Voyage To The Bottom Of The Wardrobe!: Secrets Of The Bradscribe Comics Collection Revealed!

Some Time in The Future, Somewhere in Space:

An Earthship Careens Madly Through The Interstellar Void, Screaming At The Top Of Its Lungs Like A Lost Child. 

Mystery-In-Space-116-0fc

“Excellent! Soon I shall be “rescued,” and my mission of sabotage against the fleshers shall begin” – The Skelon Astronaut. 

During every stay back in the UK, it’s always pleasant to seek out that box in the wardrobe – the one stashed away from the perils of light and dust.

In these dark and difficult times, it is gratifying to have something to fall back on – to escape into. And as writing about other, more mundane, subjects has brought little enjoyment, or success, this week, something therapeutic was called for… 

The first phase of my comic-collecting: 1979-1982 probably amounted to no more than 50 books – by all accounts a measly haul for a kid with such a voracious appetite for sci-fi action and adventure.

You may think that yours truly is a Marvel Man, but actually, the majority snapped up during those heady days were predominantly DC – such faves included Legion of Super-Heroes, All-Star Squadron and Dial “H” For Hero.

Just about all my comics were acquired at the news emporium on the concourse of London Victoria railway station, on the way home from Grandma’s gaff (but only during school holidays).

We had so little time before train departure, so snap decisions were the order of the day. My judgment was invariably hugely influenced by how wicked the cover looked. Primarily a team title rather than a solo title would be more economical, but if Legion of Super-Heroes – especially the Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes mini-series – was on display, that got snapped up instantly. 

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To this day, it’s beyond me why only one issue of Mystery In Space #116 (eerie and compelling outer space fare); Shogun Warriors #18 (actually the premise for Pacific Rim!); and Ghost Rider #52, which inspired me to draft my only (so far) screenplay focussing on a comic book character – came into my eager mitts, but then again, poor distribution played a regrettable part in these proceedings…

In addition, Mum was not so keen on me acquiring too many comics anyway. 

Speaking of cool covers, they mostly got cut out and compiled into a well wicked  (we never said “awesome” back in those days!) scrapbook (hey, does anyone still keep them these days?!) which subsequently, much to my dismay, “vanished without trace.”

Of the various interior pages and very few complete ishs to survive, here is a peek at a select few: 

All-Star_Squadron_Vol_1_1

“My belt of gravity-resisting Ninth Metal can’t possibly halt that bomber’s plunge, but I’ve got to try!” – Hawkman. 

There is a fondness for a particular DC title that made its debut in 1981.

Can still remember finding the first issue of All-Star Squadron (dated September 1981) set in the alternative world of Earth-2, with its iconic cover.

That Fabulous First Issue ended up being my one remaining copy until picking up #10 during my second phase of collecting ten years later.

The Squadron itself was a superhero ensemble formed just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. They are presented with the dilemma of disbanding the team so individual members can go and enlist in the armed services. Undoubtedly, the main attraction with this title was Hawkman, and the 40s detail which always looked amazing.

Starblazer_015

untitled

No! Our orders are to destroy Herne and recover the medallion. That trinket is the key to our destruction. Stay… I will deal with Herne personally” – Algol The Terrible.

It was not all about DC and Marvel Comics. 

Alternatively, a regular pocket-sized book called: Starblazer – “Space Fiction Adventure In Pictures” appeared in the UK from 1979 onwards. Although acquiring only half a dozen of these, they were a welcome form of diversity at a time when SF comics were multiplying at such an unprecedented rate. With over 200 books, the title offered some of the finest writers and artists in the business until its demise in 1991).

For most fans of this obscure series, the first one bought happened to be the best. You really couldn’t get any better than Algol The Terrible, famous now for being one of the earliest weeks of acclaimed comics writer: Grant Morrison. 

Algol‘s appearance and actions were impressionable enough to guarantee him a place in my Top Villains Of All Time. 

And his gimmick? 

A stash of sonic javelins slung in a quiver across his back – a weapon so potent they “could vibrate any solid object apart.” 

Oh dear…

Standing defiantly against him was Herne The Outlaw, one of Starblazer’s very few recurring characters.

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“C’mon, Brad, quit bothering me. I said I don’t want to go out with you anymore” – Vicki Grant.

Last, but by no means least, it’s back to the endearing DC stable for Dial “H” For Hero (which appeared in several issues of Adventure Comics). 

Legion of Superheroes served me very well, so it’s such a shame that none of my copies survived. Issue 272 contained a Preview of Dial “H” For Hero; these particular pages have survived the cull, and are steeped in cosy nostalgia for me.

Based on a really cool idea, Vicki Grant and Chris King, two high school students, stumble upon a couple of strange lockets that, when activated, turn them into different superheroes (albeit only for one hour). This title appealed because of its innovative concept: different heroes (and villains!) were each created by a reader who had submitted their own ideas. In the panel where the good/bad guy/gal made their first appearance, that creator’s name, age and hometown were mentioned.

My particular fave was “The Silver Fog was created by Harlan Ellison, Age 46.” His dramatic, if unconventional, entrance on the splash page is lovingly reproduced for you below:

harlan-ellison-dial-h-for-hero-silver-fog1

Would have given anything to see my Danger Man recreated by the legendary Carmine Infantino, but that exceptionally high airmail fee dashed all my plans before they could get anywhere.

In case you were wondering where exceptional faves: ROM and Thor can be found, they will be getting their own Posts in due course… 

That wardrobe doesn’t store as many comics as one would have liked, but that box contains some of the most significant works sifted through on rainy days or sleepless nights down the years. Most importantly, these comics played a major role in influencing and shaping my own writing.

And yes, Brad always had a soft spot for Sunspot:

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30 thoughts on “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Wardrobe!: Secrets Of The Bradscribe Comics Collection Revealed!

    • Thank u for your Comment, Bruce!
      So good of u to swing by & drop a line! But w so much DC stuff here, I have been expecting u anyway! 😉
      Yes, love All-Star Squadron – worth thinking about them more often!
      This Summer, have been searching for vintage comics – managed to acquire some impressive items, (including 2 early Squadron ishs!) so more comics gubbins yet to come, good sir!
      Th DC logo during th 70s & 80s was so fab – why did they have to get rid of it?! Th new 1 is kinda OK, harking back to the old times, for which w will always crave
      Long Live Liberty Belle!
      Cheers!

  1. Ah, I just re-read your last comment.. speaking of no style… Suicide Squat, the critics may not of liked it but then who listens to them anyway right, I always like to make up my own mind personally. The film was great and the box office takings reflect this, fans and movie goers alike are enjoying the movie, critics are just people with opinions and in this case (like so many others) they are wrong.

    • Thanks for your Comment, sir!
      Th critics r important to let people know if they may b paying good money to watch a bad movie, so a lot of us listen to them. We are all critics, right?
      So it’s doing well @ th box office, but then mindless pap like Transformers & Teenage Mutant Turtles consistently do that anyway.
      U can’t b sure that “movie goers are enjoying the movie” – some r probably disappointed w it.
      Th critics r not “wrong,” just unanimous in th belief that this movie is not as awesome as it ought to be.
      And what about our fellow bloggers? Are they “wrong” as well?
      Thought long & hard about going to watch this movie – really want to catch another comic book movie this Summer! – but in the end, it was, like th great Arcane Halloween once said: “Ha ha, not a chance!”
      Cheers!

      • Good Sir, critics can absolutely be wrong in their opinion, opinions are just that, not absolutes. There have been many instances throughout the decades of movies that critics have panned and absolutely hated, only to return to them a decade later and hail them as masterpieces (The Thing and The Shining come to mind… both ARE masterpieces) I find ‘professional’ critics like robots, even their writing styles on the whole are similar. I would absolutely be more trustworthy of a WordPresser, as most bloggers have more passion for their chosen subject, I’m sure there is a conveyor belt somewhere cloning out critics en-masse! I don’t mean to come across as argumentative my friend, I genuinely (along with several friends) loved the movie. The timing of your comment was strange as we have had rather a lot of negative comments and trolls at the Precinct recently (all in the spam folder, as no negativity allowed in the Precinct) and have been writing a stylised response to the problem titled (I love it!) Assault On Precinct1313! I see the Precinct as an Oasis for the DC fan away from the usual negativity. We are all led by our opinions and we all have different loves in life, but it’s good to be able to disagree without animosity, you have a great day my friend. 🙂

      • V sorry to hear about th trolls besieging th Precinct. I wish thee well, good sir, in smiting these wretched feckwits and banishing them back to th accursed dank place from whence they came! (Hope they are not th same dullards blocking your material from my Reader)
        “Assault On Precinct 1313” – aye, ’tis grand! Look forward to catching it.
        u have a great week, my friend.:)

  2. I haven’t delved much into comics, although, as you well know, I do love my superhero comic book movies. 😉 It’s something that has been on my to do list for a long time, though, and I’d like to see where many of my favorite big screen superheroes got their start.

    • Thanks for your Comment, Ashley!
      Thot u were going to miss this Post completely! Glad to see u made it over!
      As u’d like to know how your “favorite big screen superheroes got their start,” I am working on a feature about some of the most important origins stories.
      U might like to know that at some point in the next few weeks, I will do a special Post on Doc Strange, sorting out th best back issues to grab to prepare u for his big movie in Nov!
      Cheers!

      • Sometimes I get a little behind on going through my email, so this post was a nice surprise when I looked through my blogging notifications. 🙂 I will look forward to your Doctor Strange post!

      • U will never b behind w Bradscribe! 😉
        Not sure yet when th Doc Strange Post will b up – actually, can’t tell what will b th topic of my Next Post yet!
        Cheers!

  3. Hi! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a
    shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

    • Thank u so much for your Comment, Jason!
      No need to b hold back – th only thing w bite around here is cake, and u r most welcome to some!
      It’s only great work that makes th grade on this site – lots more goodies to follow!
      Cheers!

  4. Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you present.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while
    that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Wonderful read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    • Thank u for your Comment!
      Glad to hear u will be following my work from now on
      it wld b v easy to just rehash th same old information, but I want to make my own distinctive mark on th blogosphere!
      Cheers!

  5. Hi there! This article couldn’t be written any better!

    Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this
    post to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

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