Wednesday, March 30, 2011

War Picture Library Advertising - Muscles Made Easy!

When Charles Atlas stayed in England he like nothing better than to bunk down with his chums of Department 250-S at their very salubrious London address in Chitty Street. Sadly there doesn't seem to be a lot going on there today.

As the master of Dynamic Tension he helped a generation of pastey white  kids grow into muscle bound and tanned demi-gods ready to take a firm grip on their own wrists and the rest of the world.

Just think in only 32 pages and 7 days you too could have a "strong, healthy body crammed with live, rippling handsome muscles".

It's good to see the good work started by Charles Atlas all those years ago still goes on today.

This advertisement is from the back outside cover of War Picture Library 99 Spearhead, published in May 1961.

Friday, March 25, 2011

War Picture Library 99 Spearhead

Is a slight misunderstanding enough to condemn your fighting brothers? Well according to Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Dawson it is more than enough. Dawson only has contempt for Americans after he misinterprets a comment from a large chinned American glider pilot.

Spearhead is a very well drawn, composed and animated story. Even though it's basically a shoot 'em up, bash with tash and dash affair the artwork is fantastic with great use of shadow and silhouette.

There's action in the air and on the beaches as glider airborne troops land in the sea and take direct fire from the enemy during the invasion of Sicily. A page or two then serve as a small respite to set the scene and reinforce Dawson's dislike of American pilots. He then only has his opinion confirmed by the introduction of American Airforce (and former bush pilot) Colonel Butch Gordon who is a loud mouthed, cigar chomping, sartorially challenged American pilot. Now with the scene set for some inter-allied animosity there's plenty of action. There's parachuting into Japanese held Burmese jungle to secure a clearing and build an airfield so more troops can arrive to win the war. So there's lots of opportunity for shooting, counter attacks, things to look grim and an arrggghh and aahhh or two.  The story ends with the inevitable reconciliation between should be friends.

No one is trying to get through a deep message or sneak through an agenda on the human condition in this story. This is purely what a pocket war comic should be - lots of action and a real page turner.

Big chinned Americans

Big panted Germans

That's one ugly German

Oh no! It looks like Cutter's bought it!

Smug Germans! Also lesson 23 for Bad Guys. Don't get call each other by your first names while you enjoy your work. It will only lead to a Mills 36 coming your way. 

That's right Karl - that's a Mills 36 coming your way.

Now! That's how you make an entrance!

That's how you wear a government issued suit - with crumpled style.

Itagaki is clearly an idiot.

Limb of Satan! I learn a new cuss everyday.

Check out Mr Muscles on the dozer.

What is wrong with that guy's hat?

Americans are very good at scooting around on their Jeeps and shooting up counter attacks.

Lessons for Bad Guys number 66. Don't forget when accepting the position of a sniper the golden rule is "hit and not be hit".

What a great tank picture. Can anybody help me out with what sort of tank it is?

Monday, March 21, 2011

War Picture Library Advertising - Super Libraries Promotion

XWKCRZP43X65 That's it pals (chums, mates, chaps and buddies, if that were translated into 'now' speak I guess that would at least become bros and besties) have a look at the new wonder value super libraries.

There are some great looking titles in there - however one does scare me a little and that's The Animator -featuring the Fleetway superhero The Spider. Just have a closer look at the picture on the left an you'll see what I mean.

He's the kind of guy that like to wear tights, ankle length red boots and what appears to be some kind of dual mounted dispensers worn openly on his chest. Whatever happened to him?

Well he lives on and is published in Tamil - no less!

This promotional advertisement comes from the inside front cover of War Picture Library 391 Old Warrior.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

War Picture Library 391 Old Warrior

A dickey ticker, a bad attitude and a big chin - are they enough to win the war? You bet they are!

Jack Frobisher finds it difficult to live up to his illustrious career when at the commencement of hostilities in WW2 he is considered too unfit - due to that dickey ticker - for active duty. Too proud to accept a desk job the former Commodore is set to spend the rest of his days brooding. The call for small craft to evacuate the troops from Dunkirk gives Frobisher the chance to get back into the action.

However despite affecting a rescue Frobisher's heart gives out jeopardising the life of his recently acquired survivors. Redemption can come in many forms and for Frobisher cold and alone, falling in and out of consciousness, floating around in the dark - his comes in the form of a badly mauled motor launch bereft of leadership - until he takes over.

All, however, is not plain sailing from here. The troops on the motor launch are not keen to go on with the mission- but under Frobisher's encouragement they continue - however when his heart gives out for a second time in 24 hours he realises he cannot go on and the story passes seamlessly over to Roy Collis, the junior and only remaining officer,  to complete the mission.

This is a very elegantly written story that is well supported by some great artwork. Some of the panels and situations are near cinematic in scope. The story telling is quite sophisticated - each panel is there for a reason and there's no need for any gratuitous action.

A great story! And if you like blokes with big chins this is the story for you.

What a great line about being a volunteer does not immune you from anxiety.

Sailors on the assault!

Speech balloons over panels. Also a great drawing of a WW1 cruiser.

Nice touch with that grass chewing German in the foreground.

Eat dirt!

Heinkel in the dark. Superb!

Oh no! Not the captain.

That chin alone will win the war.

What a fantastic drawing.

Nothing to lose!

Donner und Aagh! Didn't even get the chance to mutter Blitzen.

Just doing his job I guess.

You idiot!
 Look at the size of the chins on those two!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Battle Picture Library Advertising - Stamps

Have you ever wondered why 116 stamps in return and not 115? Needless to say I'm yet to collect a Battle, War or Air Ace Picture Library with the coupon to Broadway Approvals carefully removed from the back cover. Someone must have done it! If you're out there please get in contact.

This advertisement is from the back cover of Battle Picture Library 122 Hold Until Relieved.

For those interested in this kind of thing, here's a link to 50 Denmark Hill now on Google Map. Do you think the guy holding the Subway sign is really the front man for a vast underground stamp trading empire still operating from behind those iron garage door grills?

What would happen if you went up to this man and asked for Lot P25? What would happen if you went up to him and asked him for Lot P26?

So many questions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Battle Picture Library 122 Hold Until Relieved

At first I thought I had pulled a dud one from my collection for reviewing - but by page six I was hooked and loving the gritty inky artwork, style and and story.

The story centres around a sergeant on trial for abandoning his post and the efforts of his men to clear his name. There's a lot of ruin and destruction in this story and vehicles are rare - I think there may be just one in there somewhere. Besides being good at pouring ink onto the page the artist also uses the handy trick of drawing officers' uniforms intentionally large. Which for some reason makes the commissioned classes appear untrustworthy. I don't understand the psychology behind it but it works. I particularly liked the panels set around the ruined old mill wheel house - it's ugly stuff for an at times ugly story.

As mentioned before I thought I had picked up a dud as at first I didn't like the drawing style - but the further I got into the story the deeper the ink got into my veins. As always in reading a pocket war comic my mind races forward with expectations of "how is this going to end". Will it run true the stereotypical formula war comic ending or will something else happen? Thankfully Hold Until Relieved manages to end close off on a less than usual note.

Still it has all the elements that make up a formula story- the squad loyal to the sergeant, the one dissenter who hates him, the voice-of-reason-corporal who reminds one and all "he's saved your skin a number of times" and of course the stupid replacement officer who doesn't listen to the sergeant.

I get the feeling that someone who may have been in or near a battle or had access to someone who had may have written Hold Until Relieved.

So for a war comic that doesn't have any tanks or planes in it - this is very good. Hold Until Relieved is gritty and dirty and only a little bit cheesy. The best part about this Battle Picture Library story is the way the ink has been poured into each page and panel.

I was hooked by the time I got to page 6.

I just the love the dirty, gritty, inky style

Inky as bro.

Now there's a better than average cheesy line "...Irish the company of a mills grenade!"

Wow! A Donner und Ugh! and an AAGH!

Not a bad decision just bitter.

Excellent final panel.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shooting Nazis! - Can only be a good...

Flying Fortress Preview IssueIt's looking good. I'll be on the look out for the AAAGH! count!!

Flying Fortress Studios have just annouced that they are launching their Preview Issue and that it ships March 25.

I don't know too much about the story but good to see that the genre goes on... 


Not a lot of room in there.

 A sneak peak at behind the scenes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

War Picture Library 58 Up the Marines!

Up the Marines! is simply dreadful from the very beginning. Just what is going on with that cover? The self-vandalising enemy are rightfully cowering as they are being consumed by what looks like a creature from Cuthulu.  The story can only get worse from here - and it does.

Sergeant Swift and Corporal Younger are on a commando canoe raid to disable harbour bouy lights, making a vital German convoy to run aground. In the course of the action Younger gets himself killed and of course Swift blames himself. Swift returns and is awarded a medal for the action. Younger's younger brother is present at the investiture to accept the award. Have a wild guess at what happens next.

The younger Younger idolises Swift from the stories told to him by the older Younger. Younger Younger enlists and manages to get posted to the elite commando unit with Swift. Understandably Swift is keen not to have another Younger (older or younger) killed by his side and accordingly tries to minimise risk taking on missions. Younger Younger is of course distressed and embarassed that he's not seeing enough action and he tries to leave the unit.

Of course it all works out in the end when the two are involved in an assualt on a pillbox.

To be kind if you like things being blown up and people shot up then this story would be just OK. There are glimpses of the artist of trying to make something at least visually interesting - the pipe smoking German Oberleutnant, the sailor's cap ribbons fluttering in the breeze - but it's not enough to save this story.

I really have to dig deep to find to say anything nice about this one.

The cap ribbons fluttering away are a nice touch.

See didn't come up with WTF.

Oberleutnant stop hogging the pipe.

One of the few highlights in the story.

This man is an idiot. How did he ever get to command a ship?

 What an odd shaped scone you have sergeant.

I wish my posture was like that.

Good at drawing things being blown up and destroyed. Good at drawing a hail of bullets - but drawing an office appears to be a bit of a challenge.


Oh the shame...

This is that crazed  look you get when you're in the shadow of death and assualting a pillbox while wearing a tie.
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