Sunday, 25 September 2016

"WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO ALL YOUR STUFF WHEN YOU DIE, DADDY?"



I sometimes find myself worrying about what will happen
to my massive collection of toys, comics and books when I fall
off the twig in around 100 years time (I'm not planning on going
early or easily).  Will I ever get around to establishing a museum of
childhood, or will all my stuff end up in charity shops or dustbins?
It's a bit  like being a parent and having to think about making
provisions for your children when you're not here.


Are you a proud collector?  What would you like to have
happen to your beloved treasures when you eventually have
to cast off this mortal coil?  None of the "I'll be dead so I don't
care" cop-outs;  what would be the ideal fate of all your material
companions through life that would allow you to bow out with
the assurance that they'd be cared for and cherished after
you've gone exploring in that 'final frontier' ?


And what's the absolute gem of your collection, the one
item that, if everything else was jettisoned by your heirs, you'd
breathe a little easier in the afterlife (if there is one and if you can
breathe) as long as it survived and was looked after and appreci-
ated by its new owner?  Too difficult a question?  Okay then,
you can pick three.  So what are they?  Reveal all in the
captivating comments section, Criv-ite chums.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

TRIVAGO BABE OF THE DAY - GABRIELLE MILLER...



Here's GABBY - what more do you want?

KID'S KLASSIC (KIRBY) KOMIC KOVERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA #106 - "CAP GOES WILD!"


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

Always liked this cover.  True, JACK KIRBY's more abstract
style was becoming more prominent by this time, but no one can
deny that this image has impact!  If you don't have this mag, you're
probably unaware that Cap's fighting a Life Model Decoy of himself
(STEVE ROGERS), but the LMD has certain advantages that the real
Star-Spangled AVENGER doesn't, making it an uneven battle!  So
who wins?  You'll have to read the issue to find out, 'cos my lips are
sealed.  Reprinted in the new CAPTAIN AMERICA EPIC
COLLECTION Volume 2 - on sale now!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - MICHELLE KEEGAN...



Amazing the stuff you find lying on the beach while taking a
stroll along the seashore.  Nobody wanted her, so I just took her
home with me.  Well, 'finders keepers' innit?  Says her name is
MICHELLE KEEGAN and babbles on about a place called
'Weatherfield', but I've no idea what she's talking about.

STRANGE TALES COVER GALLERY...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

In 1975, MARVEL decided to reprint Dr. STRANGE in
the mag where he'd first appeared - STRANGE TALES.  The re-
prints lasted seven issues, each issue featuring two stories ('though
some continued tales were edited into one, omitting the second story's
splash page).  In #183, the Dr. Strange 'half' of the cover of #130 (by
JACK KIRBY) was enlarged and used as the full cover, making this
ish the only one of the seven to re-use an original '60s cover image.
(The others sported brand-new artwork.)  Here then is a look
back at a brief time in the sizzlin' '70s - enjoy!






RECOMMENDED READING - CAPTAIN AMERICA EPIC COLLECTION VOLUME TWO...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Ooh, here's a big beauty of a book for you - CAPTAIN
AMERICA EPIC COLLECTION Volume 2.  With art by
KIRBY, STERANKO, COLAN, ROMITA, and BUSCEMA,
that sure is a roll-call of some heavy duty illustrators contained
within the covers of a single softcover tome.  If you bought the
first volume, then you'll definitely want to add this one to your
collection.  Now, which establishment would stock a book
like this?  That's a tough one.  Wait a minute - I know!
That great shop FORBIDDEN PLANET!

(Now how could that have ever slipped my mind?)

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

RECOMMENDED READING - DOCTOR STRANGE OMNIBUS...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Do I need this book?  I've already got the stories.  I've got
a few original issues of STRANGE TALES, reprints in MARVEL
TALES, COLLECTORS' ITEM CLASSICS, MASTERWORKS
volumes, etc.  So I already have all the stories - more than once.  But
hey, it's STAN LEE & STEVE DITKO, it's DOCTOR STRANGE,
it's a great big deluxe hardback OMNIBUS volume - of course I
need this book!  And so do you!  On sale from today, so buy one
as soon as you can!  And remember these immortal words -
"May your amulet never tickle!"

Available from FORBIDDEN PLANET (and other places).


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - LYNDA CARTER...



Here's WONDER WOMAN without her
costume - the stunning LYNDA CARTER.

RECOMMENDED READING - THE ADVENTURES OF THE FLY...


Images copyright relevant owners

Once, in an alternate universe, JACK KIRBY showed a
SPIDERMAN (no hyphen) logo by JOE SIMON to STAN LEE,
and pitched to him the idea for a superhero who'd been rechristened
The SILVER SPIDER before metamorphosing into The FLY.  In
this alternate universe, STEVE DITKO did not advise Stan of the
similarity of Spiderman to The Fly, and MARVEL's newest char-
acter got his wings clipped, either by poor sales or a plagiarism
lawsuit from rivals RED CIRCLE/ARCHIE COMICS.

At least, that's what could've happened if we're to believe
a dissenting account of the events that led to SPIDER-MAN's
creation.  We'll never know for sure whether it's true, but imagine
PETER PARKER as a teenager who rubs a magic ring to trans-
form into his alter-ego and you have an idea just how different
things might've been in the Marvel Universe of the '60s.

Which brings me to this softcover book from 2004 which
a friend very kindly gifted to me recently.  It contains the first
four issues of The Fly, produced by Simon & Kirby (with others)
before the duo quit the title.  The tales are simple, unsophisticated
fare from an era when comicbooks were aimed squarely at kids, but
they have their own distinct charm that makes the collection worth
owning.  'Though after reading the book, it reminded me just what
an immense contribution Stan Lee made to the comicbook biz,
something for which we should all be eternally grateful.

Some of the art and lettering restoration is a little dodgy,
with at least one story appearing more like a tracing than a
reprinting, but that aside, it's still an interesting look back at an
earlier time in four-colour comicbook history.  I imagine you'd
be able to track down a copy on eBay or Amazon without
too much difficulty or too great an expense.  Get hunting!

Ah, yes - how different things could have been indeed!
  




No 'Wide Angle Scream' in this ish apparently


Why no lettering?  Is it a reprint oversight or how it first appeared?

RECOMMENDED READING - COMIC BOOK FEVER...


Images copyright TWOMORROWS PUBLISHING

A book you may enjoy is COMIC BOOK FEVER by GEORGE
KHOURY, which celebrates comics from 1976 to 1986.  To be honest,
my impression was that some chapters are stretched pretty thin as far as
written content goes, with the author saying something because he has a
book to fill, rather than because he has something interesting to say, but
the visual images and chapters containing comments from comicbook
stalwarts (like JOHN ROMITA and SAL BUSCEMA, etc.) com-
pensate for this occasional inadequacy somewhat.

Anyway, read the back cover spiel and make up your own minds.
You could certainly spend your money in worse ways.  Available at
FORBIDDEN PLANET and all good comicbook shops.

Monday, 19 September 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - JULIE EGE...



The stunning JULIE EGE gives me 'the
eye' as I strut around in my toga in the movie
version of UP POMPEI.  Of course, I wasn't 
in the finished film as I ended up on the cutting
room floor.  Julie was under me at the time
'though, so I can't complain.

(Nobody would ever believe I just make
all this stuff up.  It sounds totally believable
because of my irresistible good looks.  Ask
my nurse - she agrees with me 100%.)

GIANT-SIZE POWER MAN #1 (1975)...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

POWER MAN, as all true MARVELITES know, was the
name of a villain who fought The AVENGERS in #s 21 & 22 of
their own mag back in the '60s.  However, in the '70s, the name was
dusted down and applied to LUKE CAGE's superhero alter-ego, a
mercenary HERO FOR HIRE, who wasn't necessarily spurred
to random acts of goodness merely out of a sense of altruism
like most other characters in the superhero 'business'.

I never quite understood why black heroes usually had the
word 'black' prefixed to their names, as if we needed to be made
aware of the fact.  (BLACK GOLIATHBLACK LIGHTNING*,
etc.)  We had eyes, didn't we?  It was different with The BLACK
PANTHER, as the word referred to the colour of his costume,
not his skin, but I'm so glad Luke Cage wasn't called Black
Power Man, as that would've been simply silly.

(*Black Lightning, of course, is a DC COMICS hero.)

Anyway, that's enough waffle from me - enjoy some pages
from the first (and perhaps only - anyone know?) issue of his
own Giant-Size reprint mag from 1975.  Did you own this ish?
Then let's hear from you in the comments section.
  




Sunday, 18 September 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - ELKE SOMMER...



ELKE SOMMER is practising hypnotism.
"Look into my eyes" she trills.  Kinda difficult
in that outfit, Elke.  Put on a cardie, luv.

Friday, 16 September 2016

"THIS TIME - - THING MUST DIE!" (OR: 'NEW FOR OLD')...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

It was a pleasantly sunny afternoon in 1979, probably in
June or July.  I was working in my local library back then, and
had become pally with a summer worker who was also a comics
fan.  We'll call him Bob Billens to spare his blushes should he
read this, and we'd been sent out by our 'library masters' to
collect overdue books from houses around the town.

During our break, we'd driven along to his in-laws' house
where he and his wife were then staying and, while sipping tea
in the back garden, he showed me some of his comics collection.
He even gave me a few which were surplus to his requirements.
(I'd given him some of mine on a previous occasion, so he was
merely reciprocating my friendly, generous gesture.)

Among the five or six comics he gave me (all MARVEL,
as he wasn't so much a fan of their mags as he was of DC) was
The FANTASTIC FOUR #111, wherein The THING meets
The HULK.  I eventually cut out the final two panel tier of the
last page and affixed it to my bedroom wall, where it remain-
ed until my family moved to another house in 1983.

Then it went up on the wall of my new bedroom for a
few years, until we returned to our former residence in 1987,
 whereupon it resumed its previous place on the wall.  And there
it stayed 'til the early hours of this morning, when I replaced it
with a duplicate of the tier, scanned from a replacement copy
of the comic acquired quite a few years back now.

It was time, you see.  The original had become rippled
and faded after 35-plus years stuck to a wall, and my room
had taken on a distinctly 'aged' appearance.  The new picture is
brighter and whiter, and adds a much-needed splash of colour to
the room.  Still, I'm not exactly comfortable in disposing of some-
thing that's been part of the decor for a significant proportion of
my 'adult' life, and I feel a bit of a callous b*st*rd for doing so.
Surely it deserved far better consideration for its many
years of faithful and uncomplaining service?

So far, I've replaced six browned and faded pictures
 and intend to do more from time to time until nothing looks
old.  It'll be good to once again see white margins surrounding
these pictorial presentations which adorn the wall, looking just
as fresh and new as the day they were printed.  If there were
only some way of rejuvenating the originals I'd do it, but
substitution with a 'double' seems my only option.

Anyway, what's done is done and, in time, maybe I'll
eventually forget that the doppelgangers in my room aren't
the originals and delude myself that they're the ones that have
always been there.  Still, it'll be a while before I can look at the
fresh, flat, bright, new incarnation of that old picture and not
feel guilty for so cruelly abandoning its predecessor.

I console myself with the thought that at least its image
yet graces its accustomed spot on the wall, and hopefully will
still be there in another 35 or so years.  Whether I'll still be
 around then is, of course, far more open to question.  

Thursday, 15 September 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - LINDA THORSON...



Here's LINDA THORSON demanding
I get my kit off again so she can laugh at my
YOGI BEAR boxer shorts.  I wish now I'd
never giver her that water pistol.

TOUCHING A NERVE - THE MIGHTY ONE (UPDATED)...



"Kid Robson is a tall, handsome, articulate, windswept
and interesting Scotsman who is easily the best lettering artist
ever to work in comics.  And he also wears lovely trousers!" are
words that you won't see in STEVE MacMANUS's new book,
'The MIGHTY ONE'.   Stevie Mac was the editor of 2000 A.D.
who offered me work at a Glasgow comic mart in 1984, and is
therefore the man responsible for unleashing me on the
world of U.K. comics for 15 years (so blame him).

I acquired the book in Glasgow today and began read-
ing it on the journey home, starting at the chapter relating the
events of Steve's working life in 1985, as that's when I began my
freelancing lettering career for 2000 A.D.  I've now worked my
way through the beginning and have only a few middle chapters
to go.  It's an engaging enough read, but I think it'll be of more
interest to former and current comics pros, and avid (but
ever-dwindling) 2000 A.D. fans than casual readers.

Comics editors aren't generally well-known outside of
professional circles, so Steve's name alone probably won't
be a huge draw (yeah, I know - nor would mine), but his associ-
ation with 2000 A.D. will be sure to attract some attention, and
he certainly deserves a nod of recognition for his many years
of dedicated service to British comics after all this time.

Surprisingly, only six pages into the first chapter, Steve
mistakenly identifies LEO BAXENDALE as the creator of
DENNIS The MENACE, when, as every true fan knows, it
was writer IAN CHISOLM and artist DAVEY LAW.  Some-
 times even editors need an editor - that right, Steve?  (Hey,
I'd have been happy to do it - and for nothing too!)

Don't let that put you off 'though.  If you're a 2000 A.D.
fan, you're sure to enjoy the backstory to 'The Galaxy's
Greatest Comic!'   Buy a copy today - only £9.99

******

Steve relates a tale about meeting someone who showed
him lettering samples at Glasgow's The ROYAL STUART
HOTEL in 1982.  However, that was me, and it took place in
The MITCHEL LIBRARY (MOIR HALL) in October of '84.
Unless, of course, the same conversation occurred on two
different occasions, but I'd consider it unlikely.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

ANOTHER POLITICAL SCANDAL...



KEITH VAZ?  Should be fired right away and not
allowed to continue as an overpaid Labour MP now that
he's shown himself to be a hypocrite, an adulterer, and some-
one who simply can't be trusted.  Cheated on his wife, offered
to buy drugs for his rent boys, and yet there seems to be no
outright condemnation of his behaviour, with fellow
politicians saying "It's a private matter!"

Our politicians are corrupt and therefore cannot be
trusted to put the country's interests before their own.
Do you know why the topics of whether prostitution should
be a criminal offence, drugs should be legalized, or the age of
consent should be lowered even further are always being in-
vestigated by government committees ?   The answer is
mind-numbingly simple, and it's this:

It seems that too many politicians are drug-addicts,
prostitute-users, adulterers, or paeodophiles who, in order
to avoid criminal prosecution and public shame, are seeking
to negate the stigma of their own  sordid pursuits.  Caught using
drugs?  "It's not a crime!"  Caught paying for prostitutes?  "It's
not illegal!"  Caught 'playing away from home' ? "It's a private
matter!" Caught with 13 or 14 year-old kids? "They're of
the age of consent!"  (And believe me, they will be
if these b*st*rds ever get their way.)

Remember the expenses scandal?  Their excuse
was that they "didn't break any rules".  Be warned - the
old 'rules' are in danger of being rewritten to accommodate
the tastes of our political 'masters'.  And, while pandering to
their own appetites, they'll have the cheek to say that crime
figures are falling.  Well of course they are.  That's the in-
evitable result of making everything legal.  If they get
their way, one day 'crime' won't exist.

But that doesn't mean society will be a better place,
only that many crimes won't be categorized as crimes any-
more!  It's the world that's coming, alas!  The goalposts
are ever-shifting and society is going to hell!

BABE OF THE DAY - PATRICIA VELASQUEZ...



Here's a palpitating piccie of pulse-
pounding PATRICIA VELASQUEZ,
dressed in the way that she usually greets
me when I return from the shops.  (She's
forever sending me out for a newspaper
just to see the look on my face when I
get back.  She's such a tease.)

SO WHO SAID THE DALEKS ARE SPINELESS?


The DALEKS copyright BBC TV & The Estate of TERRY NATION

Above is the second of three DALEK books issued
in the '60s.  A friend has lent me all three publications so I
can read them and then effect a few repairs where required.
The first book needs very little attention, the third one could
do with some spine repair, and the second one's spine was
gone, man, solid gone.  Although not for long once I
got my hands on it, as you can see.

Trouble was, I didn't have reference to what the
original spine looked like when I made the replacement,
so that makes this copy of the book unique.  Since I made
the repair, I've seen the original spine (see pic below), but I
think mine is better-looking.  (Well, I would, wouldn't I!)
Unless my friend would prefer me to do it again, I'll be
leaving it as it is.  It certainly looks better than its
spineless state, that's for sure.

Monday, 12 September 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - KIRSTEN STEWART...



KIRSTEN STEWART glances back over
her shoulder in the hope of catching sight of li'l
ol' me.  Luckily she didn't see SALMA HAYEK
chatting me up in the corner or there'd have
been one heck of a stushie.  Phew!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

KID KLASSICS: BATMAN - WITH ACCESSORIES...



Above is an extremely rare LOUIS MARX BATMAN
toy from the 1960s.  I had two of them (at different times)
when I was a kid, and have very happy memories of playing
with them, especially the second one I received for Christ-
mas in 1966 or '67.  (Could even have been '68.)

Marx had a soldier figure out at the same time (in fact,
it actually predated the Batman one), which had the exact
same head  (minus the black mask - a sticker - on the face
in the above pic) as his Caped Crusader counterpart.

I had a great time dressing up 'little Bruce' in his vari-
ous pieces of equipment and subjecting him to all sorts of
imaginary ordeals and adventures.  (Oo-er, it's just clicked
how pervy that sounds, so I'll deny it in court.  Someone
please tell me I wasn't the only one.)

Incidentally, despite the backing card's claim, the only
thing that moved on the legs were the boots, which turned
from left to right - or all the way 'round if you preferred.
Hardly what one would call fully-articulated.

I eventually swapped the toy with a pal for the soldier
version and then, the very same night, watched Bats meet
his doom as an older lad (ROBERT FORTUNE) launched
him into the air while saying "Let's see if he can fly..." - only
to see Batman smash to pieces on his descent.  My stunned
pal immediately wanted to effect an annulment of our
swap, but I was having none of it.  Poor Bats.

Anyway, if you were fortunate enough to have had one
of these figures as a kid, here's a look back into the past -
happy reminiscing.  (If not, this is what you missed.)

KID KLASSICS: MY CUP RUNNETH UNDER...



Funny the memories that spring, unbidden, into one's mind upon
a sudden glimpse of a half-forgotten object that, over time, has merged
chameleon-like with its surroundings and become practically invisible.
Until, that is, it metaphorically leaps from its accustomed place in an at-
tempt to remind one of its existence, and draw an acknowledgement that
its importance is yet secure after all this time.  Such a thing happened
to me earlier, so let me now relate a shamelessly sentimental tale.

In my kitchen is a cup that isn't a cup, which I've had for around 19
years.  I'm so used to seeing it that I don't even see it anymore.  That's
to say, it no longer registers on my conscious mind.  It is, quite literally,
half a cup, as if it's been set upon by a laser and vertically spliced down
the middle.  (Except it has a 'back' to its imaginary splice and isn't quite
so bereft in the dimensional stakes as I might make it sound.)

It bears the legend "You asked for half a cup of tea" and functions
as an actual cup for when one wants to elicit a smile from a visitor.  Not
that I've ever used it for such an effect, but it has actually been used for
that purpose on me.  It must be over 21 years ago now, that I was visiting
an old schoolmate and neighbour, GEORGE COOPER, who lived in
an area in which I once stayed over four decades ago.

I was in the habit of taking a stroll in my old environs on a Saturday
morning, and would occasionally drop in to visit George and his father,
who could always be relied upon to provide a cup of tea and sometimes
even a sausage sandwich.  On this particular day, I replied to George's
enquiry as to whether I would like a cuppa by saying:  "I wouldn't
say no to half cup, thanks very much."

He'd probably been waiting years for someone to say that.  In due
course, in he trotted with a plate of biccies and proffered a cup into my
outstretched hand.  Yup, you guessed it, 'twas the half cup I've just been
wittering on about in my customary long-winded fashion.  Cue my
obligatory and poorly-feigned 'enthusiastic' chuckle at the jest.

A handful or so years later, Mr. Cooper Senior sadly passed away,
necessitating in George having to eventually vacate the premises as one
of his brothers owned the house and wanted to sell it.  On one of my last
visits after his dad's demise, George gave me the cup as a memento of my
Saturday morning drop-ins, which, alas, were now drawing to a close
due to him having to move from his childhood home.

And so the cup that isn't a cup (but is half a cup) sits on a shelf
in my kitchen, bringing with it memories of another house and another
time, when I'd revisit one of the neighbourhoods of my youth and remin-
isce with George and his father about events from so very long ago.  And
now that time of reminiscing has itself become a memory;  has passed
into history and is now a period which I fondly recollect today.

I still sometimes go for a stroll in that old neighbourhood and
have other friends living there who I can drop in on if I want to, and,
indeed, sometimes I do.  However, whenever I'm back there, I always
walk past George's house (which, to me, will always be George's house
regardless of whoever lives there) and recall with fond affection the
day I asked for half a cup of tea and was given precisely that.

And I'm surprised to find my chuckle at the
event is now somehow a genuine one.