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.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


So I have finally succumbed to the ego-splurge that is blogging in my own tiny corner of teh interwebs.

We'll kick things off in retro-Welsh stylee with a children's comic which, if you remember Syr Wynff a Plwmsan, school trips to Glanllyn or Hei Mistar Urdd, you will no doubt recognise.

Sboncyn (grasshopper) was a Welsh-language comic published in the 1980s. I was always allowed a copy of Sboncyn simply because it was presented in my mother tongue, and I happily accepted it as a bonus over and above my regular comics allowance. Looking back at it now it is rich in the language and culture of my youth, but at the time it was just another comic with fun characters like Syr Preis (Sir Prise, a medieval knight) and Meri Mor Leidr (Meri The Pirate).

You can read what some Sais has to say about Sboncyn over on Lew Stringer's blog.