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Rusty Skrulls and Sunken Treens posted by Hibou

41 posts in this topic

It's the tonic that can cure most ails, AJD! lol








So once I jumped across the pond and found out more about this Mekon and Dan Dare... the more I felt I was getting sucked in and it was certainly a welcomed feeling... but something else was building as well.


Dan Dare was introduced to the population of England in April of 1950 as a counter to what was being produced over here around that time with the horror comics and such that would lead to Wertham's crusade.


That intrigued me.


I had never heard of this Dan Dare outside of a song and I never knew that it was such an integral piece of British culture... just as the same could be said of Doctor Who.


Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future.

I'll get much more into that later but I want to tie this into my state of mind at this moment when I was trying to find my passion for comics again.


The Dan Dare comic (or strip), as published weekly under Eagle was illustrated by Frank Hampson... and the little bit that I was seeing online was getting me quite interested but I didn't know at the time if this was serious or just a curiosity.


"John Byrne was born in England in 1950, same year as this debuted."




Just as I felt that Grant Morrison had taken me on a journey, I had to wonder...


"Mr. Byrne, where are you taking me (again)?"


There was something very familiar about Frank Hampson's work and vision but I couldn't connect it at the time so I sort of just ignored it... but still, look for yourself...








That was the first 'issue' (1st page) of Dan Dare and Eagle... a supplement to the national newspaper.


This was going to be something big... I just knew it.


Despite all of this, there would be something else on the horizon that would pull me back over stateside... speaking figuratively of course.


And that was my friends birthday.


Rob's birthday is in July and I couldn't let the month slip away without contacting him and getting together... and so, that's precisely what I did!







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For the first time in a while- I'm taking an entire week off from work and it feels great!


I could definitely get used to this!







So just about a month ago, I got together with Rob... we found a new place as Tim Horton's was gone and the dead mall was just too depressing. So we met at World of Beer, located within the Destiny USA mall here in Syracuse.


I had been there before on a few occasions but this was on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn't busy at all which was nice. They have a selection of over 550 beers and they also have a loyalty club that you can join and by the end of the afternoon- Rob and I did just that.

"Hey, we get T-shirts too!"

They have their own membership card which ties in with this downloadable app that tracks the beers you've tried and lets you add in your own notes if you choose. In addition to that you can earn 'badges' and points which lets you build towards other promotions.








I thought that was all pretty cool.


So Rob and I had 4 beers each... these were the 4 that I tried.








We talked about work a lot but then of course the discussion turned to comics and I told him that I was really in a rut and just didn't feel like I had a direction to go in. I told him the story of the Steve Rogers: Captain America...


As a matter of fact, I gave that issue to him along with some other stuff.


"Here, now this can ruin comics for you too!" lol


I talked to him about all the changes to both DC and Marvel characters and he got it. He wasn't buying much lately either. I told him that I was thinking of collecting some titles...

"Doctor Strange, Spider-Man... not really into that. Fantastic Four..."


He then interjected, "That would be cool."


"Yeah... I dunno..."


We got back to talking about all the current stuff out there and he was telling me a lot about the Marvel titles and the changes. Among those changes at Marvel, one actually stood out to me...

"Yeah, Doctor Doom is now an Iron Man..."






"That's actually kinda cool."


"Right, I know how much you like that Iron Man / Doctor Doom time travel stuff..."


And there it was! A link had been formed to something in the past that I perhaps overlooked... either that or it was the beer! lol


Doctor Doom?




One of the last things I talked to Rob about was the amount of books that I had sold. I showed him on my phone the few books I had left and my last words to him about that was that it was all 'subject to change'.


After a few hours at World of Beer, we closed out the tab and walked through the mall a little. We stopped at this shop that sold over priced imported candy... I bought my daughter some odd Japanese candy and then we made our way to the comic shop located within the mall.


So that was pretty much the end of a fun afternoon...


A couple of hours after I got home, I went through my comics again and started pulling books... both raw and slabbed.


I decided I would go to see Mike the next day and sell some more stuff.








I woke up Monday morning, asked my wife what we had to do that day and then told her that I wanted to run up to the comic store...


Maybe it's time for a reevaluation.


Yes, that's it...


Time to go to my favorite LCS.

"Hey Mike, here's a bunch of these underwater cover and moon cover books that seem distant to me now. Cash? Sure, but let me take a look at what you have in the store..."









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So Mike was offering a fair cash price for my books that I had brought in but I decided to look around a bit... my eyes kept going to this one raw book that was behind the counter.


I could see that it was in rough shape but it still interested me a bit.


The book was The Fantastic Four #5... the first appearance of Doctor Doom.

I asked Mike if I could take a look at the book and he encouraged me to take it out of the bag. I hesitated because once I saw the tape on the spine, I didn't think I wanted anything like that. Besides, with a sizeable piece missing off the top- it went against the grain of what I look for in a book.


Inside, the book had a couple of pieces of tape that was holding the cover on and it was all old tape both inside and out. But once I saw the interior splash page, something became very apparent to me...








"I don't ever remember reading this book".


Could that be true?


I thought that maybe I wasn't remembering the story but as I carefully flipped through the pages, NOTHING looked familiar to me. Still, the book was in too rough condition and I put the comic back in the bag and gave the book back to Mike.


I figured I would just go on my way and take the cash.


But then Mike shared something with me that's a tale that many comic book collectors and comic book shop owners would dream of... he told me the story of the older woman who walked into his store just a few days earlier.


Apparently, this woman in her 70's walked in carrying a small portfolio. Sadly her husband had passed away a year ago or so and she had these old drawings that he collected and didn't know what to do with them. She lived with her husband just outside of Syracuse... not even 15 miles away. Her husband was an artist himself and over many years, had accumulated a small collection of original artwork.


So Mike tells me that his jaw dropped when he saw what she had and told her that it was all very valuable and he could only offer her so much for a small handful of the drawings... he told her that an auction site would be best for many of the other pieces.


Mike hands me a small stack of these drawings... all 9 of them now in standard comic bags with backing boards. When I looked at each of these drawings, in hand... MY jaw dropped as well.


He posted them on his Facebook page under the post:




Jack Kirby - John Romita Sr. - Jerry Siegel - Joe Shuster


Curt Swan - Al Plastino


For those of you on Facebook, they can be viewed here...





I told him that these certainly looked authentic and asked him what he was going to do with them. He said that he was going to send them out somewhere to be authenticated.


"Yes, you should definitely do that!"


But it was when I held this one piece in my hand and just stared at the line work... well, let's just say that's when all these little pieces that were being laid down finally assembled into one powerful moment.


It was Doctor Doom.


And it was Jack Kirby.


This was what I was looking at...


(Image taken from the above linked Facebook page)








It was such an awesome piece!


I gave the drawings back to Mike simply shaking my head... an original Siegel and Shuster?! Plasino?! Kirby?! Simply amazing.


I looked back at the raggedy Fantastic Four 5 and did the deal. Mike also had a copy of FF 6 that was in better condition and offered both books to me in exchange for what I brought him. I declined the 6 and just took part cash and the FF5.


And for the first time in quite a while, I felt very excited just to get home, sit down and actually read a comic. The condition of the book mattered little, I just wanted to get into this first appearance and origin issue of Doctor Doom!








Once I got home I realized that the book would have to wait as there were some other things we all needed to do around the house and had to get to the groceries too. I would have to wait until later in the evening but the first moment I got, I sat back in the recliner (took out my reading glasses :( ) and in a matter of moments, I felt like I was 10 again... wondering what each page had in store and where Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would bring me.


The pages of the book smelled just how I would want them to... I think 60's books have a distinct smell from 40's books but I'm not sold on that yet. Anyways, I loved the first few opening pages and thought it was a brilliant touch to have Johnny Storm reading a copy of Hulk #1... and then later I had no idea that there would be a full page ad for Hulk 1 in there as well. Great marketing!


So as the story progressed, I had to laugh... was this a bootstrap paradox? Right here in FF5?! I think it just might be... I loved it!


I got to the end of the story and I was somewhat depressed... I NEEDED to read issue 6 now! Unfortunately I had to work the next day and realized that I wouldn't be able to get back to the comic shop for another week. Wow... just like it used to be- waiting for that next issue to come out!


And that was how the small spark was ignited back into a fire. I didn't have a definitive direction I wanted to go in yet, but I was just happy to have found something new and exciting to me.






And just as a postscript... I went to see Mike this past weekend (jumping ahead here in this timeline)... he showed me the drawings again, all now certified by the authenticating company. They had a seal of approval as being the real deal! There were 2 missing though. Apparently, they never made it back to Mike... someone who handled them called him to ask how much he wanted. Mike said he would listen to an offer... an offer was made, accepted and the rest was made into comic book store owner history!




I was very happy for him!


As for the artist who lived nearby that had passed away, apparently he was friends with Jack Kirby... they would vacation together.


And he was friends with Bob Kane too...








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I forgot to mention one part of this story that occurred just this past May... so as Harry Lime put it, let's use Doctor Doom's Time Machine...






That, or we could use...






Well, either way... let's go back to May for a moment.


There was a local convention taking place this one week back in the spring and I wasn't planning on going. I didn't have any motivation or real incentive to go so I figured I would sit this one out.







Well, the night before the convention, my daughter was having a friend sleep over and they told me that they wanted to go to the convention as they thought there would be some Anime stuff there... my daughter has been into Anime for quite a while now.


So I agreed to take them and we waited in line on what seemed to be an abnormally cold Sunday morning in May. Once inside, I let them look around and I just wandered about. The comics weren't really doing anything for me. Actually, there was one book that I really wanted to get... a copy of Dr. Who and the Daleks.


Unfortunately, the person who had it displayed at their Doctor Who table wasn't selling it.


Fine. :(


So I wandered some more and figured I would take a look at what was going on at Ray McCarthy's table who was one of the guests there. There was someone else at the table looking at his original pages that he brought to sell but no one was talking to him as he sat there with his wonderful (I'm assuming) wife.


I asked him all sorts of questions from techniques to what artists he liked to work with... I asked him about time constraints and some other questions on different aspects of inking. But then the conversation started to shift to what comics and the companies were doing today and that's where we had a great discussion. Ray and his wife shared my concern with where the industry was heading but I did tell him that I really liked what Amanda Conner was trying to do with the books she wrote. They both agreed...


As we were having this long conversation (which may have lasted a good 20+ minutes), I was browsing through his pages of inked material and I kept getting pulled into these pages for a Batman story from some years ago. He noticed that I kept pausing at these pages and told me what the book was... the pages were from the 1999 2 part series called: Batman - The Book of the Dead.


From what I was looking at, it seemed like a really interesting story and he filled me in a little on it. Afterwards, I told him that I'd really like to go and find these now so I could read the entire story.


Sadly, I didn't find anything at this convention.


I ended up getting one page from him though because there was something about it that reached me... I wasn't quite sure what it was but now maybe I have a better idea.


It was this page here and I apologize for the quality of the picture. It looks very sharp in hand.








What was also interesting is that on the back of this page, Barry Kitson (Penciller), left a note and some instructions for Ray regarding one specific panel....









Maybe this was the first spark that drew me elsewhere... :shrug:


Afterwards, I thanked Ray for the conversation and left the table, I met up with my daughter and thanked her for getting me to go to this convention as I really enjoyed that meeting!


For a couple of weeks after, I searched all the local comics stores around here, as well as the bookstores, for a copy of that Batman- The Book of the Dead set.


No luck... and then slowly, I forgot about it.







As much as I enjoyed meeting Ray and talking about this particular story, it still didn't do much to sway me in any particular direction.


Shortly after this weekend in May, I was going through some of my things when I came across my small collection of stamps that I've accumulated over the years. All sorts of different topics that appeal to me... including these two sheets:










As I looked at the sheets, there was one book that really stood out to me and it brought me back to a time I remembered fondly!


And that was just another step that I had unknowingly taken.







As for the Batman - TBOTD... when I thought of writing this entry, I remembered that I still wanted to find a copy of that set and as I was looking through mycomicshop.com for some other books, I thought to see if they had this set.


Sure enough, they did and so I finally ordered the set today!






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Great stories! How cool would it be to have a comic shop where amazing pieces of art and books walk in all the time? As a Batman fan, I've never heard of Book of the Dead, you must let us know how it is!


I have those Marvel and DC stamps as well and neat story about the Fantastic Four book!


As for you con experience, the last few I've been to with the exception of Denver con had little in way of comics - and even Denver was disappointing....

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So I was very interested in reading the next issue of The Fantastic Four, after finishing that issue #5, but like I said, I would have to wait a week and hope that Mike didn't sell that #6 before I would get a chance to buy it.


Now originally, he was going to give me the #5 and the #6 for those books that I brought in but I had decided to take the issue 5 and the cash instead. Well, the next day that I had off from work (which was a week later), I stopped into his shop and sure enough, it was still there.


He gave it to me at a reduced price, consistent with our last deal and I was happy to get the book home to once again sit back and dive into this 'latest' issue of The Fantastic Four! And here's where I knew that something was different- I didn't care about the condition too much. This book has some interior tape and a detached cover... hey, it's a 'reader' and that's exactly the purpose I would use it as.










As soon as I opened that first page and started reading, it occurred to me once again... I never read this and I had no idea where it was going! From the smell of the pages to the fluidity of Jack Kirby's figures... the pacing of Stan's writing (perhaps with Kirby too), I just felt this amazing sense of renewal and discovery with this book and in connection with that FF5.


For the first time in a very long time, I was truly enjoying this!


The panel depicting the cut away of the Baxter Building and the interior reminded me of those comics I read as a youth and the wonder of just staring at the schematics of the Batcave or the Fortress of Solitude... Spider-Man's web shooters and belt... Iron Man's armor...


I found myself looking at this panel and just letting my mind wander with that for a moment.






I had to laugh at part 2 of this book though.


Right as the Sub-Mariner meets Doctor Doom for the first time, I see this and for some reason I had say...


"Now that's a really nice 3/4 page panel!" lol







The story progressed and despite the (at times) ridiculous science of the story, I just purely enjoyed it for what it was.


Doctor Doom is able to skate away with the ENTIRE Baxter Building because the Sub-Mariner placed a magnetic grabber in a "dark corner of the basement".








Now come on, do any of you really know what's in that dark corner of your basement?!


There might be a magnetic grabber there too! :ohnoez:


The climax of the story has the Sub-Mariner, now realizing that he's been played by Doctor Doom, end his fight with the Thing within the building (as they're wearing 'space helmets' nonetheless) and asks where the water storage tank is. Now of course there is one in the building and once the Sub-Mariner dives in and energizes himself, he crashes through the wall of the building... into space... and leaps from one asteroid to another until he reaches Doom's ship.


Pure genius! lol





So reading this story and enjoying it as much as I did, definitely provided me with a certain thirst for more. But in the back of my mind, I still had this image in my head of this funny green character and these pages of Dan Dare that I was seeing on line.


I wanted to look more into that too...


And this was pretty much where things converged.


Somehow, someway... in that "dark corner of the basement" within the recesses of my mind, I found Dan Dare and The Fantastic Four.


It all felt brand new again and then finally, after wondering whether this was all still something that I enjoyed, I felt some relief.


And I felt...


















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Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future


This one was pretty strange... it really was.


I'd say it was The Mekon that first drew me in, but I would be lying if I didn't say that Frank Hampson's work wasn't right along side with it!










Perhaps I was looking a little too closely... maybe I was just utilizing an 'open mind'.


Regardless of what it was, I was hooked!


Whether it was a pretty cool story line, an association with John Byrne... The Mekon... it didn't matter.


This was going to be part of my story and my discovery!


To be continued... :)



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I have to admit... my love and admiration for the culture and people across the pond in the UK took a long time to develop.


I suppose as with anything, time formulates our direction and for me, it was a slow but steady process. How did I not find Dan Dare until this year?! How did I not see the connection to John Byrne, who I've long touted as my inspiration and guide when it came to comics and the dream of someday drawing them for a living?


A dream which I know has long passed...


Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future...

"So long captain Dan

I fail to see what motivates your hands

Goodbye restless night

You know I loved Dan Dare, but I couldn't make his flight..."


I described how I stumbled upon The Mekon and how in some bizarre way, I felt like there was some connection to the artwork of my favorite comic artist as a youth... John Byrne.


When this all sort of converged, I really had no idea where it would lead me but I certainly felt 'guided'. I just love when the Universe (or The Matrix) takes my hand and tells me to 'check this out'... good times. lol


Anyways, when I started looking into Dan Dare, the first thing I had to understand was the context of when this all first originated. As I wrote earlier, it was in April of 1950 when Dan Dare first appeared as the featured top page strip on the newly formed Eagle... a British childrens periodical. Eagle was founded by The Reverend John Marcus Harston Morris ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Morris_(publisher) ) ...

"Morris was impressed by the high standard of artwork in the US magazines, but disgusted by their content, which he described as "deplorable, nastily over-violent and obscene, often with undue emphasis on the supernatural and magical as a way of solving problems." He realised that a market existed for a children's comics periodical which featured action stories in cartoon form, but which also would convey to children the standards and morals he advocated" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_(British_comics)


Prior to forming Eagle, Morris met up with Frank Hampson and collaborated on some projects together but it was in April of 1950 when Morris and Hampson started Eagle along with Dan Dare and changed the face of British science fiction utilizing top end printing methods featuring beautiful full color plates on Hampson's Dan Dare along with a large publicity campaign.


The results were immediate... on April 14th of 1950, Eagle sold 900,000 copies!


Dan Dare was off and running and Hampson would lead him to adventures that are still very entertaining even by todays standards.


I saw a few strips online and looked a bit further into the development of Dan Dare going into the 80's.


I found a couple of copies on eBay and bought those first...
































From here I learned that in 2007, Virgin Comics resurrected Dan Dare and produced a 7 issue series written by Garth Ennis with art by Gary Erskine. I found out that a few years later, an omnibus was released which collected all 7 issues. I bought the UK HC edition and I've just started reading that... I'm just through the 1st issue and I like it so far.






This is part of the introduction from Garth Ennis:


"In the winter of 1944-45, during the long, miserable Allied advance through the low countries and into Nazi Germany, a young soldier by the name of Frank Hampson stood on a freezing Antwerp quay and raised his head. And he saw rockets.


V-1s and V-2s, some on their way to London, some pounding hell out of the British and Canadian armies massing for the attack to come. These were the "vengeance weapons" with which Hitler swore he would still achieve victory. To Hampson, they meant something else.


Space Travel was born in those neat cottonwool lines reaching up into the clear blue winter sky, he wrote. The lines were, alas, the first realization of the dreams of scientists and inventors who had been working for years with little two or three foot models. Hitler warped their dreams into ends that were foul and repulsive.

But dreamers have a habit of not giving up...


Frank Hampson certainly didn't. Five years later he created Dan Dare."


I'll probably have more on this book later as I get through it...


But what I was really yearning for was the original Frank Hampson stuff and that's what my search focused on.


Luck struck, once again, on eBay as I found an original paper from 1957 which had a very attractive price and the piece looked like it was in pretty nice condition. The color is just amazing and it really showcases the craftsmanship that was poured into creating these periodicals... the artwork is absolutely beautiful!













And shortly after I found that page, I found exactly what I wanted (well almost), I found the first 2 years of 'issues' complied into one volume.


This was published by Hawk Books in 1987 and it features every Dan Dare page from April 14, 1950 to October 5, 1951. It was an absolutley fantastic read as it tells the story of Dan Dare, Professor Peabody, Digby, Pierre, Sir Hubert, Hank and Sondar.


Also, the fantastic Kingfisher, the Ranger and ultimately... the Elizabeth.


The war between the Treens, Therons and the Atlantines.


And then of course, on November 3, 1950... 30 weeks into the story, the UK is introduced to...


The Mekon!




















I also found a 1954 trading card from F.C Calvert & Co. that came with their toothpaste...








Reading through that first massive tale was a lot of fun... the story takes place in the future which is 1995 / 1996... food has become in short supply on Earth and that's where the story begins.


I can certainly see the appeal this had to the youth of England in 1950 and beyond.


From what I've read, it left an impression with many creative people and like I mentioned before, I had a 'gut' feeling that one of those people would be John Byrne. I really had no idea... maybe I read it before and that thought got buried into the back of my mind and ignited when I saw the picture of the Mekon - who knows.


But what was a complete joy to find... my 'gut' feeling was right.


This was taken from John's website:



"Every year when my birthday rolls 'round, I am reminded that it is bracketed by the deaths of two of my all time favorite (and most influential) artists, Frank Hampson and Frank Bellamy.


Bellamy died on July 5th, 1976, at the young age of 47, and Hampson followed on July 8th, 1985, at 67.


These were the artists who introduced me to DAN DARE, in EAGLE, the impact of which upon my career literally cannot be measured. (Hampson had created DARE, and, indeed, co-created EAGLE.)


Here are a pair of stunning pages from TERRA NOVA, the storyline that introduced me, at age 9, to Mssers Hampson, Bellamy and Dare. . .


Hampson (Studio). . . "


This was incredible to find... John Byrne was influenced, as a child growing up in England, by Dan Dare and Frank Hampson. I love that!


And then there's this...


I will rarely post any original artwork from John Byrne but I have to make an exception here. I'll apologize for using this image but I'll say that it was taken from this web page...




In Rusty Staples and Sunken Treasure, I showed what I was drawing at age 11.


Well here's what John Byrne drew at age 11... in 1961. hm








And there it is.


Frank Hampson.


John Byrne.


This was a Fantastic educational experience and just added to my love for this medium.


And what I like about this new Dan Dare fascination... there's sooo much out there to collect that I haven't seen! I look forward to the new discoveries!


Now here's a segue I couldn't have planned better...


I stumbled on these two interesting pieces of artwork by Frank Hampson for Marvel UK dating back to 1976-1977.













Absolutely beautiful work!


And if you look closely at the Spider-Man piece, you'll see The Thing on the left of Spidey's arm.


I'm sure John noticed that too... ;)


Holy Cow!










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Yes, it's late in the evening...






So... Dan Dare - John Byrne


I think it was around 2-3 years ago when my friend Rob told me about this...








I remember that day vividly when he showed me this book... I remember what I had to drink and eat... medium black coffee with a Canadian Maple (of course this was at Tim Horton's - RIP)... but what was this?!


This was the Fantastic Four!


Once I saw these interior pages, it was like some work of magic... aside from the one sole interior John Byrne page that I once owned (Alpha Flight), I hadn't really seen an extensive collection of his work in this manner and on this scale!


This was like magic to me and of course I had to get a copy for myself.


To be Continued...







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Thank you for the information on Dan Dare, very interesting.


My favorite Doctor Who stories are the ones produced by Philip Hinchcliffe. In more than one of the DVD documentaries he makes mention of Dan Dare as being an influence on his creative process for the show.


In one, he makes specific reference to the Mekon, but I can't remember what it was in connection to.


When I saw the Mekon images you posted it instantly reminded me of the Vogons for Revenge of the Cybermen:




But I'm not sure if that's what he was referring to. But at least now I have a better idea of what Dan Dare is.

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Hi there


I don't know if you aware but after the Eagle was cancelled, Dan's next appearance was in 2000AD #1. His strip ran for quite a few issues sometimes having a break in between. It wasn't illustrated by Hampson although I remember enjoying the stories a lot.



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Thank you for the information on Dan Dare, very interesting.


My favorite Doctor Who stories are the ones produced by Philip Hinchcliffe. In more than one of the DVD documentaries he makes mention of Dan Dare as being an influence on his creative process for the show.


In one, he makes specific reference to the Mekon, but I can't remember what it was in connection to.


When I saw the Mekon images you posted it instantly reminded me of the Vogons for Revenge of the Cybermen:




But I'm not sure if that's what he was referring to. But at least now I have a better idea of what Dan Dare is.


Thanks Number 6... I'll have to look into that but it's another pleasant connection! And yes, the Vogans with that heavy brow do have a characteristic resemblance to the Mekon... that's pretty interesting. I do have much more to add on Doctor Who later but this is worth investigating further.


Thank you!








And thanks Harry... I did find about that and I'll look into picking up a few issues of the 2000AD Dan Dare. I did hear that the character was a bit different than originally conceived so I'll have to see how true that is.

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There's definitely something to be said for seeing artwork close up or original artwork for that matter... the chances of owning a vintage John Byrne piece from the 80's are quickly diminishing by the year as his early work is being bought and sold at some pretty impressive prices.


It makes me wonder if I should've held onto the one Alpha Flight page that I had... of course that can be said for pretty much everything.


Anyways, this John Byrne Fantastic Four Artist's Edition from IDW certainly provides a nice opportunity for those like myself who can't afford those pages, to be able to look at the work on a full size scale as the pages are reproduced at 12X17 in size!


Inside are 160 pages of pure vintage Byrne art from pages and covers of various Fantastic Four issues. But again, I can't emphasize enough how one's perspective changes when you look at artwork on a larger scale and close up. That's something I discovered with another book I purchased that I'll get into later.


But in the meantime, here are some examples of what's inside this beautiful book...

































What's pretty funny is that sometimes the thing that you're looking for... is the thing that has been there all along. I bought this Byrne Fantastic Four book a couple of years ago and it just never clicked until recently. Back in the early to mid 80's, in terms of comics, if it had anything to do with John Byrne, I would buy it. From the X-Men to Marvel Team-Up... Iron Fist, Spider-Man... and then later with Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman... it was just my preference.


But what I didn't remember or maybe what got pushed off to the edges of my memory was the work on the Fantastic Four and just how big that was. I purchased every issue back then and enjoyed them greatly. This run on the Fantastic Four was insane as it lasted for five years... from issue 232 to 295 (1981-1986)... it was such a great time to have his art featured every single month in a book like that for years on end!


And as I tried to think back to those years, I realized that I needed to go back and revisit that time... it felt like it fit in directly to what I had felt when reading a couple of those very early FF issues by Lee and Kirby.


Of course by now I knew what I had done... I had fallen into 'officially' collecting The Fantastic Four and it was feeling like a lot of fun for me.


I looked on eBay and found a deal that I couldn't pass up... basically a run of Byrne FF from 232 to 250 for only a dollar a book. The seller listed them on eBay as ranging from VG to Fine but in reality they're all mostly VFN to NM... maybe a few in the Fine range.









Now I haven't gotten into reading these issues yet... I just wanted to get them into my collection so I can read them in time.


But it was at this point, I became very focused on some earlier issues and there were a couple that I had in mind! Of course this would mean that to raise the funds, Rusty Staples and Sunken Treasure would have to go... and so it did.


The collection was mostly dissolved and now I would be hunting Treens.


And Skrulls... :whee:





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What in the world... ?!


I take a few months off while the world transports back to the 80's and then this happens. O.o


New paint- I like the decor... it'll work.  (I definitely like the beta version.) 


Anyways, Happy (late) New Year! I have a lot to fill in and should be starting again relatively soon.  I had an amazing Christmas and start of the New Year and it's looking like 2017 is shaping up very nicely.  I'm looking forward to sending in my first submissions this week and with that, I'll get to posting more in the coming weeks and months!





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Wound up in circumstance beyond my control ...


Strange days indeed.


I'm thinking the best way to catch up will be to go backwards in time once again. 


My submissions to CGC were put off by a week but I'll finally get a couple of books out this week for grading.  One book will be my stepson's copy of New Mutants 98 - I'm very intrigued on what this might get but for reasons I'll reveal much later.  The other book is one that simply makes me smile. And yes, that one will be interesting too!


I'll leave it at that.


I'm spending this evening looking for the Mekon... nothing new on the Interwebs.  Perhaps I'm on the wrong shore. I've been craving some new Dan Dare material and I just might end up purchasing some older Eagle publications to quench that. In addition, I've been mulling over a couple of books but I'm not sure if I'll do anything with that at this time at all.


My friend Rob is somewhere on the West Coast of Ireland at this time... in some ridiculously awesome pub.  We did our Christmas get together a little late this year but it was a lot of fun and I'll get to that next.













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Ok, let me start here...

The world has gone mad.  lol

I recently had a short interaction with Sharon (skypinkblu) in which I stated, off the cuff, that perhaps my divergence to the FF was "a rebellion"... it's funny how things clarify themselves when you're not calculating each and every word.

That would be a good place to start.

Get rid of the calculations... get rid of the numbers.

Well, all but 41...   :foryou:




A rebellion. 

Marvel without the FF is like Baseball without the Yankees... Football without the Cowboys (Or Colts, Giants, Packers, Patriots... etc.)

You get the idea.

Comics are changing faster than NASA can discover new habitable planets... and that's where my new focus stems from. 

Some months back, actually, right around Christmas time, Rob and I were at World of Beer here in Syracuse and upon my 4th beer, I announced (to all within earshot) that Marvel without the FF was sacrilegious!






Yeah, that happened.


To be continued...

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So I'll get to that discussion but I do have to go back and talk about Christmas at World of Beer.  Since Tim Horton's closed up around here, we decided that WoB would be an excellent substitute.  Besides, comics and beer do seem to go together nicely. 

Earlier in this journal, I described what this place is and that they have an app that allows you to track your 'progress' and record the beers that you've tried.  In addition, you can earn these virtual badges based on the beers you try... now when I was first told about these 'badges', I didn't realize that they were virtual or digital badges... I was thinking something like the Scouts.  I say this for a reason... lol



(This is a generic version of what that looks like on the app.)




So Rob and I met up and ordered a couple of beers to get things going. After an hour or so, we exchanged gifts and this was the awesome assortment of goodies that he got me...







During a previous get together, Rob mentioned the Great Lakes Avengers and Squirrel Girl... I hadn't read them and didn't know much if anything about that series.  He thought I would like it and so he got me the collected volume along with the individual issues.  He was right!  It was a very enjoyable yet disturbing read.  Interesting characters and story line.

The IDW Jack Kirby Artisan Edition book is AMAZING!  It features Kirby's 70's DC work on The Demon, Kamandi, and Omac with Inks by Mike Royer!  Such great stuff to look at and see how tight his pencils truly were, along with the transition to the full inked page by Royer. 

In addition, he got me some playing cards and some Doctor Strange goodness featuring the Sorcerers Supreme of days past.  Again, this was something he thought I'd be into and he was right yet again... lol

Now the box in the back had 4 beers in it but those are long gone.  An amazing Flanders Red called Duchesse De Bourgogne. This was a beer he had me try a couple of months back and I thought it was very, very good and quite unique.  Unfortunately it's pretty expensive and difficult to find around here... outside of WoB, that is.

It's described as "a sweet, fruity tasting beer with a pleasant sour oakiness, refreshing after-taste".






The last gift he gave me had to be the best though!

He remembered how disappointed I was to not get a physical badge from one of our last meetings and so...

He made one for me!

I am now the proud owner of the Hop Head badge!  :banana:






He works at the University and has access to a laser cutter... he was able to provide the image from his cell phone app.  It was cut out of bass wood in three pieces and then scaled down slightly.

I just think that's awesome!  (The angle I took the picture makes it look off but it's not.)

So that was this past Christmas although we met up after New Years.  It was a lot of fun but the incident where I went on a tirade about the Fantastic Four and Marvel occurred about a month before that... I think it was the 1st week in December.  We stayed there for maybe 7 hours... trying some great beers, eating good food and glancing at the football games from time to time and talking comics!

Good times!  :)



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