Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mega! - New Magazine Launched Next Month

As reported by John Freeman over on Down The Tubes, a new magazine is launching on the 6th of February and goes by the name of Mega!. Going by the above cover, the magazine looks very similar to Toxic, using both T.V. celebrities and cartoons to fill up its pages, alongside some new Jamie Smart comic strips. 

The only negative so far is the awful cover. At first glance you can't tell which word is the title, as it appears the same size as every other bit of text and is crammed into one corner, so that as much as possible can fit on the cover. Hopefully this will be sorted out when the comic is actually published, as the cover is the main selling point and should look nice and tidy!

Mega! is published by Immediate Media and will come out monthly for £2.99 - the same price as The Phoenix!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Introducing Buster's New Friends

As you may have guessed by my previous post, part three of my Buster posts is about the introduction of some new friends for Buster. Nobody correctly guessed them all, so the characters at the top of the above issue, from left to right, are: P.C Percy, Brenda, Mister Blister, Jelly, Mr Crabbe, Delbert and Dozy Derek! 

They were fully introduced over Buster's two pages, all coming with a some sort of label label pointing them out.

Five out of the seven new faces were very popular - Brenda, Jelly, Mr. Crabbe, Delbert and Dozy Derek, and many of them even had their own strips!

Art by Mark Bennington.

For me, Jimmy Hansen drew the best versions of these characters, and also drew them for the longest (although the last few years were reprints).

Only a short post today, and there are 2 - 3 more posts (three max, depending on how long the blog posts are), and the next one will appear some time next week.

This is part three in the series. Other parts can be found by clicking on the links below:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Putting Names To Faces

Here's a quick quiz that ties in with an upcoming post. Can you name all of the characters who appear at the top of the Buster comic above? I'll give no clues, except for the fact that they all appeared in Buster's strip.

No looking at your comics, though!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Faction #1 - A New New Zealand Comic

Launched very recently was Faction, a brand new 72 page comic made by Kiwi's (that's what New Zealander's call themselves)! At first I thought it was going to be one long grahic novel but instead I was suprised to find a mixture of humour and adventure style strips, between two and ten pages (on average)! Here are some of the highlights (although all of it is top quality)!

Migrane is a short, eight page humour strip about two kids getting a present for their mum. After a crash of which they don't care at all about they walk into a nearby house for a drink and find a lady lying on the floor with a giant thing (I don't know a better word to describe it) coming out of her head! Art is signed by 'Ned', whos full name is Ned Wenlock.

One Giant Leap by Damon Keen is a very interesting strip about an astronaut who is separated from his space craft and has to try and get back. The only words said in this strip is the title and the creators name!

Do You Want To Talk About It by Matt and Sam Emery is about a man with a crazy dream about giant killer robots! I will say no more...

And finally, I'll show one full page, the last comic strip in the comic - Waves, Sea, Leaky, Moby Dick and Fish by Roger Langridge.

Faction is a superb piece of work, and I'll be getting a paper version as soon as I can - I was amazed by how much I loved it! You can find out more about Faction on their website:

And to find out about ordering a paper version or reading it online for free, click here:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This Week's Beano - 52 Page Special!

Arriving through my door today is the latest Beano, a very orange 52 page special, which makes up for the awful misprints in the previous issue. But just because it has 52 pages isn't the only reason you should buy it - for the Dennis the Menace strip is a very interesting one! I won't show all of it, but here's a small section from the second page.

Weird eh - that makes the current Dennis the son of the 80's Dennis, and Dennis' dad the son of the previous Dennis. But wait, it must be the same for Gnasher, Gnipper and Rasher too! And what about all the other characters in the Beano? Are they sons and daughters of their past selves as well? As I said, weird, eh?

Moving on, Nigel Parkinson's fantastic version of Minnie the Minx proved to be a good one this week, with Minnie sending her now younger looking dad (the grandson of the original 50's dad maybe) into orbit. Well, she tried to anyway. 

The sixteen extra pages (the Beano is usually 36 pages) are all taken up with The Bash Street Burp, a school magazine written and drawn by the Bash Street Kids themselves, which looks like something that would have been included in Oink! Included is a free Plug mask, and some fantastic paintings of the Head, Plug, Teacher and Cuthbert and Winston.

And finally, I have to mention Calamity James. Admittedly it is a reprint, but it features a brilliant crossover between Jonah and James! Here Tom Paterson has clearly tried to base Jonah on the early version from the late 50's (which was illustrated, of course, by Ken Reid).

So what are you waiting for - go out and grab this Beano now - it's only £2.00!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hyde And Shriek Begins (Again)

Hyde and Shriek was a fantastic horror humour strip illustrated by Tom Paterson and appeared in The Dandy. It began in the early 1990's but was reprinted nine years ago in 2004. I don't own the issue with the first original episode in it, but I do own the first of the reprints, which can be seen above!

It's not only Tom's fantastic artwork and hidden details I love about this strip, but also the angles he uses in some of his panels! Different angles add lots of effect to the strip, and here are the best two from this episode!

If you want to seek out a copy of this issue, it was #3246, dated 7th February 2004.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I'm going to start this blog post by heading back to Buster dated 26th October 1985. What really interests me about this particular issue is one of the letters on the letters page. It comes from Julian Buss of Ashford, and here it is:

And so begins the legend of Sqworm the Worm! Well, it actually began many weeks earlier with issue dated 13th July 1985, which was the first time we ever saw Buster's newest pet (he had a dog in the early days, but that's a story for another time). Here is Sqworm's first appearance in full.

Before we move on, I should also add that the Buster at the top of the post was the first one featuring Prambo, a spin-off of Rambo, illustrated by Steve Bright. I never really liked the strip too much (it was alright occasionally), but here is the first episode plus the advertisement from the previous issue.

Anyway, back to Sqworm. The letter from Julian sparked off interest in Sqworm's name - he didn't have one! A few weeks after the letter appeared, an advertisement did, and a name had finally been chosen!

The above notice appeared in the 1985 Christmas issue, and so Sqworm's name was revealed in the first issue of 1986! The winning suggestion came from Scott Williams, but some other names were Wormsworth, Wesley and my favourite, Wobbly Wilf!

Sqworm was very popular, and continued after Tom Paterson passed the pen to Jimmy Hansen right up until the end of Buster! In fact, in issue dated 17th May 1986 he got his very own comic strip. It was illustrated by Steve Bright and lasted for just under one and a half years, ending in issue dated 12th September 1987! On the front cover of the 17th May edition, Tom Paterson advertised Sqworm's strip in the first panel of Buster.

But in the previous issue, he gave himself a shout-out!

And here is Sqworm's very first adventure!

And here is his final one. The reason his strip ended is because Nipper comic merged into Buster and obviously some characters had to be replaced, and Sqworm was one of them.

I could go on and on about Sqworm, but you might begin to start thinking I'm a little weird having such a fascination over a worm. Instead, I'll wrap up this post with this fantastic cover story from Buster dated 10th May 1986!

This is the second post in a series of Buster posts I have planned (part one appeared here), which will hopefully show a lot of the changes Buster went through in the mid-to-late 1980's in order to stay popular! I'll probably post around one a week, and it should last for 2 - 3 more weeks, if I cover everything I've got planned.

If you'd like to read a panel-by-panel strip about Sqworm being evicted, click on the link below!

Other parts in this Buster series (this is part 2):

Part 1:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

44 Years Ago: Joe 90 Comic Is Launched!

Joe 90 was a television show from the hands of Gerry Anderson. It launched in September 1968 but the final episode was shown only a few months later in April 1969. However, three months before it finished Joe 90 comic was launched, or going by its full name - Gerry Anderson's Joe 90 [Top Secret]. For 8D you got 20 pages, six of which were in full colour and a free gift - Mac's Jet Car Kit! Now I don't own the original free gift, but I managed to find a photo of one somewhere on the net.

Instructions on how to make the car, along with a few facts, were to be found inside.

The first strip is called Joe 90, and is basically a Joe 90 adventure in which he has to retrieve some missiles from a sunken ship. The 'Joe Facts' at the top has nothing to do with the story, but basically gives you a little fact about a character or machine from the program.

The next strip is Ninepence + Tenpence = Sport. Whereas I'm sure they could have thought of a better name for the strip, the script is very good, as is the artwork that accompanies it.

Star Trek sits proudly in full colour in the centre spread, and has some of the best artwork in the comic (by Harry Lindfield?). I'm not really a huge fan of science fiction films so have never seen Star Trek, but this one was based on the television series and was probably the first taste of Star Trek many people in the U.K got.

Land Of The Giants was a popular strip based on the T.V show of the same name, and was the other full colour strip in the comic. Later on in the comic's short life it would become the main cover star, and some brilliant front cover illustrations were produced for it!

Here is a fantastic cover featuring a Land Of The Giants illustration presumably by Gerry Haylock, who drew the weekly strip.

The only advertisement I am going to mention is this one, which advertised the following issue of Joe 90 and the free gift that came with it. Again, I don't have the free gift, but I found scans of it on the net.

The back page was taken up with a full colour photograph of a Lotus racing car. The space could have been used better, but I like Lotus so it doesn't bother me too much.

Joe 90 [Top Secret] didn't last long, merging into TV21 after just 34 issues. There were a few spin offs from the comic, such as the Joe 90 Dossier shown below, but I'll take a look at those in another post.

One thing I will mention here however is the Joe 90 [Top Secret] Comic Annual. Although there were (to my knowledge) two other Joe 90 annuals, this was the only one related to the comic. It was released in 1969 (probably for 1970) and features a mix of comic strips, articles and jokes.

This was my first taste of Joe 90 and it originally cost 12'6 (or 62.5 'new pence', as decimalisation was just coming in), although I got it for £1.50 as a birthday present for my dad several years ago, but before giving it to him I took a read of it (of course)! It features some brilliantly interested strips, my favourite being Land Of The Giants, illustrated by an unknown artist.

If you'd like to find out more about the Joe 90 comic, I recommend two websites. The first one features a complete cover gallery, and the second, The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History, goes much more in depth.