Friday, February 16, 2018

Romance and Death: The PG Murray way

Don't know what it is about this week in this here Junkyard, but I seem to have been inundated with low fat Romance and Death! To wit:

 Secret Romance Library #26 

Twin Hearts Library #181

Hand wringing and fainting? Well, Sheesh and Golly Gosh! Clearly these comics are unadulterated PG - pre-Goth!

Love Experiences #1 and Beautiful Love Stories #1: Chatto knows they've done it before...

Love Experiences #1 features a Keith Chatto cover for the story Love So Blind.

This story was also published by Page Publications under another Chatto cover in Beautiful Love Stories #1:

My copy of Love Experiences #1 above has a $0.15 price sticker over the original price. The original price may be anything up to $0.30, but I'm betting Love Experiences #1 was published earlier than Beautiful Love Stories #1 simply based on the cover art, specifically because of the expressions on the faces of Chatto's characters. On the Love Experiences #1 cover, it's quite possible our happy couple are about to experience coitus for the first time. The couple on the cover of Beautiful Love Stories #1 have definitely done it before. This trajectory is par for the course for Chatto's romance covers for Yaffa/Page.

I think Love So Blind originally appeared in MV Features' Dream A Romance Picture Story #16, but as you can see via the link, the GCD entry has scan information, not even a cover image. Since the cover art for Love Experiences #1 does not appear to be based on interior art for Love So Blind, I'm going to assume for the moment that it is based on Dream #16. This, and the original cover price for Love Experiences #1 will be revealed in due course.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Destination Destruction again: War in the Air #4

Further to three other instances, Destination Destruction is also reprinted in Page Publications' War in the Air #4, under another Keith Chatto cover:

In another emerging pattern, it appears that the first printing of a story may be identified not only by the fact that the cover is based on the source material, but that the story title is written on the cover, whilst later recyclings omit the story title under new covers and titles. Too early to pronounce it as a fact, but as I say, another possible pattern to be alert to.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Falling in Love #70: Sister, don't steal my art....

Falling in Love Romances #70, published by K.G. Murray c.1972, features a cover illustrated by Jay Scott Pike - with some crude art extension and cropping on the left hand portion of the image - and the story Sister, Don't Steal My Man, which originally appeared in Young Romance #183, June 1972:

If these two editions take your fancy but don't quite fill you to the brimful with that lovin' feeling, maybe this fabric will cause your cup to runneth over:

Apparently it's available at some online print design business.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Murray War Library so far..

In the early 1980's Murray Comics dipped a tentative toe into the digest-sized comic market. Various genres were represented, such as romance comics, westerns and horror comics.

I have copies of the following war digests:

 Fightin' Army NN

 Fightin' Marines NN

Nightmare Mission NN

Like the non-war samples above, these issues are distinguished by the fact that the rear cover is a reproduction of the front cover, which was not typical of Murray. Of course, Murray had previously published digest-sized series, notably a long run of romance comics and, in the mid-1960's, Superman Super Library, but these cross-genre samples from the early 1980's form a particular subset of Murray digests. The timing and price point broadly coincides with the Yaffa digest-sized comics, which may have triggered this program. 

I don't have enough information or samples at the moment to assert or conclude too much, but it appears to me this subset was published over a relatively short time span - maybe a 12-18-month period between late 1981 and end of 1982. 

The romance editions incorporated the Murray Romance Library logo. I think of this subset collectively as the Murray Library series, so the westerns form the Murray Western Library, the war issues become the Murray War Library, etc. I don't recall seeing a science fiction issue, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some pop up.

I say they broadly coincide with the Yaffa digests in timing and price point because, if my timing is accurate, the Murray issues appeared with a $0.60 cover price just as the Yaffas changed to $0.70, and persevered as the Yaffas inflate to $0.75, so the dating is subject to review.

Anyway, this is just my musing on these issues until more information and samples come to hand.

Update: The cover of Nightmare Mission was originally published as the cover to Charlton's Fightin' Army #124, May 1976.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Chatto Confessions: Revealing Confession Stories #1 and Exciting Confessions #4

Page Publications' Revealing Confession Stories #1 is a digest-sized romance comic featuring a Keith Chatto cover, and contains the story Holiday of Love.

This story was also published around the same time by Page Publications in Exciting Confessions #4 with another Chatto cover illustration:

I expect there are other Page Publications reprints of this story.

Update: As expected, a further reprint of Holiday of Love has turned up, under another Chatto cover, in Love Experiences Library #7:

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Giant Batman Album #8: The 'missing' piece

K.G. Murray's Giant Batman Album #8 is based on the US edition 80 Page Giant #5 Batman:

Giant Batman Album #8 reprints the cover and main feature contents of the 80 Page Giant, whilst adding a couple of fillers which are different to the ones included in the US edition. 

One of the features reprinted in the local edition is [Rustling on a Reservation], a Complete Sunday Newspaper Syndicated Story, as advertised prominently in both printings.

However, the US edition contains the following single page feature, also a syndicated strip:

It's a shame this wasn't included in the local edition. The art is already in black and white, and assuming the blue background was printed in black, it would have made a stark and bold impact. And I'm not sure whether this piece was reprinted in any other subsequent K.G. Murray comic.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Superman, Batman and Robin at Perisher Ski Resort: The Murray connection

Colossal Comic #26, July 1963

That's Superman, Batman and Robin doing their skiing thing on the cover of Colossal Comic #26, at the Perisher Ski Resort.

Or so I like to imagine. Why?

It turns out that the publisher, KG Murray, was involved in the development of the Perisher Valley. Further, according to Wikipedia, "Murray Publishers...traded under the name of Perisher Ski Resort...(and) in 1995 Murray Publishers Pty Limited and the Alpine Australia Group Pty Limited merged to form Perisher Blue Pty Limited."   

That's evidence enough for a legitimate leap of the imagination.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Master Comics #24: Captain Marvel Jr. and the (Dis)Appearance of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Would you trade the Statue of Liberty for the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Captain Marvel Jr. did - or rather, Larry S. Cleland did in Master Comics #24:

Here's the original cover to Master Comics #107:

I give Cleland credit for taking advantage creatively of the landscape format of their issue in contrast to the portrait format of the source material - the horizontal bridge for the vertical statue is an aesthetic decision, not just a patriotic turn.

I also give Cleland credit for adapting the interior art:

If you're interested, the original story can be read in full on

My only gripe with the modification is the spelling of Harbor - did Cleland imagine it would be sold back to the Americans?

Daring Love Confessions Library #1: The Forgotten Years

Daring Love Confessions Library #1: The Forgotten Years looks like a Page Publications digest-sized romance comic, but isn't - it's a pulp novel.

Nevertheless the cover by Keith Chatto makes it suitable for filing alongside your other Australian digest-sized romance comics, and there's another issue in the series if you're a completist.

Update: This image was redrawn for Page Publications' Wonderful Love Stories #1:

The story Autumn of Desire had previously been published in Page Publications' Real Romance Library #43:

Autumn of Desire was originally published in MV Features' Dream A Romance Picture Story #14 in 1965.