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Friday, 26 October 2012

No Need For This Site?

Over 149 hits last month and by the look of it some 75% of those visitors downloaded scans from this site.  These scans are now appearing on download sites as "unknown origin".

This is an insult to the original scanners.

To be honest I'm quite disgusted with people who filch this stuff.

I may close this page down.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Herbie Kirby And The Origin Of The Phantom Detective

Above: 1936(?) photograph of Herbert (“Herbie”) Kirby -top of steps.  He was working on Bristol trams while writing short text stories for boys papers published by Target Publications of Bath.  Mystery Of The Tombs in the 1935 Rattler comic may have been one of his pieces.

Below: Fred Astaire in Top Hat (1935) Kirby told me: “I saw the famous American song and dance man, Fred Astaire and he always had that look of being relaxed but ready to spring into action and dance.  He also had this very easy manner of speaking. I thought I would really like to write and draw a comic set (strip) with a character like that.”

Originally, Herbert explained, “I wanted to make him a magician of some type but it just would not solidify as an idea.  It just did not work.”

But then Kirby went to France though he would never even hint at why -his daughter, Rosemary, explained why after his death.  On this visit, however, he was pausing by a book stall “Then I saw it!  It was as though I had been guided across the Channel to see this one illustration that made the entire silly idea work!”

Fantomas, created by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. Apparently, after his work had concluded, he found “a little back-street ‘flea-pit’ (cinema)” that was showing the film (or one of them). “It was that blessed mask! Just that one little addition to the formal costume gave the right air of mystery.  It was then that I realised if I could interest a publisher I needed to have a good schpiel to sell it.”

Herbert felt that copying the master criminal idea of Fantomas would be wrong.  Or as he called it “stealing the work of someone else.”  However, Raffles, the gentleman thief had been portrayed wearing top hat and tails.

A trip to a Woolworth store in Bristol led to Herbert buying a copy of the famous ghost hunter Elliott O’Donnell’s Twenty Years’ Experience as a Ghost Hunter (1916).  “He could spin a good yarn -and the chap had been in the Bristol newspaper a few times concerning hauntings. I began reading the book on a train to Weston-Super-Mare and fell to sleep.  I do hope that I never snored! I had been working day and night so was plum-tuckered out. Anyways, I had a dream of this character in top hat and tails and domino mask who was leading me around this haunted house and I said to him: ‘But why are you not afeared of these ghostly things?’ to which he replied, in a deep and cultured voice: ‘Because, like these lost souls, I too, am dead!’  And that was it. I woke with a start and began making notes!”

So it was that, in 1937, The Phantom Detective came to life -or as Herbert put it: “to death!”

There was a text story with a small Phantom Detective illustration by Herbert but he had no copies -most of his work was lost in the Blitz. He thinks (he was very old when I met him) that the publication was The Merry Midget.

There were “two comic sets” -“The Haunting Of Number 43 Old Yard” and “The Haunted Tram” for which Target paid him but he never saw the strips in print. I gave up searching for these but hope to find them one day!

It was at my third meeting with Herbert that I broached the subject of new Phantom Detective strips.  He liked the idea and was pleased with what he saw.

So, when you see the Phantom Detective remember a very old man (the family had no birth certificate but Herbert was certainly just over 100 years of age when he passed away) who had a very adventurous life, loved writing prose as well as drawing comic strips -including a try out on the original Captain Briton (Britain) from Fleetway in the 1960s which never got to print.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Litening: The Son Of The Gods

Litening was drawn by a young Ron Embleton for The Big Flame Wonder Comic published by Scion in 1948. It appears to have been another one off (check the post on Defining The Ages of British Comics where these one offs are explained).

The same fate befell the Litening pages as the Zom pages.  I live in hope that some charitable person may offer scans...?

Zom Of The Zodiac

ZOM OF THE ZODIAC Appeared in Big Win Comic no.1,published by Scion Ltd (London) and was drawn by a future Ace Hart artist -S. K. Perkins, who began working in comics in 1925.

Zom has become a major character in the Black Tower Comics Universe where every effort has been made to keep his past a secret, though he has displayed almost god-like abilities at times.  Sadly, these are the only pages I had.  Before computers and scanning were the norm the other pages were lost.  Anyone...?

Sunday, 17 June 2012


Another big THANK YOU to Ernesto for this.  He wrote:

 Hi Terry,
Another 1940's scan for you.
This unnumbered issue is presumably the first issue of Jolly Adventures from Martin and Reid. According to his Wiki page Mick Anglo did a story, "Danger Inc" (Jolly Adventures #4, Martin and Reid, 1948), and he may well have done others, so there were at least 4 issues. I include a scan of the front cover of issue 3 thanks to the Comics UK site.
THe funnies strips in the issue all look to be from the same artist, but the Gaol Break and Strange Facts look decidely different. Hopefully you may have some clues in the great 'spot-the-artist' game. 
Well,  There were around 23 titles with "Jolly" in them -all by different publishers!

JOLLY ADVENTURES ran for 9 issues between 1946-1949.  H. E. Pease is credited as Artist for no.1 and 2-9 Louis Diamond.  I believe that this is actually issue one.  I think Lambiek has an entry on him as either "Charlie Pease" or Albert T. Pease.  The thing, apart from the artwork, that leads me to believe this is Pease is the lettering which is very distinctive -particularly the letter "L" with the little wave.

Let's face it, Louis Diamond's work was MUCH different.
Now whether GAOL BREAK is Pease using a serious style I have no idea. Again, far different from Diamond's style.

So, thanks for sharing a first issue of a comic I knew of vaguely but had never seen!
As usual I'll leave the pages at this size for a week before reducing them. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

I'm Appealing....Honestly!

I am always -always- on the look out for scans of British Golden Age Comics from 1939-1952.  Not, I need to add D. C. Thomson or Amalgamated Press as there are plenty of scans out there.

I am looking for comics by any small Independents, particularly Gerald Swan but also Philmar, Foldes and Cartoon Art Productions. These are all used to form a British Comic Book Archives at the following link:

The "holy grails" are, naturally, Thrill Comics (Swan) Krakos The Egyptian and The Bat (not the 1950s Bat by George McQueen though scans of that comic The Bat Magazine would never be turned away!).  Zip Bang Comic featuring The Moon Man and Big Win Comic, Scion, 1948, featuring Zom Of The Zodiac amongst others are ones I'm sure we would all love to see.

That said, it may well be that very few, if any, copies exist today.

In the next week I'll be posting a list of what the British Comic Book Archives is looking for though, as I say, all contributions are welcome!

So, if you can


The Tornado Meets The Sea Beast

This one is from Oh Boy! No.5, which would make it...1949?  Credited, by Denis Gifford as being the work of the late Mick Anglo. Looking at the style there's not that much doubt.

The British had something about cephalopods.  TNT Tom saw off some that wanted to destroy the Earth with a huge bomb and, most famously, in film, it was a giant cephalopod-like alien-human hybrid that invaded Westminster Abbey in the film The Quatermass Experiment (on this occasion Prof. Bernard Quatermass being played by Brian Donlevy -as in Quatermass II).

So long as they are not the Octopoids from Dimension 0K2 who cares?


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Merry Maker Comic No. 3

Received the following scans of The Merry Maker Comic today from
Hi Terry,
"Just scanned issue # 3 of this comic and as I promised here's the page scans. Will be posting it to Scanarama in the next week.
The only signed strips appear to be Basil Reynolds on 'Larry Lisp', Stanley White on 'Bob ansd Doris' and Hugh White on 'The Castle Mystery'. The latter two variations on Hugh Stanley White presumably.
No date of course, presumably after the War. One can only hope some other of the issues will eventually surface.
Well, I can solve the date, if not the exact date (week). 
Algar/Burn published 11 issues of the title between 1946-1947.  If a weekly, then it must have begun population later in the year (1946) to reach no. 11 in 1947.  So I'm guessing that number 3 must have been published in December 1947?
Anyone who can pinpoint it know where I am!
And, of course, THANK YOU, Ernesto!



Monday, 2 April 2012

Who Would Be In YOUR British Golden Age and UK Silver Age Teams

 I posted this to my Yahoo British Comic Books Archive and Britcomics groups today.  Interesting if I get ANY reaction!!

So I thought, let's try this on the blog...

No kidding. About 0300 hrs this morning I was working on a project and thought about this.

The thing is, all the characters would have to be British.  They would also have to come from the British Golden Age and Silver Ages publishers.  I know my team because I'm working on them right now. The question is, how well known are British Golden Age characters amongst members?

To make it easier, let's say I decided the team had to be Fleetway or Thomson:

Billy The Cat
Mr Pendragon
The Iron Fish
Red Star Robinson
Katy The Cat

That would be a BASIC team to build on.  For Fleetway:

The Iron Man
The Phantom Viking
Thunderbolt The Avenger
Robot Archie
The Spider

Again, a basic team for the Silver Ages.

But the 1940s team built from non-D. C. Thomson and Non-Amalgamated Press characters and the same for the Silver Age.

Any thoughts or ideas?

Lets see what you got!


Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Merry Maker Comic...1946?

This is one of those scans sent to me quite a while ago and as is typical –no date.  I do know that Merry Maker Comic was published between 1946-1947.  There were 11 issues in total and published by L. Burn & Co. 

The first issue  has work by Walter (Rob The Rover) Booth – Bob And Doris. Other work is credited to Basil Reynolds, but with nothing signed…

The Shell Shop is credited to Hugh White.

I have to admit that Bob And Doris looks really weird!  I’d love to see the complete story!

But this is all I have so if you know the date of this issue (or nmber) please get in touch!

addenda: Mystery solved!  Got this email from Ernesto:

"Hi Terry,
Glad to see you've posted my scan of this Merry Maker. I do believe it to be issue 11, though this is only because the person I bought it from stated it was and believed it to be the final issue.
I agree with your comment on the rather surreal Bob and Doris-it would be fascinating to see more, though if this was the last issue, it looks as if more artwork was done but probably never published.
The good news is I have acquired another issue, though yet to be received. I of course intend to scan it when it arrives and will be happy to send you a copy.

There:issue 11!  THANKS Ernesto.


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