Monday, November 20, 2006

Gredown & Charlton: House Of Yang

It's been a bit since I covered any comic books and I think for the next couple of days I might focus on some of the Australian side of things, starting with some classic kung-fu. The Australian reprints of Charlton's early 1970s series House Of Yang is a classic example of how good Gredown could be be when it came to handling reprint material. Much like the Hell Rider reprints, the House Of Yang comes close to being a perfect, sequential series of reprints, but does fall short with the out of sequence reprinting of issue #2, as you'll soon see. Gredown still exists as a publishing company, but each time I've made contact with them about their comic book ventures of the 1970s I've been met with silence and total bafflement. It would appear that no-one is left there who is even aware that they once published some of the most interesting, and now collectible, comics to appear on the Australian market from the 1970s. Whatever information they might have been able to supply is long since vanished.

Kevin Patrick first alerted me to these reprints in an email, when he sent me a scan of issue #1 telling me how it'd captured his intersted because it advertised a further issue. I could almost hear his excitement when I emailed back with not only scans but full details of both issues, as they reside in my collection (along with a pile of other Australian martial arts comics). We went back and forth in regards to the two issues and as such they've given him something to search for. However these Australian reprints aren't that easy to find. Other Charlton reprints are easy to track down, such as the Planet series, but the Gredown books, in high grade, just don't pop up all that often.

Both covers are totally unique to the Australian market, and as the cover to issue #2 seems similar in style and composition to Hell Rider #2 I can't help but think that they might have been painted/drawn by the same artist: Phil Belbin. As these covers were either unsigned at the time, or the signatures removed, it makes it neigh on impossible to work out who did what. Now onto the comics.


Published 1976, Gredown Pty Ltd


Empress Of Evil by Joe Gill and Sahno Kim (House Of Yang #1)
Hunters Of The Sun bu Gill and Kim (House Of Yang #3)
Killers From The North by Gill and Kim (House Of Yang #4)

This cover sports some vivid colours. The use of red is impressive to say the least. Neither of the two Australian covers are like anything that came in the USA, as Charlton used painted covers that didn't come close to capturing the energy and violence that the Australian editions did.


Published 1976, Gredown Pty Ltd


A Poisoned Pearl by Joe Gill, Demetrio and Franc Fuentesman (House Of Yang #5)
The Invaders by Gill and Kim (House Of Yang #2)
The Shogun Of Karu Island by Gill and Warren Sattler (House Of Yang #6)

This cover is a stunner! The original cover for issue #5 featured the main character about to stab a shark underwater, but I'll leave it to Kevin to speak for this:

"Mate, there's only one word I can use for that House of Yang # 2 cover scan....'sweet'!
"I love that artwork - and the image is so, I dunno, off the charts - a guy kung-fu kicking a shark under water? It could only happen on the cover of a comic book."

I have to agree - it is something special and again overshadows any of the USA cover art. The only downside to these issues is the reprinting of the original USA #2 out of sequence. For some insane reason it appears here, between issues #5 and #6. Why? Who knows. Perhaps the stats arrived that way. Perhaps the stats got mixed up. Either way it happened, and we have to be thankful that at least all of the House Of Yang is represented here..

Keep hunting them down! Next time I'll cover some more Bramley and some older, 1950s Australian Charltons.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW! I think it's great that there are still a lot of old comics to see and look at it in awe. As i remamber to looking at old comics at Adelaide Comics when tony brings out the big guns and shows off his "know all" in grading the age of the comic in hand. Im still searching for the one comic to hang on the wall at home! But to Kung Fu! I like the Shark killing kick!!!! Great art work to the cover.


Ps. How to i go 'bout in looking for the right people in getting comisson art work?