Friday, 18 August 2017

JACK (KING) KIRBY DC SPECIALS...


Images copyright DC COMICS

Having looked at some of MARVEL's TRUE BELIEVERS mags celebrating what would've been JACK KIRBY's 100th year, it's now time to turn our attention to the Distinguished Competition - DC.  First up is the above NEW GODS Special, followed by a team-up Special of The NEWSBOY LEGION and The BOY COMMANDOS.  Why SIMON & KIRBY never produced such a mag is both a surprise and a mystery - you'd have thought it would be an obvious choice for the duo to do back in the '40s.  Rounding off our trilogy is The SANDMAN Special, though no doubt there'll be other titles to come.  (I'll keep you informed.)  All three issues contain Classic Kirby Bonus Stories, so if you're a Jack Kirby fan, these comics are for you, Melvin!  Pop 'round to your favourite comic shop today and grab 'em while they're going.  (And if you're passing GREGGS, jump in and treat yourself to one [or two even - why hold back?] of their famous Steak Bakes.)


Thursday, 17 August 2017

YOGI BEAR HAS SCOTTISH ROOTS...



Here you are - proof that YOGI BEAR has Scottish
ancestry.  No wonder I'm fond of him - he's 'Scottisher'
than the average bear, hoots mon, up yer kilt!

BABE OF THE DAY - KATE BECKINSALE...



Her dad was fond of porridge, but curvy KATE BECKINSALE
is fond of sitting on a cool floor, bare-@rsed.  "It soothes my piles,"
she says.  Well, if it works, it works, but she should try ointment.

HE IS GROOT - GRAB HIM (AND XEMNU & CAP) WHILE YOU CAN...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

These TRUE BELIEVERS comics are great, frantic ones.  GROOT features the living tree's first appearance, while the 2nd tale in the mag is the debut of The HULK.  No, not ol' Greenskin as you might imagine, but rather the alien who was later renamed XEMNU The TITAN.  The Cap mag contains two Golden Age CAPTAIN AMERICA tales, plus his retold origin from the '60s, which has long been one of my favourite stories since I first read it in a King-Size Special back in the early '70s.  Well, what are you waiting for?  Rush 'round to your local comicbook store today and buy 'em - if they've any left that is.  These magnificent MARVEL mags are less than a £1 each (between 70-90 pence depending on where you get them), so how can you go wrong? 

KIRBY 'KOCK-UPS' PART FIFTEEN - BRASS FROGS, KILLERS, & CORPSES...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

I've just read (or re-read, to be factual) BLACK PANTHER #1 and discovered yet another KIRBY 'KOCK-UP'.  Read that introductory caption on the above double-page spread (click on the image to enlarge):  "His hand is stiffened in rigor mortis..."  According to what I've read on the subject (and different sources vary on the exact times), rigor mortis in humans usually starts within a few hours after death (though limbs are still movable), and is fully set after around 12 hours, though there can be variations dependent on room temperature, etc.  However, given the Panther's statement about the wound being "fresh" in the panel below, it couldn't possibly be rigor mortis, something you'd think Jack would've known.  But does it even matter, you ask.  Well, it does if you're looking for regular posts to read on this blog, effendis.  Okay, time for me to earn a No-Prize.  Residual energy from the brass frog's time travelling powers speeded up the body's decomposition, bringing on rigor mortis quicker than usual.  There!  Happy?  

You're right, T'CHALLA - it was inflicted only moments before.
That's why it couldn't be rigor mortis - until I gave you an 'out'

KIRBY KLASSIC KOLLECTABLES - ON SALE NOW!


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Another two TRUE BELIEVERS issues for you, frantic ones.  I still have the original comics I bought back in the mid-'70s, so I'll have to dig them out and compare them for my own amusement when I have the time. The ETERNALS was (sort of) MARVEL's answer to DC's NEW GODS, and it lasted 8 issues and an Annual longer than its competitor's 11 ish run, both series, of course, being by the same creator - JACK (King) KIRBY.  More covers in this current series of reprints coming soon!  Available from wherever great comicbooks are sold.   

This series was originally called RETURN OF THE GODS, and an
ad with that title on the cover appeared in various Marvel comics

HEY, TRUE BELIEVERS! MISSED THE MARVEL AGE?


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

If you're too young (or weren't around) to have experienced the MARVEL AGE firsthand, then here's a fantastic opporchancity to catch up on some of the best bits.  Mighty Marvel are currently issuing reprints of various KIRBY KLASSICS in handsome single issue format in the countdown to what would've been his 100th birthday on August 28th.  I'll be showing more covers shortly, but to start the ball rolling, here's a couple of THOR comics for you to paste your peepers 'pon - ol Goldilock's origin (as well as the first appearance of LOKI), and his pulse-pounding pummel-fest with The HULK.  What're you waiting for pilgrim - grab 'em today!  (You'll be sorry if you don't!)    


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

BABE OF THE DAY - IMOGEN HASSALL...



Here's the lovely IMOGEN HASSALL - just seconds before
she grabbed her guitar and started serenading me with a song.  If
I only knew why I'm so irresistible to women, I'd sell the secret to
 all you ordinary-looking guys out there and make a fortune.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

JIM REEVES STAGES A COMEBACK (WELL, SORT OF)...



Let me ask you something.  Are you a JIM REEVES fan?  No?  Then what the hell's wrong with you, Melvin?  Get with the programme.  One of the top ten best-selling singers of all time, with a voice like velvet, his albums are still being issued today, 53 years after he died in a 'plane crash.  Only a few short years ago, his 'Best Of' album was number 7 in the British charts.  If you are a fan, then you know all that already, but what you may not know is that BGO Records have reissued eight albums on two sets of double CDs.  If you buy them in HMV, they'll cost you £12.99 each - but if you order them direct from BGO, they only cost £9.99 each - post free.  If you've got a few gaps in your JR collection, then now's the time to fill them.  You can visit the BGO site by clicking on this link which I've thoughtfully provided for you:  www.bgo-records.com - and it's not just Jim's albums they sell, but also a variety of other artists as well.  Pay it a visit today.

PART FOURTEEN OF KIRBY 'KOCK-UPS' - THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR - VANISHING...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

JACK KIRBY, bless his little cotton socks, wasn't entirely consistent from page-to-page (or even panel-to-panel) when drawing the spectacular comicbooks for which he's so justly famed.  Now and again, a little visual error would creep into his pulsating panels, and that fact is what this little series of mine is based on.  Today's entry concerns FANTASTIC FOUR #8, wherein the cosmic quartet battle The PUPPET MASTER.  Foiling a jail break, The THING swings into action, and although he's hitherto been barefoot throughout the story (except when he's in his civvies), in the last panel of page 18, he suddenly sprouts a pair of boots.  The colourist has rendered them orange in order to disguise them, and they disappear again on the next page (below), but there's no denying that Jack slipped up here.  A trivial 'KOCK-UP' to be sure, but if I didn't point it out, this blog would have nothing to offer you at this precise moment.

Monday, 14 August 2017

BLAST FROM MY PAST: THE PAN BOOK OF HORROR STORIES...



Behold!  A battered 1963 edition of a 1959 book that I read around 1972 or '73.  I no longer recall where it came from; whether it was bought by my father or brother, or whether I got it from a jumble sale, but I remember taking it into secondary school one day to read during the breaks.  At some stage afterwards, at home, it got spattered with paint flecks when some decorating was in progress, and it lost a corner (which I replaced), but it's held up pretty well for a 54 year old paperback.  Regular commenter JP mentioned horror books recently, and I said I'd dig this copy out and post it on the blog - consider it done, JP.  Now I might actually re-read it after going to the effort of emptying half a cupboard to find it. 


And below, after hours of painstaking work, is a digitally cleaned up presentation of the cover.  I don't think I'll bother doing the same with the back cover - not for a good while at least.  Far too time-consuming.  Must confess though, I did a good job - even if I say so myself.


KID GOES TO KINGHORN...


Our hut overlooked the beach from the top of a cliff, so this
photo may well have been taken from near where we stayed

Memories.  It must've (don't you find yourself irked when ignorant people write or say "must of"?) been in the summer of 1966 that my family holidayed in Kinghorn.  We stayed in what can only be described as a hut, though not of the common or garden shed variety.  No, it was a holiday hut, which accommodated all the mod-cons of the age.  It belonged to my paternal grandmother, and I recall a small (3 inches high perhaps) stone grey bust of Churchill (not the dog) sitting atop a dressing table in the bedroom.  I don't know for how long she'd owned this hut, or exactly when she relinquished ownership of it, but the last time I remember visiting her in her ground floor flat back home was in January 1973, and I was surprised to see that same small grey bust of Churchill there.  It had only been 7 years since I'd first and last laid eyes on it, but as I'd not long turned 14, that was half my life away and seemed an inordinately long time ago.

Nope, dunno who the guy is, but our hut was vaguely similar to the
one in the background of this picture.  Our hut sat among quite a few,
though there were none in front of ours, so we had a view of the sea

I remember that holiday in Kinghorn for other reasons also.  That was where (I think) my brother bought his Man From U.N.C.L.E. invisible ink pen, and where I got a Marx Rolykin Dalek and a Marx wind-up robot.  I also found a lead 'disc' (a bit larger than a crown) on the beach, and assumed it to be some form of ancient coin.  It had a cross etched into it, and I recall being disappointed several years later to find my father had sawn it in two to use one half as a weight for an ornament in his tropical fish tank.  Who knows - it might've been worth a small fortune.  Another thing I recall from Kinghorn was hearing Chim-chim-Cheree from Mary Poppins being played on a neighbour's radio as I sat outside our hut.  I doubt if I knew of the movie at the time, but whenever I see it now and hear that song, I'm back in Kinghorn faster than a fart from The Flash.  (Yes, I've got my very own catchphrase.)

The one I bought on holiday was blue with grey legs.
The arms were either red or grey, can't quite remember.
It was also a slightly larger model than this version, but
exactly the same in every other detail

Up at the top of a slight hill away from the group of holiday huts, sat a little wooden newsagent's kiosk.  I remember being in there once and taking a quick look through some comics as I tried to find one I might like.  In one comic was a strip called Old McDonald's Farm, and I recalled forever-after the verse at the top of the page - 'Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-oh.  And on that farm he had some ducks - read about them below!'  (To be absolutely truthful, I no longer remember if it was ducks, pigs, or hens, but I never forgot the rest of it.)  Research tells me that the comic was Bimbo, and it was many years later that I discovered the rhyming intro was a recurring feature of the strip, week after week, and not a one-off as I'd have subconsciously assumed.  It was on this holiday, I believe (or maybe the previous one, in Rothesay), that my father made an ashtray from shells found on the beach, which he then painted with those glass-phial Humbrol paints (remember them?).  I've never smoked, but that ashtray still sits in my living-room today. 

Could this have been the very comic I looked
through?  Who can say for sure?

I also recollect that my father found an injured sparrow, which we put in a cardboard box back at the hut.  I remember checking on it from time to time, but, strangely, I no longer recall its fate. Anyway, one more thing before you return to your lives in search of real adventure.  I stubbed one of my small toes getting out of bed to go to the toilet (or check on the sparrow) one night, and I've had a problem with the nail on that toe to this day.  Nothing major, but it just doesn't seem to grow the same as the one on the other foot.  Every time I'm cutting my toenails, when I get to that one, I invariably think of Kinghorn again.  As far as I know, I was only ever there once, so it's kind of funny how I've never quite forgotten the place (or that bust of Winston).

Not the same bust, but similar

Any holidays you remember with fondness to the present day?  Then don't be selfish - share your memories with the rest of us.        

Sunday, 13 August 2017

BABE OF THE DAY - LINDA THORSON...



LINDA THORSON - looking lovely.  What more
could any man ask for?  Apart from her 'phone num-
ber and a date.  (Don't get any ideas - it's me she's
looking at, and don't you forget it, Charlie!)

Saturday, 12 August 2017

STEVE DITKO ART IN THE FANTASTIC FOUR #3...?


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

Funny how we can be so familiar with some images that we
stop really 'seeing' them after a while.  Case in point is FF #3,
which I first read in the pages of WHAM! in 1966.  I read it again
a year or so later in an issue of MARVEL COLLECTORS' ITEM
CLASSICS, and again in The MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL
in 1972.  I've now got various reprints of the story in different pub-
lications, but I only noticed something for the very first time while
re-reading the story in a MASTERWORKS volume a couple
of nights back.  Can you spot what I'm referring to?

Look at the figure of REED RICHARDS in the above panel.
That sure looks a lot like a STEVE DITKO drawing to me.  Could
Steve have retouched the figure at STAN LEE's request when SD
was in the Bullpen one day, or maybe even redrawn it?  Or is it just
a totally coincidental resemblance to his style?  What think the rest
of you?  Could I be right, or am I just talking my usual load of old
pants?  Let rip in the comments section, why don'tcha?!

******

(Admittedly, Reed's hands don't look Ditko-ish in
 the slightest, but the face and sleeve definitely do.)

KIRBY 'KOCK-UPS' PART THIRTEEN - GOING DOWN - HOW...?



Cop a look at the above panel from FF #12.  See what's
wrong with it?  RICK JONES's arms are tied, so how did
he manage to climb down the 'ladder' that the baddie, KARL
KORT (he had to be a baddie with a name like that) is in the
process of descending?  I'd venture that it's impossible.
Chalk it up to yet another 'KIRBY KOCK-UP'!

MARVEL POSTERS OF THE '70S...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

As I've 'regurgitated' the MARVEL posters from the '60s, thought
I might as well go the whole hog and show again the '70s posters by ace
Spanish artist LOPEZ ESPI.  These six posters were available to U.K.
readers through the British Marvel weeklies, but though I meant to send
off for them, I never managed to get around to it.  Ironic, seeing as how
I'd suggested to Marvel that they release these great images as a set
of posters after seeing four of them in the form of mini-transfers,
given away as a free gift in the U.K. AVENGERS #1.

(Why do we say 'free' gift?  Surely the definition of a 'gift' is
that it's free?  I'll lie awake all night wondering about that now.)

Anyway, not many readers revisit old posts, so hopefully you'll all
enjoy seeing these Marvel Masterpieces again.  I know I did!





Friday, 11 August 2017

MARVELMANIA POSTERS OF THE '60s...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Okay, I've shown them before (in two parts), but can you blame me
for reposting them?  Produced for MARVELMANIA, these posters are
highly sought-after collectors' items - and here you have all eight of them
for nothing.  I spoil you Criv-ites, I really do.  Got a favourite?  Then let's
hear you wax lyrical as to why in our scintillating comments section.







BABE OF THE DAY - ALEX KINGSTON...



ALEX KINGSTON played RIVER SONG
in DOCTOR WHO.  She was aptly named, 'cos
I'm crying a river knowing that she's way out of
my league.  Though I could always 'slum' it I
suppose - no point in being snobbish.

ME AND DAVID BOWIE...



Behave yourselves - of course I never met the man.
However, I did once present a prize of a DAVID BOWIE
LP to a lucky raffle winner (who, as you can see, is clearly en-
thralled by my 'electrifying' manly-man charisma) at a charity
night at a local hotel back in November 1986.  This came about
because my town's newspaper had recently published an article
on me freelancing for 2000 A.D., and the organiser considered
me a close enough approximation of a minor local celebrity for
him to invite me to present a prize.  Yes, he was clearly
scraping the bottom of the barrel.  (I said it first.)

Also present were footballer ALLY McCOIST, and a
couple of glamorous models, one whose name was, I think,
CATRINA GARRITY, though I may be wrong about that.
I've included the models anyway, 'cos I know you'd all rather
see two leggy burds than make yourselves jealous looking at
my hirsute handsomeness.  (The blonde woman was part
of hotel management, but I don't know her name.)

Hell's bells - that was over 30 years ago, yet it seems
like only last week to me.  Wish my beard was that colour
nowadays when I let it grow, and I wish my stomach was
as flat as it was back then.  Ain't getting old a bitch?!
   

Thursday, 10 August 2017

THE HITMAN AND HER...



Bloke goes into the pub one night, looking glum.  After a while, the barman says "What's up, mate?  You look really miserable."  The bloke looks at the barman and says "Ach, it's the wife.  She's been playing away from home - I wish she was dead!"  Barman thinks he's joking and laughs, then notices that the bloke isn't laughing with him.  "Maybe I shouldn't tell you this," he says, "but the guy sitting over in the corner - his name's Artie - is a hitman.  If you're really serious about the wife, have a word with him."  "Thanks," says the bloke, "I'll do that right now."

So the bloke strolls over to Artie and says "Your name Artie?"  "Yup," says Artie.  Bloke says "You a hitman?"  "Yup," says Artie.  Bloke says "How much would you take to kill the wife?"  Artie thinks for a moment, then replies "£1."  Well, the bloke is astounded, but it turns out that Artie is a hitman more for the love of it than the money, so the deal is struck.  Artie then proceeds to discreetly follow the bloke's wife for the next couple of weeks to get an idea of her routine, and to determine the best moment to strike.  He notes that she does her shopping in her local Tesco every Wednesday morning when the place is usually deserted, so he decides to top her on the very next Wednesday.

On the day, Artie strolls into Tesco and casually throttles the bloke's wife.  As he's making his way to the door, however, he sees another customer that he hadn't previously noticed, so he throttles her as well.  Then he thinks "Better do the till assistant, just in case she remembers my face," so he throttles her too.  As he's strolling up the road, a passing policeman, seeing three dead bodies through the shop window, and having noticed that Artie has just left the premises, gives chase.  Artie legs it, but is nabbed.

Next day in the paper, the headline reads:

"ARTIE CHOKES THREE FOR A £1 AT TESCO!" 

BABE OF THE DAY - LINDA THORSON...



LINDA THORSON stands beside the
telephone, trying to make up her mind.  Should
she call me or not?  Yes, no, yes, no - she's doing
her best to resist, but so potent is my manly-man
sex appeal that she's bound to cave in and 'phone.
And there's my telephone ringing now - what
did I tell you?  She loves me to bits.
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