On the eve of moving to Japan…

americomic

What a time to get into American comics, eh? Not the modern shit, of course – 40’s – 50’s EC and 50’s – 70’s Marvel! There was a bad crash on the road where I worked, and I was compelled to sit in a nearby car park for most of the day, with only the first 20-odd Fantastic Four issues for company, what a rush!

And the old EC material is astonishingly good. Dare I say it predated Japan’s Gekiga / Seinen as the first really “adult” comic storytelling (ignoring Tijuana Bibles and story papers, for a moment XD)? If there had never been a “code”, the US might have a comic market as big and diverse as Japan’s or France’s by now. And I dare say other countries would have followed the yank’s lead (the other country does in everything else). The code did more damage to comics as a whole than anybody really realises.

Die, hideous creature, die!

Protip: If you are going to complain about old Doctor Who comic strips featuring the Doctor resorting to violence to solve things…

 docq01.jpg

make sure you don’t do it in a comic in which he recruits a couple of Ice Warriors to help him build an army to lead a mutiny on a slave ship…

 docq02.jpg

…and then brush off his companion’s concerns about them being left to roam the galaxy in a captured warship.

docq03.jpg

Mind you, is that line so “notorious”? Given the rarity and expense of Doctor Who-containing issues of TV Comic, I’d be willing to bet that article is the first time many whovians have even heard of it. Is that article, in fact, an attempt to give the previously-highly-obscure line it’s notoriety, and thus another attempt by the chattering classes to discredit and undermine traditional British adventure comics? To persuade modern comic fans that they are not even worth bothering with?

Such attitudes, rife in the pages of 2000AD and the Megazine, very nearly infected me. Luckily somebody was able to sneak an article about Sexton Blake in, which turned me onto my current path. How long will it be before the original (and by far best) Dan Dare begins to be offhandedly dismissed in this manner? The Billy Bunter stories are already branded “elitist”, “classist”, “racist” and many other things which it is difficult to find any evidence of if you actually read them.

A good haul

I had a successful charity shop rummage on Saturday, so here’s a quick look at some of the interesting finds…

gdhul01.jpg

Yes, it’s issue 2 of Sonic The Comic, my brother would have had this back in the day. They had comics for £2 each, or 3 for a fiver, which I thought was a bit steep for 90’s stuff. There was another StC there, but it was missing it’s cover and a much later one (it had Knuckles in). Most of the box was Beano’s and Dandy’s, so I didn’t have a comprehensive dig, could issue 1 have been in there somewhere?

 gdhul01a.jpg

I did get this Beano, though! It’s also one I had back in the day, where Dennis builds an elastic-powered plane big enough to ride on. Of course, I had dreams of doing the same thing myself XD. I also remember wanting to build a plane out of Plasticine and assorted geometric plastic shapes from school, and launch it using a lot of elastic, like an aircraft carrier steam catapult XD.

 gdhul02.jpg

¡Plop! 

More interesting than both of them was these, Chilean comics! I actually thought they were Colombian, as that’s where these editions were printed, and the prices ($550 for one and $3000 for the other!) are in Colombian Pesos. However I asked a Chilean guy at my work if he had “heard of it”, and he said it actually comes from there XD. Anyway, they are comedy comics with an interesting cast of characters (according to Wiki, one is an arrogant Argie who constantly talks about how amazing his country is XD). It’s also been going since the late 40’s!

I’ll do a “peep” at it on my comic blog one day. For now I’ll leave you with this: Almost every strip in it ends with ¡Plop! XD

 gdhul02a.jpg

¡Plop!

 gdhul03.jpg

More Round The Horne tapes! I now have a full 8 episodes that I haven’t listened to. Ought to take them in the car of a morning. Nothing like livening up the morning commute by pissing yourself laughing!

“It’s the Polone Ranger! Howdy parder, what brings you down to these parts?”

“I’ve got a lousy agent…”

 The other week, I got this rather Un-PC-ly named book, from 1907:

gdhul04.jpg

“John Chinaman at Home” …¡Plop!

I showed it to a Chinese woman at my work, who absolutely loved the photos. She asked me to buy her another copy if I saw it, however the ones on Ebay were £40-odd and up. There was also some of those modern photocopied editions with hideously generic covers available, but the company that makes them sells their glue-gunned POD books for the same price as original antique editions! Still, the photos are very interesting

gdhul05.jpg

Anyway, Oxfam in Cambridge had put out a whole batch of antique books about China, including “Society in China” from 1894, which has a nice cover, which I failed to take a decent photo of:

 gdhul06.jpg

Those are a dragon and a flower

Anyway, I bought it for the woman at work. She even very kindly paid me back the £6.99 I spent on it :3, it has a few photos, though we later discovered most of the illustrations are actually line drawings. Several of them, of course, focusing on cruel punishments and tortures used in China at that time. Strangely the other book also dwells excessively on those, and even reports European tourists, missionaries and businessmen going out of their way to watch… ¡Plop!

 gdhul07.jpg – gdhul08.jpg