Monday 30 April 2012


Living in my seventh house by the time I was 28, I've often wondered what it feels like for those who've stayed in the same residence for all of their remembered life.  You see, to me, the memories of each area I lived in (especially growing up), each set of friends, neighbours, and experiences, is almost like having lived several alternate lives when I think back on them.  To someone who's always lived in the same house, I'd imagine it's an entirely different scenario.

I wonder if their perception of time matches my own, as having stayed in one place all their life, does their childhood seem to have passed faster or slower to them, not having consisted of separate 'epochs' in the way that mine has?  As I explained in another post, regardless of whether I lived somewhere for one year, four years, or seven years, when I think back, it just doesn't feel as if I resided longer in one place than I did another.  Consequently, having lived in five houses before I was 14 - for what seems like equal duration - the impression that I've had five distinct childhoods is perhaps more understandable than it would at first appear.

However, if you've been in the same house all your life, you only have memories of growing up against the backdrop of one place to reflect on in later life.  So - does your sense of time, uninterrupted as it was in comparison to mine, operate on the same level?  I don't suppose I'll ever know, but the subject fascinates me.  As I said in a previous post, I have a tendency to imbue a sense of the profound into the most trivial of concepts - perhaps this is just one such occasion.

If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, then feel free to share them in the comments section. 

Sunday 29 April 2012



Well, we've passed the half-way mark.  This latest instalment of 1967 TERRIFIC front and back covers takes us up to #28 and, as there were only ever 43 issues in total, that leaves only 15 to go.  Regular readers will have noticed that some of these pin-up pages have also appeared in the FANTASTIC COVER GALLERY posts.  That's simply because a few of them were simultaneously printed in both comics - but not always, sometimes being entirely different between both titles.  If you bought both of them, you occasionally had two copies of the same pin-up - if you didn't, you only had one, but probably missed some good ones by not buying the companion paper.  Ah well, who ever said that life was easy?

Remember to tune in again for Part Seven - coming soon.


Copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

For those of you who may not already know, The ULTIMATE BEANO SUMMER SPECIAL #2 is on sale even as I type these words.  It's exclusive to WH SMITH's, so there's no point going looking for it in any other shop as you'll be wasting your time.

I'd love to show you the contents, but I can't without damaging the spine and cover, so you'll just have to buy your own copy.  Priced at £4.99, it contains all your favourite Beano characters from previous Summer Specials and the weekly comic.

Go on - relive your yesterdays today!


Copyright relevant owners

Back in 1976, I submitted a one page strip to the late comics collector and historian DENIS GIFFORD's new magazine, ALLY SLOPER.  Denis wrote back, saying that the inking style I had employed wouldn't reproduce too well so he would be unable to use it.  (Probably his polite way of saying it was cr*p.)  However, he complimented me on my lettering, saying he had no doubt I would be able to make a living from it were I so inclined.

I immediately replied, offering my services as a letterer, and he responded with the missive which you can read above.  Unfortunately, his first letter is lost to the mists of time and hence I can't reproduce it here.  (I'm not quite sure by what stroke of good fortune his second one survived.)  If it hadn't been for Denis, it would probably never have occurred to me to seek employment as a comics calligrapher, so thanks, Denis.

Interestingly though, when I first started school, the very first thing I was complimented on - even before my artwork - was my handwriting.  In fact, in both Primaries and the Secondary school I attended, my handwriting was the first thing to be noticed and commented upon, leaving me to wonder if I was fulfilling some kind of destiny when I started signwriting and then eventually lettering for comics many years later.

Another thing I was good at as a boy was finding money - so let's hope I'm fated to come into possession of large amounts of the stuff soon.  I must remember to buy myself a Lottery ticket this coming Wednesday.  (It could be me!)   Anyone know if it's a rollover?


For Part Two, click here.

Thursday 26 April 2012


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

For no other reason than I think it's dynamite.  Anyone disagree?  The image was used as an iron-on transfer given away with the first issue of TERRIFIC in 1967. That's the transfer below, frantic ones.  (Click to enlarge, then click again.)

Wednesday 25 April 2012


Images copyright REBELLION

BUSTER started out life as the son of ANDY CAPP, but by the time 1968 rolled around his parentage was long forgotten.  The strip was known by various titles throughout its long run - such as Buster's Good DeedsBuster's Diary, and Buster's Dream-World.  In 1974 the title reverted to Buster's Diary yet again, changing to just Buster in 1985 when artist TOM PATERSON took over the strip from REG PARLETT.  

Surprisingly, for a strip that lasted for very nearly forty years, Buster himself only had six main artists.  BILL TITCOMBE drew the cloth-capped lad's escapades from 1960 to '61, with HUGH McNEILL taking over 'til 1962.  ANGEL NADAL then managed an impressive twelve year run until 1974, followed by REG PARLETT who drew Andy's boy to 1985, when TOM PATERSON took over until 1990. JIMMY HANSEN was Buster's final regular artist until the comic's demise in 1999.

FRANCISCO SOLANO LOPEZ was the artist on GALAXUS, The THING From OUTER SPACE, the story of an alien creature stranded on Earth and befriended by two brothers, JIM and DANNY JONES.  The meek and mild alien, capable of growing to giant-size or shrinking down to about two inches tall, was initially scripted by KEN MENNELL and then by SCOTT GOODALL for the remainder of its long run.  A classic adventure series still fondly remembered to this day.

FREDDIE 'PARROT-FACE' DAVIES was a popular TV personality during the '60s (appearing on OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS in 1964) and was awarded the honour of having his own one-page strip in the comic.  Reg Parlett was the artist behind the comedian's zany antics and got the likeness spot-on.  For some years now, Freddie has enjoyed a career as a well-respected actor, having performed in prominent theatre, television and movie roles - HARRY POTTER And The PRISONER Of ASKABAN being but one of the high-profile, prestigious productions he has appeared in.

PROFESSOR NUTCASE was a retitled reprint of Professor Knockout from KNOCKOUT, drawn by Nadal.  He lasted for about a year under his new identity before fading quietly from the scene into comics limbo.  LOVE HEARTS make your mouth fizz and are still going strong.

The SKID KIDS lasted a respectable five-and-a-half year run from 1966 to 1971 before skidding to a stop.  Written by FRED BAKER, the strip was drawn by DAVID PAGE and then COLIN SQUE, more famous as the artist on ROY Of The ROVERS.

WALLY WHALE And WILLY WINKLE was another Reg Parlett- drawn strip which only lasted about five months.  It was later reprinted in VALIANT.


See Part Three here, and Part One here.

Monday 23 April 2012


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Continuing our look at Marvel reprint titles from the '60s, this time up is MARVEL TALES #1 from 1964.  Unfortunately, the cover claim of six 'uncut' origin tales was a bit of a porky as The HULK and Sgt. FURY stories only had the first 6 pages of each strip.  There was also a 2-page extract from TALES To ASTONISH #49, featuring HENRY PYM's evolution from ANT-MAN to GIANT-MAN, plus a 4-page taste of millionaire playboy TONY STARK donning his brand-new IRON MAN armour from TALES Of SUSPENSE #48.

The issue also contained a 2-page spread of some of the gang from the Merry Marvel Bullpen, including STAN LEE, JACK KIRBYVINCE COLLETTA, DON HECK, SAM ROSEN and ARTIE SIMEK.  The splash page of each tale had a blurb detailing where they had first appeared, but someone clearly wasn't paying attention on THOR's origin - it's listed as having been originally printed in JOURNEY Into MYSTERY #38 instead of #83.

Below are the first pages of the six main stories.

Incidentally, the above page's blurb is misleading - the final page was cropped to allow for an extra 'wrap-up' caption.  As far as mixed reprint books go, we had to wait 47 years 'til Marvel got it right with MARVEL FIRSTS: The 1960s Still, better late than never, eh?

Sunday 22 April 2012


Images copyright REBELLION

BUSTER comic first appeared in May of 1960, cover-dated the 28th - meaning it actually came out on or around the 21st of the month.  The star of the comic was Buster, initially billed as the "SON Of ANDY CAPP", the boozing, smoking, wife-beating, cloth-capped Northern working-class layabout from the DAILY and SUNDAY MIRROR, as immortalized by cartoonist REG SMYTHE.

The tag-line was soon dropped, but - interestingly - on the 35th anniversary of the comic in 1995 - a framed pic of Buster appeared on Andy's wall in the newspaper strip*, seemingly reaffirming the connection.  (Though it was obvious that it had been added and wasn't part of the original art.)  Andy had even appeared in the Buster strip itself back in 1960 - in the June 18th and July 2nd issues, so now his son was returning the favour. (In some early issues of the comic, Buster was referred to as Buster Capp.)

DAILY MIRROR, Saturday, May 27th, 1995

I'll be taking a look at a 1968 copy of Buster in an upcoming post, which will contain the first instalment of the complete issue (give or take a couple of ads).  Stay tuned - same Buster time, same Buster channel...

(Now where have I heard that before?)


*Thanks to ALLEN CUMMINGS (Buster Editor from 1981-'99), who sent me the Buster strip from the Daily Mirror back in 1995.  Good man, Al.


For those of you who can tolerate my self-indulgent reminiscences, May 28th, 1960 was the official tenancy commencement date for our new house in a new town all those years ago.  (Doesn't mean we necessarily moved in on that exact day, though it's possible.)  Previously, in the late '50s, we had lived in the West End of Glasgow. I perhaps didn't see Buster until 1966 or '67 and, although then living in our third house in the town, it was in a house across the street from our first one that I became aware of the comic when we were visiting friends in our 'old' neighbourhood. I likely saw VALIANT, LION and various ALAN CLASS comics there also (that's where I associate my first sight of them), as WILLIAM NODWELL, the son of my mother's friend and someone with whom my brother had once palled about when we lived there, always had a stack of them lying around.


See Part Two here.

Friday 20 April 2012



And now, by means of my own personal time machine, we return to the year 1967 and another six covers and back-page pin-ups from FANTASTIC, published by ODHAMS PRESS when the world was younger and seemed a much better place to be.  (If you were fortunate enough not to live in some war-torn or impoverished nation, obviously.)  Look at great the art on display: JACK KIRBY, WERNER ROTHBARRY SMITH, etc.  Didn't someone once say that the past was a foreign country?  Don't you worry though, Crivs - your passports aren't required if you're with your Unca Kid.  Enjoy - or I'll want to know the reason why!

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