Rare Stingray Special, early Countdown comics, Rab Hamilton art and more offered in latest massive Phil-Comics eBay auction

If you’re a fan of the comics inspired by the creations of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, then the latest Phil-Comics auction on eBay should be your next port of call, with a rare TV Century 21 Stingray Special, published in 1965, complete with free gift, on offer this week – and already attracting much interest.

TV Century 21 Stingray Special, published in 1965, complete with free gift
TV Century 21 Stingray Special, published in 1965, complete with free gift
TV Century 21 Stingray Special WASP badge free gift published in 1965
TV Century 21 Stingray Special WASP badge free gift

Also on offer are both single issues of Lady Penelope and TV Century 21, and groups and single issues of the 1970s Countdown comic. Short-lived as a largely SF-driven title, in its first year the comic featured amazing “Doctor Who” strips drawn by Harry Linfield and others, along with a range of strips featuring “Thunderbirds”, “Stingray”, “UFO” and more.

While some continued after 58 weeks, publisher Polystyle decided to relaunch the comic under the title TV Action. The relaunch saw a shift in emphasis away from Gerry Anderson content, focusing on comic strip stories based on the then popular adventure TV series of the era, such as “The Persuaders”. While many of the new strips were beautifully drawn, it was a disappointment to fans of the title’s original format of the time.

Early Countdown comics
Early Countdown comics

Offering over 500 separate lots, including more copies of British comics complete with free gifts, and the final issue of Champion, too, dropped from the news stands back in March 1955 to make way for Tiger, that title’s impending arrival trumpeted inside the doomed comic, a two-page house advertisement noting the impending arrival of, among other things, “Roy of the Rovers”…

Champion storypaper 1729, cover dated 19th March 1955
The final issue of the Champion storypaper 1729, cover dated 19th March 1955
Tiger’s impending arrival - and Roy of the Rivers, too - is announced in the final issue of Champion, Issue 1729, cover dated 19th March 1955
Tiger’s impending arrival – and Roy of the Rivers, too – is announced in the final issue of Champion, Issue 1729, cover dated 19th March 1955
Batman Monthly comic Issue 3 (1988), with free gift. - a Kelloggs Reflector
Batman Monthly comic Issue 3 (1988), with free gift. – a Kelloggs Reflector
Boys’ World Issue One, cover dated  26th January  1963
Boys’ World Issue One, cover dated 26th January 1963
The final issue of Chick’s Own, issue 1605, cover dated 9th March 1957. Launched in 1920, unusually for a last issue this came with a free gift, but was a cunning ploy to transfer readership to the forthcoming merged Playhour and Chicks Own comic, as the theatre themed giveaways continued for the first three issues of the combined paper
The final issue of Chick’s Own, issue 1605, cover dated 9th March 1957. Launched in 1920, unusually for a last issue this came with a free gift, but was a cunning ploy to transfer readership to the forthcoming merged Playhour and Chicks Own comic, as the theatre themed giveaways continued for the first three issues of the combined paper
The Incredible Hulk comic #1, cover dated 31st March 1982
Marvel UK’s The Incredible Hulk comic #1, cover dated 31st March 1982
Lady Penelope 106, cover dated 27th January 1968, with Spectrum, the band that performed the Captain Scarlet theme, on the cover
Lady Penelope 106, cover dated 27th January 1968, with Spectrum, the band that performed the Captain Scarlet theme, on the cover
Magnet Library Facsimile of Issue 1 (1965) Storypaper featuring Billy Bunter
Magnet Library Facsimile of Issue 1 (1965) Storypaper featuring Billy Bunter
Speed issue 3 , cover dated 8th March 1980, with free gift
Speed issue 3 , cover dated 8th March 1980, with free gift
Topper Annual 1959
Topper Annual 1959
Victor issue 153 , cover dated 25th January 1964 , with free gift
Victor issue 153 , cover dated 25th January 1964 , with free gift

This auction also a features another page of “Clumsy Colin” with art by Robert Nixon from Buster, a character designed for KP Skips, initially drawn by David Mostyn, perhaps better known for his work on The Dandy. Hapless Colin first appeared in the issue of Buster cover dated 23rd June 1984, making a final appearance in the 1984 Christmas special, cover dated 29th December.

Fans of girls comics should also be interested in two pages of the Valentine strip “Ann and Pam” on offer, part of a longer story published in the Issue over dated 14th March 1964, which although offered as part of the Jim Baikie Collection, are not by Jim himself but almost certainly the work of Rab Hamilton, who drew various stories for Valentine, Marilyn, Roxy and Serenade. He became a regular in TV Century 21 with the serial “Secret Agent 21” (1965-69), that later became “Mr. Magnet”, and also drew strips for Lady Penelope.

Phil tells us Jim either collected, or was given, artwork from lots of different artists over the years and this is just one such gem.

“Ann and Pam” art from a 1964 Issue of Valentine, by Jim Baikie

There are more copies of a number of girls comics and magazines complete with original story scripts written by Valerie Harman, too, who passed away in August 2018. Harman had saved the original scripts she had sold to her publishers. Reportedly single her entire life, this did not diminish her vivid imagination for romance-inspired storytelling!

Valentine magazine, cover dated 10th January 1970, complete with a script for one of its strips, written by Valerie Harman
Valentine magazine, cover dated 10th January 1970, complete with a script for one of its strips, written by Valerie Harman

Run by Phil Shrimpton, Phil Comics specialises in vintage comics and related items such as annuals, holiday specials, free gifts and original artwork.

Holding monthly eBay auctions, often with 500+ listings, they aim to bring a diverse array of items – and are always on the lookout for vintage comic collections, either to buy or auction on commission.

• Bidding on items in this auction begins to close on Sunday 9th May 2021

• Check out the latest auction items at ebay.co.uk/str/philcomics

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My thanks to David Slinn for the updated credit for the “Pam and Ann” strip art, initially credited to Jim Baikie

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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