Friday, March 03, 2017
Comic Cuts - 3 March 2017
The new line is to be called The Treasury of British Comics and will be led off by One-Eyed Jack in June, reprinting the classic cop-drama from the pages of Valiant.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08572-1, 15 June 2017, 156pp, £14.99. Pre-order from Amazon.
Part Dirty Harry, part Judge Dredd, all badass – Police Detective Jack McBane is the toughest, meanest law enforcer in 1970s New York City. Having lost his left eye in the line of duty, McBane will stop at nothing to rid the crime-infested streets of scumbags and villains – even if it means having to occasionally break the rules! This first collection in Rebellion’s dedicated Treasury of British Comics line, collecting lost classics from the golden age of British comics, is a key strip in the history of British comics and a dry run for John Wagner’s greatest creation: Judge Dredd. Never before collected, this story from the pages of legendary children’s comic Valiant marks one of the turning points in modern comics history
This will be followed in July by the first collection of The Leopard from Lime Street from the pages of Buster, where it originally ran between 1976 and 1985. The early stories are interesting as they feature an unusual collaboration – certainly unusual in the UK – of two of my favourite artists: Eric Bradbury inking over Mike Western's layouts. The book will contain the first 15 months worth of strips.
October sees the release of The Dracula Files by Gerry Finley-Day and Eric Bradbury, horror comics at its best! KGB officer Colonel Stakis desperately hunts for Count Dracula, who is spreading terror in 1980s Britain after escaping from behind the Iron Curtain. Blending Cold War paranoia with horror staples, this was the lead story in Scream! throughout its short life.
Then we have Misty Book 2, containing 'The Sentinels' – the two identical tower blocks, known as ‘The Sentinels’ to the locals, stand tall over the town of Birdwood, but only one is occupied while the other remains mysteriously empty; when Jan Richards' family lose their home they decide to hide out in the abandoned block so they can stay together, only to be sent into a parallel world where the Nazis conquered Britain in 1940 – and in 'End of the Line', Ann's father was one of a group of engineers believed to have been killed whilst working on an extension to the London Underground but when she and her mother are invited to the opening of the new train tunnel, Ann discovers a mysterious time portal through which several workers are being kept as slaves by an evil Victorian called Lord Vicary.
Finally, for December, and the one many of you will be most excited by... Faceache. Yes, Ken Reid's story of the remarkable Ricky Rubberneck, "The boy with the bendable bonce," whose skin can stretch like rubber, allowing him to "scrunge" it into any shape.
Commando is the sole survivor of the age of pocket libraries which had, for the most part, come to an end in the mid-1980s. Thomsons kept various libraries going: Starblazer lasted until 1991; various girls' libraries folded in the 1990s; Football Picture Monthly folded in 2003. The last survivor might have been Star Love Story Library which lasted at least 1,204 issues... I'm not sure when it folded.
For comparison, David Roach and I did a book on the Fleetway war libraries, and listed the titles of the whole run, including the 2.103 issues of War Picture Library and 1,706 issues of Battle Picture Library... now far surpassed by Commando as the longest-running pocket library.