Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Copyright relevant owner

When I was a mere lad of six (cue HOVIS music), I recall buying the 1965 TV CENTURY 21 SUMMER EXTRA and committing a wanton act of vandalism.  After I had read it cover to cover, I cut out the figures of TROY TEMPEST and 'PHONES' SHERIDAN in the panel below (and perhaps even glued them onto card) and then had all sorts of imaginary adventures with the intrepid STINGRAY duo.  I recall standing near the back livingroom window, near the sideboard, and 'swimming' them past the window as if it were a goldfish tank.  Of the one year and three months we spent in that house (which seems far longer in memory), that's the only recollection from that time which I now associate with either the window or the sideboard.


However, pray overlook my sleep-inducing self-indulgence and let's get down to pleasure.  I thought that you, too, may enjoy poring over old images from childhood and stirring up your own memories of the above 48 page bumper bonanza.  Surprisingly, The DALEKS never showed up in comic-strip form in any of the TV21 Annuals or Specials, but they made a 'cameo' appearance on one of the joke pages of the 1965 'Extra', so I've included that here also, for all fans of TERRY NATION's and RAY CUSICK's metal-cased, mental mutants.

Two shillings is a sum which normally would've been beyond my means back in 1965, so I can only assume that a recently visiting uncle or grandparent must've dug into his pocket on departure, in observance of that curious custom where adult relatives attempt to ingratiate themselves in the hearts and minds of their siblings' or childrens' offspring.  Thank goodness for it, is what I say - it was always more than welcome.

Anyway, enjoy the following piccies.  (Then click here for Part Two.)

Sunday, 28 April 2013


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

Well, it does exist, but there's only one single copy, so the title isn't too much of a cheat.  (Did grab ya though, huh?)  British comics readers of a certain age will remember the DOUBLE DOUBLE COMICS from the 1960s that used to be on sale in newsagents.  They consisted of unsold, random, de-covered issues that were bound together four at a time by distributors THORPE & PORTER, and given a new cover that very often had little or nothing to do with the contents.  (Apart from featuring one of the interior heroes - and I'm not even sure if that was guaranteed on all occasions.)

They consisted mainly of DC issues, hence titles like SUPERMAN DOUBLE DOUBLE COMICS, ACTION COMICS DOUBLE DOUBLE COMICS, and so on.  However, occasionally the odd MARVEL mag found itself included, squeezed 'self-consciously' between a JLA tale and a BLACKHAWK adventure.  Essentially, they were 'pot luck' comics, because these omni-bus mags (with the same covers) could sometimes contain a completely different mix to one another.  One thing they certainly were, though, was value for money, as four mags for the price of two was not to be sneezed at.

A good few years back, I happened to have a spare copy each of The MIGHTY THOR #s 242-245, which were surplus to requirements.  (I had upgraded to better condition copies.)  So I took off the covers, glued the issues together, trimmed them, then cut out the story blurbs from three of the covers and stuck them onto the one I had chosen to adorn my self-produced 'Double Double Comic'.  The result wasn't too bad at all, if I say so myself.  I recently scanned the 'composite' cover and printed it onto card, finally replacing the 'patchwork' one I had originally made, lo, those many years ago. That's the completed product above, though I now wish I'd added a small Marvel logo to the space above the Thor pic on the top-left.

And just think - it's the only one of its kind in existence!


"Patience is a virtue" and "All things come to he who waits" are
two old sayings which, with this very post, I have demonstrated to be
true beyond any reasonable smidgen of doubt.  After all, weren't you
all waiting for the next episode of JOHNNY FUTURE's epic battle
against the forces of evil, in his ongoing quest for truth, justice
and the British way of life?  Of course you were!

And here it is.  Drawn by the amazing LUIS BERMEJO and
culled from the weekly '60s POWER PACK paper periodical,
FANTASTIC, it's an absolute belter!  I won't hold you back
from it any longer - get stuck right in! 

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Copyright relevant owner

And now it's time to once again wallow in pure nostalgia as we revisit one of the more fondly-remembered comic strips of yesteryear, in the days when the U.K. still had what could be realistically described as a thriving comics industry.  Apparently, SCOTT GOODALL authored most of the CURSITOR DOOM tales in SMASH!, though KEN MENNELL and CHRIS LOWDER also wrote some stories on occasion.  Unfortunately, I'm unable at this time to determine exactly who penned which adventures, but I think it's fairly safe to assume that Scott, who created the character, wrote this episode as it was only the second in the series and it's likely that he would have written the tale that kicked off the feature back in 1969.

As I mentioned back in Part One, Cursitor appeared in a colour magazine called SPELLBINDERS back around the mid-'80s, although he was renamed AMADEUS WOLF for this QUALITY COMICS outing.  However, he had previously popped up in the 1974 BUSTER BOOK Of SPOOKY STORIES under the equally eerie appellation SEPTIMUS DROOD, this time sporting a beard and moustache, while his loyal assistant - ANGUS McCRAGGAN - was renamed CURTIS BRONSON, having had his ginger locks 'dyed' black and having 'grown' a mustache.  (For the Spellbinders issues, Angus/Curtis had been rechristened JIMMY BRANNIGAN.)  In both publications, the stories were reprints from Smash!

ERIC BRADBURY was the regular artist, although GEOFF CAMPION also drew a few episodes, I believe.  (I'll know exactly which ones when I eventually dig them out for scanning.)  In the meantime, enjoy the above strip - and be sure to join us in Part Three for another thrilling episode in the continuing case of KALAK The DWARF!

Friday, 26 April 2013


I'm pleased to be able to present all you 'Criv-ites' with the delights of
some of the contents from the 1965 TV COMIC ANNUAL.  So, first up
is a SUPERCAR adventure, starring MIKE MERCURY and DOCTOR
BEAKER.  Is it just me, or is there anybody else out there who can't hear
the word 'Supercar' without the stirring theme to the TV show running
through their heads?  (Anybody over 40 I mean.)

Don't miss Part Two for another tale of the 'Marvel of the Age'! 

Thursday, 25 April 2013


In answer to thousands of requests (okay, would you believe one or
two?), here's another random couple of anarchic KEN REID FRANKIE
STEIN strips from WHAM! #s 19 & 23, published back in the faraway days
of 1964. When I look at Ken's artwork, as well as being wonderfully drawn,
it's also just funny to behold - humour springs from every panel. Unlike some
of the artwork in a desperately and despairingly doomed comic which died
on its 75th birthday last year, it's a masterclass in how to do comics right.
Would-be cartoonists take note!  

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Images copyright relevant owner

In case you thought I'd forgotten, here's part three of the FIREBALL XL5 adventure (from TV CENTURY 21 #3, cover-dated February 6th 2065) wherein COLONEL STEVE ZODIAC and his crew encounter the mysterious BATMEN from outer space.  If you haven't yet read the previous instalments, this tale has never been reprinted in comics, magazines or books since it was first published a hundred years ago in the future (if you know what I mean), so you're being treated to a rare and wonderful delight.  GRAHAM COTON is the artist, but he would be replaced by MIKE NOBLE in issue #6 because editor ALAN FENNELL wasn't too impressed with Graham's take on the strip.  Personally, I quite like it, but it has to be admitted that Mike Noble was the Fireball artist.

Look out for Part Four soon.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013



Time now for another astounding adventure with the amazing JANUS STARK, from the pulsating pages of the super second issue of the revamped SMASH! as published in 1969.  This time drawn by the titanic TOM KERR, the art is no less atmospheric and effective than that of SOLANO LOPEZ, who had drawn the initial instalment - and most of the subsequent ones.  Tom has drawn just about everything in his career, including CHARLIE PEACE in BUSTER and the first episode of ADAM ETERNO in THUNDER, but is arguably best known (at least by me) for a series of pages for CLARK'S COMMANDOS, which advertised the famous footwear in many a comic weekly.  No doubt others will have different strips with which they associate him.

So - come!  The fogs of Victorian London shift and swirl, beckoning us to attend the dramas of an earlier, grittier, yet somehow more romantic age.  We must obey the imperial summons - for it will not be denied. 


Images copyright DC COMICS

From 1973-'74, DC COMICS (then still officially known as NATIONAL PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS) released a 7-issue series following on from their two 1960s GIANT-SIZE Specials of the same title - SECRET ORIGINS.  Starting with a reprint of SUPERMAN's one-page introduction from ACTION COMICS #1 (not seen since 1938), The FLASH from SHOWCASE #4, and BATMAN from DETECTIVE COMICS #33, the short-lived run featured the origins of several of DC's top-tier heroes and vile villains.

It's a nice little set to have in one's collection, so just in case you're interested in tracking it down, here are the covers to help you identify them.  Don't say I ain't good to you.   

And, for completists, below are the two Specials that started it all.  The first is from 1961, the second from 1965.  Maybe I should change the title of this post to Nine Secret Origins?  Or should that be 29, if I count the individual tales?

Monday, 22 April 2013


Images copyright relevant owner

I now present the second FIREBALL XL5 story from the TV COMIC Annual for 1964.  Artist NEVILLE MAIN does a good job in capturing the look of the TV show, considering that the tale was aimed at a younger readership than the MIKE NOBLE strips in TV CENTURY 21.  The editor of TV21 for its first three years was ALAN FENNELL, who also wrote scripts for various GERRY ANDERSON TV shows.  Having been involved with TV Comic prior to TV21, it's not altogether unlikely that he may have written the above story, though obviously I can't say whether he did or not with any certainty.

Anyway, enjoy the adventures of the XL5 crew and remember to  look out for more in upcoming posts.

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