Thursday, November 23, 2006

Charlton, Marvel, Maurice Bramley, Len Lawson & REG


Date: circa 1947

Not an easy comic to find and I was amazed to snare this one as cheaply as I did and in the condition that it's in. Headlined by Len Lawson's THE LONE AVENGER, Action Comic had at least three series and the entire book ran from 1946 through to 1956. This issue features Len Lawson's The Lone Avenger, Albert DeVine's Jet Jackson and Phil Crouch's Dennis The Menance. There's not been much written about Lawson, what is well known is that he did suffer from a major brush with the law. Lawson was a major talent on the Australian comic book scene although it's his non-comic book related work that's remembered more than his excellent art and stories. For his career he was both prolific and successful and was riding the wave of his most successful creation, The Lone Avenger, when tragedy struck.

In June 1954 Lawson was tried for the rape of two women in Sydney's Terrey Hills. Lawson was given the death penalty, although that was later commuted to 14 years in gaol. At the trial much was made of the fact that Lawson drew comic books and newspapers of the time highlighted the fact that he 'frequently drew bosomy heroines'. As such his Lone Avenger was promptly banned and all of Lawson's attempts to continue his work and art from his cell was refused. Part of the publicity of Lawson's case led to the formation of the Australian Comic Code. Lawson probably deserved better than he got. Sadly I don't know anywhere near as much about Lawson and his trial than I'd like to, so at some stage next week I intend to lock myself up in the state library here and start trawling through the records and hopefully I'll find what I'm after in regards to information about Lawson.


Date: circa 1960.

Publisher: New Century Press

Contents: Outfoxing The Desert Fox
Gavin's Stupid Mule
The Prisoner
Kelly's Private War
Sleepy Pete

A classic example of an early Australian Charlton reprint. Oddly enough there is a handwritten copyright notice for Charlton on the splash page for the first story - unusual for the time. The cover used here was originally used on the USA Fightin' Army #20.


Date: circa 1960

Publisher: New Century Press

P-39 Ace
Lend lease Pilot
Hot Rock Charlie
Daily Target

Another classic early Charlton - well issue #1 is as early as it gets. I've not got any access to covers for the originals, along with story details for either issue, so any additions would be more than welcome.

Date: circa 1961

Publisher: Horwitz

Contents: Fighting The Tiger
He Made It Home
Strong Point
Bugle Call
Jungle Call

Again, details are slim for this book, but they sport a Charlton copyright notice.


Date: circa 1960

Publisher: New Century Press

Contents: Wyatt Earp: Gunman's Protege
Wyatt Earp: A Brother's Pact
Wyatt Earp: Double Danger
Young Eagle: Hidden Treasure
Benby's Perfect Plan

Although the cover is done by Nicholas Alascia (it's signed) and the contents are Charlton, I strongly suspect that, due to the lettering alone, the last story is locally produced. Another classic, early Charlton reprint.


Date: circa 1961

Combat Casey: Somewhere In North Korea
Combat Casey: Weapons... Useless
Whirligig Warriors
Combat Casey: Battle Against A Tank (Dick Ayers)
Combat Casey: The Battleground Is Mined (Jay Scott Pyke)

Marvel/Atlas reprints. This book sports one of the most impressive Bramley covers I've seen to date. I expect that it's as good as it is because Bramley enjoyed drawing war type images and this cover ranks up there with anything that I've seen from the time period, from any country.


Date: circa 1961

Buffalo Bill
Two Gun Kid: The Hands Of The Hulk by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
Ed Masterson by REG

Marvel/Atlas reprints. Another fine Bramley cover and the extra treat lies inside with a story by the otherwise mysterious REG. I can remember reading something about REG (who isn't Richard E Grant in this case) but I can't remember where. I expect that Kevin Patrick might know a bit more, so I'll fire down an email wait and see what comes back.

More to come.

1 comment:

Kevin Patrick said...

Hi Daniel

Mate, there's a lot more to the story of Len Lawson, who died in Grafton gaol in 2003, where he was serving a life sentence for murder.

There's a chapter devoted to Lawson in Paul Kidd's book, 'Never to Be Released' (Volume 1), and there was a profile on the Sydney house where Lawson committed one of his last crimes in the ABC Books title, 'History Happened Here'.

I actually wrote a brief profile of Lawson's life & crimes for Collectormania in late 2003/early 2004, not long after he died.

If I can dig up the text, I'll email it to you.

- Kevin