The official Website of Dez Skinn, the British Stan Lee and owner of Quality Communications: 35+ years of communicating and innovating, publishing and editing such magazines as Comics International, House of Hammer, Warrior, Starburst, Dr Who Weekly, Jack Kirby Quarterly and much more!

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General Discussion: Your Views
general-discussion-your-views

Wow, that header sounds formal considering my prior letters columns titles have ranged from Battlefield and Letterbox to Post Mortem and Dispatches.

Feel free to use this section to post any general comments about the site and its content. When appropriate I will of course answer any specific questions, but don’t go taking advantage of me, you hear? I blocked this off for a few months as we were getting inundated with spam.

This entry was posted by Dez Skinn on Friday, August 6th, 2010 at 7:11 am and is filed under Forum. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


64 Responses to “General Discussion: Your Views”

       


Dez:

HoH turns up in the oddest places. I was watching an old kids tv show called KING OF THE CASTLE and in the last episode a character has to bin his comics… an issue of Howard The Duck and peeking out underneath HoH #6!

Hope you are good, mate.

Ade


PAUL ROSE says:

Dear Dez:
l remember once upon a time a long time ago you were doing a auction at one of the London cons and there was one lot that you were auctioning, a piece of original Charlton art by PAT BOYETTE. It only went for 50p.

l did not bid on it as l did not like Charlton comics then and Pat’s art did nothing for me. But people do change with time. l would now be more than willing to bid on that art as l think quite a few Charltons were charming and I look at Pat’s art in a completely new light now. He did some lovely stuff.

Take it EC.

Paul


PAUL ROSE says:

Dear Dez:
l do hope you did not take me wrong as regards my saying that Doug’s early Thing was pretty bad. l was not slagging him off, in fact when l got his first issue l was dead chuffed with it. It is only looking back at it that one can see it wasn’t that hot, but as you say, your first fanzine ventures are a very steep learning curve. l should know!!!

But l never seemed to learn. My attempts at fanzine publishing never progressed, they simply levelled off at mediocre minus (but l had a lot of fun doing them!). And l was just joking about you going around to sort Doug out, honest.

Take it EC.

Paul.


PAUL ROSE says:

Dear Dez:
Another thing that puzzles me is: What was Sven Mondrup doing with all those US comics?
How many Scandinavian kids back in the Fifties spoke English let alone read US comics?
Take it EC.
Paul.


PAUL ROSE says:

Dez:
lf you get this new HoH off the ground…will it have any BRIAN LEWIS in it? Hope so coz Brian’s art is so utterly brilliant… detailed, sharp, clear, beautiful!

He was one of the very best yet not a lot of people even remember his name. They might remember the art but not the artist, he seems to have slipped into being the UK version of Joe Maneely. Not that Brian’s art is anything like Joe’s, but both men were capable of such fine work yet only remembered by a comparative few!

Take it EC.

Paul.


PAUL ROSE says:

Dear Dez:
As you know, the early mimeographed Thing was pretty bad but Doug got into his stride and Thing went on to become a very nice digest fanzine. He did a tidy job with it and had some great articles featured in it.

Father FRANCIS HERTZBURG wrote some great articles on the 1950s UK comic scene. l loved the one he did on Lone Star comics. His is a name that will surely take you back. Francis was the very first dealer who l ever brought from through the post, after seeing one of his ads in a very early Thing. Is he still about?

The digest-sized Thing obviously owed a lot to your FA in format and layout. Did you ever consider going around to Doug’s pad and giving him a good slap?
Take it EC.
Paul.

Did you ever pop around to his place to make him an offer he could not refuse?


PAUL ROSE says:

Dear Dez:
Another memory your reply brought back… Bob Lee’s Earlham Street stall in London. l remember buying a nice pile of Len Miller comics from him, paying him and then off l trotted WITHOUT THEM!

It was about 10 minutes or so before l realised that my carrier bag was rather limp and comicless. So off l went back to his stall to get them but they had gone and he said he had not seen them.

Not a nice memory. As far as l can remember that lot came to about 15 quid, a lot of cash back in 74!

Paul


PAUL ROSE says:

Dear Dez:
Couple of thing’s l must clear up concerning the later email l posted last night.
The 50 ore comics came from Sven Mondrup. Sven had all these stacked up to the ceiling in a warehouse or a airplane hanger (Brian told me it was a airplane hanger, but Brian could spin a yarn or two…).

l brought loads of pre-code Fawcetts off of him plus many other pre-code horrors (Standard, Quality etc) but he never got any EC’s from Sven. l tried back in the early 1980s to see if Sven still had any left but he had passed away by then and l got a letter either from his son or nephew, saying that there was still a fair old amount left. But Sven had discovered that the payment he received from Brian was nowhere near what these comics were worth so Sven stopped letting him have any more. Anyway Sven’s son/nephew said he would be willing to sell me as many as l wanted but the thing that put me off was that he was charging MORE than what they guided at and the reason he still had a load left after Bri’s visit was that the remainder were all either water logged, creased to buggery or coverless. In other words everything Sven Jr had left was rubbish l did not pursue that avenue.

On a different subject Dez, have you ever thought about reprinting your early 1970s
Fantasy Advertisers, the digest-sized issues not the later large sized copies?

You’d be surprised just how popular they are now. We have to be talking about the very best UK comics fanzine done on a tight budget. Do you think it a viable proposition? Think about it, Dez… You could reprint two of them in a USA comic book format with both the front and back cover reprinting the covers of the two FA featured within and the front cover done in colour would be a nice touch…obviously you would have to put in a disclaimer concerning the out of date adverts. Think of the memories these would bring back to the collectors of the early/mid 1970s.

While l am ranting on about UK fanzines have you kept in touch with Comics Unlimited editor ALAN AUSTIN? Is he still about? The last l heard of him he was changing his dealer stock from comics over to 100% pulps. Also have you any news of DOUG GIFFORD who put out Thing?

l used to do a lot of spot illos for both of these zines. l would love to know about Alan and Doug if you have anything.

l do not know if you know or not but ALAN HUNTER has passed away. He was a very nice chap, he always came over for a chat at shows, a lovely bloke. He did some work for you, didn’t he?

Paul


Ann Guy says:

Dear Dez,

Lovely to have been mentioned.

Your darling Ann x


PAUL ROSE says:

Dez:
l remember many, many years ago…1972-4? when l had a table at one of the early London Cons with my dear pal Dave Brown of Emsworth…we had many a visit from Denis Gifford and Dave Giacardi…both of whom were heavily into UK comics.

I always remember Denis asking me while he was looking at a Lone Star how l arrived at the price… 25p… and l had to go through a third degree in trying to justify myself with the old sod. He was as rather sarcastic and cutting with his off-the-cuff comments but l could not help loving the old rascal. Denis l am talking about not Dave.

Dave was a sweetie pop. Harmless and died well before his time. Anyway Denis and Dave whilst looking at a comic or two told me something that has always been with me… Dave back in the late 1940s used to be a paperboy to earn a few bob so that he could afford to buy his beloved comics. And here is the clinch Dez… along Dave’s route was 10 Rillington place. Dave told me that he used to deliver several comics to that address to… get this Dez… DON LAWRENCE! and Don had insisted,so Dave told me, that his comics were NOT to be rammed through the letter box or folded or he would not pay for them. Dave had to knock on the door and give the comics unfolded and not mucked up to the chap who answered his knock. As far as Dave knew it was Don but when he delivered the papers a couple of years later he knew it was not Don.

Dave told me that he used to have a quick glance at the comics he was to deliver… Sun, Comet, Knockout, quite a few Len Miller titles and when he came to #10 and the door was opened, it reeked. It was not Don scurrying down to collect his treasured comics… it was Reg Christie.

All the time Dave was telling us this Denis was just flicking through our boxes with an air of total indifference… and then Milton Subotky would come to our table and say “Have you any funnies?”


PAUL ROSE says:

Dez:
To kick off with, your house looks a dream. If l had my way mine would look the same. But l am married and my ol’ gal is pretty good with her fists. So comics up the stairs and in the kitchen will have to wait.

Seriously though Dez in a way your pad reminds me of Brian Jepson’s house where you had to clamber over piles of golden age comics stacked on nearly every step…Horror, Western, Fawcetts galore. Brian and Paul McCartney done the deal of a lifetime – they found a aircraft hanger over in Scandinavia chockful of US comics and brought the vast majority of them for a song. They were in lovely condition too, the comics that is, not Bri or Paul. They knocked them out at a quid each during the early ’70s.

Your house photos brought back those memories, Dez. Did you ever ascend dem’ wooden stairs?


Penny Wright says:

Hi Dez, I just has to write to you, as I was reminiscing about the time I worked for Enzo Plazzotta (who became a famous sculptor) in Villier’s Street and in the King’s Road, Chelsea. The Company was called Cosmopolitan Artists. I worked for him for about 4 years, from the age of 15, in 1956, and he trained me to become a lettering artist.

The Company had several Italian Artists who did the art work for lots of your comics, and as most of it was sent by post from Italy, it was sometimes very fraught waiting for it to arrive, and then to quickly start the lettering!

I often used to bring the finished art work and lettering to you or Len at Fleetway House on the bus. I remember that I actually wrote a script for Penny Pincher, after saying “even I could do that”!

Years later, I worked freelance for you from home…

I’m sure you don’t recall me at all, but I have such fond memories of those days, and it’s somehow very comforting to know you’re still around.


Dez,

Loving the fanzine section of the website. I was too young to be involved in the early 1970s – caught the tail end in fact – so it’s a real pleasure to read and see all the glorious artwork from the era I missed. It’s easy to forget in this internet *post* age how much effort went into fanzines back in the day. The art here outclasses quite a bit of present pro work!

Take care,

Ade


Pat Penn says:

Hi Dez,

You have a great website here, hours of reading! Nice to see you are hard at work still. Shame you sold off Comics International though. We NEED a trade paper to know what’s happening out there!

For myself I’m getting back into comics, but selling them, having been given some shop space at C Drive, 15 Weavers Court, Halstead, Essex.

I will be starting off small to see how it goes with a few boxes of back issues and some new comics. so please if you are in the area pop in and have a look. As I say at the moment there will not be a lot of choice but with people’s support I would like to think it could grow into a really good comic store.

All the best and I will keep looking at you website with great interest.

Pat


Paul Bishop says:

Thanks Mike

Missed that on the read through! Mystery solved.

Regards

Paul


Mike Scott says:

Paul,

Go to this page to see the story on Monster Mag #2.

http://dezskinn.com/warner-williams/#Magic


Paul Bishop says:

Hi again!
Thanks for the detail – didn’t want to say too much – probably down to good old Brit ‘reservedness’! Was just trying to say why it holds such a place in my heart.

In fact looking round here it’s amazing how many of your old titles I lived and breathed at the time. Still got many of them – all the old horror titles (MM & HoH) and number 1s & early issues of some others.

Was it just down to finance that killed Monster Mag & HoH?

Also I’ve heard that there’s a particular issue of MM that is very rare & only a few were sold? My old befuddled brain keeps saying issue 4, but I could be completely wrong! Did you also incur the wrath of distributors and sellers due to the gloriously bloody content?

Thanks for the response. Off to your ebay shop now!

Regards

Paul


Dez Skinn says:

To put everybody’s mind at rest, as Paul merely teased, I’ve checked. Along with several other ideas, back in 1977 he suggested we went behind the scenes on each issue’s film adaptation, adding a special feature on how the film was made. So we did!

As for hunting around to find these old gems, you can always start with our company’s very own ebay shop!


Paul Bishop says:

Hi Dez.
You’ve made me go all misty-eyed here! Just seen the Mark Gatiss Channel 4 History of Horror programme where he waxed lyrical about the great House of Hammer mag, so had to hunt around on the net to remind myself of those great days.

It’s all very special to me … Check out the letters page in issue 9. I changed the mag! You very graciously gave me a free year’s subscription for ‘the best suggestion you’d yet received‘, and actually changed the magazine’s content (and very nearly gave a young sprog a heart attack when i opened the mag to the letters page at a crowded bus stop)! You even signed a compliments slip for me with my first issue.

I do so wish you could provide a new horror film mag for the stagnant UK market. If SFX and SciFi Now can survive for the science fiction crowd, with the plethora of horror now being produced to ringing box office tills, I’m sure a new quality horror publication could survive.

Anyway thanks again to you for my old subscription and attention to my old suggestion (a bit belated I know) and glad to see you’re still in the biz.

Regards

Paul Bishop


Mike Scott says:

“Colossal!” “Stupendous!” “I was on the edge of my seat!” (And it was pretty good, too!)

Nice wrap up of the Top Sellers HoH! You got me pulling out the old issues and browsing and reading favorite articles. I’m on a bit of a (or another) Hammer kick and want to re-read all the “history of” articles. Hope it won’t be four years till we get to you covering the Quality HoH issues on here! ;)


Mike Scott says:

I just got through watching the 4 Hammer Mummys on TCM, last night, so now I need to re-read Brosnan’s article (in #22) and also the “The Mummy” strip!

BTW, those “strange black and white comic strip frames” were on all the US Universal horror and sci-fi half sheet (and other) posters in the 1950s.


Mike Scott says:

Just to clear up my confusion on this, why was the UK edition of #20 titled House of Horror for that issue?


Dez Skinn says:

OK, to confirm what I posted earlier…

We paid Jim Warren around $1,000 to get a license for the two already-printed US issues with the (Hammer’s) House of Horror title logo. These were the compilation issue (with the Brian Lewis Vampire Circus cover) and #19.

Then when it had its own unique title as (Hammer’s) Halls of Horror so there was nothing and nobody to stop us exporting massive amounts of near-identical run-on copies of the UK edition (with only one black cover plate change for the the top left corner difference: from the UK to the US price).

They had to accept our English spellings, punctuation, slang, humo(u)r, irony, even our European printing format (quarto, as it was know)… the lot!

Great to be able to clarify all this after 30+ years of confusing all our readers!


Mike Scott says:

Question about HoH #20 (and #19, if it applies). I’ve seen US copies of #20 titled Halls of Horror, so were US copies distributed with both titles?

Also, I still want to see Zeppelin vs Pterodactyls!


Mike Scott says:

Dez sez: “It all started when Vworp Vworp asked me to design a variant cover in the style of my old Doctor Who Weekly..”

Looks just like the real thing!


Mike Scott says:

Thanks for all that great Warren/HoH coverage! Also love those fake HoH covers (“Hutch of”, etc.)!


Mike Scott says:

Yes, just joking about how Warren stole your mags title. It’s been many years, of course, but I’m sure there was some swearing at the time! LOL

Oh, if you want to check Clint Eastwood’s ego, just mention “Revenge of the Creature” or “Tarantula”.


Dez Skinn says:

Ah yes. Jim Warren’s House of Horror

But while I know you were joking I have to say that I’ve made a point of never dishing out dirt in print or on the internet and am often disappointed by many of my peers who seem to think they can rise by putting others down and merely reduce themselves by doing so. Honest criticism, yes, when appropriate. But always constructive and never personal.

I’ll present the facts when I know them (invariably playing down any unfortunate incidents or critical observations) because I feel it’s a responsibility to be professional about all this. Scurrilous comments about Alfred Hitchcock’s personal preferences for blondes or the size of Clint Eastwood’s ego do nothing to enhance their work. And that’s what it’s about, their work, and that’s what should live on after all of us. Not the tittle-tattle.

I’m afraid the tabloid red top or gossip mag route just isn’t my cup o’tea. It just shouldn’t matter!

As Joe Friday put it on Dragnet, “Gimme the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”


Mike Scott says:

Dez wrote: “F’r instance, there’s a big wodge of add-ons to the first “page” of House of Hammer (Warner-Williams p2).”

Thanks, I’ll keep my eyes peeled! Warren House of Horror next. Dish me some dirt! LOL


Kid Robson says:

Ah, fascinating. However, as Fawcett had terminated the good Captain’s career, would Len Miller have needed – or even have sought – an agreement? Fawcett gave up the fight with DC because of the continuing legal costs weighed against declining sales – they’d hardly enter into another lawsuit over a character they were no longer publishing. Or would they?

I look forward to further revelations.


Kid Robson says:

Dez, as you know, MARVELMAN was recently acquired by MARVEL COMICS. However, it has always readily been acknowledged that the character was merely a copy of CAPTAIN MARVEL, necessitated by FAWCETT deciding not to continue publishing the adventures of “The Big Red Cheese.” As DC COMICS now own the rights to CAPTAIN MARVEL, and as MARVELMAN is an admitted imitation, what’s to stop them suing MARVEL for plagiarism? And do you think they will? And if they don’t – why not? The plagiarism is an admitted fact in the characters origin. Any thoughts on the matter?


Mike Scott says:

Dez, I’m enjoying the heck out of the “Periodicals” section, especially Monster Mag and the lengthy House of Hammer history! Really great stuff!


simontm says:

Hey Dez

1981 for Speedmaster? Jeez. I was in Hounslow with a mate who was visiting his gran when we went in the toy shop just off the high street.

What’s your views on Clint and the upcoming Strip?

Oh and have you seen this blog? http://britishcomicart.blogspot.com/
Stumbled across it a few weeks ago and have had a complete nostalgia kick!


Dez Skinn says:

And a further anonymous story from same industry chappie…

“Bob Paynter once told me this story about Leo Baxendale. Bob was attending the launch of Leo’s autobiography, A Very Funny Business, when Leo spotted him and came over.

“Hi, Bob – would you like a copy of my autobiography?”

“Er…sure, Leo, that would be nice – thanks very much,” says Bob.

“Would you like me to sign it for you, Bob?” asks Leo.

“Er…sure, Leo, if it’s not too much trouble.”

Leo duly signs the book, hands it to Bob and says, “There you are, Bob – that’ll be £9.99.” (Or whatever the price was.)

Brilliant!”


Dez Skinn says:

I was asked that the following from a personal email just received should remain anonymous:

“I’ve just been reading your comments about IPC artwork being dumped into skips and thought you might be interested in the following information. What I am about to tell you is absolute gospel. I have no doubt that, as you said, certain people were told they could retrieve the artwork once it had been dumped, but I know for a fact that, in the mid-eighties, when IPC were transferring what was subjectively regarded as the best art they had onto microfiche before dumping it, there were occasions when editorial staff took select people into the vaults to rescue as much as they could carry.

One individual took away over 70 pages, including strips by Ken Reid, Leo Baxendale and Reg Parlett, etc. This wasn’t done in order to profit from it in any way, but merely because it was regarded as shocking that such treasures were being unceremoniously jettisoned with no regard for their historical or artistic value.”


James Hill says:

Hi, again Dez

Yep, I’ve been thinking you’ve got a book here – one that I’d certainly buy and enjoy.

Re: Red and Yellow covers. I was once putting together a cover for the Cartoon Network magazine that I was editing. We were encouraged by the licensor to think ‘out of the box’ – so we were attempting something different, trying to make the cover look as if it was a sci-fi type hand-held gadget on which the ‘viewer’ was receiving an image of the Jetsons. It was an iPad before there were iPads. However, it wasn’t working – all the Photoshopped metallic effects just looked grey and dull. In a fit of desperation, late one night, I declared: “Just make the background yellow and red.” It was a horrible-looking cover, but our second best selling issue @ 84K (and yes, the sales guys were chuffed to bits, and would used its success to mercilessly beat up editorial!)

What did I learn? I dunno – but maybe sometimes there’s no accounting for taste (and that HoH number 1 cover certainly jumped out at me when I was 12!) Oh, and for FREE GIFT shouts I swear by white on red (if it works for the tabloids!)

Favourite covers? Your Marvel monthlies – clean images, but with plenty of shouts to pull in readers. Perhaps not the most exiting/imaginative of design templates – but everything is working to convey the all-important sales messages. And the pics and text aren’t clashing with one another…


James Hill says:

Hi, again Dez

Thanks for the info the other week on Monster Club – much appreciated. I do, indeed, own a copy – picked up v. cheap from a dealer many years ago. I’m sure he didn’t realise how rare it was/is – and I suspect it originated as an auction copy from a Comic Con in the eighties.

Loving the ‘hard sell’ HoH 13 cover. Gloriously garish – cluttered even – but there’s no mistaking what’s in the tin! It had me thinking about an early Hulk cover (number 7, I think). It was almost a full page ad for a Disney holiday competition. Was this something that was forced on you? Or was it an editorial decision? It has always struck me as something of a precursor to modern kids titles where it’s the sizzle that is deemed most important. Mention of strips/stories, is almost always secondary.

I know there’s loads of history to go through – but at some point I’d be fascinated to read a piece on what you consider your most successful/least successful covers.

Thanks again for such a fascinating site!


simontm says:

Hey Dez

That Speedmaster thing – was that available in toy shops? – I have a vague memory of buying it at a toy shop, mainly because of Kennedy’s art, even then I recognised his work whether in Commando or IPC titles.


Paul Norton says:

Hey, the last time I clapped eyes on the original HoH#24 cover it was hanging on a wall at the Fantasy Film Con circa 1977/78 in a Russell Square hotel (who remembers that?) and I was looking forward to The Brides of Dracula strip. Was this adaptation ever completed and will we ever see it?


So who is this Speedmaster? The art looks like the amazing Ian Kennedy (that 9/11 Ro-Busters he did for the awesome Starlord is my favourite piece of comic art) but I’ve never heard of him before.

I presume he’s a speedster superhero or is he merely a racing car driver?


Hi, Dez –

So glad to see you’re doing this site. Excellent array of content. Especially love the “Periodicals” section and your history in-depth (much of which I knew, but so much I *wasn’t* aware of). The section on House of Hammer is a fascinating trip down memory lane — so much so, I couldn’t stop reading and studying the visuals and three hours elapsed perusing the site. Actually, this pissed off my wife as I had promised to take her out for an early dinner, but the HoH section made us an hour late!


Dez Skinn says:

If I made mistakes at IPC, the assistant managing editor would always threaten me with “It’s a long way to Dundee. lad”, implying there was nowhere else in comics to go if I blew it in London! Seemingly I didn’t blow it as I never made it north of the border.

Never mind Minnie’s accent, one female character’s subtitle only works if the READER says it with a Scottish accent… “Pansy Potter, The Strongman’s DOTTER [for Daughter]“.


Alan Dempsey says:

Love this site, Dez. For the post year I’ve been getting tons of old British comics from eBay. I know you worked for IPC, but did you ever work for DC Thompson?

And am I alone in that I never, ever, realised that Minnie the Minx should have had a Scottish accent? lol


I was a huge fan of the 1979-80 Marvel weeklies, where two pages were rearranged into one. I get the impression from your interviews that this was just one of a thousand editorial decisions at the time, but to me it was a very big deal. Do you remember anything about the decision or reader feedback?


Darren Evans says:

From Cents To Pence

Hi

Just saw the above on your web site.  Just a quick e-mail to say I can’t wait for this to come out – you’ve got one guaranteed customer.

On your site you say work on it is progressing slowly, but do you have any idea on a possible publishing date?

Growingup in the 70’s I got into comics in a big way especially Marvel UK from about ‘76 to ‘85ish.  From the sounds of it, the above book will cover that period in quite some depth.

Regards

Darren Evans


Mark Roberts says:

Hi Dez,

You don’t know me. I run a Marvel UK Blog, which is largely how I’ve found myself wandering here. Great to see that you have an online presence, now. I shall be checking back periodically, and I’ll try to spread the word around about this site too.

Congrats!

Mark Roberts