Wednesday 31 December 2014


A nice way to start a year, don't you think?
The stunning JANE RUSSELL!  Droooool!

Well, the hour is almost upon us.  Hope everyone (apart from those nutters who murder people in the name of their religion - whichever one it happens to be) has a hilariously happy and prosperous 2015.

Right, I'm off to my scratcher - see you all tomorrow, hopefully.  Take it easy!


Copyright relevant owner

Was it really so long ago?  Sadly, yes, it was.  It was October of 1985 and comics legend WILL EISNER was guest of honour at a convention in Glasgow - I think at the Central Hotel in the train station, but I could be wrong on that one.  One of the organisers, JOHN McSHANE, introduced me to Will and his wife, and I and another fellow (Rab Thompson, I think) sat in their company enjoying a wee drinkie or two.  Will kindly bought me a COKE, and we chatted about various comicbook-related matters for half an hour or so, maybe longer.  I ventured to ask what was wrong with JACK KIRBY, given his increasingly critical attitude towards STAN LEE at the time.  Will shook his head.  "I just don't know what's eatin' him - it's kinda sad!" he said, giving every indication that he viewed Jack's increasingly bizarre rants as something of a mystery.

Deciding that I didn't want to monopolise his time, I took my leave, but not before politely asking him to sign my copy of his book that you see above.  Below is the inscription he graciously wrote on the flyleaf before I thanked him and his wife for their kind indulgence and departed to experience the various other attractions of the convention.  Whenever I look at the book, I seem once more to be in my bedroom in the house where I then lived, though my family were there for less than another two years before we moved yet again.  Funny how some associations are so strong that, even though the book has been in my current house for well-over 27 years, it yet seems to belong to another time, another place, than those in which it's spent most of its existence.  Looking back, I'm reminded that our German Shepherd dog, TARA, only had another eight months left of her eleven and a half years' span.

Incidentally, the book is still in pristine condition - those ripples you can see on the cover and photo of Will belong to the clear protective sleeve, not the dustjacket itself.  I've met a few legends in my time, and it's nice to have tangible reminders of not only when I briefly rubbed shoulders with the greats, but also of other fondly-recalled places and 'players' from a particular period in the passing parade that people call life.  (Phew!  That's positively profound!)


Red is my favourite colour - and
now you can see why.  Yet another of
of great MARVEL heroines - WANDA,
The SCARLET WITCH!  If you'd like
to see even more of Stephen's amazing
art, visit his site now at this link.

Tuesday 30 December 2014


Had your tea and stuffed your face with Christmas
mince pies?  Good!  Now kick off your shoes, rest your
feet on the back of a menial whilst she's down on her knees
scrubbing the floor, and relax to the dulcet tones of JIM
REEVES as he performs O LITTLE TOWN OF
BETHLEHEM.  ("Oi!  You missed a spot!")


Whose heart hasn't skipped a beat over
MARVEL MISS from time-to-time?  Today,
JANET Van DYNE, The Wonderful WASP,
quickens our collective pulse and puts a spring in
our step.  This awesome artwork is by STEPHEN
LANGMEAD, who sure knows how to paint a
pretty picture to make everyone sit up and
take notice.  Schwiiiiiiinnngggg!!!


Looking through my sidebar's Blog List, I'm reminded that I've occasionally deleted some sites which no longer regularly feature new entries or have much in the way of previous posts - though I've retained ones which 'retired' two or three years back if they contain a wealth of archived material which I consider are worth preserving a link to.  However, there are some blogs whose existence is a bit of a mystery to me - you know, ones which post about once a year, and then only to wish readers a Happy New Year before returning to a dormant state for another twelve months.

Now, obviously I'm not talking about ones where posting is sparse because illness has rendered the owner incapable of regular blogging, but those which seemingly exist for no discernible reason (that I can see).  It made me wonder why those people have blogs to begin with, and that led me to thinking that some of you are perhaps pondering the same thing about moi.  If so, good question.  There may not be a good answer, but that's never stopped me before from trying to squeeze out a post based on the most tenuous of excuses reasons.

I first posted on January 31st 2010 because someone (I forget who) suggested that I start a blog.  I promptly lost interest because I couldn't think of anything to write about, and abandoned the blog for almost six months until July 17th, until I felt compelled to confront what I perceived to be an injustice committed against me by another blogger whose site I used to visit.  We had gotten involved in a discussion on a particular subject, and he had resorted to mocking me and being, frankly, a bit too cheeky.  No need to go over every single detail (again) as long-time regular readers will be only too well-aware (and bored) of them anyway.

Suffice to say, I wasn't prepared to ignore continual digs in his blog's comments section (and elsewhere) so I revived my own neglected organ in order to redress the balance.  Whenever I felt he was having a go at me, I had one right back.  This led to him accusing me of being 'bitter, frustrated, and jealous' of him - ironic coming from one who claims to have no ego.  If I were going to be jealous of anyone working in British comics today, he'd be just one amongst many who wouldn't even make that list.

Having dealt with the situation, I then turned my thoughts to the original motivation for creating the blog, which was mainly to feature comics, although I very soon added collectable toys and other items of nostalgic interest (books, records, and the like).

So, there you have it!  If you're no longer in my Blog List, now you know why.  If you've ever wondered why I began a blog (and continue it), the answer has been furnished unto you.  There have now been close to 1,800* posts, and I sincerely trust that, amongst the inevitable dross, you've found at least a few posts which have been of some interest to you.

So let me ask you this if you're a blog owner - what got you started and what keeps you going?  If you find that a bit too difficult to answer, just leave a comment saying why you think me and my blog are so wonderful - he (half) joked.


*I originally typed 18,000.  Who am I kidding?  Meant to type 1,800.  The former might come true one day though.

Monday 29 December 2014


Here's an absolutely stunning picture by
aka The INVISIBLE GIRL as she first appeared
back in the '60s.  I haven't heard of Stephen before
(my loss),  but with talent like his, he's bound to go
even farther than he has already (if there's any
 justice in this world).  Please say there is.


Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

As it's still the Festive period and because I may've been just a tad remiss this year in showering you with Christmas Comic images, here's a few pages from HOOT #10, cover-dated December 28th 1985.  This is the third of three issues of this D.C. THOMSON weekly that I bought at the time (the other two being #s 1&2), but I've since acquired a few more (#s 3-6), as related in previous posts a few months back.

Anyway, hope you all had a great Christmas.  Have a chuckle or three at the following comic capers while we await the rapidly advancing New Year.  I'll be glad when everything's back to normal, if I'm honest with you.  (And when have I ever not been?)

Sunday 28 December 2014


Myself and an old friend, the bold MOONMANDO, were in the West End of Glasgow today, trying out his brand-new camera.  Here are a few random shots which show just what a delightful place it happens to be, even on a frosty winter's day.  (Of course, we were armed to the teeth, just in case we had to deal with any unfriendly natives invading from the East End.  I had a water pistol and Moony's strategy was to blind any attackers with his camera-flash.)

Yes, I know I'm talking p*sh - but I have a permit.


Copyright DC COMICS.  Click to enlarge, then click
again for the full impressive effect

Everyone surely remembers the iconic SUPERMAN #233 cover by NEAL ADAMS.  Above is a painting by him from 2003, and below is a model which you should be able to purchase at various comicbook-related stores.  Further down is the original cover from 1971 so that you can compare the three images.  Pretty impressive, eh?  (I'm glad to see that he's fixed the position of the right arm, though there's something about the feet on the painting that isn't quite right.  Still, very nice work, that minor detail apart.)  Just thought I'd share them with you.

Saturday 27 December 2014


Images copyright relevant owner

The first two didn't begin life as 'POWER COMICS' - that happened somewhere along the way after they'd started reprinting MARVEL strips, but the next three began their runs with the big bold badge emblazoned on their covers.  For a while, all five weeklies were published concurrently, but eventually WHAM! merged with POW!, TERRIFIC with FANTASTIC, then Pow! with SMASH! and, finally, Fantastic also merged with Smash!, which became the sole surviving Power comic until it was revamped and relaunched (without Marvel reprints) in March of 1969. 

Here then are all five first issue covers for you to drool over.

Images copyright MARVEL COMICS


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

And now - what you've been waiting for - a gallery of covers from the Annuals for POW! and FANTASTIC, thereby completing the collection of some of the most highly sought-after yearly books from the '60s & '70s.  As you can see, I've included the combined Wham! & Pow! tomes for 1973 & '74, but they're equally entitled to be here seeing as they're every bit as much Pow! Annuals as they are Wham! ones.  (In name only of course, as neither of them reflected the contents of the weekly comics.)

So that's yer lot, as they say, as far as four of the five sometime POWER COMICS go.  Sadly, there doesn't seem to have been a TERRIFIC Annual (unless you know different), presumably because it only lasted for 43 issues.  Having said that, THUNDER only had 22 issues, yet it had three Annuals after its demise.  Go figure!

I'll leave you now to get on with reliving yesteryear.  Enjoy!

Someone seems to have forgotten why IRON MAN was also known as the 'Golden Avenger',
though he did eventually acquire a crimson and silver suit for a while sometime in the mid- '80s

Friday 26 December 2014


Well, Christmas isn't quite over yet, so here's JIM
REEVES with a traditional Yuletide carol to help soothe
you to sleep as you slide into your beds.  Sometimes known
as ADESTE FIDELES, Jim sings it in English so that
you don't need to look up your Latin dictionaries.



Which Criv's heart doesn't beat a little faster (if you're of a certain age) at the sight of these delightful SMASH! Annual covers from back in the 20th century?  It's scary to think that the first of them comes from nearly 50 years ago, and the last of them a mere 9 years later.  To me, it doesn't seem anywhere near as long as that, and if you owned these books when you were a kid, I'm sure it's the same for you as well.

Just like the WHAM! Annuals, when first published, I never had any of the ODHAMS Smash! Annuals either, although I did buy the revamped IPC 1971 & '72 tomes at the time, and a friend gave me the '74 book back in '82.  I've long-since acquired a complete set of all the Annuals for Wham! and Smash! - and also POW! and FANTASTIC, too.  (Lucky ol' me, eh?)  Not being the selfish type, I've decided to share the covers with you all on this here blog thing of mine.

The Annual for '68 had a different back cover, so I've included it so that you can read the comic strip continued from the front.  I've included the soft-covered Smash Fun Book for 1971 (issued in '70), which was perhaps intended as a 'transitional' stage between the old and the new, so that readers who preferred the Odhams style could have one last bite of the cake at the same time lovers of the 'new direction' were being catered for in the Annual department.

I've shown these covers before of course, but not everyone can be bothered trawling through the archives to see what they've missed, so I hope I'll be forgiven for repeating myself.  Next time around, it'll be a combined gallery of Pow! and Fantastic Annual covers!  So keep these palpitating peepers of yours peeled in preparation!

This softcover book was in the style of the previous Annuals

The final Annual in the series was a softcover book


Every so often, SANTA CLAUS lets his daughter,
SANATA, help him deliver Christmas presents.  So form
an orderly queue behind me if you'd like to sit on her knee
and tell her what you want next year.  Better be prepared
for a long wait though - I may be some time! 

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