Thursday, 24 April 2014

THE PHANTOM VIKING - PART TWO OF LION ANNUAL 1968...



Who did they think they were kidding? THE PHANTOM VIKING,
who first appeared in CHAMPION in 1966, was obviously a stand-in for
MARVEL's THE MIGHTY THOR. When Champion folded, the wing-
helmeted wonder (Vikey, not Thor) moved over to LION when the two
comics merged in June of '66, and appeared there until '68.

The Phantom Viking had super-strength and the power of flight when
he donned the helmet of his ancestor, LARSEN THE LIBERATOR,
but if the helmet fell off or the south wind blew, he returned to his frail
mortal identity of OLAF LARSEN, meek and mild school teacher
at WOODBURN SCHOOL.

Thor would've kicked sand in Vikey's face and left him sobbing on
the beach, but the strip was a bold attempt to imitate the thunder god
and avoid paying the licence fee, even if such a blatant rip-off was a poor
second for the real thing. So, let's give Olaf a hearty cheer as we wave him
on his way; he was no DON BLAKE (then again, neither was Don), but
at least he did his best for the two years his strip managed to run.

Don't miss part three - coming whenever I'm stuck
for anything better to write about.





PART SIX - DOUBLE HELPINGS OF JOHNNY FUTURE...



Why prolong an agony of waiting by only serving up one helping
at a time of the FANTASTIC JOHNNY FUTURE, when I can give
you double helpings? Why deprive you of the awesomeness of the mighty
LUIS BERMEJO's impressive illustrations for a moment longer than is
necessary, when you're clearly pining for your POWER PACK fix? I'm
nothing if not a generous man (and modest with it), so here, just for
you, are six and a half palpitating pages of action and adventure!

(And, just to give you a taste of the era, I've thrown in a bonus
ad showing you three of the Annuals available in 1967 for '68.)







Wednesday, 23 April 2014

PART TWO OF MARVEL FLASHBACK COVER GALLERY...



There's no point hanging around - here we are with part two of
our MARVEL FLASHBACK cover gallery. Ten titanic images
from 1997 to thrill and amaze you. Got a favourite? Feel free to
share in the comments section. Personally speaking, I love that
DAREDEVIL one by GENE COLAN - it's pure '60s.









MARVEL FLASHBACK COVER GALLERY - PART ONE...



Way back in July of 1997, MARVEL released many #1 issue
 featuring untold tales relating to the origins of various characters,
in an event that was referred to as FLASHBACK month. HEROES
REBORN titles (such as IRON MAN and THE FANTASTIC FOUR)
weren't included, but those that were had a retro '60s look to the covers
and letters page logos that was good to see again for long-time Marvel
Maniacs who remembered how Marvel mags used to look.

I didn't get them all, but I've got a fair number, so I thought
I'd share the covers with you here. Part two is coming soon, so
don't forget to look in again.








Tuesday, 22 April 2014

THE NEARLY 50 YEARS LATER AFFAIR...



I first laid eyes on the very first TV CENTURY 21 Annual
for 1966 in the CO-OP's KRAZY-KUTS (a shop in my home town)
towards the end of 1965. I got it as a present for the first Christmas in
our new home, but because I had initially seen it while still living in our
old one, I tend to associate it with both, 'though more the former than
the latter (former in the sequence of that sentence, I mean - not
in the actual history of events).


I managed to obtain a replacement for my childhood copy more
than 30 years ago, and have since acquired another two, making, er...
(where's my fingers?) three copies in all I now possess. The most recent
one I acquired for a mere fiver on eBay - in great condition too - while
other sellers were asking up to £75 for the same book, none of them
being one whit better than the copy I bought.

He's the double of Sean Connery in this pic, but changes
into a Steve Zodiac clone on the next page (not shown)

I have fond memories of that Annual, and I remember a couple
of my pals also having it way back when, but one thing I realised only
recently is that I never bothered reading any of the text stories or fea-
tures (with the exception of the one about the VASA) contained with-
in its RON EMBLETON illustrated covers (at least, the front cover
was - the back was blank apart from the TV21 logo).


So, unfinished business I thought, and promptly sat down to
read them (and all right they were, too). It may have taken me almost
50 years (48 years and eight months, to be precise), but I've now finally
finished reading the Annual I first got as a young boy most of my lifetime
away. Know what? It feels good to complete something, however long
it may have taken me. One day I may even get 'round to finishing the
room I intended to start decorating almost 27 years back.

What's that they say about procrastination?
I'll tell you tomorrow - maybe!


Incidentally, there are quite a few text stories and features in the
Annual (as well as picture strips)  - these are just some of them.

COULD I BE FALLING IN LOVE?



Believe it or not, there are some people who think that the
legendary JIM REEVES sang only C&W songs, such as BIMBO
and MEXICAN JOE, not realizing that he was a romantic balladeer
whose rich, velvet voice could embrace a lyric like no other singer
before or after him. Here is such an example.

Phasers to 'swoon'!

Monday, 21 April 2014

PART SIX OF JOHN BYRNE'S FANTASTIC FOUR COVER GALLERY...



It was fun while it lasted, but, alas, nothing lasts forever they say.
(Who exactly 'they' are, I'm not quite sure.) Such was the case with JOHN
BYRNE's stellar run on THE FANTASTIC FOUR. Issue #293 (next post)
was the last one that Byrne both wrote and drew, although he plotted #294,
which was scripted by ROGER STERN and drawn by JERRY ORDWAY
& AL GORDON. Number 295, by STERN, ORDWAY & GORDON,
credited him with a "Special thanks to John Byrne" in the credit box,
but Byrne was already hard at work over at MARVEL's rival, DC
COMICS, revamping their flagship title - SUPERMAN!

And so ended an era! But we're getting ahead of ourselves, so be
sure to join us for the last post in this series as we tie up all the loose
ends and pack everything tidily away! Coming soon.