Some months back I got a new record player, and this prodded me into finally re-sampling my old records (that I had originally converted to MP3 back in 1997-ish) so that I could have better-sounding old records. And in FLAC.
IT MAKES SENSE!!!1!
A lot of the old vinyl are 7″ singles and 12″ EPs, so while recording this stuff I have to be in the proximity of the record player. I mean, I have to flip the records approx. every four minutes. So what could I do to keep me entertained while working hard, so hard? It had to be something that allows scatter-brainedness (so not reading a novel), but not so boring that the whole thing becomes arduous (so not watching TV).
Then I remembered: I had shipped lots of old comics from home last year. And among these was a box of albums so bad that my 13-year-old self had put them in a box at the very back of the storage closet, never to be seen again.
Behold! The stack of horrors!
I vaguely remember sorting these out from my comics for storage reasons: The shelves in my room had grown too full, so I picked out the stuff that was so bad that I was never ever going to read it again. Looking at the publication dates of these albums, that happened in 1982, so these are European comics from the 70s.
Let’s have a look at them and figure out whether I had great taste as a 13-year-old or what. (Spoiler: Yes.)
Les Gentlemen by Alfredo Castelli and Ferdinando Tacconi.
(I guess they thought “Aristokratene” was a good Norwegian translation of “Les Gentlemen”.)
This is a humorous Italian Bond rip-off mainly distinguished by a peculiar tick od the artist’s. See if you can spot it.
You’re getting it…
Virtually everybody is drawn from exactly the same angle.
In most panels, everybody is placed in a horizontal tableau with their faces drawn in a three-quarter angle facing the audience.
And everybody also looks traced from stills of various actors. Perhaps the artist only had a single photo of each actor?
The storylines are pure stupidity, of course, but it does have its amusing moments.
Here they are making their three-quarter-view way down a mountain side using roller skates on a railway track. It’s mostly like that until they run out of pages.
Archie Cash by Brouyère and Malik.
(I guess they thought “Charlie” was a good Norwegian translation of “Archie”.)
Hm… doesn’t that remind you of an actor… But who?
Who could it be!?
It’s rambling and incoherent and tries very very hard to be tough and violent.
Dani Futuro by Carlos Gimenez and Victor Mora.
(I guess they thought “Danny” was a good Norwegian translation for “Dani”.)
Gimenez is probably best known these days for the insanely over-rated Paracuellos. “needle-sharp characterizations and knack for narrative make Paracuellos comparable to Maus and Persepolis. His artwork may surpass them.” I mean, there’s some good stuff in Paracuellos, but it is repetitive and somewhat shallow.
Dani Futuro, on the other hand, rips off pretty much everything it can think off, like Lost in Space and Valerian…
Even David Bowie doesn’t escape unscathed.
But there’s an undeniable charm to some of Gimenez’ pages…
… veering off into psychedelia every so often.
Since I bought four of these, that may mean that I did enjoy them when I was, like, six, but by 13 the bloom was off.
There’s some fun critique of Capitalism in the later albums, though.
Il fanciullo rapito by Gattia and Zanotto.
(I guess they though “Kidnapped” was a good Norwegian translation of… Hey! It is!)
It’s a Classics Illustrated thing.
And it’s deathly dull. Another score for my 1982 self.
Moby Dick by Ollivier and Gillon.
Another Classics Illustrated. This one’s more French.
And it’s not that bad. I mean, it has a big whale. That’s got to count for something.
Andrax/Kronan by … er… There’s absolutely no credits anywhere to be found. Google seems to say that Kronan is by Spaniard Jaime Brocal Remohí while Andrax is by Jordi Bernet? Huh?
Is this Bernet? I guess it could be, but it doesn’t look much like his work in, for instance, Torpedo.
So we’ve got a post-apocalyptic thing going on with savage swords of Conan, I mean Andrax, and it’s all printed on toiled paper.
Very absorbent paper which makes thin lines disappear into the paper, I guess.
It’s pretty much unreadable drek.
Morgan Kane by… again, no credits.
And you can see why. Even as schlocky western comics go, it’s dire. The copyright seems to indicate that it may have originated in Switzerland.
Mystiska 2:an by Rolf Gohs.
It’s a Swedish comic, which may be stretching the “BD” designation a bit much…
“A comic about violence”. So why did this comic end up in the Box of Crap? I remembered nothing at all about it, but I was immediately struck by Gohs’ really sharp artwork. So very black blackness.
But the comic itself is pretty much a complete mess. It’s about these two boys cavorting around in too short shorts and trying to intervene when another boy gets roughed up by his father. Much social realist. And then the artist himself enters into the story and they have a sleepover in the treehouse.
That was so head-scratchingly weird that I had to google Gohs, and it turns out that the last entry (a few years after this landed in The Box) in this series featured one of these boys as the boyfriend of a grown-up man, which caused such a scandal that the magazine it appeared in was shut down.
“The Men of Adventure” by Various.
This is a series of presumably edumacational comics about historical settings and the men who had adventures in them. So we get a Zulu war, the Boxer rebellion and Lawrence of Arabia.
The latter is by Tacconi… isn’t that the guy who did Les Gentlemen?
It could be.
I do see a certain resemblance!
But then the artist goes and mixes it up by doing some of these faces mirrored, so I guess it’ll have to remain a mystery.
These albums aren’t very good.
A von Daniken series by I CAN”T BE BOTHERED TO LOOK IT UP.
Yes, there are aliens…
… and Native Americans, and it’s unreadable drek. Apparently German.
El Baron de Munchhausen by de la Fuente and Cornejo.
(Apparently they thought “Münchhausen” was a good Norwegian translation of “El Baron de Munchhausen”.)
I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that this is Spanish. It’s a series of short vignettes of typical Munchhausian nonsense, and it’s well-drawn and kinda amusing.
Éric Castel by Reding and Hugues.
(I guess they thought that “Eric” was a good Norwegian translation of “Éric”.)
Yes, it’s a football comic.
There’s some drama on the fields…
… but also pages and pages and pages of people footballing.
There was so much of this stuff back in the 70s: An endless number of sports-related comics, but most of them were published more cheaply than this series.
It’s not all football games, though: There’s also a storyline of sorts where Castel befriends a poor boy…
… and sponsors him to become a professional football player. (Phew!) So it’s both a wish fulfilment thing for the audience (the demographic is presumably pictured above) in addition to offering the thrill of reading about football matches in comics form.
Dracurella by Julio Ribera.
This is a really inventive series about Dracula’s kind-hearted adopted daughter Dracurella.
She lives with a tail-less dragon in a domestic cave, and it’s all kinda amusing.
Pictured above the Dragon stealing appliances for Dracurella.
It’s very Spanish.
Gigantik by Victor Mora and J. Cardona
(I guess they thought that “Gigantic” was a good Norwegian translation of “Gigantik”.)
You remember Mora from Dani Futuro up there? Right? Right. This is more Spanish sci-fi nonsense, but with a different artist. So you have lots of robots…
… a gigantic space station…
… and more robots. And fighting.
It’s not without charms, but it’s … what’s the word I’m looking for… Oh, yeah. “Bad.”
Al et Brock: Les Casseurs by Denayer and Duchateau.
Finally! A Franco-Belgian comic in this Box of Sadness.
It’s about two comically mismatched special agents.
One is fat, one is thin. One is messy, one is tidy. You know the drill. Hup hup hup.
It’s drawn in the Standard French Boys Adventure Comics style, and it’s not displeasing to the eye, but it’s all so incredibly derivative. Even as a 13-year-old this was too boring for me, and I say that as somebody who didn’t put his Ric Hochet comics into the Box of Forgetfulness. And Ric Hochet is unbelievably boring.
Which makes this believably boring?
Is that how this works?
Anyway! You made it to the end! I made it to the end!
And I finished re-sampling all my old vinyl.
So thank you, Box of Horrors. You’re going to the used book store now, I think, because I don’t have room for you here, either.