Sharkmania – the proof! (1978)

Yesterday I talked about the perfect competition for all those British kids scared witless by Jaws and Hook Jaw – a Shark Fishing competition – I also touched on the Shark craze that was precipitated by the Spielberg film. Well, someone (a ‘Frankwied’) has posted this on youtube, and it is absolutley wonderful – this is from the guy himself;

The year is 1978. A team of 12 year olds have decided to make a Super8 film of their own based on Jaws. (It’s what everyone was talking about at the time). This may not be as slick as today’s digital videos…which makes it even more genius. (we had to pay $20 [a lot for 12-year olds in 1978] for every 3 minutes of film) And wait till you get a hold of the shark we built…..(it sank after the first scene and you’ll only see the fin after that. And check out our other films in my channel!!!

Here is the link;

and here is the movie;

The award for the most inappropriate kids comic competition of 1976 goes to…..

….Action Comics!!

Not only was it violent, not only did it use 1970’s ‘youth’ colloquialisms such as ‘ya’ (as in ‘Action is ya favourite violent comic’), but it also held a gloriously bad taste competition. Well, that’s my view anyway. It was also a great competition prize, and an exciting one. But definitely in bad taste. Let me explain in words and pictures;

That shark just above is dubbed Hook Jaw, the undoubted star of IPC comics notorious ‘Action‘ title. Hook Jaw was clearly inspired by, and capitalising on, the Shark craze of the mid 1970’s (prompted by the Spielberg Blockbuster ‘Jaws‘). Some of the works inspired by the film were quite bizarre. Hook Jaw, however, was just plain terrifying. This comic strip amplified our terror of the deep and exaggerated the fearsomeness, the size and predator instincts of a Great White Shark. The shark that appeared in Action acted as a moral avenger, appearing to act out a vendetta against mankind.

Created by Pat Mills (who went on to have a hand in the creation of another seminal British comic character, Judge Dredd), the story had an environmental edge, the Shark, while eating any human unlucky enough to be in its proximity, seemed to target those who would exploit the Seas (the first strip was based around an oil rig);

(the panel above was taken from issue 2 of Action, dated 21st of February, 1976)

So there we go, Hook Jaw, the Great White Shark who was a cover star of the most notorious British Boys comic of the 1970’s;

Competitions in comics are nothing new. They attract new readers, reward existing readers and keep them loyal, and some lucky guy gets the first prize. Action decided to run a competition, one that tied in with one of the comic strips, and one that captured the spirit of the comic, as it certainly promised ‘action’ with a capital A, and one lucky reader got to do the following;

Right – so that’s a fishing trip, to catch a shark! Great opportunity to go out shark fishing, you might even catch HOOK JAW!!!

Er, okay, maybe not.

Amazingly, they did have children enter the competition. They found a winner. The winner did go out on a shark fishing trip. Did he catch Hook Jaw? Did he come back in one piece? Did his dad go with him? Did he come back as well? Were Brody, Hooper and Quint on board? Did they go in the Orca*? All is revealed below….

Finally, here is a gratuitous panel from Hook Jaw from issue 2 of Action (dated 21st of February 1976) – can you see the nod to the Spielberg movie??

Hook Jaw


* The Orca was the boat that Quint, Brody and Hooper used to hunt the Great White in Jaws. It still (allegedly) exists (as a bit of a wreck) – have a look

Update – Walls ‘Count Draculas Deadly Secret’ advert (1976)

Taken from issue 22 of the British comic Action, dated 10th of July 1976. These were the upgraded lollies, with the ‘trace-a-face’ gimmick, which was a plastic template type stick, replacing the traditional wooden variety. Great advert, remember this one well. How often do you get to see Dracula standing next to a Walls branded ice cream freezer?? Also, how fantastic would it have been to win a movie projector with reels of horror film thrown in? Wonder what the film was – any bets on it starring a certain Vampire, and being one of the Hammer films, or one of the older Univeral horrors starring Bela Lugosi?

This is a follow up post from a lolly themed one I did a few weeks back – for that one (which includes other ads for ‘Count Draculas Deadly Secret’, go here.

Golden Wonder Kung Fuey snack advert from Action comic (1976)

An advert from the back page of the British comic Action, issue 35, dated 9th October 1976. Kung Fuey snacks were, as I recall, a bit like round wotsits but with a lot more MSG. I loved both varieties, though the Cheese & Ham (in the black packet, somewhat obscured in the advert) was my favourite. I know that you can start petitions to bring back your favourite crisps, so I may consider kicking off a Kung Fuey campaign. The child in the ad looks like a suedehead in training, but he would probably need to do something about those sandals.

By the way, 99p for a Kite with a Dragon on it is a bargain.

Unseen 64 – detailing the development hell of videogames

Just came across this fantastic website;

that details the changes that videogames undergo before they get to market, if they get to market. It has a great search engine, so say I want to check out Resident Evil, I get all kinds of returns, like Resident Evil 1.5 for the PS1 (see the screenshot above) and the beta for Resident Evil 4, which looked stunning. This site is inspired and fascinating and anyone with even a passing interest in gaming needs to go and check the site out. If you don’t, you’ll never understand the thrill of finding out about the game adaptation of Waterworld for the Sega Saturn that never came to fruition;

or the best title of a game I have heard in a long time – I give you ‘Wet Corpse’, another cancelled Saturn game;

LINKS!! article on the ‘best games never published’

Resident Evil – the unreleased Gameboy Color version (1999)

If you look below, you will see some video footage of the unreleased Gameboy Color version of Resident Evil;

There is also a great picture of Chris as he battles the fountain monster in the Mansion – click here

Necropolis has some good stuff on the GBC version

GameBoy color preview of the Resident Evil game at IGN

Powerful Cover Art – The Walking Dead Covers for issues 53, 54 & 55

As in previous posts here and here, I like to gather up a few of the Walking Dead solicitations and have a look at their spoiler-ific covers. Here is the next batch – numbers 53, 54 and 55, which purportedly take us up to September, but as anyone who gets TWD on a monthly basis knows, this is a very loose time frame and a September solicitation could well be a January 2009 release.

The Walking Dead #53

‘To the rescue’

A bold statement of intent, a new beginning? Rick Grimes has now been absent from every cover since his appearance on #49, when he was being led by a determined looking Carl. Is this the start of a whole new perspective on a Zombie ravaged world? Does this cover herald the new order? Are we looking at the new major characters?

So many questions, like – are they meeting up with Rick? Carl? Michonne? Are they the Military? Are we about to see the beginning of the fightback against the undead???? The cover art suggests that there are well organised, fully resourced communities out there beyond the limited territory that has been well covered for the last 49 issues. The central character in particular looks a very capable individual, posed like a big game hunter, a decapitated Zombie head under his heel (another graphical signature that states the Zombies are going to be crushed??).

The Walking Dead #54

‘All out action!’

If cover #53 could be likened to an appetiser, then this is the main course – as the solicitation states ‘all out action!’. What else is there to say? Some fantastic kinetic artwork from Charlie Adlard, with the big guy from #53 in full John Woo mode. The revenants are just being shredded in the wake of his fury. The zombie at the forefront looks suitably distressed, even though we have to assume they lack ’emotion’. Even though the big guy is surrounded, you have to assume there is little peril he faces. This is one capable individual.

The Walking Dead #55

‘On the road’

A more reflective cover (in more ways than one – check out the side mirror on that Jeep!), but with danger lurking. The big guy is still around! The fact they seem to be in open country, with a collection of tents and someone on watch suggests that we are not focusing on any sort of walled community or military compound. Maybe we are going to be focusing on another bunch of ordinary folk in extraordinary circumstances, constantly on the move, looking for food and shelter.

The zombies that the reader can see in the side mirror of the Jeep is a nice touch, especially as the background colouring is red, as in RED for DANGER!!!

Oh, and still no sign of Rick Grimes. Is this a tease? What gives?

With issue 50 finally due to ship next week (July 2nd), and calculating releases on a one per calender month basis, we can expect to see #55 in December at the earliest, and maybe not until 2009 is any other releases slip. This is one of the most tantalising and frustrating things about hunting for future covers, you have a glimpse of a story, but no real idea what is going on. In the meantime, let the speculation run free!

By the way, there is a preview of issue #50 here;

LM Magazine – the proto Lads Lifestyle Magazine (1986 – 1987)

Newsfield publications, following on from the success of the Spectrum gaming magazine Crash, and its sister magazine Zzap!64 (for the Commodore 64), released a further 2 publications in 1985 and 1986. The first was an Amstrad CPC464 magazine (Amtix) and then in ’86 there was LM. The initials had multiple meanings (either ‘Lifestyle Magazine’, ‘Lively Magazine’ or ‘Lloyd Mangram’, the fictional Newsfield journo), but its agenda was simple. LM was to be a mens lifestyle magazine, pre-dating the likes of ‘Loaded’ by several years.

From the initial issue onwards (issue 0 – given away free with other Newsfield publications like Crash and Zzap!64) the articles were diverse and generally well written. LM covered amongst many other topics on David Bowie, Frank Millers reboot of Batman as ‘The Dark Knight, personal stereos, The Fall, joysticks, Martial Arts weapons, graffitti artists, Ian Rush, a review of Back To The Future on video and much more.

Following issue 0 was the full launch, but LM only lasted from issue 1 (released Jan 1987) through til 4. Here are the reasons why it failed;

In 1986 designs were made to expand into areas outside the computing world and with Newsfield’s background knowledge of the teenage market the decision was taken to launch into the male teenage market area with a lifestyle magazine. LM was launched in December 1986 and was the largest project Newsfield had ever tackled. LM required a London Office and a total of seven editorial staff. A dummy issue was produced and coverbound onto Crash and Zzap! prior to the launch to create market awareness and a TV commercial produced and run in selected regional areas. While LM generated instant street cred and attracted a core of die-hard fans through the UK, initial circulation turned out to be disappointing but nonetheless with an upward trend. Advertisement income however did not match expectations and promises from some of the major national consumer advertisers and media agency account handlers, who felt that LM was not presenting the right image, certainly not the glossy and stylish look of its contemporary. With very little ad income and massive drainage of resources LM was not given the time to develop its [potential as] a cult magazine and the plug had to be pulled after issue 4.

extract of the Liquidators report on Newsfield publications, taken from

They were not afraid to challenge peoples perceptions of what a Mens Lifestyle Magazine should entail – check out this interview with the group ‘Stump’ that also gives you an idea of the style of the magazine;

they also covered Kubricks ‘A Clockwork Orange’, at a time when it was still banned in Britain (and would remain so until 1997).

There was a recent sale of a complete set of LM on ebay – I got gazumped with seconds to go, but these could have been mine;

If I ever see LM on ebay again, and I win the auction, I will return with a more indepth look at the magazine. LM was a brave and bold move by Newsfield, who were maybe a few years too soon with their idea of an intelligent and diverse ‘Lads lifestyle’ magazine to really take hold. By 1994 there was Loaded, and the tone was a lot more bawdy, with more emphasis on photoshoots of women, but it was this magazine that became a publishing phenomena, and set the parameters for the ‘lads mag’ genre.

If anyone knows of an archiving / scans project for LM (or any of the other lesser known Newsfield titles) let me know please?


The wiki entry for Newsfield has a pasage on LM has the Liquidators report on the demise of Newsfield Publishing – from the Crash archives, an interview with the LM creative team prior to the publicaiton of issue 1.

Magforum entry for LM

Walls lolly advertising in 2000AD, July 1980 (plus Tharg is a Rude Boy)

Taken from the back page of 200ad prog 170, dated 26 July 1980.

I do remember the ‘Black Hole’, basically an updated ‘Count Dracula’s Deadly Secret’, which was mentioned in a previous post. Both Funny Feet (which was a wodge of ice cream on a stick, and the successor to Funny Faces) and Magic Monster Lolly are memorable (Magic Monster Lolly in particular – I cannot remember all of Frankensteins friends, but there was a Dracula and Wolf man). Incredible Hulk is the only one I have no recollection of, but was obviously cashing in on the popularity of the hit TV show of the time.

The same prog is also host to a quintessentially late 70’s / early 80s phenomena as Tharg the Mighty gets the Rude Boy / 2 Tone treatment, courtesy of someone from Nuneaton, a mere few miles away from Coventry, the 2 Tone movements hub;