Monday 31 October 2011


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

A while back, over on DANIEL BEST's blog, he reported the fact that GREG THEAKSTON had claimed in the second volume of his JACK KIRBY biography that Kirby did not draw any of the recreations of MARVEL covers in the early 1990s and that they were 'ghosted' by other hands.  This naturally has raised some interesting questions.  For example, would Jack and Roz have allowed pages to be attributed to him and sold for high prices if he hadn't produced them?  For that matter, would Marvel or SOTHEBY'S ?

Theakston's claim has naturally set tongues wagging as to who may have been involved in creating these pages if, as he asserts, it wasn't Kirby. (And that's important to remember - if.)  As far as I'm aware, there is no evidence to support the participation of any particular individual, but I'm not in full possession of the facts (or what passes as facts) in the matter.

Naturally, when such rumours take root (and there seems just no way to stop them), there is always rabid speculation amongst groups of fans, and, even if no one is publicly named, people tend to form their own ideas as to who might have been involved.  There is only a relatively select group of people who would even be considered capable of such work, and doubtless all of them were regarded at some stage as potential candidates amongst those given to conjecture on the matter.  It is in that context we must now consider what comes next.

On Dan's post, he related the relevant facts and indulged in a bit of speculation.  He considered the different possibilities and concluded that, if (remember that word?) the pages were ghosted, he had been led to believe that MIKE ROYER may have been responsible. He made it crystal clear, though, that his personal belief was unconfirmed - and at no time did he state that Royer, if he had actually drawn the covers, would have known they would be passed off as being exclusively pencilled by Kirby.

In short, all Dan may have meant was that he regarded Royer as the best qualified to produce the work, without necessarily ascribing to him any fraudulent intent or design.  That is an important aspect to remember.

HARRY MENDRYK from the JACK KIRBY MUSEUM website immediately went on the attack, accusing Best of not only slandering Royer, but also of charging him with fraud.  Now, while deliberately misrepresenting the work of one artist as that of another undoubtedly gives rise to legal and ethical implications, that doesn't necessarily mean that the one who produced the work knew it was going to be sold on that basis.

If something is advertised as an original piece of a particular artist's work without the actual artist's prior knowledge or consent, then he's hardly guilty of any wrong-doing in those circumstances.  And, at the risk of labouring the point, I can see nothing in Dan Best's post to the contrary.

Mr. Mendryk is not prepared to allow for any such possibility, or even to give Best the benefit of the doubt.  Indeed, such subtleties as I have expounded here seem entirely lost on him.  Did Mendryk scrupulously investigate the matter?  Did he request Best to elaborate, or to explain precisely what he meant?  No, he immediately accused Best of smearing Royer's reputation, and attributed meanings and motivations to Best's words that are certainly open to a different interpretation.  Why didn't he check first?  In this regard, he sems at least equally as guilty of the exact same behaviour of which he accuses Best. 

As far as I can see, all Dan has done is report a pre-existing story and add his thoughts on the topic.  In so doing, he has generated comment which has made people aware that Mike Royer rejects any suggestion of being involved.  (There are links to this in the comments section.)  In reporting the already well-known rumour, Best has effectively put an end to one speculative aspect of it.  Mike Royer says he was not involved, and I'm perfectly happy, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, to accept his word.  I doubt I'm alone.

As I said on Harry Mendryk's blog, although it's obviously far better if un-substantiated rumours never start in the first place, once they're doing the rounds, it's often advisable to subject them to the spotlight of truth and let them wither under its glare, rather than allow them to fester in secret.  Mr. Mendryk has recently deleted our discussion - I leave it to individuals to draw their own conclusions as to why.  However, I consider my observations worthy of consideration, which is why I publish them here.

I should add that I do not presume to speak on Dan Best's behalf - my only purpose (which springs from a desire for fairness and impartiality) is to show that people who live in glass houses should perhaps think twice before throwing stones.   

Friday 28 October 2011


Every so often you read a story in the newspaper that reaffirms your faith in human nature.  Then, however, there's the other kind.  This is one of those.

Ginger's owner leads her away from his car before driving off.
First photo, Ginger looking happy yesterday

By Sara Dixon

'This is the moment before a faithful dog was dumped by her heartless owner and left to fend for herself in an act of cruelty condemned as "despicable" by an animal charity.

The pet was led into a thin strip of woodland bordering a busy road where she was abandoned to her fate.

But she was so desperate to stay with her cruel owner that, even though she was lame, she tried to run after his car as he sped away.

At first it appeared he was merely taking her for a walk.  But seconds later he was captured on CCTV racing back to his vehicle.  It is thought there were three others in the car.

The dog desperately tried to catch up with him despite only being able to limp because her claws had been left to grow into her paw pads.

When the Shetland terrier cross, now nicknamed Ginger, realised she had been left she sat in one spot and refused to budge until rescuers gently coaxed her inside their office.

Luckily for Ginger the entire incident was witnessed by shocked workers in the office overlooking the car park in Granby Industrial Estate in Weymouth, Dorset.

Steve Sudworth and his colleague at BMT Defence Services, Mike Jolliffe, rushed to rescue the abandoned animal as the owner drove off in a metallic-blue Kia Rio.

Despite her ordeal and distress, the good-natured dog quickly made friends with her rescuers.

Mr Sudworth, 49, an engineer at the firm, said:  "I saw the man walking very fast back to the car and he jumped in.  I thought he was going to shout to the dog, but he just drove off fast.  He looked really unrepentant.  The dog was trying to follow but couldn't because of the limp.  I would have run up the road after them but they were gone too fast.  It's shocking."

Mr Jolliffe, a designer, made the dog a makeshift collar out of his belt.

Ginger, who was abandoned last Thursday lunchtime, was taken to a vet so her painful paws could be tended.

Mr Jolliffe said:  "She was a lovely little girl and she made so many friends here very quickly."

Animal charity Dogs Trust condemned Ginger's abandonment as "inexcusable".

Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin said:  "There is absolutely no excuse for abandoning a dog to fend for itself in this despicable way.  Sadly cases of animals being dumped in this fashion
are all too common.  We would urge people always to seek help from animal rehoming charities."

Ginger is being cared for by dog wardens at the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council kennels while they look for a new home for her.  Officials are hunting Ginger's heartless
owner from the CCTV footage.

Chris Robertson, the council's assistant dog warden, said: "The footage speaks for itself and it is appalling."

Her owner is described as white, between 5ft 10in and 6ft tall and wearing blue jeans and a brown sweater.

Mr Robertson said the council was considering prosecuting the owner under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.'  

From THE DAILY EXPRESS, Tuesday, September 21, 2110.


We can only hope that they find him and someone kicks the absolute living sh*t out of him.  In a tender, loving, caring way of course.


Ginger with walker Vicky Crow

UPDATE:  The response to Ginger's predicament was overwhelming, and I'm glad to say that she has now been re-homed with a more suitable owner who will give her all the love and attention she deserves.  Two people are being prosecuted for abandoning her.

Wednesday 26 October 2011



VINCE COLLETTA is a name which seems to cause controversy whenever it's mentioned these days.  Some comicbook fans think he was great, others think he was okay, and then there's another group who think he was the worst inker ever to work in the business.

Some JACK KIRBY fans in particular believe he ruined every page of the King's work he ever touched.  Others think he transformed Jack's THOR pages into a tour de force of illustrative brilliance which should grace the Sistine Chapel.  Then there are those poor souls who can't see the difference between one page and another, regardless of whoever pencilled or inked it.

While it's true that Vince's inks may not have suited every artist whose pencils he worked on, there are some whose art was definitely enhanced by the touch of his pen and brush.  (GENE COLAN, JOHN BUSCEMA, and FRANK ROBBINS, to name but three.)  Jack Kirby was definitely on that list.  Vinnie diluted the idiosyncracies and abstractness of Kirby's art, imbuing it with a rugged, realistic quality that perfectly suited the mythical backdrop of Thor's adventures, particularly when set in ASGARD.

I'm not alone in thinking that part of the reason for Colletta's bad rep these days is based on poor quality reprints of his work in various magazines back in the early '70s, printed from proofs in which his fine detailing was lost and clumsily retouched by less-skilled hands.  (Using a blunt felt marker by the looks of things.)

However, back in the late '60s a U.K. publication called FANTASTIC reprinted Thor's adventures from JOURNEY Into MYSTERY, using clear, sharp proofs for near-perfect black and white reproduction. U.S. spellings, colloquialisms and ref-erences were changed, creator credits and corner page numbers were deleted, and open case sound-effects were sometimes blacked-in or cross-hatched for greater impact in the b&w format, but the art still looked great.

It gives me great pleasure to present Vince's inking of Jack's pencils more or less the way they would have looked when they were first completed, as opposed to the far inferior reprints which came later.  Enjoy.   

Click on image, when it appears, click again for optimum size.

Monday 24 October 2011


Images copyright DC COMICS

Every now and again, I'll see a lively discussion on the merits of VINCE COLLETTA's inking and the reasons why JACK KIRBY's SUPERMAN heads were usually inked by MURPHY ANDERSON.  To me it's always seemed obvious that at least one of the reasons was that Jack couldn't render ol' Supes' kiss-curl very well, often making his hair look like a comb-over to hide a receding hairline.  (Or an ill-fitting toupee.)

Don't believe me?  Take a look at the stat of the pencilled pic below and judge for yourselves.  The words 'ARTHUR SCARGILL' spring to mind.  (Or even 'ISAIAH' - 'cos one 'eye's higher' than the other.  Boom-boom!)


U.S. filmgoers may recall him in supporting roles as sinister KGB officer MAJOR PRIBLUDA in GORKY PARK and Dr. GEDDES in LOCAL HERO, but to Scottish audiences, RIKKI FULTON was a genuine comedy and acting legend.  Not only in his own right, but also alongside another giant of television and theatre, JACK MILROY, in their iconic alter-egos of FRANCIE & JOSIE, the work-shy Glasgow layabouts.

Back in the merry month of May, 1982, I had the good fortune and great privilege of meeting Mr. Rikki Fulton in JOHN MENZIES (when said establishment was situated near the bottom of Glasgow's Buchanan Street, across from FRASER'S), and, for all those interested in learning how your humble host managed to rub shoulders with the great man himself, I shall now recount exactly what transpired.

I'd just stepped out of the lift on the ground floor, having been in the record & book departments on the first, when I spied a familiar figure leaning on the counter at the stationery section.  "Rikki Fulton!" I gasped (more to myself than anyone else) in sheer disbelief at seeing a principal member of showbiz royalty mingling with mere mortals.  (I was only 23 at the time, so can surely be forgiven my youthful exuberance.)  Rikki Fulton, whom I'd seen in The FRANCIE & JOSIE Show on TV back in the 1960s, right in front of me - in the actual, living, breathing, pulsing flesh.  I'd thought such figures used servants or emissaries for menial tasks like shopping, but apparently not. 

He appeared to be writing something and, thinking he was signing an autograph, I approached (having calmed down a tad) and meekly asked if I, too, could have his autograph.  "As long as it's not on one of these!" he said without missing a beat, smiling and indicating the cheque to which he was applying his name.  Clearly my cue to laugh at his witty and apropos remark, but I was still too stunned at seeing him in person to respond with appropriate appreciation for his quick-thinking, ad-libbed riposte, so merely stood there like a fart in a trance.

I got a scrap of paper from the girl serving him and, smiling in the most friendly manner, Rikki asked my name.  "Gordon" I managed to stammer.  I'd regained my composure somewhat by the time he handed me the paper inscribed "For Gordon, Rikki Fulton", so I thanked him, then said: "Sorry to have bothered you".  "Absolutely no bother at all" was his warm and genuine response before moving toward the exit.  No minders, no entourage - just an ordinary, everyday guy out shopping.  Of course, in truth there was nothing ordinary or everyday about him - the man was a showbiz titan and comedy genius.

I still have that little piece of paper, tucked safely into the protective clear sleeve of my FRANCIE & JOSIE vinyl LP by GOLDEN GUINEA.  Yet available on CD on ELM Records - CDELM4123.)  And whenever I recall that moment, a warm glow comes over me at the thought of it.  Rikki Fulton was the epitome of the perfect gentleman; kind and gracious to a stumbling, bumbling, pain in the @rse fan and treating me as though I were doing him a favour.  I'll tell you, a lot of so-called celebrities in whichever field of endeavour you care to mention could learn a thing or two about how to behave to the public from the legend that was - that is - Rikki Fulton.

Sunday 23 October 2011


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Okay, here we go with the final four issues of MARVEL's own fright-fest known as The FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER.  Now that you have all 18 covers to drool over, you can keep a lookout for them in the back issue bins of your friendly neighbourhood speciality comics shop and pick up a copy or two to actually read - or buy the softcover ESSENTIALS volume - whichever takes your fancy.  And, if they haven't already, Marvel is sure to release an OMNIBUS edition for you to throw your hard-earned cash at before very long.  Keep dem eyes peeled.

To see Part 3, click here - to see Part 1, click here.

Saturday 22 October 2011


Images copyright D.C THOMSON & Co, Ltd

As promised some time back, here are the covers from
STARBLAZER #s 6 - 10.  I don't think I ever bought
any further issues after #10, so that's yer lot I'm afraid.


And just for completion's sake, here's the in-house ads that appeared
after pages 5 and 18. Now you've got even more than you need.

Friday 21 October 2011



As promised, the second part of DAREDEVIL's origin, scanned directly from my own copy of issue #1 from 1964.  For the cover and the first 11 pages, see the previous post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...