Sunday, 26 June 2016

RECOMMENDED READING: TALES OF THE BATMAN - GENE COLAN...


Images copyright DC COMICS

Here's one I picked up fairly recently.  It came out in
2011 (so it's not a new release) and I already own most of the
individual issues of which this book is comprised, but it's always
good to have a run of comics in one handy collected edition.  It
features the early BATMAN tales drawn by legendary artist
GENE COLAN after he jumped ship from MARVEL to
rival comicbook-makers DC back in the early '80s.

I haven't read these tales since they were first published,
but so far, I've enjoyed what I've re-read.  Gene was a superb
artist, but unfortunately his eyesight was very poor, and some-
times at this stage in his career, his figure-work was a little off in
places.  (Take a look at Batman's left leg in the pic below - it just
doesn't look quite right.)  However, instances of this kind aren't
too many in the enclosed tales, and there are great visuals
on offer between the covers  of this hardback tome.

It shouldn't be difficult to track down a copy, so if you
have a bit of spare cash, begin the process right away.  Now
you'll have to excuse me - I want to get back to reading my
own valiant volume of these 14 dynamic Dark Knight
Detective doozies.  Sometimes life is just so good!

And hey - who else prefers that DC emblem on the
cover to the current one?  It surely can't be just me?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - ROMOLA GARAI...



ROMOLA GARAI puts the 'oo' in
oomph!  What a cracker.  In fact, I'd
love to find her in one at Christmas.

GUIDE DOGS - "EVERY PENNY COUNTS"...



This dog and her two pups were featured in my
local newspaper recently.  The 'doggy-bank' has sat
in my neighbourhood chemist's for many years, pos-
sibly even going as far back as the '50s or '60s.  The
shop occupies larger premises than it did originally,
having moved a few units along in (I think) the
early '70s, into what used to be a cafe.

It's probably older than me, and I certainly
remember it from my early teenage years, but to
think it goes all the way back to my childhood (or
beyond) is a startling thought.  I must remember to
deposit a coin or three the next time I'm in - after all,
every penny counts.  My eyesight isn't as good as it
used to be, but I'm grateful for what I've got and
don't take it for granted.  Next time you see
one of these 'banks', make a deposit.

 (I'm sure you would anyway.)

TWELFTH & FINAL PART OF THE INCREDIBLE TRI-MAN...



Well, it's the end of the road for TRI-MAN, SMASH! fans, as we
present the final two episodes of his weekly adventures.  After imitating
the SPIDER-MAN formula for most of its run, the strip now seemed to
be borrowing an element from SUPERMAN, with TODD BLACKER
determined to prove JOHNNY SMALL's superhero alias, much like
LOIS LANE trying to expose CLARK KENT's secret identity.

However, it never happened!  Tri-Man was only seen once more in
the pages of the Smash! Annual for 1971 (on sale in 1970), in a RON
TURNER-illustrated tale which, in all likelihood, had been completed
before the superhero's final weekly story recounting Todd's discovery
of JS's secret.  You can read that full-colour Annual adventure by
clicking this link.  Th-th-that's all, folks!  Bid Johnny goodbye.
  


THE PERILS OF EBAY - SELLER STUPIDITY OR SMALL-MINDED SPITE?



Save us from some eBay sellers.  Saw a comic, described
as VF+, which I needed to fill a gap in one of my collections,
and bought it for a paltry sum.  I could see from the photo that
it matched the description, but the seller despatched it in a thin
'padded' envelope with no cardboard backing - result?  A bent
and crumpled comic that had been reduced from its 30 year-
old VF+ condition to a far lesser category.

This is surely incompetence.  How someone can send a
single comic in a thin envelope and expect it to arrive in an
undamaged state is beyond comprehension.  Writing 'Please
Handle With Care!  Please Do Not Bend!' is not what I'd con-
sider adequate steps to protect fragile contents.  Packages of
this sort travel in sacks with all sorts and sizes of other mail
sitting atop them, so the chances of surviving the rigours
of transport undamaged are slim to non-existent.

Was the seller annoyed that my winning bid (out of two)
was a mere £1.89 (plus £1.50 p&p) and decided to extract
a spiteful revenge?  (After all, at such a low price, it's hardly
worth the bother of returning the item for a refund.)  Or is it
simply that he's a numpty without a clue, and shouldn't be
trading on eBay?  What think the rest of you?

And if any of you have similar tales of such stupidity,
vent your frustrated feelings in the comments section.
 You'll feel much better for getting it off your chest. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

(BOND) BABE OF THE DAY - MADELINE SMITH...



MADDIE slipped on the grass, and when I
reached out my hand to help her up, she said:
"Why don't you join me down here?"

Rock on, Tommy!

BUTTONS 'N' BOWS...



Now this is what I call entertainment.  BOB
HOPE, ROY ROGERS, and JANE RUSSELL.
TRIGGER's parked outside the saloon, so don't
go worrying about him - he's fine.

HOW TO PHIL A BLOG POST...



Just to clear things up, this is PHIL, a fairly
regular commenter.  What I want to know is, is this
the Phil who's still commenting nicely (as I assume),
or is it the Phil who's sending me abusive comments
because I suspected someone else was impersonating
him in order to get comments published?  (I'd be sur-
prised if it is.)  Whoever is sending rude remarks has
blotted their copybook on this blog - forever.  How
some people using the same first name as others
expect me to tell between them is beyond me. 
(Use surnames as well perhaps?)

Thursday, 23 June 2016

RECOMMENDED READING: DARWYN COOKE'S 'DC: THE NEW FRONTIER'...


Images copyright DC COMICS

Sometimes I'm late to the party.  Case in point - I didn't
know about The NEW FRONTIER until relatively recently,
when a friend recommended it to me.  Even better, he gifted me
with a copy of this brand-spanking-new edition, which I've just
finished reading.  As you'll know, not that long ago, DARWYN
COOKE succumbed to cancer at the far-too young age of 53,
which means that the comics-buying public is denied any new
epics from this supremely-talented creator.  (And, sadder
yet, his family and friends no longer have the living
presence of someone they dearly loved.)

But his work endures, and I feel obliged - nay, privi-
leged - to recommend this superb superhero extravaganza
to all you eager Criv-ites out there who yearn for something
truly satisfying to read.  Trust me, this is no mere hype - you'll
absolutely love this tale, especially if you recall with fondness
the SILVER AGE DC titles to which this awesome epic pays
affectionate homage, while at the same time being entirely
suited to the tastes of a contemporary audience.

Sadly, Darwyn is off exploring the real 'final' frontier,
but he blazed a trail through this one with his fine works
of comicbook (and animation) excellence.  Do yourself a big
favour - rush 'round to your local FORBIDDEN PLANET
store (or similar shop if there isn't an FP in your neighbour-
hood) and plonk your paltry pounds into the palm of the
purveyor of this most worthy volume.

Honest - you won't regret it!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

PART TEN OF KIRBY 'KOCK-UPS' - A THUNDERING 'THOR' HEAD...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

It's arguable where the 'Kock-Up' is - is it in this page or the
ones that followed it in JOURNEY Into MYSTERY #83.  You
see, JACK KIRBY drew one kind of helmet on the splash page,
but a different kind in subsequent pages.  Take a look - a helmet
with a fin, above, one with a point, below.  Still wonderfully
drawn 'though, with great inking by JOE SINNOTT

BABE OF THE DAY - CINDY CRAWFORD...



CINDY CRAWFORD is ever the optimist.
It's a dreich day outside, yet there she is, out
in my garden, wearing only a skimpy bikini.
(Not that I'm complaining, mind.)

******

(Well, whaddya know - the sun has just
come out.  Somebody tipped her off.) 

HEY, WHERE'D THE TIGER GO?


Copyright relevant owner

Let's start the day with a laugh, shall we?

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

KIRBY 'KOCK-UPS' PART NINE - CAP'S STAR DOES A 'LEE MARVIN' (GOES WANDERIN')...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

So what's wrong with this cover that it constitutes a KIRBY
'KOCK-UP' you may be wondering.  Take a good look at the
prostrate figure of  CAPTAIN AMERICA - he's got an 'A' on
his chest instead of a star!  How did Jack get that wrong?  He
co-created the character for gosh' sake.  That aside, it's still
a brilliant cover - inked by WALLY WOOD no less.

Monday, 20 June 2016

CRIPES! THE INCREDIBLE TRI-MAN - PART ELEVEN...



And now, the penultimate part of The INCREDIBLE TRI-MAN
for all you slavering SMASH! fans who thrilled to the exploits of the
U.K.'s first superhero back in the 1960s.  Catch the fantastic double-
episode in the final instalment of this super series - coming soon!
  


PART EIGHT OF KIRBY 'KOCK-UPS' - HULK & RICK IN 'THE NICK'...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

Take a look at this piccie.  If you were to draw in the rest
of RICK JONES' and The HULK's figures, Rick would be
far taller than ol' Greenskin.  Yet another JK inconsistency,
which I get a kick out of calling a Kirby 'Kock-Up'.  (I do
so love alliteration!  Don't you?)

(BOND) BABE OF THE DAY - LANA WOOD...



Not as famous as her sister NATALIE
perhaps, but LANA WOOD is a big hit
in my pants house.  (Oops!)

KIRBY 'KOCK-UPS' PART SEVEN - THE HULK ISN'T 'HULKING' ENOUGH...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

The final panel of The AVENGERS #1.  Look at The
HULK, standing up straight between IRON MAN and THOR
- and he's smaller than them.  Great as JACK KIRBY was, he
was never entirely consistent with characters' sizes in relation
to each other.  So clock up another Kirby 'Kock-Up'!

And hey - a wasp is much bigger than an ant, so if ANT-
MAN is ant-size and The WASP is wasp-size, then how
 come HANK (and his ant) is still bigger than JAN? 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST...



Today I visited a local newsagent's for what will be the
final time.  I't a newsagent's which has occupied the same
premises for over 50 years and one which I've been using since
I was a young kid.  True, it's changed hands over the years, and
it adopted a 'mini-market' approach several years back (getting
a refit to accommodate its new status), but I mainly used its  lat-
ter incarnation to buy a newspaper now and again.  It simply
couldn't compete with a nearby One-O-One store and
closed its doors and  shutters today - forever.  

The comics I got there over the decades (when it still
sold them) were legion.  FANTASTIC, WHAM!, various
DC & MARVEL mags, WHIZZER & CHIPS, KNOCKOUT,
The CLANGERS (a colouring book), The MIGHTY WORLD
Of MARVEL, SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEJKY, a couple of
TV COMIC Annuals (1978 &'84, which I've still got), and no
doubt countless others which I've forgotten.  The shop has been
a regular part of my life for most of it, man and boy, and it's
sad to see it go the way of so many other shops in my home
town which were once such a familiar feature to me.

So another one bites the dust, and I suddenly feel very
sad and very old.  Did I say the final time?  I will visit the
shop again, but, alas, only in memory.  It seems like that's
where all the best places are these days.  Is it the same
for you?  The comments section awaits.

******

I meant to say, one of the things I missed in the shop's
later years was that its big windows were covered by full-
length interior adhesive posters.  When I was a kid, they were
filled with toys and books, and it was always interesting to look
at the window display in passing when the place was closed for
the day.  That way, if anything took my fancy, I could nip 'round
the next morning and buy it.  When the shop was refitted, new
shelves blocked access to the windows from the inside, hence
them never being used again to display any of the goods for
sale within.  Wasn't a change I liked, and it probably
didn't help the shop's fortunes in the long run.

BABE OF THE DAY - LYNDA CARTER...



LYNDA CARTER is thinking "I wonder
if Kid would go out with me out on a date?
I wonder if I should ask him?  I wonder if he'll
let me kiss him at the end of the evening?  I
wonder if I should carry my toothbrush?  I
wonder if he's as manly and heroic as
I've heard other females say?

Guess that's why they call her WONDER
WOMAN, eh?  And the answer to all her
wondering is clearly a resounding Yes!

JUSTICE INC. COVER GALLERY...


Images copyright relevant owners

Here's one that puzzles me.  I've always thought I left school in
December 1974, yet I have a clear 'memory' of reading issue #2 in
the annexe huts at the back of my school's Old Block during English
lessons one day.  Problem is, this title didn't come out until 1975 so
I'm left to wonder if I might actually have gone back to school after
the holidays for a few months.  It's probably just a false memory,
springing from the fact that I drew The AVENGER's face on the
 inside cover of a paperback edition of FEAR IS THE KEY.

I'd read the novel in that same English class sometime in '74,
and I seem to remember drawing the face around the same time
- which I couldn't have done if the comic didn't come out 'til '75.
So I must've done the drawing after leaving school, but because
I associate the book with the classroom, my mind naturally made
the same connection as regards the drawing.  And, as the drawing
was of The Avenger, I likewise mis-associated the later comic
with that earlier time.  The mind does tend to play tricks with
the memory in that way on occasion, don't you find?

However, you're not interested in any of that p*sh!  No,
you're only here for the covers, so gracious as ever, I'll shut
up and let you get on with looking at them.  Two KUBERTs
and two KIRBYs - I sure do spoil you and no mistake!
  


Saturday, 18 June 2016

PART TEN OF THE INCREDIBLE TRI-MAN...



Another dynamic double-episode of SMASH!'s The INCREDIBLE
TRI-MAN to astound and amaze all you cavortin' Criv-ites.  Enjoy them
while you can, o fellow fans, because there are only another two parts to
go in this sensational series.  Yup, a mere 8 pages more and the awesome
adventures of JOHNNY SMALL's superhero alter-ego come to an end.
Don't dare miss 'em!   You'd hate yourself - and that would never do!



BABE OF THE DAY - ROMOLA GARAI...



Who needs words?  Gentlemen, I give
you the ravishing ROMOLA GARAI.

Friday, 17 June 2016

DOUBLE VISION - SUPERMAN & CLARK KENT TOGETHER (UPDATED)...


Images copyright DC COMICS

You've got to hand it to DC - once they cop on to a good idea,
they milk it for all it's worth.  SUPERMAN and CLARK KENT
together on a comic cover is a case in point.  Presumably, with what-
ever issue DC started doing it, it sold more than usual so, hey - let's do
it again (and again, and again, etc.)!  So here's just a handful (if you've
got eleven fingers) of Superman/Clark Kent covers to show all you
pantin' Criv-ites just what I'm yappin' about.  (Okay, some of
them are symbolic, but they still count in my book.)






And another five for your attention.  (Thank JP for two of them.)






And here's one where it's not actually meant to be Clark Kent, but,
as far as visual impact goes, it gives that impression at first glance.

(BOND) BABE OF THE DAY - MADELINE SMITH...



"Doctor, I keep seeing MADELINE SMITH
everywhere - what's wrong with me?"  "Don't
worry - the nurse will give you some medicine -
here she is now."  "On second thought, Doctor,
forget the medicine and ask her to give me
a bed bath!"

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

KID'S KLASSIC KOMIC KOVERS - GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #1...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

Any excuse for a bit of JOHN ROMITA art, and the
cover of Giant-Size AVENGERS #1 provides just that.
Romita was probably the only artist (at the time) who could
follow STEVE DITKO on SPIDER-MAN, and lift the mag
to new heights of glory.  (He was also great at pinch-hitting on
The FANTASTIC FOUR after JACK KIRBY defected to
DC, 'til Big JOHN BUSCEMA picked up the reins.)

 John Romita - an artist's artist. 'Nuff said!