Devil Gate Drive

I have not been writing much on the blog, not because I have had nothing to say, but I have just been involved in so many different projects.  I have also been fortunate to have written a few articles for the new magazine ComicScene.

However, as my collection has just taken a quantum leap from the 15k mark to the 16k mark, I have had a lot of booking in and filing of the comics to do.  I have had so much to do that the shelf that used to contain all my Fleetway Picture Libraries now only contains series 1 of War Picture Library.

So as I put comics away and pull out doubles, I try and zone in on that task alone but it never happens.  If I manage to go a whole session without stopping, it’s a miracle.  If I get through with only reading one issue, I have achieved the impossible and so on.

However as I carried out this task, every so often I will notice things that I have not seen before such as changes in the font for a reprint or an extra aircraft that I had not previously spotted on a cover or an Easter Egg.

And I spotted one recently and it makes me appreciate the taste in music of at least one artist that contributed to the Picture Library stable.  Before I reveal it, I will go back to the first publication of this picture library which was Air Ace 49 way back in 1961.

As you can see, it’s a belter of a cover by Pino Dell’orco.  And you might be able to see a little writing underneath the cockpit.  Pino must have been a fan of rock ‘n’ roll as he has immortalised one of the tunes in his art.

When I first saw this cover, I could not see the writing due to being colour-blind and the size of the image, so my original thought was that one of the sub-editors added it to the 1971 reprint of the comic as a certain singer was beginning to become popular then and her leather-clad persona still holds a special place in my heart.  And it also explains the title of this article for those ancient enough to know to whom I refer.

As you can see, the writing is marginally easier to read on the reprint but I am not too sure if that is meant to be Suzy Q or Suzy D!

However, the cover that started me down this rabbit hole was the final reprint of Grand Slam as issue 1940 of the War Picture Library in 1982 and thanks to a purchase last year, I have the South African reprint as a double. I am sure you will agree that it is probably the easiest to use to spot the writing.

Considering this was published in 1982 as a second reprint, it makes me chuckle to hear some Commando fans moaning about stories now being reprinted for a second time after 50 years!

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