Tuesday 30 April 2019


Believe it or not, Crivs, this sultry babe
 LADS back in 1973/'74.  Wotta darlin'!

Monday 29 April 2019



Just received MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #s 7, 9, & 10 today and added them to my MTE post, which you can access by clicking here.  That's now the first twelve in a row, plus a few others.  The 1974 GIANT SUPERHERO HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG was an un-numbered one-shot, even though it was published between issues 3 & 4.  (And was called a 'Special' rather than an 'Edition'.)

Sunday 28 April 2019



A whopping 36 years ago, in the month of April, MARVEL UK released two new comics a week apart - The MIGHTY THOR and The ORIGINAL X-MEN.  The latter lasted for a mere 17 issues before being merged with the former, and the combined title lasted for only another 21 issues (if my arithmetic is up to scratch) before finally biting the dust.  It's a shame that there wasn't a third comic starring IRON MAN, because then they could've merged all three periodicals and re-created FANTASTIC, which had featured all three characters back in the 1960s.  There are complete cover galleries of Thor, X-Men, and Fantastic on the blog just waiting for a visit from you, so feel free to search them out, frantic ones.

Saturday 27 April 2019


Fear not, fellow Criv-ites, I'm not 'on the turn', but there's nothing wrong in having the occasional post devoted to macho manly-men who we can admire in a masculine, non-Julian Clary way.  So here's BING CROSBY, BOB HOPE and FRANK SINATRA about to play around (stop it) a round (of golf).  Not quite sure why Bing is wearing either his pajama jacket or a deck chair, but he still looks manly.  This photo is from a time when men were men and women knew their place.  What's that?  Sexist?  Me?  Not at all - I merely meant that their place was on the pedestals we men gladly put them, not down here in the gutter with us. 

Friday 26 April 2019


Buxom JERI RYAN looks a little crestfallen
after me explaining that I can't stay and make mad,
passionate love to her as I have to rush home and sort
out my stamp collection.  (A man's gotta get his priorities
in order.)  Her disappointment is understandable, given
my stunning, manly-man handsomeness, but she can
console herself with the thought that there's always
another time for her to look forward to.

Tuesday 23 April 2019


Copyright DC COMICS

DC COMICS have just released this great collected edition of all 15 issues of JACK KIRBY's run on SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN.  These stories were previously available in FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS editions, as well as two separate JO volumes published back in 2003 and 2004.  Unfortunately, some mistakes have still not been corrected, the first being a missing line (The Origin of the first Newsboy Legion!, plus the number and date) from the cover of #141, the second being Superman sporting a MIKE ROYER corrected face on the cover of #146, instead of the MURPHY ANDERSON one that graced the published issue.

Also, the inking of #145's cover was mistakenly credited to VINCE COLLETTA (instead of Murphy Anderson) in the 2004 book, and at first I thought they'd avoided the error this time around by not specifying which artists inked which covers, but I was wrong; they've simply moved the credits from the cover pages themselves to the contents pages, where the mistake remains.

However, your genial and well-loved, greatly admired and immensely respected host (that's me) has no hesitation in saying that these issues were the best thing Jack produced at DC in the sizzling '70s and undoubtedly deserve to adorn every serious collector's bookcase, so you should run out and purchase one right away.  Previous volumes in this series of softcovers have included intros from earlier editions, but this one breaks with tradition and MARK EVANIER's introductions to the two separate volumes are absent.  Also, the bonus pages featuring stats of Jack's pencils are different to the ones included in the 2004 book, but there are six compared to the former's three.

So why are you still here?  Get out and buy one!

(P.S. For some reason, my scanner isn't reproducing the front and rear covers' background colour properly.  That pinkish colour should be orange.)



Ditto (not Ditko)

Just to let you cultured Criv-ites know that I've now updated my MARVEL TREASURY EDITIONS post to include #s 5 & 6 - The INCREDIBLE HULK and Dr. STRANGE, respectively.  (They arrived today.)  Just click here to go there.  (Oops!  Link now operational.)


Copyright relevant owner

I freely admit to cheating a bit with this one.  Although I have four of the six books featured here, I couldn't be bothered digging them out to scan, so I've used screen-grabs of PAUL PERT's collection from my DVD boxed set of The SAINT.  Also, not all of these books are actually called 'Annuals', but that umbrella title will have to do for any pedants among you (of which I'm probably chief).  The first book, above, was only available in the Netherlands (I think) and was issued the same year (1967) as the British Annual below.  Considering that the ITC series starring ROGER MOORE first appeared on TV in 1962, publishers were a bit slow off the mark in cashing in on the character's popularity by way of books aimed at kids.

The Annual below was issued in 1968 (for '69) and is all text stories, with no picture strips.  Some nice illustrations and features though.

Next up, below, is the Annual for, believe it or not, 1970, issued towards the end of '69.  This book is mainly text stories, but does include a couple of picture strips.

The next book, below, is a bit of a cheat, because it's essentially an abridged (and therefore slimmer) volume of its predecessor (above), and consists entirely of reprints.  Issued in 1971 (for '72), the one thing it does have going for it is that the two picture strips are now in colour, and if you'd missed the previous Annual, you'd be unaware that this one was merely a 're-tread'.

The book below isn't really a Saint book, though he is mentioned inside.  Issued in 1966, it's a collection of true-life tales, with an introduction by Roger.  I assume the contributions attributed to him were actually written by Rog, because he's listed as one of the copyright holders.

Anyway, that's your whistle-stop tour through the Annuals and books dedicated to Roger Moore's Saint.  Did you have any of these six books at the time readers, and just what did you think of them?  Share your memories with the rest of us today. 

Monday 22 April 2019


Same suit as below, but with new arms

Strange as it may seem, I now have more Major MATT MASON accessories than I ever had as a kid.  Back then, I only had the basic figure 'paks' and whatever pieces of equipment were included with them.  At different times, I had Sgt. STORM, maybe DOUG DAVIS, and CALLISTO.  I didn't get a Matt Mason until around 1970 or '71, when I swapped a CORGI BEATLES YELLOW SUBMARINE and my Callisto with a pal for his Matt figure.  (I wuz robbed.)  My originals have long since been consigned to history, but I now have (and have had for some time) three Matts, three Callistos, and one each of Davis and Storm - plus all sorts of equipment I never had at the time.

Over a quarter of a century ago, I bought a figure and a bag of accessories from the late ROGER WILSON of WONDERLAND TOYS (I think it was called) via mail order (I saw an ad for the shop in EXCHANGE & MART) for a mere £70.  Included was an armless Moon Suit (though the other stuff was in good order), so not too long after, I bought an unopened Moon Suit blister pak from ANDY FOLEY of TV TOY ZONE for £25.  I carefully opened it and put it on display, but after around 20-odd years, the latex arms crumbled to powder when I was dusting it one day.

The replacement arms I made

Several months back, I made some temporary replacement arms so that I could continue to display the item, but I've now replaced those makeshift arms with ones which better resemble the originals.  They're not made of thin latex (and therefore don't mimic the pump-action of the 'real' ones), but are made of thicker rubber into which a piece of thick wire is inserted, allowing them to be posed in whatever position the owner prefers.  The reason I mention this is so that, if you have an armless Moon Suit which you wish to restore, the arms are available from eBay seller frenchboomer for a fairly reasonable price.

So, to reiterate, the replacement arms don't operate like the originals, but are extremely similar in appearance and just perfect for display purposes.  There's another seller who also makes replacement arms, but they don't look like the originals, which is why I plumped for the ones I bought.  Go on - take the first step to restoring your old Matt Mason Moon Suit today.  I bought two sets of arms, which now allows me, for the very first time, to display both Moon Suits together, though I haven't placed a figure inside the other one yet, hence no photo.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Straight over to eBay with you.     



This isn't the first comic from the 1980s to grace the 'Favourite Comics of the Past' feature, but it still feels kind of strange as the '80s yet seem recent to me, whereas I tend to think of the 'past' as the '60s and '70s.  Nevertheless, it's been 37 years since I first bought this mag, so it surely qualifies - and it's a great little read into the bargain.  I just re-read it again only half an hour ago, and it still stands up after all this time.  If you've got it in your collection, then dig it out and treat yourself to an atmospheric mystery, if not, get straight on to eBay and get yourself a copy of The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #228.

Writer JAN STRNAD later complained about the way in which his script was edited and some sections of dialogue moved around (in an issue of The COMICS JOURNAL I think), but I don't think readers will be in any way disappointed in the story despite the writer's objections.  Just paste your peepers on that splash page (below) - doesn't it look great?!  I wish we'd seen more tales in this vein, as Spidey fits right into moody murder mysteries of this type.

Once again, this is the actual issue I purchased in 1982, not a replacement, and it's practically in the exact same condition as the day I got it - which is more than can be said for me.  I first read it in the same room I just re-read it half an hour or so ago, which serves my sense of significance in a way I can't quite explain (but you know me - I'll try).  Although I no doubt also re-read this ish in the house I lived in for four years between my two periods of residence in my current abode, it's good to repeat the experience where it began, if you know what I mean.

No?  Doesn't matter a jot, just enjoy these two great images from a whole other century.  It would be nice if MARVEL did a facsimile edition of this issue, so here's hoping.

Sunday 21 April 2019



Around three Sundays ago, I took a plod along to one of my old neighbourhoods to wallow in nostalgia for days long past, and, as is my wont, sat on a bench near a burn (a Scots word for watercourse, from a large stream to a small river) in which wild fowl sometimes swim.  Not that you can see them from the bench, but you can usually hear them, and if you stand on the edge of the burn and look down into it, you'll be rewarded by the sight of them doing nothing much at all.

Back in the '70s (as related in a prior post or two), I used to visit my town's hospital shop in search of ALAN CLASS titles, as it seemed to stock more of them than anywhere else, and on the way home, I would stop at the same bench to browse through my comic acquisitions and familiarize myself with their contents. Consequently, there are some covers that I automatically associate with that bench, burn and view, and the connection is unbreakable.

The actual bench.  Enlarged section from a far more panoramic photo

Three Sundays ago, however, something had changed.  The bench, which as far as I'm aware was the same one that had occupied the spot since the 1960s, was gone, and in its place was a brand-spanking new bench, but of a completely different type.  The old one had a metal frame on which sat two wooden boards, with another single wooden board at the back to support the sitter.  This allowed me to swing my legs around and sit facing the other way, leaning on the back-board like a railing.  That way, I could look along the street in which I'd lived from '65-'72.

The new bench was an all wooden garden-type bench, which unlike its predecessor, had armrests on either side, allowing the sitter a better 'lounge' while watching the world go by (unless he's sitting between two other sitters), but you can only sit facing front (so STAN LEE would've loved it), not the other way should the notion take you.  However, I couldn't help but feel saddened by the sudden absence of a familiar item from my youth, and I fear that sitting there from now on will no longer be the same sentimentally-satisfying experience it once was.

The old bench was in good order the last time I saw it a couple or so months back, so unless it was subject to a severe act of vandalism in the interim, it didn't really need replaced.  I've got photos of the area which are sure to include the bench, and I'll add one to this post when I find them (now done).  In the meantime, I've included a trio of Alan Class comics covers which conjure up memories of the '70s as I sat on the original bench poring through my then-new acquisitions.

Incidentally, within months of buying these comics, I gave them to a friend, who returned most of them to me a little over 30 years later, so two of these are the actual comics I had with me at the time, not later replacements - with the exception of SECRETS Of The UNKNOWN #158.

Are there any places that you associate with certain comics (and vice versa obviously)?  If so, feel free to wax lyrically about them in the comments section, considerately supplied exclusively for your convenience.

Update: A few months later, I was sitting on the new bench and a passing dog-walker told me what had happened to the original.  Apparently, a group of local neds uprooted it, still attached to the paving slabs it was bolted to, and heaved it into the burn, damaging it beyond repair.  When I was a teenager, if I was bored, I'd build a model kit or something.  How unlike the youth of today, who'd rather destroy things it seems.  B@st@rds!

Saturday 20 April 2019



The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252 - purchased (much to my apt amazement) a staggering 35 years ago.  It just doesn't feel like it, seeming more like only a few weeks back rather than the inordinate length of time it actually is.  That was more than half my life away, and I have immense difficulty getting my head around the fact that I've got to where I am now without being fully aware of the duration of the journey.

Anyway, today I received the new facsimile edition of the exact same issue, which pressed the reset button for me and returned me to an earlier time in a different house in another neighbourhood.  I might not have a functioning TARDIS, but if I ever want to go back in time, I find that certain comics serve the very same purpose.

However, enough of my self-indulgent silliness.  As you'll know, the cover is a nod to Spidey's first appearance in AMAZING FANTASY #15, and it was probably the collectors' item of the moment back in 1984.  (Or would that have been SECRET WARS?  Really?  Never thought it was that great to be honest.)

Anyway, the original is above, the facsimile below, followed by both issues together so that you can have seconds of fun trying to spot the differences.  Forget the colour, as that's more likely to be down to different printing techniques and paper than variations in the colour palette utilised in their production.

So what was your opinion of the Web-Spinner's new black costume all those years ago?  Like it, loathe it, or didn't care one way or the other?

The difference in issue number boxes is down to the fact that the 1st
is a direct edition copy and the 2nd is a (facsimile) newsstand copy

Friday 19 April 2019


Copyright REBELLION.  Note that RAY's specs have no bridge or temples

So much for The COR!! BUSTER Humour Special being on sale in WHS from the 17th - my local shop hadn't got their nine copies in when I checked yesterday (yes, I asked), so I had to wait until today to get my grubby mitts on the two issues I wanted.  Was it worth the wait?  I really hate reviewing comics, 'cos I'm always going to p*ss someone off if I don't give their work a glowing review, but someone has to give an honest opinion, as opposed to the fawning flattery that some bloggers are prone to.

REBELLION must be given credit for trying to revive these great British humour characters from yesteryear, but I'm not quite sure exactly what readership this publication is aimed at.  Is it for those who have fond memories of growing up with the characters, or is it for a completely new young audience?  If the former, then I'm not convinced they've been 100% successful.  The strength of strips like FRANKIE STEIN, FACEACHE, and KID KONG was the style of the artists who originally drew them, artists such as KEN REID and ROBERT NIXON, not forgetting LEO BAXENDALE.  Not that there's much danger of that last bit, as the masterful TOM PATERSON does a bang-up job of capturing Bax's manic madness and mayhem without (in GRIMLY FEENDISH's case) being an outright imitation.

If it's the latter group, then some of the characters bear such little resemblance to their original incarnations that it makes me wonder if it's even worth reviving old characters when entirely new ones would probably serve just as well.  Kid Kong is no longer rendered in the cute and loveable way he used to be, and Frankie Stein has none of the magic of either the Reid or Nixon versions.  In fact, I'm compelled to ask - was the new Frankie artist even allowed to see any of the old strips?  PROFESSOR CUBE's manufactured 'offspring' bears no resemblance to the character that we of a certain age know and love, being more of a generic cartoon Frankenstein Monster knock-off.  (However, it's nice to see MICKY back, though his name is spelt Mickey on the first page before reverting to its original spelling on the third.)

The SWEENY TODDLER and Grimly Feendish strips are the standout pages in the comic, and Rebellion should take note that they look much like they used to in happy days of yore, which is surely a strong indication of the way to go in any future Specials.  Regarding the title, I'd have gone with The BUSTER & COR!! Humour Special, seeing as that was the order of billing in the '70s.  If they're trying to appeal to 'nostalgists' like me, capturing the mood and the magic of yesteryear is what they should be aiming for, and using an original '70s title would have covered that.  If not, why not just call it something else entirely?

One or two of the artists need to brush up (pun intended) on their layouts, as they're not leaving adequate space in the panels for lettering, resulting in some speech balloons being a bit 'all over the place', instead of in an easy-to-read sequence. (Though in some instances it's the fault of the letterer.)  Also, the X-RAY SPECS artist, while doing a decent job, needs to pay more attention to his proportions and composition, as there's a couple of panels where RAY looks to be around six feet tall.

And yet, despite those observations, it's good to see the comic in the shops and I wish it well.  If it does take off, I hope the publishers decide to go back to the established, traditional look of the characters, rather than the updated visual appearance that most of them now sport.  Overall, they've done a good job though, and should you decide you'd like one, my local WHS has seven copies left, and they're only £4.99 each (for 52 full-colour pages).  Other branches are likely to have even more, but be sure to buy one before they get nicked.


Checked out WHS today (20th) and there are still the same seven copies lying untouched, which is a little disappointing.  They're on the very top shelf of a stand devoted to kids mags, but the top shelf is only around shoulder-high to me, so it's not as if they're invisible.  I'll be keeping my eye on them to see if they sell.


Was in again yesterday (24th) and all seven copies yet remain.  That means I'm the only person in my home town so far who's bought an issue (two issues actually).  The cover has an off-sale date of June, so if it hasn't sold any more copies by then, things don't look good for future issues if my WHS is indicative of others across the UK.  I moved three of them down to a lower shelf, so the mag now occupies two spots - let's hope that improves its chances of selling.


Five days later (29th) and not a single copy of the seven remaining issues has yet sold.  Not looking good for the future at this rate.


Almost a week later (May 6th) and no copies to be seen, but that's not necessarily a good omen.  All the comics have been rearranged since I was last in, so they may already have been taken off sale (even though June is the publisher's date for removal), or possibly they've been nicked. I'll have a more thorough search tomorrow and see if I can find them, but I've been in a couple of times since the 29th and there were still seven copies, so their sudden absence is puzzling.  Stay tuned.


Found out today (May 17th) that the guy who runs the magazine side of things in my local WHS had taken the remaining seven issues off the shelves and dumped them in the back of the shop, thereby depriving customers of the opportunity to buy a copy. Although I first noticed them missing on the 6th, chances are they were pulled a few days before this - remember, last time I saw them on sale was just after April 29th. Shocking that Rebellion pays for shelf space that it isn't actually getting.  This is the same guy who sometimes doesn't put some PANINI mags out, saying that he keeps them in the back because they get stolen.  No chance of them selling when they're not even put out on display, is there?  Words fail me.


May 20th and there's only five copies left, so hopefully the absent two have been sold and not nicked.  Or is the guy in charge of the magazine section, having been told off by the manageress for taking them off sale, sneaking them off the shelves and hiding them in the back of the shop (until they get sent back in June) as an act of revenge?  Let's hope not.


On May 28th there were only three copies left, which was the same situation on June 1st.  At least that's two thirds of them sold, which wouldn't have been the case had I not intervened.  Let's hope the remaining three sell before June the 12th, when they're due to be taken off-sale.


I've just updated my post about DC COMICS Limited Collectors' Editions by adding the SUPERMAN Vs. MUHAMMAD ALI Special from 1978.  Wanna take a look?  Then click here.

Thursday 18 April 2019


Back in the mid-'80s, I used to visit London once (sometimes twice) a week for around two years, for the purpose of collecting (and delivering) freelance work I was then doing for IPC Magazines, based at the time in King's Reach Tower in Stamford Street.  I had a desk on the 26th floor, behind one used by art assistant KEVIN BRIGHTON, and sometimes one of his pals who worked in the building would pop up to see him.

His pal was DEREK PIERSON, who I've just this moment learned died back in 2016, and though I didn't know Derek well, I'm still saddened by the news.  Kev, Del (as Kevin called him), and myself sometimes lunched in the IPC canteen, wherein the above photo (taken by myself) was snapped circa 1986.  It's not a great photo, but I have a better quality copy of it somewhere, and I'll add it to this post when I find it.

Derek (among many other things) was a 'resize' artist, who used to resize the MARVEL reprints in the Odhams POWER COMICS back in the '60s, something that Kevin also did with UK reprint strips in much later IPC publications, and I assume it was that shared background (in different decades) which formed the basis of their friendship.  Anyway, I just wanted to belatedly note Derek's passing, as my days down in London in the company of Kev and Del are still ones I think back fondly on.

Cheers, Derek.  (And if anyone can tell me what Kevin is up to these days, I'd appreciate it.)


Update: Sadly, I later learned Kevin died on September 8th 2021, after being ill for some time.

Wednesday 17 April 2019



Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

76 pages of Marvel's Toughest Heroes!  Three awesome stories!

The Wolverine of the future invades Latveria with the help of Honey Badger, Hawkeye and Captain Marvel!

Logan is stalked by the deadliest hunter alive:  Kraven!  By Ed Brisson and Francesco Manna!

Deadpool is targeted by the Punisher!  Can Spider-Man and Daredevil help him out?  By Mike Benson and Carlo Barberi!

Features material first printed in All-New Wolverine #34, Old Man Logan #41 and Deadpool:  Suicide Kings #4-5.

On sale 18th April.




76 pages of Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

The ‘No Surrender’ saga explodes as the Hulk is resurrected – and that’s NOT good news for the Avengers!  By Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub and Maco Medina!

Features material first printed in Avengers #685-688.

On sale 18th April.


Tuesday 16 April 2019


Images copyright their respective owners

They might not wear the name of TREASURY EDITIONS (aside from the fourth one), but they certainly bear the dimensions, so here's a batch of random images from the few big mags I have left in my collection.  (Actually, that's not quite true - I have a MARVEL PIN-UP mag in this over-sized format, but I can't remember exactly where I put it.  I'll add it to the Marvel TE post when I eventually find it.)

Anyway, to start off with, here's a mag that I got back in 1982, possibly early '83 - the famous 'KING' KIRBY PORTFOLIO.  You'll see the TWOMORROWS reissue of it at the foot of this post, so have fun trying to spot the differences.  Next up is STERANKO's two volume set of the HISTORY Of COMICS, but apparently he got it wrong in places.  If you check 20th CENTURY DANNY BOY (in my bloglist), you'll see that DANIEL BEST talks about Steranko claiming that SUPERMAN's costume was inspired by The PHANTOM's;  however, The Phantom didn't appear until 1936 and although Superman wasn't published until 1938, he was actually created in 1933.

Next we have IDW's The ROCKETEER mag, which is a very nice item to possess.  This collects his first adventure, but I don't know if there was a second volume with the wrap up.  Not that it matters too much, as I have the original issues, plus a hardback deluxe edition of all the DAVE STEVENS-drawn episodes.

Then, as previously mentioned, the TwoMorrows new edition of JACK 'KING' KIRBY's 1970s mag.  I remember seeing the original advertised in the comics of the time and wondering what it would be like, but it took around ten years for me to find out.  The TwoMorrows version is expanded and printed on superior paper, so if you don't have it in your collection, you should have.  Straight on to eBay with you - after you share your reminiscences in the comments section of any or all of these great publications. 

Got a favourite?  Tell the world, effendi! 

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