Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Tellybugs (1966)

The Tellybugs was published in the early issues of Smash! in 1966, and these examples are taken from the first Smash! Annual 1967 (published in 1966). 

At first glance, The Tellybugs looked a little old fashioned for a relatively hip comic like Smash! but it was perhaps the most relatable strip in the comic. The domestic setting looked very 1960s, which despite what some historians might tell you, was more mundane than the flower-power scenario they paint it as. The dad in The Tellybugs looked and dressed just like most dads of the time, and the television going "wonky" was always a likelihood. I remember a few times when "a valve went" in our old set.

The artwork was by the superb Cyril Price, a veteran artist in comics by 1966, who had previously drawn many strips for the old comics of The Amalgamated Press such as Illustrated Chips and Comic Cuts. By the sixties he was a regular artist on Georgie's Germs in Wham! 

No doubt because of his work on Georgie's Germs, Price was chosen to draw The Tellybugs. The premise had similarities; instead of tiny humanoid "germs" inside a human body, these "bugs" lived inside a TV set. Price drew them as a flat-capped, dungaree-wearing workforce with long hair, running wild and anarchic. The human Dad of the strip representing authority, trying to keep things in control, usually in vain. 

The Odhams "Power Comics" were brilliant for stuff like this. Some might say they were a bit too reckless. There's no way that a children's annual today could feature a story where a character fiddles around with live electronics or throws a bucket of water over a TV set. Even back then it was edgy, but that was part of the appeal of Smash!, Pow! and Wham! They felt a bit dangerous, but at the same time they were actually treating readers with respect. They didn't put any warnings on the strips. They didn't feel they needed to. They respected our intelligence not to imitate scenes from the comics. We'll never see their like again.

Preview: Are you ready for ROBO HATS?

Cartoonist Marc Jackson will soon be publishing a new comic, and he's allowed Blimey! to show an exclusive preview of the first five pages! Known for his retro/modern style on strips such as Ka-Punch! for Comic Heroes magazine, Marc says that his new comic, Robo Hats will have more of an adventure tone.

"I’m billing it as an adventure comic, story driven and not gag driven, but still with humour in there, of course! The story follows Hannah and Howard Hats as they receive a mysterious package, that leads them to an incredible discovery and a wild adventure in space and time" revealed Marc. 

"It’s going to be 4 issues, 20 pages plus cover each one and is a continuing story. Hoping to get one issue out every 2 months."

Robo Hats will launch at The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival that takes place in Kendal over the weekend of 13th to 15th October.

"The comic launches at LICAF and I’ll post the 1st 5 pages online for free on the Monday before. Then, the remaining 15, 5 pages a week, just after the festival. Then, the same again for the following issues, which hopefully will arrive every 2 months" said Marc. 

You can see more of Marc's work at his website:

...and on Facebook:

2000 AD: The Ultimate Collection out today

In newsagents now!

More info:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ron Turner's THE CASTAWAYS (1972)

Ron Turner had a long and impressive career in comics and illustration, dating back to the late 1930s. He was particularly notable for his science fiction book covers for Vargo Statten's novels in the 1950s and for the Rick Random stories. (If you can still find a copy, I urge you to buy this wonderful collection.)

I first saw his artwork in the mid-1960s when he did a few fill-ins on the Gerry Anderson strips for TV21 specials, and of course his long run on The Daleks strip on the back page of the weekly. By the 1970s he was freelancing on the IPC comics, and the examples I'm showing here are of a series called The Castaways that he drew for Whizzer and Chips in 1972 (24th June and 8th July issues). I don't think it ran for long, and may not be well known (or well remembered) today so I thought I'd post a couple of samples. The story is the well-trodden "kids stranded on island" idea, but it's always good to see Ron Turner artwork and the distinctive inking techniques he used. 

COMMANDO comics in shops this week

Here's the info direct from D.C. Thomson on the four issues of Commando that will be on sale from Thursday 24th August...

Brand new Commando issues 5047-5050 are on sale soon! With classic and new adventures, our Commandos are certainly kept busy: infiltrating U-Boats in the Atlantic, crash-landing in the North African Desert, unearthing mysterious Viking relics and dodging dud grenades, it’s all just another day’s work…

5047: Home of Heroes: The Battle to Britain

Janek’s life-like cover shows rival ships off the coast of Greenland, the bleak, icy water, just as threatening as the warships battling on them, while Vicente Alcazar’s thick black lines and heavy shading brings a moody darkness to Iain McLaughlin’s original story.

Set in Autumn, 1941, America had not yet joined in the Second World War, but that didn’t stop people like Charlie Dayton getting involved. Never shying away from a fight, Charlie’s strong views usually turned into something a bit more physical, so when the war in Europe started, Charlie knew he couldn’t stand by and wait for the battle to reach his shores. That was when he hopped aboard an English cargo ship, bound for Britain and the war that awaited him.

|Story | Iain McLaughlin | Art | Vicente Alcazar | Cover | Janek Matysiak |

5048: Gold Collection: Trouble Hunter

When R.A.F. air-gunner Fred Cotton crash-lands in the desert, it’s up to his brother Harry to rescue him. Omre’s story is one of fraternity: both blood brothers and not, as Harry must team up with the stubborn and by the books Sergeant Wilcox on his mission to save Fred.

With cover and interior artwork by the late Gordon C. Livingstone, you know that you’re in for a treat. The thin line strokes, expert shading and detail that Livingstone is famed for shines through in this issue, most notably during a sandstorm, where Livingstone draws hundreds of wispy lines to show to the harsh winds. Livingstone’s cover, however, is full of strong, contrasting block colours, the blue of Harry’s uniform juxtaposed against the yellow and orange of the desert sky.

|Story | Omre | Art | Gordon C. Livingstone | Cover | Gordon C. Livingstone |
Originally Commando No 378 (1969) Reprinted No 1111 (1977)

5049: Action and Adventure: The Blood of the Vikings

Another original tale from Shane Filer, when S.S. Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Heiden finds Viking relics in France, he believes they will make a grand gift for the Fuhrer, but he has no idea what he has uncovered… Set mainly in the 8th-9th century, we follow Frankish orphan Thorvald, raised by the Vikings who raided his village as he re-joins his kin in their fight against the invading Danes.

With cover and interior art by Carlos Pino, the attention to detail in the armour and weaponry really adds to this issue, making it stand out as a new classic for readers, while his morose coloured cover shows Thorvald as every inch the Viking god he is perceived as.

|Story | Shane Filer | Art | Carlos Pino | Cover | Carlos Pino |

5050: Silver Collection: Grenade!

A prolific Commando writer, Alan Hebden’s titular grenade is the centre of action in this issue, taking on a personality if its own, as the somewhat supernatural weapon favours some, while goes against others, with its own comical sense of poetic justice.  

Jeff Bevan’s cover shows the eponymous grenade front and centre, a hero in its own right, certainly showing plenty of character throughout, while the muted greens and browns give a classic war look to this issue. Meanwhile, Dennis McLoughlin’s interior artwork is equally attentive, drawing most panels during rain showers in the Italian countryside, with both white and black lines to show the falling droplets.

|Story | Alan Hebden | Art | Dennis McLoughlin | Cover | Jeff Bevan|
Originally Commando No 2640 (1993)  

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