Thursday, 14 November 2019

SPECTRUM IS GREEN...



Semi-regular commenter McSCOTTY mentioned TIMPO toys recently, and it reminded me that I really should add some to my collection of 'stuff'.  The only Timpo figure I own is the CAPTAIN SCARLET one from the '60s.  I know that there were definitely three different figures (Scarlet, CAPTAIN BLUE, and COLONEL WHITE), but there may have been a fourth one, LIEUTENANT GREEN, as well.  They were all in the same position and had the same face, with only the colours differing, but they were great little figures - wish I had more than just the one.  They turned at the head and waist, but could hardly be called 'action figures'.

In the early '90s, four SPECTRUM figures (makers unknown) were given away with a cereal, I think by KELLOGG'S, though I'm not sure.  They had no moveable parts and were moulded onto little bases, but, again, were nice little collectables.  A good many years ago, I acquired the Scarlet figure for a mere 50p at a market somewhere, and then a year or two ago, I acquired the full set of four on ebay, and am very pleased to have them.  They happily agreed to pose for the photo below at short notice (as did Timpo Scarlet above) so that you can admire them, so I hope you appreciate their dedication to duty.

What Timpo figures do you remember having as a kid, Crivs?

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

ADRIFT IN THE 'STRATO' SPHERE...



Back on October 23rd I told you about the STRATO balsa-wood glider I purchased on ebay, and I said I'd add a photo of it when it arrived.  It arrived around ten days ago, but unfortunately the red plastic clip was missing and there was a split in one of the wings.  I got a full refund, but even before that, I'd spotted a trio of the same glider being sold as one lot and promptly bought 'em.  They arrived today and have never been opened, but I carefully opened one and assembled it so that I could show all you pantin' Crivs just what sort of thing your genial host wastes his money on.  (In case you didn't already know.)

In the last few years, the more items I re-acquire from my past, the more I feel that my old 'pals' are congregating around me just to say goodbye before I fall off the twig.  It's my own fault of course, because I go looking for them, they don't come looking for me, but hopefully I've got a lot more mileage on the clock to enjoy our 'reunion' before I have to say goodbye to them at the end of my journey.  My only excuse for indulging my compulsion to surround myself with items from my childhood is that I enjoy 'the warm familiarity of their presence', and that's really the only excuse I need.  Can you think of a better one?

Anyway, the photo above displays a simple toy from a more innocent era, a toy which could occupy and enthrall kids for hours on end without them feeling the need to go out and vandalise something just for the perverse joy of it.  If only kids of today were so easily entertained as we of a certain age once were, eh?  Life would be so much better.  Perhaps you think I'm too jaded and cynical?  Feel free to say so (and why) in the comments section.

But first, take a good look at that glider - brilliant, innit?

BABE OF THE DAY - JANE RUSSELL...



What can you say about JANE RUSSELL that hasn't already been said a million times over?  Who cares anyway?  It's pictures that do the talking on our Babe of the Day spot, so here's one that's worth a thousand words - and more!

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

AMAZING STORIES OF SUSPENSE #150...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Saw this comic on ebay recently and it rang a bell in my memory.  I'm pretty sure I must have had it back around the mid-'70s so I bought it as a replacement to add to my collection of ALAN CLASS comics, most of which (12 to be precise) are the original issues I owned at the time.  I think that now brings my collection up to 16, but I'll probably add a few more as and when I see ones that interest me.

I really enjoyed most of the stories in this ish, but there's one which is a real clunker, called 'OPEN WIDER, PLEASE!', which relates the tale of a man who visits a dentist as he has "severe toothache".  The dentist examines his teeth and discovers "quite a cavity" and proceeds to try and give him a filling (behave yourselves), only to find that several drills keep breaking on his teeth as they're "super strong".  We may be forgiven for wondering how he got a cavity then.

Turns out there's two reasons for wondering, as it transpires that the patient is a Martian robot spy and the dentist is a Venusian robot spy (disguised as humans), whose home planets each have designs on conquering Earth.  But since when did robots with super strong teeth develop cavities, and how could one have severe toothache?  And a robot who goes to the dentist?  He knows he's a robot, so It's completely absurd on every level as he'd surely realise that a dentist could do nothing for him and that he'd be found out?

I don't know who wrote it, but it has some decent art by DON HECK, despite the story being contrived beyond what is sensible, reasonable, or logical (a three-pronged synonymous attack, just to drive my point home).  In fact, it could rightly be said that the plot has "quite a cavity".  As I said though, the other strips were entertaining, with art by JACK KIRBY and STEVE DITKO (and others), so it's an issue worth having.

Monday, 11 November 2019

MONSTER FUN FREE GIFT OFFER OPEN TO ALL CAVORTIN' CRIV-ITES...


Copyright relevant owner

One of the annoying things for collectors is when they buy a comic that's been advertised as complete only to find that it isn't.  Such can sometimes be the case with MONSTER FUN COMIC, as it's supposed to contain a BADTIME BEDTIME STORYBOOK pullout, which can be missing from within.  It's not always the seller's fault, because unless they're familiar with the comic, it appears to be all there as the middle pages are a centre-spread strip, and the pullout's absence isn't obvious.

I bought a copy without the pullout (though I no longer recall if I knew that when I purchased it), but luckily the late, great TERRY BAVE gave me his own copy with the Storybook intact.  So if you have this comic and the LEO BAXENDALE pullout has been, er... pulled out, then this is your lucky day.  I have several facsimiles to give away for absolutely nothing.  If you'd like one, just leave your name and address in the comments section and I'll send you one entirely free and at my own expense.

This blog has comment moderation - your details won't be published or passed on to any other parties, so no junk mail will be arriving through your letterbox.  Once I've addressed the envelope, your data will be deleted forever, so don't worry - it's a completely safe offer with no hidden hiccups or handicaps.  Complete your copy of Monster Fun Comic #1 today!  See below for what you'll receive - a nicely printed and stapled, A5 sized facsimile.  Supplies are limited so don't delay. 





Saturday, 9 November 2019

THE DEMISE OF THE VALIANT...


Copyright relevant owner

You know the sense of sadness one feels on learning that an old friend died a good while back, but only just hearing about it?  I suppose that's similar to how I felt when I eventually discovered that VALIANT was no more.  As it was no longer on my list of comics reading during this period, I was probably unaware of its merge into BATTLE until some time after the fact - but even though I'd only bought it when it had subsumed first SMASH! and then TV21 in the early '70s, it still felt like I'd just heard about the passing of an old pal.

I said some time ago that I'd get around to posting some pages from the final issue, so here they are, from a comic I acquired only a few years ago, long after it had bitten the dust.  Making their final appearances in a weekly comic were PACO, STRYKER (with some lovely IAN KENNEDY art), CAPTAIN HURRICANE, and ADAM ETERNO, with CHALLENGE CHARLIE, and The NUTTS taking their last bow too.  BILLY BUNTER would eventually resurface (in the form of reprints) in, I think, WHIZZER & CHIPS, so it's good to know that future readers weren't deprived of REG PARLETT's hilarious and sublime cartooning skills.

The Challenge Charlie strip was a bit of a con in that old scripts from POW's DARE-A-DAY DAVY were often reused, making the offer of a fiver in prize money (absent in the last episode) for accepted suggestions a total lie!  Did not enough readers respond, or was it a deliberate subterfuge from the outset?  Either way, it's a disgrace that they got away with it.  I wonder if such things still happen today in the meagre selection of weekly humour comics available in newsagents.  (I can only think of The BEANO - are there any others?)

Still, Valiant was certainly a success, as it lasted from 6th October 1962 until 16th October 1976, which was practically my entire childhood right up until just before I officially (and allegedly) became an adult.  I wish all the comics that I bought (or knew of) as a boy were still around today.  That would really be something!  Maybe now that REBELLION owns the copyright to a plethora of old comic titles and strips, we may yet see their return.  I hope so.

Were you a reader of Valiant at any stage during its 14 year run?  Feel free to reminisce in the comments section.

******

One other thing:  Look at that absolutely awful typeset lettering with badly-shaped balloons in some of the strips, the result of a dispute between IPC and the lettering artists it used - probably over the page-rate.  It really hurt the look of the strips, and I for one wouldn't mind at all if it were to be replaced with either modern computer or hand-lettering should they ever be reprinted.  What think the rest of you?
     











EXIT TV21, STAGE LEFT...


Copyright relevant owner

Believe it or not (as the famous LEROY ROBERT RIPLEY would say), the above comic is rather significant in its own humble way.  Y'see, this was the very last time that the esteemed name of TV21 appeared on the cover of a British weekly periodical, after around two and a half years of sharing space (as junior partner) with the VALIANT masthead.  For the final four months, the partnership had been in name only, as the last surviving TV21 strip - STAR TREK - had come to an end in the December 29th 1973 cover-dated issue, The TUFFS Of TERROR ISLAND having preceded it into retirement around a year and a half earlier.

It's true to say that, even before the merger in 1971, TV21 hadn't resembled its original incarnation for quite a while, but its title in some shape or form had been a familiar sight on newsagents' counters since 1965.  Five issues later, the host comic found another partner and a new double-act appeared on the scene, with the name of LION taking the place that TV21 had occupied.  The previous four issues had returned Valiant to solo status during those intervening weeks, but it was sad to see TV21's logo absent after its years of faithful service.

Below are some internal pages to give you a taste of what it was about (excuse the 'bleed-through'). Note the ad which advises readers to place a regular order for Valiant & TV21, even though the latter's name would be absent from the masthead the following issue.  (Looking at the covers for the four 'in-between' issues on ebay, I note that there's still space in the title box for TV21's logo, which suggests it was originally included but removed before publication.)

I wonder if GERRY ANDERSON or ALAN FENNELL even noticed or lamented TV21's demise, or had it already faded from their day-to-day consciousness long before the curtain came down for the final time?

And thus a legend passed into history.









I wonder if the Valiant & TV21 name continued in the indicia until the merger
with Lion, or was absent once it disappeared from the cover.  If you have those
  four issues between April 20th and May 25th, check and let me know, will you? 


Friday, 8 November 2019

THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY...



Something I find extremely unsettling as I get older is that I have comics, records, and toys which I bought over 30 years ago that are in far better shape than I am.  I look at them in their pristine state and marvel at the fact that, while I've grown old and 'dilapidated', they remain mostly unchanged and in the same condition as when I first bought them.  Now I ask you - is that fair?

I've had a good run, seemingly younger than my years for a long time, but recently (well, for quite a while actually) I've begun to notice that when handling a comic or toy, the hands which frame them have started to look old and weathered, and no longer appear to be the same supple, wrinkle-free appendages that I was un-consciously familiar with for so many years.

How about you, readers?  Can you recall when you first fully realised you'd crossed the divide between youth and middle (or old) age, without knowing how you got from one point to the other?  Like death, it sort of creeps up on us unawares - like a thief in the night - and suddenly our youth has deserted us and sloped off to that far away country called the past.  Feel free to wax lyrical in the comments section.     

Thursday, 7 November 2019

JAMES BOND'S ASTON MARTIN D.B.5 IN GLASGOW...



Currently at Glasgow's Riverside Museum is a replica of JAMES BOND's iconic ASTON MARTIN D.B.5 (D.B. stands for DAVID BROWN), which is indeed an awesome car to witness 'in the flesh'.  One of my pals ran us into see it (I do wish he'd get a car) and snap a few photos, so here they are.  The guy in the 2nd last pic would be a model 007 - bearing in mind that the definition of model is 'a small replica of the real thing'.  Of course, I'm merely being modest and self-deprecating - I'd actually make a great James Bond.  (I've got enough Plasticine.)

Incidentally, I notice that it has no wing mirrors.  (And I doubt it's got an ejector seat either.)  And note also that the exhaust pipe is on the opposite side (as it should be) to where CORGI TOYS placed it on their famous '60s diecast vehicle to operate the bulletproof shield.  The very last pic is a 'pullback' toy - with opening doors - that I bought in the museum's gift shop.  (A gift to myself, of course.)






Hell's bells - I look like a wax dummy that's part of the display

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

NEW RELEASE ON NOVEMBER 8TH - JIM REEVES 12 SONGS OF CHRISTMAS...



Well, I say 'new', but it's a re-release of an old album - the best Christmas album ever recorded, in my view.  It's been remastered (I'm not sure whether it has new musical accompaniment as well), and has a couple of bonus songs thrown in for good measure.  One is Snowflake, which isn't quite a Christmas song, but at least it's wintry, and the other is Scarlet Ribbons, which doesn't really fit the mood of the season.  They should have included either Ding Dong (a Christmas song sung in South Africaans) or his overdubbed radio version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I know all you Criv-ites will be ordering this great album from Amazon as soon as you've finished reading this.  That's right, isn't it, Crivs?  Hello - is anybody there?  Anyway, I've pre-ordered mine and will receive it on the actual day of release - Friday.   Below is the Product Description on the Amazon site.

Has there ever been a warmer voice than that wielded by Gentleman Jim Reeves?  That light, warm baritone helped change the face of country music, helping to usher in The Nashville Sound with a series of albums and singles produced by Chet Atkins.  He is without a doubt the greatest country crooner of all time... and of all his releases, his 1963 holiday album 12 Songs of Christmas just might be his most enduring.  This record, which features such holiday evergreens as "An Old Christmas Card" and "C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S", has never gone out of print in the CD era, or any other era for that matter; but the CD that is currently available is a full 20 years old, and, to be kind, the sound on that release is showing its age.  So, we have given it a fresh remastering by Vic Anesini at Sony's Battery Studios, and added two holiday themed songs ("Snowflake" and "Scarlet Ribbons") to this Expanded Edition to make it, er, "14 Songs of Christmas"! Steve Harmon contributes brand-new liner notes to accompany vintage photos.  A Christmas classic, sounding bigger, better, and even warmer than before!

******

Update: Just received an email saying that there'll be delay in getting it to me, and that it'll arrive between 20th November and 4th December.  Drat!  I was so looking forward to listening to it to see if I could hear the difference in audio quality, as the old CD I already have sounds perfectly fine to me.  Ah, well, I'll just have to wait.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

FABULOUS FLASHBACK: VALIANT - THE FIRST ISSUE (A RAMPAGIN' REPOST)...


Copyright REBELLION

VALIANT #1, cover-dated October 6th, 1962, was an anthology title published by FLEETWAY PUBLICATIONS which managed an impressive 14 year run before being merged into BATTLE PICTURE WEEKLY in 1976.  In its time, it had consumed quite a few comics itself, including KNOCKOUT, SMASH!, TV21, LION, and VULCAN.

Some of the famous strips featured in its pages over the years were CAPTAIN HURRICANE, The STEEL CLAW, KELLY'S EYE, MYTEK The MIGHTY, The HOUSE Of DOLMANN, The CROWS, The NUTTS, and BILLY BUNTER.

Here, for your reading pleasure, are just a few of the strips from the very first issue. Keep your eyes peeled for the final issue, coming up in a future post.












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