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  1. #26
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    They had some corking 'epic-length' (ie, several issues long) tales back in the day - after they'd finished with the film, there was a sort of Magnificent Seven homage (aka rip off) with Han & Chewie (plus a host of new characters, including a giant rabbit and, I think, a showgirl sort with a lot of attitude but very little costume). I have a feeling the one where Chewie shoots Han was set on the 'Death Wheel' (or something like that) which was a sort of casino in space, where Leia bumps into a smarmy Senator Greyshade... And I have a feeling it was during that one that Darth Vader finally turned up - when you consider what a huge part of the saga he became, they don't seem to have been all that sure he was coming back at all, I think it wasn't until issue 42 (so that's what, more than six months after the film strip had finished) that he turned up again.

    Sorry, Mac, I don't mean to hijack the covers thread by wittering on about ye olde Star Wars strips!!

    I stopped getting SW when another Marvel publication started the following year.....
    Was it some 'fly by night' publication that was gone in 6 months, Jon?

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Curnow View Post
    They had some corking 'epic-length' (ie, several issues long) tales back in the day - after they'd finished with the film, there was a sort of Magnificent Seven homage (aka rip off) with Han & Chewie (plus a host of new characters, including a giant rabbit and, I think, a showgirl sort with a lot of attitude but very little costume). I have a feeling the one where Chewie shoots Han was set on the 'Death Wheel' (or something like that) which was a sort of casino in space, where Leia bumps into a smarmy Senator Greyshade... And I have a feeling it was during that one that Darth Vader finally turned up - when you consider what a huge part of the saga he became, they don't seem to have been all that sure he was coming back at all, I think it wasn't until issue 42 (so that's what, more than six months after the film strip had finished) that he turned up again.

    Sorry, Mac, I don't mean to hijack the covers thread by wittering on about ye olde Star Wars strips!!
    What's to be sorry about?! It's great to see your memories...it's all the better to see that I'm not the only one who remembers them, all these years later! The story I remember best is where Luke and Leia are trapped on a planet covered in water, "Wetworld" may have been the name of it. It lasted quite a few issues, iirc, and was one of those set before the return of Darth Vader.

    I'm glad to see you're enjoying the randomness of my selection, Andrew. My biggest problem each day is picking what to feature next, as I'm all too aware of what I haven't picked so far!


    I think I'll move from the world of film adaptations over to one of the many TV based comics on the market during the 60s & 70s. TV Comic was one of the longest lasting, running from 1951 - 1984 lasting 1,697 issues. What made it so easily outlast all it's competitors was the sheer variety of strips to be found in it's pages over the years...from it's early days when it featured such series as Muffin The Mule through to it's later efforts such as The Pink Panther, Tom & Jerry, Star Trek, Dad's Army, Popeye, Basil Brush, The A-Team, Tales Of The Gold Monkey and some time traveller Who's name eludes me for the moment among many others. You'll find a more detailed list on the title's Wiki page, here.




    More tv titles coming soon...Countdown, TV Action, TV21, TV Tornado, DWW, Target are all on my list

  3. #28
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    Today, we have the first DC Thomson title in the thread...another long-lasting title, The Victor ran from 1961-1992. Victor was an adventure comic, one of several similar titles such as The Hotspur, Wizard, and others which featured a combination of war, sport and adventure strips. Characters such as Morgyn The Mighty (The World's Strongest Man) and Alf Tupper - Tough Of The Track were among the popular strips over the years. During it's lifetime, other failing titles such as Wizard, Hotspur, Scoop, Champ, Buddy and Warlord were merged into it before (all in the 1980s and early 90s when comics sales were slumping in a big way, this was when the UK market really imploded) it was finally cancelled itself after 1,657 issues, effectively ending a golden era of British comics. Here's a cover from 1977...


  4. #29
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    Something incredibly different from standard British fare. History rather than fun? even so, the title lasted!

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Wallis View Post
    Something incredibly different from standard British fare. History rather than fun? even so, the title lasted!
    An interesting point, but you'd be surprised just how much history and factual stuff was used in comics at the time...it wasn't all just superheroes, sci-fi and funnies. And Victor wasn't alone in telling true stories in its pages, or covers, as you'll see later in the thread. I've commented before on how I actually learnt a lot from comics - and this is an example how - telling history in the form of comic strips helped make it entertaining and memorable as well.

  6. #31
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    Back into the realms of superhero, sci-fi and fantasy now with this classic title 1980s monthly title from (former Marvel UK editor) Dez Skinn's independent company, Quality Communications. And Quality was an apt description of this title, which was designed to be basically a more adult veresion of 2000AD and introduced us to such great tales and characters as V For Vendetta, , Laser Eraser and Pressbutton, Father Shandor - Demon Stalker and introducing a modern audience to an updated version of Mick Anglo's 1950's superhero, Marvelman. Featuring the cream of British comic talent of the time, such as Alan Moore, Steve Parkhouse, Alan Davies, John Bolton and others.


  7. #32
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    Wow - that looks superb. Although why do all cyborgs have to be psychos with big axes for arms? It's discrimination of some kind, I'm sure!

    It's hard for me to think of V for Vendetta as anything other than a graphic novel. Like Watchmen, it's easy to forget that it started life as a genuine comic strip.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  8. #33
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    I didn't even know that! I'd assumed that if it weren't a graphic novel to begin with, it started life as a title in its own right.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    Wow - that looks superb.
    It really was, and it's such a shame that the comic didn't last that long - only 26 issues, but most of them were packed with amazing stories - and whilst I'm a huge fan of V For Vendetta, it's Moore's run on Marvelman that I love the most, it's an amazing piece of work and it's such a shame that for very complicated and annoying legal reasons they're now out of print.

    Warrior in general holds a special place in my heart when it comes to comics, whenever we used to go on holiday to the Hayling Island Warners Holiday Camp (about six times in my childhood) the camp shop their used to sell a whole range of comics, and introduced me to DC and Marvel for the first time. But they also had Warrior, and I absolutely loved it, even if I was a bit too young to understand all of the underlying themes in strips like V For Vendetta. I did find a whole bunch of issues at a car boot sale a few years ago, and they were even better than I remembered them to be, and if folks can track them down (they can be found online if you know where to look) I'd recommend doing so.
    "RIP Henchman No.24."

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    It really was, and it's such a shame that the comic didn't last that long - only 26 issues, but most of them were packed with amazing stories - and whilst I'm a huge fan of V For Vendetta, it's Moore's run on Marvelman that I love the most, it's an amazing piece of work and it's such a shame that for very complicated and annoying legal reasons they're now out of print...if folks can track them down (they can be found online if you know where to look) I'd recommend doing so.
    I completely agree! I once had the complete set, in binders...I can't believe now, looking back, that I got rid of so much great stuff!

    While V For Vendetta was good, it was by no means the best strip; but it has simply become the best-known after all these years! BTW, "not the best strip" doesn't mean that I don't rate it highly...it's just that the standards set by the other strips are so high that even such a famous series can struggle to stick out from the crowd. Moore's Marvelman was brilliant, with art originally by Gary Leach then, later, Alan Davis. It's unfortunate that this revived 1950s UK superhero didn't really get as wide an audience as he deserved, although I believe the series was reprinted in colour as Miracleman and loose ends tied up (I've never read those issues myself). We also had a fantasy tale, The Spiral Path, written and drawn by Steve Parkhouse; a couple of supernatural historicals from Steve Moore and John Bolton, and Axel Pressbutton- a cyborg character from a cartoon strip in Sounds music paper - given new life and a new partner, drawn by Steve Dillon. All high quality entertainment, and I'd really recommend them to anyone who hasn't seen it before.

    Think of it as a more mature version of 2000AD...but like 2000AD was way back in the day, not as it is now! Quite simply, possibly the best British comic ever published...at least it felt like it at the time!

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacNimon View Post
    I completely agree! I once had the complete set, in binders...I can't believe now, looking back, that I got rid of so much great stuff!

    While V For Vendetta was good, it was by no means the best strip; but it has simply become the best-known after all these years! BTW, "not the best strip" doesn't mean that I don't rate it highly...it's just that the standards set by the other strips are so high that even such a famous series can struggle to stick out from the crowd. Moore's Marvelman was brilliant, with art originally by Gary Leach then, later, Alan Davis. It's unfortunate that this revived 1950s UK superhero didn't really get as wide an audience as he deserved, although I believe the series was reprinted in colour as Miracleman and loose ends tied up (I've never read those issues myself). We also had a fantasy tale, The Spiral Path, written and drawn by Steve Parkhouse; a couple of supernatural historicals from Steve Moore and John Bolton, and Axel Pressbutton- a cyborg character from a cartoon strip in Sounds music paper - given new life and a new partner, drawn by Steve Dillon. All high quality entertainment, and I'd really recommend them to anyone who hasn't seen it before.
    Moore did continue writing it when it became an American comic under the name of Miracleman (due to Marvel Comics being an arse about the name) and then he handed over the reigns to Neil Gaiman. Unfortunately Gaiman's run on the series was never finished after (I think) the publishers went under. That or for legal reasons. Either way he has said he'd love to finish the story if they can ever sort out the whole legal situation, but whether that will happen is open to question...

    Think of it as a more mature version of 2000AD...but like 2000AD was way back in the day, not as it is now! Quite simply, possibly the best British comic ever published...at least it felt like it at the time!
    Yeah, that's how I felt about it when I re-read it recently, the number of quality strips was amazing, and it never felt like there was any filler. I know the people behind 2000AD tried to create a more adult version of the comic with Crisis and Revolver, but the former was a little overtly serious, whilst the latter was quite fun but sadly got cancelled before it had a chance to develop in to something truly special.
    "RIP Henchman No.24."

  12. #37
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    We haven't had a plain old-fashioned Marvel UK superhero cover yet, so that's overdue, I think. So I've got a double bill for you today, two consecutive issues of Super Spider-Man Weekly featuring episodes of the same major storyline from 1976.


    This story was a shocker. I've included the British editions of these covers here rather than the American originals, simply because it was these issues that I read at the time and meant so much to me. Yes, someone dies, a major character...they really die in this first issue; back in 1976 I really didn't see this coming. There was no internet in those days, and at that time I had never even seen a copy of an actual US edition of Spider-Man so didn't know what lay ahead. I had been following the adventures of Peter and his friends (and enemies) for the best part of four years, so they all felt like family in a way at that time to my young mind. So with no spoilers, the cliffhanging ending was so shocking and unexpected that I can still remember how I felt...


    It maybe sounds silly today, but back in 1976 I really felt as if I had lost a friend. It may be pretty tame by todays standards, but what an impact it had. The death of Gwen Stacey is simply one of those moments you never forget, at least not if you were there at the time. For someone looking back on it today, it's ancient history and just another story. But at the time, it was just so BIG...It was just so shocking and unexpected, so final, particularly when things always seemed to work out for the best for most characters. The death of a major character in comics at the time was so rare that I really felt so sorry for Gwen, and Peter, and as an 11-year old...well, what an impact! The only thing on tv I compare it with was the unexpected ending of the final episode of Blakes 7 several years later...

    You'll have noticed that these issues were in Marvel's landscape format, popular at the time. An ordinary A4-sized comic was turned on its side, and artwork was shrunk so that two pages of original US comics sat side-by-side on the same page giving twice the value for money. Back-up strips at this time were Thor and Iron Man, both of whom had been there for several years, and Doctor Strange who had made his way into these pages only recently. The title of the comic at the time reflected the fact that this was a merged comic incorporating the cancelled Superheroes weekly, although none of the strips from that title were running here any longer.

  13. #38
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    Clever formatting - though it has got us a bit of page stretch on PS! Not that I think anyone is bothered particularly.

    I love those Marvel comic covers where everyone has an ~ASTONISHED~ face. It shows that something ~ASTONISHING~ is going to happen this week. I like to think that all of the characters are reacting to the even, except maybe one character, who is ~ASTONISHED~ at the exorbitant price of pizza delivery.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    Clever formatting - though it has got us a bit of page stretch on PS!
    Sorry! I noticed they were big this morning and tried resizing them on Photobucket. I obviously screwed things up and it took me a few attempts...one resized no problem (eventually, after work!) , the other took a few attempts before anything happened resulting in an even smaller image! Just as well there aren't many comics that shape, so it shouldn't be a problem in future!

  15. #40
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    Today we have IPC's first attempt at a ghoulish monster humour comic, Shiver & Shake. I can remember this one so clearly that I'm surprised to find that it only lasted 79 issues, from March 1973 to October 1974. Nor does it seem so long ago either, I could have sworn it was out much later in the decade. How time flies!


    Shiver & Shake was exactly the same style as its sister paper, Whizzer & Chips...supposedly two seperate comics of differing styles, one printed as a section inside the other. The Shiver portion gave us the ghost and monster tales featuring such great characters as Frankie Stein, Hire A Horror, and Soggy The Sea Monster while Shake was a more traditional section hosted by an elephant featuring such strips as Lolly Pop and Moana Lisa. The back cover often featured monstrous character dreamed up by readers and drawn by IPC artists.

    It was a great fun title, a spin-off from Cor!! and a predecessor of Monster Fun.

  16. #41
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    Today, we've got a comic famous for being the only UK comic ever to have had an issue withdrawn from newsagents shelves around the country and susequently banned for sale.



    Mary Whitehouse and her cohorts had a ball, I'm sure, campaigning against Action to get it banned. This was a traditional British boys comic, but with more graphic violence in it's pages. It was an instant success on it's release in 1976, but the media had picked up on the violence pretty quickly leading to the Whitehouse brigade's campaign. Eventually IPC had to start toning down some of the strips because they were afraid that WH Smith would refuse to stock IPC's entire line because of all the bad publicity, and eventually issue 36 was withdrawn from sale and issue 37 pulped. Over a month later, a new issue 37 was released with the violence and gore toned down considerably, replaced by a poorer quality bland and 'safe' product. Unsurprisingly, sales plummeted and even though it remained in publication for another year or so, it was eventually cancelled and merged into Battle Picture Weekly.

    The strips were written by such writers as Pat Mills and John Wagner, later famous for 2000AD strips and Doctor Who Weekly, and characters included Hookjaw - a Jaws cash-in about a man-eating shark, Hellman - a German WW2 Panzer commander, Dredger - a violent Dirty Harry-style strip, Kids Rule OK in which gangfs of violent kids ran riot after a plague had wiped out all adults, and a Rollerball cash-in called Death Game 2000, among others. All the strips were accused by critics as being violent or racist, but in fact they were simply showing more imagination and depth than most adventure style comics of the time were; granted, with a bit of gratuitous violence and gore added for good measure!

    Once the comic returned from its ban in toned-down form, it just wasn't the same. It just felt pretty bland...it would have actually been a decent enough comic for its time (compared with its contemporaries) if the 'new' issue 37 had been the first issue of a new comic. But compared with the standards set previously, this was just a pale shadow of itself and the writing was on the wall. At least Mills, Wagner and co. looked on this as a learning experience, though, when planning the launch of 2000AD soon after...they now knew the limits, just how far they could push with the edgier stories before things would get out of hand.

  17. #42
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    Today, we have another tv-based comic with an early edition of TV Century 21 from 1965 (which obviously was sent through a timewarp because each issue was dated a century later!) With the title later shortened to TV21, the comic ran from 1965 - 1971 for a total of almost 350 issues before being merged into Valiant upon it's cancellation. For the majority of its first 200 issues, the front cover of each issue was designed to resemble a newspaper reporting the adventures of the character within as 'news'. Much of the comic strip material featured Gerry Anderson series and characters such as Fireball XL-5, Lady Penelope, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and Stingray alongside other series such as Burke's Law, My Favourite Martian and famously, The Daleks. Later, series such as Star Trek and Land Of The Giants appeared in its pages. Text features also appeared regularly looking at subjects such as oil rigs, volcanoes, outer space, wildlife and submarines, for example.


  18. #43
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    If this had been around in the 80's, I'd have lapped it up. Exactly the sort of comic I'd have loved. The extra articles on oil rigs etc would have been the icing on the cake, especially if there were those cross-sectional drawings.

    The covers may not be 'Visually Eyecatching' in the way modern magazines have to be, but I reckon the text would draw you in. Although to be honest, as a Doctor Who fan, a small picture of a Dalek would be enough to draw me in! I suppose the age range of this comic is about 6-12? Amazing that they could be expected to read so much 'Print' like that!
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  19. #44
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    Back to traditional British humour today, with another long-running title from DC Thomson. While the company are best known these days for their Beano and (now gone) Dandy comics, many people forget that at one time, these were part of a range of humour comics. with other titles which were just as popular...such as The Topper.


    The most obvious difference from The Dandy and The Beano was the actual size of this comic. While the other two were roughly A4 sized, The Topper (and its sister comic The Beezer) had giant-sized pages double the size, roughly an A3 size. The comic ran from 1953-1990, when it was eventually merged into The Beezer in an era of dropping sales for UK comics in general. Mickey The Monkey was the cover star for a long time, before being replaced by Send For Kelly, and later, Beryl The Peril. Other characters included Jimmy The Jinx, Sir Laughalot, and The Whizzers From OZ.

  20. #45
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    Topper and Beezer were like broadsheets compared to the tabloid Buster, Dandy etc., sizewise.

  21. #46
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    I used to get Topper and Beezer, I have a feeling there was one particular strip that I really enjoyed in it - but I can't for the life of me think what it was. Did The Beezer (when it was merged into Topper) end up as a 'supplement' you had to cut out of Topper? I have this very vague memory of having to get Mum to do something to the comic before I could read The Beezer section (unless she was just flicking through crossing out all the swear words!!)?

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    I honestly can't answer that at the moment, Andrew, as I never read the merged title. I'll look into it though, but it sounds as if what you're actually thinking of is either IPC's Whizzer & Chips or Shiver & Shake, both of which featured a second comic as the middle section which could be pulled out to make two comics ie Chips comic inside Whizzer, and Shake comic inside Shiver.

    Of course there's nothing to say that DC Thomson didn't try out the same format themselves with Beezer & Topper...

  23. #48
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    Today, we have the cover from a 1980 edition of the comic billed as The Junior TV Times...Look-In, which ran from 1971-1994.


    Look-In had comic strip versions of popular tv series of the time interspersed between interviews, articles and pin-ups of both tv stars and pop stars of the day, with crosswords and competitions regularly thrown in for good measure. Comic strips included On The Buses, Kung Fu, Sapphire & Steel, Magnum PI, Buck Rogers, Dick Turpin, Battlestar Galactica, Rock On Tommy (Cannon & Ball), Charlie's Angels, Mork & Mindy, Logans Run,The Tomorrow People and many more. Look-In changed its style in late 1981 with a new logo and photo covers replacing the painted ones. It's popularity waned later in the 80s due to greater competition, and in its latter days tried to appeal to younger readers with comic strips based on cartoons, and the articles and interviews being replaced by 'Factfiles'. It was eventually cancelled in 1994.

  24. #49
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    Forget Marvel's Avengers. ABBA + Hulk would be the crossover of the century. I can just imagine ABBA singing harmonies over the wonderful Sad Hulk Closing Theme. Plus! ONLY HULK CAN HELP ABBA REACH CONCERT ON TIME - BY SMASHING!
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

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    Today, we have a short-lived British horror comic from 1984, published by IPC. Sadly, it only lasted 15 issues before cancellation, being merged into the new Eagle comic.


    As was so often the case, cancellation was no reflection of quality. It's so easy to think that just because a comic didn't last long, it couldn't have been any good. Scream had a great team of writers and artists working on it, including Alan Moore, and great strips such as The Dracula File (Dracula in a modern-day setting), Nightcomers (about ghost hunters), Terror Of The Cats (pet cats turn into killers), The Thirteenth Floor and more. There have been rumours about why this series was cancelled so soon into its run, such as publishing problems, creators on strike etc but perhaps the time just wasn't right for a British horror anthology?

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