Monday, 30 April 2012

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS...?



As someone living in my seventh house by the time I was twenty-
eight, I've often wondered what it must be like for those who've lived
in the same abode for all of their remembered life. You see, to me, the
memories of each area I've lived in (especially growing up), each set of
friends, neighbours, experiences, etc., is almost like having lived several
alternate lives when I think back on them. To someone who has always
lived in the same house, I'd imagine it's an entirely different scenario.


This makes me wonder if their perception of time is the same as mine.
Having stayed in the same place all their life, does the period of their
childhood seem to have passed quicker or slower to them, not having
consisted of separate 'epochs' in the way that mine has? As I once ex-
plained in a previous post, regardless of whether I lived somewhere for
one year, four years, or eleven years, when I look back, it doesn't feel as
if I spent longer in one place than I did another. Consequently, having
stayed in five different houses before I was fourteen - for what seems
like equal duration - the impression that I've lived five distinct child-
hoods is perhaps more understandable than would at first appear.


However, if you've lived in the same house all your life, you only have
memories of growing up against the background of the same place to
reflect on in later life, so - does your sense of time, uninterrupted as it
was in comparison to mine, operate on the same level? I don't suppose
I'll ever really know, but the question fascinates me. As I also said in
another post, I have a tendency to imbue a sense of the profound into
the most trivial of concepts - perhaps this is just one such occasion.


Anyone got any thoughts on the matter? 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

TERRIFIC COVER GALLERY PART SIX...



Well, we've passed the half-way mark. This latest instalment of
1967 TERRIFIC front and back covers takes us up to #28 and, as there
were only 43 issues in total, that leaves only 15 to go. Regular readers will
have noticed that some pin-ups have also appeared in the FANTASTIC
COVER GALLERY posts. That's simply because a few of them were
simultaneously printed in both comics - but not always, sometimes being
entirely different between both titles. If you bought both of them, you
occasionaly had two copies of the same pin-up - if you didn't, you only
had one, but probably missed some good ones by not buying the
companion paper. Ah well, who ever said that life was easy?












Remember to tune in again for Part Seven - coming soon.

THE ULTIMATE BEANO SUMMER SPECIAL #2...



For those of you who may not already know, THE ULTIMATE BEANO SUMMER SPECIAL #2 is on sale even as I type these words. It's exclusive to WH SMITH's, so there's no point going looking for it in any other shop as you'll be wasting your time.

I'd love to show you the contents, but I can't without damaging the spine and cover, so you'll just have to buy your own copy. Priced at £4.99, it contains all your favourite Beano characters from previous Summer Specials and the weekly comic.

Go on - relive your yesterdays today!

THE DENIS GIFFORD LETTER(S)...



Back in 1976, I submitted a one page strip to the late comics collector
and historian DENIS GIFFORD's new magazine, ALLY SLOPER. Denis
wrote back, saying that the inking style I had employed wouldn't reproduce
too well so he would be unable to use it. (Probably his polite way of saying
it was cr*p.) However, he complimented me on my lettering, saying he had
no doubt I would be able to make a living from it were I so inclined.


I immediately replied, offering my services as a letterer, and he
responded with the missive which you can read above. Unfortunately,
his first letter is lost to the mists of time and hence I can't reproduce it
here. (I'm not quite sure by what stroke of good fortune his second one
survived.) If it hadn't been for Denis, it would probably never have
occurred to me to seek employment as a comics calligrapher.

Thanks, Denis.

Interestingly 'though, when I first started school, the very first thing
I was complimented on - even before my artwork - was my handwriting.
In fact, in both Primaries and the Secondary school I attended, my hand-
writing was the first thing to be noticed and commented upon, leaving me
to wonder if I was fulfilling some kind of destiny when I started sign-
writing and then eventually lettering for comics many years later.

Another thing I was good at as a boy was finding money - let's hope
that I'm fated to come into possession of large amounts of the stuff soon.
Must remember to buy myself a lottery ticket this coming Wednesday.
Anyone know if it's a rollover?

******

For Part Two, click here.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

A MARVEL MASTERWORK PIN-UP...



For no other reason than I think it's dynamite. Anyone disagree?
The image was used as an iron-on transfer given away with the first
issue of TERRIFIC in 1967. That's the transfer below, frantic ones.
(Click to enlarge, then click again.)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

PART TWO OF BUSTER, SON OF ANDY CAPP...



BUSTER started out life as the son of ANDY CAPP, but by the time
1968 rolled around his parentage was long forgotten. The strip was known
by various titles throughout its long run - such as Buster's Good Deeds,
Buster's Diary, and Buster's Dream-World. In 1974 the title reverted
to Buster's Diary yet again, changing to just Buster in 1985 when artist
TOM PATERSON took over the strip from REG PARLETT.  


Surprisingly, for a strip that lasted nearly forty years, Buster himself
only had six main artists. BILL TITCOMBE drew the cloth-capped lad's
escapades from 1960 to '61, with HUGH McNEILL taking over 'til 1962.
ANGEL NADALL then managed an impressive twelve year run until 1974,
followed by REG PARLETT who drew Andy's boy to 1985, when TOM
PATERSON took over until 1990. JIMMY HANSEN was Buster's final
regular artist until the comic's demise in 1999.




FRANCISCO SOLANO LOPEZ was the artist on GALAXUS, THE
THING FROM OUTER SPACE, the story of an alien creature stranded
on Earth and befriended by two brothers, JIM and DANNY JONES. The
meek and mild alien, capable of growing to giant-size or shrinking down to
about two inches tall, was initially scripted by KEN MENNELL and then
by SCOTT GOODALL for the remainder of its run. A classic adventure
series still fondly remembered to this day.



FREDDIE 'PARROT-FACE' DAVIES was a popular television
personality during the '60s (appearing on OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
in 1964) and was awarded the honour of having his own one-page strip in
the comic. Reg Parlett was the artist behind the comedian's zany antics
and got the likeness spot-on. For some years now, Freddie has enjoyed a
career as a well-respected actor, having appeared in prominent theatre,
television and movie roles - HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER
OF ASKABAN being but one of the high-profile, prestigious
productions he has performed in.


PROFESSOR NUTCASE was a retitled reprint of Professor Knockout
from KNOCKOUT, drawn by Nadall. He lasted for about a year under
his new identity before fading quietly from the scene into comics limbo.
LOVE HEARTS make your mouth fizz and are still going strong.



THE SKID KIDS lasted a respectable five-and-a-half year run from
1966 to 1971 before skidding to a stop. Written by FRED BAKER, the
strip was drawn by DAVID PAGE and then COLIN SQUE, more
famous as the artist on ROY OF THE ROVERS.


WALLY WHALE AND WILLY WINKLE was another Reg Parlett-
drawn strip which only lasted about five months. It was later reprinted
in VALIANT.

******

Don't forget to tune in again for Part Three - Coming soon!

******


Monday, 23 April 2012

MARVEL TALES - OF THE RATHER 'TALL' VARIETY...



Continuing our look at Marvel reprint titles from the '60s, this time
up is MARVEL TALES #1 from 1964. Unfortunately, the cover claim
of six 'uncut' origin tales was a bit of a porky as THE HULK and SGT.
FURY stories only had the first six pages of each strip. There was also a
two-page extract from TALES TO ASTONISH #49, featuring HENRY
PYM's evolution from ANT-MAN to GIANT-MAN, plus a four-page
taste of millionaire playboy TONY STARK donning his brand-new
IRON MAN armour from TALES OF SUSPENSE #48.

The issue also contained a two-page spread of some of the gang from
the Merry Marvel Bullpen, including STAN LEE, JACK KIRBY, VINCE
COLLETTA, DON HECK, SAM ROSEN and ARTIE SIMEK. The splash
page of each tale had a blurb detailing where they had first appeared, but
someone wasn't paying attention on the THOR origin - it's listed as having
been printed in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #38 instead of #83.

Below are the first pages of the six main stories.







Incidentally, the above page's blurb is misleading - the final page
was cropped to allow for an extra 'wrap-up' caption. As far as mixed
reprint books go, we had to wait 47 years 'til Marvel got it right with
MARVEL FIRSTS: THE 1960s. Still, better late than never, eh?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

BUSTER, SON OF ANDY CAPP - PART ONE...


 
BUSTER comic first appeared in May 1960, cover-dated the 28th - meaning
it actually came out on or around the 21st of the month. The star of the comic
was Buster, initially billed as the "SON OF ANDY CAPP", the booze-drinking,
fag-smoking, wife-beating, cloth-capped Northern working man from the DAILY
and SUNDAY MIRROR, as immortalised by cartoonist REG SMYTHE.

The tag-line was soon dropped, but - interestingly - on the 35th anniversary
of the comic in 1995 - a framed picture of Buster appeared on Andy's wall in
the newspaper strip*, seemingly reaffirming the connection. (Although it was
obvious that it had been added and wasn't part of the original art.) Andy had
even appeared in the Buster strip itself back in 1960 - in the June 18th and July
2nd issues, so now his son was returning the favour. (In some early issues of
the comic, Buster was referred to as Buster Capp.)

DAILY MIRROR, Saturday, May 27th, 1995

I'll be taking a look at a 1968 copy of Buster in an upcoming post, which will
contain the first instalment of the complete issue (give or take a couple of ads).
Stay tuned - same Buster time, same Buster channel...

(Now where have I heard that before?)

******

*Thanks to ALLEN CUMMINGS (Buster Editor from 1981-'99), who sent
me the Buster strip from the Daily Mirror back in 1995. Good man, Al.

******

For those of you who can tolerate my self-indulgent reminiscences, May
28th, 1960 was the official tenancy commencement date for our new house
in a new town all those years ago. (Doesn't mean we necessarily moved in on
that exact day, 'though it's possible.) Previously, in the late '50s, we had lived
in the West End of Glasgow. I probably didn't see Buster until 1966 or '67 and,
although then living in our third house in the town, it was in a house across the
road from our first one that I became aware of the comic when we were visiting
friends in our 'old' neighbourhood. I probably saw VALIANT, LION and various
ALAN CLASS comics there also (that's where I associate my first memories of
them), as WILLIAM NODWELL, the son of my mother's friend and someone
with whom my brother had once palled about when we lived there, always
had a stack of them lying around.

******

See Part Two here.

Friday, 20 April 2012

PART SIX OF FANTASTIC COVER GALLERY...



And now, by means of my own personal time machine, we return
to the year 1967 and another six covers and back-page pin-ups from FANTASTIC, published by ODHAMS PRESS when the world was younger and seemed a much better place to be. (If you were fortunate enough not to live in some war-torn or impoverished nation, obviously.) Just look at the art on display: JACK KIRBY, WERNER ROTH, BARRY SMITH, etc. Didn't someone once say that the past was a foreign country? Don't worry
'though - passports aren't required if you're with your Unca Kid. Enjoy -
or I'll want to know the reason why!