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Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Owl - Master Of The Night!

Always nice to get a mention on Germany's blogging supremo Subzero's Tales From The Kryptonian.  This time as an addition to his interesting blog on The Owl.

Now if you know your Golden, Silver and Bronze Ages comics you might be asking "Which Owl?"  If you are not then get over to that blog right now!

The Owl cover you'll see there is this one:

But, originally it was not title The Owl -Master Of The Night but The Ultimate Collection -The Owl nd this was the cover:
"The Ultimate Collection" was a string of books featuring various genres/characters.  But there was a snag.  Some of the later material was claimed to be held under copyright by two different companies.  The book was withdrawn and I began contacting the companies involved.
Both had absolutely no idea what the hell I was talking about.  Basically it was all coming from another "internet comic historian" who had NOT researched the subject but pronounced from on high.
A bit like idiots stirring trouble with IPC Media.  You  then talk to the bosses at the company and it's "no problem"
Sadly, like most of these books -they are classed as "A Fan Project" because it's doubtful many people will be interested unless a true fan.  As it happens I've never sold a copy of this after all these years!
So, go read Subzero's blog.  But remember there are a good few "The Owls" out there.  And if you want to buy a copy:
 A4 Comic Album
Black & White
80 pages -yes:80 pages for just £8.00!!
Price: £8.00
A Fan Project. The Owl. Created by Frank Thomas in 1940 for Crackajack Funnies:this book contains three Golden Age stories including the rare first appearance of Owl Girl plus the rare 1967 Owl Man and Owl Girl in their own comic. Black and white, text features and more.

Return of the Vlog

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Kotar & Sabuta....A Quiet Night In. By Ben R. Dilworth

Kotar & Sabuta the Third Level Sorcerors have been with me since....1969!  Wow.  Anyway, here is one of those "quiet days at home" adventures by the inimitable Ben R. Dilwrth!

The Blue Lady: Origins

Ahh , The Blue Lady. First time I saw this character I fell in love!  If they'd made films out of comics back then well it would be Myrna Loy playing Lucille Martin.  "Who is 'Myrna Loy'. Gramps?"

Damn you. kiddies! THIS is Myrna Loy!


Anyway, The Blue Lady made her first appearance in Amazing Man Comics #24, October 1941) and the script/art was all the work of Frank Frollo -as was typical back then.  There were three stories and her last appearance was in Amazing Man Comics #26 (the strips from 25 and 26 are in the Centaur Collection book).

But here is the origin of....The Blue Lady!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Death Of Professor Thaddeus Twatt

Even after a few years these scenes (from what was meant to be a jolly eccentric British inventor series) get me.  I'm old is my excuse.  Before all of this happened/happens Thaddeus will be seen in 1942 Blitzed Bristol hunting Won't tell!

 Basically, when I drew this I wanted to wind everything up and leave no loose ends as I didn't think I was going to last long -it shows in the work and it's why Return was so short. Concluded. No dead ends. Anyway, enjoy!

Here for Mr Stransky:

Monday, 23 February 2015

A Sneak Peek At A Cover That Never Was....kinda...

This is the illo on which the first, 132 pager, Return of the Gods cover was based.  It was originally intended for the A5 (Digest) Worlds Within Words trilogy which became....The Dr Morg Trilogy!

It's all connected, you know!

Krakos And The Many-Eyed-One

Krakos ( aka  Krakos the Egyptian) was the first in the Black Tower Universe to actually see and confront the Many-Eyed-One!

If you's read Krakos: Sands Of Terror then you'll know that.  You DID read it??


The Phantom Detective A Story By Ben R. Dilworth

The Clock by Stransky & Labbat

Acromaid Double Bill by Stransky & Labbat!

New Direction To Go In?

Ben Dilworth had this idea for a freebie to hand out at events to get people to realise  BTCG was here.  At the 2012 Bristol Comic Expo they were handed out at the door.  All gone.  Feedback or sales? None.

So it was decided to charge £1.00 -there were 8 issues all stand alone so if you just wanted one no biggie.  It was Dilworth's daughter's idea based on the idea that if you were giving it away it wasn't anything but if you charged, say £1.00 for a copy it was cheap but not a give away.. Okay, some were, uh, "purloined" but one copy sold to a very enthusiastic young man who vanished never to be heard from again.

But comments about "too slick" 9sigh) made me think.  An "old School" cover based on the design?  Why not since the paper quality is high enough?  So I contacted and asked about the cover being printed on the same paper as interior stock. "No" was the response (they don't say but the printers today do not even quality check -it's all run straight off a computer so cover and interior HAVE to be different).

How about if you removed the cover and the first page was the cover? Black and white but nicely designed?  "But what about the real cover?" you cry.

Well, remember (if you are from the 1960s UK generation) the UK Power Comics (Odhams) such as Fantastic and Terrific?  Each week a pin up on the back cover -the "Power House Pin-Up".

So why not make the front and back covers Black Tower Tower Pin Ups?  The covers are removed and turned into sturdy, glossy A4 pin-ups that are inserted free into each issue?

That way people see the less slick books with great B&W cover art plus the added pin-ups and not slick looking and, apparently, off-putting covers?

It is an idea and just because it means a black and white cover does NOT mean poor quality.  Let's see how it goes!

Found -Old Art!

While trying to skip through the current depression and crap I decided to see what condition some of my mini war-gaming trees were in.  You read right.  Anyway, I pulled the box out of the corner and lifted the teensy trees out and saw.....


Not gone through most of it but I found two items that brought back mixed emotions.

The first is ZAG 21 -which requires an explanation since I think in an old posting I showed the dummy cover to JAG 21.  Basically, "back in the day", publishers loved to mess you about.  Steve McManus at Fleetway once introduced me to other staffers as "A comic book carpet-bagger of the best kind!"

I ought to point out that carpet-baggers were profiteering businessmen who moved to the South after the American Civil War in order to take advantage of the situation. In the UK a carpet bagger was seen as a sales agent trying to sell goods -some times not honestly!  I'm glad McManus added "of the best kind" after the intro.

I'd go to Marvel UK about twice a month -they really did love to mess people about.  I was once summoned to London to talk about an editorial job.  The day after talking to the head man by phone I travelled the 200+ miles to London to be told by someone the job had gone.  It transpired the **** in charge had given the job to a friend and knew it was gone when he invited me to their offices (he, incidentally, was "out of the office" that day.  Obviously heard about editors being held out of windows).

But on my rounds I would be asked to put a project together.  Mainly I had to simply pick strips or cover illoes from my files and do a quick Letraset logo on a cover and that was it.  Some times a comic had to be "tailored" to a request so an artist would produce a tailor made strip  (or usually me since deadlines were very tight).  It meant that comic strip inventory was pretty full.....and as an editor or publisher inevitably said "I've changed my mind" the work was never used -and no one got a "kill fee" because companies didn't like contracts or things in print that meant they might have to pay out.

ZAG 21 was a project based on a discussion with and then a request from an editor at Fleetway. and I shuffled things from JAG 21 and put in new strips and it became ZAG 21.   It turned out that despite what he said he had not, in fact, been asked "by management" to put a new title together. I have no idea what was going on in his little mind.

But then another company showed a LOT of interest in the title but there came another hitch.   Two of the artists who had begged, and I do mean "begged", me to take them on and write scripts for them decided they were too good.  One wrote: "To be honest I should be working for Marvel Comics.  I'm better than a lot of the people working there now..."  and he said I could not use the strip based on my script for ZAG 21 "I don't want it to come back and embarass me when I'm working for Marvel"  And the other artist had the same attitude.

Both left me in the lurch and, guess what?  They never even got in the same building as Marvel Comics. I had to draw both strips making it clear other artists would be doing the final work.

The publisher was over the Moon with how it looked but "We've decided we want to go in a different direction" and what direction was that?  Nowhere.  I think the company moved into computer game mags and the vanished.  Another publisher was all "Yeah.  Wow. Cool" but he'd gone to a music club the Friday before our final meeting.  When we met he had decided that music magazines was the ay to go. 

Here is the funny bit.  Five years after getting no work the two artists who were "heading for the big time" got back in touch.  Tried going over the top on flattering me (like that has ever worked!) and asked whether I was looking for artists -perhaps I could write scripts for me as "you are a brilliant writer!"  I pointed out how they had left me in the lurch and that I would never write for them again and certainly not represent them.  "Stick with Marvel Comics" I wrote.

This image was the rough the colour cover (lost by the publisher) was based on and the "June 98" tells me this was done in 1997 -I always date my projects a year ahead and they are NEVER ready until the first six issues are completed.

Crap rough illo but a mixed memory.

The other cover is from, I believe 1992 -it would have been after the "All Finish" issue of Zine Zone International.  It was to be the "All Russia" issue but apart from Zine Zone International in what would have been the title sub-bar and dialogue I cannot remember what else it says!   The fellow in the checked suit has appeared on and off in Black Tower....and in a bath of custard trap set by Devilina (I think I posted that?).

The "All Russia" issue was to promote some of my comics getting to Russia -BUT there was some clamp down and the UK Government was also not happy with the idea.  Big sigh.

Yeah, I had long hair.  Yeah, I wore fingerless gloves.  Yeah, I was a bit more "buff" back then -I had to be to hold editors out of windows, throw publishers in the Thames and rip doors off their hinges. 

And the Berol pens used on these -the ink is still as black as it was in 1997 and 1992.

I know -crap art but all covers start somewhere (ZAG 21 had six -6- dummy covers so that if one cover never worked another might or......

fun times.

Return Of The Gods & The Cross-Earths Caper -Parts 1 & 2 Of The "Invasion Earth" Trilogy

The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super Heroes

Terry Hooper-Scharf
Black & White
331 Pages
Price: £20.00
It begins slowly with Earth’s heroes going about their daily tasks –fighting a giant robot controlled by a mad scientist’s brain , attackers both human and mystical -even alien high priests of some mysterious cult and their zombie followers and, of course, a ghost and a young genius lost in time. 
Pretty mundane. But there is a huge alien Mother-ship near the Moon and strange orange spheres chase some of Earth’s heroes who vanish into thin air –are they dead?
 Then black, impenetrable domes cover cities world-wide. 
Alien invasion of Earth! 
A war between the Dark Old Gods and the pantheons that followed! 
Warriors from Earth’s past having to battle each day and whether they die or not they are back the next day!
 And no one suspects the driving force behind the events that could cause destruction and chaos throughout the multiverse —assaulted on all fronts can Earth’s defenders succeed or will they this truly the end?


 Terry Hooper-Scharf
Black & White
107 Pages 
Price: £10.00
Following the events on Neo Olympus and the Boarman invasion of Earth, many heroes and crime-fighters have withdrawn from activity. 
Some are trying to recover from injuries while others are fighting the mental scars left by the events. 
As heroes from other parallels who helped during the events return home, members of the Special Globe Guard are shocked at the sudden appearance of Zom of the Zodiac. 
Very soon, a group of heroes find a quick rescue mission turn sour as they become lost between parallel Earths and threats. Sometimes one Earth just is not enough. 
The complete story published in issues 7-10 of Black Tower Adventure now handy dandy book!

The Black Panther Strikes!

Now, this Centaur Comics character from Stars & Stripes, July, 1941, was one of those comic characters who appeared out of nowhere.  No origin.  No secret identity second appearance. Created, written and drawn by Paul Gustavson -who continued into the 1970s in comics.

Later on, Australian creator Paul Wheelahan created a Panther character -he drew his creation again in the 1990s.

"So what the hell has this got to do with Black Tower?" you ask.  Well, I was working on a third volume of Centaur Heroes but it wasn't to be.  I combined volumes 1 & 2 into The Ultimate Centaur Collection. But I do really love these characters and, yes, I really want to use them.  Maybe another Centaur book or included in another title  In black and white of course!

Now, I have absolutely no idea where all the scans I have on disc come from.  I was sent a lot my a German comic fan in the early 2000s but I cannot even recall his name.  Others have come to me via collectors.  But who scanned what??  No idea but I do sincerely THANK them.

So here is the Black Panther's first and only appearance.

 And how an edited page looks in black & white!

UP NEXT.......

The Incredible Dr Synthe!

The Green Skies. You Were Warned: Kathatakathalaka The Many-Eyed One IS Coming!

These photographs have been gathered by United Nations Outer Space Affairs Division (Unit X). These are NOT Photoshopped!

The Deception has begun. We are at 30 Seconds to Midnight!

The Green Skies: Dene Vernon

Okay, Comickers: I've taken a deep breath and clenched my teeth.

I really, really hate to give glimpses at a project.  But I've been asked several times to do so for The Green Skies.

NOT scans but digital photos -yah! Boo! Sucks!  You'll note dialogue pasted on scraps of papers.  These are just the rough unedited pages.  Much more in the way of solid black and cross-hatching is to be done. But WHAT is going on in 1942 London?

NOT telling!