Sunday 31 March 2013



Easter is upon us - and this is the first one I can remember in a long time where there wasn't at least a Cadbury's Creme Egg waiting for me to devour when I arose to greet the day.  I'll just have to pop out later and buy a choccy egg of some description before they're all sold out - if it isn't already too late.  Of course, for many people, Easter is regarded and celebrated as the religious occasion which founded their faiths, but for most of the rest of us it's just an excuse to gorge ourselves on lots of chocolate and watch a load of old movies on TV.

Once upon a time, it was also a day for a plethora of this country's cavorting comical chums to indulge in hilarious escapades involving giant confectionary eggs, which usually dominated the covers of paper periodicals such as BEANO, DANDYBEEZER, TOPPER, SPARKYBUZZ, BUSTER, WHAM!, SMASH!, POW!WHIZZER & CHIPS, COR!!KNOCKOUTWOW, WHOOPEEMONSTER FUN, SCHOOL FUN, SHIVER & SHAKE, TV COMIC and countless others I've no doubt neglected to mention.  Today, only one of those weeklies survives, to entertain us in isolation with the Easter exploits of DENNIS The MENACE and his bombastic battalion of Beanotown buddies.

So, in memory of the kind of Easters I remember from my boyhood (and up to only a few years ago too, to be honest), here's a selection of strips from the 1968 Easter edition of SMASH! #116, which you'll hopefully all enjoy.

Friday 29 March 2013


Copyright DC COMICS

NEW GODS was arguably JACK KIRBY's greatest achievement at DC COMICS - and also his biggest failure.  How so?  Achievement in that it brought a whole new dimension to the DC universe which still survives in some form-or-other to this very day; failure in that it never really caught on with the comics-buying public and was cancelled after 11 issues.

Being inextricably connected to Kirby's 'FOURTH WORLD' concept, perhaps it was sadly inevitable that The FOREVER PEOPLEMISTER MIRACLE, and JIMMY OLSEN would sadly suffer from a 'knock-on' effect as a result of readers' seeming lack of interest in the whole NEW GENESIS/APOKOLIPS scenario.  On SUPERMAN'S PAL, the 'King' lasted 15 issues, MARK MOONRIDER and his team shared the same fate as ORION & Co (cancellation after 11 issues), and SCOTT FREE changed direction and managed to escape publishing oblivion - at least for another 7 issues.

I remember, one day during my school lunch hour, thumbing through New Gods #3 in the neighbourhood newsagent's and being singularly unimpressed by the contents.  The dialogue seemed leaden, the colours (despite the gaudy apparel of The BLACK RACER) murky and unattractive and the other various characters unappealing.  I didn't buy it at the time, but acquired it later when I finally entered Kirby's Fourth World through the pages of Jimmy Olsen.

Although it was a brave try by Kirby to reshape DC Comics in MARVEL's image, DC had miscalculated in assuming that Jack was the man mainly responsible for Marvel's success.  Had they also lured STAN LEE away with Jack (an unlikely possibility - Stan was perfectly happy with his lot at Marvel), they might have been onto something.  Unfortunately, 'free and unfettered', Kirby was not quite the force he had been with Lee, and he returned to Marvel five years later.

That said, however, New Gods is now a firmly-established and fondly-recalled part of my vanished boyhood, so let's celebrate that ol' JACK MAGIC with all 11 covers to the short-lived series.  Kirby never really produced a 'bad' comicbook in his life - it's just that some were better than others.  And even if New Gods wasn't one of the better ones - let's face it - it was still well-worth reading.   (Though, if I'm being totally honest - give me THOR The MIGHTY anytime!)

Thursday 28 March 2013


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Unlike The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL mag, companion periodical SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY didn't have as many feature pages and pin-ups in its early issues.  This means that the material available is rather more limited in the case of the ol' Web-spinner's U.K. comic, so we'll just have to make do with what we've got.

Still, the covers themselves are well-worth seeing, as are the select pages which I graciously present for your viewing pleasure.  Just think - SMCW cost a mere 5 new pence, and featured STEVE DITKO classic SPIDEY stories and JACK KIRBY titanic THOR tales - an absolute bargain in anybody's language.

(Looking at the ad below, I just can't understand why I didn't send away for a HULK T-Shirt.  I must've been mad - or bereft of funds.)

Remember to keep your peepers peeled for Part Eight!

Wednesday 27 March 2013


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

HOORAY!  Rejoice - The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL cover & image gallery is back!  A Baker's dozen of pulsating pages from the early months of Marvel's very first 'official' entry into the British comics market.  Just looking at these pages transports me back in time to the dazzling days of the 1970s faster than QUICKSILVER can burp.  If you were around at the time and buying MWOM, then I'm sure it'll be the same for you.

So cast off the shackles of current-day concerns and submit yourselves to the intoxicating pull of the past and all of its pleasures.  Relive the heady days of your youth once more and pretend you're a lad again with eternity ahead of you, when the only passports required for entry into a wonderland of awesome action, adventure, escapism and excitement were the three magical words - "MAKE MINE MARVEL!"

Tuesday 26 March 2013


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Well, lookee here, Criv-ites - it's only the fantastic FOOM #14, with some cracking CONAN The BARBARIAN pictures and an interesting interview with the late and legendary ARCHIE GOODWIN.  I once had the privilege of dining with Archie and his charming wife ANN in Glasgow one evening, after which we strolled through the city centre, admiring the architecture and chatting.

Also in attendance was JOHN McSHANE, famous Scottish comics historian and man-about-town, who had invited me to meet Archie and dine with them.  I think artist WILL SIMPSON was also present, but that could well have been on another occasion.

The great man himself - and Archie.  (Gotcha!)

Anyway, have fun reliving whatever memories (if any) you associate with the accompanying artwork.  And feel free to leave a word or three of appreciation in the comments section.  You wouldn't want me to think I'm wasting my time with this blog for a non-existent audience, now would you?  (Hello... anybody there?)   

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