while, but only got around to doing so today.)

The 1973 PAN paperback featured eight exclusive colour photographs by Roger's then-wife LUISA (with four remaining interior and two cover photos by GEORGE WHITEAR), but all are absent from the 2018 printing and one can only guess as to why.  However, the 2018 book has other photographs, three of which are extremely similar to a trio in the '73 edition.  The first (on the front cover), has Roger holding his gun a little closer to him, the second (featuring a background explosion) is from a slightly different angle and likely taken by another photographer (several captured the event), and the third (a boat chase) appears to have been snapped on a different day.  It's a shame that the originals weren't used, but the 'new' photos fill their place admirably and are every bit as interesting.

The cover photograph always confused me slightly;  was Roger standing on the other side of a glass pane he'd just put a bullet through, or was it a mirror?  If the former, then the '70s paperback had the image the right way around - if the latter, the wrong way.  The new edition regards it as a mirror image, hence Roger's parting is on the right and not the left, but it's a fine, luxuriant head of hair either way.  (So like my own.)  It's great to see this book reissued in such a durable format, and if you've never read it, now's the time to do so.  Even if you have read it, it wouldn't hurt to reacquaint yourself with Roger's own day-to-day account of filming LIVE And LET DIE, as it's a wonderfully witty and eminently entertaining tale.

(I'm lucky enough to have Roger's autograph on three books I own, but it would've been nice to have an autographed copy of this book too.  Sadly, he passed away before it was reissued.)

You can see the cover to the 1973 Pan paperback by clicking here.

******

(There are a couple of transcription errors in the new edition, where the words 'confidently' and 'similar' are rendered as 'confidentially' and 'familiar', plus another couple of more minor oversights - the word 'were' is missing from one sentence and 'the' from another - but it shouldn't detract from your enjoyment too much.  'Tis a bit careless though.)
 
Photo copyright NEWS UK

(BOND) BABE OF THE DAY - HALLE BERRY...



As a special treat for you all, you get to write your own captions for the first 'Babe' of 2019, HALLE BERRY.  What other blog allows you such creative freedom?  Here's mine.  Halle:  "Now where did that MALTESER I dropped go to?"  Me:  "It ran down your cleavage - I'll dig it out for you!"  Gosh, I'm so funny.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?


Copyright relevant owner

PETER PAN looks like a girl in the above illustration, which makes me wonder if that's where Panto's custom of him being played by a woman comes from.  Probably not, but that isn't why I called you all together, agents of Crivens.  No, just wanted to say (because there's bound to be some of you who don't know) that the name WENDY didn't exist as a first name for girls until author J.M. BARRIE invented it for his famous book.  Interesting that, eh?

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

REPRINT COLLECTIONS - THE BEST OF...


Copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

I've got quite a few UK reprint collections in my vast accumulation of goodies, so I thought it would be a good idea to present a few for your consideration - just in case you might see something that you'd like to add to your own bookshelves.  First up (above) is one from a few years back, DCT's The VERY BEST Of BLACK BOB, in the same size and shape as most of the original eight books.  If you ever owned any Black Bob books when you were a kid but no longer have them, this is the very chappie to revive your happy memories of childhood.

Copyright REBELLION

More recently, REBELLION (publishers of 2000 A.D.) have been releasing some splendid collected editions of classic stories from vintage comic weeklies from yesteryear.  The LEOPARD From LIME ST. was a hugely popular strip in BUSTER for several years, and his earliest adventures are presented in this first volume.  Obviously inspired by MARVEL's PETER PARKER/SPIDER-MAN comics, it yet retains a distinctly British feel, and although I never really followed the strip back in the day, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed the book.  Definitely one to have.

Copyright REBELLION

Four KEN REID reprint volumes next, the first (above) being FACEACHE, originally a strip in JET and continuing in Buster when the two titles merged.  It's not exclusively Ken Reid, as a few fill-in strips by other artists are included, but Ken's pages dominate the volume and it's a great reminder of just how accomplished an artist he was.  Later on, although still meticulously detailed, Ken's art became a little flat and stiff, but he's yet at his best in the strips in this book.

Copyright REBELLION

Next up (above) is CREEPY CREATIONS, containing all 79 back-page pin-ups by (mainly) Ken Reid, plus a few extra Creepies from Annuals as well.  The two outstanding features of this volume are that, firstly, it re-presents some great Reid art that would cost a small fortune if trying to buy the original issues and, secondly, my own contribution - The GOGGLE-EYED GOON Of GLOUCESTER.  (Yes, I'm renowned for my modesty.)  I'm informed that another reviewer of this book praises the fact that it's in full-colour, while seemingly approving the missing colour from one of the volumes in our next selection.  Seems a mite inconsistent to me.
  
Copyright REBELLION

On to The POWER-PACK Of KEN REID (above and below), reprinting all the artist's '60s work for ODHAMS PRESS, and I confess to having mixed feelings about this two volume set.  While it's great to see these strips in collected form, it's disappointing to see a few corners cut in order to rush them out.  Some panel borders have been cropped and the odd speech balloon and caption are difficult to read due to colour being changed to 'greyscale', obscuring some lettering and detail.  The process has also rendered some fine lines almost invisible, and for some reason, a few end captions have been omitted.  Overall, though, it's quite impressive and very well bound, but would've benefitted from higher quality of reproduction in some areas.  If Rebellion can successfully reprint colour pages, then there's no reason (aside from penny-pinching and expediency) why this set's 2nd volume couldn't likewise have been.  The definitive version?  Alas not.

Copyright REBELLION

(Sadly, despite providing scans taken from two pages of original artwork on the condition that I receive copies of anything I supplied for the books' promotion, the publisher still hasn't sent me my copies.  Maybe my refusal to sacrifice my principles and give the set a totally uncritical review has put his nose out of joint?)

Copyright REBELLION

Next (above), we have The DRACULA FILES, reprinting all 15 episodes from SCREAM!, a short-lived comic from toward the mid-'80s, as well as a couple of stories from the 1986 Holiday Special and the covers that featured ol' Drac.  Some moody ERIC BRADBURY art in this one, so if you're a fan of vampire stories and Eric's artwork, then this is the one for you.  Strangely, one story departs from a well-known aspect of vampire lore, though it is adhered to in an earlier tale.  Writer and editor slipped up there, methinks.

Copyright REBELLION

Mind now, I'm not presenting these books in order of preference, I'm just showing them as I pick them up from a pile, and the next and last one for the moment is MARNEY The FOX, which featured in Buster from between 1974 and '76.  This volume contains every episode and is a cracking read, with great art by JOHN STOKES, and stories by SCOTT GOODALL that will tug at your heartstrings.  You may wonder how a young fox can have such a good 'vocabulary' and know the names of things he's never seen or experienced before, but it's a necessary expediency in order to carry the story forward, so overlook my pedant's observation.

Anyway, hopefully there's something there that you like the look of and want to add to your collection.  If you already have any of these publications or remember reading the strips back in the day, feel free to share your thoughts about them in the comments section.           
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