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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Archive's Sunday Comics - The Flying Dead

Ghost stories can have the most unlikely settings. 

While we post elsewhere about the walking dead, this week's Sunday Comic introduces us to a new concept: the flying dead!

Mixing weird into a war setting might seem a strange proposition, especially in the days before crossovers between genres and so-called "mash-ups" became a widely accepted practice.

But perhaps the development  was to be expected with many of the writers for the famous US pulp fiction magazines, like Weird Tales, "graduating" to the better-paying comic book field. For example, Edmond Hamilton became a Captain Future and Superman writer, while Weird Tales stories by Robert Bloch and Ray Bradbury were adapted for EC horror comics.

Comic-book publishers in America loved to put the word "weird" in the titles of their publications. Just a few examples:  Weird War Tales (1971), Weird Western Tales (1972), and Weird Mystery Tales (1972).

And in Britain in the 1960s, as the war-comics boom gathered pace, no great opposition had been encountered by the scriptwriters who added the weird and the macabre to tell a tale with a difference.

Raff Regan has appeared in the Archive before and you can read about his history (and another complete comic-strip adventure). There's also a short backgrounder to British war comics.

Raff Regan and the Spit that Flew Itself was written and drawn in 1966 and was published in 1967 in Boys' World Annual 1968. The script was by Keith Chapman and the art was by an artist about whom we know nothing, except that his signature appears in the third frame of the last page. Possibly a knowledgeable comics buff will enlighten us in the comments!

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