Wednesday, 16 August 2017

1995: THERMAL LANCE ISSUE 25

From  around now back in 1995: THERMAL LANCE issue 25 and a line-up of of-the-time telefantasy shows which - with one exception - have been all but forgotten about today.  Plus STAR TREK of course.  


This is also the 300th STARLOGGED post of the year.  Yay!

1978: COMIC MEDIA NEWS ISSUE 36

From June/ July 1978: COMIC MEDIA NEWS issue 36.


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

1988: POWER COMICS ISSUE 1 BY BOLLAND AND GIBBONS

From March 1988: POWER COMICS issue 1, another title (see also: the recent JAMES BOND post) that emerged from the tie-up between Britain's Acme Press and Eclipse over in the States.

This one was a genuine oddity: reprints of early work by Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland originally created in the 1970s for export... to Nigeria!  The principle character was - originally - Powerman but the lawyers spotted a potential snag with that so he was renamed Powerbolt for these reprints.

The strips, written by Don Avenall and Norman Worker, first appeared in the bi-weekly POWERMAN comic published by Pikin (or was it Pican?) Publications.

I have no idea about how Bolland and Gibbons felt about their early work resurfacing after they had broken through to the mainstream.

I wonder how well they managed to capture Nigerian life and sensibilities... I can't help suspecting that this is the Nigerian comics equivilant of our very own Gen 1 CAPTAIN BRITAIN... an overseas creation pitched at a foreign market put together by creators with little or no first-hand audience about the place or the audience.

They got the gig because, traditionally, Nigerian comics had been imported from overseas and the publisher saw an opportunity to create something more atuned to the local market and - importantly - featuring local characters.  But - and this is where the Brits come in - there wasn't a big pool of local talent to work on such a title.  The thinking was that - over time - a new generation of African creators would see an opportunity.

This four-part series has itself been out-of-print for nigh on thirty years.

It's not related to the 1960s Odhams Power Comics line which - mostly - repackaged early Marvel strips for the British market.


1986: SPEAKEASY ISSUE 60

From March 1986: SPEAKEASY issue 60 cover features METALZOIC, the Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neil collaboration which first appeared as one of the early DC Comics graphic novels in the States before being serialised in 2000AD (progs 482-492) here in the UK.

The timing is right as I'm currently reading Mills' recolections of his time on 2000AD in the book BE PURE! BE VIGILANT! BEHAVE! which is now available as a print edition.  I find Mills to be rather too opinionated at times (he certainly has a lot to say in FUTURE SHOCK, now available in a swanky new BR edition from Arrow) but his writing here is most agreeable and it's hard to deny the creative force that he has been in British comics.  Indeed, his contribution is almost certainly still undervalued in the grand scheme of things.


Monday, 14 August 2017

1988: WILDCAT ISSUE 1

From October 1988: the first issue of Fleetway's new fortnightly WILDCAT.

This is something of a landmark title: not only was it the first time (as far as I know) that IPC/ Fleetway had launched an anthology where all the strips shared the same universe but also the last time that they took a punt on a boys adventure title that wasn't either based on an existing media property or spun out of one of their existing titles.

It's ambitious stuff with a top-notch creative team (Boix, Belardinelli, Ortiz, Pino, Smith and others) and a remit to do something different at a time when the boys adventure market was really on its uppers (even Marvel UK was discovering that a heavily promoted toy tie-in were no longer pulling in the punters in sufficient numbers to keep the lights on at a number of weeklies) and only toy tie-ins seemed to have any chance of survival.

The shared universe premise was not a million miles away from Glen Larson's late 1960s unsold effort Adam's Ark (which was drastically reworked a decade later to become BATTLESTAR GALACTICA): Turbo Jones predicts the impending destruction of the Earth in a meteor shower and constructs a space craft (the Wildcat) to whisk a select group of survivors off world in search of a new planet to colonise.  Cue: various alien-centric adventure built around the four main characters: Jones, Loner, Kitten Magee and Joe Alien.

The fortnightly was teased with the now traditional preview issue giveaway, bagged with copies of 2000AD, EAGLE and (presumably in an attempt to broaden the audience) WHIZZER AND CHIPS.  Only twelve issues appeared before a hasty merger with - predictably - EAGLE (issue 368, 8 April 1989).  Two further specials, now very hard to find, followed in 1989.  Unusually, these probably weren't just burning off unused inventory as the strips were also appearing in EAGLE every week.

There was also two Stateside spin-offs courtesy of the often rough-and-ready Fleetway Quality imprint: the Loner strips were collected into a US format title that clocked-up a not-to-be-sniffed-at seven issues in 1990-91. Turbo Jones: Pathfinder mustered a one-shot in 1991. Neither title is particularly easy to find in the 50p boxes.


STAY TUNED: THE OFFICIALLY AUTHORISED AVENGERS MAGAZINE ISSUE 1

From sometime in the 1980s: STAY TUNED, the officially authorised (TV) AVENGERS magazine (actually a fanzine) issue 1, published by ubiquitous Avengers go-to guy Dave Rogers.



1975: COMIC MEDIA NEWS ISSUE 21

From July/ August 1975: COMIC MEDIA NEWS issue 21.

This is the (mostly bad, by the sounds of it) news that British comics fandom was waking up to 42 years ago this month...


Friday, 11 August 2017

THE BEST CHILDREN'S TV OF THE DECADE VHS: THE 1980s

Last but not least: Here's Philip Schofield again, providing the links for this third-and-final straight-to-tape compilation of old British kids TV clips.  This time we're into Scofield's own era.... the 1980s.

This looks like it is a reissue as the packaging doesn't match the design of the previous two... or this tape was released after the others and - in the meantime - the line was overhauled and moved under the Pocket Money Video umbrella.

Kudos to the designer for making it look like something a kid could knock-up in under an hour.

Some of the shows featured actually had their origins in previous decades but I guess Watershed felt they could justify their inclusion here thanks to their periodic reruns by frugal broadcasters across the years.

These tapes, in their own simple way, were really the predecessors to Network's excellent range of LOOK-BACK DVDs.  Like the ITC Video TV HEAVEN tapes of the past, they took complete episodes of assorted ITV kids shows to allow you a nostalgic dip without having to fork out for a complete series-specific DVD.  They focused on the 1970s (some 1980s volumes wouldn't have gone amiss) but - even if you didn't see the shows first time around - are still great ways to dip into a whole era.  The only bummer: kids TV drama was often multi-part rather than self-contained so you don't get the full story.  Fortunately, Network has also released most of the dramas featured as individual series.


THE BEST CHILDREN'S TV OF THE DECADE VHS: THE 1970s

From the Age of Tape: A post-Broom Closet/ pre-grey Schofield fronting-up a compilation of kids telly clips from the 1970s.

Like its predecessor, the producers of THE BEST CHILDREN'S TV OF THE 1970s did their research, plundering the archives of not just the BBC but also Thames, Southern, ITC and - possibly - some indies as well.  Prior to YOU TUBE such clips could be gold dust, explaining the appeal of nostalgia-fuelled shows like I LOVE...


Thursday, 10 August 2017

1995: THERMAL LANCE ISSUE 24

From May-June 1995: the 24th issue of THERMAL LANCE.

With a punter-pleasing X-FILES cover.  Of course.


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