TNT Tina -The Mystery Solved…though I had the answer all along!

Unless you are one of those fans of rare British Golden Age comics then TNT Tom will mean nothing to you. However, as most of us old farts know, a similarly named character was used by Grant Morrison in the 2000 AD series Zenith. With TNT Tom in Zenith was TNT Tina.
That is where the mystery begins.
You see, in over 25 years of searching I never ever found an example of a TNT Tina strip nor anyone who had seen one.  Even the, uh, ‘experts’ on British comics had no idea. The best I got was that “Morrison made her up to add something to Tom’s appearance.”
My conclusion, about a year ago now, was that there was no TNT Tina.
A few weeks ago I was transferring old comic stuff from disc to flash drive and there was a scan of Coloured Slick Fun number 86, dated as 11th November, 1950. Scrolled through it and did a double take. A page I had just transferred with a heading “The Jungle Pals” was in this CSF as TNT Tom. In my rush I had miss-filed the page.
So what?
Well, take a look…..
Oh yes. That is TNT Tina.
The scan was sent to me around 1999 so this means I KNEW that there was a TNT Tina. It’s my age.

Holy Cow! Yep, Tina can fly just like Tom. Tom does all the rough stuff here but there is no doubt that Tom’s cousin has the same abilities.  In fact, the duo even featured in The Return Of The Gods -our Earths counter-part to the Golden Age duo.

When I broke the news on some of my groups some were quite excited. We get like that.  The rare and forgotten UK Golden Age comics and characters when discovered are a breath of fresh and exciting air.

So here is the TNT Tina appearance -exclusive!

Slicksure: The Terror of Grimstone Castle!

An adventure of Secret Agent Slicksure who first appeared in Swan’s Fresh Fun no. 1, April, 1940. The artist was Edgar (Harry) “Bang” Banger but this strip from Comic Colour Album  1953 shows a far more, can I say “improved” (?) action style –Bang was, after all, a humour man on Super Stoogie. Check out his work in this page previously posted on this blog –
Ahh, but Swan was produucing pulp magazines and there were no flies on him when it came to trying to attract readers! The early 1950s were the days of talk of horror comics and in the newspapers and on radio there was talk of flying saucers -something that cropped up a lot in strips published by Swan.
And what better a story from a main contributor like Banger than a spy needing a rest and taking a walking holiday…and encountering -a horror!!
I LOVE this. It’s fun. It’s a bit older than I am! I know Denis Gifford seemed to have a problem with Harry Banger -it was never explained but he just did not seem to rate his work at all. Me? I love Stoogie and I love Slicksure!
You can read about Banger (pronounced as in “Danger”) here:

 

 

 

 

On The Editing British Golden Age Comics

I’m hoping that Ernesto Guevara does not mind that I’m using part of an email I sent him  to explain things.

…the problem was, as in the US, paper drives for the war effort. Even if kids never wanted to part with their comics their mum’s no doubt did!  I know Denis Gifford mentioned -in one of his books also I think- that he came home one day to find his mother had cleared out the pesky comics!

We have so much info via books and magazines like Alter Ego on the US Golden Age but the UK Golden Age seems to have been forgotten. Swan, Denis M. Reader, et al were the life blood of the UK GA and I was very depressed to have some scanarama and Spacevoucher members say they never considered these publishers or their books worth noting.  Yet, get a Dandy or Beano or Amalgamated Press book of that period and its song, wine and fireworks!

meh. We’re all comickers -different strokes for different folks.

I do know there are at least two collectors on one of my groups (they think anonymously ?!) who have Back From The Dead, Krakos The Egyptian and The Bat in their collections but won’t share.  The odd thing is that those who might not have a problem sharing are more likely not on the internet or haven’t found the yahoo group -its why I duplicated the British Golden Age blogs so its on Word Press and Blogger so one of them might stumble upon it!

In fact, through Denis Ray (an American) and Ernesto (I know there is another guy but my memory for names!) we’ve come up with 100% more on the small publishers of 1939-1951 than was available before.

Its odd that the Silver Age group, BritComics (set up in 2004) has over 150 members (157) while the British Comic Book Archives (set up in 2007) has…52!

Britcomics
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/britcomics/?yguid=192631557

BCBA
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/britishcomicsarchivesI/?yguid=192631557

I’ve done this before but, as I’m getting over a migraine and couldn’t draw or finish editing, I thought I would spend the day looking online for British Golden Age Comics or groups dealing with them.

With the odd break, after seven hours, every single image points me back to my own sites (there is a free servers site I’m just up-dating).  On Yahoo there are only two groups -Britcomics and the BCBA.

This, to me, is very, very depressing.  It might also explain why the British Golden Age collections I published hardly sell.  Having written that I do know scans of those books are widely distributed -illegally meaning I lose money.

Everyone cry now. NOW!!!!

After about three decades of looking there has been some headway made.

I’ll keep at this, as I’m sure will other members when they can, but I have this image of my funeral and someone running in breathless waving a comic -“Is it too late -I’ve found a copy of Swan’s Krakos comic!!”

In fact, though the completed collected book eludes us 2 sample pages from a William A. Ward Krakos strip plus a complete one have come to light in the last two weeks  -the latter features in the new Tales Of Terror 4 -see, we’re making headway!

We just need to keep letting people we know and on other groups know that we need scans!!  That 4Share account needs to be fit to bursting!  But I’m getting really weary of chasing Holy Grails.

I need to also find some way of making sure that if I pop off the Archive is still there.

And the Golden Age strips/books we find are usually in a heck of a state. Different qualities of paper were used -none of them of a high standard. Inks and the quality of printing varied and you’ll find orange inked pages, blue, green and even red inked pages. Now if you are converting that to black and white, or more accurately grey-tone, it’s a nightmare!

Oh lords of comics -then you get the foxing, mold or spattering of ink (from printing). And worst of all the pen scribbles and tears repaired using sellotape (AAARGH!).

Some people who have seen an original scanned page do not believe it is what the printed version comes from. I’ll demonstrate but I want to share a funny story first.

I posted the following page on a couple of my groups. “Stew” emails and asks how I got the page when he hasn’t scanned it yet -?!

Then Dave sends me an email with the same comment.

I’ve seen THEIR pages now and can tell you they are the same page, tear and the tape repairs are almost identical.

It could be that this particular book was damaged during printing and several copies were affected. Whatever, it’s weird.

Anyway, this is the sort of original page I get:

It’s dis-coloured and there is that tear and the yellowing-brown tape. First thing to do is get rid of the colour from the scan so I get this:

It’s a sort of off grey. So my next move is to up the contrast and get this:


Which means pushing up the brightness, saving that and then upping the contrast to get this:


You can still see the tear so a bit more fine tuning and….

This is close to the finished item but on this I would enlarge the page to around 400% and then deal with the tear in Paint Shop.

One page like this can take up to 2 hours to tidy.

One thing I will not do is re-panel. The whole point is to show the original strip and how it appeared.  Some artists draw crooked panels. I learned a long time ago to leave these! I ‘straightened’ a page in photo-shop to correct the tilt on a page but then realized something else was crooked. I corrected it…uhh, not that wasn’t right…I then stepped back and realized most of the panels were just very faint lines (as in the above page).  So I left it.

You have to remember that William Ward, Jock McCail, Glynne Protheroe and others were writing and drawing their own strips -a huge number of them.  As far as Gerald Swan was concerned the comics were throw-away entertainment for kids so as long as his books were filled and he raked in the coppers or brass or silver he was happy.

And the books end up battered or chucked in a box in an attic, a cellar or even under an old bed.  we’re lucky that not all “mums” threw out “those silly comics”!

When people say to me “These aren’t very good quality print-wise are they?” I say they should buy an original Swan comic and check the quality….oh, wait, very few appear for sell so they can’t. Also, I’ve had one purchaser of the Ultimate British Golden Age Collection write that he thought he would never see the comics he read as a kid again (he’s 75 years old) -“and in a lot better quality!”

THAT makes the work worth it.

Though I would still like to be rich!

ZIP-BANG! IT’S THE MOON MAN!

W. Forshaws (Liverpool) Zip-Bang Comic was published between 1946-1947 and, according to Denis Gifford saw two issues, though I have never found any second issue it’s safe to say Denis no doubt had a copy.

In his book Space Aces! (Greenwood Pub., London, 1991) Denis does not state which of the two issues Moon Man appeared in -the reproduced cover (below) carries no issue number as that was normal at the time).

As there appears to have only been one appearance of the character according to Denis, I’m going to guess at issue number 1 -but don’t quote me!

Judging by the quote Denis gives, this Moon Man appears to have been on Earth or watching it for a while.  Another common feature of comics back then was the lack of space (due to ink and paper rationing) to give a background story.




The paper printed on seems to be a rather dull blue (see below)

I have cleaned up the page to a degree to make it a bit crisper -if that’s possible!

The information given is:

“In a space-ship fifty miles above the Earth hovers the Moon Man, saying to himself, ‘It is some days since I was on the Earth. I will go down and see if I can find some adventure.’ As he flies through the skies, he remarks, ‘It’s good to flash through the clouds again!’.

“Scarcely has he landed when he hears a gunshot and the scream of a woman. A gang of crooks have kidnapped the inventor of a secret ray!  ‘Moon Man will soon destroy these criminals!’ he tells the distraught daughter, and flies after the crooks’ car.

“To get the professor’s secret, the crooks plan to ram a red-hot needle under his finger nails.  ‘Y-you devils!’ cries the prof. ‘Moan!’  But the Moon Man arrives, crying ‘I’m the Man from the Moon!’  The crooks are not nonplussed.  Indeed, they are plussed, for one replies, ‘Meet the ex-heavyweight champion of Ireland!’  After much hand-to-hand fighting and a struggle with a lady crook with short skirts and a neckline to match, Moon Man restores the prof to his daughter and flies home.

‘Great Scot!’ gasps a bobby, ‘th-th-they’re whizzin’ into space!’

And that was it.

There is no reason why Moon Man is watching Earth that we know of.  We know he flies, he has no problem with fisticuffs but that is it.  Today we have to fill in that back detail to a degree.

For instance, in the character’s Black Tower appearances we know he flies, he has to have a certain degree of invulnerability because he is in space and then flies down to Earth so he’s dealing with extreme cold and heat. Whether he can take small arms fire…that’s an open question though it seems likely.

In his more recent cameo in Black Tower Adventure -“The Cross Earths Caper”- we see he is part of one of the smallish communities living below the Moons surface -but his is another Earth version but there is no reason to doubt his counterpart comes from the same background.

I think it safe to say this was a one-off appearance since Denis tended to note “and in the very next issue….”

In 2014 it is planned that Moon Man, along with his other planetary pal, Mars Man, will take a much bigger role in Moon War.

It really is a pity that the artist did not sign his work -despite the idea that it was the companies that did not allow this, many artists did not sign work because it was comic work. Oh, and quite a few moonlighted from AP or Thomson so if they were found out the sack beckoned (they got fired).

Hopefully, one day we’ll find out who the artist is. I hope so.

Professor Crackpot by Protheroe…

Another of those Golden Age British nightmare pages to share.
Firstly, thanks to smoky1980 for scanning/forwarding this and its from a batch of loose pages marked “Swan 1948/49”.
Even had this not been signed the art style is a dead give-away.  This is the work of Glyn Protheroe who was born in Swansea, Wales, on the 3rd July, 1906.  Sadly, I can find no record of when he died. After leaving school, Protheroe went on to study art under Walter Fuller.
In the 1920s he moved to London and became a professional cartoonist and press artist.  At that time he had a studio in  Shaftesbury Avenue but also worked from Southampton Row. His work appeared in Sports Post, The Journal, Sporting News and The Leader -all well known national publications.
His comics work took off in the 1940s when Soloway, Amex and Gerald Swan used his work.  His first work for Swan appeared in 1942 and titles he contributed to included War Comics, Cute Fun, Topicaol Funnies, Slick Fun, Thrill Comics and New Funnies.  Work was also contributed to a number of albums from Swan -Albums were collections of reprint strips with more pages than weekly comics -more like the yearly annuals but soft covered not hard cover.
For Soloway, starting in 1943, he contributed to Comic Capers, All Star and Comic Adventures.
For Amex, Protheroe contributed to Merry Midget, Midget Comics, Bantam Comics these were all from 1943.
The sets (strips) that Protheroe provided were usually a collection of jokes strung together in a “talking heads” format.  According to Alan Clark, from whom most of the data is culled: “His style was instantly recognisable; his characters looked like clowns…a distinctive ‘morose’ quality.”
And the artist signed himself as either “Glynne” or “Protheroes”.
The below Professor Crackpot strip is a typical nightmare and the orange ink might have looked bright and fun to war time kids but….oy.
I had to remove the colour and alter brightness and contrast four times to make it a mere black and white page.
So, here is your example of Glyn Protheroe at work!

 

An extra treat for you all!

No “Point Scoring” Allowed.

COMICS ARE FUN!!!

In the old days you had the fan press that used to have LOCs -Letters of Comment”.  There were articles by fans on characters and or specific comic titles or artists. You would get the odd “nasty” letter but once the moron responsible realised he would be getting no publicity he stopped.

The advent of the internet has put pay to that.

Trollers and flamers abound not just attacking via peoples’ personal blogs but on “comic forums” (where for the most part they seem to be allowed to write whatever they want and get away with it -the moderator/owner having a spine of jelly).

I have been the victim of name calling, lies, slurs on my reputation and skills and knowledge.  I have had this every week, sometimes as many as ten mails a week.  Now I note ISP numbers and report them. They seem to think that they and their snide little pals can hide behind anonimity. That shows how dumb they are.  Even posting from cyber cafes or, of all places, public library computers, you leave a signature.

Those people, they know who they are, have mental health problems. It is as simple as that.  They contribute nothing.

But the type I really do hate are those who set themselves up as “comic experts” and who try, continuously, to demean other comickers.  They waste your time as you try to be helpful and then do not reply via email, where they set you queries, giving you all the information they asked for, but on publiv comments on blogs.

WHY would someone ask for information on characters and then tell you they have the information already having wasted hours of your time?

These are not true comickers. Not fans. They are trying to score points against you -“Nyah-nyah -HE doesn’t have the information I asked for but I do!”

Sadly, these people get onto internet You Tube communities where it is easy to set up fake email names. Or they join your groups under THREE different names so if you kick them off once for misbehaving they are still there with two more chances.

All we can do as an online comic community is cold shoulder these people. Ignore them.

Comics are fun and some of us enjoy them!