Friday, 3 April 2020

DON STARR IN AN APPOINTMENT WITH FEAR! PART SEVEN...


Copyright relevant owner

Okay, Crivs, here's what, according to my stats, very few of you have been waiting for, so let's not waste any time and get straight into the action.  This strip (as you'll all know by now) originally appeared in a weekly comic called TERRIFIC back in the '60s, and, as far as I know, has never been reprinted.  I can see why, as no-one, apart from a few die-hards, seems much interested in it.  Oh well, I guess you can't please everybody. 


JUST HOW MUCH DO YOU APPRECIATE THE NHS AND OTHER KEY WORKERS?



Want to show support for the NHS and key workers during these difficult times?  I mean show real support, not just indulge in a few moments of empty (though well-intentioned), self-indulgent applause on your doorstep?  My suggestion is that some organisation or charity produces a blue 'poppy', to be sold in supermarkets or any shops that are still open on a daily basis.  No human contact required, just a tray of blue poppies with a secure container for donations (no less than £1), which can then be distributed to those who are putting their lives on the line for us at this very moment.  Or even just several collection tins (sans poppies) at the checkout tills of large supermarkets, so that the public can show real appreciation and support, as opposed to mere pointless posturing with no practical value.

Sound like a good idea to you?  Why not contact your local (or a national) newspaper and suggest them proposing it in their pages to the powers-that-be?  I've already been in touch with The DAILY RECORD, and the News Editor I spoke with will be running it up the flagpole with the relevant people to see if it can become a reality.

Go on, forget about standing on your doorstep once a week and clapping into the air - put your money where your mouth is!  Clapping is the very least we can do - don't you think they deserve more than that?

Thursday, 2 April 2020

BARRY PEARL'S COMICS CLOSETS...


Comics from the '60s

Have I got a palpitating post for you!  Prepare to be rendered utterly envious of Bashful BARRY PEARL's cataclysmic comics collection, accumulated from when they first came out as he was growing up in America in the '60s and '70s.  I actually have some of these comics myself, the operative word being 'some' - but Barry has an unbroken run of every issue up until he stopped buying them in 1977.  I'll let Barry explain things in his own words before I unleash you on the rest of his fantastic photographs.  Over to Barry.

Comics from the '70s

It only took a few decades, But I was finally able to do this right.  With our current national (and worldwide) crisis, I finally got the time to place my comics the way I'd like, in two closets, one for the comics that began in the 1960s and another for those that began in the 1970s.  Now I can pull them out easily, whenever I want.  My collection, which contains all the Marvel Age comics beginning in 1961 with The Fantastic Four #1 (actually Amazing Adventures #1 with Dr. Droom), ends in 1977.  I keep my most valuable comics in a third, very secure place.

The Fantastic Four.  I have a mid-'60s individual reprint of #1

Whenever I post a picture of how I keep my comics stored, several concerned posters comment that they are stored the wrong way.  Many feel that comics should only be stored standing up or in special boxes, or should be slabbed, especially the oldest ones.  However, for me, comics have always been a great source of entertain-ment and enjoyment, and are useless to me unless I can pull them out and read them! Perhaps I'd feel differently if I'd paid a fortune for them, but I got many of them for free at my aunt's candy store, or on the newsstands when they first came out.

Amazing Adventures, Fantasy, & Spider-Man.  I have ASM #1

In the second picture from the top, I've shown how a couple of shelves look in the 1970s closet, which does not have double-doors.

The Avengers.  I have 1, 2, & 3

The X-Men.  I have #1

Tales To Astonish & Sub-Mariner #1.  I have TTA #70

The Incredible Hulk.  I have #102

First appearances of Daredevil, Iron Man, & Thor.  I have all 3

Strange Tales.  I have #135

As well as the comics in Barry's pics that I likewise own, I also have numerous reprints of every other comic on open display, with the possible exception of Strange Tales Annual #1.  However, my collection almost pales into insignifi-cance when you consider that Barry has an unbroken run of every title from 1961 right up to 1977.  Impressive, eh?  I'd like to thank Barry for sharing his collection with we Crivs, and I'm sure you would too, so why not leave a comment?!

MIGHTY MARVEL COLLECTORS' EDITIONS CHECKLIST - ON SALE NOW!

DEADPOOL UNLEASHED #12

Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

A brand-new era of Deadpool madness begins!  Deadpool accepts a job offer to kill a monster on Staten Island, little realising that it will lead to him becoming... King of the Monsters!  By Kelly Thompson & Chris Bachalo!  Plus: more outer space mayhem with the Deadpool Corps!  Deadpool and Lady Deadpool take on some alien uglies and the Champion too!  By Victor Gischler & Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld!

Featuring material first published in Deadpool #1 and Deadpool Corps #1-2.

Available Now!

£4.50.
******
ESSENTIAL X-MEN #26


Nate Grey has enough power to imprison Apocalypse and transform Magneto into his servant!  Time is running out as the X-Men fight to save humanity!  Also, Psylocke must battle her former love, Angel!  By Matthew Rosenberg, Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson & RB SIlva!

Featuring material first published in Uncanny X-Men #5-7.

Available Now!

£4.50.
******
DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #550

Copyright BBC TV.  Published by PANINI

Issue #550 celebrates Doctor Who’s mid-70s classics.  Highlights include: • Showrunner Chris Chibnall and former producer Philip Hinchcliffe – together at the Doctor Who studio • Director Michael E Briant on The Robots of DeathSadie Miller remembers her mother, Elisabeth Sladen • Review of Series 12 • A diary and scrapbook of 1976-77 • Dr Who and the Hell Planet • The Fact of Fiction on Tooth and Claw • A look at Exploration Earth: The Time Machine • Part Two of The Piggybackers, a brand-new comic-strip adventure!

PLUS: 1977-style poster magazine • TARDIS control-room diorama • Talons of Weng-Chiang music-hall poster • Six collectors’ cards • Four-part Big Finish download.

Available Now!

£9.99.

Note: I'm unsure whether these mags are currently available in shops, though it's possible they might be on sale in some supermarkets who usually stock such titles. However, I believe they are available mail order from the Panini website.

FEELING SHEEPISH? HAND-CLAPPING EVENT IS BAAAAAAAAAAAACK!



I see that the NHS hand-clapping event has been scheduled again, for tonight at 8 p.m., despite it doing nothing at all to supply nurses, carers, and key workers with protective apparel, masks, gloves, etc., as well as the necessary equipment to help safeguard both them, their patients and the public.  Yesterday, my taxi driver told me that his wife, who's a nurse, thought such gestures were total codswallop, and he wasn't 'April Fooling' me.  At least tonight I'm forewarned so am unlikely to be dis-turbed from sleep as I was last week, but what about those just off a shift who are in desperate need of a kip before returning to work?  That's all right though, as long as we feel good about ourselves while 'virtue-signalling' our alleged appreciation, we can conveniently ignore taking all necessary sensible precautions which would not only protect ourselves, but would alleviate the strain on overstretched resources.

I still see kids playing out in the streets together, and ask myself what on earth the parents are thinking.  Sure, let junior out in the back garden to stretch his or her legs once a day, but anything else is risking him or her catching Covid-19 and giving the NHS yet another patient to tend to and strain their already limited resources even more.  Switching lanes for a moment, there's been a lot of attention paid to the fact that some people are 'panic buying', but it appears to be an inevitable repercussion of advising the public to stay home and not go out.  Obviously they're going to think that in order to stay in, they need to increase their stock of necessities to see them through their period of 'house arrest'.  I haven't indulged in panic buying, but that means I have to go to the shops every other day in order to buy milk, bread, toilet rolls (if I can find any) - I'm condemned whatever I do.  (Just a shame the revamped Dandy is no longer available, 'cos I could've wiped my @rse with that.  H'mm, maybe not, the paper was too shiny and would simply have smeared excrement all over my nether-cheeks.  It would've been a case of sh*te spreading sh*te, which is rather ironic when you think about it.)

Anyway, getting back to the point, there can't be an NHS worker anywhere who doesn't already know how much the public appreciates them.  (It's the government - regardless of whichever one is in power - that they feel under-appreciated by.) They're on the front line every day, dealing with death and the dying, and have relatives of the afflicted and the deceased telling them in extremely emotional and heartfelt terms just how much they're appreciated, so they really don't need any empty gestures like people hand-clapping on the doorstep. Instead of drawing attention to yourself, why not draw attention to the NHS and key workers by making a donation to an organisation or charity that supports them.  That's far more prac-tical and requires real action that will make a difference, as opposed to the minor inconvenience of opening your front door and effectively saying "Hey, look at me, folks - am I a good person or what?"  Well, your appreciation may be genuine or it may not, but instead, try putting your money where your mouth is!  That'll make a real difference and show nurses, doctors, and carers, etc., that your appreciation is genuine, and not mere pointless posturing.

After Eight Update:  Oh, and here's another thought.  Last week, one of my local chip shops had a sign on their door saying no more than 2 customers at a time.  Yet behind the length of the counter were around 10 staff, all in close proximity to one another.  Delivery drivers were congregated at the end of the shop, and assistants had to pass inches from them to go through to the back in order to get things.  The shop has now started doing only deliveries and collections, yet is still packed full to the brim with staff.  You can bet that at least some of those people would've been out clapping tonight, but by their work-environment behaviour they're not only putting themselves and their colleagues at risk, but also NHS staff who will have to treat them if they become infected. Way to go, peeps - that's the way to show your 'appreciation' - not! 

TOO SOON? TV TORNADO ANNUALS COVER GALLERY OMNIBUS...


Characters copyright relevant and respective owners

Having already shown you the front covers of the four TV TORNADO Annuals almost as I received them (with the exception of the 3rd), it's now time to display them in their proper sequence along with the back covers also.  I've now completed the set 53 years after the first Annual was issued, although I didn't acquire my first (which was the one for 1970, issued in '69) 'til around 1986.  That means it took me around 34 years to acquire all four of them.

Interestingly, even though I never had any of these books when they first came out, owning them now feels, to me, a bit like dipping back into the '60s and '70s and experiencing something I missed out on at the time but have finally caught up with. So it's a bit like time travel in a sense, because something that comes from the period of my youth, even though not owned by me back then (the Annuals that is - I had the odd weekly comic) is now part of my life - and feels as though it always has been.

Does that make any sense, or have I conveyed it in my usual vague, not quite on-the-mark manner?  I'm sure that most of you are smart enough to grasp what I'm getting at though, so buy yourselves a big bag of jelly babies as a reward.  (Along with a big box of Aspirin for the headache I've just given you.)    







Wednesday, 1 April 2020

BABE OF THE DAY - LINDA THORSON...



Here's the luscious LINDA THORSON, not quite doing a SHARON STONE (despite what you may think you see) as she gets herself ready for a hot date with me later tonight.  True, we'll have to stand two metres apart, but though our feet will be positioned with the required distance between us, we can lean in towards one another for a great big slobbery smooch.  See?  There's always ways around these things.

MARVEL SUPERHEROES ANNUAL MINI-COVER GALLERY...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

In 1978, MARVEL Presents The SUPERHEROES Annual (for 1979) appeared on the shelves, published by BROWN WATSON, followed a year later by the 1979 Annual (for 1980), this time published by GRANDREAMS.  This new company had been set up by two of the bosses from Brown Watson after leaving their former place of employment, and they continued to publish Marvel Annuals (as well as others, mostly TV related) for a few years.  I understand that Marvel UK and Grandreams operated from the same building, so it wasn't long before the publisher's name on the spines of Marvel Annuals was revised from Grandreams to Marvel/Grandreams, presumably to reflect both parties' involvement and establish that the books were still official Marvel products.

A year after the first Superheroes Annual, Marvel UK introduced a monthly mag called MARVEL SUPERHEROES (not to be confused with the 1975/'76 weekly, The SUPER-HEROES, which lasted for 50 issues), but I don't think it was a tie-in to the Annual.  At least not until 1980, when the third Annual in the series (for 1981) was retitled Marvel Superheroes and bore the same masthead as the monthly periodical.  As far as I know, there were only three 'Superhero' Annuals, though the middle one suffered from poor quality reproduction of the interior strips.  The full-colour pages looked as though they'd been scanned from printed comics, but so too did the spot-colour pages, which was surprising as they'd never been printed in that format anywhere else before.

Also, one story in the first Annual had two pages out of sequence, but the fault belonged Stateside as that's how the strip was published in its original appearance in The MIGHTY THOR #231.  (They should never have abolished these little corner-page numbers.)  Marvel UK revived the name for a few Annuals (I think there were some Specials too) in the late '80s, early '90s, but this time Super Hero was two words (after being hyphenated in the 1987 Omnibus Annual) so I'm not including them here as they're not connected to the original series.  Anyway, for all you nostalgists out there, I thought I'd show you the covers to the first three Annuals, so here they are for your personal perusal.


Tuesday, 31 March 2020

CLASSIC TOYS: GEMINI SPACE CAPSULE...



It was at the famous Barras Market in Glasgow one Saturday in the '60s.  If I recall correctly, one stall-holder was having an auction, and this Gemini NASA Space Capsule was one of the items on offer.  Or maybe it wasn't included in the auction and had a fixed price.  Either way, my father bought it for me, and it was a dearly-loved toy until it suffered the fate of all toys, by being replaced in my affections by another, newer, dearly-loved toy.  (Fickle, eh?  I love them all equally now though.)

Anyway, just bought a replacement on ebay earlier this afternoon, and here's a couple of the seller's pics to show off my new acquisition.  I'll replace them with my own photos when the toy arrives, and maybe engineer a photo-shoot opportunity of a visit from STEVE ZODIAC (and ZOONY) on his jetmobile.  Did any of you Crivs ever have one of these super-duper friction-drive space capsules when you were a kid?  Then wax sentimental about it in the comments section, why don'tcha?!

(And thanks to WOODSY from MOONBASE CENTRAL for telling me about it!)

Monday, 30 March 2020

REBELLION'S THE TRIGAN EMPIRE...


Copyright REBELLION

Another book I received today was REBELLION's 300-plus pages collected edition of The TRIGAN EMPIRE, the first of four volumes.  I'd read somewhere that the pages were scanned from DON LAWRENCE's original art, but that appears to be only partially true, going from the difference in the clarity of reproduction on various pages.  It's also been completely relettered, in a more comic strip style computer font, as opposed to the original typeset upper and lower case speech balloons and captions.  That I can live with.

However, if you have this book, compare the first two strip pages with the ones below, scanned from a limited edition series of LOOK & LEARN, which reprinted RANGER's iconic strip as it originally appeared.  I can't open the new volume wide enough to scan without risking damage to the spine, otherwise I'd show you the difference myself, but these particular two pages aren't as good in the Rebellion book as they are here.  (Especially the second panel on the first tier of page 2.)

Don Lawrence's art is impressive, and it's really on the art that the reputation of this series rests, because the stories are nothing brilliant - they merely exist to give Don something to draw.  I'm not saying they're bad, merely serviceable, and I'm not sure that any plot could ever be described as a classic, but this is still a book worth having just to linger lovingly over the illustrations.  And when the pages are scanned from the original artwork, the quality is impressive, but it's just a shame that all the pages couldn't be reproduced this way.

However, it's at an affordable price (£19.99), and if you're a fan of British comic strips from yesteryear, you'd be mad to let this one escape you.  Available direct from Rebellion's website and all good book and comics shops.  



TV TORNADO ANNUAL 1971 COVER...


Characters copyright relevant and respective owners

Arrived today, the TV TORNADO Annual for 1971 (which was the fourth and final one), giving me the full set after receiving the one for '70 around 34 years ago as a gift (15-odd years after it first came out), and the '68 and '69 books within the last fortnight or so.  This is easily the worst of the four, as the British-produced strips are absolutely bloody awful; amateurishly drawn and lettered, they look as if they've been scrawled by a child.  (One character has two left hands.)  Only the American reprints save the day, though there's not enough of them.  Fictitious editor ED STORM rounds of his FLASH POINT intro by saying "I hope to be with you again in twelve months time with another issue of TV Tornado.  Cheerio till then"

'Twas not to be; Ed disappeared into the limbo of cancelled comics (and Annuals), never to be seen again in any new publication.  (Though there'd been a similar char-acter, The SKIPPER, in SUPER DC, by the same artist - MICK ANGLO by the look of it.)  I can't help but wonder whether ED might've been able to keep his word had the quality of the artwork in this book been of a higher standard than it was.  And what are three cowboys from The HIGH CHAPPARAL doing on the cover?  They don't appear in any strip or text story inside.  I assume they were meant to be in-cluded before the decision was taken to produce this book as cheaply as possible by getting the real editor's 12 year old nephew or niece to do the interiors.

Anyway, I've shown these Annuals out of sequence, so in an upcoming omnibus post I'll place them all in their proper order, along with their back covers.  Any memories of having these books - or the weekly comic?  Then feel entirely welcome to share your reminiscences in the comments section with your fellow Crivs.  

Saturday, 28 March 2020

PONDERING POMPEY... (UPDATED)


Exterior of 5 Shearer Road

For a few months at the start of 1985, I stayed in a little bedsit at 5 Shearer Road in Buckland/Fratton, Portsmouth, at the start of my freelance comics career for IPC/FLEETWAY, and later (back home) MARVEL UK and REDAN, etc.  I had a small room, and shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, but I always ate out, not being one given to preparing my own grub.  Earlier tonight I was looking at a couple of items I'd acquired while ensconced in number 5 and I suddenly realised that I kind of missed the place.  It represented a time in my life when I was less than half the age I am now, and had it ever occurred to me to project my thoughts 35 years into the future, it would probably have seemed too distant a stretch to even imagine - an eternity away in fact.

However, from this side of the span, it seems like no time at all really, and I marvel at the speed with which the years flashed past while seeming to be almost stationary during the process.  Funny that, eh?  I wish I could jump into my private helicopter (if I had one) and fly down to Portsmouth, let myself into the building I stayed in, and re-experience the feeling of what it was like to live there.  I'm doing that now of course, but only in my mind - it would give it far greater clarity and closeness if I were able to do so in the place itself.  I still possess most if not all of the books, comics, and items I purchased in my few months down there, and they provide a nice reminder of a particular period in my life from long ago.  

I've also got photos of the room and area I stayed in, so if you're not busy watching paint dry, why don't I share them with you?  You'd like that?  Oh, good, 'cos I would too.  So here are some images recorded for posterity on a HANNIMEX 110mm camera (bought in Southsea on a previous stay in 1981) of where I lived more than half my life away.  If you're from the area, feel free to provide an update on any significant changes since I was there.  (For example, is there a blue plaque with my name on it above the front door of number 5 yet?)  These pics form a circular tour (left-to-right) of my room (I'm sure you can work out which one it was), starting out-side the house and ending there.  I'll add some other photos of Portsmouth later.

I once saw a woman walking her cat on a lead on
the street across the road from this window

You can see the little desk I worked at, lettering
and resizing pages for the pocket library mags

I attended a service (may've been a Gospel meeting) in the Salem
Baptist Chapel one night 'cos they were serving tea and biscuits 

Can't recall ever hanging anything in the 'wardrobe'

The bed was comfier than it looks.  I very soon bought two
sleeping bags (zipped them together) and two comfy pillows

My Coca Cola Radio bottle and a can of the 'Real Thing'

Kept some comics and books in the chest of drawers

H'mm, what could this be?  Ah, now I remember -
it's the door in to (and out of) my room

View from the window again

Now this looks familiar

'My' house - home sweet home (sort of)

Okay, next is the road to Portsmouth Town Centre from Buckland/Fratton, and the centre itself, which is very reminiscent of my town back in the 1960s and '70s. Maybe that's why I felt so at home in Pompey.  After the shot of the fountain is the Guildhall, plus the park just behind it.  Back on October 12th 1984, BOB HOPE arrived at the Guildhall to do a gig, only to find it cancelled due to an unexploded bomb being found the day before.  It was in the papers, and he also mentioned it at The Edinburgh Playhouse the next night (13th) - I was there.

The flats on the right (our pov) hadn't been built
when I walked into town on a previous stay in '81

This shot is just before and on the right (our pov) of the previous pic.
I've got one taken in '81 of a horse grazing here when it was a field

Portsmouth Town Centre fountain outside the TSB, out of sight on
the left of the pic from our pov.  It closed a good many years ago

Street on the left-hand side (our pov) of the Guildhall

The Guildhall was completed in 1890 and bombed to
bits in 1941.  The Queen reopened it in 1959

Statue of Queen Victoria taken from Library Cafe.  You
may recognise the area from a six-part TV series called
'Going Out', first broadcast in 1981

Dunno what this edifice is, but doesn't it look grand?

Very futuristic-looking

The swans were absent the last time I took a photo
in 1981.  Must've been away getting repaired

H'mm, let me refer to my notes.  Ah, yes - this is a tree

Let's see, what's next?  Some assorted shots near the seafront, and one from a cafe overlooking the bus terminus.

Saw this archway in a TV drama sometime in the '80s 

That might be Gosport across the waters, not sure.

And another shot of the same view

It was either in this newsagent's or a bookshop along
to the right (our pov) that I saw a nice hardback copy
of The Wind In The Willows.  Can't recall if I bought
it there, or later when I returned to Scotland

If you're a Russian agent, look away now

Below is one near the duck pond at the far end of Southsea, followed by one of me in my room in the HOMLEA HOTEL (prior to living in Shearer Road), not too far away from the pond (if memory serves).

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a duck.  (Swans,
on the other hand, I've got plenty of)

Hairy-but-handsome, that's me.  Incidentally, I
still have that blue jumper and it still fits

Tell you what - to finish, let's jump up to London and take a look at the view from the 26th floor of KING'S REACH TOWER when I was there doing some lettering.  I used to visit there once or twice a week (from Pompey), which involved getting up around 4 in the morning so that I could catch the 6 a.m. coach.  I usually arrived about 8.30 or thereabouts, and didn't get back to Shearer Road 'til sometime after 10 at night.  Are you up for it?  Okay, here we go then.

I think I've got pics of this site when new buildings
had been erected.  (Tee-hee!  I said 'erected')

Slightly wider shot...

...and a view of the skyline above it

And that's your lot.  Hope you enjoyed this small tour 'round a snippet of my life 35 years ago.  No?  Ach, you're an awfy hard lot to please.
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