Saturday 31 January 2015


Images copyright relevant owner

In answer to a request (and if you have one consisting of two words, the second of which is 'off', well, don't be so bloody cheeky), here's an eight-page BARRY & BOING adventure from the KNOCKOUT Annual for 1973.  No point saying much more as there's a recap of the first tale in the page above.  I'm lucky enough to own every issue of the weekly comic, so when I can find them, who knows - perhaps I'll post some more.  Be sure to let me know if that's something you'd like to see, O faithful, canny, and cavortin' Criv-ites.

And here's the cover so that you know what to look for.


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Here's another blast from the past.  Hands up if you entered this contest from The TITANS #2 back in 1975.  I did, and out of 100 runners up, I was one of ten who were specially commended for their efforts.  My prize of a Treasury Edition never reached me though, so I'm still a bit miffed over it.  When MARVEL published some of the entries, I noticed that someone had copied my GOGGLE-EYED GOON Of GLOUCESTER which had appeared on the back page of SHIVER SHAKE a couple of years earlier.  I bet they got their prize, the thieving 'bar stewards'.  Why not print out a copy of this page and, just for fun, have a go at it?  Go on - you know you want to!

Looking at the contest results issue, I note that it says that Treasury Editions have been despatched to 90, not 100, runners-up, none of whom are listed.  The 10 'specially commended' entrants are listed though (including me), suggesting that those 10 are the 'top 10' of 100 runners-up.  So what happened?  Did my prize go missing in the mail, did Marvel forget to send it, did they only receive 90 prizes from the U.S. to send out, or did they simply change their mind afterwards?  Whatever the reason, I wuz robbed! 

Another thing: I fear I must've mixed up this competition with another one in regard to published runners-up as I can find no trace of any in the comics.  Therefore, it must've been another contest in another comic, but now I'm no longer sure whether it was even a Marvel title.  (Probably was though.)  In fact, it was a competition to design a baddie, and, as I said, someone submitted my Shiver & Shake character as a candidate.  If anyone can identify the competition and the comic, please feel free to enlighten me.

Friday 30 January 2015


Yes, she is stunning, and you'll never have
a wife or girlfriend as gorgeous as Heather (nor
will I), but console yourself with the thought that,
one day, she'll be a bandy-legged old trout with her
baps covering her knees and more lines in her face
than a spider's web.  Of course, by then you'll all
 be dead, so it's a 'no-win' situation.


Copyright DC COMICS

You'll perhaps recall me relating the tale of how myself and one of my pals used to play at BATMAN & ROBIN back in the 1960s.  (You're no doubt relieved to hear that it wasn't just a few months ago - I'm not that sad.)  For my utility belt, I used part of the accompanying paraphernalia from my father's wartime portable morse code apparatus, which, to my young eyes, looked vaguely similar to ADAM WEST's equipment-laden waistline accessory on TV.

Now, usually I came in for a fair bit of mockery from my peers for my costumed exploits around the neighbourhood, as did my companion in crime-fighting, JOHN FIDLER (it's indeed fortunate that his nickname wasn't 'KID', eh?), who assumed the role of ROBIN, The BOY WONDER.  However, one evening, three local girls, who'd never previously paid the slightest bit of attention to me, seemed impressed by the striking appearance of my makeshift 'utility belt' and enthusiastically asked for a demonstration of its capabilities.

Touched by their obvious interest and spurred on by the look of wonder and admiration in their eyes, I agreed, and as we were playing close to some nearby lock-ups, I headed over to the water tap used by car owners to wash their vehicles.  It was housed in a grey-painted, oblong wooden 'box' against a lock-up wall, and picking up a metal bar from the ground, I placed it atop the flat surface of the box.

Directing the girls to stand at a distance over to my right (on the faux grounds that "it might be dangerous") I pretended to take some imaginary 'plastic explosive' from my belt and apply it to the iron rod.  Then, standing beside the tap and preventing their uninterrupted view, I simulated the act of pressing a button on what passed for my buckle while simultaneously attempting (surreptitiously) to bring down my left elbow on the end of the bar and hopefully send it somersaulting high into the air as though propelled by the explosive.

Alas, my actual ability was very far from the equal of my ambition, and my ruse was rumbled right away.  Disillusioned cries rent the air, along with contemptuous looks and jeering tones from the trio as they stormed off in disgust at my barefaced attempt to defraud them.  Ah, how fickle were the affections of these three feisty females, the extent of whose eager expectations I had clearly underestimated and been found sadly lacking as a consequence.

Even today, I remember how deflating it was to see the look of awe and adoration fade from the eyes of the three former fawning fillies who, only a short time before, had regarded me as a figure worthy of respect and admiration, if not actual hero worship.  There have been several females down through the years whose unrealistic expectations I've probably been unable to live up to, but nothing fills me with such feelings of failure as the memory of the faces of those three fearsome frustrated furies from so very long ago.


Copyright relevant owner

If I recall correctly, LEO BAXENDALE never made any secret of the fact that GRIMLY FEENDISH (brilliant name) was based on cartoonist CHAS ADDAMS' UNCLE FESTER, from the ADDAMS FAMILY.  Perhaps that's why he never took legal action over copyright of the character (like he did with D.C. THOMSON) - he'd surely have been on shaky ground if he'd tried.  Grimly was one of the strips that appeared in the ODHAMS PRESS weekly comic periodical named SMASH! back in the '60s, and he was the inspiration for the song Grimly Fiendish by punk band The DAMNED in 1985.

As you'll doubtless have noticed, bald baddie GRU in the movie DESPICABLE ME bears an uncanny resemblance to Grimly, but he's more likely to be based on Uncle Fester than he is on Feendish himself.  Anyway, I don't think the accompanying four-page strip from the 1967 SMASH! Annual is by Leo Baxendale, but it'll give you a fair idea of the kind of shenanigans that "The Rottenest Crook in the World" usually got up to in his weekly criminal expeditions.

Any fond reminiscences of reading Grimly as a boy?  (You, not him.)  Then let's hear them, O fellow followers from fandom.  (It's good to share!)

Thursday 29 January 2015


From WHAM! #143, cover-dated March 11th 1967.  Copyright REBELLION

What would you like first, the good news or the bad news?  Well, the good news is that here's The HUMBUGS strip I spoke of in a recent post, in which the terrible twins play at being The THING and The INVISIBLE GIRL.  The bad news is that I haven't yet brought down all my comic boxes (in which are stored my loose issues of WHAM!) from the attic, so I've had to scan the page from my bound volume which, as you can see, doesn't really lend itself to the process.  (I can't open it wide enough to lay flat on the screen, hence the shadow and blurred speech balloons on the right-hand side of the page.)

When I find the loose issue (which I think I've got) I'll scan the page properly and replace the current image with a better one.  In the meantime, however, this imperfect presentation should at least give you a fair idea of what's happening.  


From SMASH! Annual 1967

Believe it or not, there once used to be two DOCTOR DOOMs inhabiting the same comics universe.  As well as MARVEL's Doom, there was also the evil adversary of The MAN From B.U.N.G.L.E., who appeared weekly in SMASH!, stablemate to WHAM!, which had The FANTASTIC FOUR.  Both publications fell under the POWER COMICS banner, both reprinted Marvel strips, and some of the U.K. humour strips occasionally referred to the Marvel ones (like The HUMBUGS in Wham! mentioning the FF one week).

So for any U.S. readers unaware of the fact, here's the second Doctor Doom trying to do away with The Man from B.U.N.G.L.E.  Okay, okay - yours existed first!  (But ours was funnier!) 

And to save you having to turn your computer
screen upside down, here's the SOLUTION:


Brainy, blonde, bold and
beautiful, so what's not to like
about RACHEL RILEY?  How 
about her never returning any of
my 'phone calls?  Bloody women!
All think they're too good for me
- and they're right!  (Curses,
and exits stage left.)

Wednesday 28 January 2015


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Since my posts on MARVEL U.K.'s Pocket Books from the early '80s, I've acquired a few more on eBay.  I'll be adding the above cover to the relevant post, but I thought it deserved one of its own, so impressed am I with the illustration since first seeing it on an issue of POW! back in the '60s.  I just love this cover, and although I don't have the original U.S. issue of The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5, I do have the reprint (cover and all) in an '80s issue of MARVEL TALES.

However, I thought I'd use this issue to demonstrate how inconsistent these PBs could be when it came to reproduction.  Take a gander at the page below, which is perfectly adequate given the reduced 'Digest Size'

Now look at the following page and note that the top tier is fine, but the bottom (third) tier has huge chunks of detail missing from STEVE DITKO's art.

Same again with the page below.  Look at the last panel - the detail is almost non-existent and FLASH THOMSON and his admiring crowd are practically invisible.

Having said that, however, these mags were great value for money for readers who wanted to catch up on the early tales of their favourite Marvel heroes without having to fork out a fortune on original issues.  As for the cover, I've actually got a DOCTOR DOOM figure that's clearly based on Ditko's interpretation of the character.  I may have shown it before a while ago, but here it is again in a pair of pics for those who haven't seen it.  Cracking, isn't it (Gromit)?


Copyright relevant owner

As it's fifty years since TV CENTURY 21 first hit the shelves, it's now time to look at anther ten covers of what was arguably Britain's most successful adventure comic for kids (at least, it certainly was at the time).  ALAN FENNELL was the editor for the first two or three years of the comic's lifespan and it was probably never better than when under his stewardship.  Hard to believe that it's been almost a quarter of a century since some of these strips enjoyed a new lease of life for a new audience in the early '90s, in the pages of THUNDERBIRDS THE COMIC, with Alan once again being the man at the helm.  (Very fitting, I thought, and nicely bringing things full circle.)

However, that's enough verbal reminiscing for the moment.  It's now time to indulge our nostalgia by paying attention to the pretty piccies.  Got a favourite?  Don't be shy now - be sure and let your fellow Criv-ites know!

Tuesday 27 January 2015



Let's be honest now - if you carried a skull around with you in a box you'd be considered decidedly weird.  Having said that, sometime back in the '70s, I bought a life-size skull by REVELL and painted it with a greenish glow-in-the-dark paint.  One evening, me and some pals took it out with us, and you should've seen the startled looks we got as I walked around with Skully (the tooth is out there) tucked under my arm.  It really was a case of exaggerated, open-mouthed, 'double-take' stares of shock and horror.  Wotta larf.  Wotta tit!  I wouldn't do it now of course, but back then I was young, crazy and reckless (in a conservative - small 'c' - kind of way), and was up for a jolly jape or two.

Anyway, that's enough talk about my favourite subject (me) - time for a look at what brings use all here.  A four page BRIAN'S BRAIN strip from the SMASH! Annual for 1967.  O joy! 


VICTORIA VETRI is her name - and making
men go weak at the knees is her game.  Hands up
all those who'd ditch the wife for this babe if they
ever got the chance?  (Be honest now!)


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Having had this comic in 1975, when I recently saw it on eBay I decided to re-acquire it.  I couldn't recall much about it, but, hey - it's the 100th ish so it was sure to have something of interest relating to its celebratory status.  Nope, not a thing!  That blurb you see on the cover is all you get!  No editorials, no articles, zilch!

Still, having bought it, I thought I'd better give you a glimpse of the contents.  That's not my mistake regarding the indicia page, by the way - it really did appear on the splash page of the second story instead of (as is usually the case) the first.

So cop a gander at The AVENGERS #100!  It's a little piece of history, even though MIGHTY MARVEL didn't make much noise about it at the time.  (Not like them to be so shy, is it?)


Here's another catchy little number by the
late, great JIM REEVES.  It's an overdub version
where he 'duets' with one of his biggest fans, who's
also a successful singer in his own right.  You'll be
singing it for days once it gets into your head.


Here's Gentleman JIM REEVES doin' his thang.
Catchy, catchy, catchy.  Did I mention how catchy
this is?  It's pretty catchy!


I know only four things about this
babe.  1) Her name's CANDY LOVING.
2) She was a PLAYBOY model in the '70s.
3) She's stunningly beautiful.  4) I love
CANDY.  (If you want any more, you'll
have to write it yourselves.)

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