Wednesday, 30 September 2009

New Dogbreath & Zarjaz

Glad to say the latest issues of these excellent 2000AD fanzines are now available. Really, to call them that is to do them a huge disservice.
To me "fanzine", 2000AD especially, brings back memories of the photocopied, really rather crude affairs of the late 70's/early 80's such as "Friends Of Tharg".
Both them and these share the common passion for the strips and characters that prompts the creation of the titles, but with Dogbreath and Zarjaz, everythings been notched up a huge degree, producing very slick, very polished looking publications.
And, with Art Droids guesting from now and then, they come across as kid sisters to 2000AD rather than fan titles.
Very much recommended (apart from the strips wot i wrote).

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Crikey! Issue 10

Got issue 10 and 11 the other day and have just finished 10.
Two highlights for me.
Captain Britain. Well, he did debut within my 1968-1978 remit and he was supposed to be British. He wasn't though was he? Hideous, crappy scripts and plots with even more hideous, crappy art. It wasn't till Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis came on board and revamped it that things for me got interesting. Even more when Moore arrived on the scene. But that's after '78 so i'm not going to witter on.
Other feature is Axa. Again, only just falling within the remit, starting as she did in 1978. I followed of course for Romero's brilliant, beautiful artwork. It couldn't be for the scripts, which were the most obvious, derivitive, cliche plots going. But entertaining in a pervese way as we waited to see how the gal would loose her clothes this time.
It was like a serious, SF version of Cupid Stunt.
Lovely, indepth feature by Tony Ingram.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Octopusses playing football

As promised, here's the utter genius of one-eyed octopi playing football with a diving bell.
In a couple of panels, the sumnation of why i love these comics.

Battle 27 Sept 1975

What a fantastic cover - worthy of an Airfix box in my opinion - shame the strip it comes from isn't anywhere near as exciting and dramatic.
Other strips here include the usual set-up from D-Day Dawson. Now, i don't remember each week being pretty much the same through neccisity (must've been my age) but i'm thinking, should it ever be collected in a graphic novel one day, its going to get very boring very fast.
"Return Of The Eagle" stands out solely for the appalliness of the artwork - as bad as the baddest Dredger ever got over in Action. And, looking at it, it could be the same *ahem* "artist" responsible.
Much better is "Rat Pack" which, although its a pretty dull tale of the retrival of an unexploded bomb, has the usual lovely art from Carlos Ezquerra. Now, THIS needs the graphic novel treatment - a hardback Titan affair a la "Charlies War", collecting all the Ezquerra and Belardinelli tales? I'm first at the queue.
A 100% "Aieeee!" from Mike Nelson's victim in "Return Of the Eagle" as he falls backwards over a table.
A rather over the top "Aiee!" from a Nazi officer who'd been dazzled by a motorbikes headlight in "They Can't Stop Bullet!" Wimp.
And then a double-whammy in "Sergeant Without Stripes" as a Japanese guard exclaims "Aiee! he throws bomb!" as he sees whats about to happen, then the fully furnished "Aieeee!" as he's blown up by it. Sterling work nameless guard, you're the first i've come across to have two utterances in one strip.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

My Son's 9th Birthday

My Son will be 9 next month so i thought a little bit different present, seeing as he pours over all my old annuals, is to buy up some British titles from 1971 to give him an idea of what i was into at the same age.
First two to arrive are the 8th May Lion and Thunder and the Beano of Feb 27th.
As usual, the highlight of Lion (wonder if it'll be for him?) is the Black Max. Loads of aerial action in this episode - basically Max shooting Wilson and co on the ground but missing every time, Germans shooting Max and hitting him and Wilson flying back to base in Max's convenient spare plane in yet another hidden cave. Hardly any Bats this time, which is a real shame.
Next best strip for me, again, is Adam Eterno, this time in the far future where "gold is as common as lead" (though its not explained why) and fighting the magnificently named Grunn The Grimm.
But there's a moment in another strip that i must mention, which is a classic example of the quirkiness, barminess and brilliance of British Boys Comics that's endeared me to them so much.
It happens at the opening of "The Jigsaw Journey". The heroes have decended into the oceans depths to find a lost diving bell only to find it USED BY GIGANTIC OCTOPUSES AS A MONSTER FOOTBALL. I kid you not. The artworks just brilliant for it but, alas the batteries gone on my camera so no pic yet.
Onto the Beano, which falls outside of this her sites remit (shame, as i'd love to wax lyrical about Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid) except for Billy The Cat. I loved Billy The Cat - it gave me a superhero fix once a week, when i couldn't readily get any American titles. And i loved the clean, uncluttered artwork, a good example of which is here. And i loved that we could easily be him. He was just like us, looked like us, lived in a street like us and had no powers at all. How i wanted a motorbike helmet to convert.
"AIEEEE!" RATING: Sadly, none.