Tuesday 31 January 2017


JULIE EGE - that's all the info you
need.  Your pulsatin' peepers will tell you
everything else you need to know.


Well, the news is in - PETER CAPALDI is leaving DOCTOR WHO at the end of 2017.  That's a shame, because I was hoping that, under new hands when current show-runner STEVEN MOFFAT departs, Capaldi's Doctor would be treated with the respect the character deserved, and not be portrayed as the prattling buffoon that poor writing and direction turned him into.  It didn't bode well for the show when Capaldi was shown in his first episode dressed like WEE WILLIE WINKIE.

Although there were occasional hints of a serious, perhaps even sinister side to Capaldi's Doctor, writer Moffat's insistence on presenting him as a comical character exterminated any sense of danger in the show.  To begin the 2016 Christmas episode with the Doctor dangling from a rooftop by his ankle, like something out of an old BUSTER KEATON short, demonstrates the Scottish show-runner's inability to grasp the essence of the character.  The Doctor is not a clown.

I feel sorry for Peter Capaldi.  Poor writing overshadowed his stint on the show, and he deserved much better.  He did the best with what he was given, but, with an occasional exception aside, he was given banal tripe, and not even the finest of actors can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.  I'd been hoping Capaldi would stay on for at least one more series so that he'd have the chance to do the Doctor justice.  As it was, below-par writing too often meant that he depended on the viewers' mercy.

So good riddance to Moffat.  It's just a shame that we're also losing an actor who was more than capable of giving us the Doctor as he should be - but, alas, was never allowed to.


How do you think Peter's stint on the show will be remembered?  Invade the comments section now and share your thoughts with your fellow Criv-ites.

Monday 30 January 2017


Image copyright DC COMICS

C'mon now, admit it - this is an impressive splash page by BERNIE WRIGHTSON, and if you have any artistic aspirations at all, then you wish you could draw as good as this, don't you?  Of course, I'm well-known in the comics world as an absolutely brilliant artist who's easily the equal of all the comicbook greats rolled into one.  Unfortunately, it's the me from Earth Z, but, hey - that still counts in my opinion.


IMOGEN HASSALL oozes raw sex appeal
in the same way that I do - easily and generously.
That's why women faint at my feet.  Either that, or
it's 'cause I haven't changed my socks for a year.
(It's clearly the first option though.)

Sunday 29 January 2017



This is another of those 'can't remember if I've done it before posts', but we're talking pure quality here, so if I'm repeating myself, these covers are worth seeing again anyway.  40 years to the month after DC COMICS released their take on KENNETH ROBESON's JUSTICE INC., DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT published their version, with a great 'homage' by ALEX ROSS to JOE KUBERT's 1975 cover.  Bloody brilliant - both of them!  Agree?

If you'd like to see all four '70s DC covers, plus the unused cover art for the first ish, click here.


Characters copyright The Estate of EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

I remember it was raining.  I also remember buying this comic in a local R.S. McCOLL's before wandering into another shop, W.&R. HOLMES.  "Better get back to school" I eventually thought, having taken an extended lunch break and missed a couple of lessons.  I remember taking my seat in English class and then furtively browsing through KORAK #1, secure in the knowledge that I was out of the teacher's immediate sight just so long as she stayed seated at her desk.  I remained alert though, ready to put the mag back into my schoolbag at the first sign of 'teach' standing up and going for a wander 'round the classroom.

And, contents aside, that's all I remember about this comic from the early '70s - shops, school and schoolbag (which I still have), and the fact that it was raining when I purchased it and as I made my way back to school.  Hardly a riveting reminiscence by any means, but I find myself smiling at the memory of a vanished period of my youth whenever I gaze upon the cover and internal pages of one of my favourite comics of the past.  (Especially as the original school buildings were demolished in 2007/8 after a new one had been built nearby.)

"Good for you," you say, "but what's in this for us?"  Ah, for you, the pulsating pleasure of perusing some pleasant pictures, and maybe even recalling your own memories associated with this terrific treasure from yesteryear.  Perhaps it was raining then, too, or did the sun beat down relentlessly upon you?  Can you remember?  Then share it with the rest of us in the comments section.  It's what it was invented for.


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Back in December 1980, MARVEL TALES #137 (cover-dated March '81) started reprinting the STAN LEE & STEVE DITKO SPIDER-MAN classics in sequential order from the very beginning.  Twelve years later, the same plates were used again for SPIDER-MAN CLASSICS (natch), but this time with brand-new covers.  The title lasted for only 16 issues, but benefitted from superior printing compared to the Marvel Tales reprints.

So guess what, you lucky Criv-ites?  We're now going to look at these new covers by some of the top talents in the industry, and  enjoy mentally comparing them to the ASM Ditko originals.

15 was also issued with a different coloured cover, along with a 16 page 'Work In Progress'
mag featuring the animated show, plus an animation cel, both of which can be seen below

Saturday 28 January 2017


Hats off to all you Criv-ites - it's the ravishing
JANE RUSSELL.  Isn't she a picture?  (And I've
got the negatives.  No - they're not for sale.)


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

It seems like only a few scant years ago when I bought The UNTOLD LEGEND Of CAPTAIN MARVEL, but in truth, it was a staggering 20 years back when I acquired numbers 1 & 3 of this 3 ish mini-series.  For some unknown or forgotten reason, #2 was never put aside for me, and it was always my firm intention to obtain it whenever the first opportunity to do so presented itself.

However, it was a case of 'out of sight, out of mind', and it was only when I was occasionally looking through the comics collection in my cupboard that I was reminded of my task.  "Must get that missing issue!" I'd think, only to promptly forget my resolution the second I closed the cupboard door.  However, last time, I kept the two mags out to remind me, and, recently, I saw the missing ish on eBay for a reasonable price and bought it.

It arrived about an hour ago, and I instantly put it in sequential order between its companion issues and then sat back and congratulated myself on finally fulfilling this long-held intention to complete the set.  However, as I said, it only seemed a few years 'long', not the 20 it actually was.  My very next act will be to read the latter two numbers, having read the first ish a couple of nights back.

What attracted me to the first issue in 1990 was seeing Captain Mar-Vell in the original green and white costume he wore in his inaugural appearance in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #12 way back in 1967.  The odd colour combo shouldn't work on a superhero outfit, but somehow it does - for me at least.  Having now re-browsed through all three issues to get a taste of them, I'm not expecting a classic, but it'll be good to finally lay yet another 'ghost' to rest after all this time.

So, tell you what.  Why not join me in a look at the covers and some interior pages to celebrate me finally completing my quest?  That way, perhaps I won't feel so guilty about putting these comics in a cupboard and forgetting about them for a while - until the next time I'm in there looking for something that is.

You ready?  Okay, then let's go, go, GO!

I don't care what it looks like - he's not doing that, okay?


There's a paradoxical element to collecting old comics, or, indeed, just about anything that reminds us of our past.  On the one hand, re-acquiring something we had as children or teenagers brings that period in our lives alive again, making it seem not so long ago as is actually the case; on the other (on rare moments), the realisation that we first owned something over, say, 40 years ago, brings home to us just how much water has passed under the bridge since then.

It's strange, therefore, to think that the very things that bring us joy, or comfort, are the same things that can sometimes cause painful awareness of how fast our lives are racing towards their inevitable conclusion.  At times I'll look at a comic that I first bought in, say, 1968, and, in my mind, I'm back in the house I lived in at the time, and long-deceased friends and family are still alive, and favourite-but-long-gone shops are still open.  When one is 'in' that moment, it's exhilarating, but once the moment passes (as it must), it can leave us all-too aware that a huge gulf separates us from earlier times.

Most of the time I derive great satisfaction from owning various items from my youth, whether they be replacements or the originals, but I occasionally wonder if it might've been better to leave the past in the past and instead focus on the here and now.  When we spend our lives living in the past, it can distract us from enjoying the present as it unfolds, and though the future will yet creep up on us all like a thief in the night, we can keep half-an-eye out for its sly approach, and are, hopefully, less likely to be surprised - at least to the same extent - by its eventual and irrevocable arrival.

(I wonder if I'd be so entranced by the past if I didn't have so many material objects around to remind me of it?  Perhaps they're like a magnet that attracts my attention, and if I didn't have them, I'd never think back to the times when I first got them.  Maybe the simple act of owning them focusses my mind on those earlier eras.)

So what do you think, Criv-ites?  Do you believe that life is for living, rather than 'reliving', and that we should anticipate moments-to-come, instead of reminiscing about times that are gone - or can there be room in our lives for both?  Let's hear what you think on the matter.      

Friday 27 January 2017


What you're about to watch is a TV ad from the early 1970s, featuring YVONNE CRAIG, BURT WARD, and DICK GAUTIER - doing a pretty fair impression of ADAM WEST.  The original ad was a little longer, with an intro shot of BATGIRL on her Batcycle, and the exterior of the building in which the Dynamic Duo are held captive.  The ad ends in the style of the '60s TV show.

However, the full ad's quality on YouTube isn't great, whereas the above one is better.  (I've included the original ad below, so that you can see the full thing, Bat-fans.)  Dick Gautier died recently, but he was a well-known, well-respected actor and artist, who played HYMIE the robot in the GET SMART TV show, and STANLEY BEAMISH's boss HAL in MISTER TERRIFIC in the 1960s.  Believe me, though - that hardly does justice to his long career.


Now this is what I call a 'Babe'!  The
stunning IMOGEN HASSALL shows us
how to look amazing without really trying.
(And I taught her absolutely everything
 she knows on the subject of course.)

Thursday 26 January 2017


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Are you a fan of the gold and scarlet armoured AVENGER known as The INVINCIBLE IRON MAN?  Then this latest EPIC COLLECTION from Mighty MARVEL will be sure to float your boat and set your sporran on fire.  Don't delay - rush 'round to your local comicbook store today and buy this valiant volume before it sells out!  Read the spiel then seal the deal!  (I'm a poet and I know it.)  Excelsior!

Wednesday 25 January 2017


Images copyright DC COMICS

Brought this first issue of KAMANDI CHALLEGE #1 back with me from my local comicbook store today, but I've yet to read it.  However, I've flicked through it and it looks good, so I'm looking forward to reading the rest in the series once I finish this one.  Did you read the original series back in the day?  Then you'll probably love this.


Images copyright relevant owners

Back in 1986, I bought WORLD Of WOOD #s 2-4.  It was quite a few years afterwards (mid-'90s, maybe later) that I managed to track down the first issue, but to my surprise, #s 5 & 6 were also listed in the back issue catalogue I was ordering #1 from.  (Surprise, because it was originally intended to be a four ish series.)  On a whim, I ordered the fifth issue, which, unlike the previous ones, was in black and white, and published a whopping three years after its predecessors.

I wish now I'd got #6 - but, here's the thing.  Whenever I see this series mentioned anywhere, it's always described as having only five issues, so was #6 a misprint in the catalogue, or was it a limited print run that most people just don't know about?  If you know the answer, let me know, will you?  I hate it when a mystery remains unsolved.  Even better, if it really exists and you've got it, contact me if you want to sell it.

In the meantime, enjoy Crivens' brief cover gallery of this interesting micro-series on one of the all-time greats of comicbook art - the one and only, legendary WALLY WOOD!

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