February 5, 2009
My 31st July 1976 copy of Action arrived in the post today. Only 32 years late. I got it on ebay for a couple of quid. When I was fourteen I bought it for 7p. I had every copy of Action; pre-ban and post-ban. Yes! In 1976 Action was the Jonathan Ross of its day, forced into taking a break and returning a while later in a toned-down less violent version. it was brought down by those paragons of virtue, The Evening Standard, The Sun, and, ahem, Frank Bough.
I liked Action because it had a bit of everything, and it was super! Sensational! Frightening!!! I’d grown out of Whizzer and Chips and The Beano but I hadn’t yet moved into my Sounds/NME stage (yes, I bought both and I liked Genesis, Souxsie and the Banshees, Styx and the Jam… I had to wait for the arrival of the New Wave overcoaters like Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division to really find my place.) I didn’t like football and so I avoided the likes of Shoot! and I didn’t like war so no Warlord for me. But I did like violence and Action had lots of it.
There was Death Game 1999 (unimaginably futuristic in 1976), a rip-off of Rollerball where the teams roared around the Spinball arena (modelled on a giant pinball machine) shooting metal balls into each others faces (post-ban the title was changed to Spinball). Hook Jaw, a rip-off of Jaws where the hero was a huge great white with a hook in its jaw (you may have figured that out) who each week would eat people. And Hook Jaw was one of the few stories in colour. It had to be. Every week there was bitten off limbs and headless men being tossed around by Hooky. And Blackjack; a boxer, called Jack, who was black… oh, and blind.
Despite not liking war comics I did like Hellman of Hammer Force; a World War II story told from the perspective of a German. He was a good German though. A Panzer Major who hated the SS. He spent more time fighting the SS than he did fighting the Allied forces. He was Tom Cruise when Tom Cruise was just a baby.
Right, I’m off to read it and see if it is as good as I remember. And at least now I am old enough to read it without getting told off by my parents. Or Bough!
Oh, for anyone not familiar with Frank Bough, just to let you know, it’s pronounced Boff!