Tuesday, 12 June 2018

RAMPAGING REPOST: DON'T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB - EAGLE'S 'LOST' DEATH WISH STRIP - PART TWO...



You begged, you pleaded, you demanded - but here it is anyway, despite your wishes.  The second part of my proposed DEATH WISH script for the adventure strip appearing in EAGLE comic back around 1986 or so.  One of the reasons I decided to try turning out a tale or two at the time was the fact that I had just recently bought myself a portable typewriter - mainly for the purpose of producing personal correspondence - but it was lying neglected so I thought I'd put it to use.

This script was the result, and having gathered dust in a drawer for decades, I thought the time had finally come to show just what comics readers were spared all those many years ago.  Okay, so it was hardly original, but I believe the humorous elements I injected into the tale gave it something different to the stories it was derived from.

Anyway, you be the judge.  Could I have been the next STAN LEE (which would've been apt, as I was nicking his plot), or was any ability clearly overshadowed by my vaulting ambition?  Say what you think in the comments section - but be kind, eh?

Monday, 11 June 2018

REMINISCING REPOST: DON'T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB - EAGLE'S 'LOST' DEATH WISH STRIP - PART ONE...



Below is the script for a proposed DEATH WISH adventure for EAGLE comic back around the mid-'80s.  I was lettering the strip at the time and decided to try my hand at writing a tale and submitting it to editor DAVE HUNT.  I can't recall now if I ever did, although I have a vague notion that I might've done and received a knock-back.

The plot is clearly ripped off from inspired by the FF's very first encounter with The SKRULLS and THOR's experience with aliens known as XARTANS, both species being able to change their appearance to anything they want.  I thought it'd make a nice change of pace for BLAKE EDMONDS to go down the MARVEL route for at least a couple of episodes, and this was the result.

Just as well I wasn't short of lettering work at the time, eh?  Give it a read and, like it or loathe it, I'll inflict part two on you next time.  (Okay, who's the wiseguy who said it shoulda stayed lost?)

ONE TOGETHER IS TWO...



Ah, the sweet smell of success - or a hint of it at least.  Sometime back in the '60s, the above single was part of my family's record collection.  I guess my brother acquired it from somewhere - a friend perhaps, or a jumble sale - or even a gift from a young aunt.  It was an orange plastic disc, and I remember playing it to one of my pals and the two of us then singing it non-stop as we paraded around the neighbourhood, doubtless inflicting untold aural agonies on the ears of anyone unfortunate enough to hear us.

I've been trying to track this one down for a while, but still haven't managed to locate a physical copy.  However, I have managed to find it on YouTube, as well as images of it on the Internet, which is the next best thing until I finally find an actual replacement for it.  I no longer recall what happened to the original we had, or at what point it vanished, like so many of our childhood possessions, into the ether, but at least I can return again in memory to those halcyon days, reinforced by being able to again see the cover and listen once more to this zany tune from my early years.

(The cover at the top of this post is the US version, but I've included the UK version after the YouTube clip.  Interestingly, the American record was 45rpm, whereas the British one was 78rpm.  Why?  Dunno.) 

Incidentally, don't be fooled - it isn't 'Dance of the Cuckoos' (LAUREL & HARDY's theme tune) you can hear on this single, but rather a very similar theme entitled 'One Together is Two', which was pressed into service for the LARRY HARMON TV cartoon show as a stand-in.  Harmon had acquired the rights to use the duo's names and likenesses from their widows, but he didn't own the copyright on the original tune used in the HAL ROACH movies and shorts, hence the need for a 'ringer'.  And I bet that most of you wouldn't have spotted the difference if I hadn't just told you.  Side A is an instrumental, and Side B contains the vocals - give them a listen.




Friday, 8 June 2018

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

BABE OF THE DAY - PRINCESS DIANA...



You were expecting someone else?  This
is Princess DIANA of Themyscira - also
known as 'WONDER WOMAN' (played by the
stunning LYNDA CARTER), seen here monkeying
around with a tall bloke in a bad gorilla suit.  You're
all responsible for your own dirty thoughts about
what might be going on in this picture so don't
blame me, understand?  Good.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

REFRIGERATED REPOST: TIGER TIM'S WEEKLY CHRISTMAS NUMBER...



Christmas?  In June?  No, I haven't lost the plot, I just though that on a scorching day like this, you might like an ice cream.  Thing is, I can't literally give you all an ice cream, so the next best thing is to suggest ice and snow (the better to cool you down), and the ideal way to do that is to show the Christmas issue of of a comic weekly.  Look at that cover - bet you're feeling cooler already.

******

TIGER TIM made his first appearance in a one-off comic strip in The DAILY MIRROR on April 16th 1904, before getting his own spot in The MONTHLY PLAYBOX, a children's supplement to The WORLD And His WIFE MAG-AZINE, in November of that year.  He was also featured in The PLAYBOX ANNUAL, the first of which appeared in 1909.  Then, when The RAINBOW was launched in 1914 (dated February 14th), Tim had the front cover spot, along with his chums The BRUIN BOYS.  So far, JULIUS STAFFORD BAKER had been the artist, but before long, S. J. CASH and then HERBERT FOXWELL took over the artistic reins.

Under Foxwell, Tiger and his pals became virtual superstars, with Tiger getting his own comic, TIGER TIM'S TALES, the first issue of which was dated June 1st, 1919.  Around eight months later, the comic was relaunched as TIGER TIM'S WEEKLY (issue dated January 31st).  Tiger may well be the longest-lasting regular comic character ever, as, even after the demise of his own starring titles, his last appearance was in 1985 in JACK And JILL WEEKLY

Anyway, all that aside, I thought you may appreciate seeing a Festive number of ol' Tiger's title from 1923 - just to give you a taste of Christmas past.  Apologies to any Glaswegians who thought this post was going to be about the former RADIO CLYDE DJ, also named Tiger Tim. 

Friday, 1 June 2018

BABE OF THE DAY - RAQUEL WELCH...



Hey, look - it's RAQUEL WELCH in her
bearskin. (If only she was in her bare skin.)

Thursday, 31 May 2018

REFLECTIVE REPOST: 'THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE FOUR-COLOUR CUTIE'...


Images copyright DC COMICS

Continuing in the same vein as the previous two posts, here's yet another one about my youthful crushes on comic strip cuties.  (This was originally Part 19 of my FAVOURITE COMICS Of The PAST series.)

****** 

'Twas in WOOLWORTHS on a dark, late-afternoon - possibly around October or November of 1967 - that I spied the above comic while on a shopping trip with my mother and brother.  It was swiftly purchased and eagerly read from cover to cover, leaving a deep impression on me.  Or to be more precise, 'twas the curvaceous figure of VI LANCE, the gorgeous red-headed stunt girl in the ROBIN backup tale, that so captivated my eight-year old self.

I remember taking the comic with me on a family visit to my grandparents a day or two later, and being entranced with Vi's womanly charms throughout the entire evening.  I could hardly tear my eyes away from the four-colour cutie, and had 'butterflies' in my stomach all night long, to say nothing of a gormless, loved-up expression on my freckled kipper in the best KEN REID tradition.  How can a simple drawing have such an effect on someone?

I'd like to be able to put my somewhat extreme reaction down to the fact that I was only a kid - but, truth to tell, I find myself not entirely immune to those same drawings 50-odd years later, so can't pin my early lustful longings on mere youthful 'exuberance'.  Could've been worse, I suppose.  At least it wasn't Robin I fancied.

If you have any memories of this particular comic, feel free to share them in the comments section.







Wednesday, 30 May 2018

REMINISCING REPOST - O, MERRY MAID OF MIGHT, PLEASE WON'T YOU MARRY ME?


Images copyright DC COMICS

A while back, in a rare mad moment of indiscretion, I somewhat impetuously revealed my schoolboy crush on SUSAN STORM (aka The INVISIBLE GIRL), but I have an even more shameful confession to make.  I could never quite remain faithful to sweet Susie, swiftly switching my fickle infatuation 'twixt a succession of four-colour cosmic cuties whenever my attention was diverted by some slinky, seductive temptress provocatively posing and pouting at me from whatever captivating comic I happened to be rabidly reading at the time.


SCARLET WITCHSATURN GIRLThe WASP, and MARVEL GIRL were just some of the many superpowered seductresses to whom I felt oddly drawn - unlike them, who were awesomely and alluringly drawn (little pun there) and stirred such strange sensations in my stomach.  Another was KARA, alias SUPERGIRL (who actually bore a striking resemblance to both Susan and Saturn Girl), and - whether drawn by JIM MOONEY or KURT SCHAFFENBERGER - she set my young pulse racing with passions I didn't quite understand and would've been unable to 'express' had the divine diva magically sprung to life in front of me.  (7 year old boys are probably more clued-up on such 'affairs of the heart' nowadays, I imagine.)


Anyway, in tribute to Kara, here's a selection of images carefully culled from my comic collection to hopefully give you an idea as to why the heavenly honey so transfixed me.  Curiously, I never found her secret identity of LINDA DANVERS quite so attractive,  Strange what long blonde hair and a short skirt can do, eh?  (Looking at Linda now though, she's actually quite striking.  (Oh no!  I thought I'd grown out of it.)  


ADVENTURE COMICS #384, which heads this post, is an odd little tale, lounging in the 'land of latent lesbianism' (and transvestism), perhaps without even being aware of it, and presumably going straight over the heads of kids who read it back in the day.  Reading it today as an adult, however, it seems unbelievable that the editors didn't spot the inherent implications of the story at the time.


Anyway, did anyone else out there harbour such secret desires for sexy statuesque superheroines, or was I the world's only paper pin-up perv?  Please tell me it ain't so!  (Go on, 'fess up.  You'll feel better for it.)


For another reminiscence in a similar vein, click here.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

RAMBLING REPOST - PAST PARTICULARS - OR "GIRLS I HAVE KNOWN"...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Isn't it strange how one tiny image can conjure up countless connotations in one's mind?  For example, the above pic of SUSAN STORM, bosom uninhibitedly thrust out, standing before the SUB-MARINER, is one that used to have a strange effect on me when I was eight or nine years old.  I may not even have been able to conceive of the mechanics of sex at that age (and nowadays I'm not sure I can remember them), but I was still aware of the butterflies in my stomach and the faint tingles in my nether regions whenever I looked at this and certain other pictures of the beautiful Susie - aka The INVISIBLE GIRL.  (The next image - from the same page - is another of them.)

So smitten was I with this blonde-haired bombshell, that I cut out this picture (sacrilege I know) from the pages of MARVEL COLLECTORS' ITEM CLASSICS #6 and kept it about my person.  In class at school, I would conceal it in the palm of my hand and steal surreptitious glances at my beloved while the teacher wittered on about whatever it is that teachers witter on about.  (I couldn't tell you - I never listened to them.)  However, such youthful 'romantic' notions are not the kind of 'connotations' I was alluding to in the first paragraph.


As a consequence of these pictures being part of my childhood, whenever I look at them today (in a replacement issue of MCIC), dozens of images swim through my mind;  my old primary classroom, the playground, assorted classmates and teachers, the view through the windows, the cool of the toilets at the bottom of the stairs along with the accompanying sounds of gently cascading water and the smell of disinfectant, the walk back and forth to school from my house, my living-room, bedroom, etc., etc.  You get the idea.  One little picture is a window into the past - not only to a specific time and place, but also a myriad of associated places, people and particulars.

And I can multiply that experience many times over.  This next image of Susan for example, first seen in a copy of WHAM! and again in MCIC #5 a year or two later.  Not only do I associate it with where I lived at the time, but also my grandparents' house (I'd taken it with me one Sunday on a visit), the walk back home later that evening - to say nothing of subsequent associations when the strip was reprinted in The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL in 1973.


And my childhood fantasies weren't confined to the stunning Sue Storm.  Fickle as I was, I also enjoyed imaginary liaisons with the likes of jaunty JEAN GREY (MARVEL GIRL), wondrous WANDA (The SCARLET WITCH) and jiggly JANET VAN DYNE (The WASP).  And then there was the voluptuous VENUS from FIREBALL XL5, plus the awesome ATLANTA SHORE and the mute MARINA from STINGRAY.  (In their comic strip incarnations by artists MIKE NOBLE and RON EMBLETON in TV CENTURY 21.  The puppets were foxy little numbers as well though.)  I had a virtual Harem from which I could indulge my prepubescent daydreams. 

As I've said before, looking at old comics is like rereading old diary entries (to those who keep diaries that is).  Short of actual photographs, it's probably the most effective way to reacquaint ourselves with particular periods from our past and keep alive those long-vanished moments which are so dear to us.  Sometimes I'll spend hours thumbing through old comics, reliving my childhood and recalling a seemingly more innocent time when all I had to fret about was whether I'd get what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas.


Remember - your past is waiting for you.  Why not pay it a little visit sometime soon?

(For another reminiscence in a similar vein, click here.) 

******

And full marks to any observant Criv-ites who spotted the JIM REEVES reference - award yourself a MARS BAR.     

Monday, 28 May 2018

TIME FOR A MIX-UP (OR SHOULD THAT BE A MUX-IP?)...


Images copyright relevant owner

Back in early 1985 - an astonishing 33 years ago - I was sitting at the table in my bedsit room in Shearer Road, Buckland (near Southsea), working on the WHIZZER & CHIPS comics libraries.  Resizing pages like MINNIE'S MIXER and HARRY'S HAUNTED HOUSE, I was amazed to think that many of those pages were ones I'd have read as a kid back in 1969 and '70.  So there I was, 15 or 16 years later, re-experiencing my youth while earning a living, and feeling extremely blessed to be doing so.

What hits me smack-dab in the kipper today though, is that the length of time between first reading those stories and preparing them for a new audience seemed almost like forever, whereas the period between then and now - more than twice the duration - seems like only a few years ago at most.  I know I've asked the same question before, but how can 33 years seem a shorter span of time than 15 or 16?  No matter how many times I think about it, it always amazes me.

Some of you will probably say that, to a 26 year old, 15 years is a more significant period of time than 33 years is to someone almost in their 60s (in the first case, it's nearly three fifths of one's life, in the second it's a little more than half), but surely proportions don't fully account for it?  For example, 15 years to a 30 year old would still seem a longer duration than 30 years to a 60 year old, and the proportions are exactly the same in each instance.  Is it just simply down to the fact that time seems to pass quicker the older we get?

Perhaps it's down to perceptions.  When we're younger, things make more of an impression on us and there are usually more frequent changes in life than when we're older.  Then, things seem pretty much the 'same old, same old' and our routine doesn't change much, if at all, until retirement.  But does that adequately explain things?  Probably not, but at least this post gives me the excuse to show you a couple of pages from Whizzer & Chips.  To think that I read these strips back in 1969 and may well have resized them* for the IPC comics libraries in 1985 is still a source of wonder to me.  (*I'd have to check to say for sure, but don't have the time at the moment.)

Still scratching your head as to why I find the topic of time so fascinating?  Don't worry about it - just enjoy these two pages by ANGEL NADAL and REG PARLETT.  They're well-worth wading through my incomprehensible nonsense any day of the week.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

OH NO - HE'S OFF ON ONE OF HIS 'MENTAL MEANDERINGS' AGAIN (UPDATED)...


Image copyright relevant owner

Back in 1971 and '72, I was purchasing a variety of comics, though I no longer recall whether I bought them all concurrently or jumped between some of them from week to week (or week to month in the case of one of them).  Amongst the ones I got were SUPER DC, VALIANT & SMASH! (then TV21), KNOCKOUT, COUNTDOWN, LION & THUNDER, YOGI & HIS TOY, JET, the occasional WHIZZER & CHIPS, BEANO, DANDY, BEEZERTOPPER, and SPARKY.  I usually bought any free gift issues whether I got a comic regularly or not, so that accounts for some on the list.  I haven't bothered trying to place these comics in their proper sequential order, but let's not be too fussed about that.  I also bought the occasional copy of BUSTER, and TV COMIC, as well as one or two others.

All these comics I associate with the house I was living in at the time (as well as several comics from an earlier period starting from near the end of 1965), and some of them were still on sale when I moved house in June of '72, meaning that I likewise associate them with my new home.  Knockout was still on the go, as was the renamed Countdown (TV ACTION, which acquired its new moniker a couple of months or so before we flitted), Valiant & TV21, Yogi & His Toy (which became FUN TIME in November '72), Lion & Thunder, Buster & Jet, and the like.

Comics create 'atmosphere', and because I continued to buy many of the same comics while living in my new abode that I'd first bought when staying in the previous one, that same atmosphere, or ambiance, or whatever you want to call it, was continued from one house to the other (also helped, no doubt, by retaining the same furniture).  Gradually though, my allegiance switched to new comics like The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL, SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY, The AVENGERS, DRACULA LIVES, PLANET Of The APES, The SUPER-HEROES, SAVAGE SWORD Of CONAN, SHIVER & SHAKE, MONSTER FUN, WARLORD, BUZZ, WHOOPEE!, etc., etc., and a new 'mood' was gradually created which supplanted the old one to some degree.

Because it was a gradual change, I probably wasn't consciously aware of the 'shift' at the time, and it's only really when I looked back on the period long after the fact that I saw there was a subtle shift in my perceptions of those years, with the second house developing its own 'flavour' that was no longer just a mere extension of the previous one.  When we look back on things years after the fact, we tend to allocate a separate 'compartment' to each new phase in our lives, as if each stage is sharply divided one from the other.  (And of course, sometimes they can be.)  However, a lot of the time, we seamlessly 'segue' from one phase into the next, because most of the other significant 'paraphernalia' (friends, parents, interests, hobbies, etc.) of our day-to-day existence is still present.

Reading the same (surviving) comics (and watching the same TV shows) on a regular basis in my new house as in my old one 'blunted the edge' (to some degree) of living in one house one day and a new one the next, and made the event seem more like a fade-in than a sudden splice.  It's not until old comics and TV shows disappear and new ones replace them, that the comfortable presence of the familiar that has accompanied us through some change in our circumstances, gives way to a new era with its own distinct flavour.  So gentle has been the 'changeover' though, that we're often unaware of it at the time, and don't realise it until long after the fact.  The same things happens in marriages too, with one partner, now that the kids have flown, seeing their husband or wife in a different light than previously.  Any perceived changes might be imagined, or, if actual, may have occurred quite a while before, but things like the kids leaving home or a partner retiring (or any significant alteration to everyday living), can bring previously unnoticed differences into sudden sharp focus.

So, what, in effect, am I blathering on about?  You expect me to know?  I probably had an idea in mind when I started this post, but my thought processes shift with the breeze these days, and I very often finish up at a different destination than the one I set out for - even if it's not too-far removed.  Just regard the preceding paragraphs as Plasticine, to shape into any form you fancy.  Then you can't blame me if you don't like whatever you end up with.  Hey, I must try that more often.

******

But that's a bit unsatisfactory, isn't it?  I guess I was trying to work out for myself why, living in the same home today as when I was 13, the house, the neighbourhood - the 'taste' of my life in effect - seems different to what it was when I first moved in and the following few years afterwards.  I can't help wondering what's caused this shift in my perceptions, and therefore took a stab at trying to determine what the reasons might be.  Was I successful?  Not really, but if I've managed to kick-start your own ponderings on the matter (in relation to your own individual situations of course), then the exercise hasn't been entirely futile.  And if you can't make head-nor-tail of what I've been on about, don't worry about it - there'll no doubt be a 'Babe of the Day' along to ease your throbbing brain before you know it.

******

Oh, now I remember where I intended to go with this.  I was going to say thank goodness for that 'bridging effect' I mentioned, because it shields us from the shock of sudden change that might otherwise overwhelm us.  It's probably far more difficult when one emigrates to the other side of the world where everything is different, but the pressures of short-range moves are alleviated when we're still surrounded by much that is familiar - even if it's only the comics or TV shows that we read or watch.  In my case, the fact that I still attended school in my old neighbourhood also helped, but the anchor of simple things like a few familiar weekly periodicals is a sure way of avoiding feeling completely sundered from our recent past when a change of locale occurs.  Long may it be so.   

Monday, 21 May 2018

LET'S FACE THE MUSIC AND - FREEZE!


Copyright relevant owner

From LION & THUNDER, cover-dated November 6th 1971, comes a complete PHIL The FLUTER tale in only two pages.  Actually, the strip should more accurately be called 'Phil The Flautist', but it doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?  Enjoy.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

30TH CENTURY COMICS - WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF A COMPANY THAT TREATS CUSTOMERS LIKE THIS? (UPDATED)...



How does this story grab you for sheer impertinence?  I've bought quite a few comics from a company called 30th CENTURY COMICS over the last couple of years and, in the main, been fairly happy with them.  A few recent comics however, weren't quite as described, and I let them know about it in a perfectly polite and pleasant manner.  Surely they'd want to know in order to avoid such a situation in future?  Not just with me, but with any other customers.

Two comics I bought in March were described as 'very good', but one had a piece torn off the back page, and the other had five faces on the cover defaced with a blue biro or felt tip pen.  There were also rips on the last three pages, the back cover sporting two long rips.  I contacted them about it, said they weren't really worth the bother or expense of returning, and asked for comment.  They awarded me £2 credit, which I was perfectly happy with.   

Last week, I ordered three comics from them at one go, and while two were okay, one was falling to bits.  I don't think that even its modest grading of 'good' adequately covered its imperfections.  It looked okay in its cardboard-backed clear bag, but when I took it out and opened it, the front cover came away from the spine - as did the next page.  When I examined it, every page was split at the spine, ready to detach at the merest handling.  The middle pages weren't quite as badly split, but still nothing to write home about.

Of course, I could have returned the comic for a full refund (whether that includes postage or not I don't know, though I'd have insisted), but it was WHIZZER & CHIPS #3, which I've wanted to replace for many years now.  (And when I say replace, I mean replace the original, long-gone copy I had in 1969.)  Still, for a mere £6 I was reluctant to bother 30th Century with a return, but I thought they'd at least want to know so they could take steps to ensure the mistake wasn't repeated.  (And, Microporous tape comes in handy for repairing old British comics, so I knew I could salvage the issue to some degree.)

And so I contacted them, said I wasn't complaining or looking for a refund, but I thought they'd want to know that this particular comic didn't match its description as to grading.  I was expecting a reply along the lines of "Thanks very much for alerting us to this matter as customer satisfaction is a priority with us.  We'll double-check any future orders before mailing to avoid any further disappointment." 

Well, knock me down with a feather.  You should have seen the deceptive, seemingly-'polite' reply I received, which essentially told me to feck off and not to order any more comics from them ever again.  They refunded my £6, which I tried to return, but it hasn't cleared in my account yet.  Imagine having your shopping delivered to your home by ICELAND, then finding a couple of items are long past their sell-by dates or were compromised in some way.  Would Iceland 'suggest' that you never buy anything from them again if you politely brought it to their attention?  I doubt it!
  
30th Century's excuse for their complacency is that the majority of their customers are satisfied (or maybe more easily pleased?), but if I ran a business, I'd be aiming for 100% customer satisfaction, not telling the ones that are (occasionally) disappointed to sling their hook.  What a world we live in when the customer is penalised for the seller's incompetence.  I doubt it would've been different if I'd just returned the comics, they'd have simply seen me as a fuss-pot and a nuisance.  I don't think it's being pernickety to expect a comic to be somewhere in the ball park of its advertised condition, but 30th Century clearly think otherwise.

Tell you what, why don't you make up your own minds?  Take a look at the photos of the comic and then tell me what you think.  It's screamingly obvious that the comic hasn't been checked properly at the grading stage.  One of the two so-called 'experts' (with 40 years experience grading comics apparently) has given it a casual glance, thought it looked okay, and stuck it in a bag.  30th Century Comics?  Not with that prehistoric attitude.  Here's an idea for you, ROB RUDDERHAM - why not just try ensuring that your comics are in the condition described in your catalogue before sending them out?  Or is that too simple a suggestion for you?  Anyone else have this kind of experience?  Let loose in the comments section.

Oh, and given their cheek, I've just now decided I'm going to keep the refund.  Why should I reward them for their incompetence and impertinence?

******

Ah, that explains it.  I've just found out that Rod Rudderham is one of the two graders.  Clearly just pays lip-service to the idea that grading can be subjective, and obviously felt insulted because I (a collector for more than 50 years) dared to question his grading in this instance.  How very dare I?

******

Update:  Rob Rudderham, in response to my review on 30th Century's Facebook page, says the following:

'For anyone reading this review, please note that asking a customer not to place further orders is a last resort we only employ with great reluctance when, after multiple experiences, the customer proves impossible to satisfy.  We have only taken this step 3 times in 25 years.'  (Emphasis mine.)

Well, I suppose that as two is a multiple of one, technically, it could be argued that he's correct.  (I have queried grading on only two separate occasions, once in regard to two comics purchased simultaneously, the other in regard to one comic bought at the same time as another two.  However, Mr. Rudderham is clearly being dis-ingenuous, as 'multiple experiences' suggests a far higher number than is actually the case.  As for being 'impossible to satisfy', on my most recent purchase, I was satisfied with two out of three comics, only commenting on one of them.  How this qualifies as 'impossible to satisfy' is beyond me.  As for '3 times in 25 years', perhaps that's because other dissatisfied customers have simply not availed themselves of his shop's services after their first disappointment, thus taking the decision out of his hands?      




Monday, 14 May 2018

KNOCKOUT ANNUAL COVER GALLERY...


Images copyright relevant owner

KNOCKOUT - there were two incarnations of course, the first back in 1939 to '63, the second in 1971 to '73.  The first version originally had a hyphen (KNOCK-OUT), but lost it at some stage down the line.  KELLY'S EYE started in Knockout, before jumping over to VALIANT when the two comics merged in '63, and it's with Valiant that the strip is most associated.

However, it's the second, revived Knockout in which I'm interested in this post - or at least the Annuals and Holiday Specials.  Speaking from a personal perspective, this comic has two distinct associations for me.  The comic came out when I was living in one house, and the first year's worth had been published by the time I moved to another in a different neighbourhood.  Consequently, I not only associate the comic with the previous house, but also the subsequent one because the weekly yet had another year to run before being merged into WHIZZER & CHIPS.

That second association though, has more to do with the fact that the first Holiday Special and Annual that I ever bought after moving into the other house were of Knockout - as I may not have still been regularly buying the weekly at that stage, if at all.  While living in my previous house I'd lent a stack of the early issues to a pal, and when he eventually gave me them back, they were in a terribly mutilated condition, with bits ripped off and pages missing.  That may well have been the 'jumping-off' point for me, barring free gift issues and the first three after it was subsumed by W&C.

I only ever bought that first Annual at the time, and picked up another two (for '83 & '84) sometime in the early '80s.  I can no longer recall if I bought the '83 one new when it first came out or shortly after, but up until a couple of months or so back, I had only five Knockout Annuals in my collection.  There were 13 in all, from the 1973 Annual (released in '72) up to the one for 1985 (released in '84), so I tracked the missing books down on eBay and completed my collection of them - 24 years after the final one was published.

So, not only does that give me the only excuse I need to bore you with my personal history, it also allows me to show you the covers of all 13 Annuals, plus the two Holiday Specials for 1972 and '73.  I've only got the first of these (can't remember if I ever had the second), so if you've got it and want to sell it, let me know in the comments section.  And in case you're interested, I also own all 106 issues of the weekly.  Maybe I'll put them on display on the blog sometime, if I ever find the time to scan them.

Incidentally, UK cartooning legend, TERRY BAVE, who drew several strips for Knockout, once told me that it was his favourite comic to work on, and that he was sorry when it folded.  (He also gave me his own copy of the first issue, so that exclusive item is one of the prizes of my collection.)  Right, enough waffle - on to the covers...














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