Saturday, 4 March 2017


Whenever I first read a book, the images that form in my head
are indelible.  Even if I re-read the book twenty years later, the exact
same imagery is conjured up in my mind as before - though sometimes
a more careful contemplation of the text might reveal that what I'd en-
visioned was perhaps not in perfect accord with the mental picture the
writer was trying to paint.  (It's usually pretty close though.)

What do I mean exactly?  If a writer's description of a location is
similar enough to one I'm familiar with, then that's where I'll think of
whenever I read the associated piece of text.  KENNETH GRAHAME's
WILD WOOD (from The WIND In The WILLOWS) is an amalgam,
to me, of two different woods in two different neighbourhoods where I lived
as a youth.  Exactly which wood depends on precisely which paragraph (or
sentence) I'm reading, but one descriptive passage will suggest one wood,
and another the other one.  These images formed in my brain when I
first read the book, and these are the images that remain with me
to this day, no matter how many times I re-read it.

So what's that got to do with this strip from the FANTASTIC
Annual for 1968 (issued in August/September of 1967)?  Well, what
I've just waxed boringly about in the preceding preamble is pretty much
the same when it comes to comic strips.  With one difference of course, as
comic strips have their own accompanying set of images which don't require
much, if any, interpretive contribution on the part of the reader.  However,
comic strips still carry with them their own associations of where and
when they were first read, so they leave their own indelible impres-
sions on a reader's mind in a similar way to what novels do. 

  For example, I so associate the COLOSSUS strip - drawn
by the amazing Spanish artist JOSE ORTIZ MOYA - with the house
and neighbourhood in which I stayed when I first read it, that I'm right
back there again in a heartbeat on sight of this particular tale.  Regardless
of however many homes I've lived in (or ever will live in) since my initial
exposure to this story, whenever I've re-read it over the years, it's al-
ways that first house I find myself thinking of each time I pore over
this astoundingly awesome Ortiz artwork.

Anyway, it goes without saying that you all deserve a gold BLUE
PETER BADGE for having to wade through the previous paragraphs
of self-indulgent tosh to get to a point that should've taken only a few
sentences.  You know me though - in love with the sound of my
own computer keyboard.

If you think you recognise the style, you'd be right.  As well as
drawing Spanish strips and working for WARREN PUBLISHING,
Jose also drew strips such as The THIRTEENTH FLOOR and The
TOWER KING for IPC MAGAZINES.  He did much more than I've
mentioned here of course, and fans of the man and his work might like
to read more about his career by looking him up on WIKIPEDIA.
Sadly, he died aged 81 on December 23rd, 2013, but he leaves
behind a rich legacy of absolutely amazing artwork.

Anyway, congratulations - you've scaled the final plateau.
Now you can enjoy this 12-page strip by one of the comic strip
medium's true masters.      


John Pitt said...

The images take me back to Christmas morning, 1967, where I received this in my pillow case, along with, if my memory serves me right, the Marvel annual ( text stories ), Captain Scarlet annual, Captain Scarlet Story Book and The Angels Story Book. Also, during that Christmas holiday, I cycled 7 miles through the snow to W.H. Smith's in the nearest town to also buy the Captain Scarlet and Angels Sticker Fun Books, out of my Christmas money to go with them!
I had my Dad's transistor radio on in my bedroom, listening to the Christmas charts. Amongst the top ten were: -
Beatles - Hello Goodbye
Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour
Monkees - Daydream Believer
Bee Gees - World
Scaffold - Thank U Very Much
Four Tops - Walk Away Renee
Apart from that, I can't remember very much, associated with those images, I'm afraid.

Kid said...

That's quite a lot to be going on with, JP. Some people wouldn't even remember having the Annual.

John Pitt said...

I was being smug, Kid!
Some memories are strong for me. This was one of them.
Other times, as you know, my memory gets it TOTALLY wrong!
65 and 67 were really good Christmases for me, present-wise!
And yet 66 in between, I cannot remember much about, other than Tom Jones was number one!

Kid said...

The green, green, grass of home. Got the single.

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