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!


REM UMSU said...

JJ might be Jonathan Jackson, a cartoonist based in Manchester, who worked on Duckula and Dangermouse comics in the early 1990s.

Lex Lamprey said...

Hi Stacey,

I wrote a letter into the Duckula comic way back in the day. Now in a bout of nostalgia I'm trying to find a copy of the issue! If you don't mind checking through the reader's letters pages in your collection I'd be either Alex or Alexander Lamprey. I just need to know which one it's in so I can start scouring eBay. Happy to sign your copy if you like too! ;)

Cheers :)


Stacey Wheeler said...

Hey Lex, I went through my whole collection just now and I can't find your letter in any of them (I found someone called Alex Skinner but eh, not the same eh?). ;A;! Probably doesn't help that I still have issues from both the celeb and the SOR series missing to this day, even back in the late 2000's getting them from eBay was hard.

If it helps can you remember what your letter was about? There were other letters in the celeb comics that were written by kids but just named by the staff as stuff like "Doomed", "Spritual" etc.

Sorry I couldn't find it, and good luck on your endeavours in finding it. ;)