Thursday, June 22, 2006

I Should Be So Ducky!

Oh lordy! I don't know where to begin!

This morning I received a package. One that I'd been expecting since last weekend. It was full of Count Duckula books, comics and a few other things. It was all there - the books that I'd been meaning to bid for on eBay! I just couldn't contain myself the moment I opened up the box. I ended up running up and down the stairs shouting out my joy, discarding the newspaper and making sure my dog didn't do anything to it.

Here's a list of what was in that box.

Seven 'Bastei' comics
This is the German version of the Duckula comics, containing various stories from all three - Marvel, Celebrity and SOR Fleetway - English comics. I personally speak very little German as I never studied it at school, but I do know how all the letters are pronounced, as well as a few words I learnt in my own time. Perhaps I could learn a bit more German though these comics, since I have a couple of the stories in English as well!

The first seven - at least - issues used covers from the Marvel comics , and from then on, those from the Celebrity comics were used. The Marvel comic stories were all crammed into the first four issues at least. I only had the first Marvel comic, so I'm not sure which story appeared in which, as these German comics were in different issue numbers - 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 14 and 16.

The stories that were extracted from the Marvels have better colours in them - none of the messy screentones - but it's still not very good colouring, sometimes it can be pale while certain objects like Igor's jacket are printed indark colours. I like how the issues are in A4 this time, as opposed to the smaller size of the American versions. I supposed it gave the colourist more room to colour.

After the Marvel stories were republished into the Basteis, the stories from the British comics were used. Thankfully these were left as is, no bad recolouring and such. However, if there's anything in the entirety of this comic series that isn't so aethetically pleasing, it's the lettering. It's been typed with a non-comic like font, and I personally think that it somewhat spoils the feel of it being a comic. But then, at least it has been translated for German and German-speaking readers.

Below are some samples.

One Marvel comic

Issue seven I believe. Unlike some of the other issues, this one contains a full story of Dangermouse, which was just as well inked, but it kind of freaks me out, as does the Duckula story there. In this, it shows Duckula topless and with...manboobs... and Igor without his trousers on...well, that's just a personal thing... It's still an OK story but it's just the way it was drawn that's all.

Seven birthday cards
These I've never seen before, possible due to me being a baby at the time these were probably out. I'm not sure who made these, but the logo looks like a W-shaped crown with a star on top. Three of them are embossed have a peel-off badge which is probably used to stick on shirts, while the other four just have artwork on.

1990 Annual

Much like the 1991 annual I talked about a while back, this annual was published by World, with the same artist working on the lovely illustrations and comics.

1989 Annual
This one is very different to the World published annuals, for one, it was published by Marvel comics! But not to worry, it's not at all like the American publications, is has the same share of comic strips and prose format stories, it's just with different artists [some from the Celebrity comics].

4 Celebrity comics
As I may have said, I personally like these ones better than the other two versions. The issues I have here are 8, 10, 15 and 26. One of them - Issue 26 - has kiddie fanart in...bless!

SOR Comic
Now this one just baffles me. It says Issue 6 on this, but it was published in 1990, while the Fleetway issue I had was Issue 2 and published in 1992. It has the same artists within as well. Sadly this one has only two Duckula stories, for there's also a totally unrelated story in [I hate it when you buy a comic and there's a story inside that has nothing to do with the charaters the whole issue is about]. But then I read the smallprint inside and it said 'London Editions Magazines, an Egmont company', so I guess it's still related to Fleetway. I'm still not sure what SOR stands for.

Count Duckula Storybooks
Published by Carnival, these are basically novelised versions of a number of Duckula scripts, with screenshots from the cartoon. There is a big one with four stories, and I have here three small ones.

Count Duckula Novels
Also published by Carnival, but these are apparently brand new stories. These aren't illustrated within, apart from the Joke Book, but I suppose they serve as good things to read. The stories are as follows
  • Joke Book
  • Duckula and the Haunted House
  • Duckula on Treasure Island
  • Duckula's Holiday Camp Adventure
  • Duckula and the Ghost Train Mystery

Waddingtons Card game
I'm not sure what this exactly is, but I'm guessing that it's a bit like Snap. These are quite big cards, and the characters appear more than once.

German colouring book
This seems to be published by something called 'Xenos'. Some of the ink in the lineart has faded over time, but it's still drawn pretty good. It seems kind of different compared to most colouring books I've scribbled in in the past - it's like a mix of a story [based on the episodes] and random shots...maybe it's just me...

Two smaller Marvel Books
By the kind of Marvel that published the 1989 annual, these contain a mix of prose and comic strips in a way that there's a strip on one page, and when you turn it over, it's prose, then a strip etc. It has some nice artwork in it, but there aren't no true names mentioned, just 'Primary Design'. The two titles are 'Duckula on Broadway' and 'Duckula in Trouble'.

A black mug with Duckula on and text saying 'Drinkyboos for Duckyboos!'. I actually quite like how this one looks, despite the colours being behind a black background.

And here it is [sorry about the mess]!

Many, MANY thanks go out to Jano, the webmaster of for his generousity. I never felt this happy in long time! Now for the figurines and plushes...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Comics and Annuals

I strongly apologise for the size of the images in the following post [when you click on them that is], I had to make sure that the scans were readable.

Over the past few months, I've been a regular searcher for Count Duckula items on eBay, meaning that I've always been looking him up to see if there's any nice items on there for auction. Some things I could get straight away by the click of the 'buy it now' link, while others I had to fight for. The first piece of merchandise I believe to have bought on eBay was my favourite bendy doll, which costed me a shocking £14.50 all simply because of other bidders. The same happened to the most recent Duckula merchendise I bought - a comic - which I had to pay £8.00 for the same cause as the doll.

And this is what this post is about. Count Duckula comics and annuals.

So far from my eBay hunting, I've discovered three kinds of Duckula comics, not counting the kind known as 'Look In', which was apparently an 80's magazine featuring pop stars of that era. The first is the Marvel Comics, which were made in America and was published every two months. Of this kind, I only have the first issue.

My only problem with the Marvel comics is that inside the colours are very badly applied, most possible because they apparently used coloured screentones. I'm guessing that to make the colour green Duckula's feathers for example, a 'light blue' - which is basically blue dots, is applied over solid yellow. Now, I've never applied screentones ever as of now, but this could have seriously done with some work, especially on smaller areas which looked like they were coloured the wrong coloured. There are also a number of annoying adverts inbetween stories that advertise cereals and other comics...maybe that's just me. Other than that, I think the comic is fine...well, this issue. I've heard that some of the other comics contain dreadful art, but that I'll have to find out myself. The stories are quite fine as it happens, much like in the cartoon.

Here is a sample of a story page.

The next comic type is one I call 'Fleetway' - which is apparently the same publishers who made the UK Sonic the Hedgehog comics known as 'Sonic the Comic', which I was a fan of back in those days. Unlike the Marvel comics, this one has five stories altogether as opposed to the only two in Marvel, as well as some inbetween puzzles and how-to-draws, and that it is published every 'quarter' - three months. It is also much better printed, and has some lovely traditionally made art. I have so far what appears to be the second issue which dates back to 1992. Thankfully I was the only bidder for this one, so this was easy to get.

The comic art differs from one artist to another. I could be wrong, but the art in the first story of this issue reminds me a lot of the art of Nigel Kitching, an artist for Sonic the Comic. But I'm not sure because for this one there are no credits or signatures. The rest of the art in the issue I'm not familiar with, but as a fan of traditional art, I do like that of an artist known as J.J, who made the art of the how-to-draws and puzzles, and 'Mike Kazibrid', who made the art of the second story. Here are two scans of different stories below.
Lastly, there is this comic that arrived to me on the 3rd June, the one I paid £8.00 for. This kind is known as 'Celebrity', and was published weekly from the 12th July 1989. My copy has a bit of cellotape from where a free gift was attached, in this case a Duckula branded chew bar, which is advertised at the back of the issue.

It has quickly become my favourite kind so far, much due to the fact that some of the artwork inside combines the work of Alan Case, who illustrates the entire 1991 annual that I'll be showing in a minute, and the colouring of John Burns, a name I definately recognise from Sonic the Comic. It is also lettered by Ellita Fell, who also letters these Sonic comics. I personally love these artist's works, so that's a treat for my eyes. There are only two stories that are in comic format, while the rest of this issue contains a cut-out, a puzzle, a letters page, an advertisement for Duckula toys and a story that is printed in prose format. The art in that story isn't as nice as the comic story, but it's OK I guess, I've seen much worse comic art in my time. Sampled below is:
So that's it with the comics, now for the 1991 annual. It is published by a company called 'World', which is related to Egmont, a name I associate with Fleetway. Like the Fleetway comic featured here, this was also easy for me to get, though I do believe that someone else bidded. So far this is the only annual of about three that I have, but I am aiming to get the other two someday.

Like I may have said, this is fully illustrated by Alan Case, who made some lovely traditional art in this. There are lots of stories in this, four of them being in comic format while another four are printed in illustrated prose, along with puzzles and 'make and dos' in between. The prose stories are rather simple to read, but I'm guessing that's just where it's been targeted at children [my copy used to belong to a girl who was 12 years old at the time]. Of these, I quite like the first story, which is about sleepwalking, while of the comics, I like the third one, which is about the Castle being a part of a fairground. And yes, I have two samples from this as well.
I'm afraid that's all I have to show from my personal collection, but I hope for it to build up as I find them from eBay or perhaps second hand sales if I'm very lucky.

Any contributions [scans] from my fellow Duckula fans would be very much welcome!