Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Kids Of The Stones pt. 2

Our mystery drama serial for teatime continues. Well, nearly. In fact, you're just in time for the casting sessions...

Monday, January 7, 2019

Kids Of The Stones pt. 1

Welcome back! We all made it to 2019, which means we're living in the future now, don'cha know.
Except for The Kids of course. It's still half past 1973 at Rec. Road.
F'instance, we're starting off this year with a slightly longer story, in which we discuss, pay homage to and generally rip off classic Bronze Age kids TV serial Children Of The Stones.

Of course, Dave is completely right here. Everybody who saw Children Of The Stones at the time remembers it, but for those who weren't around:
Back in the '70's, the children's drama makers at HTV West ingested a huge bag of hallucinogens, and came up with some of the strangest, creepiest, most intelligent and just plain amazing kids serials of all time.
Kafka-esque urban nightmare King Of The Castle, Arthurian eco-fable Raven, time travelling angel / alien Sky ( along with honourable mentions for the BBC's post apocalypse epic The Changes and Thames TV's Pre-Columbian political horror The Feathered Serpent ), this genuinely was the Golden Age of TV fantasy for children.
But probably the king of them all was Children Of The Stones. Like the unholy spawn of The Prisoner and The Wicker Man, this one literally freaked out a generation.

Don't worry, you won't need to have seen the shows to get the gags, but as most of them are available on youtube or around the net, why not check them out ( or check them out again ). They're all still great.
And join us over the coming weeks as we spend some time in the creepy village of Milbury. Or maybe we've always been there....

NB. Thanks to our old pal Cerebus for the use of his Avebury photos for the strip. Cheers C!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Have A Rec. Road Christmas

As we're saying in this week's strip, a genuine Happy Christmas and thank you to everyone who's dropped into Rec. Road this year, and do please continue to join us in 2019 for more comics based laffs.
We'll still be in the 1970's, but you know what I mean...

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Kids From Rec. Road Become Cosmically Aware & YOUR All-Time Fave Bronze Age Comic

I'm telling you, this is how Jim Starlin does it...
And meanwhile, over at...

We had some killer responses when I asked you for your fave ( and least fave ) Bronze Age comic of all-time, so let's go through them as promised.
First out of the gate was kiyote76 with this belter:

Here's kiyote: As far as MY fave Bronze Age comic - I'd have to say DEFENDERS #33 - part of Gerber's Headman/Nebulon Epic which is also my fave Bronze Age storyline. I mean, what's not to love here? Baby deer, a gorilla man, a brain in a bowl in chemicals, villains sitting around chatting about why they are villains... and the Bozo Cult hadn't even been introduced yet!

Yep, I can only agree! ( I'll be saying 'yep, I can only agree' a lot here ) Steve Gerber's signature storyline on the best  run The Defenders ever got. Every 'weird' writer these days wishes they had a mind like Steve Gerber, in a bowl of chemicals or not.

Next up was Chris A. who narrowed it down to three absolute cast-iron classics:

Over to Chris: My personal favourite is Swamp Thing #1 written by Len Wein & drawn by Berni Wrightson in 1972. The following nine issues were also amazing, but the debut was incredible, an expansion on the short story that appeared in House of Secrets #92 a year earlier.

Batman #244 is quite high on my list, also from 1972, written by Denny O'Neil, pencilled by Neal Adams, & inked by Dick Giordano. It is the conclusion of the original Ra's al Ghul saga, & a genuine tour de force.

Of course, mention of this one means I have to put up one of Neal Adams' greatest covers, from the Limited Collectors Edition reprint of the saga:

And then there's:

Amazing Spider-Man #122 was pretty hard hitting (as were 121 & even 123) with Gwen Stacy dead and the Green Goblin soon to follow. Published in 1973, written by Gerry Conway, pencilled by Gil Kane, & inked by John Romita Sr.

Yep, I can only agree!
Over to Paul McScotty now, with even more choices, and more from Nefarious Neal Adams:

Here's Paul: Green Lantern / Green Arrow issue 85: "Snowbirds Don't Fly" - I was (and still am) a massive Neal Adams fan and his work at this time for me has never been surpassed. I never saw any GL comics back from this time in Glasgow ( loads of others ) and was desperate to read them as I remember them being advertised in DC comics when reporting on the series winning a SHAZAM awards ( or similar ) they looked so grown up and exciting- I actually picked this one up in the late 70s ( maybe even 1980 ) on a weekend family holiday in Blackpool, I still remember my excitement at getting it for not much more than the price of a standard comic.

Yep, I can only agree! Sean & Dave will back me up on this, but I can only assume that Neal had annoyed every newsagent in our home town, because his comics were like gold dust. You just couldn't get them!
X-Men, Avengers, Green Lantern / Green Arrow, literally anything by Adams just never came into our town. Which meant that when I finally did read these books, years later, they were even more special. 
Hey, or was it that Arnold Lipshitz snapped them all up before we got there.... ?

Now here's an interesting one:

I'd genuinely be hard pressed to name any Buscema Conan over another, simply because they're all great. Paul again:

Conan 26: My first Conan and I think John Buscema's 2nd outing on the strip - I had never read anything like this before, loved it and Conan for many years was my favourite title - Again I got this on a Blackpool holiday, ( its a Glasgow thing we went other places honest ) at that time Blackpool was awash with comics I can still remember walking with my family having a late night stroll and passing a stall vendor that had piles of comics, saw this and bought it. I recently picked up a copy in Brighton ( on holiday !! ) for £1.

This issue does also contain this gut-punch of a last page:

There's also:

Hulk 137: Loved this and love the Hulk - I got this in 1970/71 in my local newsagents spinner rack and this was possibly the comic that started me out on being a comic geek ( again I picked up a new comic in great condition on a trip to Liverpool for £1.50 how good is that )

I'll fess up here, and admit to loathing Herb Trimpe's artwork when I was a kid, and never really liking Hulkie unless he was in The Defenders. I was, in short, an idiot.
Last year, I re-read this whole run, and my god, is it great. You live and learn.
While here's a character that, like Paul, I loved from day one:

Astonishing Tales issue 25: The first Deathlok - 12/13 year old me was in awe of this comic and character like Conan -  This seemed so fresh at the time I still have my original tattered copy.

And worst comic? Well, here's a real stinkeroo from 1983:

Again so many but probably Neal Adams' Skateman ( was that the bronze age? ) from Pacific comics. Love Adams but this was just poor, no real story some nice art but very bland.

Eesh. Yeah, moving quickly along before that one infects the rest of our collection.
Back to the good stuff for Sean's choice, which has to be in everybody's top 10 ( or 20 at least ), doesn't it?

The first issue of OMAC I ever bought by the way, and Kirby at his Bronze Age finest. Here's Sean:

The best comic of the 70s is... OMAC #2.
Obviously it was going to be something from Kirby's return to DC, so it was just a case of narrowing it down to my fave issue.

Sean also snuck in his best ever for good measure:

These wouldn't be my personal all-timers I'm afraid, but of course, they're on the list without a doubt.
And worst? Well, Sean raises a really good point here:

Always hard to think of the worst comic because we're spoilt for choice on that one - lets face it, there are a lot more contenders for worst than best! 
Iron Jaw is a pretty good stab at the 70s, but more generally - how do you decide between Todd McFarlane or Rob Liefeld? And if you can... so what? Really, I reckon its more interesting to come up with the worst by people you'd think were capable of better. 
So, for the 70s - Invaders #12. The Warsaw ghetto - seriously? What were they thinking?
More generally, Dark Knight 3 Master Race. Not that I've read all of it, but then - why would you? ( Actually, its fair to wonder if they really were capable of better )

Never read this one, probably never will. Frank lost me a long time ago, I'm afraid.
But talking of Bats & Neal Adams: Batman Odyssey anyone?

Totally insane. And very much not in a good way.
But back to Sean's original point. Maybe the next Pete's Podium should be: What's the worst Bronze Age comic by someone who should know better, or who you expect better of? Worth considering.

But wait! Kiyote76 is back with another choice:

I can't help myself: My other fave comic from the Bronze Age has got to be FOREVER PEOPLE #3 - which, oddly enough, I picked up & read directly after attending a church confirmation class that left me feeling extremely uneasy about organized religion. Speaking of comics that speak directly to you - it couldn't have been any more well-timed. Not that my local church was handing out Justifier helmets or anything. They relied more on guys like 'Pastor Dave'. You know 'Pastor Dave', right? He was cool and hip and played the guitar and spoke 'truth' to the 'young people'. I think most of us knew one of those guys. Anyway, after that particular comic, I don't think I ever went back; Glorious Godfry having spoiled me for life against salesmen behind a podium.

Which was, I would think, Jack's entire wish for this issue. By the way, Forever People #3  also features in it's abundance of riches a fan letter from Harlan Ellison, and another from a young Marty Pasko:

And here's kiyote's pick for worst of The Bronze Age. I have no problem agreeing with this one. Even for Atlas it's poor.

While IRONJAW #1 was pretty bad, I think THE BRUTE #1 was even worse. Atlas seemed to have a thing about killing little kids, and that's how the comic starts out - and then just falls apart from there. Even the guys working on the book seemed to think it was... well... just look at the last page & the name on the plane. I don't know how that got past the Comics Code, but I recall laughing my butt off when I first saw it.
And here's that offending page:

I don't know if infanticide was an Atlas thing, as much as it was a Michael Fleisher thing. I mean, IronJaw was raping women, while The Tarantula was eating people over in his book. And these are the heroes!
Mike, you having troubles at home, son?
Hey, here's Paul again with a few more classics:

Silver Surfer issue 12: Again I seem to have 90% recall on seeing and buying this comic - I wasn't very aware of the SS and was stunned ( things like this stun you when your 11 years old ) he had his own comic so I immediately picked it up - I love big John Buscemas art and the Abomination ( who was in Hulk 17 my other choice above ) was my favourite villain. 
Yep. Yep. And a big side order of yep.

Kull 9: Another comic I picked up on a family weekend trip to Blackpool - It was around this time I had gotten into Marvel S&S comics and this issue is one of the best in the entire genre - great John/MARIE Severin art and a really good story - even a great cover.
As I said when we sadly lost Marie this year, ANY issue of Kull by the Severin siblings is a masterpiece.

Superboy 195: A strange choice as the Superboy story was pretty average, but it was the Legion of Superheroes back up that remains one of my favourite strips of all time "The one shot hero" about ERG1 (Energy Release Generator 1 - cool name) who later became Wildfire. Love the LSH and this was my first intro to the amazing art of Dave Cockrum.
And the introduction of my all-time favourite Legionnaire is always gonna score points with me.

And here's our old pal Cerebus with his choice, possibly the most inarguable one here. Is this one a masterpiece? An all-time undisputed classic?


Here's C: I think the ultimate Bronze Age comic for me would be Conan The Barbarian #24, "The Song Of Red Sonja", an absolute masterpiece from Roy The Boy and BWS. I first read it in the Marvel UK reprint and then found the original some years later in my one and only visit to the legendary Dark They Were & Golden Eyed. I'd already blown my meagre spending money in that Aladdin's cave of fantasy goodness but my parents agreed to buy it for me as a Christmas present. I had to wait three or four months to see it again... but it was well worth the wait :-)

And finally, and just sneaking in under the deadline is Steve Does Comics of Steve Does Comics fame, with the character that could only really have been created in the Bronze Age, and that Marvel seem to go out of their way not to call by his proper name these days:

Marvel Spotlight #12, the first adventure of the Son of Satan. It appeals to my Horror sensibilities, it has Herb Trimpe at his best, it has Hell-spawned horses, it has tridents, it has some lovely colouring. How could I not love it?
I genuinely love The Son Of Satan, even in his worst appearances ( which this definitely isn't ), there's just something about him. As I said recently about Razorback and Matter-Eater Lad: Non-comic fans go: 'That's ridiculous!
We go: 'Son Of Satan? Cool!! Sign me up!'

Thanks again for joining in everybody, some really cool picks there that should be in everybody's collection, if they're not already.
And even Ironjaw, which I re-bought all four of last year for a quid each, resenting every penny, has it's plus points. Ok, it doesn't really, but let's be kind, it's nearly Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Pete's Podium: What's YOUR All-Time Fave Bronze Age Comic?

You got me, there's technically no new strip this week.
But don't think me & Sean have been sitting around doing nothing, we're actually about 5 weeks ahead on finished or near-finished pieces ready to go. ( Did I mention that, as well as being an award winning megastar, Sean also letters The Kids for me every week? What a guy! )
I just thought it'd be fun to open up proceedings here at Rec. Road with a little interaction, and by beginning a new feature: Pete's Podium!
So in the best tradition of '70's Marvel letters pages:
Let's Meet With Pete! Let's Rave With Dave! Let's Yawn With Sean! ( Ok, that one doesn't quite work, but you get the idea... )

Here's the poop: I'm happy to report that footfall on the site is steadily increasing, and more readers are popping in every week, which is great news. Some of you, I know, have stepped over from the Bronze Age Of Blogs or Comic Scene magazine, and natch, glad to have ya here, but some of you are still a bit of a tantalizing mystery...

For instance, we know which are our all-time fave Bronze Age comics, but which are yours?
As an example, here's Dave's pick for the greatest ever, because it was the first US Marvel he ever bought, starting off the whole thing:

Here's Sean's, because he always wanted to be Batman Jr. ( little realising, of course, that only I can be Batman Jr. ):

And here, to the surprise of no one who's ever met me and been bored senseless by me going on about it, is mine:

But what about you guys? In this week's Pete's Podium, tell us about your all-time fave comic of all-time. It could be a recognised classic, it could be a forgotten masterpiece, it could even be Iron-Jaw #1 ( Really?? )
Tell us why it deserves a place in everyone's collection. And why it means so much to you.
And while you're at it: What's the worst comic of The Bronze Age?
I've already mentioned mine:

There's no prize here, other than the satisfaction of saying to Rec. Road Assembled:
"This one! It's THIS one!! THIS is the greatest comic ever!!!"
We'll put up the covers and personal stories of every comment in the next Pete's Podium, so get writing!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

That Darn Arnold Lipshitz!

At last we meet the legendary Arnold Lipshitz! Oh wait, we don't. And in fact, if you've already bought the Comic Scene Christmas Annual, you've already met Arnold...
Hey, I never said continuity was my strong point.

And talking of the great big Comic Scene Christmas Annual:

It's out now! And it's packed with so much good stuff, it will actually take you until Xmas itself to read the whole thing. And, as mentioned, those Kids From Rec. Road are in there too!
It's in 1000 outlets, including W.H.Smith, McColls and, natch, all good comic shops. Or you can order online at comicscene.tictail.com or www.getmycomics.com.
So grab a copy, why don't'cha? After all, Arnold Lipshitz already has his, and you know he ain't sharing it!
Here's a taster:

Yep, even Xmas doesn't stop our Dave hating on DC...