To continue …I’m continuing to open boxes containing my old comic collection.The first lot is a random selection.The first Astonishing Tales iss.ue contains some fine Wally Wood artwork.The X-Men features some later Barry Winsor Smith artwork and of course the Thor comic is a classic Jack Kirby effort.

Below ,these are what remains of a once much larger “Daredevil “collection.When many later Gene Colan issues were traded away these survived because they featured more  favourite Wally Wood artwork from  the mid 1960s.

“StrangeTales” below  originally featured The Human Torch/Thing  offshoot from the “Fantastic Four” comic alongside the obscure little Steve Ditko feature “Doctor Strange”. Later it was joined by the then modern- day Sgt Fury vehicle “Agents of SHIELD”, Ditko left Marvel  dropping both Spider-man and Doctor Strange to be continued both other writers and artists. The “Agents of SHIELD” feature made a splash in the era of the super spies such as “The Man From UNCLE ” and James Bond. The secret weapon here was the work of the magician and artist Jim Steranko , who lifted it with his stunning , novel and very modern graphics.He tapped into the psychedelia of the times and produced poster-like comics with especially stunning covers which harked back to the great comics of the 1940s Golden Age.

Steve Ditko had a relationship with Charlton comics and when he left Marvel after his dispute over creativity, especially on the Spider-man character, he produced still stunning artwork on titles such as “Captain Atom”.

Barry Smith began with Marvel Comics, copying Jack Kirby’s heroic style ,but with the Conan pulp-era barbarian , he managed to develop his own detailed style which he parlayed over some twenty issues of the comic.

Below are two of the original “X-Men” comics and two of the original “Avengers” issues from the 1960s.There was a time when I had long runs of both of these comics, especially “the Avengers” of which subscription copies were sent from America as part of a prize I won with Tony Roche’s Merry Marvel Fanzine. Sadly I thinned out these collection years ago.The Avengers comic is issue #4 which features a dynamic Jack Kirby cover and inner artwork where he re-introduces his and Joe Simon’s war-time creation Captain America into the  growing “Marvel Universe”.The Captain was literally thawed- out of a block of ice where he had lain undisturbed for some twenty years.

Below are featured some random copies of Tales to Astonish as it transitioned from it’s horrror/sci-fi comic origins to feature more super-heroes from the Marvel Universe.Ant-Man became Giant-Man. Then the Hulk continued the fun in this half -and -half comic. Giant Man was discontinued to make room for the revived SubMariner (a Golden Age characterwhich was revived in an early Fantastic Four story) He was given his own haff-feature before virtually every Marvel character was given their own comic later on.

One of those characterswas Doctor Strange  who had several re-launches.Initially a wholly Steve Ditko creation , artistic input then came variously from Dan Atkins , Gene Colan and one of my favourites , John Brunner., some of whose comics are featured below.He managed to continue some of the other-worldly psychedlic flavour of Ditko.

My comics collection and comics related material is very diverse.The comics themselves also spawned an industry of books, magazines, fanzines and then the comics themselves began to be reprinted in hard-bound books as collectors’ items in their own right.I think it might have been the EC line which mined this territory first. The entire line of 1950s EC comics was reprinted directly from the original artwork in beautifully made boxed sets aimed at collectors.They were expensive of course because quality was the standard. This set the tone for future publications.