Wednesday 31 May 2017
One of the criticisms made about JAMES BOND is that he's a cr*p secret agent because he can walk into any bar in the world and the barman will say "Hello, Mr. Bond - vodka martini, shaken, not stirred - coming right up!" Someone so well-known could never be an effective secret agent runs the cry, so 007 is obviously rubbish at being one. However, those who say this haven't really thought things through. Here's why.
James Bond's cover story is that he's a sales rep for UNIVERSAL EXPORT(S) (later TRANSWORLD CONSORTIUM in the novels) and it's therefore perfectly legitimate that, in that role, he'd regularly travel the world and be known in various hotels and bars in different countries. So next time you hear someone say Bond is a lousy secret agent because he's too well-known, point out to them that it ain't necessarily so.
Posted by Kid at Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Tuesday 30 May 2017
|Copyright relevant owner|
Once upon a time (no, this isn't a fairy tale), I could tell you exactly which shop I'd bought any comic, toy, or book from, but as I get older, I sometimes find myself struggling to remember whether some items were purchased in this shop or that shop, or just what the hell shop was it again? This can be caused by the similarity of the layouts of certain newsagents in my youth, causing me in later years to be unsure which one it was. Why I'd completely forget in some cases is harder to explain, but perhaps it's just the onset of old age.
However, there's not the slightest bit of uncertainty in the case of this book, the PAN paperback of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, which I got from R. S. McCOLL's in the shopping centre of my home town. This would've been either 1973 or '74 (once, I could have told you the precise year, but that bit of info is yet another victim to the passing of the years), and there it was, staring at me from the paperback spinner-rack next to the one sporting the comics. It hadn't been too long since I'd seen the movie in my local cinema, so I immediately grabbed it and ran
out of the shop (only kidding) up to the counter and paid for it. I just loved the cover so had to have it.
Anyway, just received the replacement you see before you this very morning (only 43 or 44 years after buying the first one I owned), so thought I'd share it with you here. I haven't read the book again in all that time, so might re-read it before very long. One look at the front and back covers places me back in that long-vanished R. S. McColl's and I feel as if I'm a teenager again. Some memories are forever!
Posted by Kid at Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Monday 29 May 2017
|Images copyright MARVEL COMICS|
The word 'genius' is oft bandied around far too freely these days. Perhaps it's always been the case. I've seen JACK KIRBY described as a genius, but, much as I love what he did when he was good at what he did (which, let's face it, he wasn't in his later years), I don't think he can rightly be called a genius, according to the true and wider definition of the word.
Why do I say that? Well, few things are created in a vacuum, they're normally developments of what has gone before, and that was true of Jack. He didn't create the medium of comicbooks, and his stories were almost always based on what he'd read in pulp novels, science-fiction magazines, science journals, or seen in movies and on TV. MARK EVANIER revealed that Jack referred to a book on Norse mythology when plotting his TALES Of ASGARD back-up stories in THOR.
Do you remember the series of FANTASTIC FOUR issues where The THING is held hostage by The SKRULLS on a planet modelled on 1920s America? 'Tis said it was inspired by episodes of TV's STAR TREK. Do you recall the FF saga where the fab foursome find themselves 'guests' in LATVERIA? Inspired by The PRISONER TV show. Sure, Jack put his own spin on them, but they were derivative, not wholly original. They were, however, immensely entertaining, so hats off to him.
Sadly, Jack's artistic abilities deserted him in the latter part of his career. HUNGER DOGS, it must be admitted, was a mess, looking like it had been drawn (badly) by a 13 year old kid trying (and failing) to imitate the style of Jack Kirby. Whenever I look at it, I'm saddened to see the decline of a once-excellent artist who'd known how to lay out a story in a way that few other comic artists could emulate.
Genius? No, but certainly a legend, and rightly so. As I've said before, when Jack was at the top of his game, there was no one who could match him artwise, especially when he was paired with an inker who enhanced his strengths and diluted his weaknesses. But even giants wither and shrink, and, sadly, Jack was no exception to the effects of time on his titanic talent. Titanic being the operative word, as, just like the famous liner, it eventually sank from sight.
However, in this, the 100th year of Jack's birth, it's better not to dwell on the negative. Instead, let's take a look at some FF covers and splash pages from a time when Kirby was still regarded as 'King'. True, the crown had begun to slip a little, but it would be several more years before it fell off completely. As someone once said in a movie: "Such, my friend, is life!"
To children in the '60s and '70s, JOHN NOAKES was a sort of big brother figure on the BBC's BLUE PETER children's magazine show, so it's sad to learn that he's passed away at the age of 83. If you're around my age, then there goes another part of all our yesterdays. "Get down, Shep!" was never intended to be a catchphrase, but that's what it became. I doubt that anyone can think of Noaksie without simultaneously hearing that line in their head.
Another childhood legend gone, alas. Condolences to all his family and friends at this very sad time.
And below is John in action in 1977.
Sunday 28 May 2017
Now this is surely the kind of face that any fella would love to wake up to every morning. Let's face it though - the only real chance of that happening for most of us would be to have a photograph of BECKY RULE's gorgeous visage taped to the ceiling. (Obviously, I've got a far better chance than the rest of you 'cos I'm incredibly handsome and charming. Modest too.)
Here's a great picture of SUPERMAN, his best pal, and his burd, pencilled by JACK KIRBY and inked by MIKE ROYER. It's a belter! As to why Supes has a double parting, that's because Jack drew it on one side and Mike inked it on the other, where it's meant to be. Presumably, he forgot not to ink it on the side Jack had placed it, but hey - two partings are probably better than one - especially when you're from KRYPTON.
Saturday 27 May 2017
|Images copyright relevant owner|
An acquaintance recently gave me these two RED CIRCLE COMICS issues of The FLY (#s 1 & 2), which have nifty front covers drawn by JIM STERANKO, so I thought I'd show them off here. The two back covers are by RICH BUCKLER and RUDY NEBRES respectively. Don't they look nice? If the rumours are true, The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN was based on The Fly, so without the first, we may not have had the second.
Friday 26 May 2017
|BATMAN & ROBIN copyright DC COMICS|
A tenuous connection to BATMAN to be sure - and can they accurately be called specs when they have no glass to enable the wearer to see? Ah, but what about X-Ray Specs you ask - they had no glass either. True, but they did enable the wearer to 'see' things differently, and at least they looked like specs. Anyway, I'm sure I had a pair of the above 'specs' when I was a kid. Did any of the rest of you? Do tell in the CS.
If you're a child of the '60s (otherwise known today as decrepit old fart), then you'll probably love MICHAEL EURY's new softcover book (from TWOMORROWS Publishing) entitled HERO-A-GO-GO! Sadly, I can't open it wide enough to scan without risk of damaging its spine, so you'll have to glean what it's all about from the back cover spiel. Available now from all good comics shops. Treat yourself and buy your copy of this titanic tome today.
|Image copyright MARVEL COMICS|
Classic because it's the first appearance of WOLVERINE on a cover. Who'd have guessed the diminutive mutant would go on to become such a huge star in the MARVEL firmament? And would HUGH JACKMAN have made such an impact in the X-MEN movies if he'd had to wear that garish looking costume seen above? Given that Hugh is around a foot taller than the character he plays, I'm surprised Marvel haven't found an excuse to change Wolverine's height in the comics.
Thursday 25 May 2017
Wednesday 24 May 2017
Tuesday 23 May 2017
October 14th 1927 - May 23rd 2017
Sad news today of ROGER MOORE's passing, so here's an amended repost from a while back in tribute to Big Rog's portrayal of BOND... JAMES BOND (007).
Much has been made of the 'differences' between SEAN CONNERY's and ROGER MOORE's portrayals of BOND... JAMES BOND over the years. In my view, the way they look and talk aside, there really wasn't much difference at all. Depending on what you read first, some reports said that the producers 'toughened up' Roger's Bond because he didn't look quite so ruthless as Sean's, hence him slapping women and generally being mean to them. (MAUD ADAMS in The MAN With The GOLDEN GUN for example.)
Other reports claim the writers geared the movies towards Roger's strengths as a 'light comedian' and that there was more humour in them. Absolute tosh in my opinion. Bond slapped women on occasion regardless of who was playing him and there have always been fairly large dollops of humour in 007 movies. These so-called differences tend to be retroactive rationalizations applied after the fact in answer to reporters' enquiries. If you ask someone what the difference is in something, the mere suggestion that there is one will probably produce an answer that meets the requirements of the question rather than the facts of the case.
The truth is, the role of Bond is merely a suit of 'clothes' which the actor slips into and holds up in the shape of himself (more or less) - but the 'suit' (i.e. - the part) is the character rather than any actor playing him. Had Sean continued as Bond in the movies Roger appeared in, there would've been very little difference in the finished product. Any evolution in the style or content of the films is more down to the requirements of being bigger and better than the one before than it is in the actor playing the part.
The tone of Roger's first Bond movie in 1973 had been set by its predecessor, DIAMONDS Are FOREVER, which was largely shaped by the participation of the late TOM MANKIEWICZ, who was also involved in LIVE & LET DIE and The MAN With The GOLDEN GUN. To my mind, Roger's Bond never did anything that I couldn't imagine Sean's Bond also doing, so the only difference between the two actors' portrayals was not in the character of 007, but in the way they looked and sounded.
By the time Connery appeared in Diamonds Are Forever, he was tired of the role - but the role was also tired of him. He was 41, but looked at least ten years older. Sean was definitely the right man for Bond in the early to mid-'60s, but it's the lean, mean, hungry-looking Sean we must remember - not the rather puffy, bloated, weary-looking Sean of the later movies. Moore is actually older than Connery by at least two years, but back in '73 he looked a lot younger than 45, his age when receiving the licence to kill. Roger was the right Bond for the '70s, just as Sean had been for the decade before.
So, regardless of the actor playing him, Bond is the same man; suave, charming, debonair - and a ruthless killer when required. In my view, Roger was every bit as good in the role as Sean. So - here's to Bond... James Bond. I say again - "Nobody does it better!"
It was in 1981 that I bought this comic in Southsea or Portsmouth. The story connected to a tale I'd first read in CAPTAIN AMERICA King-Size Special #1 in 1972 or '73, and though only 8 or 9 years had passed since then, it seemed far longer for some strange, inexplicable reason. (Ah, the myriad mysteries of time, eh?) What's amazing though, is that the same pal was with me when I bought the second comic as when I'd bought the first one.
I was much taken by the moody, atmospheric art of GENE COLAN, and the fact that the story was a follow-up of sorts to one I'd read as a teenager resonated with my even-then overdeveloped sense of nostalgia, The flashback sequence to that earlier tale took me straight back to The NORFOLK Restaurant, wherein I'd first perused the Cap Special mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Now I look at this issue and think of Southsea and Portsmouth, though the earlier association with the 1970s still resides within its four-colour pages. Perhaps you have your own memories of this mag, which you're welcome to share with the rest of us in the comments section. C'mon, let's have a nostalgia-fest while we're all in the mood. There are certainly worse ways of spending your time.
Monday 22 May 2017
I only ever had the first of these four annuals if I recall correctly, and going by the contents, it really wasn't all that good. However, nostalgia is nostalgia, so I'll have to re-acquire it one day, and the follow-up ones as well. In the meantime, enjoy looking at the covers and reliving your youth if you had these 'bionic' books back in the day. (Update: Now got all four.)
|No info on the back of this one, so haven't shown it|
The five books on show here should appeal to every child of the 1960s & '70s in particular. Lots of great photos, details and history that bring the past to life for you to live again. They're not new books, having been in my collection for years, and for all I know, updated editions may have been released since. However, I'd imagine that at least some of them are available to order in many bookshops, as well as eBay and Amazon. Track 'em down today!
|No info on the back of this one, so haven't shown it|