Federal Comics – how 1980s Australia received its DC Comics superheroes

Supergirl. Australia. 1984.

Supergirl N°6. Cover by Howard Bender and Dick Giordano. 1985. Federal Comics. Australia.

Wonder Woman N°5. Cover by R.A. and D.G. 1985. Federal Comics. Australia.

Action Comics N°11. Superman. Cover Eduardo Barreto. 1985. Federal Comics. Australia.

In today’s post, TVTA looks at some outstanding comic book covers and adverts from the DC Comics Australian Edition publisher.

The Federal Publishing Company Proprietary Limited, based in Waterloo, Australia, was granted special permission by DC to reprint and publish a host of DC titles under the name Federal Comics to Australian readers.

TVTA is pleased to present some of these examples, featuring artwork by Dick Giordano, José Luís Garcia López, Ross Andru, Romeo Tanghal, Jerry Ordway, Terry Shoemaker, Howard Bender, Karl Kesel, Keith Giffen, Larry Mahlstedt, Mike Machlan, and Eduardo Barreto – this post offers a glimpse at how DC Comics characters were presented to an Australian audience in the mid 1980s.

Continue reading

DAN DARE – Pilot of the Future (Disembark here for EAGLE comics 1982-1985)

Eagle Cover 10 July 1982.

This post will take a look at a short period in the history of British comic book Eagle and one of its most famous characters Dan Dare. Eagle was founded by the Reverend Marcus Morris and was first published in 1950 to 1969. The character Dan Dare was created by Frank Hampson and made regular appearances until 1969 when Eagle, struggling by then, was merged with Lion comics, thus bringing an end to the sky heroics of ‘Pilot of the Future’ Dan Dare.

But fast forward to 1982… and a secret project team at IPC Magazines led by Barrie Tomlinson, David Hunt and Gil Page was putting together the final touches of its plans for the relaunch of Eagle and its greatest hero Dan Dare! The new format had already been decided: a shift from traditional art stories to photo-stories – a format that had proved itself a hit with pop magazines like JACKIE.

Daring to dabble

Dan Dare was to escape the new photo-story format and remain rendered as he had always been – in quality lines and ink drawn by quality artists. Not that Dan escaped change entirely! The original 1950s Dan as created by Frank Hampson was completely removed from the relaunched storyline and replaced with Dan’s Great-Great Grandson who took on the name ‘Dan Dare’ and his mantle ‘Pilot of the Future’, with adventures now being set 200 years into the future of the original storyline.

Below: Operation Eagle. From the 1983 Eagle Annual

Just some of the steps taken in relaunching a comic and one of its legends.


Not plain sailing

What began as an exciting relaunch for Eagle in 1982 quickly gave way to choppy waters. Dan Dare lost its lead artist Gerry Embleton just four months into the relaunch. The following year in 1983 the title made the transition from the photo-stories back to traditional comic art. This was followed by the change to a new size format and cheaper newsprint – and all against the background of the 1980s British printer’s strikes when Eagle saw the mergers of fellow IPC comics Scream! which integrated into Eagle in 1984, and then Tiger which merged with Eagle in 1985. 

The creative team for the Dan Dare strips during this topsy-turvy ’82 – ’85 period included the writers Pat Mills and John Wagner, with intial artwork coming from Gerry Embelton and Oliver Frey (Frey also did the work on the ’84 and ’85 Annuals). Then came the prolific art of Ian Kennedy (announced as the new artist in the July 31 issue, 1982), and finally the art of Carlos Cruz from the period 1984/5. Writer and artist credits are seldom printed in many of the later issues I own, so if I’ve missed or miscredited anyone let me know in the comments.

Final flight

Although I’m only covering the period ’82 – ’85, it’s worth concluding the history of that relaunch to say that Eagle, and all of its fellow IPC comic titles, was eventually purchased by the publisher Robert Maxwell in 1987. Five-hundred issues of this later Eagle were published until dwindling sales forced a change from weekly release to monthly. Later issues contained reprints – although new Dan Dare stories did appear written by Tom Tully and drawn by David Pugh. Eagle flew on for a while longer up to 1994 when it, and its famous pilot Dan Dare, once again disappeared from the sky.

Onto the images then. 1982 – 1985. And what a treat! TVTA is pleased to present a stellar selection of artwork and covers related to this exciting relaunch period for Eagle and Dan Dare!

Enjoy.

Dan Dare and the Return of the Mekon by Wagner / Mills /Embleton. Eagle 10 July 1982.

Dan Dare and the Return of the Mekon by Wagner / Mills/ Frey. Eagle 17 July 1982.

Dan Dare and the Return of the Mekon by Mills / Wagner / Kennedy. Eagle 31 July 1982.

Page mixing traditional comic art with model photography. Mills / Kennedy / models by J. Baum. Eagle 28 May 1983.


Cover artwork 1982 – 1985


Title mergers

Eagle and Scream!, 1984

Eagle and Scream! 9 Feb 151 1985.

The stories ‘Monster’ and ‘The Thirteenth Floor’ from SCREAM! merger announcements with Eagle. 25 Aug 1984.

Eagle and Tiger, 1985

Eagle and Tiger. 14 Sept 1985 182.


Eagle Annual 1983


Dan Dare print advert. Eagle. 1983.


TVTA Fun Bonus!

While going through the dozens of Eagle issues I own from this period, I managed to put togther the four-part double-page series ‘Doomlord’s Alien Datafile Poster’

Pheww!! What a monster when all put togther…

Doomlord’s Alien Datafile. Four-part double-page poster collection in Eagle comic, 1985.

And lastly…

A Mekon and Treen target simulator to use with the free potato gun as given away in the September 24 issue of EAGLE, 1983, ‘Mash Up The Mekon’

Space Fleet Target Simulator. Eagle 24 Sept 1983.


That’s all folks. Thank you for flying into the future with us 🙂


Resources: 1983 Eagle Annual, Fleetway. Various Eagle comics, IPC, 1982 – 1985. Wikipedia entries for Eagle and Dan Dare. Images copyright belong to the current owners of Eagle and Dan Dare and are used here for information purposes. Image scans made by TVTA from personal comic collection.

Further reading: excellent Dan Dare article from Down The Tubes

Clash of the Titans: the official illustrated adaptation of the 1981 film

“And to make certain that Argos is destroyed, let loose the last of the Titans! Release the Kraken!” Zeus. Clash of the Titans by Beverley Cross. 

TVTA takes a glance at the 1981 Look-In Film Special for the official illustrated adaptation of the film Clash of the Titans, adapted from the Beverley Cross script by Mary Carey with art by Dan Spiegle.

ITV Books, 1981, Great Britain.


 

 



Thanks for looking 🙂

British Comics 1970s and 1980s – as promoted in print advertising

2000 AD advert. 1988.

A TVTA Special

TVTA is pleased to present a selection of 1970s and 1980s British comic book titles as seen in print adverts found in… 1970s and 1980s British comic book titles 🙂

My memories of British comics.

Many of the titles featured in this post I grew with up. I have fond memories of saving up my pocket money for the weekly visit to the newsagent, and then the Sunday visit to our Grandparents’ house where there would always be a bag of sweets and a pile of comics waiting for us kids as treats. My parents split up when I was young, so when Dad visited this was yet another occasion to receive a pile of comics. As a supplement to the weekly and monthly comic books, Mom always bought us a number of hard cover annuals each Christmas.

Free Gift in this Week’s Issue !!

The kids in the grove where we lived were just as comic-mad, and we had regular get-togethers to share our comics and marvel at the free gifts we had received. Indeed, many of the adverts in today’s post are promotional adverts for free gifts included with the title. Gifts ranged from stickers to toys, badges to posters, and special offers made in conjunction with many popular sweets, crisps and chocolate brands of the day.

One good memory I have regarding comics is the day I accompanied my mom to the weekly launderette run. Completely bored, I was mooching about the premises when I found a Fifty Pence pence piece sticking out from under one of the machines. To a kid in the late 1970s 50p was not to be sniffed at. My mom was a good sport and allowed me to keep it, so I popped next door to the newsagents and came back with comics. Another good memory is of a friend having a clear-out of his stuff, and he gave me about a hundred issues of his old Beano and Dandy comics which kept me in happy reading spirits for months. Another good memory is of rainy days at school when at breaktime we stayed indoors and played toys and games or… read comics. Looking back there was many a good time spent with comics, and it’s been fun browsing some of those old titles again in search of adverts.

So, onto the ads, and there’s a little bit of everything here from Star Wars to Buster to Victor to Dan Dare, Spider-Man and Hulk, Tiger, Roy of the Rovers, 2000 AD and Doctor Who!

Enjoy.

Star Wars Weekly. 1978.

Victor Summer Specials. Victor. 1975.

Wow! Eagle 17 Jul.y 1982.

Buster. Eagle 19 Feb 1983.

Rowntree’s Fruit Gums promotion with Girl. Eagle 31 July. 1982.

Red Dagger. 1980.

2000 AD as advertised by Lemmy. 2000 AD. 1987.

A Close Encounter for Dan Dare. Eagle. 1983.

Doctor Who Weekly. 1980.

Playmobil figures promotion with Buster and Whizzer and Chips. 2000 AD. 1983.

MASK vs VENOM. 2000 AD. 1987.

Battle and Whoopee! Eagle 1983.

Roy of the Rovers. Eagle 12 Feb. 1983.

Bubblicious promotion with Tiger. Eagle 9 Apri.l 1983.

Spider-Man and Hulk.1980.

The Empire Strikes Back Weekly. 1980.

Battle Action Force. Eagle N°156. 1985.

Frantic. 1980.

2000 AD. UK. 1980.

Thank you for finding Fifty Pence pieces with us 🙂


 

Weird War Tales issue N°1

Weird War Tales N°1. 1971. US. Joe Kubert cover.

I finally got hold of issue number one of Weird War Tales by DC, October 1971. I’ve been after this debut issue of the brilliant comic book series for a long while, and managed to snag a copy at a more than agreeable price.

Weird War Tales was an anthology series of war-related stories blended with sci-fi, horror and the paranormal. Each issue was hosted by a character called ‘Death’ who was often drawn wearing a different military uniform on the cover or introduction page. Recurring characters such as the Creature Commandos, G.I. Robot, and The War That Time Forgot became regular stories.

The original title ran from 1971 to 1983 across 124 issues. In 1997 it was revised as a four part series, and in 2000 a one-off special.

I have some more Weird War Tales hopefully arriving soon, featuring The Creature Commandos on the covers. As for my collection of the full Weird War Tales run – I’m just over the one-third mark for completion. Look out for the latest additions in upcoming posts.

As always, thanks for looking 🙂

’80-’87, comic book art and covers

Wonder Woman 265, 1980. Cover Andru / Giordano.

Welcome to another selection of comic book art, covers and ads. In this instalment we showcase DC characters as seen in the 1980s, and feature cover artwork by Dan Jurgens, Raphael Kayanan, Dick Giordano and Ross Andru, Gil Kane, George Perez, Eduardo Barreto and Romeo Tanghal. Also for your viewing pleasure are DC adverts featuring  Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Suicide Squad, Batman and more! 

As always, thanks for looking 🙂 


Aquaman. 1985.

The Flash. 1986.

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. 1982.

Hex. 1985.

Tales of the Teen Titans 49, 1984. Cover George Perez.


Suicide Squad. 1986.

Wonder Woman Wonder Words, 1983.


Join TVTA again soon for more superb comic covers, art and adverts!

Welcome to TVTA Sweden and Finland!

Superman N°12 1987. Cover by Arthur Adams and Dick Giordano. DC Sweden/Finland.

Greetings vintage mates! In my ongoing endeavour to gather a digital archive of international advertising, catalogues, posters and comic covers, The Vintage Toy Advertiser is pleased to post today some wonderful examples from Sweden and Finland. Välkommen!

Adding to an already impressive world map featuring France, UK, US, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Japan and Brazil… the following titles from the 1970s and 80s were aimed at a Finnish and Swedish readership, and feature Superman – (Stålmannen in Swedish), Batman – (Läderlappen), Dracula, Tarzan, The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil (Våghalsen), and Spider-Man (Spindelmannen).

Enjoy the scans! Or as they may say in Swedish, Njut av skanningarna!

Dracula

Dracula N°6 1983. Marvel Sweden/Finland.

Superman

Superman N°11 1986. DC Sweden/Finland.

Superman N°13 1978. DC Sweden/Finland.

Super fart! Let’s save the Superman fart joke for last! Super-Fart = Super Speed. Super-Spänning = Super-Voltage. Super-Tuff = Super-Tough!

Super Fart Superman! 1978. Sweden/Finland.

Tarzan

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan N°14 1977. Cover by Joe Kubert. Sweden/Finland.

Tarzan. 1977 Sweden/Finland.

Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil 

Hulk N°2 1984. Marvel Sweden/Finland.

Spider-Man. 1984. Marvel Sweden/Finland.

Daredevil. 1982. Marvel Sweden/Finland.


As always, thanks for looking 🙂 Coming soon… yet another international debut at The Vintage Toy Advertiser! (clue – you won’t have to read upside down!)

’75-’88, comic book art and covers

Wonder Woman N°240. 1978. Garcia Lopez et Dick Giordano.

Welcome, vintage mates, to another selection of comic book art, covers and ads. In this instalment we span the years 1975 to 1988 and feature a DC-heavy dose of amazing cover work from the likes of Garcia Lopez, Dick Giordano, Dan Jurgens, Karl Kezel, Ross Andru, Jan Duursema and Jack Kirby, along with DC adverts for Stick-ons, medallions and Superman: The Movie.

As always, thanks for looking 🙂 


Tales of the Legion of Superheroes N°321. 1985. Dan Jurgens et Karl Kezel.

Superman N°334. 1979. Ross Andru and Dick Giordano.

The Super Friends N°45. 1981. Schaffenberger et Smith.

Atlas N°1. 1975. Jack Kirby.

Power Girl. 1978.

Arion N°6. 1983. Jan Duursema.

Superman Double Dynamite. 1979.

Superman: The Movie. 1979.

Superman 50th birthday medallion. 1988.

Wonder Woman newspaper strip. 1979.

DC Super-hero Stick-ons. 1979.


Join TVTA again soon for more superb comic covers, art and adverts!

’74-’85, comic book art and covers

Marvel 50th Premiere. Alice Cooper. 1979. US.

Welcome, vintage mates, to another selection of comic book art, covers and ads. In this instalment we span the years 1974 to 1985 and feature titles from the US and UK. Included (above) is my childhood copy of Marvel’s Alice Cooper – Tales From the Inside. I didn’t know very much about Alice Cooper back in the late seventies apart from the song ‘School’s Out’ – but the crazy story inside that 12p comic managed to fully capture my imagination as a child… and who could resist that cover?

Other comic book goodies included today are Godzilla King of the Monsters (below), more superb examples of the striking cover art as seen in DC’s Weird War Tales, and titles and ads for Marvel, Star Comics, Starlog, Starburst, Doctor Who and Fantasy Modeling.

As always, thanks for looking 🙂 

Marvel Comic N°338. 1979. UK.


Weird War Tales

Weird War Tales N°32. 1974. US.

Weird War Tales N°78. 1979. US.


Various titles


Fiction’s Fearless Females: Wonder Woman

Graphic Novelty²

Nancy and I, as well as six other bloggers, continue to celebrate Women’s History Month with this latest installment in our #FictionsFearlessFemales series! Each post written thus far has featured a female character from mass media such as movies and TV shows. Green Onion started us off, with his excellent post about Ellen Ripley, from the Alien movie series. Nancy followed with her phenomenal ode to Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager. Then, Michael over at My Comic Relief penned a loving tribute to Amy Pond of Doctor Who. Man, I remember following Michael for our Great Chris Debate series too, and wondering how I could possibly top his post! (But, perhaps vainly, I assure you, dear readers… I didn’t feel that way this time ;D)

I know, I know… you guys are all are on tenterhooks wondering who I picked…

My post features Wonder Woman!…

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