Monday, 31 October 2011

KIRBY'S GHOST - PLANKS AND MOTES (A MORALITY TALE)...



A while back, over on DANIEL BEST's blog, he reported the fact that
GREG THEAKSTON had claimed in the second volume of his JACK
KIRBY biography that Kirby did not draw his recreations of MARVEL
covers in the early '90s and that they were ghosted by other hands. This
naturally has raised some interesting questions. For example, would Jack
and Roz have allowed pages to be attributed to him and sold for high
prices if he hadn't produced them? For that matter, would Marvel
or SOTHEBY'S?

Theakston's claim has
naturally set tongues
wagging as to who may
have been involved in
creating these pages if,
as he asserts, it wasn't
Kirby. (And that's
important to remember -
if.) As far as I'm aware,
there is no evidence to
support the participation
of any particular
individual, but I'm not in
full possession of the
facts (or what passes as
facts) in the matter.

Naturally, when
such rumours take root
(and there seems just
no way to stop them),
there is always rabid speculation amongst groups of fans, and, even
if no one is publicly named, people tend to form their own ideas as to
who might have been involved. There is only a relatively select group of
people who would even be considered capable of such work, and doubt-
less all of them were regarded at some stage as potential candidates
amongst those given to conjecture on the matter. It is in that context
we must now consider what comes next.

On Dan's post, he
related the relevant
facts and indulged in a
bit of speculation. He
considered the different
possibilities and concluded
that, if (remember that
word?) the pages were
ghosted, he had been led to
believe that MIKE ROYER
may have been responsible.
He made it clear, 'though,
that his personal belief was
unconfirmed - and at no time
did he state that Royer, if
he had actually drawn the
covers, would have known
they would be passed off
as being exclusively
pencilled by Kirby.

In short, all Dan may
have meant was that he
regarded Royer as the
best qualified to produce
the work, without
necessarily ascribing to
him any fraudulent intent
or design. That is an
important aspect to
remember. 

HARRY MENDRYK
from the JACK KIRBY
MUSEUM website
immediately went on the
attack, accusing Best of
not only slandering Royer,
but also of charging him
with fraud. Now, while
deliberately misrepre-
senting the work of one
artist as that of another undoubtedly gives rise to legal and ethical impli-
cations, that doesn't necessarily mean that the one who produced the
work knew it was going to be sold on that basis.

If something is advertised as an original piece of a particular artist's work
without the actual artist's prior knowledge or consent, then he's hardly
guilty of any wrongdoing in those circumstances. And, at the risk of
labouring the point, I can see nothing in Dan Best's post to the contrary.

Mr. Mendryk is not pre-
pared to allow for any such
possibility, or to give Best
the benefit of the doubt.
Indeed, such subtleties
as I have expounded here
seem lost on him. Did
Mendryk investigate the
matter? Did he ask Best
to elaborate, or to say
precisely what he meant?
No, he immediately
accused Best of smearing
Royer's reputation, and
attributed  meanings and
motivations to Best's words
that are certainly open to a
different interpretation.
Why didn't he check first?
In this regard, he seems at
least equally as guilty of
the exact same behaviour of which he accuses Best.

As far as I can
see, all Dan has
done is report a
pre-existing story
and add his thoughts
on the topic. In so
doing, he has gener-
ated comment which
has made people
aware that Mike
Royer rejects any
suggestion of being
involved. (There are
links to this in the
comments section.)
In reporting the
already well-known
rumour, Best has
effectively put an
end to one specu-
lative aspect of it.
Mike Royer says he was not involved, and I'm perfectly happy, in the absence
of any evidence to the contrary, to accept his word. I doubt I'm alone.

As I said on Harry
Mendryk's blog, although
it's obviously better if
unsubstantiated rumours
never start in the first
place, once they're doing
the rounds, it's often
advisable to subject them
to the spotlight of truth and
let them wither under its
glare, rather than allow
them to fester in secret.
Mr. Mendryk has recently
deleted our discussion -
I leave it to individuals to
draw their own conclusions
as to why. However, I
consider my observations
worthy of consideration,
which is why I publish
them here.

I should add that I do not presume to speak on Dan Best's behalf - my
only purpose (which springs from a desire for fairness and impartiality) is
to show that people who live in glass houses should perhaps think twice
before throwing stones.   

Friday, 28 October 2011

SHAMEFUL TALES: A SAD, BAD, 'MAN AND HIS DOG' STORY...



Every so often you read a story in the newspaper that reaffirms your
faith in human nature. Then, however, there's the other kind. This is
one of those.

Ginger's owner leads her away from his car before driving off. First
photo, Ginger looking happy yesterday 

By Sara Dixon

'This is the moment before a faithful dog was dumped by
her heartless owner and left to fend for herself in an act of
cruelty condemned as "despicable" by an animal charity.
 
The pet was led into a thin strip of woodland bordering a
busy road where she was abandoned to her fate.
 
But she was so desperate to stay with her cruel owner that,
even though she was lame, she tried to run after his car as
he sped away.
 
At first it appeared he was merely taking her for a walk. But
seconds later he was captured on CCTV racing back to his
vehicle. It is thought there were three others in the car.
 
The dog desperately tried to catch up with him despite only
being able to limp because her claws had been left to grow
into her paw pads.
 
When the Shetland terrier cross, now nicknamed Ginger,
realised she had been left she sat in one spot and refused to
budge until rescuers gently coaxed her inside their office.
 
Luckily for Ginger the entire incident was witnessed by
shocked workers in the office overlooking the car park in
Granby Industrial Estate in Weymouth, Dorset.
 
Steve Sudworth and his colleague at BMT Defence
Services, Mike Jolliffe, rushed to rescue the abandoned
animal as the owner drove off in a metallic-blue Kia Rio.
 
Despite her ordeal and distress, the good-natured dog
quickly made friends with her rescuers.
 
Mr Sudworth, 49, an engineer at the firm, said: "I saw
the man walking very fast back to the car and he jumped
in. I thought he was going to shout to the dog, but he just
drove off fast. He looked really unrepentant. The dog was
trying to follow but couldn't because of the limp. I would
have run up the road after them but they were gone too
fast. It's shocking."
 
Mr Jolliffe, a designer, made the dog a makeshift collar
out of his belt.
 
Ginger, who was abandoned last Thursday lunchtime,
was taken to a vet so her painful paws could be tended.
 
Mr Jolliffe said: "She was a lovely little girl and she made
so many friends here very quickly."
 
Animal charity Dogs Trust condemned Ginger's
abandonment as "inexcusable".
 
Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin said: "There is absolutely
no excuse for abandoning a dog to fend for itself in this despic-
able way. Sadly cases of animals being dumped in this fashion
are all too common. We would urge people always to seek
help from animal rehoming charities."
 
Ginger is being cared for by dog wardens at the Weymouth
and Portland Borough Council kennels while they look for a
new home for her. Officials are hunting Ginger's heartless
owner from the CCTV footage.
 
Chris Robertson, the council's assistant dog warden, said:
"The footage speaks for itself and it is appalling."
 
Her owner is described as white, between 5ft 10in and
6ft tall and wearing blue jeans and a brown sweater.
 
Mr Robertson said the council was considering prosecuting
the owner under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.'  

From THE DAILY EXPRESS, Tuesday, September 21, 2110.

******

We can only hope that they find him and someone kicks the absolute
living sh*t out of him. In a tender, loving, caring way of course.

******

Ginger with walker Vicky Crow

UPDATE: The response to Ginger's predicament was overwhelming,
and I'm glad to say that she has now been re-homed with a more
suitable owner who will give her all the love and attention she
  deserves. Two people are being prosecuted for abandoning her.  

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

SO...VINCE THE PRINCE OR FORGETTA-COLLETTA?

 
 
VINCE COLLETTA is a name which seems to cause controversy
whenever it's mentioned these days. Some comicbook fans think he
was great, others think he was okay, and then there's another group
who think he was the worst inker ever to work in the business.

 
Some JACK KIRBY fans in particular believe he ruined every page
of the King's work he ever touched. Others think he transformed Jack's
THOR pages into a tour de force of illustrative brilliance which should
grace the Sistine Chapel. Then there are those poor souls who can't
see the difference between one page and another, regardless of
whoever pencilled or inked it.

 
 
While it's true that Vince's inks may not have suited every artist
whose pencils he worked on, there are some whose art was definitely
enhanced by the touch of his pen and brush. (GENE COLAN, JOHN
BUSCEMA, and FRANK ROBBINS, to name but three.) Jack Kirby
was definitely on that list. Vinnie diluted the idiosyncracies and ab-
stractness of Kirby's art, imbuing it with a rugged, realistic quality
that perfectly suited the mythical backdrop of Thor's adventures,
particularly when set in ASGARD.


 
I'm not alone in thinking that part of the reason for Colletta's bad
rep these days is based on poor quality reprints of his work in various
magazines back in the early '70s, printed from proofs in which his fine
detailing was lost and clumsily retouched by less-skilled hands.
(Using a blunt felt marker by the looks of things.)

 
 
However, back in the late '60s a U.K. publication called FANTASTIC
reprinted Thor's adventures from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, using
clear, sharp proofs for near-perfect black and white reproduction. U.S.
spellings, colloquialisms and references were changed, creator credits
and corner page numbers were deleted, and open case sound-effects
were sometimes blacked-in or cross-hatched for greater impact in the
b&w format, but the art still looked great.

 
 
It gives me great pleasure to present Vince's inking of Jack's pencils more
or less the way they would have looked when they were first completed, as
opposed to the far inferior reprints which came later. Enjoy.   


 
Click on image, when it appears, click again for optimum size.

Monday, 24 October 2011

WHEN SUPERMAN WAS A BUDDING SLAPHEAD - (WELL, ALMOST)...



Over on JIM SHOOTER's excellent blog (http://www.jimshooter.com/),
there's currently a discussion on the merits of VINCE COLLETTA's inking
and the reasons why JACK KIRBY's SUPERMAN heads were redrawn. To
me it's always seemed obvious that at least one of the reasons was that Jack
couldn't render ol' Supes' kiss-curl very well, often making his hair look like
a comb-over to hide a receding hairline. (Or an ill-fitting toupee.)

Don't believe me? Take a look at the stat of the pencilled pic below and
judge for yourself. The words 'ARTHUR SCARGILL' spring to mind. (Or
even 'ISAIAH' - 'cos one 'eyes's higher' than the other. Boom-boom!)
 

'HULLORERR CHINAS' - THE DAY I MET THE LEGENDARY RIKKI FULTON...



U.S. moviegoers may recall him in supporting roles such as the sinister
KGB officer MAJOR PRIBLUDA in GORKY PARK, or as DOCTOR
GEDDES in LOCAL HERO, but to Scottish audiences, RIKKI FULTON
was a genuine comedy and acting legend.  Not only in his own right, but also
alongside another giant of TV and theatre, JACK MILROY, in their alter-
egos of FRANCIE & JOSIE, the workshy layabouts from Glasgow.

Back in the merry month of May, 1982, I had the very good fortune
and great privilege of meeting Rikki Fulton in JOHN MENZIES (when
said establishment was situated near the bottom of Glasgow's Buchanan
Street, across from FRASER'S), and, for those interested in learning how
your humble host managed to rub shoulders with the great man himself,
I shall now recount exactly what transpired.

I had just stepped out of the lift on the ground floor, having been up
at the record and book departments on the first, when I espied a familiar
figure leaning on the counter at the stationery section.  "Rikki Fulton!", I
gasped (more to myself than anyone else) in the sheer disbelief of seeing a
leading member of showbiz royalty mingling with mere mortals.  (I was only
23 at the time, so can surely be forgiven my youthful excitement.)  Rikki
Fulton, whom I had watched in The FRANCIE & JOSIE Show on TV
back in the 1960s, right in front of me - in the actual, living, breathing,
pulsing flesh.  I'd thought such figures used servants or emissaries
for menial tasks like shopping, but apparently not. 


He appeared to be writing something and, thinking he was signing an
autograph, I approached (having managed to calm down a bit) and meekly
enquired if I too could have his autograph.  "As long as it's not on one of
these!", he said without missing a beat, smiling and indicating the cheque
to which he was applying his signature.  Clearly my cue to laugh at his witty
and apropos remark, but I was still too stunned at seeing him in person
to respond with appropriate appreciation for his quick-thinking, ad-
libbed one-liner, so merely stood there like a fart in a trance.

I obtained a scrap of paper from the girl serving him and, smiling in
the friendliest manner, he asked my name.  "Gordon", I managed to stam-
mer.  I had regained my composure somewhat by the time he handed me the
paper inscribed "For Gordon, Rikki Fulton", so I thanked him sincerely
and added "Sorry to have bothered you".  "Absolutely no bother at all", was
his warm and genuine response before making his way towards the exit.  No
minders, no entourage - just an everyday, ordinary guy doing his shopping.
Of course, the fact is, there was nothing everyday or ordinary about
him - the man was a showbiz titan and comedy genius.


I still have that piece of paper, tucked safely into the sleeve of my
FRANCIE JOSIE LP record by GOLDEN GUINEA.  (Which is
still available on CD on the ELM Records label - CDELM4123.)  And
whenever I recall that moment, a warm glow comes over me at the very
thought of it.  Rikki Fulton was the epitome of a perfect gentleman;  kind
and gracious to a stumbling, bumbling, pain in the @rse fan and treating me
as if I was doing him a favour.  I'll tell you, a lot of so-called celebrities in
whichever field of endeavour you care to mention could learn a thing or
two about how to behave to the public from the legend that was -
that is - Rikki Fulton.
  

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A MONSTER TO MARVEL AT - PART FOUR...



Okay, here we go with the final four issues of MARVEL's own
fright-fest known as THE FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER. Now that
you have all 18 covers to drool over, you can keep a lookout for them
in the back issue bins of your friendly neighbourhood speciality comics
shop and pick up a copy or two to actually read. Or buy the softcover
ESSENTIALS volume - whichever takes your fancy. And, if they
haven't already, Marvel is sure to release an OMNIBUS edition
for you to throw your hard-earned cash at before very long.
Keep dem eyes peeled.





Saturday, 22 October 2011

BLAZIN' A TRAIL: STARBLAZER COVER GALLERY - PART TWO...


All images copyright D.C Thomson & Co, Ltd

As promised some time back, here are the covers from
STARBLAZER #s 6 - 10.  I don't think I ever bought
any further issues after #10, so that's yer lot I'm afraid.







AD BREAK: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR - PART THREE...



And just for completion's sake, here's the in-house ads that appeared
after pages 5 and 18. Now you've got even more than you need.

Friday, 21 October 2011

THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR - PART TWO...



As promised, the second part of DAREDEVIL's origin, scanned
directly from my own copy of issue #1 from 1964. For the cover and
the first 11 pages, see the previous post.