Tuesday, 14 February 2017


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

You may recall me mentioning 'Bob Billens' twice
or thrice before on this blog.  'Bob' was a university grad-
uate who tended to think he was far smarter than just about
everyone he knew.  I remember once mispronouncing a word
and he took immense delight in correcting me.  He was quite an
arrogant person now that I think of it, and perhaps he suffered
from 'small angry man syndrome' because of his diminished
height.  He was a composite of Bob and Terry from The
Likely Lads, in that he had Bob's status-seeking
aspirations and Terry's verbal aggression.

When he and his wife moved down to England in (I
think) the early '80s, we stayed in touch via 'phone calls
and 'cassette-a-letters'.  These were cassette tapes contain-
ing 'monologues' and music, similar in style to a radio show,
wherein we'd inform the other as to what was happening in our
respective lives, and intersperse it with some of our favourite
songs.  I can't recall which of us it was (unless I listen to his
tapes again, which I still have), but one of us included the
& TITANIUM MAN on one of our 'shows'.

If he played it, he came on after it ended and said
"As you'll probably know, the Crimson Dynamo is DC's
character RED TORNADO."  If I played it, that's what he
said in his next tape when he responded to mine.  Not that it
matters I suppose.  I'd have to check, but I have a sense that
Bob might've been home on a visit to his in-laws before I'd
had the opportunity to reply to his tape, so I may've told
him this in person.  "Actually, he's MARVEL's The
Crimson Dynamoa foe of IRON MAN."

It was clear from the feeble excuses he made that
he didn't like being caught in an error.  "Well, Marvel's
your bag, I'm more of a DC fan.  Blah, blah, blah!"  True,
I had (good-humouredly) rubbed his face in it, but as he was
usually so smug in his assumed superiority, he was begging to
be taken down a couple of pegs - so I took him down.  I may
not have gone to university, but I'd shown him I knew more
about one of his favourite subjects (comicbooks) than he
did.  (And I could beat him at arm wrestling, so I was
well ahead in points, if not in academic qualifica-
tions.  "Kid is big, Kid is strong.")

I'll say one thing for him though - his ego was bigger
than mine (and mine's plenty big).  Whether or not his
was equalled by actual ability is something I never found
out, but I doubt it.  After all, nobody could be that good.
(And, on the off-chance that he might one day read this
and dispute its veracity, my trusty solicitors Hunt,
Blunt & Cunningham are standing by.)


TC said...

I was also more of a DC fan, but I knew who the Crimson Dynamo was. He made two appearances in Tales of Suspense. Those were slightly before my time, but I read the reprints in Marvel Collector's Item Classics. They were also adapted for the Marvel Super-Heroes cartoon show on TV.

That's the original Crimson Dynamo, a Soviet scientist named Vanko. I think there may have later been another Marvel Comics character who used the same name, but I'm not certain.

Kid said...

Yes, there was another guy (The Black Widow's henchman, Boris, I think) who donned the suit, TC, and I daresay there have probably been a few more since then.

John Pitt said...

And I recognise that piccie from.the back of Fantastic!

Kid said...

What a coincidence, JP - so do I.

Colin Jones said...

My father constantly corrected my mispronunciation but I didn't mind (that's how I discovered Sub Mareener was wrong). And I corrected his mistakes - for some reason he always pronounced Vladivostock as Vallivostock and Ethiopia as Eth-opia. And he thought the number of the beast was 999 !!

Kid said...

I must confess I get irritated when people mispronounce 'pattern' and 'modern' as 'patteren' and 'moderen' - AAAAGGGGHHHH!! And 'must have' as 'must of' - double AAAAGGGGHHHH!!

Colin Jones said...

And nuclear as nucular. Also saying 2017 as "Two thousand and seventeen" - no, it's Twenty seventeen. Do they say the Battle of Hastings was in One Thousand and sixty-six ??

TC said...

There was a Mickey Mouse & Goofy comic book story where they were delivering a piano, and when they finally got it up the stairs, they found it was the wrong address. They had the address label upside down, so it was supposed to be 66 instead of 99.

And then there's 667. The neighbor of the beast.

Kid said...

Ah, but was it the address label that was upside down, or the piano? 'Neighbour of the beast' - that's a good one, TC.

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