Sunday, 25 April 2010

Dinosaurs of the deep

A naval submarine leaves the warm sheltered waters of its Pacific Island base on a mission to discover the reason why an important weather station on the polar ice cap X-3, is no longer relaying data which is being used by bomber command. A small group of elite frogmen, UDT7, are sent out on underwater recon to check on the sub's course.

What follows is a series of bizarre encounters with giant Leviathan monsters of the deep. With each passing encounter the frogmen have the more desperate they become to convince their skipper of what they have been seeing. However after several attempts at capturing the monsters on film prove fruitless they begin to doubt their own sanity. Did they really come face to face with living dinosaurs or have they been suffering hallucinations brought on by the effects of instant Nitrogen Narcosis?

Arriving at the polar ice cap, the Captain sends his men 'topside' for operation 'Deep Freeze'. Once again the men are faced with a dinosaur who is attacking the abandoned weather station, hurriedly scrabbling to photograph the beast the men are again foiled as the sub zero temperatures freeze their equipment. The dinosaur turns on the men, is distracted by the sub just below the ice, it grabs the vessel and plays with it as if it were a bath toy before dropping its prey, sending both the sub and the frogmen flying into the icy waters.

One frogman survives, pulling himself out of the water onto an ice flow. As if by magic another submarine arrives to save the day. The frogman is too cold to tell his rescuers of the horrors he has witnessed, but is delighted when the missing sub is spotted emerging from a dense fog bank. His fellow crewmen all survived, including the skipper, and now the joke is on him as he fails to convince the rescue party of his tall tales of the 'War That Time Forgot'.

From Star Spangled War Stories, no. 112 December 1963. This was one of my London Comic Mart finds which I bought for the cover art, and also because it was cheap, £2. Despite all the ink stamps on the cover which I think gives it a warm fuzzy vibe and adds to its appeal, the interior artwork is very crisp and there were no loose pages. Also in the back was another short story entitled 'No Escape from Stalag 7!' which has loads of German tanks being blown up, although I haven't got round to reading it yet.

From the same comic was this lovely advert for the good ol' American Public Library. "Kids, avoid pesky volcanic ash, flight cancellations, stale cabin air, tropical diseases, stormy seas, jet lag, stress, food poisoning etc etc..., stay at home and read about other peoples adventures at your friendly local library!"

Sensible, very sensible!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Just call me Jack.

In a different life, pre - wife, pre- kids, pre - comics, in training for my life as a gardener, mid metamorphosis from young innocent to settled reflective man I was known to some old friends as 'Flash'. Not because I was able to tap into the speed force, but because I was slow, slow to get the joke, slow to grasp the concept, slow to finish. After a short time this affectionate moniker was dropped in favour of 'Jack', as in Jack Flash.

I digress, and segue slowly into my appreciation of the new Flash series from Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul. Maybe because of my sluggish ways I have been drawn to the Flash character, I tried to follow the red and gold speed freak once before in the recent Flash: Rebirth mini series, but got completely confused and dropped it after issue 2. It was Francis Manapul's dizzy pencils and wonderful city scenes that tempted me to try again with Flash 1, just released last week. So far so good, loving it's juicy panels, pacey pencils and stunning artwork.

I wonder what happened to the guy who nicknamed me 'Flash', he was a jolly geordie from Jarrow that was inclined to whistle like a demented Blackbird at 6am as he went about his morning routine kicking his fellow students bed frames with his steel toe capped work boots.
" Howay Flash, get oot y' sack!"

Still dark outside, frost etched windows, tractors, stone walls, ragged sheep, cold boots and grey skies. Aah, its all coming back to me now, slowly.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

May the banana be with you!

Scan from Captain America. Vol.1 No.238 October, 1979

Abducted by aliens?, Need to send out an urgent S.O.S?, then look no further than the fruit bowl. That's right a banana could be all you need to save your own skin.