Friday, 4 November 2011

Comic Bits Online: Unisarjakuvia (Sleep Comic)

Comic Bits Online: Unisarjakuvia (Sleep Comic): Pekka A. Manninen Publisher: Lempo Kustannus US graphic novel size black and white 96pp ISBN 978-952-5938-08-1 Euro...

Alan Class Comics -Rare scans!

 
Slinky  over at Scanarama provided these links to Alan Class scans so thanks to him for that.  Anyone with other scans please get in touch!


Amazing Stories of Suspense 142 (c1979.Alan Class) (Dave Spkmn) (FIXED).cbr
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/zvh77prkhp17zr7

 Amazing Stories of Suspense 166 (ChrisB).cbz
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/wmthz587v87j04b

 Amazing Stories of Suspense 221 (c1987.Alan Class) (jodyanimator).cbz
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/nonfakfdov0wpgk

 Amazing Stories of Suspense 222 (c1987.Alan Class) (jodyanimator).cbz
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/925tyqte858lzb2

Creepy Worlds 204 (c1980s.Alan Class).cbr
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/zfhjwtddnek

 Out Of This World 001 (1960s.Alan Class).cbr
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/u47liqyrft81st7

 Out Of This World 011 (ChrisB).cbz
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/sbrnldbh33ltli5

 Outer Space 007 (1961.Alan Class) (jodyanimator).cbz
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/7v8r526uvfotzs8

 Secrets Of The Unknown 156 (ChrisB).cbz
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/scxmi6qv6bslnar

Secrets of the Unknown 227 (c1988.Alan Class) (Target And The Targeteers
only).cbr
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/ifaz2vgqzja3rz4

 Sinister Tales 098 (ChrisB).cbz
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/pm27x92w01ou2ho

Uncanny Tales 150 (c1979.Alan Class) (Dave Spkmn).cbr
http://www.mediafire.com/file/li2iw7hdh6lvn67

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Black Tower Comics & Books

Dilworth's Japanese Yokai

Dilworth's Japanese Yokai (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
The follow-up to the hugely successful Dilworth's Western Yokai is here! Text accompanied by some superb illustrations by Ben Dilworth of supernatural beings interwoven in Japanese culture such as "Kappa" the Water Monster; "Azuki Arai";"Kuchi Saki Onna" (the Big Mouth Woman) and others. Into ghost stories or ghost comics then this will suit you to a terror!
Black Tower Adventure 4

Black Tower Adventure 4 (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Krakos takes care of some burglars! The Purple Hood deals with a suicide banker! Kotar & Sabuta rescue a young woman in Antarctica,the action gathers pace in Return Of The Gods. Thaddeus Twatt and nephew Tomas land on The Jungle Planet -and it looks as though this could be their deaths! The Thinker decides that thinking alone can get a little boring while one of China's Phoenix Team has to deal with..well,you'll see! What more could you ask for?!
BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3

BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3 (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Things get grim as heroes begin to fall and the truth is realised in Return Of The Gods:Twilight Of The Super Heroes part 3. Lady Sivana and Tarot help Kotar & Sabuta tackle a nasty lycanthrope problem. Will Thaddeus Twatt and Tomas escape The Fearful Fate Of Friggia? Ben Dilworth provides not one -not two -THREE Purple Hood strips. Is there more? Can there possibly be more? YES!!!!!
black tower adventure 2

black tower adventure 2 (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Things begin to pick up apace as Thaddeus Twatt and Tomas go on foot to explore Friggia. The mystery and action continue in Return Of The Gods:Twilight Of The Super Heroes. We learn why using reptilean DNA to replace human limbs might not be a good idea. The Crimson Cowl packs a punchline. Kotar & Sabuta confront...the Ghost We learn the deadly secret of Yucca Plants. And there is much,much more -at a bargain price!
Black Tower Adventure 1

Black Tower Adventure 1 (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
It’s back! Twenty-five years ago the digest sized Black Tower Adventure first appeared featuring some later-to-be top UK talents and the title was put on hiatus in 2007. Now it’s back,bigger and better than ever! Part 1 of the mega Return Of The Gods:Twilight Of The Super Heroes comes in at 43 pages! Thaddeus Twatt In The Twatt-Verse -first part of a truly microscopic titanic tales [which makes sense if you read it!]. Kotar & Sabuta race to face The Deadly Dilemma Of Sigismund Benfriggisund! The cold war between China and Russia couldn’t get any hotter as The Phoenix Team stumble into the evil Salamander’s plan. And more? Of course. Comics ARE Fun!
The Iron Warrior Vs Big Bong

The Iron Warrior Vs Big Bong (book)

Print: £3.50
Download: £3.90
In the 1940s, deep in the South American jungles, Rodney Dearth,inventor and adventurer, is searching for the lost explorer Percy H. Fawcett and City Z. Then he hears the stories that terrify his native bearers. There is a city -guarded by Big Bong! But Dearth is not afraid -he has his own creation to protect him -THE IRON WARRIOR! Ben Dilworth continues the adventures of the Iron Warrior, created by William A. Ward,presenting an action romp featuring one of the UKs most violent characters -tongue firmly in cheek. We think!
Chung Ling Soo 1

Chung Ling Soo 1 (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Chung Ling Soo. World's greatest conjurer and said to be an American stage magician in disguise. Or was he? In this story,Chung Ling Soo is called in by Scotland Yard to investigate a gruesome series of deaths -all amongst a party who discovered a Jade Dragon statuette in China. Is the statuette cursed -and can Chung stop any other deaths? Story by Terry Hooper-Scharf Art by Gavin Ross Let the Deception Begin!
DILWORTH WESTERN YOKAI

DILWORTH WESTERN YOKAI (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Ben Dilworth is back! And in this one-off he recounts his favourite stories of ghosts,demons and other Western Yokai -all accompanied by Dilworth's stylish illustrations! This is fun and quirky at the same time.
GoBo

GoBo (book)

Print: £3.50
Download: £3.50
GoBo -He's Pink! He's Pan-dimensional. As he'd/it would say: Go toho jo ko li lo yo to-po! The Small Press best seller of 2009 is resized and reprinted along with a whole new Go Bo as he explains Einstein's Universe in Sub-Dogonian! Be part of the Go Bo craze!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection

The Ultimate Centaur Collection (book)

Print: £8.00
Download: £8.00
Previously available as two seperate volumes and now collected into one 146 pages volume! Vol 1 Centaur -the short-lived publishing house of some of the first and most unique Golden Age heroes that still live on in legend today! The Eye Sees! Truly weird and bizarre! The Clock! Airman! The Sparkler! The Blue Lady! Plymo! The Arrow! And others. Volume 1 is a treat for all Golden Age comic fans and a must have! Volume 2 The Skull,The Shark,The Blue Lady and Amazing Man! These were part of the First Wave of US Golden Age comics that also includes Mini Midget and Mighty Man. This book also reprints the one and only appearance of the very first comic book Owl from 1940! A must for comic fans and Golden Age buffs!
Tower Tales Of Terror

Tower Tales Of Terror (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
The main feature,"The Curse Of The McQuilligans", starring Xendragon,leads off this collection of horror,ghostly and twist-in-the-tail stories. The classic Torch Of Vengeance is a tale of a wife’s rather Gothic vengeance while Graveyard is a cautionary tale for those curious to look into graves! Demons,time travel and much more.
Tales Of Terror 2

Tales Of Terror 2 (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Meet Finlands own mystical hero -Kapteeni Kuolio or,if you prefer English:Captain Gangren! Learn about the terror of The Machine! "What is the meaning of This?" Find out. The Thinker..thinks! David Gordon brings us the first appearance of Callex -and she's on a quest. And what happens if you Marry A Monster From Outer Space? Terror and fun the Black Tower way!
Merriwether:God's Demon-Thumper

Merriwether:God's Demon-Thumper (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
The complete Merriwether series,originally published in Black Tower Adventure and A Little Midnight Horror–but with three strips never before published:including the Reverend’s battle with the ultimate Evil! From The Horror Of Hob Street to The Village Of Demons and Varney the Vampyre to The Fallen Angel himself,see how one Church of England vicar deals hard-fisted [and various spiked objects] justice to the ungodly...and the ultimate price!!! If you were into Charlton Horror Comics or any horror comic then this one is for you!
Merriwether:The Test Of Satan

Merriwether:The Test Of Satan (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
At the end of Merriwether:Go'd Demon-Thumper,the reverend had been confronted by Satan and lay fatally injured. Star of 1980s comics,Benjamin R. dilworth,takes us through the fleeting seconds before death as Merriwether has flash backs showing just why he took on the career he did. Be prepared for horror and a little tongue-in-cheek humour. Horror fans will love this.
Black Tower Presents 1

Black Tower Presents 1 (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
Tom Elmes,one of the most under-rated British comic creators began drawing comics back in the 1980s and earned the title "King of the Zine Nasty"! This book contains a whole new True Stories feature and a rare Elmes interview from 1990. Like good art,good story and a bit of violence -here you go!
Black Tower Presents 2:DESCENT

Black Tower Presents 2:DESCENT (book)

Print: £8.00
Download: £8.00
Tom Elmes,one of the UKs most under-rated comic artists has produced a must buy for fans of horror,zombies or the two combined with science fiction! Only one prisoner aboard a space craft awakes from stasis alive. All the others are dead..well,the living dead! Can the lone surviving prisoner and the guards survive the zombie onslaught? Who knows -but we can tell you this is the most zombie fun you'll get outside of the Resident Evil movies!!
Black Tower British Gold Collection 1

Black Tower British Gold Collection 1 (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
For the first time in 60 years some of the lost gems of the British Golden Age of Comics are reprinted! Scanned and cleaned to the best standard possible -see The Phantom Raider,Ace Hart,Secrets Of The Super Sargasso Sea,Phantom Maid,Electrogirl,Skybolt Kid,Wonder Boy,Dene Vernon,Professor Atom and many,many others! Its fun and action all the way -The British Golden Age shines through!
Black Tower British Gold Collection 2

Black Tower British Gold Collection 2 (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
The second collection of British 1940s comic strips featuring Maxwell The Mighty,Slicksure,Iron Boy,Alfie,Ace Hart and more. Featuring the work of Alf Farningham and Harry Banger. Specifically designed to feature more humour than the previous volume this should be a treat for all comic collectors. Reprinting the full content of The Meteor and The Rocket Comics from 1948.
Black Tower British Gold Collection 3

Black Tower British Gold Collection 3 (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
This is the third volume in Black Tower Comics’ collection of Golden Age British comic strips that have not seen print for 50-60 years! Included in this volume is a bumper crop of Ace Hart:The Atom Man strips and an article on the character. A complete 1949 comic in Smugglers Creek;Denis Gifford’s Search For The Secret City and science fiction legend Bryan Berry’s rendition of Kid Carter -Teenage Tec! A must for all comic collectors and historians.
UK GOLD COLLECTION 4

UK GOLD COLLECTION 4 (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
The fourth volume of this series features some great finds of the lost era of British comics: Ace Hart The Atom Man Captain Comet -Space Ranger TNT Tom Clive Lynn -Space Reporter Superstooge "The White Gorilla" Atomic Tuffy Cast Iron Chris Sigord and many others!
Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Dead

Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Dead (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
William McCail’s 1940 classic is reprinted for the first time in 60 years. If you are into British Golden Age comics or early comics in general this is for you. Robert Lovett rises from the dead and finds he has some startling powers:deaths follow,as does a determined Scotland Yard detective determined to track down the mysterious killer!
THE BAT TRIUMPHANT!

THE BAT TRIUMPHANT! (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
In 1941,The Bat sets about modernising the backward Duchy of Stahl,over which his dynasty has ruled since 1410 A.D.. The Bat is soon involved in experiments with the infamous Count Cogliostro. One of these experiments involves suspended animation;The Bat deciding he will be the test subject. When he wakes,The Bat finds that not days have gone by but 51 years! Worse,his kingdom is in ruins and an enclave of Kamora. The Bat tries politics to win back his homeland and when that fails he decides to fight for it! However,he is unaware that some old,and new,enemies are lying in wait to stop him and all of them want one thing:The Bat dead! Originally a back up strip in Black Tower Adventure in 1994,The Bat proved very popular as an anti-hero. The story was never completed. It is now. New edition -added art pages
Krakos -Sands Of Terror!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror! (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
Created by William A. Ward for Swan Comics in the 1940s,Krakos was one of Ward’s supernatural anti-hero types. Used,with Swan’s permission,in Black Tower Adventure strips in the 1980s/1990s,this is the character’s first solo outing. But will Krakos fulfill the Goddess Isis’ dream and become the new pharoah of a New Egyptian Kingdom that will encompass all of the Middle East? Did anyone actually ask Krakos? The book contains information on Ward and his work plus sample pages rescued after 60 years of neglect!
Journey Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

Journey Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy (book)

Print: £7.00
Download: £7.00
Metapsychophysics meets comics. Its the next natural evolutionary step in comic books! For the first time all three parts of the highly acclaimed Dr. Morg Trilogy are combined into one volume:WORDS WITHIN WORLDS,AFTER ORWELL and the final explosive THE DEATH OF DR. MORG!
The Adventures Of Mark Tyme Collection

The Adventures Of Mark Tyme Collection (book)

Print: £8.00
Download: £8.00
Only two issues were published of The Adventures of Mark Tyme. As with the companion title,The Purple Hood,the artist was Michael Jay who has since faded into obscurity. Join Mark Tyme on his time travelling adventures to Roman Britain,the Stone Age,a pirate island,9th century Britain,outer space and other destinations.
The Purple Hood Collection

The Purple Hood Collection (book)

Print: £8.00
Download: £8.00
It was the Swinging Sixties! Britain was hip as hip could be -The Beatles ruled Pop! And everyone was looking toward a bright future…if there wasn’t a nuclear war! Middle Eastern threats,Eastern European fascists,flying saucer flying megalomaniacs and super mole machines and others threatened our little island. But we had the ultimate answer to these:The Purple Hood -International crime-smasher! Michael Jay’s Purple Hood now collected into over a hundred pages of action and text back-up. This is THE ultimate collection!
The Hooper Interviews

The Hooper Interviews (book)

Print: £10.00
Download: £10.00
From a huge selection of interviews covering the Small Press,Independent Comics from the UK,Europe and US,here are a few of the best from over 25 years.
Some Things Strange & Sinister

Some Things Strange & Sinister (book)

Print: £15.00
After more than 30 years as an investigator and more than forty as a naturalist,the author has opened some of the many files he has accumulated dealing with such things as.. The Terrifying EventsAt The Lamb Inn,The Ghosts Of All Saints Church,Dead Aquatic Creatures of Canvey Island,captured bigfoot like creatures in India -all exclusively presented for the first time and with new added research previously unseen. PLUS a vastly expanded section on Spring-heeled Jack! Photographs,maps,line drawings and up-dated to make 358 pages looking at Things truly Strange and Sinister. Cryptozoologist,Ghost Hunter,Ufologist or Fortean:this book has something for everyone -including the just plain inquisitive!
Some More Things Strange & Sinister

Some More Things Strange & Sinister (book)

Print: £15.00
Follow-up to the hugely successful Some Things Strange & Sinister. For those interested in Ufology,cryptozoology,hominology,unusual natural history,ghosts and mysteries in general. The secret history of gorillas -before they were 'discovered'. Wild men of Europe, the UK and US. Hominology. Giant snakes. Amazons. The Giant serpent of Carthage. Girt Dog of Ennerdale. The Beast of Gevaudan. Crocodiles in the UK. Silent City of Alaska. And much more. Updated with extra pages and photographs.
Cruisers In The Clouds

Cruisers In The Clouds (book)

Print: £6.00
Download: £6.00
If you have any interest in history or the development by the pioneers of hot-air ballooning,including the first use of parachutes in the 1800s,then this collection of articles by John Lea from 1905 and illustrated by H. J. Hodges,is for you.
The Red Paper:CANINES vol.1

The Red Paper:CANINES vol.1 (book)

Print: £12.00
By the 1700s the British fox was on the verge of extinction and about to follow the bear and wolf having been hunted for sport for centuries. The answer was to import thousands of foxes per year for sport. But foxes kept dying out so jackals were tried. Some were caught, some escaped. Even wolves and coyote were released for hunting. The summation of over 30 years research reveals the damnable lie of "pest control" hunting but also reveals the cruelty the animals were subject to and how private menageries as well as travelling shows helped provide the British and Irish countryside with some incredible events. The Girt Dog of Ennerdale is also dealt with in detail.
D GRUPPE vol.1

D GRUPPE vol.1 (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Germanys first super team created in the 1970s when there were no German created super heroes. D-Gruppe first saw print in the 1980s in this story "The Revenge Of The Ice Queen" written and pencilled by Terry Hooper-Scharf and inked/lettered by Ben R. Dilworth. The back-up strip is Deutscher Michael in "Carnival of Death" by John Erasmus.
DENE VERNON THE THING BELOW

DENE VERNON THE THING BELOW (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
He was the first British comics investigator of the supernatural. Dene Vernon -Man Of Mystery! Dene Vernon gets his first adventure in 60 years. Set in the late 1940s, Vernon is recovering from a previous case when he is called upon to investigate mystery deaths in London dockland. Despite the assistance of one of the Silvermaigne family, famous werewolf, demon and vampire hunters, it looks as though the threat of Lorimed may be the Man of Mystery's last....
Black Tower Catalogue 2011

Black Tower Catalogue 2011 (book)

Print: £2.00
Download: £2.00
The 2011 Black Tower Comics & Books Catalogue
Black Tower Adventure 5

Black Tower Adventure 5 (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
It's the penultimate part of RETURN OF THE GODS:TWILIGHT OF THE SUPER HEROES and on Earth and in space heroes confront the invading Boarmen! Kotar and Sabuta try to have a quiet night in but..well... Xendragon (see Tales of Terror 1)investigates the Legacy of Frankenstein. Thaddeus Twatt and Tomas are held by the Crystallids and we hear of their origins. Lord of the Flies teaches a very naughty boy a lesson. The Iron Warrior rushes to the rescue down the Amazon way whiile The Bat (II) and Reverend Merriwether, God's Demon Thumper put in an appearance. Its 60 pages of Black Tower Action!
The Amazing World Of Alan Class

The Amazing World Of Alan Class (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Marvel, Timely, Atlas, Charlton, ACG, MLJ/Archie Dennis the Menace (US) -one man published them all. Alan Class. Who? Class is legendary for bringing black and white reprints of US comics to a country starved of the medium thanks to a certain war! From 1959-1989 Suspence, Sinister, Astounding and Uncanny gave us a comic fix for a few pennies. Learn more about the man and how Class Comics came about in the long awaited print version of Terry Hooper's exclusive interview!
Liz & Jen

Liz & Jen (book)

Print: £5.00
Download: £5.00
Originally drawn back in the 1980s, this story of the coming out of two life long friends has never been properly published. Up-dated for 2011 with story and pencils by Terry Hooper and inks by Ben R. Dilworth

Monday, 18 April 2011

An Interview With alan Class

class1.jpgTHE WONDERFUL WORLD OF ALAN CLASS    
            

 If you were a youngster in the UK between 1959-1989 you probably remember the Class Classic Comics line.  These were virtual treasure troves purchased for a few pence.  War,Sci Fi,Spooky tales,ACG,Marvel and Charlton super heroes could be found in the pages -and there were text stories.

 
In the 1980s I briefly met Alan,and we exchanged letters but then I lost touch with him but his comics still inspired me!


I set up the first Yahoo Alan Class group and,despite what a few might say,the first Alan Class website.  It may have taken years but,eventually,I re-established contact with Alan.  And here is the exclusive interview!  

                                   
TERRY:So,Alan,you are one of the “mystery men” of the British comics scene;even if we know about Class Comics we know next to nothing about Alan Class!  The first question has to be:where and when were you born?  
 
ALAN:  I was born in Holloway,London.  21st July,1937 –don’t remember much about that I’m afraid!

    
TERRY:I’m assuming that as a child you read comics -can you remember which titles and your favourite strips or stories from them…or are we going a little too far back there?    


ALAN:I do remember as a young schoolboy [probably around 9 or 10 years old]rushing out of school on a Wednesday to be one of the first at W.H.Smiths bookstall on Blackfriars Station to get the new issues of CHAMPION and KNOCKOUT  –I was also keen on FILM FUN.  If you didn’t reach the bookstall quickly enough my titles were sold out,and my journey home a disaster!!! 


TERRY:We have a big area of no information here– after you came out of full time education did you go straight into publishing and if so in what capacity?  


ALAN: Upon leaving school,I entered the profession of ‘Estate Agency’ and became an apprentice with Winkworth & Co. who at that time [1954] had just the one branch in Curzon Street, Mayfair,London.


ac2a31.jpg

 

After about three years in the estate business with a few West End agencies,I met my future wife,who was the daughter of Alfred Graham,whose publishing and distribution company may ring a bell –“Streamline Publications”. It was after a number of discussions with Mr Graham that I decided to become involved in the book and publishing
business.   


TERRY:I recall,vaguely,other Class titles on the old newsagents spin-rack. Is it my imagination or were you publishing non-comic material at one point? 

 ALAN: In the beginning I decided to try and import the actual copies of AMERICAN MOVIE,ROMANCE,DETECTIVE  and TEEN magazines. In 1958 [approx.] import restrictions were strictly in place and currency could not be transferred outside England without Government authority. You had to obtain a licence from the Board of Trade,to whom samples had to be submitted for vetting purposes.   

The licence for the goods would then be granted or refused. If granted it would stipulate the quantity authorised. I then wrote to a number of leading publishing houses in New York,requesting sample copies of the publications that I had in mind,and what I intended to do. Eventually the Board of Trade issued licences to me enabling a number of publications with limited quantities to be imported. However,due to the much higher cover price on the U.S.A. publications,in comparison to what could be obtained in England for the same copy,I found that I could only afford to buy what were called “Remainder Copies”.  


These were in fact leftovers from the monthly distribution,or unsolds which were returned back to the publishers for shredding!!!  So,this came first,and was how it started.  

 
TERRY:At what point did you decide to get into the comics publishing market and why? 


ALAN:  Comics had always had a fascination for me,and seemed a logical extension to business. I also hoped that by having my “own”  monthly publishing in England,I would not be so reliant on the problems and difficulties involved with importation –i.e. release dates,shipping schedules,title availability,etc..     



class-creepy-worlds-241.jpg



TERRY:Alan,the next question is regarding all the ACG,Timely,Marvel and even Charlton strips you published in your titles.  When I read these as a kid I just loved them -a ghostly tale followed by a war yarn,followed by a super hero strip and so on. The blend was wonderful and introduced me to characters and creators I grew to love long before I even saw the American colour versions. Just how did you get permission to use these strips,especially Marvel -was it a complicated business to get the licence rights?  Incidentally,was there ever a time limit put on how long you were permitted to keep reprinting them [strips]? 


ALAN:  In reply to that question,I will have to respond in a rather long-winded and roundabout way so forgive me


TERRY: No problem –it’s British comic history. Go ahead!  


ALAN:When starting out the the cover price for all my comic publications was just 1/- [5p in todays money],for this you purchased a book of 66 pages [numerous stories] plus an eye-catching four colour cover. 

However,I was selling to Wholesale Houses who in turn would distribute to the shops in their area who were prepared to take some copies. I therefore had to give normal wholesale terms on the cover price,which meant I only received under 3p per copy.  


Out of this I had to pay for the printing,carriage to the wholesale warehouses around the country –packing it to required quantities—and pay for the comic illustrations. 


ac13da.jpg


The only way that I could get it to work [and then only just],was by dealing with a Syndicated Features Agency who would sell me the rights for England only,and then probably sell the rights to other publishers for France,Spain,Italy,etc..  


In this way I just about made ends meet!! It was this Agency at the end of the 1950s and beginning of the 1960s who offered me the Marvel rights,which was at a time when the Marvel Comics were ‘not’ being exported or printed in England.  


Once the decision was taken to export Marvel Comics to England,then of course the rights to publish future issues was terminated,and I do not hold any reprint rights for the future. I got there in the end,Terry,but wanted you to understand the process and how it all transpired. 


TERRY:That’s perfectly okay,Alan,how these things worked in the post-war years has always been a bit of a mystery –what surprises me is that you managed to keep going and make some money! 

I’ve wondered,Alan,having spoken to the late Denis Gifford a few times,when did you meet him? 


ALAN: Though I’ve racked my brain,I really can’t remember my first meeting with Denis.  I can only assume that it must have been at a comics convention –possibly 101. 



TERRY: Right,for those unaware of this,Comics 101 was the UKs first comics convention back in 1976 and a report featured in Denis’ ALLY SLOPER number 1 [pub. 1976]. In the early 1970s you and Denis jointly [?] published the ALLY SLOPER magazine and I believe the great Frank Bellamy was invited to the launch -did he make it?  And,biggest question of all:why did it get cancelled?  


ALAN:ALLY SLOPER was launched in a blaze of publicity aboard the Steam-ship “Tattershall Castle”,which was berthed on the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge. There were badges,T-shirts and other momentoes. The master-of-ceremonies was a lovely man and great British comedian Ted Ray.


Many British illustrators of the time were invited including Frank Hampson and Frank Bellamy. Hampson made it,sadly Bellamy didn’t. On arrival most [not all] the artists were asked to sign-in by drawing their own special character or doodle on a very large hanging sheet of paper. It made a focal point for the occasion,and it is still in my possession. 

Though we received plenty of good publicity from our launch,including some highly favourable reviews for ALLY,regrettably we couldn’t get the required support necessary for this new and different publication –it just didn’t sell,and after perservering for nine or ten issues I’m afraid ALLY sloped off into the night taking our losses with him!! 


TERRY:I should have asked –how were you involved in the UKs first comic get together,Comics 101? 


ALAN:Comics 101 was a grand and memorable event.I attended solely as a member of the public,but was not involved in the organisation or presentation arrangements.   


TERRY:At one point there were one -off titles under the Class imprint;were they meant to be one-offs or was it a case of simply reducing the number of titles you published for commercial reasons? 


ALAN:One-offs came about as a means of “putting a toe in the water” to see how popular or unpopular another type of comic might be. I was already publishing/distributing  six monthly Suspense-Sinister-Mystery comics and I thought that possibly a War-Western-Detective comic might prove equally popular  –let me say that none ever did.  


We had limited success with a few other titles,and even tried a Romance title for girls and a “JUST DENNIS”  comic featuring Dennis The Menace.   However,none came close to the original six,and I ended up publishing more titles of Weird and Space. 


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TERRY: I ought to point out here that Alan is not talking about D.C. Thomson & Sons Dennis who appeared in the BEANO  on 17th March,1951,but Hank Ketcham’s DENNIS THE MENACE,published by Standard Comics/Post Hall –as the late Denis Gifford pointed out,there was a weird comic book coincidence here. The U.S. Dennis saw print on the 12th March,1951 –the same day that Thomsons Dennis saw print [confusing,yes,but the BEANO cover date is five days ahead of when it actually appears]. 


ALAN:One thing that has always annoyed some collectors [especially Americans -yes,you have fans there also!] is that there is no indication of publication date such as “January,1970″,etc.. 

Was this purely because the comics were seen as disposable entertainment rather than collectibles? Is there a ledger somewhere showing which issue number was published when? [I'll admit it never bugs me because the Class titles are timeless in a way and I'll pick one up and think "I got this Summer..." and that's all I need to know!]  


ALAN:I appreciate and understand that having a comic with only a number and no date is a ‘pain in the butt’,but from my point of view there was good reason for this. As already explained I was working on the tiniest of margins.   

 
Every copy was of value to me,and some wholesale houses wanted to ‘shred’ unsold copies.  I insisted that all unsold copies were returned back to me complete.  I had good reason for this because during the Summer period,May-September,a new market would become available. Beach and coastal resorts were thronged with thousands of holiday-makers with their children,who at certain times had to be kept quiet and happy,and what better way than to read a comic! 

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So,be it Blackpool,Brighton,Bournemouth to Weston-Super-Mare,orders came in from 10 copies to 100 copies for each “different” issue that we had available. In my view a date meant that it could have been first released months or even over a year before,and could spoil the readers’ enjoyment or even prevent the purchase,even if he or she was keen to read it. With this in mind copies were only numbered. 


Looking back it certainly wasn’t the perfect remedy,but at the time it assisted sales and worked. Of course all collectors were easily able to check from the numbers whether the copy was already in their collections. Unfortunately,no ledger or guide exists for dating the copies,but I do have some references in my records which may enable me one day to sit down and clarify dates for many of the issues.  
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TERRY:I can well recall Summer bus trips to Weston-Super-Mare and how I always got one or two Class Comics to read on the bus journey which,in the 1960s/early 1970s took about 40 minutes if you were lucky!  The rest of the day was an anti-climax as I wanted to read the comics again!  To be honest I couldn’t have cared less if there was a cover date –even today if I find a copy the last thing I think about is publication date.  I can see the commercial sense in no cover date now you’ve explained it. 

But right up until the early 1980s Class titles were commonly found in newsagents,at bus and railway stations then…they started disappearing.  I know collectors wrote to comic magazines explaining how they placed orders at W.H.Smith for issues but were then told no new issues had been delivered. They were later told that deliveries had been delayed and,finally,that the comics would not be appearing. 


If I recall rightly,you explained to me back in 1985[?] that you had delivered copies to the W.H.Smith warehouse for distribution and later returned to find them still in the warehouse….I think you said you were later told they’d gone for shredding!! Just what happened with Smiths and their distribution [I know IPC suffered in certain areas due to the same problems]?  


ALAN:All comics were being published and released until 1989.  At no time was I told or made aware of any wholesale distribution problems. I would also say that every copy printed gave our name and address,and also the printers name and address,and a note to either would have received a speedy response,with an offer of direct subscription,and a check on what was going wrong.


TERRY:At what point did you decide to wind up the business -it must have been a sad day after so many years and you must miss the publishing business –fond memories? 


ALAN:After thirty years of non-stop monthly publishing,I made the decision to call it a day,and yes it was sad.  It was a life-times work which I had worked and organised more or less on my own,and which I hoped had given some measure of enjoyment and pleasure to a few. The reality was in 1989 costs were escalating,sales were falling –Marvels were on everybodies wish-list,and my comics were at 55p which I didn’t feel could be increased –enough was enough! 

 
Hard work for small reward are the facts,but if you enjoy what you are doing,and it gives you pleasure to do it,then this makes up for a lot and you certainly wouldn’t remain in the business for all those years if it didn’t mean a great deal to you.  Yes –it was a very sad moment,but it had been a very exciting period with numerous challenges,many ups and downs,and contact with so many helpful and enthusiastic collectors.  

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TERRY: I know you went into a London Comic store one day to see whether anyone remembered your comics –how did that come about ?  I know I used to have an “open house” and artists used to visit or pop in on trips to or through Bristol. There was a lot of rummaging through my comic boxes and there was always a smile when someone found the Class Comics because of fond memories.   

One artist had a wide smile on his face and held up a copy of Astounding Stories and said:”Oh great:Class Comics –cheap and wonderful!”  If someone said something like that about a book I’d done I’d feel satisfied,knowing there were fans and that they had such fond memories.  I’m not sure what sort of feed-back you get now that you’ve been ‘re-discovered’[!] but did you have any idea before how many people were Class Comic fans or that these middle aged kids still had very fond memories of them?  

 ALAN:It was 2004,over fifteen years since the termination not only of my comics publishing business but also of my overall interest in the comics market,and during this time I can honestly say that I had never seen or heard any mention of my comic publications  –I had just assumed  that they were long forgotten,never to be heard of again. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was off with my wife to see a matinee of the show “Woman In White” at the Palace Theatre,Cambridge Circus. 

We had some lunch and to then reach the theatre we were walking along
Charing Cross Road. We were passing Paul Henderson’s shop,Comic Showcase,and stopped to look in the window.  The vast array of comics and books on show fascinated me,and I stood there thinking back in time.  My wife said “Why don’t you go in and see if they’ve ever heard or know anything of your comics?”  My first reaction was to say “No way –you must be joking”,but she was insistent and in we went. I went to the central sales point,and with tongue-in-cheek,inquired if by any chance they had ever heard of the Alan Class Series  of comic books.  

 The response staggered me –yes they did know the series;they didn’t have any in stock,but yes there was a demand for them from old and new  collectors,and they could be referred to as Classic comic issues which were quite sought after.  

 
You could have knocked me down with a feather,and my wife said that I went pale and quiet.  After chatting with the sales person for a few minutes,he asked if I had any connection with the series,and when I said that I was actually Alan Class,it was his turn to be astounded!  He said that he often received  inquiries from comic writers and magazines about the comics and the publisher Alan Class [who I think most people thought had long passed on!],and would I leave my telephone number for contact?  This I did,and it wasn’t long before the phone was ringing with interview requests and queries. It goes without saying that initially to be “re-discovered”  was a real shock to the system,I couldn’t believe after all these years that collectors not only remembered them,but looked on them in such a loving light.  


The greatest benefit for me is to realise now just how much pleasure and enjoyment all those comic fans were getting from my books way back in the early 1960s.  

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I wish I would have known then what I know now,as it would have helped immeasurably when the chips were down and the going very tough. TERRY:I think that,in the UK,fans were never brave enough to write to publishers or creators in the past.  I know at Comics 101 Denis [Gifford] said that Steve Dowling,the creator of GARTH ,was almost in tears at the fan response to him –he had no idea for years that people admired his work!  
But,Alan,for all the middle-aged kids out there or the people re-discovering your books now -any final words?


ALAN: I would like to say to the older folks out there,who in the 1960s bought these books for 5p,right up to today’s fans who are still buying them at current prices –I never anticipated in my wildest dreams the support and goodwill that has come my way.  


Thank you so much,you have made an old boy very happy.  I even have a website and if you have a spare moment it can be reached on www.alanclass.co.uk 

 
Finally,Terry,my sincere thanks to you for your interest,patience and excellent questions which have enabled me to resurrect memories which had long been forgotten! 


TERRY:And,Alan,thanks from myself and fans who grew up enjoying the Class Series of Comics!                       
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