One step forward, another step back. It’s the return of Puzzleman, whose face we we were forced to bludgeon our way through only a few pages ago. Except now he’s called Puzzlemaster, the same name as the Marvel Comics equivalent I nicked the idea from. But is it really him? And does it matter if it was? Around this time, there’s a massive to and fro between writing about other people’s characters and writing about my own, with this whole grey area in the middle I was trying to navigate and understand. What makes a character your own creation? Is it the name? Is it the character traits? And what difference did it make? Why did I even care? First thing I’ll say is, this definitely isn’t the same character as the one from Superhero Fun and Games, even though he’s the obvious inspiration. The Marvel one is more like a dungeon master, the one who sets the puzzles and controls the game. But this guy is a hapless sap who keeps finding himself in situations he doesn’t understand and can’t progress until you help him out. Basically the opposite of Puzzlemaster. And not even that good at puzzles. I think the legal advice would probably tell me I’d be OK here if I just changed the name. Which is what I already did when I called him Puzzleman. It’d be even better advice if it told me to take the word ‘puzzle’ out of his name altogether. But it still doesn’t explain why I ignored all the voices in my head and went back to using ‘Puzzlemaster’ after already having semi-successfully changed it. I think the truth is probably that I just got confused and, without a copy of the magazine to hand, misremembered that the guy in Superhero Fun and Games was actually called Puzzleman, and that changing it to Puzzlemaster would be a further step removed from Marvel’s intellectual property. That or this is just a load of lazy rubbish I wrote in a hasty rush one afternoon when I was bored, but that just can’t be true. Look at all the effort I’ve put into naming his spaceship. And what about the costume design? None of which tells me why I even cared. It’s not as if I was expecting to sell this Topic book and get sued by Stan Lee for copyright infringement. A couple of pages ago, I was happily displaying pictures of The Hulk. What difference did it make if I called him Puzzleman, Puzzlemaster, Puzzlemongoose, Robin Hood, Santa Claus or even Darth Vader? The answer is I don’t really know, apart from that it felt important to me to work out which ideas were mine and which weren’t. It’s a struggle I continued to have most of the way through my time in Fairburn, from my flirtations with Electro to the huge love affair I’m about to have with various Star Wars characters over the next few months. It intersects with other questions I’m going to have to grapple with about ownership and stealing. And, naturally, it’s a very important question for a writer, which is clearly what I was setting myself up to be. I’m just amazed I was asking myself these questions at eight years old. As for the content - this is a genuine step up from other recent attempts, blending puzzles with comic strip action to provide something slightly more nuanced than usual. The puzzles are still rubbish though, especially the second one, a lazy version of a maze which can be done, but isn’t in any way challenging or satisfying. More about these line puzzles in a couple of pages when I draw one on a much larger scale. And I ask you - seriously - can you find Puzzlemaster in that grid? Are we supposed to be able to find Puzzlemaster in that grid? Am I going completely crazy? Or did I just completely forget to put the word Puzzlemaster in the grid, but somehow did write ‘spaceship’ and subtly changed the puzzle to ‘Find Spaceship’ instead of ‘Find Puzzlemaster’? Please - if you find the word ‘Puzzlemaster’ in there somewhere, do write and tell me because it’s definitely not there in my copy.
Dinosaurs 1 Space Travel Ships Sport Dinosaurs 2 Judge Dredd: The Blood of Satanus Captain Carnivore A-Maze-Ing! Star Poster: Super Jesus The Micronauts: Giant Karza The Origin of Electro Optical Illusion Time Frantic Thingies Men in Space Topic Book Word Find Puzzleman Evel Knievel: Fury Falls More Puzzlers Star Poster: The Hulk 1 Grobschnitt’s Page Captain Starlight Star Poster: The Hulk 2 The Yellyog Gang The Adventures of Puzzlemaster Jupe Woman Line Pin-Up: Doctor Doom Lazer Lash The Human Maze Three Squares Raven Mad Marvel Sketches Robschnitt’s Age: 1 Snotty Notty Space Battles Metalorian Man Robschnitt’s Age: 2 The Superhero Sports Day Captain Kirk & Pywal Carbo-Catalogue How Dumb Are You? The Space Invaders: 1 Pin-Up: The Empire Strikes Back The Space Invaders: 2 Gi-Gant-Ic! Index
Puzzlemaster Goes into Outer Space
April 1980
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
The Origin of Electro Waen Shepherd, TV Star, turns evil and drains the city!
Grobschnitt’s Page Meet Grobschnitt, the dome-headed Harbinger of Mischief
Exploring the Underworld Eight boys go exploring in a dangerous cave
TERM 3 1980 continues with the embassy siege and The Empire Strikes Back
The Adventures of Puzzlemaster
More Puzzlers A trio of ‘Make You Very Crosswords’ to make you slightly cross
Optical Illusion Time Amazing visual tricks that will boggle your mind!
Lazer Lash An exciting criminal spy adventure in a world made of lasers!
Woman Line Which of these five squiggly lines leads to the woman?
Super Jesus A special pin-up of your favourite Nazarene webslinger
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
April 1980
The Adventures
of Puzzlemaster
Grobschnitt’s Page Meet Grobschnitt, the dome-headed Harbinger of Mischief
Apeth (from Ota Sbees) Ritern ov thu perpal geriller
Exploring the Underworld Eight boys go exploring in a dangerous cave
TERM 3 1980 continues with the embassy siege and The Empire Strikes Back
Puzzlemaster Goes into Outer Space
One step forward, another step back. It’s the return of Puzzleman, whose face we we were forced to bludgeon our way through only a few pages ago. Except now he’s called Puzzlemaster, the same name as the Marvel Comics equivalent I nicked the idea from. But is it really him? And does it matter if it was? Around this time, there’s a massive to and fro between writing about other people’s characters and writing about my own, with this whole grey area in the middle I was trying to navigate and understand. What makes a character your own creation? Is it the name? Is it the character traits? And what difference did it make? Why did I even care? First thing I’ll say is, this definitely isn’t the same character as the one from Superhero Fun and Games, even though he’s the obvious inspiration. The Marvel one is more like a dungeon master, the one who sets the puzzles and controls the game. But this guy is a hapless sap who keeps finding himself in situations he doesn’t understand and can’t progress until you help him out. Basically the opposite of Puzzlemaster. And not even that good at puzzles. I think the legal advice would probably tell me I’d be OK here if I just changed the name. Which is what I already did when I called him Puzzleman. It’d be even better advice if it told me to take the word ‘puzzle’ out of his name altogether. But it still doesn’t explain why I ignored all the voices in my head and went back to using ‘Puzzlemaster’ after already having semi-successfully changed it. I think the truth is probably that I just got confused and, without a copy of the magazine to hand, misremembered that the guy in Superhero Fun and Games was actually called Puzzleman, and that changing it to Puzzlemaster would be a further step removed from Marvel’s intellectual property. That or this is just a load of lazy rubbish I wrote in a hasty rush one afternoon when I was bored, but that just can’t be true. Look at all the effort I’ve put into naming his spaceship. And what about the costume design? None of which tells me why I even cared. It’s not as if I was expecting to sell this Topic book and get sued by Stan Lee for copyright infringement. A couple of pages ago, I was happily displaying pictures of The Hulk. What difference did it make if I called him Puzzleman, Puzzlemaster, Puzzlemongoose, Robin Hood, Santa Claus or even Darth Vader? The answer is I don’t really know, apart from that it felt important to me to work out which ideas were mine and which weren’t. It’s a struggle I continued to have most of the way through my time in Fairburn, from my flirtations with Electro to the huge love affair I’m about to have with various Star Wars characters over the next few months. It intersects with other questions I’m going to have to grapple with about ownership and stealing. And, naturally, it’s a very important question for a writer, which is clearly what I was setting myself up to be. I’m just amazed I was asking myself these questions at eight years old. As for the content - this is a genuine step up from other recent attempts, blending puzzles with comic strip action to provide something slightly more nuanced than usual. The puzzles are still rubbish though, especially the second one, a lazy version of a maze which can be done, but isn’t in any way challenging or satisfying. More about these line puzzles in a couple of pages when I draw one on a much larger scale. And I ask you - seriously - can you find Puzzlemaster in that grid? Are we supposed to be able to find Puzzlemaster in that grid? Am I going completely crazy? Or did I just completely forget to put the word Puzzlemaster in the grid, but somehow did write ‘spaceship’ and subtly changed the puzzle to ‘Find Spaceship’ instead of ‘Find Puzzlemaster’? Please - if you find the word ‘Puzzlemaster’ in there somewhere, do write and tell me because it’s definitely not there in my copy.
Lazer Lash An exciting criminal spy adventure in a world made of lasers!
Woman Line Which of these five squiggly lines leads to the woman?