Friday, 17 January 2020


Cover art copyright MARVEL COMICS

A couple or so years ago, someone gave me a CD called The MARVEL WORLD Of ICARUS.  I only got around to listening to it a few weeks back and, surprisingly, quite liked it.  It appears for all the world like a professionally produced CD, not a bootleg, but apparently it may not be 'official'.  You see, I recently saw another version of it on ebay with 5 extra tracks, so bought it immediately for the additional songs.  The extensive sleeve/booklet notes claim that it's the only authorised version (from the original masters) since its original 1972 release, so if true, I'm not sure about the status of the other CD.  I note that it's also now been reissued on vinyl, so if you'd like to own a little-known slice of the '70s, this one's for you!


Copyright DC COMICS

Just arrived, my DC COMICS facsimile edition of DETECTIVE COMICS #359 - "The MILLION DOLLAR DEBUT Of BATGIRL!".  I wonder if anyone at DC reads this site, because this time around they've left the date on the cover, as per my suggestion in response to their previous facsimiles.  Even the ads (with one or two exceptions) don't look quite so faded as in preceding mags in this series, so not much to complain about with this one.

I bought the original issue way back in the '60s, but never kept it.  However, I purchased a replacement for it many moons ago, and there's a scan of it alongside the new version below.  As you can see, the lettering in the lower left-hand corner of the facsimile has been moved slightly to accommodate the bar-code box, but I can live with it if you can.  (There are a few other minor differences as well - can you spot them?)  Still, great stuff, eh?  Now run out and buy your own!


Because of chronic fatigue, I find it nigh impossible nowadays to watch anything on TV and give it my full attention, as my mind soon drifts off or goes into shutdown mode.  Often, within 5 or 10 minutes, I've fallen asleep and only wake up once it's all over.  However, with these limitations, I've been watching CALLAN and BUDGIE (in 10 minute segments) and finally managed to cover all 12 surviving monochrome episodes of the former show.  The DVD collection of Callan was issued in 2010, and the programmes contained therein hadn't been seen in 40-odd years, which means it's been over 50 years since I first and last saw them on their initial broadcast between 1967 and '69*.

(*Except for the ARMCHAIR THEATRE pilot, A MAGNUM For SCHNEIDER, which was repeated as part of the TV HEAVEN series in 1992.) 

I last saw Budgie in 1985 when it was repeated on Channel 4 (I think), which was 35 years ago.  As mentioned in a previous post, when they were first broadcast (in two series) back in 1971 and '72, I saw the last 5 episodes of the 2nd series over the first month in the new house we'd moved to, and in which I again live today.  Last night, I persevered and managed (between sleeps) to watch the first of those last 5 shows, so in 4 episodes' time, I'll have reached the end of my quest to re-experience that particular aspect of my past, before moving on to the colour episodes of Callan.

Here's the thing though.  Back in 1991, I bought the house number-plate from the then-current (and now sadly-deceased) tenant of my former abode, and affixed it to the door of the room in which I now type this.  That means I've now passed the number-plate many more times in my present domicile than in my former one, as I only stayed there for 6 years and 7 months (which was around half my life at the time).  I therefore had a decision to make in regard to those last 5 Budgie episodes, which was this:  Should I watch them in the living-room where I first saw them back in '72, or should I watch them in the room above which sports the number-plate of my former house where I viewed all the preceding ones?

You see, while I find it alluring to re-create a 'moment' in the same room it first occurred 48 years before, I find it just as alluring to imagine the past as it could've happened had we never flitted from our former home in '72.  After all, I'd still be watching those last 5 episodes in the same house I first saw them, but in a room bearing the actual number of the previous house in which I'd viewed the preceding 21 - the best of both worlds, as it were.  That may not mean anything to you, but I find it appealing in some way to indulge in a game of 'what if...?', as opposed to what did.

True, a large dollop of imagination is required in the process, but I've got that in spades.  Feel free to tell me how mad I am in the comments section.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020


In the previous post, I made passing reference to a pharmacy colleague of the lovely ELIZABETH, said workmate being the one who wagered (with the full involvement and approval of the others) that I wouldn't be able to find out two specific items of information about Liz.  Now, truth be told, this colleague was a bit snooty and up herself, and always presented herself as being a bit prim and proper and above mere ordinary mortals like myself, a lowly warehouse worker.  Here's a little tale of how, based on my daring detective work related earlier, she sh*t a brick, thinking I had access to all sorts of secrets best kept hidden.

One of my occasional duties in BOOTS warehouse was operating the 'baler', a huge machine for compressing wastepaper and cardboard boxes into large compact cubes. There was a part-time worker assigned to this task, but when he wasn't in, it fell to me or another of the warehouse staff to do it.  Anyway, one day, I was busily feeding all sorts of paper waste from an oblong trolley into the machine, including 'wallets' of photographs which had remained uncollected by customers for months.  It was the company's policy, due to limited storage space, to dispose of all abandoned photos after a certain period.

In a moment of idle curiosity, I picked up one of the thin cardboard wallets at random, and took a casual look through it - and was surprised to see a few pics of the snooty pharmacy worker, completely rat-@rsed at a party.  Gone was her reserved and 'dignified' demeanour - she looked completely blotto and uninhibited, and totally different from the image of herself she presented at work.  (Which is fair enough I suppose - after all, it was a party.)  Anyway, I thought she'd like to have them, so took them around to the pharmacy and gave them to her, freely telling her I'd found them in a trolley of waste earmarked for disposal.  She took one look at them and quickly thrust them into the pocket of her white coat, looking a bit flushed and flustered.

I returned to the baler, but a little while later, she came into the warehouse and quizzed me on where I'd obtained the photos, trying to inject a tone of stern authority into her voice.  Obviously, because of my dazzling detective work in the case of Elizabeth, her imagination had been working overtime, causing her to wonder if I had specifically 'targetted' her, and whether my discovery of the photos had been as a result of me deliberately digging into her life.  Nope, pure random chance and sheer coincidence!  Anyway, I was a bit surprised, to say nothing of annoyed, at her obvious insinuation and told her it was exactly as I'd first said when I gave them to her - I'd found them in the waste trolley.

She appeared satisfied, albeit reluctantly, perhaps sensing that I was affronted by her unspoken-but-obvious suspicion, and pushed off back to the pharmacy.  Maybe I should've been more annoyed than I was (after all, I'd being doing her a favour), but I couldn't help but be enormously amused at her paranoia, and even pleased to a degree that I'd gotten under her skin (purely metaphorically you understand) and caused her a moment's perturbation.  Snooty people like her deserve to be toppled from their high horse in my view - and that's exactly what I did.

Any youthful tales of a similar nature, fellow Crivs?  Reveal all in the comments section - if you dare!


Here's a goody.  Long, long ago (but in the same galaxy), when I was 16 or 17, I toiled in the warehouse of my local BOOTS The CHEMIST.  In the pharmacy depart-ment worked a young lady by the name of ELIZABETH (surname withheld to spare her blushes in case she ever reads this, unlikely as it is), on whom I had a bit of a crush.  A mild crush - not one that would ever have compelled me to ask her out, but enough of one that would make me want to impress her, should the opportunity present itself.

Guess what?  It did.  Sitting in the canteen one day, I was engaged in a bit of casual conversation with Elizabeth and some of her pharmacy colleagues.  I no longer recall what we were discussing, but at some stage the extent of my knowledge of the subject was called into question.  "You don't know everything!" one of them said, which was like a red rag to a bull to me.  "Perhaps, but anything I want to know, I can find out!" I stated.

They called my bluff! "Okay then, what's Elizabeth's mum's maiden name, and what hospital was Elizabeth born in?" one of them asked, rather smugly.  They had flung down the gauntlet and I had to accept or lose face.  "I'll find out!"  I declared to loud jeers and derision. (They actually bet me that I couldn't, though I no longer remember what the forfeit was.)  Now, on the face of things, I was in a bit of a bind. Just how could I possibly uncover such obscure information unless I was psychic or had access to Elizabeth's and her mum's personal information files, kept in some secret government facility somewhere? (I know, I know - watched too many JAMES BOND films.)

This was on the Tuesday or Wednesday, and they gave me until Friday to accomplish the task or admit defeat.  Anyone else would have given up (scratch that - no-one else would ever have gotten into that situation to begin with), but your bold host is made of sterner stuff.  I triumphed in my mission, wiped the smiles from their faces, utterly astounded them, and firmly established a reputation for being someone who didn't make idle boasts.  Intrigued?  Of course you are.

Okay, here's how I did it.  The lovely Elizabeth, who was shortly due to leave to go to another job, had once mentioned which area of the town she lived when we were having an idle chat one day, so I obtained her 'phone number from Directory Enquiries and rang her mother.  Pretending to be one of the managers, I told her that the staff were planning to throw a surprise party for Elizabeth's leaving 'do', and that we were going to stage a "THIS IS YOUR LIFE" segment so I needed a few trivial background details to cover her life from birth to the present day.  Did she buy it?  Of course she did - and even gift-wrapped it for herself too.

I asked a few innocuous questions, such as what her daughter's favourite colour was, where she'd been born, her best friend at school, etc., and "Oh, what's your maiden name?"  Armed with the required knowledge, I waited 'til I had to take a package around to the pharmacy.  As I was leaving, I casually turned, seemingly like an afterthought, and said "By the way, Liz, your mum's maiden name is Blackstock and you were born at Rottenrow Maternity!"  My!  You should have seen their jaws hit the floor - and in unison, too.

I 'phoned Elizabeth's mother back shortly after and explained my ruse - not out of guilt, but because I'd always intended to anyway.  She was highly amused at the daring of my subterfuge, and said "She should be glad someone would go to all that bother!"  (What can I say?  I had a tremendous 'telephone voice'.)  Elizabeth took it in good humour too, and I believe she was actually quite flattered.  I still never asked her out before she left though.  Foolish youth that I was!

Coming next post - The Sequel!


Here's a funny thing.  ("About time!", you cry.)  No, I mean 'funny-peculiar', not 'funny-ha ha' - although it is about time, so to speak.  You know how, when you associate a particular item with a specific place and period in your past, the association sometimes seems 'all-inclusive', whether it actually was or not?

"Good grief!  What's he wittering on about now?" you may be asking yourselves - so I'll tell you.

On my living-room ceiling are two circular fluorescent lights, which were first acquired in a previous house back in the 1960s.  I know we didn't always have them as I remember my father bringing them home one night and having to return one for a replacement the next day (or was it the next week?) because it was broken*.

We'd moved into the house in 1965, but it could've been anytime between 1966 and '67 at the earliest (maybe even '68?) before the lights assumed their place on the ceiling.  I can't remember the exact year we got them, but I now associate them so strongly with the house that, whenever I think back, it seems as if we had them the entire period we resided there, even though I know it isn't so.

Over 30 years ago, I visited my old home for the first time since leaving 16 years before, and was surprised to see patches over our old paper on the ceiling where the lights had once been.  (The patches were still there a few years later and perhaps might yet be there now, for all I know.)  Anyway, seeing that the lights had left their mark for so many years afterwards only reinforced their connection to the house in my mind.

It's the same with toys and comics.  Over the years, I've been lucky enough to re-acquire many items I once had as a child and have now owned them for far longer than I ever had the originals.  Some I originally maybe had for only a few weeks or months, others a year or three - and, as is the way of such things, some were consigned to history long before others made their appearance - yet somehow I seem to remember possessing each and every one of them concurrently and for the same duration.

One example I spoke about in a previous post is the first issue of the revamped SMASH! from March, 1969.  I only had it for around four days before selling it on to a classmate (it was my intention to buy another copy the next day, but I couldn't find one).  However, every page had embedded itself in my memory with such clarity that, when I tracked down a replacement copy over 15 and a half years later, it was instantly familiar - as if I'd last seen it only a few weeks before.

Here's the kicker though - whenever I leaf through its pages, I'm instantly trans-ported back to the living-room of the house I lived in at the time.  What's more, it seems to conjure up every aspect of that house and all the years I lived there, even though I only had the comic for a mere four days.  Uncanny!

So, I don't know about you, but I find it exceedingly strange that some items inform our recollections of a place to such a degree that they seem to represent the entire 'picture' as opposed to only a part of it (if that makes any sense).

If you've any thoughts on the subject, feel free to express them in the comments section.  (And if you can tell me what I've just been talking about, I'd very much appreciate it.)


*It's just occurred to me that I've subconsciously always regarded both lights as being the ones my father brought back on that particular night and which have adorned our ceiling(s) ever since.  However, as related above, one was returned because it was broken, so its replacement was essentially a 'ringer'.  It reminds me of when it was eventually revealed that the first BLUE PETER pup died a few days after his debut appearance, and was hastily substituted with a doppelganger (later christened PETRA).  For many years, viewers believed that the dog they'd watched grow up on TV was the same one they'd first been introduced to, but such was not the case.  I feel sorry for the poor puppy that died, but I suddenly find myself feeling a little sad for the broken light that had to be returned.  Yes, you're right - I'm bonkers.

Monday, 13 January 2020


On the wall of my downstairs hall are two framed photographs, one either side of the front door.  The one below is the view (or part of it) from my back bedroom window of my family's previous house, the one above is a section of the view from what was my parents' front bedroom.  Thing is, they weren't taken when we actually lived in the house, but 16 years after we'd flitted from it.  What's more, 11 years after flitting, we flitted again - then, four years later, returned to the house we'd flitted to the first time.  (I really hope that makes some kind of sense to everyone.  If it helps, there are three houses involved in the above account.)

A year and a day after returning to the second house, I returned (by arrangement) to the first to take some photographs, both inside and out, because the view from my old bedroom (which I'd shared with my brother) was due to change forever.  Y'see, amenity houses for the elderly were about to be built on part of the playing field on the other side of the street, and I felt a strange compulsion to capture things as they were before it was too late.  Over the intervening years since, other alterations have occurred, so that the views from either window are today no longer exactly the same as what once met my gaze whenever I looked out of them.

(A little aside here: I find it interesting to consider that when I look at these two pictures, I'm looking a scenes that no longer exist, and that the present tenants/owners of my former house don't see [and have never known] whenever they look out of either window.  Would they care?  I doubt it, but I believe I lived there when the neighbourhood was at its finest, and those who stay there now, without ever realising it, have to settle for second-best.) 

Anyway, it's comforting to me that the views familiar to me as a kid are preserved in their former glory, and that I can revisit them as they were (more or less) whenever I want to.  Sometimes I'll stop in the hall before going upstairs and just look at the photos, and I'm returned in memory to the house, and reminded of many of the things I once owned when I lived there.  Comics like WHAM!, SMASH!, POW!, FANTASTIC, TERRIFIC, WHIZZER & CHIPS, THUNDER, JET, SUPER DC - and many, many more.  Toys, such as ACTION MAN, TOMMY GUNN, CAPTAIN SCARLET, AURORA and AIRFIX plastic model kits, DINKYCORGI and MATCHBOX diecast vehicles, and all sorts of other goodies.

I could extend the above list of things (including records, TV shows, etc.,) I associate with that particular house, but I'll spare you the details lest this post becomes even more tediously self-indulgent.  Suffice to say that there's a plethora of memories which arise to the surface whenever I look at these two photographs, and I'm really glad that I made a point of returning to the house to take them.  In my mind, the past is always with me, but sometimes the images appear indistinct, as though viewed through the bottom of a milk bottle.  Thank goodness for cameras, which can preserve our past in crystal clarity and ensure that we'll never forget it on our journey through the present and into the future.

Do you have any specific photos that you cherish, whether of people or places, which return you to an earlier time and that you'd never part with?  What's their sig-nificance, and have you taken any steps to ensure their safety and survival so that they at least last the duration of your lifespan?  Feel free to share in our comments section.  


I recently watched the first two episodes of the second series of BUDGIE, starring ADAM FAITH, and was surprised to see JAMES BOLAM from The LIKELY LADS in both of them.  I last saw these Budgie episodes around 1985 when they were first, last, and (as far as I know) only repeated after their initial broadcast in 1972, and I remembered them reasonably well.

Before I proceed, let me state that I'd been a huge fan of WHATEVER HAPPENED To The LIKELY LADS since the colour series was first shown in 1973, and James Bolam had also starred in WHEN The BOAT COMES IN, and ONLY WHEN I LAUGH, so the actor was no stranger to me.  Also, WHTTLL was repeated around the mid-'80s, so it was unlikely that I'd have forgotten his face.

I was therefore surprised by my surprise at his turn in Budgie (as a character called WHOSSNAME), because surely I would've recognised him instantly?  Yet, try as I might, I just can't resurrect any memory of seeing him in Budgie at the time of its repeat around '85.  I wouldn't have known who Bolam was when Budgie was first aired in the early '70s, but by the time the repeats rolled around, I was a big fan of his portrayal of TERRY COLLIER, and had been for years.

The only other possibility is that I did recognise him in Budgie in '85, but then forgot seeing him in it over the intervening years, hence my surprise at his presence in my recent viewing.  However, it's kind of annoying not to know which of the two options it actually is.  Anything like this ever happen to you?



And now it's time for what you've all been waiting for (I like to tell myself) - yet another in the long line of MARVEL boo-boos which, for the sake of a (mainly) alliterative title, I call STAN LEE'S LITERARY LAPSES.  (Well, that, plus the fact that he wrote 'em!)

In The AVENGERS #6, there's quite a few to choose from.  First is on page 7, where IRON MAN is interrupted while trying to free CAPTAIN AMERICA's knee from BARON ZEMO's Adhesive X, meaning that he should still have one patella stuck to the ground.  (Especially as he said he can't move.)  Yet a few panels later on page 8, his knee is free, though both feet are stuck fast to a section of cutaway concrete.  (And the space between Cap and GIANT-MAN and their position in relation to each other also changes.) 

Then on page 9, Iron Man warns THOR that the BLACK KNIGHT's lance is a "dangerous weapon" that can "fire all sorts of missiles".  However, on page 15, during a subsequent encounter, the Black Knight says to Thor "You didn't suspect my innocent-looking lance is in reality a most deadly arsenal of weapons!"  He didn't have to suspect - Iron Man had already told him several pages back.

On page 5, RICK JONES is named correctly, but on pages 13 and 19 (no need to show the relevant pics - I'm sure you'll take my word for it), he's renamed as Rick BROWN.  (Maybe his mother had remarried in the interim?  Nah, can't be that - he's an orphan, isn't he?)  We'll ignore Baron Zemo being renamed Dr. Zemo on page 19, as it's entirely possible to be a baron and a doctor at the same time.

Anyway, that's quite a number of boo-boos for one issue, but we'll forgive ol' Stanley because we love 'im.  Besides, considering that he was scripting everything in sight at the time, it's a miracle there weren't more given his workload!   

Sunday, 12 January 2020



Above, another in the The CRIMINALLY INSANE run of TRUE BELIEVERS reprints, below, four in the ANNIHILATION series.  Not too happy with that MASTERS Of EVIL logo - wish they'd left in the original AVENGERS title and placed the 'sub-title' in smaller letters somewhere else, but at least the original un-retouched cover is reproduced inside at the back of the mag.  Some great covers on display here, but why is the SUPER-SKRULL cross-eyed?  I've already got all these stories, but I just can't resist these handsome re-presentations.  Rush out and buy them asap, if you haven't already.  

Friday, 10 January 2020



Well - sort of.  Above is what was a rather beat up copy of the first combined issue of LION & EAGLE from 1969 that I got via ebay back in November.  The seller hadn't noticed 4 missing pages when he listed it, and I didn't notice right away when I received it as they'd been carefully removed and their absence wasn't immediately obvious.  The seller gave me a full refund and let me keep the issue once I pointed out the fault, and Crivens reader Hucky supplied a Mediafile link to scans of the complete issue so that I could restore the comic to its full complement of stories.

However, although I now had access to the missing pages, I still didn't have them in published form so had to estimate their image size from the ones that remained, which aren't all the same ratio so there's no guarantee that the replacements are exact matches for the originals.  (They'll be pretty close though.)  Also, printing on both sides of the same sheet of paper so that the images are 100% back-to-back is difficult to do with any precision, so I had to settle for the art being more towards the middle on the 'facsimile' pages, instead of slightly closer to the spine like the others. 

I used FILMOPLAST P90 PLUS (supplied by reader Hackney Steve) to re-inforce the cover's spine, and to attach the replacement pages to their other halves, and although not perfect, it's a fairly neat, now-complete readable copy of this comic from the '60s.  Incidentally, the tape is less apparent then it looks in the photos - the camera's flash makes it seem more obvious in places than it actually is.  Eventually, I'll track down a better condition copy, but mending this one was a satisfying exercise which saved it from being thrown into the bin.

So I've rescued it from oblivion and feel very proud of myself.  Don't be shy about telling me how how gifted I am in the comments section.  All lies to that effect will be readily believed and gratefully received.  

Thursday, 9 January 2020



Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

76 pages of Marvel’s hottest hero!  Three great stories!

‘Secret Agent Deadpool’ comes to a stylish conclusion as Wade joins forces with Jace Burns!  By Christopher Hastings & Salva Espin!

Deadpool teams up with Australia's greatest superheroes to take on an army of Trolls!  By Skottie Young & Nic Klein!

Deadpool meets... Headpool!  By Victor Gischler & Carlo Barberi!

Featuring material first printed in Secret Agent Deadpool #5, Deadpool #13 and Prelude to Deadpool Corps #4!

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76 pages of mutant mayhem!  Two awesome tales!

Storm and the X-Men battle an army of the dead that includes Storm’s long-deceased parents!  By Marc Guggenheim & Michelle Bandini!

The original X-Men prepare to return to their own time at last!  By Cullen Bunn & Marcus To!

Featuring material first printed in X-Men: Gold #35-36 & X-Men: Blue #35-36!

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I'm afraid that SANTA let me down in 2019.  My letter to him asked for LYNDA CARTER in my Christmas stocking (woolly sock that doesn't pong too much), but did he oblige?  No.  I ask him for one single thing and he can't even do that.  Huh, I might even start to believe that he doesn't exist.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020


How do you choose your friends?  What qualities or attributes do you look for or expect in those individuals with whom you socialise or make time for in your lives ?

Why do I ask, you may be wondering, so I'll tell you.  I've been reading a few blogs by professional comicbook contributors past and present, and one of the things that strikes me is that quite a few of them have one particular thing in common.  Which is?  Arrogance!  It may be an arrogance concealed by a cloak of humility or polite-ness, but it still lurks beneath the folds of that cloak just the same.  Of course, sometimes it isn't cloaked at all, and the person concerned may come across as an utterly odious and obnoxious character - and often is.

That arrogance rears its ugly head when someone - even a long-term friend or acquaintance - happens to voice an opinion different to that of the blogger.  I recently read one blogger say that he wasn't sure he considered someone a friend anymore, because he'd received an email from him concerning some controversial matter that didn't agree with his own view of the situation. He might not have articulated his altered attitude in precisely that way, but that was the essence of his reasoning, sure enough.

Another blogger, a one-time minor player (though status is relative, I suppose) in the lower echelons of comicbook history, has no hesitation in calling anyone a bigot who doesn't see things his way on (but not retricted to) the topic of homosexuality.  If you have reservations about same sex marriage or gay adoption, based on religious, cultural or historical traditions - even if you believe in tolerating dissenting opinions to your own and aren't calling for anyone to be spat on, abused, jailed, beaten or strung up - then, according to this belligerent individual - you're an intolerant bigot who he doubtless wouldn't cross the road to pee on if you were on fire.  (Perhaps it's simply a facade, but it's certainly a convincing one.)

This led me to ponder my own views on friendship.  Do I associate only with those whose opinions on various topics are in accord with my own?  Do I resent dissent and shun anyone who might hold completely opposite philosophies to the ones I embrace?  Well, no, actually.  I have friends who live totally different lifestyles to my own and align themselves with beliefs and practices that I don't happen to share, but as long as they aren't obnoxious in expressing why they believe (or do) as they do then there isn't a problem.  This doesn't mean that we never discuss controversial subjects, but we always do so with a respect for the other's point of view.  (Or, at the very least, the other's right to hold - and express - that point of view.)

So why do some comicbook contributors behave as they do, with such an arrogant, pompous and even superior attitude towards those they seemingly look down their noses at?  (Some, of course, don't necessarily express their views in an openly disdainful or hostile manner, but it's pretty obvious that it lies at the heart of their thinking, whether they're aware of it or not.  I think I understand*, so let me digress for a moment in order to explain.

When I was a freelance contributor to 2000 A.D., believe it or not, I was frequently asked for my autograph.  Not because I was deserving of such a compliment in my own right, but because of my (admittedly) minor association with Britain's cult comic and its iconic characters.  I was bathing in reflected glory, in other words, not my own.  Had I been the office tea boy, the fans would probably still have sought my signature on scraps of paper, so ardent were they in their desire to 'connect' with the object of their adoration.  (The comic, not me.)  Fortunately, I was smart enough to realise it and never let the attention go to my head.  (Or miss it when it abated.)

However, some individuals who experience repeated instances of people lapping up every uttered syllable as if it's the wisdom of the ancients, and whose fans eagerly seek to ingratiate themselves with them because of their connection to a particular comicbook character or company, eventually start to believe that they're important and that their opinion (on any subject whatsoever) counts for something.  It's not long before they come to regard such adulation as their due and, because of the understandable reluctance of some fans to fall out of favour with their idols, they soon get used to never being challenged on their various 'divine pronouncements'.

So, when the day comes (as it inevitably must) that someone dares disagree with them, their noses are put seriously out of joint.  It's the "Don't you know whom I am?" scenario, writ large.  (And I know just what some of you are thinking - "So why are you such a pompous buffoon, you Scottish git?"  Well, do what you're good at, I always say.)

Seriously though, many of the people who these touchy contributors cast off wouldn't disown them for holding an opposing point of view, so just who then are the real intolerant ones, the bigots, as these self-styled 'models of tolerance, fairness and goodwill' are quick to call anyone who fails to see eye-to-eye with them on their 'pet' issues?

Not that such behaviour is restricted to comics professionals. Recently, after I responded to a post on another blog with no more than the hope of perhaps initiating an interesting discussion, the blogger accused me of just liking to argue. He then stopped following my blog and asked me to stop following his.  I was surprised, because the individual had previously lamented the lack of comments his posts usually received, and I thought he'd appreciate my support and attempt to encourage the participation of other commenters.

Reading between the lines, it seems that my lack of enthusiasm for Dr. WHO's gender change had irked him (because he likes the show's direction), and no doubt my views (which I'd previously expressed on his blog and my own) about the way Remainer MPs were trying to sabotage BREXIT didn't sit well with him either.  (He's massively anti-Tory.)

Thing is, I didn't vote in the referendum, and had things turned out differently and Brexiteers had tried to sabotage Britain staying in the EU, I'd have been just as against their shenanigans as the other lot.  My only stance was that, either way, right or wrong, the majority's wishes should be respected.  My nose wasn't put out of joint by him (or anyone) holding the opposite opinion to my own, nor do I jettison people just because they don't share my views on certain issues.  However, I get the distinct impression that he's the kind of person who feels insecure about being able to defend his beliefs in a logical, well-reasoned way, and just decided to pull the plug on me.

(Of course, it could be that he simply couldn't be bothered, but why raise a subject and then not be prepared to discuss it?  Unless, that is, you believe you're right and don't need to, and only have a blog because you wish to talk at people rather than with them.)

However, the problem with choosing friends, acquaintances, or even fellow bloggers only from those who share your likes, dislikes, tastes or opinions is that you're not choosing them for themselves, but rather for the reflection of yourself that you see in them.  That makes you your own favourite person - which may be hardly surprising, but doesn't necessarily make you a particularly good judge of character.

Just saying.


(*Of course, the people to whom I refer may always have been as they are, but there seems to be a pattern behind their attitudes which I thought would be interesting to explore.  Feel free to disagree - I won't fall out with you or ban you from the blog - unlike some.)


How good is your memory?  Mine used to be excellent at recalling what others might regard as inconsequential details, but even when it was operating at what I con-sidered peak efficiency, time later revealed that my memory banks were fooled on occasion.  And I think I know why.  First, though, let me ask you if you recall The PROTECTORS (of course you do - or at least the theme song - if you're around my age) and The TOP SECRET LIFE Of EDGAR BRIGGS?  Even if you are around my age, that one may have slipped under your radar.  It starred DAVID JASON, and was a weekly half hour TV show that was (sort of) the British version of GET SMART, in that it was a spy spoof, with Jason playing an incompetent assistant to the Commander of the Secret Intelligence Service.

Years after the fact, when I thought back to these shows, I seemed to remember watching bits of them while standing in the kitchen doorway of my previous house, looking at the TV in the living-room.  A couple or so years back, when I checked the broadcast dates of both shows, I was surprised to learn that they didn't debut until I was living in my current home, which my family moved to in 1972.  How could my memories have been so far adrift?  Then I realised that the living-room door (from the hall) of my new house, in relation to where the fireplace and TV were situated, was pretty much in the same place as the kitchen door of my former residence, so my general impression of the layout of both rooms, in memory, tallied.

Same with The SINGING, RINGING TREE.  For years I associated it with the house we lived in between 1960-'64, but when I checked the broadcast dates, it didn't air until after we'd flitted to another house just down the road.  The route to school from our new domicile was about three quarters the same as from our previous one, and my brother, with me in tow, would sometimes trot up the road to our former street in order to accompany his pals from the surrounding houses.  The show made quite an impression, and I recall us all raving over it on our way to school one morning, but because we'd started from just outside my former home, I later erroneously associated it with my old abode rather than the new one.

So it just goes to show how even those of us who have generally excellent memories can sometimes misremember things, resulting in long-standing associations of events and places being slightly out-of-sync.  Do you recall any such similar instances in your own life, Crivvies?  Then jump right in - the comments section awaits your esteemed presence.       

Monday, 6 January 2020


Do you really need words to go with this pic, fellow Crivs?  Surely they'd be even more superfluous than my usual dreary drivel?  The only two words that need be said (and then perhaps only for anyone under 30) are LYNDA CARTER!

Sunday, 5 January 2020


The mid-'80s seemed to be a good time for repeating classic TV shows from the '60s and '70s.  We looked at BUDGIE in the previous post, but around the same time it was repeated, so also was CALLAN.  Callan, played by EDWARD WOODWARD, was a realistic spy series which had none of the panache of 007.  Created and written by author JAMES MITCHELL (as well as other writers), it was grim, grimy, gritty, and - when RUSSELL HUNTER's character LONELY was on screen - could also be described as grotty.  It started in 1967 and ran for four series of 44 episodes until 1972, though it was absent from TV in '68 and '71.  There was also a movie in 1974, which was an expanded version of the ARMCHAIR THEATRE pilot episode (A MAGNUM For SCHNEIDER), first shown in February of '67.

There was also a TV 'reunion' movie called WET JOB in 1981, which I didn't know about or see until '84, when it was repeated.  I wasn't aware it was a repeat, and seem to recall it being advertised in the TV listings as though it was a new production, so I wonder if perhaps it wasn't shown in Scotland in '81, or did it just slip under my radar?  It wasn't 'til a few short years ago that I learned it had been transmitted earlier, and it was quite a surprise to me.  I was living in another house between 1983 and '87, and therefore associate the film with there, rather than the previous abode I was in when it was originally broadcast, and in which I once again reside.  (It's complicated, but unimportant from your perspective, so don't worry about it.)

It was strange to view episodes I hadn't seen since the '60s and early '70s, when I'd lived in a prior house to the two referred to above.  I even remembered specific scenes, so it was like revisiting my past, something I always enjoy.  (Not that it's relevant to anything, but the final series of Callan ended three weeks to the day before we flitted in 1972.)  Anyway, I purchased series 3 & 4 (the colour years) from my local SAINSBURY's a week or so back, and will be buying what survives (several episodes were wiped) of series 1 & 2 (the monochrome years) before very long.  Callan had a haunting theme tune (known as 'Girl In The Dark', and also 'This Man Alone'), as well as atmospheric opening titles, which anyone who ever saw the show will surely remember.  Unfortunately, because of an ongoing copyright dispute, the theme wasn't used for the '74 movie or '81 feature-length special.

So who else remembers Callan?  Surely everyone around my age will recall it fondly, so why not share your reminiscences  with your fellow Crivs?!


Update:  Right, that's Callan the monochrome years, Wet Job, and This Man Alone documentary now ordered and paid for.  I'll do a post once I've seen them.

Saturday, 4 January 2020


Also recently arrived at Castel Crivens, is the complete 2 series box set of BUDGIE, starring ADAM FAITH and IAIN CUTHBERTSON.  This was an LWT show I watched when it first started in 1971, viewing all 13 episodes of series 1 and the first 8 of series 2 in our previous house, with the final 5 being aired over the first month in our new (and my current) residence in '72.  Around 1985, the show was repeated on Channel 4 while we were ensconced in yet another abode (from which we returned after 4 years to its predecessor), meaning that I last saw them nearly 35 years ago.  Funnily enough, that period seems nowhere near as long as the 13 or so years between the original '70s broadcasts and their '80s repeats (when I was just over twice the age I'd been when I'd first seen them), which just goes to show that time really seems to accelerate the older one gets.  How can 35 years seem of lesser duration than 13?  Unreal, isn't it?!

Anyway, Budgie was a great wee show, and every male in the country fancied his on-screen girlfriend HAZEL (LYNN DALBY) - and his TV wife JEAN (GEORGINA HALE) wasn't half bad either.  No doubt I'll be branded sexist by some people for those observations, but note that it's only called sexism when a man appreciates a woman's physical appearance, not the other way around.  The guy taking off his trousers in the laundromat in the TV ad, or the DIET COKE man taking off his shirt aren't considered sexist, because, as we all know, when women drool over men, it's perfectly acceptable and not offensive in the slightest - he said, sarcastically.  (Those people - male or female - who indulge in such double-standards are total plonkers in my view!  Women indulge in their own form of sexism all the time.)

Anyway, do you remember Budgie?  (No, not the helicopter.)  If so, feel free to say what memories it conjures up for you (if any) if you watched it back in the day.



Two new TRUE BELIEVERS arrived this morning at Castel Crivens, readers, reprinting The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14 and DAREDEVIL The MAN WITHOUT FEAR #131, respectively.  The first features the introduction of The GREEN GOBLIN and the second contains the debut of BULLSEYE, two cracking collectors' items to be sure.  So if you're not out buying them already, don't leave it for too much longer or you might miss 'em!  (And don't worry - although the covers are amended for The CRIMINALLY INSANE printings, the original, unaltered covers are reproduced in the back of their respective mags.)


Mobile 'phones?  Mobile ruddy 'phones?  Don't get me started!  Am I alone in con-sidering them to be the most irritating, infuriating, antisocial invention of modern times?  Help me salvage some rapidly-fading remnant of my hard-pressed sanity and tell me that I'm not the only person on the planet who thinks so.

Don't get me wrong though.  Mobiles are all very well - in their place!  And that place is for making or receiving important calls which, if missed, could leave us knee-deep in the soft, smelly brown stuff.  The trouble is, however, that very few calls or texts actually fall into that category.

The telephone, once a practical and useful tool, has now been demoted to a mere toy - an idle distraction for the easily bored and the feeble-minded, who can never be content to simply be alone with their thoughts on account of not having any to begin with;  who have absolutely nothing to say worth saying, but, thanks to the workings of a perverse fate, now have the technology with which to say or text it anyway.

Example:  "wot r u up 2  did u c big bruv last nite  c u l8r"

Just think - all over the world, literally millions of people are exchanging such pointless, badly-spelt and punctuation-free drivel countless times a day.  And simply because they can, not because they actually need to.

"But if people are using their mobiles to keep in touch, then in what way are they being antisocial?" you might ask.  Pay attention the next time you see a group of people anywhere.  It's not uncommon to see friends or partners oblivious to one another as they gab or text away on their mobiles to someone else.  Why not just go out with the person on their 'phone if they'd seemingly rather talk to them at the expense of whoever they're with?

That's why they're antisocial.  They drive a wedge between actual physical company and divert the attention of those who should be interacting with each other, as opposed to some ethereal voice or illiterate text on a mobile.  If you were out with some friends who barely spoke a word to you because they were engrossed in deep conversation with one another, it's a safe bet that you wouldn't be too impressed by their manners.

So in what way is it any less rude to ignore those you're with to talk or text on a mobile to someone else?  That disembodied master or mistress whose imperious summons (heralded not by a heavenly fanfare, but rather a tacky and irritating ring-tone) must be answered immediately and cannot be ignored.

Well, excuse me, but I've always thought that technology was supposed to be at our disposal and for our convenience, not the other way around.  Hear that mobile ring - see its slave give a convincing impression of someone who's just had a tub of itching powder dumped down the back of their neck as, seemingly in the throes of spasm, they frantically check every pocket or aperture that fashion provides in order to obtain their regular fix of 'mobile madness'.

This madness, however, isn't confined only to adults.  Children as young as 11 or 12 are falling victim to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), brought on by continually texting their friends.  RSI?  That's got to be one hell of a lot of texting!

How sad.  Where kids once merrily played together in fields and parks or each others' gardens, they now spend a disproportionate amount of time in their rooms texting (or emailing) their pals, instead of interacting together face-to-face.  And, just like 'adults', when they are with their pals, they often ignore them while they text friends who are elsewhere.

"A fool and his money are soon parted" runs the old saying.  Considering the obscene profits reaped by mobile 'phone companies from the exchange of  unnecessary communications between simpletons, it's plain to see that this maxim is true many millions of times over.

So, let me ask you a question.  Do you possess a mobile  'phone?  Or does a mobile 'phone possess you? 

Friday, 3 January 2020


Can't recall whether I've ever shown a close-up of this on the blog before or not, so that's all the excuse I need to use it for today's post.  No, it's not a bottle of COCA COLA, it's a radio in the shape of a bottle of COKE.  I bought this back around 1981 or '82 from my local CO-OP department store (now gone), and looking at it now reminds me of something.  It was so convincing-looking as a bottle of Coke that, when me and a pal (who knew it was a radio) and one of his pals (who didn't) were walking through the Co-op sometime after me acquiring mine, we pointed out one on display (sans box) behind the counter to the non-enlightened one.

"That's a radio!" I declared.  He didn't believe me, and even when the other pal confirmed it, he remained unpersuaded.  "Nah, that's part of the assistant's lunch!" he said, scoffing at the both of us.  I actually had to ask the assistant to let us see it so that I could demonstrate that it was, indeed, a radio.  Now, in the photo above, it's obviously a radio, but that's because it's a close-up snap, and the 'speaker' holes have dust in them.  Trust me, when brand-spanking new, from several feet away, it was indistinguishable from the 'real thing'.  (Well, had to get it in there somewhere.)

That reminds me of a tale I think I've told before, but I'll tell it again anyway.  Back in 1985, I was living in a bedsit in Buckland, Portsmouth, at the start of my freelance career in comics.  About ten minutes or so before I was going out one day, a woman upstairs asked if I had a radio she could borrow, to listen to as she ironed her man's shirts and stuff.  I reluctantly lent her my Coke radio (which I'd brought with me from home), but I had to pop upstairs to ask her something just before I left.

My radio was sitting on the top of a Calor gas heater, perched precariously halfway over the front edge where the rays of heat would be sure to deform it before much longer.  I moved it to the middle and told her why, but in a polite way.  I can't recall with 100% certainty, but I think she said she was finished with it anyway so I took it back.  Thankfully, it was undamaged, but another 15 minutes or so and that wouldn't have been the case

What is it with people who are either too stupid to know, or too inconsiderate to care, how to look after other people's property?  Even today, 35 years later, I'm not quite convinced that she didn't place it over the heat deliberately, purely out of a malicious desire to damage an attractive item that she didn't have.  After all, she was an adult - could she really have been so thick as not to realise what the result of her actions would be.  And why balance it halfway over the edge of a heater - or anything?

I'd never lend anything to anyone again, because I know with absolute certainty that no matter how much people assure you that they'll take care of something, their concept of 'care' is at the opposite end of the spectrum from mine.  Anyway, the radio still works today, and is great wee collectable to have.  Anyone else got one?

Thursday, 2 January 2020


Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Featuring the Hulk face as originally drawn

Take a look at the above comic from 1976.  The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL #198, featuring half of the introduction of WOLVERINE, reprinted from The INCREDIBLE HULK #181, from 1974.  At this time (if I remember correctly), the panels in MWOM were trimmed, clumsy lettering amendments were instituted, the reproduction wasn't always as sharp as it should have been, and ugly 'Zipatone' obscured some of the detail in the artwork.  But guess what?  This comic is being touted on ebay for anything from £75 right up to around £700.  (The price for the copy above is £196.26, but it only has a 3.5 grade.)  Yup, just 'cos it features the 'first' UK printing of Wolvie's debut.  (Some sellers include #s 196, 197 & 199 in the higher end prices, though there's one asking for 'only' £149.95 for all four.)

No way in hell is it worth more than a tenner, and then only so someone can complete their collection of MWOMs.  Sure, it's cheaper than the original US printing, which can set you back close to £12,000 (for higher condition copies admittedly), but it's a poor quality UK reprint for goodness sake.  Hulk #181 has now been reissued in a facsimile edition (and 180 and 182 will soon be available), so would anyone be daft enough to pay out several hundred quid for an inferior UK partial reprint?  Maybe, but surely only if they're millionaires.  (Having said that, I see one dealer is asking for £89.95 for the facsimile.  Strewth!)  Are comic dealers colluding on the asking price for this comic, or has one chanced their arm and the others followed suit?  Either way, the asking price far outweighs the value of the comic and once again I'm left feeling that dealers need to regain a sense of proportion over the arbitrary pricing policy they adopt in regard to reprint comics.

What's your own views about this, fellow Crivs?  Could you ever see yourself paying out several hundred pounds for a mag just to complete a set?  Or do you think that some comic dealers need a good hard slap on the kipper for being more than a bit greedy?  Let rip in the comments section!  (Oh, and in case you were wondering, no - it isn't a comic I was looking to buy.)

The original 1974 issue.  Note that the Hulk's face was redrawn for the
published issue - and not by HERB TRIMPE by the look of it
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