Saturday, 18 May 2019

LOOKING FOR THRILLS? THEN YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE...



Never was a fan of MICHAEL JACKSON (never will be now given the recent revelations), but I did like THRILLER.  That was primarily because of VINCENT PRICE's vocal contribution and the zombies dancing around.  However, what if this song had been recorded back in the 1930s?  Here, recently spotted on MARK EVANIER's blog, is a great version by WAYNE BRADY.  Watch it here right now, then watch it again over on ME's blog (click on his name above), just to thank him for bringing it to our attention. 

ARE YOU A MOANER OR A COMPLAINER?



A guy I used to know once said to me "The trouble with the British is that we're moaners, not complainers!"  Could be he was right, could be he was wrong, but I found it ironic that he fell under that description himself.  We used to 'do lunch' regularly, and he'd sometimes say "These beans are cold" or "They've given me a buttered roll and I asked for a plain one", but when I suggested that he mention it to staff, he wouldn't - but would still leave a tip (when it was his turn to pay), even though he was dissatisfied with the food and/or the service.

I mentioned to him a couple of times that he was just as bad at moaning and not complaining as anyone, but he'd say "There's no point making a fuss, I'll just not go back there."  I replied that there was no need to make a fuss, but that it was entirely possible to politely say that something wasn't quite right in a way that wasn't likely to offend anyone.  Y'know, like "Excuse me, I hope you won't mind me mentioning it, but the beans are a bit cold."  What's wrong with that?  But no, he much preferred to stew in his own juice and not say anything.

It occurs to me that, his way, the staff were deprived of the opportunity to put things right and - more importantly - to learn from their mistake and avoid repeating it in the future with other patrons.  People will never know they're doing something wrong unless they're alerted to the fact and given the chance to fix it (and thereby improve), but this obvious truth was either beyond his comprehension or he was just another moaner of the kind he liked to moan about (or both).  Funny that he couldn't see that truth for himself.  People, eh?

Anyway, with that in mind, how would you describe yourself?  Are you a moaner or a complainer - and do you have any true-life examples with which to regale us by way of illustrating your point?  Go on, give it a try!  You wouldn't want me to moan about lack of comments, now would you?

DOGGIE OF THE DAY - ZARA...



And it was a long-ago day at that, as this photo was taken in 1986.  ZARA has been gone nearly 21 years now, but I still wake up some days and wonder where she is, before remembering that her current home is in the great big Kennel Club in the sky.  Still, cute-looking puppy, eh?

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

MIGHTY MARVEL CHECKLIST - ON SALE 16TH MAY...


AVENGERS UNIVERSE #19

Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

76 pages of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

The epic ‘No Surrender’ saga comes to an epic conclusion as the Avengers take on the Challenger!  By Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub and Pepe Larraz!

Also: a three-page preview of the next volume of AU, starting next month!

Featuring material first published in Avengers #688-690.

On sale 16th May.

£4.99.

 ******

WOLVERINE & DEADPOOL #18


76 pages of Marvel’s Toughest heroes!  Three awesome adventures!

Wolverine and Captain Marvel lead an attack on Latveria – but Doctor Doom is ready for them!  By Tom Taylor and Ramon Rosanas!

Old Man Logan faces a lethal showdown with Kraven the Hunter!  By Ed Brisson and Francesco Manna!

Deadpool and the brutal Tombstone go head-to-head in the kick-ass conclusion of ‘Suicide Kings’!  By Mike Benson and Carlo Barberi!

Also:  a three-page preview of the next volume of W&D, starting next month!

Featuring material first published in All-New Wolverine #35, Old Man Logan #42 and Deadpool: Suicide Kings #5.

On sale 16th May.

£4.99.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

MISS ANNE NEILSON - R.I.P.



Just found out tonight that one of my old English teachers (Miss Anne Neilson) from secondary school passed away on the 2nd of this month.  Born 5. 7. 1944, she'd have been 75 this July, which means that when I started secondary as a callow 11 year old, she'd not long turned 26.  Funny how, when we're young, anyone over the age of 20 seems much older, especially when they're in a position of authority.

I never knew her well, and I doubt she'd have remembered me within five minutes of my having left school at the conclusion of my academic 'career', but somehow I find myself (selfishly) saddened by the fact that another 'part' of my youth has now gone forever.  I think I saw her again no more than a couple of times after leaving, shopping in my local town centre, but it was from a distance and no greetings were exchanged.  And I recall attending a summer fayre (jumble sale) in the school hall around 1976 or '77, and no doubt she'd have been there as well.

She was a folk singer as well as a teacher, so here's a YouTube clip of her performing.  Anyway, here's to Miss Neilson - may she rest in peace and be fondly remembered by family, friends, and former pupils.

OH FOR A BIT OF PEACE AND QUIET...



Is it just me, I wonder?  Am I deluded in my memory of things being much quieter in my youth when it came to neighbours sitting out in their gardens enjoying the sun?  I seem to remember gentle murmurs of laughter and subdued ripples of convivial conversation, carried on balmy breezes across the garden hedges or fencing.  The faint clink of cups on saucers as families and friends indulged in tea and sandwiches, and lemonade for the kids who quietly played with their toys nearby.  Am I the only one who recalls it that way, or is it a false memory of something that never actually was?

Nowadays, it's all effin' and blindin', growlin' and roarin', shoutin' and swearin', singin' and screechin', and radios blaring away at full volume, while kids scream at the top of their voices as they run around unchecked, adding to the cacophony.  It's no longer tea and lemonade, but rather beer, wines and spirits being quaffed, which perhaps accounts for another element, absent in my day, of a strong sense of barely-suppressed aggression which seems to permeate proceedings, threatening to burst forth at any moment and spoil the fun.

And when I say 'fun', I'm talking about what the participants in these melees presumably derive from such raucous occasions, because it's certainly no fun for anyone wanting to simply sit contendedly in their gardens and relax in the warmth of the sun, listening to birds chirping, bees buzzing, or gazing at aeroplanes flying overhead in the distance.  Gardens were once considered places of peace and quiet, an oasis, where families could laze in deckchairs and forget their troubles and woes for a brief-but-ever-so-welcome spell.  When I hear the noise that emanates from some nearby gardens nowadays, it sounds more like war-torn Beruit, or a fight at an Old Firm football match.  (I'll let you decide for yourselves which is the worse option.)

My nerves are frazzled within no time when I'm out in either of my gardens, and that's only to fill the bird-feeders and water dishes, or to deposit household waste in any of the four bins.  (Oh for the days of one single refuse receptacle.)  The noise isn't only audible outside though, as I can also hear it from indoors.  Am I alone in my feelings about this, or is there anybody else out there who feels the same?  Or have I simply metamorphosed into an intolerant old fart like Victor Meldrew now that I'm of a certain age, and am out of step with everyone else?

Feel free to express yourselves (whatever your opinion) in our ever-lovin' (and far too often neglected) comments section.    

Monday, 13 May 2019

MARVEL FEATURE #1 FACSIMILE EDITION - THE DEFENDERS...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Ever coveted MARVEL FEATURE #1, the debut issue of The DEFENDERS, but were unable (or unwilling) to pay the hefty collectors' item prices for it?  Well, now you can buy yourself this handsome facsimile edition for a few paltry quid.  Still dragging your heels?  Here's a sneak peak inside just to show you what you're missing.  Now, straight 'round to your local comics shop with you, Criv-ites, and say it loud and proud - "Make Mine Marvel (Feature)!"



Sunday, 12 May 2019

BABE OF THE DAY - LYNDA CARTER...



I was just running around the back garden in my BUGS BUNNY gym shorts earlier, and LYNDA CARTER stood gaping at my mighty manly-man muscles.  "I've never seen a guy with a body like yours before," she said, clearly astounded at what she saw.  In fact, she was so astounded that she went home immediately, obviously needing to lie down and cool off after I set her pulse racing.  She must have fallen into a deep swoon, because I've been calling her all afternoon and she hasn't picked up the 'phone.  Guess she's enjoying herself too much in dreamland thinking of me (the lucky woman).

Saturday, 11 May 2019

BARRY PEARL MINI GUEST POST...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

When you think of superheroes, you automatically think of strong, powerful men and women.  Marvel has received a lot of publicity for creating a 'handicapped' superhero with Matt Murdoch/Daredevil, but in the 1960s there was more than just him.  Here is a list:

Daredevil:  Blind.
Iron Man:  Injured heart.  (He needed what today would be a pacemaker.)
Professor X:  Crippled, confined to a wheelchair.
Nick Fury:  Loss of one eye during the war.
Don Blake/Thor:  Lame, needed a cane to walk with.
Dr. Strange:  Loss of dexterity in both hands.

In the twelve superhero series of the '60s, half of them featured what can be regarded as disabled characters.  And then there were also those who were 'sort-of' handi-capped.

Hulk & Thing:  Physically altered.
Cyclops:  Needed to constantly wear protective eye-wear.
Henry Pym:  Stuck in giant-size for a while.

Back then, members had to get to Avengers Mansion early for meetings or all the handicapped parking spots would be taken.

Who was the handicapped hero you most related to back in the day - and why?

THE FUNNY PAGES...


Images copyright REBELLION

It's taken me a while to get around to taking a look at this comic, one of the many available for Free Comic Book Day last Saturday, but the only one I was interested in acquiring.  It's hard to resist comparing The FUNNY PAGES to the COR!! BUSTER Humour Special, but comparisons are inevitable and, in my view, I know which one comes out on top.  And that's not just because anything that's free has a huge advantage in the appeal stakes to a stereotypical frugal Scot, but because it's the superior publication.

It's true that the nostalgia factor doubtless plays a part in forming my opinion, but that doesn't render it completely devoid of any objectivity when it comes to assessing the respective merits of the two magazines.  The Cor!! Buster mag was very professionally produced and there was nothing in it that could really be described as bad, but when you have cartoonists of the calibre of KEN REID, LEO and MARTIN BAXENDALE, MIKE LACEY, REG PARLETT, STEVE BRIGHT, BOB NIXON, TOM PATERSON, STAN McMURTRY (I think), etc. (as Funny Pages did), then the CB Humour Special was always going to be runner-up.

Thankfully, however, you needn't be restricted to either one or the other, you can have both - if you're prepared to pay around a tenner for Funny Pages on ebay (if you weren't sharp enough to get one for free), and £4.99 for Cor!! Buster in WHS.  I know which one I prefer (both published by REBELLION) - how about you?

(And a special thanks to MIKE from DD.)


I think this is by Leo Baxendale, but it just might be by Tom Paterson

Thursday, 9 May 2019

WAYFARERS ALL...?



On August the 1st I'll have been living in my current abode for 32 years.  (The official tenancy commencement date is the 4th, but trust me - we moved in on the 1st.)  However, on June 14th, it'll be 47 years since I first moved into the house I now occupy.  How can such an apparent contradiction be the case you may be wondering, so I'll tell you - though if you're a longtime Criv-ite you'll already know the answer.

11 years after having first moved here, my family relocated to a new house in a new neighbourhood, but after just four years, we moved back.  I'd never wanted to leave this house to start with, so naturally enough I was overjoyed to return, and at first it seemed as if we'd never been away.  However, you've read all this before if you're a regular reader of this blog, so no need to go over it again in excruciating detail.

The only reason I mention it now is because I've been thinking about previous occasions my family had moved house (I'd been in six different residences by the age of 24), and the effect each new home had on me at the time.  Thinking back, it seemed that I was more aware of each new environment in the initial stages, though that's probably not surprising as everything was making its impression on me for the very first time.  It wasn't just the house and neighbourhood I soaked up in an enhanced state, but also seasons, colours, smells, etc.

It occurs to me that whenever we experience new surroundings, it's like a reset button has been pressed in our heads, and our senses react in an increased capacity, so that the first sunny or rainy days in a new house make more of a dent in our brains than many similar days during our latter years in a former domicile.  The sky seems bluer, the grass greener, the snow whiter, etc.  After we've settled in (after a few years usually), that keen awareness settles down and we view and feel things in a much more muted manner.  I suppose that's because once we're used to a place, we don't really pay it the same attention as we did in the beginning. 

So maybe it's a good thing to change our surroundings every few years - or our places of employment and maybe even careers.  (Whether this includes partners is open to discussion obviously.)  I'd be the first person to sing the praises of familiarity and continuity, but I can't help but remember the first impressions I had upon flitting to a new home and neighbourhood, and measuring it against how I feel now all these years later.  Something seems to be missing, but I don't think I'd be able to cope with a change of residence now in my advanced decrepitude, so I'm not sure how to interpret my occasional restlessness and yearnings for something new.

At times like this, I'm reminded of the chapter entitled 'Wayfarers All' in Kenneth Grahame's magnificent book, The WIND In The WILLOWS (which I heartily recommend), and I settle down again, knowing that yearnings for something fresh are often best left to the imagination than fulfilled in the day-to-day reality of life.

Or perhaps you're of a different opinion?  If so, feel free to express it in our lonely and neglected comments section.  In fact, do so even if you agree with me.  (There's always a first time.) 

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

THANKS FOR THE... ER, WHAT'S THE WORD AGAIN? AH, YES... MEMORIES...



Memory, as I think I've said before (not sure, can't quite recall - tee-hee) is a funny thing.  Case in point:  Many, many moons ago (or so it seems), I remember reading a letter in a MARVEL mag, wherein the writer said that the phrase "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" was in error, because it should read "Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent".  My memory suggests that it was in relation to the X-MEN and something that HANK McCOY in particular had exclaimed.  I'd have said that it was sometime in the '70s I read this, but here's the thing.  I've just read such a letter in X-Men #45, which I first acquired in 1968, and that seems too far back to me - I'm sure it was later than that.

So what's the explanation?  It could be that someone wrote a similar letter years later, or that I read it in a UK Marvel weekly, because they sometimes reprinted some letters from American mags, but with a more British-sounding name attached to them.  (The letters were genuine, just not new, nor attributed to the original authors.)  Marvel UK did this in the early days when they thought a letter conveyed some pertinent point that the readers would find interesting - and perhaps also fill space on a slow week for letters.  (ODHAMS PRESS did the very same thing in the '60s with regard to their Marvel reprints.)

However, there's another possible explanation.  In my collection are the first two OMNIBUS volumes of the X-Men, which include the letters pages.  Did I read it there?  No, I'm pretty sure I read it much further back than that.  So here's a question to all you Marvel experts (BARRY PEARL and NICK CAPUTO, are you reading this?).  Do any of you remember reading such a letter in a US or UK Marvel mag, and the year in which you read it?  I'd guess I probably first read it in a UK mag, but I've no idea which one.  The only other explanation is that my memory is far better than I give it credit for, and that I actually recall reading it in X-Men #45 back in 1968.  Got to be honest though, I doubt it - mainly because I'm not sure I even read the letters in US mags back then.

So if you can shed any light on this perplexing mystery (to me anyway), feel free to chip in.

Friday, 3 May 2019

YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD COVER DOWN...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

The X-MEN #45 was cover-dated June (1968), but I didn't get it 'til December of that year - after I'd already read the tale when it was reprinted in FANTASTIC #87 in October.  Why did I want the original US ish then?  Because it was in colour - and my brother paid for it, along with SUPERBOY #146.  I bought X-Men #93 (published back in 1975) a goodly number of years ago, and recently re-acquired #45 - as well as purchasing MARVEL TRIPLE ACTION #45, which reprinted the tale in 1978 - with three extra pages involving a flashback.  (I'd already re-acquired Fantastic #87 back in the '80s or '90s.)

I therefore have the same cover image four times over in my collection (and that's only individual issues, not counting reprints in book collections), so thought you might like to see 'em.  You do?  Okay then - here they are.  Which version (if any) do you prefer, o conscientious Criv-te?  Feel free to tell us in the comments section.


Issues 67-93 reprinted previous tales, with #93 being the last ish.  A
new team debuted in Giant-Size X-Men #1 the next month,  and con-
tinued in #94 when the regular title was revived three months later 

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

BABE OF THE DAY - CAN YOU GUESS WHO THIS IS, PET?



Believe it or not, this is actress BRIGIT FORSYTH, who played THELMA CHAMBERS/FERRIS in BBC TV's excellent WHATEVER HAPPENED To The LIKELY LADS  back in 1973/'74.  Wotta darlin'!

Monday, 29 April 2019

AGAIN - MARVEL TREASURY UPDATES...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Just received MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #s 7, 9, & 10 today and added them to my MTE post, which you can access by clicking here.  That's now the first twelve in a row, plus a few others.  The 1974 GIANT SUPERHERO HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG was an un-numbered one-shot, even though it was published between issues 3 & 4.  (And was called a 'Special' rather than an 'Edition'.)

Sunday, 28 April 2019

FABULOUS FLASHBACK: THOR & X-MEN...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

A whopping 36 years ago, in the month of April, MARVEL UK released two new comics a week apart - The MIGHTY THOR and The ORIGINAL X-MEN.  The latter lasted for a mere 17 issues before being merged with the former, and the combined title lasted for only another 21 issues (if my arithmetic is up to scratch) before finally biting the dust.  It's a shame that there wasn't a third comic starring IRON MAN, because then they could've merged all three periodicals and re-created FANTASTIC, which had featured all three titles back in the '60s.  There are complete cover galleries of Thor, X-Men, and Fantastic on the blog just waiting for a visit from you, so feel free to search them out, frantic ones.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

MEN OF THE MONTH - BING, BOB & FRANK...



Fear not, fellow Criv-ites, I'm not 'on the turn', but there's nothing wrong in having the occasional post devoted to macho manly-men who we can admire in a masculine, non-Julian Clary way.  So here's BING CROSBY, BOB HOPE and FRANK SINATRA about to play around (stop it) a round (of golf).  Not quite sure why Bing is wearing either his pajama jacket or a deck chair, but he still looks manly.  This photo is from a time when men were men and women knew their place.  What's that?  Sexist?  Me?  Not at all - I merely meant that their place was on the pedestals we men gladly put them, not down here in the gutter with us. 

Friday, 26 April 2019

BABE OF THE DAY - JERI RYAN...



Buxom babe JERI RYAN looks a little crestfallen after me explaining that I can't stay and make mad, passionate love to her as I've got to rush home and sort out my stamp collection.  (A man's got to get his priorities in order.)  Her disappointment is understandable, given my stunning, manly-man handsomeness, but she can console herself with the thought that there's always next time to look forward to.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN...


Copyright DC COMICS

DC COMICS have just released this great collected edition of all 15 issues of JACK KIRBY's run on SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN.  These stories were previously available in FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS editions, as well as two separate JO volumes published back in 2003 and 2004.  Unfortunately, some mistakes have still not been corrected, the first being a missing line (The Origin of the first Newsboy Legion!, plus the number and date) from the cover of #141, the second being Superman sporting a MIKE ROYER corrected face on the cover of #146, instead of the MURPHY ANDERSON one that graced the published issue.

Also, the inking of #145's cover was mistakenly credited to VINCE COL-LETTA (instead of Murphy Anderson) in the 2004 book, and at first I thought they'd avoided the error this time around by not specifying which artists inked which covers, but I was wrong;  they've simply moved the credits from the cover pages themselves to the contents pages, where the mistake remains.

However, your genial and well-loved, greatly admired and immensely respected host (that's me) has no hesitation in saying that these issues were the best thing Jack produced at DC in the sizzling '70s and undoubtedly deserve to adorn every serious collector's bookcase, so you should run out and purchase one right away.  Previous volumes in this series of softcovers have included intros from earlier editions, but this one breaks with tradition and MARK EVANIER's introductions to the two separate volumes are absent.  Also, the bonus pages featuring stats of Jack's pencils are different to the ones included in the 2004 book, but there are six compared to the former's three.

So why are you still here?  Get out and buy one!

(P.S.  For some reason, my scanner isn't reproducing the front and rear covers' background colour properly.  That pinkish colour should be orange.)

MARVEL TREASURY EDITIONS UPDATE...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Ditto (not Ditko)

Just to let you cultured Criv-ites know that I've now updated my MARVEL TREASURY EDITIONS post to include #s 5 & 6 - The INCREDIBLE HULK and Dr. STRANGE, respectively.  (They arrived today.)  Just click here to go there.  (Oops!  Link now operational.)

THE SAINT ANNUAL COVER GALLERY...


Copyright relevant owner

I freely admit to cheating a bit with this one.  Although I have four of the six books featured here, I couldn't be bothered digging them out to scan, so I've used screen-grabs of PAUL PERT's collection from my DVD boxed set of The SAINT.  Also, not all of these books are actually called 'Annuals', but that umbrella title will have to do for any pedants among you (of which I'm one).  The first book, above, was only available in the Netherlands (I think) and was issued the same year (1967) as the British Annual below.  Considering that the ITC series starring ROGER MOORE first appeared on TV in 1962, publishers were a bit slow off the mark in cashing in on the character's popularity by way of books aimed at kids.


The Annual below was issued in 1968 (for '69) and is all text stories, with no picture strips.  Some nice illustrations and features though.


Next up, below, is the Annual for, believe it or not, 1970, issued towards the end of '69.  This book is mainly text stories, but does include a couple of picture strips.


The next book, below, is a bit of a cheat, because it's essentially a slimmer volume of the above book, in that all its contents are reprinted from it - though it doesn't contain all its predecessor's contents, as some have been omitted. Issued in 1971, the one thing it does have going for it is that the two picture strips are now in colour, and if you'd missed the Annual two years before, you wouldn't be aware that it was a reprint book (obviously).


The book below isn't really a Saint book, though he is mentioned inside.  Issued in 1966, it's a collection of true-life tales, with an introduction by Roger.  I assume the contributions attributed to him were actually written by Rog, because he's listed as one of the copyright holders.


Anyway, that's your whistle-stop tour through the Annuals and books dedicated to Roger Moore's Saint.  Did you have any of these books at the time readers, and what did you think of them?  Share your memories with the rest of us today. 

Monday, 22 April 2019

MAJOR MATT MASON MOON SUIT REPLACEMENT ARMS...


Same suit as below, but with new arms

Strange as it may seem, I now have more Major MATT MASON accessories than I ever had as a kid.  Back then, I only had the basic figure 'paks' and whatever pieces of equipment were included with them.  At different times, I had Sgt. STORM, maybe DOUG DAVIS, and CALLISTO.  I didn't get a Matt Mason until around 1970 or '71, when I swapped a CORGI BEATLES YELLOW SUBMARINE and my Callisto with a pal for his Matt figure.  (I wuz robbed.)  My originals have long since been consigned to history, but I now have (and have had for some time) three Matts, three Callistos, and one each of Davis and Storm - plus all sorts of equipment I never had at the time.

Over a quarter of a century ago, I bought a figure and a bag of accessories from the late ROGER WILSON of WONDERLAND TOYS (I think it was called) via mail order (I saw an ad for the shop in EXCHANGE & MART) for a mere £70.  Included was an armless Moon Suit (though the other stuff was in good order), so not too long after, I bought an unopened Moon Suit blister pak from ANDY FOLEY of TV TOY ZONE for £25.  I carefully opened it and put it on display, but after around 20-odd years, the latex arms crumbled to powder when I was dusting it one day.

The replacement arms I made

Several months back, I made some temporary replacement arms so that I could continue to display the item, but I've now replaced those makeshift arms with ones which better resemble the originals.  They're not made of thin latex (and therefore don't mimic the pump-action of the 'real' ones), but are made of thicker rubber into which a piece of thick wire is inserted, allowing them to be posed in whatever position the owner prefers.  The reason I mention this is so that, if you have an armless Moon Suit which you wish to restore, the arms are available from ebay seller frenchboomer for a fairly reasonable price.

So, to reiterate, the replacement arms don't operate like the originals, but are extremely similar in appearance and just perfect for display purposes.  There's another seller who also makes replacement arms, but they don't look like the originals, which is why I plumped for the ones I bought.  Go on - take the first step to restoring your old Matt Mason Moon Suit today.  I bought two sets of arms, which now allows me, for the very first time, to display both Moon Suits together, though I haven't placed a figure inside the other one yet, hence no photo.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Straight over to ebay with you.     

PART FIFTY-SIX OF FAVOURITE COMICS OF THE PAST - 'MURDER BY SPIDER'...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

This isn't the first comic from the 1980s to grace the 'Favourite Comics of the Past' feature, but it still feels kind of strange as the '80s yet seem recent to me, whereas I tend to think of the 'past' as the '60s and '70s.  Nevertheless, it's been 37 years since I first bought this mag, so it surely qualifies - and it's a great little read into the bargain.  I just re-read it again only half an hour ago, and it still stands up after all this time.  If you've got it in your collection, then dig it out and treat yourself to an atmospheric mystery, if not, get straight on to ebay and get yourself a copy of The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #228.

Writer JAN STRNAD later complained about the way in which his script was edited and some sections of dialogue moved around (in an issue of The COMICS JOURNAL I think), but I don't think readers will be in any way disappointed in the story despite the writer's objections.  Just paste your peepers on that splash page (below) - doesn't it look great?!  I wish we'd seen more tales in this vein, as Spidey fits right into moody murder mysteries of this type.

Once again, this is the actual issue I purchased in 1982, not a replacement, and it's practically in the exact same condition as the day I got it - which is more than can be said for me.  I first read it in the same room I just re-read it half an hour or so ago, which serves my sense of significance in a way I can't quite explain (but you know me - I'll try).  Although I no doubt also re-read this ish in the house I lived in for four years between my two periods of residence in my current abode, it's good to repeat the experience where it began, if you know what I mean.

No?  Doesn't matter a jot, just enjoy these two great images from another century.  It would be nice if MARVEL did a facsimile edition of this issue, so here's hoping.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

A BENCH TOUCHED BY CLASS (UPDATED)...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Around three Sundays ago, I took a plod along to one of my old neighbourhoods to wallow in nostalgia for days long past, and, as is my wont, sat on a bench near a burn (a Scots word for watercourse, from a large stream to a small river) in which wild fowl sometimes swim.  Not that you can see them from the bench, but you can usually hear them, and if you stand on the edge of the burn and look down into it, you'll be rewarded by the sight of them doing nothing much at all.

Back in the '70s (as related in a prior post or two), I used to visit my town's hospital shop in search of ALAN CLASS titles, as it seemed to stock more of them than anywhere else, and on the way home, I would stop at the same bench to browse through my comic acquisitions and familiarize myself with their contents.  Consequently, there are some covers that I automatically associate with that bench, burn and view, and the connection is unbreakable.

Three Sundays ago, however, something had changed.  The bench, which as far as I know was the same one that had occupied the spot since the '60s, was gone, and in its place was a brand-spanking new bench, but of a completely different type.  The old one had a metal frame on which sat two wooden boards, with another single wooden board at the back to support the sitter.  This allowed me to swing my legs around and sit facing the other way, leaning on the back-board like a railing.  That way, I could look along the street in which I'd lived from 1965 to 1972.

The actual bench.  Enlarged section from a far more panoramic photo

The new bench was an all wooden garden-type bench, which unlike its predecessor, had armrests on either side, allowing the sitter a better 'lounge' while watching the world go by (unless he's sitting between two other sitters), but you can only sit facing front (so STAN LEE would've loved it), not the other way should the notion take you.  However, I couldn't help but feel saddened by the sudden absence of a familiar item from my youth, and I fear that sitting there from now on will no longer be the same sentimentally-satisfying experience it once was.

The old bench was in good order the last time I saw it a couple or so months back, so unless it was subject to a severe act of vandalism in the interim, it didn't really need replaced.  I've got photos of the area which are sure to include the bench, and I'll add one to this post when I find them (now done).  In the meantime, I've included a couple of Alan Class comics covers which conjure up memories of the '70s as I sat on the original bench poring through my then-new acquisitions.

Incidentally, within months of buying these comics, I gave them to a friend, who returned them to me a little over 30 years later, so these are the actual comics I had with me at the time, not later replacements.

Are there any places that you associate with certain comics (and vice versa obviously)?  If so, feel free to wax lyrically about them in the comments section, considerately supplied exclusively for your convenience.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252 FACSIMILE EDITION...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252 - purchased (much to my apt amazement) a staggering 35 years ago.  It just doesn't feel like it, seeming more like only a few weeks back rather than the inordinate length of time it actually is.  That was more than half my life away, and I have immense difficulty getting my head around the fact that I've got to where I am now without being fully aware of the duration of the journey.

Anyway, today I received the new facsimile edition of the exact same issue, which pressed the reset button for me and returned me to an earlier time in a different house in another neighbourhood.  I might not have a functioning TARDIS, but if I ever want to go back in time, I find that certain comics serve the very same purpose.

However, enough of my self-indulgent silliness.  As you'll know, the cover is a nod to Spidey's first appearance in AMAZING FANTASY #15, and it was probably the collectors' item of the moment back in 1984.  (Or would that have been SECRET WARS?  Really?  Never thought it was that great to be honest.)

Anyway, the original is above, the facsimile below, followed by both issues together so that you can have seconds of fun trying to spot the differences.  Forget the colour, as that's more likely to be down to different printing techniques and paper than variations in the colour palette utilised in their production.

So what was your opinion of the Web-Spinner's new black costume all those years ago?  Like it, loathe it, or didn't care one way or the other?


The difference in issue number boxes is down to the fact that the 1st
is a direct edition copy and the 2nd is a (facsimile) newsstand copy
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