Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This week in 1966: SMASH!
Although Smash! is often associated with Marvel reprint as part of its content there was a time before The Incredible Hulk arrived in its pages when the contents were all home grown. One such example is this early issue of Smash! (No.12) which went on sale this week in 1966.
The Man from B.U.N.G.L.E. was the usual star of the cover at this time but he was pushed aside this week for a promotion of The Legend Testers serial. And what a striking image by the fantastic Jordi Bernet. "Rollo Stones" was the name of one of The Legend Testers, and there's no prizes for guessing what inspired that moniker. I'm sure the huge title under the logo this week caused a few double takes from Rolling Stones fans, and possibly a few new readers, which of course was the intention.
The first strip inside this issue's 28 pages was the latest chapter of The Moon Madness drawn impeccably by Brian Lewis. The premise of this series (bits of alien body being drawn together) was completely daft, but it was played totally straight and for many of us who were kids at the time it proved to be completely gripping. When I was seven I couldn't wait for the next chapter every week! (More on Moon Madness in an earlier blog post here.)
Another artist who always gave 100% was Ken Reid, who, in my opinion, was doing the best work of his career at Odhams. Here's the hilarious Queen of the Seas (which was later reprinted in Buster)...
The Legend Testers was about two time travellers from the far future who were assigned to various points in history to test the authenticity of various museum artifacts. A job not as dull as it sounds as you can see, leading Rollo Stones and Danny Charters into deadly danger every week. Spanish artist Jordi Bernet is well known now for his crime series Torpedo and for his recent work on Jonah Hex...
Brian Lewis had an incredible versatility to his style. Here he is drawing Space Jinx, showing he was as much as master of slapstick "bigfoot" art as he was of the realistic style he used on Moon Madness. He also drew many of the Charlie's Choice episodes for Smash!
If you're wondering how The Man from B.U.N.G.L.E. got out of his death plunge on the cover, here's the solution on the Mister Knowall page. Did you guess correctly?
This issue also featured The Swots and The Blots by Ron Spencer, Bad Penny and Danger Mouse by Artie Jackson, The Tellybugs by George Parlett, The Ghost Patrol (a reprint of Swift's The Phantom Patrol) by Gerry Embleton, The Nervs by Graham Allen, Percy's Pets by Stan McMurtry, Brian's Brain by Bert Vandeput, and Ronnie Rich by Gordon Hogg. What a great line up of artistic talent!
And last but not least, on the back page, was Grimly Feendish which this week was drawn by Artie Jackson...
Smash! - Definitely my favourite comic of 1966.