Well the last couple of weeks have been all over the place with regards to comics but in a good way. Last month I got a couple of good deals and I now need less than 250 issues to complete the Commando run. So a shout out to Iain Miller for taking me significantly below the 300 line and to Clive Hunt for taking me below the 250 line. While they were looking after me in filling a quantity of gaps in the Commando run, Tony Ingram has helped with filling gaps in the roads less travelled so my Sabre Combat and Western collections have grown very nicely. My Valiant collection has doubled (Yes, Tony, I didn’t realise I had that many) and a few more Pearsons have been added to the library too.
Oh gods! How could I forget? I now have a brand new piece of art hanging at the top of our stairs and that features a spread of the characters that Mike Dorey had done during his time freelancing for D C Thomson. I founded a group on Facebook titled The Art Of Mike Dorey and Mike did an absolute stunning commission for me.
The group are still trying to figure out all the characters, so here goes the full list.
Col (Retd) Eustace Clutterbuck (Victor. Is It Cricket?)
Kurt Stahlmann (Warlord. Iron Annie)
Sid Crocker (Victor. Is It Cricket?)
Cpl Tom Smith (Victor. Cadman)
Capt Gerald Cadman VC (Victor. Cadman)
Sgt Moses Rayker (Warlord. Rayker)
Sgt Lavelle (Warlord. Wolverine)
Morgyn The Mighty (Victor. Morgyn The Mighty)
Alf Tupper (Victor. The Tough Of The Track)
Otis P Bannerman (Victor. The Pillow Champ)
Cuthbert Mayblossom (Victor. The Pillow Champ)
David Samson (Victor. The Wolf Of Kabul)
Weary Gorman (Victor. The Pillow Champ)
Chung (Victor. The Wolf Of Kabul)
Major Jake Cassidy (Warlord. Cassidy).
I attended my first event of the year which was Capital Sci Fi Convention or CSFC if you prefer. The big draw for that event were Warwick Davies, Peter Davison and Peter Capaldi. This is a purely for charity event for CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association Scotland) and has now raised over £170,000 for the charity. Peter Capaldi showed that he was a class act in real life as he started signing autographs at 10:20am, took a whole 15 minutes off during the day and kept going until 7:30pm when he was asked to leave by the staff as they had to lock up! What a guy.
I also got a little treat in that I was able to meet rising star Nick Brokenshire. I’ve been wanting to meet Nick for a while as his drawing style is a lovely clean style that is vaguely reminiscent of Neville Wilson’s work while his colour palette puts me in mind of Alfred Bestall’s work with a lightness of touch that is just delightful to see.
And while I was doing this, I did not realise that my mate Doug was doing an absolutely epic deal. To give you an idea, I can afford to walk into a pub and buy a half for a total stranger. Doug can walk in and buy a drink for half the bar! So as a result of him having slightly deeper pockets, he has managed to become the custodian of a previously unknown set of a truly iconic piece of British comics history. What he has purchased is a bound volume of the entirety of The Glasgow Looking Glass and the three further issues of The Northern Looking Glass. The reason for the name change was to get it to appeal to a wider audience.
I have noticed that I have not even mentioned when the Glasgow Looking Glass was published or why it is historic. From current research, we believe that the Looking Glass was the world’s first comic and in 2025 , it will be the 200th anniversary since it was published so finding a previously unknown set is a huge deal! What has excited me is that Doug has said that there is also some paper cuttings included with the set about the Looking Glass from way back in 1923. He said he was going to scan them and I am still waiting! However, late last night, he sent me through a couple of scans and here is the letter sent to the Glasgow Herald which was published on 1st June 1923.
I can’t describe how much of a kick it gives me to see that comic fans were discussing comic runs and credits in the 1920s in a similar fashion to the way we, the current crop of fans, discuss comic runs and credits and share our knowledge.
Going back to my deals, one thing I make sure I do is record and put the comics away so that I know what doubles I have to trade and also what space I need to find for my purchases. I also love to examine the art as I am a tart for the art no matter who the artist is.
As I was recording these issues, I was struck by the cover from Battle Picture Library 288 drawn and painted by Fernando Fernandez as it seemed rather familar.
As this was published way back in March 1967, I knew there was no chance that I knew it from the original release, so my brain started to try and figure out why I knew this piece and all I could think of was Vincent’s Villains. Now I knew there was a Commando called that. I checked my records and back in September 1979, I see that issue 1352 was called Vincent’s Villains and as if by magic, the covers matched.
Those of you who have read my article The One And Only back in November 2018 will know that I am a big fan of finding comic “twins” where cover art has been used for a second comic by a different company. To find this fifth twin is a teaser as it makes me wonder what other ones are still out there waiting to be re-discovered.
I am going to finish off with the fact that Ian Kennedy has now done 1,279 original covers for Commando. If I include the annuals that figure goes up to 1,293. Now when we add in the doubles, that takes us to 1,905 covers out of a potential 5,222. Cheers Ian, you have no idea how much your work is appreciated by all of us.
And here is a portrait of the man himself by my good friend Terry Brady.