Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Here's a psychedelic feast-for-the-eyes in the form of underground press magazine Oz. Oz was possibly most famous for the prosecution of its editors in 1971 for obscenity and conspiracy to corrupt public morals, following publication of the Schoolkids issue of Oz (#28).

Now, in what we hope are more enlightened times, you can read your very own electronically preserved copy of Oz. A warning, gentle reader. Although not the infamous Schoolkids issue, this magazine no doubt contains “obscene, lewd, indecent and sexually perverted articles, cartoons and drawings with intent to debauch and corrupt the morals of children and other young persons and to arouse and implant in their minds lustful and perverted ideas”. Not only that, it deals with “homosexuality, lesbianism, sadism, perverted sexual practices and drug taking”. Beware!

Thanks to Darwination for the lovely edit on this copy of Oz #31.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Discovering Comics

Denis Gifford was a comic creator, comics historian, and comic convention organiser who possessed a legendary collection of British comics, and an equally legendary knowledge of them.

His Wikipedia entry tells the shameful story that “despite hints that he might bequeath this vast collection to the country, via the Victoria and Albert Museum or similar, this was broken up and sold off after his death, having been rescued from the black bags of a non-specialist house clearance company”.

He wrote several books about comics and film. In his 1972 book Discovering Comics he gives us a rundown of British comics history from Ally Sloper, through many early comics, up to Eagle and the Marvel reprints of the 1960s.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


Stampede was a previews poster magazine from exciting but short-lived comic publisher Tundra UK. This 1992 issue featured Skin by the rather strange Peter Milligan and the undoubtedly seminal Brendan McCarthy.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Teen-Aged Dope Slaves And Reform School Girls

Teen-Aged Dope Slaves And Reform School Girls was published in 1989 by the rather excellent (but now defunct) independent comics company Eclipse. The collection reprinted several stories from the 1940s and 1950s that blurred the distinction between exploitation and educational. The comics which lent their names to the title, Reform School Girl! (1951) and Teen-Age Dope Slaves (AKA Harvey Comics Library #1, 1952), were both condemned by Dr Fredric Wertham in his infamous Seduction of the Innocent, the book which led to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority (and decades of American comic publisher timidity).

A notable inclusion was Harvey Kurtzman's Lucky Fights It Through, originally released by EC in 1949, and apparently Kurtzman's first work for the legendary publisher.

Also reprinted were Trapped! (a Columbia College giveaway from 1951); two Simon & Kirby strips, The Bobby Sox Bandit Queen (from Headline Comics #27, 1947) and I Worked For The Fence (from Headline Comics #28, 1948); and two other stories, Gun Happy and The Deadly Needle, by authors and artists unknown.

Above, syphilitic cowboy Lucky inspects his infected weenie.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Marked For Murder

Today's offering is an entertaining self-contained thriller from Thorpe & Porter called One Body Too Many. The uncredited artist knows his craft, using varied and dynamic panel layouts while always serving the story. There's a captivating monochromatic palette consisting of black, grey, and four of five shades of orange.

There is very little information available about the Marked For Murder series. It was probably published in the early 1960s. Thorpe & Porter were well-known for repackaging American material, and it is unclear whether this story is original, American, or perhaps reprinted from an European comic.

Friday, 13 February 2009

We Think So Loud

Another featured advertisement in early Deadlines was for the We Think So Loud 12" by The Mercy Giants, which featured lyrics by Brett Ewins and a cover starring acid guru Ron Merlin. Each 12" came with a free comic. I don't have the tech to rip vinyl, but I can bring you the comic.

Atom Tan

In 1988, a single copy of Deadline #1, an anthology comic created by 2000AD stalwarts Steve Dillon & Brett Ewins, made an unlikely journey over the Welsh border, across mountains, through fields, along the coast, over a bridge and onto the middle shelf of a usually rather poorly stocked newsagent in a little village on Anglesey. I was 14 years old and my life changed forever.

Alright that's a slight exaggeration, but it was still bloody exciting. I um'd and aah'd for a few minutes before forking over the rather adult amount of £1.50, hoping the man behind the till didn't realise the mag was full of violence and bras. I was already a fan of Misters Ewins and especially Dillon, and became an immediate convert to the work of Jamie Hewlett, Philip Bond (♥), Nick Abadzis, Shaky Kane and the incredible D'Israeli D'Emon Draughtsman. I religiously scored every Deadline from then on, even when in later years it began to fade as an underachieving style mag.

Advertised in those early issues was a tantalising zine which promised all kinds of Hewlett & Bond goodies. That zine was Atom Tan. Unfortunately, I didn't get to read it. But years later, thanks to the magic of eBay, I was finally able to sate my drooling inner child.

Design god Jamie Hewlett has since given us Gorillaz and Journey To The West, and Philip Bond went on to draw the sexiest character in comicdom and save the world.

Thanks to punkster Cclay for the scan of Atom Tan #1.