Monday 31 October 2016



It's Hallowe'en tonight and the mood hangs heavy in the air, so that's all the excuse I need to republish this pertinent post (again).  Back On October 25th, 1969, the third issue of WHIZZER & CHIPS went on sale, with a GUY FAWKES mask as a free gift.  It looks like the artwork of TOM KERR to me, but regardless, I remember rushing over to the newsagent's across the road from my house to buy it, the minute the shop opened in the early hours of that Autumn morning a whopping 47 years ago.  (The comic bears the date of November 1st, but British comics were traditionally dated up to a week ahead to give them a longer shelf-life.)

Handy how both Hallowe'en and Guy Fawkes Night were covered by this issue coming out in advance of the two occasions. I wonder if the mask was used by 'guisers' on October 31st, and then 'recycled' for use on their 'guys' on November 5th?  If so, quite a few of them probably perished on top of a bonfire in parks and gardens the length and breadth of the U.K.  It's a wonder any survived.

As this was the last Hallowe'en of my primary school days, it was most likely the very last time I went out 'guising' (or 'trick or treating' as they call it now), but I didn't wear this mask and have no solid recollection of what I actually dressed up as that particular year.  However, one glance at the above cardboard mask brings back the sights, sounds and scents of that Autumn evening in my old neighbourhood, so very long ago.

Makes me wish that I was ten years old again.  Did anyone else have this W&C mask? What are your memories of this day in 1969?  (Or any childhood Hallowe'en night if you don't go back that far.)  Spill all in the comments section.


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

What fascinates me about this splash page is the caption box. Just why the lettering is spaced within it the way it is puzzles me, as it's an odd layout to be sure.  There's nothing even remotely odd about JACK KIRBY's & DICK AYERS' art though, and the perspective seems spot on.  You really get the sense that the FF are actually floating downward in defiance of gravity, and the alien architecture makes you wonder if Kirby had really been to Planet X.  I mean, how else could he have drawn the darn place so convincingly?


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Are you a MAN-THING fan?  (No, that's not a euphemism.)  Then you'll absolutely want to buy Volume 2 of this COMPLETE COLLECTION from MARVEL.  Cop a gander at the back cover below for the contents of this terrific, inch-thick tome. Wouldn't it be magic if old 'Manny' were to encounter DC's SWAMP THING, or has that already happened?  (Nobody tells me anything around here.)  Now what great shop would sell a fantastic book like this I wonder?  All together now - all good ones.

Sunday 30 October 2016


Here's stunning VERONICA CARLSON
in distress - though she looks more out of it than
in it to me.  (Pedants will be sure to point out her
top isn't part of a dress, but my li'l pun wouldn't
work if I acknowledged that simple fact.)

Saturday 29 October 2016


Image copyright Estate of ROBERT E. HOWARD

Not exactly what you'd call a dynamic splash page perhaps, but certainly an evocative one, BARRY SMITH's and FRANK GIACOIA's image has a quiet power and foreboding menace that, to me, makes it entirely memorable.  I first read this story in 1972, in the MARVEL Annual for the following year, and never quite forgot it.  Now you can all remember it as well, by Crom!

Friday 28 October 2016


Ah, whose heart doesn't beat a little faster on sight
of the stunning IMOGEN HASSALL?  Yours, you say?
Well, the bad news is - you're obviously in a coma and in
need of immediate medical attention!

Thursday 27 October 2016


From Tuesday's DAILY EXPRESS.  If this doesn't
melt your heart, then it's obviously made of stone.  Click
to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.

Wednesday 26 October 2016


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

This one's a beauty.  From THOR's first appearance, as pencilled by JACK KIRBY and inked by JOE SINNOTT, it portrays the god of thunder in all his awesome glory.  Could anyone but Jack have made an instant visual hit out of a guy with long blond-hair and what looks like a seagull's wings on his headgear - especially in the '60s?  I very much doubt it.  What say the rest of you pantin' Criv-ites?


It's late October and the chilly winds are
on their way.  Purely out of the goodness of my
heart, here's a sight that will surely warm all of
you up - the sizzlingly-hot JULIE EGE.

Tuesday 25 October 2016


Image copyright DC COMICS

Pencilled by Jolly JACK KIRBY, inked by Wondrous WALLY WOOD, and appreciated by lovers of great comicbook art everywhere.  Who can look at this page and not feel like they're back in ancient Egypt?  Or, at the very least, an MGM production of a movie set in 'The Land of the Pharaohs'.  Comic art at its very best, I'm sure you'll agree.

Monday 24 October 2016


Here's VICTORIA VETRI with her hand
on my head, trying to keep me underwater.  She's
always foolin' around like this, though I know she
loves me really.  After all, who wouldn't?

Sunday 23 October 2016


Just learned via STEVE HOLLAND's blog (here) that artist STEVE DILLON has died at the age of 54.  I met Steve once (at least) in the 2000 A.D. offices, and used to letter ROGUE TROOPER when he illustrated it and SIMON GELLER wrote it.  I liked his art - he had a natural talent and was drawing professionally from the age of 16, and was every bit as good as older, more seasoned professionals.  The world of comics is the poorer for his untimely passing.  Read more about the man and his work at the above link.


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Well, lookee here - it's DAIMON HELLSTROM, otherwise known as The SON Of SATAN.  Ooh, controversial or what, but MARVEL managed to pull it off.  This cracking collection gathers the full original run of these '70s tales together in one volume, which can be obtained from all good comics shops and bookstores for a paltry sum.  Run, don't walk, to your nearest one now!


Copyright relevant owner

Okay, peeps, here's the last batch of CADET's sweet cigarette cards featuring STINGRAY.  You now have all 50 cards in the collection.  Remember to click on either of the two images, then click again for optimum size to see these cards in all their glory.  The THUNDERBIRDS cards will be along before you know it.

Friday 21 October 2016


IMOGEN HASSALL was a stunning-looking actress who appeared in TV shows such as The SAINT and The AVENGERS, as well as various movies throughout her acting career.  I was shocked to discover only recently that she committed suicide in 1980, aged 38.  I'd assumed, whenever I saw her in anything on TV, that she was still 'out there', acting away to her heart's content.

Funny how we become so familiar with some thespians through seeing their movies and shows constantly repeated on telly, that, even though (unknown to us) they may be long dead, we consider them still contemporary with our own lives, and feel like we're welcoming an old friend into our living-room whenever they pop up in some old film or other on that box in the corner (or flat screen on the wall).

Some actors make us smile on sight of them, so deeply are they ingrained in the memories of our youth, and we once again enjoy their company for however long their performance lasts in some old movie or repeated TV show.  There's a sad side to that though, when the realisation eventually dawns on us that they took their last bow and exited stage left, and that the final curtain came down for them many years ago.

Alas, poor Imogen.  I'll look for you on TV. 


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

No, you haven't missed the first two in the series - MARVEL publishes these cataclysmic collections out of sequence, so you still have volumes one and two to look forward to.  However, back to this EPIC softcover tome - just read the spiel below to see what magnificent goodies lie waiting within.  Available now from your nearest comicbook store.  Race you there.

Thursday 20 October 2016


MICHELLE KEEGAN was just walking
past this wall when she noticed it was about to
collapse.  Quick as a flash, she decided to prop
it up - with her elbow, no less.  Strong as well
as stunning - so what's not to like?

Wednesday 19 October 2016


That's one of my old houses second from the top

Here's a curious thing: I've noticed that, in most of the houses my family lived in over the years, there was a discrepancy between the official tenancy commencement dates and the actual dates we moved in.  (Same goes for the tenancy expiration dates.)  So, it's on record that our tenancy of my present abode began on Monday 12th June 1972, but we didn't actually move in until Wednesday 14th.  "Why?" you may ask.  I assume that the 14th was the earliest date that we and the family with whom we swapped houses could jointly book our removal vans.

So we lived in our old house for two days longer than we should have, and moved into our new one the corresponding period of time later than we were supposed to.  As for our previous domicile before that, we were meant to take possession on October 28th 1965, but didn't do so until ten days later.  That means I was cheated out of my first Hallowe'en in what became my new house, but had an extra one in its predecessor.  "So what's your point, you nutter?" I seem to hear you all enquire of me in unison.

It's just that I sometimes find myself wondering in what subtle way it might have affected (if at all) my perceptions and memories of those times and places if events had unfolded in the way they were meant to?  I had seven birthdays and seven Christmases in that house, but only six Hallowe'ens.  If we'd moved in on the official date, I'd have had the full complement of seven All Hallows' Eves.  However, I'd only have had one in the previous house if things had gone as the council had prescribed, and only one birthday - whereas my next birthday fell on flitting day, meaning it belongs to both houses.

Does it make any difference though?  That's just it, I don't know.  Part of me says no, another part can't help but wonder if it might have, because on such seemingly inconsequential events, the repercussions can be potentially immense.  For example, if I'd lived in my new home from the official date we were supposed to have moved in, a speeding car taking a corner too fast might've knocked me down, and then I wouldn't be here now boring you with this tedious exercise in pointless 'what ifs'.  However, because we didn't take up residence until ten days later, that possible fate was avoided.

Yeah, that's an extreme example, and not quite the direction I intended to take.  What I was trying to get at is this: if we have a different sense of our own history, can it affect the way we participate in our own future, and, if so, in some peculiar way, affect that future to such an extent that it wouldn't unfold in the manner that it did?  (Looking at what was once our future in the past tense of course.)  Yes, I know that's kind of vague, but it's the best my aged and addled mind can manage, alas.  Hopefully, you'll be able to see the target I'm aiming for.

If so, feel free to jump in with your thoughts and theories in our captivating comments section.

Monday 17 October 2016


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

The collector-mentality is an odd kind of compulsion.  Those of you who collect anything know that already, but for others not 'afflicted' with the desire to own things, allow me to give you an example from my own experience to demonstrate the point.  Back in 1980, MARVEL U.K. published a series of 'pocket books', digest-sized monthly mags featuring their most popular superhero characters.

I purchased quite a number of them, but, somehow, I missed a few issues of The FANTASTIC FOUR and The X-MEN pocket books.  In the former's case, it was at least four issues, in the latter's, two.  I managed to acquire two of the missing mags (one from each title) last year, but on Saturday, I received the remaining FF issues I needed, along with two X-Men mags (one being a better-condition replacement for the one I got in 2015).

Here's the thing though - I didn't really need them.  I already have the tales in various full-colour, full-sized reprints several times over, yet I still felt compelled to plug the gaps and complete the set of both periodicals - 34-plus years after I'd bought their 'companions'.  It feels good to finally complete something that was left unfinished, but there's also an anti-climactic feeling as well.

Last night, I put the mags in numerical sequence with their fellows, placed the lid on the box in which I store them, shoved it back on my cupboard shelf, and closed the door.  It could be years before I look at them again, which makes me wonder if there was any point in tracking them down after such a long period if I'm now just going to forget about them.

Although I feel a sense of accomplishment at completing the task, there's also a touch of sadness at finally 'closing the door' on a period that represents my youth (I was only 22 when these mags began).  It's as though there was an open link to my past while the quest remained ongoing, but now that it's over, the thin beam of connecting light 'twixt then and now has flickered and dimmed, if not actually expired.

So, satisfaction and sadness at the same event.  Does anyone else ever feel this way when finally completing a long-standing undertaking?  If so, reveal all to your fellow Criv-ites in the comments section.


Postscript: I'm struck by the fact I completed my collection of these mags while residing in the house I lived at the time they first went on sale.  Why is that significant, you may possibly wonder?  Because 33 years ago, my family moved to a new house in another neighbourhood for four years, before returning to our former home.  So I started and finished the collection in the same house - nearly 35 years apart.  Amazing, eh?  

Saturday 15 October 2016


Was at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall today with
a pal, taking in RAI CON and snapping some photos.  This is
the first of these type of events I've ever attended (dressing up
isn't really my thing), but it was an okay way to spend the day.
Thanks to everyone who posed for a picture.  Were you
there?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Here's KEV - looking happy and giving the
thumbs-up because his holidays are looming

This guy looks like trouble - I've got
a feeling he'll be popping up again

This gal sure believes in advertising

Here's a shot of the hall - seemed reasonably busy

Your money or your - wife, did he say?

At last - a bit of glamour

The girl in the middle has a real pretty face

Another shot of the hall

More glamour.  (Eh?)

Two hot babes - the heating was up full

Some fine examples of Glasgow's wildlife

This guy's a 'flash-in-the-pan'

Uh-oh!  Here's that guy again - with a pal

She's holding invisible dumbbells

Okay, I give in.  What are you hiding
behind your back, young lady?

LARRY, CURLY & MO - the three stooges amigos

At last - an actual artist.  Some nice work on display

He doesn't fool me by changing his
facewear - I've seen him before

Stop horsin' around

Just beamed down from the Starship ENTERPRISE by the look of it

Even BUZZ LIGHTYEAR got in on the act

The guy from RENTOKIL.  Maybe he's
after that wildlife in a previous photo?

The lady was being robbed by this masked
bandit, but they still posed for a photo

The return of some much-needed glamour

Okay, don't shoot - you can have one of my chips

Are this pair taking the pith?

A real couple of stars

Are you looking at me?

Some nice masks on display



Dunno - anyone got a clue?

This guy's back again

The big one's a bloke - honest

A slide-show about Cosplay

The presenters.  Okay, that's yer lot!

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