Wednesday, 31 October 2018

HAPPY HALLOWE'EN...



When I was a kid, I had a cardboard YOGI BEAR Hallowe'en mask.  It wasn't a flat mask, but a shaped mask of the front half of Yogi's head and collar.  I bought another one a couple of years (and a couple of houses) later, from WOOLWORTH'S, the same shop I'd bought the first one, and it goes without saying that I'd love to own one again.  (Bought a plastic Yogi mask a year or so back, but it's one from the '90s.)

That's not me in the above photo (got it from ebay), but if I'd had such a costume when I was a lad, you can bet your boots that I'd have been out on October 31st wearing it proudly.  (I didn't seem to have an 'embarrassment factor' when I was a youngster.)  Anyway, have a great Hallowe'en if you're attending any costume parties later.  Who knows, if you're single and meet someone nice, you may end up a little bear (as in 'bare' - geddit?) at the end of the night.

(Groan!  Well, I had to tie it in with the photo somehow.)

THE COMICS ROOM - UPDATED...



Consider yourself a comics fan?  Well, check out this collection - it makes most of us look like pikers.  It would take serious money to acquire the items on display in this room, but I couldn't say whether it's a private collection or belongs to a museum.  One thing I do know - I'm seriously envious!  How about you?

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

CRIVENS CLASSIC COMIC COVERS - POW! #10...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Memory is a funny thing, isn't it?  I know I read a SPIDER-MAN story (his first encounter with The CHAMELEON) in an earlier issue of POW! at school one day (brought in by a classmate) but it may not have been until after I'd acquired this issue, which would make this comic the first time I'd seen Spidey.

If that's the case, it was doubtless DOCTOR DOOM's mention of The FANTASTIC FOUR which made me look through the periodical's pages in the newsagent's and, seeing SUSAN STORM (on whom I had a crush), prompted me to ask my mother to buy it for me.  Or, of course, I may just have read them in their published sequence, and old age now prevents me from being able to recall with certainty.

Regardless, we were calling in to my grandparents' flat that day (which means it was either after school or on a Saturday), and this was another issue that I read while perched on their itchy red bed-settee (see, some things I don't forget), of which regular readers may remember me mentioning several times before.

However, you don't care about any of the personal details I associate with this comic (you'll no doubt have your own), all you're here for is to gawp at this great STEVE DITKO illustration, and his interpretation of the good ol', bad ol' Monarch of LATVERIA.  (Why do I always think of the word 'Lavatory' when I see the name of VICTOR's homeland?)

Anyway, I just love this cover and thought that perhaps you might too.  If so, feel free to recount your own ruminating reminiscences of this collectors' item classic in our captivating comments section.

Monday, 29 October 2018

BABE OF THE DAY - DUNNO, WHO CARES ANYWAY? JUST LOOK AT THOSE PINS!



Why is it, whenever I return home, there's
some hot burd waiting on my doorstep for me?
Here's another one.  My reputation as a red-
hot lover has obviously gotten around.

("Nurse!  He's hallucinating again!")

Sunday, 28 October 2018

TIME IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER...


Image copyright relevant owner

Take a look at the comic pictured above - I remember buying it back in 1971 (my original copy that is), probably on the 25th September, as comics were usually dated a week ahead of when they actually went on sale.  (It's difficult to be certain in every instance - sometimes it was just a few days.)  I'd religiously bought all 22 issues of JET and wished it had lasted longer, but I was prepared to follow its incorporated incarnation in BUSTER - at least for a while.

I can no longer recall how long I continued to buy the merged title, but as I said, I remember having the first one.  What surprises me is the date, because only eight months later, my family (and myself of course) moved to another house in another neighbourhood.  Only eight short months?  Surely it was a year or three at the very least?  But no - eight short months it was!  A year and five days after this comic came out, I was buying the first issue of The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL, yet it seems to me that there was a huge gulf of time between the two comics, not a mere year.

I'm constantly surprised by such things.  Another example is the first ish of TV ACTION (in reality COUNTDOWN #59), which came out only a couple of months before we moved.  Yet, in my mind, it seems I bought it ages earlier, and enjoyed life in my old (then my current) house for ever such a long time before we flitted.  I've touched on this subject in a previous post, and suggested that it's because we tend to associate things (whether they be toys, comics, or whatever) that we had in one domicile with the entire time we lived there, rather than from the actual moment we first got them.

In other words, if you lived somewhere for seven years and bought something a couple of months before flitting, years later (when reminiscing) it often seems that you had the item for the full seven years, because you associate it with that particular house and the length of time you were there.  Or maybe it's just because when we're younger, a few weeks or months seems like a much longer period of time than when we're older.  After all, a month before Christmas to a kid feels like an eternity, whereas, to an adult, it passes far too quickly.

At least that's how it seems to me.  Perhaps you think I'm talking utter b*ll*cks, so I'd be interested in reading how my fellow Criv-ites regard such matters.  Does it likewise seem to you as I described, or, in your case, is it completely different?  Let rip in the comments section - if you can actually understand what the hell I'm burbling on about.  I have a feeling I've not conveyed it too well.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

CALLING ALL GERRY ANDERSON FANS...



If you're a doddery old fart like me, you'll well remember the great GERRY ANDERSON puppet programmes of the '60s.  Here's the latest, based on an idea by Gerry himself and developed and written by his son JAMIE (with the help of others obviously).  It'll make you feel like you're a kid again.

A VANISHED AGE...



I thought I'd first published this post on Crivens! then transferred it to my other blog, but I can find no trace of it here.  Therefore, since most of you don't read Mild And Mellow Melancholy Musings, here it is especially for you.  And if you did read it on MMMM, feel free to ignore.

******

The ageing process is a curious thing, in that its effects are gradual and don't usually register with us until they've gathered a fair bit of steam.  This applies not only to ourselves, but also our possessions.  Take my bedroom walls for example, or to be more precise, the posters, pin-ups, pages and pictures which adorn them (and are somewhat obscured in the accompanying photo by some of my collectables).

Most have now been in place for at least 30 years (though some go back nearly 40), but it's only in the last couple of years or so that it began to dawn on me just how faded, tanned, and wrinkled many had become, prompting me to begin the time-consuming task of replacing them with brighter, newer, and more colourful duplicates.  I've now renewed around 80 of them, and my room looks all the better for it, but it occurs to me that I'm living in a 'vanished age' which I've preserved by means of a scanner and printer.

Some were replicated by scanning the originals and digitally restoring them, others by scanning spare issues of the comics they came from - some purchased at the same time as the originals, others a few years afterwards (and a good many years ago).  Truth to tell, many of the wall pics had probably begun to look old quite a while back, but it wasn't until they became noticeably mottled that I realised time had taken its toll and decided to do something about it.  However, when younger, I'd probably have just replaced them with new (and different) posters and pin-ups, so why indulge this odd compulsion to preserve things the way they were?

I think I know the answer.  As regular readers may be aware, my family originally lived here (in the house I currently occupy) from 1972 to '83, whereupon we moved to another house in a different neighbourhood and resided there for just over four years before returning to our former home.  Not wanting to move from this house back in '83, I felt like one who'd been "from the room untimely ripped" (to misquote Shakespeare) and this made me want to re-create (as much as possible given the different dimensions of my new room), the ambience of my old one.

Had we never moved, this desire to replicate my former surroundings would likely never have occurred to me and, as I said, I'd probably have replaced time-worn pictures with new and different ones when the occasion required.  The irony is though, that even if we'd never moved, my room couldn't have remained the same anyway, as I'd have had to remove my 'wall adornments' to accommodate renovation and refurbishment to the house a mere year or three down the line.  (Thankfully, we were spared that inconvenience.)

This would've meant being decanted to a caravan for a fortnight (with furniture and possessions put into storage) while the house was gutted of original fixtures and fittings, then rewired, re-plumbed and, where necessary, re-plastered.  (New wall sockets and light switches were installed, but not in exactly the same spots, hence remedial work being required on the walls.)  Upon completion, the entire house would've needed redecorated, and as some of my old pictures were glued to the wallpaper, I'd more than likely have just put up new ones.  However, not happy at moving, my reluctance to abandon the warm familiarity of my former surroundings inspired me to try and re-create them in my new room, and again in my old one when we returned.

I've never managed to shake that compulsion, so now sleep in a room that's largely the same as it was between 1975 and 1983, resulting in me living in a bygone age that vanished into the mists of time 35 years ago.  I can only conclude that moving to another house in '83 was a traumatic experience for me, and one which affects my outlook to this very day.  Or it could be that I'm just bonkers I suppose, but if you agree with that diagnosis, I'd much prefer you kept it to yourselves.  After all, you know what a timid, sensitive soul I am, so there's no need to be cruel.

Thoughts, theories, observations or empathy can be left in the considerately-provided comments section if you feel so motivated.   

Thursday, 25 October 2018

THE FORTY-ODD YEARS LATER AFFAIR...


Images copyright relevant owner

Y'know, it might take me forever to get around to things, but I eventually get there in the end.  Take DC's BEOWULF and TOR comics as an example.  I remember buying at least the first issues of each title back in the mid-'70s, but regardless of how many issues I bought of both series, I know I never had all six in each set.  Some years back, I bought #s 1-3 of Beowulf and #1 of Tor, and it's only now that I've finally acquired the remaining issues I needed to complete my collection of those two titles.  However, I'm cheating a little, as I haven't actually received my newly-purchased items yet, so I've used the seller's ebay photos - I'm sure he won't mind as the comics now belong to me.  I'll scan them when they arrive and replace the temporary piccies with better quality ones, but these will have to do you for now.

40-odd years after the fact, I can finally catch up on what I missed as a teenager.  I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.

 ******

Update:  All images have now been replaced with scans of the received comics, which are now in my collection.











Wednesday, 24 October 2018

GIVE ME LAND, LOTS OF LAND, UNDER STARRY SKIES ABOVE - DON'T FENCE ME IN...



Where I live, I used to be able to stand at the top of the hill along a bit from my house and see for miles.  The view remained practically unchanged from when I first moved here (1972) until around 1993/'94, when some two-storey amenity housing was built on a bit of 'spare' ground.  Then, a year or so back, some flats (and houses) were built behind them on the site where a single-storey school for handicapped kids once stood, which was demolished a couple or so years back.  This has resulted in the almost complete obscuration of the distant horizon that for many years had once been so familiar to me from the days of my youth.  The same thing happened just recently in the street where I'd lived from 1965 to '72;  what was once an expansive view has disappeared behind a sea of new roofs on houses that were erected around two or three years ago.  (The photo above is how the street looked in 1988, the bottom photo is how it looks nowadays.) 

Now, I know that people need to live somewhere, but this narrowing of horizons due to constant building affects everybody.  For example, there are now more kids living in those new houses, but as the houses are built on former playing fields, there's less place for that greater number of kids to play, which is hardly an ideal situation.  What were once bright, open and spacious areas where one could see distant hills and skies above and beyond them are now dark, closed and narrow housing schemes behind which the wider world is hidden from view.  I don't think it's a good thing for people to feel closed in and cut off by their own claustrophobic environs;  the sight of fields, forests or clouds in the distance can be an uplifting experience which makes the spirits soar and improves the quality of life for everyone.

With more houses also comes more traffic as every household seems to have at least two cars these days.  Pedestrians can hardly walk on the pavements because of vehicles parked on them, leaving little space to manoeuvre, and none at all to anyone pushing a pram or confined to a wheelchair or mobility scooter.  Round my way, drivers regularly park up on the pavements, despite there being plenty of road room for other cars to pass them without collision.  One neighbour recently parked on the entire pavement in front of steps leading to some houses, meaning that any pensioners with poor eyesight and unsteady of foot could well have had an accident attempting to negotiate the obstacle.  Personally, in older areas which were built when car ownership was less common, I'd have a limit of one car per household - take a bus or taxi if that doesn't work for you and leave the pavements to pedestrians.

I could nip your ear for hours with a long list of why I think the world is shrinking and closing in on us, but I'll spare you that ordeal.  Suffice to say, there are just far too many humans on the planet nowadays and if there's one species that needs culled, it's ours.  In our feckless society, where marriage and commitment are on the decline, people move from one failed relationship to another, having children with multiple partners and putting a severe strain on resources like housing and the NHS.  Far too many parents these days have got several kids by three or four different partners, and all these children are going to need houses when they grow up.  Personally, I'd put something in the water supply to prevent people being able to have kids in the willy-nilly (no pun intended) way they do nowadays.  Then, if you wanted to start a family, you'd have to sit a test to determine your suitability, before being given the antidote to what's in the water.

Okay, maybe I'm stretching things too far, but what would your solution be to crammed housing schemes and the gradual (but quickening) loss of green areas within and without town and cities, which will invariably lead to even more congested and depressing living conditions for future generations?  Do tell.


Click to enlarge.  Can you honestly say it's an improvement?

BABE OF THE DAY - RAQUEL WELCH...



Here's the ravishing RAQUEL WELCH,
looking all sultry and sensual in the skimpiest
of bear skins.  (Must've been a small bear.)

PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW...



Here's a strange story for you, one that I suddenly just remembered while looking at the photo in the previous post.  I'll say why in a moment, but the tale I'm thinking of dates back to 1964 or '65, when I was going home for my dinner at noon one day, and saw a 'rag and bone' man parked outside the primary school gates.  No horse and cart like STEPTOE & SON, but a blue or grey van with the back doors swung open to display his wares.  I enquired how long he was going to be there and he replied that he'd be 'on site' for the whole dinner hour.  So I ran home, had my grub, and asked my mother whether she had anything she didn't want that I could give to the rag and bone man.  Usually, all you got was a balloon on a stick, so they were actually not so much rag and bone men as 'con the kids out of stuff that's worth money' men, but my mother gave me one of her old coats to swap for a balloon.

It was a blue coat if I recall rightly, and off I set to school with it, but a funny thing happened on the way to the cruel place of confinement that tortures children with enforced learning that they neither want or need.  (Am I showing a prejudice here?)  I started to feel sorry for the coat, and shame at my cold and callous attitude in being prepared to part with it.  I'd once felt like this before when a toy metal bus I owned suddenly separated in two because of a loose rivet.  I flung the bus on the grass and walked away, but was then overcome with a sudden remorse and rushed back and reclaimed it.  I felt like a parent abandoning a child, and the feeling was too much to bear.  It was the same with this coat - I simply couldn't give away a 'member of the family' to a stranger, so it sat under my desk until 3 o'clock and then I took it back home with me.

So cut to a few years later and another house or two down the line.  I heard a rag and bone man blowing his horn and rushed to ask if my mother had anything she didn't want.  I think it was another coat (maybe even the same one), so I ran out of the house just in time to see the van driving away.  I followed it on foot as best as I could - for quite a length in fact, but it got away from me.  If you look at the photo in the previous post, you'll see a bus stop in the distance, and it was around there or just past it that I gave up the chase.  (Bear in mind that the photo was taken from my bedroom window and you'll realise just how far it was I trekked.)  As I trudged back along the road, I felt a sudden sense of relief, as I realised that, once again, I wouldn't have been able to part with the item of clothing my mother had given me anyway, so I wasn't too downhearted.

Even today, I find it extremely difficult to part with things because it's almost like I'm rejecting them, and that's not something I want to be responsible for inflicting even on inanimate objects.  Who knows what deep-rooted psychological reasons are responsible for me being this way.  Maybe the time my dad took me for a run in the car miles out of town, gave me money and asked me to go buy a newspaper, and then drove off as I entered the shop - well, maybe that has something to do with it, who knows?  (Pick your jaw up off the floor, you gullible ninny - I'm only kidding of course.)  Being a collector, I sometimes replace comics with better-condition ones, but it's extremely difficult passing on (or selling) the lesser-condition items to someone else, and I can only do it (and even then reluctantly) if I haven't had it too long.

So readers - do you have any strange peccadilloes that you don't quite understand, but feel yourself in thrall to and are unable to resist?  If you'd care to share, you know where the comments section is.   

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

ROOM WITH A VIEW...



Something that occurred to me only recently is that when I was younger, I only ever looked out any of my windows for one specific purpose or another, never merely for the sake of it.  Things like, to see which of the neighbourhood kids were playing in the field across from my house, or to check what the weather was like, or to catch the approach of someone I was expecting a visit from, or to see what the source of some noise was.  I never, as far as I can recall, looked out of the window just to appreciate the view.  At school, I would gaze out of the windows and lose myself in dreams, but I wasn't really focussing on the scenery.

And now, having typed that, a couple of exceptions have just occurred to me.  I'd look out at freshly-fallen snow, because there's something magical about snow I'm sure you'll agree, and sometimes at night, me and my brother used to look out of our bedroom window at the lights of Glasgow (or its outskirts), twinkling on the far horizon like tiny, dancing fireflies or the glint of frost on the pavement when it catches the sun or the beam of a street-lamp.  I last saw that night-time scene over 46 years ago, though I've seen the view in daytime on occasional visits to my old home - the first of which was 30 years ago, and the last 27 years back.

I first became aware of looking at the view for its own sake during the countdown to my family and myself flitting from my present house to a new one back in 1983.  For some reason it filled me with sadness to realise, as I gazed out into the familiar distance one evening, that I would probably never see twilight again from that bedroom window and that an era was passing.  (Melodramatic?  Me?)  Of course, as many of you will know, just over four years later, we moved back to this house, and I was reunited with my old room and former view from the window.  Strangely, although I'd never wanted to flit to that new house, I now find myself even missing that view, and I'm glad I took quite a few photos of it in the four-plus years we resided there.

Views can change however, as mine has to a certain extent, what with new houses and flats being built on 'spare' ground.  Of course, it was never spare (or 'underdeveloped' as the local council later categorised it), it was intended for recreational use, and to alleviate the monotony of the brick and roughcast-bedecked structures surrounding it;  to provide a welcome oasis of greenery amidst the grey 'sentinels' which stood on its borders, and to provide a sense of space in what has now become an overcrowded concrete ghetto.

Do you ever think back to once familiar views you knew in your youth, readers, and wish you could return and see them again, even though you know that the harsh reality of time and so-called 'progress' consigned them to the phantom mists of history long ago?  Feel free to relive those bitter-sweet memories in the comments section.

******

(Incidentally, the above photo was taken in August 1988, 16 years after moving away in 1972, and a year and a day after returning to the house we'd flitted to in '72 and vacated in '83.)

BABE OF THE DAY - LYNDA CARTER...



If aliens ever landed on Earth and asked to see a prime example of a human female, then I'd show them this picture of the stunning LYNDA CARTER.  Well, you can't go wrong with Lynda, can you?

Monday, 22 October 2018

FROM PANEL TO PAINTING...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Red is my favourite colour, so it should come as no surprise that the above cover really grabbed me when I saw it in the shop window of W. & R. HOLMES back in late 1972.  Of course, it's not just the colour that appeals to me, but also the fact that it's The HULK doing what ol' Hulkie does best - going on a rampage!  I don't know who the artist is on the cover of the MARVEL Annual for 1973, but I can tell you that the scene is based on a panel from one of the interior stories, pencilled by JACK KIRBY and inked by STEVE DITKO.  Isn't it a stoater?!

However, this wouldn't be a Crivens! post without a critical observation or two.  In the original panel, Jack hasn't drawn The Hulk large enough as he looks smaller than the soldiers, and the cover artist has repeated this oversight in his rendition of the scene.  Still great though.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

FAB & FREAKY FRANKIE STEIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL COVERS, CENTRE-SPREADS AND ALSO AWESOME ANNUALS (UPDATED)...


Images copyright relevant owner

Apart from the centre-spreads, I've shown all these images before, but this time there's a difference. Previously, the covers for the 1975, '79 and '82 Specials were 'borrowed' from ebay, but the ones you see here are all from my own personal collection.  I've even replaced the scans on the first post where I featured them, so uniformity now rules in Crivens!  I considered using a bit of computer technology to disguise the spines of the centre-spreads, but decided against it as it'd be too much like hard work.  Maybe one day.

I've also thrown in the Annual covers, even though I showed them recently in another post, but I thought the completists among you might like to see them here - so here they are.  I sometimes amaze myself with just how generous I am to you lot, I really do.  Show me you appreciate it by leaving a comment and reassuring me that I'm not talking to myself.  Go on. 



















BONUS:  And just because it's a belter of an illustration, below is the cover to the SHIVER & SHAKE Annual for 1976.  Frankie got everywhere back then - Shiver & Shake, WHOOPEE!, and MONSTER FUN, as well as his very own publications. That's what you call a monster success!

COMPLETING A COLLECTION...



If you're a collector, you'll know the thrill of finding that elusive issue (or issues) to complete a run of comics.  I've been doing that very thing recently, tracking down missing numbers years after the fact, and what adds an extra sense of satisfaction for me is completing a series in the very house I started it.  You see, after living in my present abode for eleven years back in the '70s and early '80s, my family relocated to a new house in another area for just over four years, before moving back again to our previous home.  I've now been back here for 31 years, and today I received the 1979 WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN Holiday Special, which completed the set of eight Specials issued between 1975 to '82.

The first and only one I bought at the time was the one for 1976, but around ten years later, BOB PAYNTER, Youth Group editor of the IPC mags, gave me another four from the shelves in his office on the 20th floor of KING'S REACH TOWER in Stamford Street in London.  These were the 1977, '78, '80 and '81 issues, though I think I was living in the afore-mentioned other house when I got them.  In the last few months I was able to acquire the '75 and '82 issues, and the '79 edition that arrived this morning completes the set.  That means I got four of them in this house and four of them in the other, so it's an equal split - though the quartet that Bob gave me have been in my present residence for 31 years.  What's significant to me is that I started and finished the collection in this house.

I found a replacement for the 1976 Frankie Annual I used to have a good many years back, but only recently (a couple or so months ago) managed to find two copies of the '77 Annual, though they weren't in great condition.  (I don't recall ever having this book back in the '70s.)  Just in the last week, however, I managed to get superior condition copies of both Annuals, so I'm now the proud owner of every Frankie Stein-titled publication from the '70s and '80s.  Of course, the definitive version of Frankie was by KEN REID back in the '60s, but the character enjoyed even greater popularity under the hand of ROBERT NIXON in the '70s, perhaps the only artist who could do any kind of visual justice to Frankie in Ken's wake (as testified to by his cover of the 1976 SHIVER & SHAKE Annual).  Interestingly, I think it was Nixon who took up the reins on Reid's RODGER The DODGER strip when he left DCT to go to ODHAMS in the '60s, so there was already a precedent for Bob stepping into Ken's shoes.

Another milestone (for me) was when I finally managed to track down LEO BAXENDALE's third WILLY The KID book a few years back, over 30 years after buying the first two back in 1976 and '77.  Again, started in this house, completed in this house.  Then there are the missing issues from my collection of X-MEN and FANTASTIC FOUR Pocket Books from the early '80s, which were lacking two numbers and four numbers respectively.  I managed to obtain them around a year or so ago, so that was another sense of accomplishment for me.  Anyway, there are loads of comics and books that fall under this label, so I won't labour the point.  Of course, it's good to fill a gap in a run regardless of where you live, but it gives an added thrill of accomplishment when you do it decades later in the same house where you started (especially if there was a break in tenancy), don't you think?  It somehow makes the past seem less distant - for a short while at least, but I'll take what's going.

What's the longest period of time it's taken you to complete a comics collection, Criv-ites?  Do tell!    

Friday, 19 October 2018

BABE OF THE DAY - LAUREN HOLLY...



The lovely LAUREN HOLLY is our Babe today, fellas.  I always like to see a bit of 'holly' at Christmas, so who knows - maybe she'll chap my front door on December 25th?  That'd be a nice present.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

HEROES OR HALFWITS? YOU DECIDE...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

SUSAN STORM, alias The INVISIBLE GIRL!  Beautiful blonde bombshell and fabulous fiancee of REED RICHARDS, the modestly self-proclaimed Mister FANTASTIC!  Look at the above scene and consider it for a moment.  Why does she turn invisible instead of just explaining to her friend that she's suddenly remembered an urgent appointment?  Why push her way through passing pedestrians instead of walking around them?  Why not turn visible before entering the cab, and then ask the driver to take her to her destination instead of trusting to blind chance?  Why am I asking so many questions?  Because there's something about the opening scenes in FF #1 that just doesn't make much sense.

BEN GRIMM, aka The THING!  Mighty muscled monster and sometimes mutinous member of the fabulous FANTASTIC FOUR!  There he is in a gents' outfitters, wearing a trench-coat that, going by the loose folds in the fabric, doesn't look constrictive.  Then, when the FF flare appears, he takes off his outer clothes, claiming they're too tight, and demolishes the doorway on his way out.  "Why must they build doorways so narrow?" he complains.  But hang on - he obviously must have managed to pass through the doorway without much difficulty on his way in to the shop, so why should it suddenly present any kind of a problem on the way out?


And another thing - why remove his outer garments and thereby draw attention to himself?  Why not just exit the shop as he entered, then unobtrusively make his way to the FF's headquarters without panicking the populace and drawing fire from the police, as well as wrecking a manhole cover and a car?  Doesn't really make any sense when you think about it, does it?  (Also, if clothes his size are so hard to come by, why leave them in the shop?  And why didn't he just go to wherever he got those clothes as, despite his assertion, they clearly fit him?)

JOHNNY STORM, also called The HUMAN TORCH, teenage brother of Susan Storm, is another idiot.  He 'flames on' while still inside a car he's working on, melting it to slag (and risking igniting the petrol tank), instead of exiting the vehicle before making with the hero bit.  I bet he's really popular with his pals after that, the little show-off.  These elements aren't in STAN LEE's two-page synopsis of the tale, so JACK KIRBY must shoulder the blame for these honking howlers.  Sure, they're dramatic in their presentation and intended to bestow a sense of excitement to proceedings (as well as being a handy way of introducing the powerful protagonists), but it makes the threesome seem like a trio of brain-dead dunderheids who are as much a threat to life-and-limb as the vile villains they oppose.


And as for their leader, he's just as bad.  Allegedly the greatest brain on Earth, he flies a rocket into space knowing that its shielding is insufficient to protect them from cosmic rays.  And he takes along his fiancee and her kid brother, who'd be about as useful as a fart in a spacesuit when it comes to piloting their ship.  Talk about irresponsible?

However, what do you think readers?  Should we be prepared to sacrifice common sense in favour of dynamic drama and awesome action in a comic strip, or are we entitled to expect our heroes to behave in a more responsible manner instead of going off half-cocked whenever humanity requires their super-powered services?  If Ben Grimm was visiting me for a cuppa char, I wouldn't want him demolishing my house when leaving if he were suddenly called upon to battle the dastardly DOCTOR DOOM!  And if I were making love to Sue Storm, I wouldn't want her turning invisible as that would remind me too much of my usual 'love life'.  (Oo-er, I didn't just admit to that in public, did I?  Er, I was talking about a friend, not me.) 

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the matter, readers?  Feel free to contribute to our comments section.
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