Saturday 28 February 2015



Wow!  Time certainly has a habit of racing away from you, eh?  Who'd believe that it's been 10 months since the last instalment of our super SMASH! Cover Gallery from way back in the late 1960s and early '70s?  WARRIORS Of The WORLD came to an end with its 46th appearance and, after a free gift issue, SIMON TEST became the permanent front cover star for the rest of the comic's run.  So here's yet another half dozen issues to remind you of what you were maybe reading back then, if you're as ancient as I am.  Got any reminiscences associated with these comics?  Then let's have 'em, Criv-ites!



Sometime near the end of 1985 or the beginning of '86 (yes, Annuals really were prepared that far in advance), I was down in London on one of my regular weekly visits to what was then IPC's (almost) skyscraper headquarters, KING'S REACH TOWER, when Humour Group Editor BOB PAYNTER handed me an unfinished page of pencilled artwork and asked me if I'd like to complete it.

Apparently it was a try-out page by an artist, who'd declined to finish it when asked for some alterations, but Bob didn't want to waste it.  After 30 years, it's difficult to recall precisely, but I think I drew two panels, finished off some bits 'n' bobs in others, and then inked it.  The inks are a bit heavy, but it's not too bad overall.

This was a good Annual for me, because I lettered 38 pages, which, at around a tenner each, wasn't bad for what amounted to a couple of days' work.  (And that didn't include my regular jobs for 2000 A.D. and other IPC weeklies and Annuals.)

So, the page isn't all mine, but there's enough of me in it to justify showing it to you on this here blog.  The strip had started life as 6 MILLION DOLLAR GRAN, was then retitled ROBOT GRANNY, and finally became GRAN'S GANG, for reasons that I have absolutely no clue about, so don't ask me.

Friday 27 February 2015


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS (and owned by Gerry's pal)

Here's one you won't have seen before.  Drawn by DAVE GOLDING as a commission, it was turned into a cover for the never published ('cos it didn't exist) The TITANS #59 by Gerry, a pal of the piece's owner.  Right, Gerry - your next mission, should you decide to accept it, is to create the rest of the issue.  Well, what're you waiting for?  And why does a comic dated 1976 have a copyright date of 1977?  (I've also added this cover to my previous post on The Titans.)

KID IN THE KOMICS - 2000 A.D. ANNUAL 1991...


Thought that you might like to see the following page from the above 2000 A.D. Annual for 1991, featuring 'fun facts' about yours truly.  The caricature was by NICK ABADZIS (who did a superb job of capturing my devastating good looks and sizzling sex appeal - don't all rush at once, ladies - form an orderly queue), and the page was designed and laid out by STEVE COOK.

Thursday 26 February 2015


I remember this tune as the theme to the '80s TV show MIKE HAMMER,
starring STACY KEACH, but here's a version (with lyrics) by MEL TORME
that pre-dates it, and which I hope you'll all enjoy.  Take it away, Mel.


Would you trust this shifty-looking man?

MMALCOLM RIFKIND is a perfect example of why the general public no longer have any faith in, or respect for, politicians.  Caught on film boasting of being able to see any foreign ambassador in London and having "useful access" to every British ambassador in the world while trying to sell his services to a fictitious Hong Kong communications agency, he describes the 'allegations' against him as "contemptible" and insists that he's "done nothing wrong" and "broken no rules".  That being the case, why has he now resigned as chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee and announced he'll not be seeking re-election as MP for Kensington in West London?  Hardly the response of an innocent man, I'd venture.

Claiming to be "self-employed" despite being paid a salary of £67,000 per annum (not counting expenses and all the usual perks) by the British taxpayer, he also says he has an unbelievable amount of free time to read or go walking, which surely only means that he's paid a disproportionate recompense for what is essentially a part-time job.  However, it is his arrogant sense of entitlement which is truly nauseating, believing he is worth more than the immense salary he already receives.  (The very one that he seems to think no one pays him.)

He's typical of the self-important, out-of-touch politicians who seek to deny the poorest in our society the relatively meagre amounts they rely on to get by, while lining their own pockets with as much as they can stuff into them; who try to force the unemployed and the ill into jobs that either don't exist or are so poorly paid that it's not worth taking them.  "Is it right that an unemployed person should get more money than someone who works?" they disingenuously enquire.  Well, ignoring the fact that most unemployed people don't, the answer of course, is "No!"  However, in the relatively few cases that do, it's not because benefits (in the main) are too high, it's because wages are too low.  If they want to end the so-called 'benefits culture' then why don't they try coming up with some policies that create jobs which pay a decent living wage?

As disgraced Malcolm Rifkind has so ably demonstrated, they're far more concerned with creating over-paid jobs for themselves.  Anyone else sick of the lot of them?


And their latest 'wheeze' is to try and make people work 30 hours a week for their benefits, which is nothing other than slave-labour.  If they expect folk to work for 30 hours, then they should pay them the going-rate for doing so.

Wednesday 25 February 2015


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

"And it came to pass that there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth across the land, for The TITANS had fallen."  Yes sirree, after only 58 issues, The Titans was subsumed by SUPER SPIDER-MAN and yet another mighty MARVEL mag bit the dust.  You have to hand it to Marvel U.K. though - they certainly tried, and were a major player in British comics in the '70s and '80s, but it couldn't last, alas. After 20 plus years, Marvel U.K. disappeared, and PANINI gained the licence to produce mags for a British readership.  However, in its day, Marvel's British division was a force to be reckoned with and published some memorable comics that are still fondly recalled (but not without criticism) by old farts like myself.

Okay, it wasn't as good as it could have been - should have been - but neither was it entirely without merit.  So let's raise a glass of soda pop to The Titans, as we study the covers of the final nine issues of this short-lived but power-packed comic from the far-off '70s.  We may never see its like again, but at least it made a big impression on the memories of bright-eyed readers who enjoyed it back in the day and were sad to see it go.

And below is one you won't have seen before.  For the story behind it, take a look at the comments section.

There were two Annuals to tie-in with the title (issued in 1975 and '76, each for the following year), so below is a selection of images from them.


Not counting your wife ('cos, depending on
your reply that just might cause you some serious
grief), have you ever had a girlfriend as gorgeous as
MARGARET NOLAN?  Me being a real handsome
lad, I've had loads, but how well have all you ordinary
looking guys done?  What's that, nurse - time for my
long-sleeved pjs that tie at the back?  But I can't
 scratch my @rse when I'm wearing them.


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

As well as having all 54 issues of The CRUNCH, I'm pretty sure I also have all 67 issues of SPIKE, which was published by D.C. THOMSON around three years after its predecessor's demise.  Unless I've given them away and then forgotten about it, they should be up in my loft in a box somewhere and have been for years.  (Let's just hope they're not too mouldy.)  I may even have CHAMP as well, but whether or not I've still got the complete set or only the first three issues, I can no longer remember.

It's a shame that DCT no longer produce action/adventure weekly titles for boys, because they had their own undeniable charm, despite their cheap paper and typeset lettering.  Of course, that may just be nostalgia for the past which makes me feel that way, as comics like VICTOR, HOTSPUR, WARLORD, etc., represent a fondly remembered part of my childhood.  Not that I was ever a regular reader of the first two papers, restricting myself to an occasional free gift issue down through the years.

It's kind of scary though to think that today's kids may one day look back on the last incarnation of The DANDY with the same glow of affection, as, let's face it - one or two strips apart, it was pure p*sh.  When I eventually win 80 squillion quid on the the Lottery I'll come to an agreement with Thomson's and revive some of their retired titles, fill them with classic strips, but print them on the same cheap paper.  I'm convinced that content is the important thing, and I'd much rather read an old 1970s comic printed on what seemed like blotting paper, than a modern one printed on something akin to a shiny piece of linoleum.

What say the rest of you?

Tuesday 24 February 2015


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

So, what can I say about The TITANS that I haven't already said or that you don't already know?  Nothing, actually, apart from the fact that I'm surprised, looking back, to note that it lasted for just over a year.  In keeping with quite a few other titles of their time (like FANTASTIC, TERRIFIC, SUPER DC, The CRUNCH, etc.), it seems, in memory, to have been a much more significant feature of my life and around for far longer than it actually was.  Strange, eh?

However, we're not here to ponder that particular paradox (though you can if you want to), but to go on a whistle-stop tour of nine issues of what was supposed to be MARVEL's flagship title in their fleet of British weeklies back in the 1970s.  Like I said in an earlier post, I feel that, had just a little more care and attention been lavished on The Titans (and that goes for some of the other comics too), then it may well have lasted for longer than the 58 issues it managed to hang on for.

But that's enough pontificating from me, you'll be glad to hear.  Now it's time to lose yourself in the pretty pictures that follow.  Don't hog them all to yourself now - leave a space and let other Criv-ites cop a gander as well. 

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