Friday, 31 March 2023


All characters copyright relevant and respective owners

Regular followers of this blog will already know that Kid has treated readers to many early Gerry Anderson comic strips, including some beautiful colour strips of Supercar and Fireball XL5 taken from the 1963 and '64 TV Comic Annuals.  Indeed, these very strips in TV Comic were embryonic incarnations of what was arguably the greatest UK comic of its generation.  Of course, no prizes for guessing that I am referring to TV Century 21!

So, when I recently discovered a few even earlier Gerry Anderson comic strips from TV Comic Annuals for 1961 and '62, I naturally thought that the ideal home to show these to the world would be "Crivens!", to add to Kid's enormous selection of all things comics-related.

I hope that you enjoy the images and I suspect that, like myself, many of you will be viewing these for the first time.  Comments welcome.

And just because a Mighty Moth page followed the above Supercar strip, I thought I'd throw it in for free, seeing as how Kid is such a fan of the character. 

Thursday, 23 March 2023


Just a quick post to keep my hand in.  Apologies for neglecting visiting other blog sites, but my mind's too preoccupied with various matters of concern at the moment to do them justice by reading or commenting on them.  Even this short post is a strain.

You'll perhaps recall me mentioning a Santa cake topper I received from a couple of neighbours, either towards the end of the '60s or the start of the '70s.  I don't have the inclination or the energy to repeat the story here, though you can read the details if you're interested by clicking this link.

Anyway, a while back I managed to obtain a replacement of the figure via eBay, so above is a photo of it.  (It's good to share.)  In fact, that's another photo of it below.  (It's 4 centimetres tall.)  

Thursday, 16 March 2023


Copyright DC COMICS

Before we begin, just a brief explanation about my absence from blogging (aside from minor layout amendments to some old posts) for the last couple of months.  Had a few health and family care concerns to contend with, which have distracted my attention and sapped my energy and enthusiasm for writing anything new.  Matters still not fully resolved, but I've forced myself to write the following short post before you all start thinking I've fallen off the twig.  So here goes...

Regular readers may recall a post I published some years back about the true tale of a baby who was born five years after his mother's death.  I first read a reprint of the Simon & Kirby comic strip account of it in Black Magic #2, back in 1974, and a couple of years ago a commenter informed me that there'd been another, two-page version of the story related in The House Of Mystery #196 in 1971.  I recently decided I'd like to read it, but baulked at paying any of the rather hefty asking-prices that some issues are listed at on eBay - from as little as £20 to as high as £245 depending on condition.

Had it been a comic I really desired, I'd have bought a lower-priced copy, but I really only wanted to satisfy my curiosity about the two-page strip and couldn't justify to myself spending anything over a few quid on a mag that wasn't crying out to me to own, a Neal Adams cover not withstanding.  So I bought a coverless copy for a mere £1.75 just so that I could read the two-pager.  Then I decided to replace the missing cover just to make the mag more presentable, so sourced an image of the front cover online.

There were also glimpses of the ads on the interior and back covers, and I was fortunate enough to own a Superboy issue with those same ads, which luckily required some minor repair to the cover, justifying my careful removal of it it to fix, then scanning it to create a duplicate.  I printed out the front cover of HOM on glossy photo paper, attached it to a print-out of the Superboy cover, re-scanned it and printed it on high-quality white paper.  Had to play around with it to get it more or less the right size, but the end result was a complete issue with cover, though obviously my 'facsimile' isn't quite as sharp or as vibrant as an original.

A few years back I also acquired a coverless issue of Action Comics #352, which was a bit tatty and in need of 'tarting up'.  I've since replaced it with a superior condition copy, but was loath to simply discard its predecessor.  So I scanned the exterior and interior cover of the better copy, printed it out, then restored and repaired the tatty incarnation, resulting in a complete and acceptable condition reading copy.

I've included photos for your consideration, as well as the two-page tale which prompted me to buy The House Of Mystery issue.  Feel free to let me know what you think, and if you'd like to remind yourselves of the Simon & Kirby version of the tale, you can do so by clicking this link.  (Incidentally, the mags' original interior pages look a bit too yellowish in the following pics, but I think that might be the result of being photographed under fluorescent lights.)

And now, the two-page tale from The House Of Mystery #196, drawn by Wayne Howard.  (Click on image to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.)  Just like the Simon & Kirby account, this version attributes events as occurring in England, though Walter's mother gave birth to him in Edinburgh, so yet again, our American friends seemingly confusing 'England' as being synonymous with all parts of Great Britain.

Friday, 13 January 2023


A young Moonmando (with my pup Zara) in 1986

Long-time readers may remember regular commenter Moonmando, who at one time used to grace us with his entertaining and interesting remarks in response to my woeful waffle.  Just spoke to him not long ago today, but it's with a heavy heart I now reveal to fellow Crivvies that he was recently diagnosed with inoperable liver and bowel cancer and his time is severely limited.  His immediate family are devastated of course, as are his many friends, and it's hard to believe that someone I've known since we were schoolkids will, when the time comes, no longer be there for me to bore witless by droning on about my new acquisitions of toys and comics.

I know you have your own problems, Crivs, but spare a thought and a prayer for Moonmando - alias Matthew Caldwell - someone who anyone would be proud to call friend.  The world needs more guys like him, not less.  Is it just me, or does life seem to get more sh*t the older we get?


(Update:) Matt passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning (14th February) at the hospice he'd been in for the last several weeks.  He'll be much missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.  Hard to believe we first became friends around 50 years ago.  R.I.P., Moonie - you won't be forgotten.    

Monday, 9 January 2023


A bit under the weather at the moment, Crivvies, hence my lack of blogging for a while, though I've been keeping an eye out for any new comments and trying to respond to them in a timely fashion.  However, I recently received a sad bit of news in regard to this post from August 2021, so I thought I'd add an update at the end of it once you've refreshed your memories of its contents.


Isn't it strange how the 'backdrop' to your life can change without you being aware of it until after-the-fact?  Example: There's a fella and his wife lived in the flats around the corner from me (same street) for at least 35 years, possibly longer.  He was there when we moved back to the neighbourhood after four years away, and for all I know he might've been there when we still lived here the first time.

The pair of us were part of the local doggie-walking club in the late '80s until either the dogs or the owners gradually died.  Out of about 14 of us, maybe only about four yet survive (all the dogs are gone), though me and Martin (as he's called) were the only two still in the area.  I'd often run into him when he was out walking his new (relatively-speaking) pooch, or when one of us was going to, while the other was coming back from, the local shops.

Anyway, last week I was sitting on a bench in the shopping area, scoffing a soft buttered roll with link sausages and fried onions (yum), when I spotted Martin and hailed him.  During the course of our chat, imagine my surprise when he told me that he and his wife had moved from their flat to a house in another neighbourhood quite a distance away around five weeks or so before.

Subconsciously, I'd yet imagined he and his dog were still traversing around the local environs when, in fact, his daily routine now unfolded somewhere else entirely, and that it was unlikely that either of us would run into the other when heading to or back from the shops.  But there was even worse news to come.  After being in their new house for only around three weeks or thereabouts, Martin came home one day to find his wife Isobel dead from a massive heart attack.

Sadly, I didn't know her very well (only saw her a handful of times in 34-odd years), but what a bummer, eh?  He's no longer in the flat where he and his wife brought up their kids and made many happy memories, but he's now in a house where he was denied the time to make any meaningful new memories before she was so suddenly and cruelly taken from him.

I prefer to think that Martin still lives around the corner from me and is yet exercising his doggie around the neighbourhood, and whenever I look out of my window, I sort of imagine I've just missed spotting him by seconds.  That way I can pretend that everything is as it's always been (for the last several years at least) and that the friendly face of a decent bloke is still out there to say hello to, instead of in another neighbourhood that I'm unlikely ever to visit.

Two more long-term residents in the street are soon to flit from it, and I'm beginning to feel isolated from friendly faces that have been part of my everyday existence for decades.  It's no fun seeing them all moving (or slipping) away, especially as I well-remember when my family was the new one 'on the block'.  That feeling is long-gone, but somehow I find myself wishing I could re-experience it - without having to flit somewhere else in order to do it though.

Any of you Crivvies ever feel the same?  Or am I just bonkers?  And spare a thought for Martin, eh?


And now for further bad news.  I only saw Martin one more time, in Iceland (the store, not the country) a week or three after our meeting related above.  Just a few days ago I was talking to another neighbourhood resident and happened to mention Martin, only to be informed that he had died from cancer around a couple of months after his wife.  I'm kind of hoping that it isn't so, but I've no real reason to doubt it.  Just think, after going to all the bother of flitting elsewhere, neither of them had much time in their new residence to make the effort and inconvenience worthwhile.  Such a shame, but to me, he and his dog (Skye) will still always be just around the corner from me and traversing the local environs.  He was a really decent bloke.

Friday, 23 December 2022


Merry Christmas to all Crivvies everywhere.  This will probably be my last post of the year, but hopefully I'll be back in 2023 with a little more vim and vigour than I've had recently.  I also hope Santa brings you everything you wish for.  Below is a little extra treat for Christmas - Silent Night.

Tuesday, 20 December 2022


Copyright relevant owner

Heads up, heroes.  As almost everyone and their granny knows, UK weekly comics are usually dated up to seven days in advance in order to give them a week's shelf-life (or close to it) until the next issue goes on sale.  Sometimes, though, it was only a few days, and to confound matters further for historians, the above issue (as an example) is cover-listed as going on sale on Wednesday, but the cover-date of the 13th was a Saturday.  Confusing, eh?

So here's a question for serious comics historians,  TV Century 21 #1 is dated January 23rd, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that it went on sale around the 18th or 19th, which isn't a full week.  Number 43 is dated November 13th, but I recollect buying it on or just before the 8th, which, if so, would mean that the comic had by then adopted a longer delay between its on sale date and the cover date.

I'm trying to pin down precisely which house I was living in when I first bought it, so is there anyone out there who knows (or knows how to find out) whether this issue went on sale before or after November 8th?  I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can assist.

Thursday, 8 December 2022



Above are three Action Man figures, the one on the left from 2018, the middle one from 2016, and the one on the right from 2022.  The lefthand figure is often referred to as the T-Rex Action Man because of his stunted arms, and to be honest, despite my previous protestations that AM is not a doll, because of this figure's severely limited points of articulation, it is actually nothing more than that.  The elbows, waist, wrists and ankles don't move, the head doesn't go up or down, and although internal joints in the knees allow the legs to bend, it's only by around a few millimetres, so the joints are rendered useless for all practical purposes.

The middle figure is the same as the classic 1966 version, though incorporates the flocked hair and gripping hands of '70s AM (which were first introduced by Palitoy, not Hasbro), making it a composite of the best of the '60s and '70s.  One flaw I've found is that the legs don't stay in position when raised in a kicking gesture (perhaps the elastic isn't tight enough), but as this incarnation is made for adult collectors and not for children (the box actually declares this), it perhaps doesn't much matter.  Why did I buy a footballer?  It was the only version in stock in the shop from which I purchased it a few years back.

The righthand figure is the latest Action Man available, being released only in October of this year.  It's claimed that it has 30 points of articulation, but I can't see as many as that.  Depending on how you count, it seems to have only between 20-25, but the arms and legs are far more poseable than any previous version.  What lets it down slightly is that the head can't really be posed looking up or down beyond a millimetre or two either way (so no sharpshooter posing), and despite having two joints in the torso, the waist doesn't move much up or down either.

However, it's a great-looking toy display item manufactured by Art + Science (under license from Hasbro), but I'm unsure as to whether they're still active as the item isn't listed on their site, and, despite having a 'contact' option, nor do they appear to respond to any enquiries.  I had to buy the newest figure through an online shopping site (Booghe), and it was sent in a box an inch shorter than AM's box, which resulted in some damage to it, though the figure was unscathed.  I'm currently awaiting a replacement box which will hopefully be in pristine condition.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know that ol' Action Man is still alive and well in the 21st century.

Monday, 28 November 2022


Thought I'd show you just what can be done with a scanner and printer, plus some inexpensive frames from Poundland.  The pictures are A3 and look great up on the wall, adding a nice touch of colour to any room they adorn.  There's another one which I haven't hung yet, but I'll add it here once I find a space in one of my rooms for it.  So, whaddya think, Crivvies?

And below is the fourth poster, now up on my wall.  I'm not even slightly interested in John Dillinger, but I had the bigger sized version of this back in the early '70s, a 'free gift' with Kirby's 'In The Days Of The Mob' #1 (and only).  So it's yet another indulgence in nostalgia, nothing more.  There's a fifth poster, Christopher Reeve as Superman, but the Christmas tree is blocking the view of it at the moment, and I'm not going to risk dropping decorations all over the floor by attempting to move it.  I'll add a photo of the poster in the New Year.

Sunday, 27 November 2022



They say that when you're dying, your life flashes before your eyes - but there's a far less drastic (and not so final) way to achieve the same effect.  Simply flick through the pages of the comics you got as a kid (if they're still in your possession) and you'll find yourself transported back in time to when you first acquired them, with such clarity that you not only remember the past, but can see, feel, smell and taste it as well.

Such is the case with The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL #51.  Look at the cover.  See the stars twinkling in the night sky?  One look, and I vividly recall the September evening when myself and one of my pals found ourselves crawling over the slated rooftops of a centuries-old public house in search of adventure.  I can remember the sudden thrill when, underneath us, someone suddenly emerged from the backdoor of the bar to obtain a fresh keg, while we hugged the roof and hoped that they wouldn't glance upwards.  Surely 'twas the exact same stars that shone down on us that night as sparkled from the cover of this comic from childhood, which I had bought the self-same morning in 1973?

Looking again at an old comic is much like rereading a half-forgotten diary entry, in as much that it invigorates the memory and spans the bridge between past and present, allowing us - for however brief a period - to revisit times and places from so very long ago.
The slates at left belong to the pub.  The photo is
taken from where we gained access to the roof

Monday, 21 November 2022


Copyright DC COMICS

You're looking at my very own Kenner Super Powers Superman figure (above) from 1984.  I bought it in John Menzies in my hometown, along with a couple of Brainiac figures, one for me and one for a friend's son, both of whom were with me at the time.  We then repaired to Baird's tearoom on the top floor of said establishment, whereupon my pal's boy, on seeing my Superman, wanted it instead of his Brainiac and started to cry bitter tears over it.  I assuaged him by saying that Superman was a wimp compared to his foe, and that Brainiac was the toughest guy in creation.  That did the trick!  He was soon engrossed in the silver figure, and I'd managed to avoid having to give him my Supes in order to shut him up.

Curiously, some areas of Superman's blue costume have darkened over the years, and I'm not quite sure why.  I took a look on eBay at other figures and noticed that a few of them had likewise suffered the same discolouration in the same places.  I was also astonished to see some of the asking prices for the 1984 Super Powers range, especially Superman.  Battered and blootered ones go for around £15, right up to several hundreds for unopened ones in their blister packs.  My original blister pack is in a box up in the loft somewhere, so I've borrowed an image from eBay to show you what it looks like.  The second figure is a recent release by McFarlane Toys, again harking back to the Super Powers range, but with the figure 'paying homage' to the original without being an exact duplicate of it.  Once again, the carded image is from eBay.

In case you're wondering, the difference in the density of the blue of the costumes between the two toys is due to a switch from lighter to darker in the comics sometime around the '90s, I think.  Why?  I can only hazard a guess, but I assume it might have been simply to give Supes a more dramatic impact on the printed page.  Anyway, funny how things come around again after so long a time, isn't it?  Having bought the original Super Powers Superman figure (which, contrary to the claims of some, is not a doll simply because it has points of articulation) in 1984, I felt compelled to buy the 2022 incarnation of the toy, very nearly 40 years later (38 to be precise).  I almost feel like I'm 25-years-old again.  (If only!)

Like I said, for the sake of convenience, both pics of the figures in their blister cards are from eBay, though the unwrapped figures are my very own.  Which figure would you say was best, the '84 or '22 version, or don't you have a preference?  And if you see this, McS, don't try and fool your fellow Crivvies - we all know you'll be running out to the shops to buy the second version of the toy the moment you've read this post, ya big wean.  (Incidentally, Crivs, the string you see around Kenner Superman's waist loops up under the neck of his cape; I attached it years ago so that I could hang him on a pin to display on my wall.)

Sunday, 13 November 2022


Copyright relevant owners

My favourite UK comic of all time is TV (Century) 21.  I cut my milk teeth on the early Gerry Anderson puppet TV shows for children and enjoyed the comic strip adaptations of Torchy the Battery Boy in Harold Hare's Own Paper and then Four Feather Falls, Supercar and Fireball XL5 in TV Comic.  So when, in January 1965, a new publication went on sale, featuring all of the Gerry Anderson shows in strip form together in one tabloid-sized glossy comic to rival the Eagle, it was an absolute 'must' for me!  The icing on the proverbial cake was that The Daleks were also included in this comic set mainly in the imaginary Century 21 universe!

On its first anniversary in 1966, Thunderbirds joined the comic and Lady Penelope exited to star in her own title.  This was probably the greatest year for my favourite comic, but on its second anniversary in 1967, we were to find that The Daleks were to leave the weekly to join Doctor Who in TV Comic and, for me, this year was a disappointing lull in its history until Captain Scarlet was added to the line-up.

Anyway, another event happened between 1966 and 1967, unbeknownst to we kids until many years later!  Over in Holland they published their very own version of the comic called TV2000, featuring reprints from both TV Century 21 and Lady Penelope.  This periodical has become highly sought after by collectors of Gerry Anderson comics and although many of you will have heard of it, I wonder how many have actually seen its interiors?  So, for your delectation I would like to share with you an example copy in its entirety from the early years of the publication, which lasted for 174 editions.

In the early days of its run, it closely resembled its UK counterpart, but later on the format was changed to American comic book size and these closely resembled the UK's Top Sellers comic books of the 1970s, like Tarzan.
So feast your eyes on the images below and join in with me in thanking our host Kid for allowing me to guest post on his renowned blog!  


(Cheque's in the mail, JP.)  I'm sure all you faithful Crivvies would like to leave a comment expressing your appreciation for all JP's hard work in scanning the pages for this post.  Go to it, tigers! 

Click on image to enlarge, then click again for optimum size

Click on image to enlarge, then click again for optimum size

Or, as we Brits knew him, Special Agent 21

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