Friday, March 7, 2014
Superman was ever popular in the U.S.A and still is today, with the latest Superman film piling up over $650,000,000 USD, so it seemed obvious for comic publishers in the U.K to try his strips out over here, using American reprints. His first appearance in Britain was in 1939 when he appeared in Triumph. Although he was kicked from the paper after only a short run in 1940, it wasn't the last time he would be seen.
He appeared again almost two decades later in 1959 when he braced the pages of Radio Fun. Here he would enjoy a much more popular run and would continue right up until the title folded in 1961 when Radio Fun merged into Buster, and Superman went with it. However, despite his success with Radio Fun readers he didn't fit in with the Buster fans and his strip was cancelled that same year.
He would appear again in 1969 in the now-scarce Super DC comics, which lasted for less than a year - producing just 14 issues and one annual.
Egmont would try their hand with the character by featuring him in Super Heroes, but he was there for just two years.
All the scans featured here are from Superman's short run in Buster comic. I am personally not too keen on the Superman strips myself, I prefer the humorous British super heroes such as Super Dad, Super Mum and Full O' Beans, to name three, but I'm sure they appeal to many others.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I've covered the issue of Whizzer and Chips dated 21st February 1970 on this blog before, when I wrote about the free gift it was presented with (see this post here). It is time now to return to it once again, not for the free novelty but the strips inside it, for this issue gave birth to not one, not two but four new characters! Two of these characters appeared in Whizzer and the other two in Chips, and since Whizzer is the first half of Whizzer and Chips we'll look at those characters first.
And first up is Monkey Nutts, a half pager that followed Kings of the Castle. I'm unsure of the artist on this one, it may perhaps be Graham Allen but I'm not so sure.
The next new Whizz-Kid appeared on the other side of Chips, and was Jimmy Jeckle Master Hide. Illustrated by Terry Bave, I think the title is rather self-explanatory - it's about a kid called Jimmy who develops the potion and (for some reason) drinks it, which turns him into Master Hide.
The Chip-ites retaliated to the new Whizzer characters with two new full-page characters. The first would go on to be a very popular and long running strip - Super Dad. "The Kid" looks very much the same at the start of this run as he did at the end of it, but Dad changes considerably when Mike Brown illustrates the strip later on. This first strip doesn't look like Mike's work though, the background characters suggest it was drawn by Norman Mansbridge.
The other new Chip-ite(s) would endure an even longer initial run than Super Dad; The Scareys Of St. Mary's would last all the way until 1977. Illustrated by Terry Bave, the Scareys are a group of Witches that attend St. Mary's, a school of witchcraft - something like an early Harry Potter, in a way.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
After just eight issues the Dennis the Menace and Gnasher Megazine has gone through a name change, perhaps suggesting sales aren't as high as anticipated. As of issue nine the comic will now go by the name of Dennis the Menace and Gnasher's Epic Magazine - an even longer title than before!
The cover of issue nine can be seen in the blurry picture above, and to be honest it's very disappointing, with everything just looking like a horrible mess, as though somebody accidentally dropped all the issue's images onto the front cover, and just decided to leave them there.
I have no idea what changes, if any, the new name will bring to the comic. The price tag is still the same of £3.99 a month.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Puffin books have announced The Beano Official Guide that will be released at the same time as the annuals later this year. Not a replacement for the Beano and Dandy books published by Thomson, this guide will cost £7.99 and is due for release on 7th August, although pre-orders are available from Amazon now.
The description of the book reads:
"Whether you're young or not-so-young, you probably already love The Beano! Now you can final out all the facts, fun and faces that have kept the nation laughing every week for more than 75 years. This is such an important book that even Dennis the Menace himself has taken the time to scribble his thoughts all over it, providing a rare insight into his fellow Beanotown residents. From Bananaman and the Bash Street Kids to Minnie the Minx and Calamity James, they're all here. Also included it loads of rarely-seen artwork, dug up from The Beano's humongous and heavily-guarded archive!"
With the promise of "rarely-seen artwork" I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of this book, and at £7.99 it sounds like a bargain, £5 cheaper than Thomson's own Beano and Dandy book.
Monday, February 24, 2014
|The Megazine stands next to the Beano on the newsstand. If only |
real newsstands looked like this... only with a few more comics.
I've just discovered that there is an app available for the Dennis the Menace and Gnasher Megazine that enables you to read the comic on your phone, tablet etc. I've never read an issue of the Megazine due to it's high price tag and I was hoping, like the fantastic Phoenix comic app, that a free short sample issue would be available so that I could get a taste of the comic and give the app a thorough review. Sadly there was no such thing so I'll have to review the app as best I can without.
Despite there not been a free sample comic it seems that you can buy solely digital subscriptions, as you would expect. In New Zealand the prices for the subscriptions are $22.99 for six months and $45.99 for one year. Considering that here a paper copy will set you back around $12 that really is cheap, even if you don't get the free gifts and can't fill in the puzzles.
Although every issue can be seen on the home page and 'download' and 'read' buttons appear beneath each cover you can only buy 6 or 12 month subscriptions, so no single issues to give customers a taster. This might put people off buying the digital subscription because they don't want to pay for a six-month subscription for a magazine they may not like.
So far it's not looking too good for this app but on the plus side it seems that you can save whole issues and individual pages that you may wish to return to on the 'downloads' page. A good additional feature.
On the whole though this app doesn't run as fast or as smoothly as you may like it to, and not having a small sampler for readers to try out is a drawback, perhaps pushing away a few potential subscribers. D.C Thomson really could learn a thing or two from the way the frankly brilliant Phoenix app is set up and runs.