Not One, Not Two, Not Three, but 12 full stories in this book!!!
Yes, that's right, 12 stories. From D82 to D93(or is it D145 to D156?). From 30 Jan 1967 to 30 Aug 1969, nearly two and half years of Al Willamson treat, page after page. Yummy!!!
Let me start describing the book, page by page, section by section.
It has a solid feel just like the Rip Kirby hard bound books, only better this time. Beautiful dust jacket and if you remove it what you will get. This!!!
You have already seen the book with dust jacket inside the shrink wrap.
Info on the dust jacket.
Front(A brief resume about this book)
Back(A brief resume of Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin)
Page 3 has this design
Page 4 is for credits
Mark Schultz starts his Intro from Page 5 and ends it in page 8.
Page 9 points the way to the strips, using a pistol as pointer.
Main story starts from page 10, with three strips per page, so facing pages cover one full week. For example, page 10 has the strips from 30 Jan 67 to 01 Feb 67 and the facing page 11 has the strips from 02 Feb 67 to 04 Feb 67.
The quality of the strip reproduction is much better than the Rip Kirby strips, mainly because these were reproduced from Al Williamson's own personal proofs.
Here are the list of stories:
I'm not sure about the daily story numbers. It varies from source to source. This list is compiled is by Dr 7, so I use it as it is.
First page from Marine Operation
First page from Death in the Caribbean
First page from Blood for a key
First page from Conditioning Process
First page from A jewel for blackmail
First page from Army Contraband
First page from Hell at eagle bend
First page from Information Leak
First page from Sophia's Twin
First page from Madame Lei
First page from The Fugitive
First page from Pirate Submarine
The treat continues till page 279. As I can observe from the book, the quality of the art work inproves with each passing week. It may be that he has refined the art work or the quality of reproduction is better in the later weeks.
Page 280 gives a glimpse of what is to come in the next volume(I Just can't wait)
Bruce Canwell talks about 'The Not-So_Secret agent' from page 281 to 285.
Cover artworks for the other strips published by IDW and The Library of American Comics occupies page 286 and 287.
Detailed resume of Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin adorns the page 288.
Overall the book is damn good, something every comics collector should have in his collection.
Some of the stories have already appeared in Tamil.
Mekala # 5 had two stories
D86 A Jewel for Blackmail has appeared in Mekala under the title '
In case you are wondering why the first page of the English original and this varies, it is becasue the Mekala version starts almost 3 weeks after the original starting of the story(but story is covered by the Kathai Surukkam)
D87 has appeared as 'புதைபொருளும் புதைக்கப்பட்ட பொருளும்'
Mekala # 6 had one story.
D88 has appeared as 'கழுகுப் பார்வை'
But I'm sure some more stories also have appeared in Tamil(only guessing).
Some of these stories have already appeared in Pioneer Comics and Comics Art Showcase before.
What I felt as the main difference between the Rip Kirby books and Secret Agent was that I could immerse immediately in the story. As Vedha pointed out there was something missing in the Rip Kirby books, which I feel is the art work. As we are not used to Alex Raymond art work, it is difficult to get involved. Just my 2 cents!
Well, that's all for now.