In Review: Blazer No. 3

Review by Luke Williams

Blazer No. 3 - Cover

Team #77 is a comics making machine. Stylistically, each of their titles are homages to the IPC comics of the 1970s and 80s, appealing to readers of a certain age. Blazer is kind of a mix of the infamous and celebrated weekly anthology, Action, and the not so celebrated (indeed, perhaps the reverse) mix of action, adventure and sport in another short-lived weekly, Tornado.

This issue of Blazer also has echoes of Action and Tornado publisher IPC’s “hatch match and dispatch” infamous publishing practice, announcing a merger between Blazer and the previously unpublished Frightful, to sneak in some horror content. Finally strengthening the link even further with IPC, many of its story concepts come courtesy of former Tharg, Steve MacManus. There’s a strong editorial presence and character to the title because of this.

Unlike the other comics from The 77 Publications, Blazer is published on matt paper and colour is restricted to the covers and centre spread, further strengthening it’s nostalgic look and character.

Kicking things off this issue is a homage to Hammer Films, “Our Man in Transylvania” with barely concealed nods to Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Incredibly fine line work from Lee Millmore of the Brian Bolland / Phil Jiminez / Steve Austin schoo brings the strip by Dave Heeley to life; it’s a little scratchier than his work in This Comic Is Haunted, also published by The77, and all the better for this kind of strip. Dave provides a script laden with vampire Nazis , which is never be a bad thing, delivering a story with strong “Fiends of the Eastern Front” vibes.

Blazer No. 3 - Transylvania

Derringer and So’n” written, drawn and lettered by Colin Maxwell, picks up from the first two Steve MacManus scripted episodes. “D&S” is influenced by every 1980s American Saturday teatime detective series, right down to the odd couple partnership and ever so slightly silly ending. An unhurried plot, well told with clear storytelling, though a bit spare on the backgrounds.

Blazer No. 3 - Derringer

Domenica’s Ring”, the tale of a mystical ring handed down to a wannabe rock star wins the prize for the most dynamic layouts, which wouldn’t look out of place in 1960s underground comix It’s startling, so kudos to artist Pete Western. Dom Brodowska’s plot is a little more conventional, but fast paced and energetic.

Blazer No. 3 - Ring

Emigre from The ’77, “The Tinkling Triangles” drawn by the wonderful Brendon Wright, is just barking mad. Scripted by Ian Rogan – a name familiar to many Squaxx dek Thargo – and Steve MacManus himself, it’s probably best described a mash up of Lost in Space and The Partridge Family. The story is just bizarre, redolent of the kind of weird left turns you’d get at the end of 1980s drama parody, Soap.

Blazer No. 3 - Tinkling Triangles

Andrew Richmond combines horror with wrestling in “Deathmatch”. Suitably atmospheric greyscale art illustrates a story of the devil calling in a debt from a champion wrestler, but is more of a prologue to the story proper.

Blazer No. 3 - Deathmatch

There’s no doubt that Blazer is a great package and has a strong identity; each component, editorial, strip content, paper has been considered and thought through. My only concern is that there is overlap in theme with The 77, Pandora and This Comic is Haunted. Is it a case that Team 77 are creating in house competition, again echoing IPC?

Recommended.

Luke Williams

The77, Pandora and Blazer are available from The77 Publications BigCartel Store

This issue features…

DERRINGER & SO’N 
Written and drawn by Colin Maxwell

Jack and So’n are on the trail of an elusive card sharp, in sleazy Atlantic City!

LUPU’S TRANSYLVANIAN TALES 
Written by Dave Heeley and drawn by Lee Milmore.

Each issue, Lupu will be presenting a chilling tale from the land of bloodthirsty vampires!

DOMENICA’S RING 
Written by Dom Brodowska and drawn by Peter Western

Domenica learns the shocking truth about a secret war to defend planet Earth from alien invaders!

DEATHMATCH
Written and drawn by Andrew Richmond

A 1970s wrestling star grapples with the criminal underworld of London in a tale that takes him to hell and back.

THE TINKLING TRIANGLES 
Written by Steve MacManus and drawn by Brendon Wright

What’s this… our sonorous superstars in a mid-strip makeover? Sounds like trouble ahead for their double-crossing manager Snuff Sourdough!

The77, BlazerPandora and are available from The77 Publications BigCartel Store

Brought up on a diet of Commando, British Boys Annuals and Asterix, Lucas Williams’s day job limits his reading time. Luckily for everyone else this also restricts his writing time.



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