Thursday, 30 May 2019

(BOND) BABE OF THE DAY - MADELINE SMITH...



Curvaceous cutie MADELINE SMITH has eyes to die for.  And the rest of her ain't too shabby either.  I guess it must be cold where she is, because there's a hint of a nip in the air.  (Oh I am awful - but I like me.)

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

MIGHTY MARVEL CHECKLIST - ON SALE MAY 30TH...


ESSENTIAL X-MEN #15

Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

100-page special!

The X-Men go searching for an old friend – but they might not like what they find! Don't miss a shocking new saga: ‘Phoenix Resurrection’!  By Matthew Rosen-berg & Leinil Francis Yu!

Featuring material first published in Astonishing X-Men #10-12 and Phoenix Resurrection #1-2.

On sale 30th May.

£4.99.

 ******

 DEADPOOL UNLEASHED #1


100-page special!

A new volume begins!  A terrifying alien menace appears, and the Avengers are helpless to defeat it!  Earth's only hope is... Deadpool?!  By Scottie Young & Nic Klein!

Also!  Have you ever wanted to be Deadpool?  Now's your chance in a wild new inter-active game: ‘You Are Deadpool’!  By Al Ewing & Salva Espin!

Featuring material first published in Deadpool #1-3 and You Are Deapool #1.

On sale 30th May.

£4.99.

 ******

MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL #16


Three awesome stories from the Marvel Universe!

Captain Marvel discovers her true heritage when her mother's secret is exposed! By Margaret Stohl & Carlos Pacheco!

Warlock confronts Kang, and learns of a dark threat to the universe!  By Gerry Duggan & Michael Alred!

Viv Vision faces the Champions' judgment, and makes a shocking decision!  By Mark Waid & Humberto Ramos!

Featuring material first published in Life of Captain Marvel #4, Champions #18 and Infinity Countdown: Warlock #1.

On sale 30th May.

£4.99.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

CHANCER, CROOK, CON-MAN, OR FOOL... WHAT SAY YE ALL...?


SUPERMAN copyright DC COMICS

What is it about ebay that attracts chancers, crooks, and con-men?  (Or maybe just idiots.)  Take a look at the above comic by a seller called mrskear.  Hardly pristine, is it?  Yet he or she was asking £50 for it the other day.  No, I didn't mistype.  Picked yourself up off the floor yet?  The original US comic that this UK issue is reprinted from isn't even worth anywhere near that.  (MAN Of STEEL #1, currently selling on ebay for as little as £3.21.)

I messaged the seller to say so in an attempt to be helpful, in case they were simply uninformed and just assumed that any SUPERMAN comic with #1 on it must be worth a bundle.  I thought they'd appreciate knowing that they were risking their credibility by asking a price like that.   They didn't respond to my message, but upped their price to £70 - and removed the option to message them.  That's right - £70 for a tatty, creased, and worn comic.

Someone else is currently selling a better condition copy for £14.99, so I can only assume that the first seller is simply chancing their arm in the hope that someone is stupid enough to pay that kind of crazy price.  What a cheeky chancer, eh?  And ebay has far too many sellers like this.  Sure, no one is being forced to buy it, but this mercenary impertinence offends me.  How about you?

******

Oops!  I originally typed that the seller's original asking price was £55, but having just checked, I see it was actually £50.  I've therefore amended it above.  However, that means it jumped up £20, not £15.  Perhaps the seller interpreted my message as revealing an interest, eh?  However, I've already got two copies of this comic, purchased back in 1988.

PERPETUATING THE PAST...



When you have a blog, you need things to write about, and such a requirement sometimes leads to writing things about yourself that you otherwise wouldn't reveal to other people.  That's what I'm about to do now, but fear not, it's not something I could ever be blackmailed over.  (Besides, I bought and burned the negatives of that little escapade with the hamster, so I should be safe - unless duplicates exist.)

No, I'm going to let you into a little secret about an odd compulsion I have.  You see, when I re-acquire an item I had in childhood, I often feel compelled to 'reconnect' it to the area where I lived at the time.  For example, when I revisited a former house of mine 19 years after flitting, I took along various replacements of items I'd originally owned when I lived there.


On that occasion I was accompanied by a Corgi Batmobile and Aston Martin DB5, the glow-in-the-dark head from the Aurora Frankenstein model kit, the owl from the Aurora Batman model kit, a Marx Dalek, Fantastic #1, Terrific #1, and a couple of books.  They were ensconced in my original black leather schoolbag, purchased while living in that very house around 1970 or '71.  What's more, it was on that very day (in 1991) that I recovered my Tonibell Miniball from the attic, where I'd inadvertently left it all those years before.

I did the same thing when I obtained a replacement for my Tomy wind-up Robot several years back.  On that occasion, I didn't have access to my former abode, but I walked across a stretch of grass (with robot in pocket) where a pal of mine had found the front half of the same type of robot, and which is where I first became aware that the toy existed.  (It wouldn't have been too long after that I bought the first of my two or three robots of the same make, but not all at the same time.)


More recently, I took a walk along to that same neighbourhood with my Kellogg's Thunderbirds 2 & 4 toys, the originals of which I owned in the '60s.  Just having them in the same place where I played with their twins as a lad holds an odd significance for me and it's difficult to resist indulging myself.  It's like revisiting the past in a way that's almost tangible, and there's quite a number of items I've taken with me on such sojourns over the years, something which I'll probably continue doing for some time to come.

The photo that kicks of this post was taken around 31 years ago, and most of the trees you see in the middle of the picture survive only as stumps these days.  (As I saw on my recent visit.)  On the right (from our point of view), there's a tree that grows into a sort of 'Y' shape, and where it separates, there was a little flat circular area which some mud had settled into.  Back in the 60s, when playing with my Marx Twistable Batman, I stood him on that area and imprinted the soles and heels of his boots into the surface.


You're way ahead of me, aren't you?  Yes, when I obtained a replacement for that Batman figure back around the early or mid-'90s, I took it along to my old neighbourhood and stood it in the very same spot - just to reconnect to that moment all those years before, and to 're-establish' the connection in my mind between Batman and that tree.  So the tree is now gone, but the Batman figure in my collection once occupied the same spot as his predecessor, thereby perpetuating that moment from long-ago beyond its own time.

Anyway, I could give you example after example, but I doubt that you need any more convincing that I'm utterly bonkers.  In a sweet and loveable, harmless way of course.  Anyone else ever done this who isn't embarrassed to admit it?  Then it's therapy session time - reveal all in our comments section.  You'll feel better for it, honestly.  Oops, gotta go - here comes the nurse with my medication.

Monday, 27 May 2019

THE DANDY SUMMER SPECIAL...


Copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

Maybe I'm out of touch, but it seems to me that seven quid (okay, £6.99) for a comic magazine is a bit steep.  The adult part of me doesn't think that, but the child-like part does.  Yet I suppose that, with comics not selling as many as they used to in days of yore, the dwindling readership has to pay a higher price to keep their favourite titles going.  Which brings us nicely to this year's The DANDY Summer Special (which is listed as Dandy Yearbook on the receipt).

Actually, it's a little belter, with loads of reprints of earlier strips, from 1964 right up until 2004, though it's the older material which makes this publication worth the having.  I took a quick look at The BEANO Summer Fun & Activity Special (or whatever it's called), but I was less impressed with that, as I regard the 'activity' pages as mere filler (so won't be buying it).

If you can only afford one Summer Special this year, I'd say that The Dandy is the one to go for, so get straight 'round to WH SMITH's now and plonk down your pennies.  (All 699 of them.)  Remember when Summer Specials cost only 2/6d ?  Oh, for those days again.  Hardly likely though, eh?


Sunday, 26 May 2019

THE TWO JIMS - REEVES & DEAN...



As I type this, I haven't even watched the above clip - it's JIM REEVES on the JIMMY DEAN show.  Jimmy Dean played WILLARD WHYTE in the JAMES BOND movie DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.  He's probably best known for that, as well as the song BIG BAD JOHN.  Jim Reeves, of course, is best known as the finest balladeer of the 20th century.  (Well, he is in my house.)  Okay, let's watch the clip together.

******

Having now watched it and refreshed my memory, I've shown the first part of this (Jim singing WELCOME TO MY WORLD) on the blog before, but not the complete clip.  Still, what a voice though, eh?

BABE OF THE DAY - LYNDA CARTER...



Sizzlin' stunner LYNDA CARTER gazes off into the distance, scanning the horizon in anticipation of my approach.  Yes, even the wondrous WONDER WOMAN is in thrall to my manly-man machismo - and who can blame her?

Saturday, 25 May 2019

YOU'LL NEVER TOP THIS...



It's 1963 - perhaps.  Around about then anyway.  Maybe it was '62 or nudging into '64, but let's say '63 just to keep things simple.  My family (consisting of mater and pater, sibling and myself) were en route to my maternal grandparents' house in Hamilton Road in Rutherglen.  We visited them every Sunday right up until I left school and started working, whereupon it was decided that my obligations as a grandchild had been fulfilled and I was freed from this weekly chore (as it seemed at the time).  In '65, my grandparents (who I later referred to as Grunt and Grumpy - yes, I was a charmer, wasn't I?) had moved to my home town, but until then, whenever we visited them in Rutherglen, we passed through Gallowflat Street, stopping to look in the window of a now fondly-recalled shop named Johnny's, which always had a fascinating array of toys on display.

Just around the corner on the other side of the road was another little newsagent's, and one Sunday, my father bought my brother and me two old-fashioned wooden tops.  Why?  The shop was open (not many were on Sundays past one o'clock in those days) and they were inexpensive, and perhaps my father had owned a similar-type top in his youth and wanted us to experience the fun that came from such simple, non-battery operated pleasures.  We had these tops for years and I could never get them to work.  Each top came with a stick with a strip of square leather attached, which was wrapped around the top and then pulled quickly to propel the top into spinning motion.  Well, at least that's what was supposed to happen.  Interestingly (or perhaps not), I was in that same newsagent's (now under different owners) a few weeks ago, for only the second time in 54 years, the first visit back being around 17 years ago . 

Anyway, jumping ahead to the late '60s ('67 or '68) and the occasion of my birthday, I visited my local town centre and bought three things (from Woolworth's if I remember correctly) with my birthday money:  A Ping-Pong set, a Matchbox Volkswagon 1600 TL - and another two of those same tops we'd had more than half my life before.  In fact, I may still have had the first two tops, but you know what it's like when it's your birthday and you have money to spend - you spend it, and not always on things you need or even particularly want.  Say what you like, but there's a pleasure to be had in spending money merely for the sake of it, and that may be what I did on that day.  That second set of tops remained in my possession for many years right into adulthood, and when we flitted back to this house in 1987 (regular readers know the story), I was under the impression that I still had them (I know I did before returning), but I've never been able to find them.  Perhaps they're up in the loft (attic) in one of the many boxes somewhere, but if so, their precise location remains undiscovered.  (I live in hope.)

So, I recently purchased two replacement tops on ebay, just to be able to enjoy the warm familiarity of their presence and relive the memories associated with both sets of tops in my far-away childhood.  It's an indulgence I know, but one I find pleasure and comfort in, and you surely wouldn't grudge me such a thing in the latter stages of my sojourn on this spinning globe we all call home.  If only I'd been able to make these childhood tops spin in a similar fashion, I'd have been a happy lad, but the adult I now am will be satisfied just to gaze on their doppelgangers and remember the world of yesteryear, when I was just starting out on what is now an all-too rapidly diminishing journey.  (Hey, I think that 'spinning' analogy is a pretty good one, contrived or not.)

Is there such a toy from your childhood that you'd like to be reunited with (even if it's only a replacement) to better reconnect with those halcyon days?  Or have you already done so and derived great happiness from it?  If so, why not share the tale with your fellow Criv-ites in our hungry-for-input comments section?  Go on - spread the joy! 

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

THE DEFENDERS COVER & SPLASH PAGE GALLERY...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

In 1971, MARVEL FEATURE #1 was released, giving the world The Dynamic DEFENDERS.  I recently gave you a look at the new facsimile edition of the comic, but I thought I'd show you some more related stuff from my collection.  Below is the splash page (which you also saw in that earlier post) of the debut tale.  I've left out the splash pages of the two back-up strips as I displayed them in that same earlier post, but I included the cover again, above (which you'll already have noticed, natch). 


Next (below), the cover of the second ish, followed by the splash.  I believe I've got a '70s issue of The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL with the same cover, when the story was reprinted within its pages over three issues (maybe - not sure).  The main tale was 28 pages long, with a back-up tale called The HIDDEN WORLD, which was a reprint from SUB-MARINER COMICS #36 (1954).

The Hulk is too small compared to Namor on this cover, even making
allowances for him 'hunching' over.  Still a nice illustration though


Below we have #3, which was back to a standard 36 page comic, the previous two being 52 page (counting the covers) extravaganzas.  MARVEL had decided to give their mags more pages and content, but abandoned the plan after only two issues.  DC COMICS, who'd followed Marvel's example, didn't reduce their page count until several issues afterwards, and their sales had apparently dipped in the meantime.



Number three was The Defenders last appearance in the title, as they soon got their own comic a couple of months later.  Marvel Feature lasted 'til #12, starring ANT-MAN from issue 4-10, with The THING teaming up with The HULK and IRON MAN respectively for the final two issues.  Ol' BENJY then got his own series in a new title, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE, two months down the line.


The COMING Of The DEFENDERS (above), which came out in 2012, reprinted the first three issues of Marvel Feature, and is where the scans of them in this post come from.  I didn't know about it at the time, and it only came into my possession today.  Glad to see it sporting the original NEAL ADAMS cover art, this time coloured by MATT MILLA


In 2001, Marvel published DAY Of The DEFENDERS (above), which as well as the first Defenders tale (the splash of which I haven't repeated as it's shown near the top of this post), also featured two 'prototype' Defenders tales, which are purported to have given rise to the regular series.



And just to round things off, let's end with the cover to the facsimile edition, containing all three stories and all the ads from the 1971 comic.  It's a nice little (not so little actually) mag, which belongs in your collection if you're not fortunate enough to own the original.  Right, that's it, effendi - until I can come up with some other idea to bore the pants off you (figuratively speaking of course - unless your name is SALMA HAYEK).


Oh, go on then - below are the two versions side-by-side for an easier comparison.

RESTORING HAGAR THE HORRIBLE...


Copyright relevant owner

The strip above is one that had been on my bedroom wall for ever such a long time.  (Well-over 30 years.)  It was in colour, but had faded, rippled, tanned, and was quite mottled, necessitating a bit of restoration work.  Part of that process, after scanning, was to convert it into black and white by upping the contrast and 'washing' out the colour.  Unfortunately, the original colour scan doesn't survive for me to show you, only the b&w result.  It had a banner above the strip, saying 'The BEST Of HAGAR' - 'DIK BROWNE', but it was beyond rescue so I removed it. 


The next stage was to print out a new copy then re-ink it, and that's the result above.  Next, I coloured another print-out with acrylic inks and added a new title created on my computer.  After that, it was a simple matter to again scan and print out the restored strip on card (below), and put it back up on the space on the wall that the original had once occupied.  Don't know about you, but I think I did a pretty good job.  Feel entirely free to tell me how talented I am.  Go on - I can take it.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

THE BLACK DRAGON COVER GALLERY...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Was it really a staggering 34 years ago that I first read this then-new 6-part limited series from MARVEL COMICS, The BLACK DRAGON?  Yup, it sure was, but (and you'll no doubt be tired of reading me repeating this by now) it sure doesn't seem like it.  I don't really remember what it was all about, so I took a quick look through all 6 comics before scanning, and there are dragons, fairies, ROBIN HOOD, MORGAN LeFEY, and lots of top-notch drawings in it.  (Hey, if that doesn't make you want to read them, nothing will.)

I plan to reacquaint myself with their contents before too long, but even though I don't recall much of the plot, I've never forgotten the artwork, which made more of an impression on me than the story, obviously.  It's probably been issued in a collected edition at some point down through the years, so I'm going to keep my eyes open for one as I'd like a volume that I can dip into at any time, instead of having to rearrange the contents of my room in order to access the individual issues, which are tucked away in a drawer with loads of stuff in front of it.

Look at the cover of #3, which is my favourite, and for some reason reminds me of my early childhood.  That may be because the house in which I was living during the mid-'80s wasn't very far from the very first one my family had in this town after moving here from the West End of Glasgow in 1960.  From my '83-'87 bedroom window I could see the woods I'd played in as a kid, beyond which had once spread acres of fields and countryside, but which now sported an industrial estate.

However, I remembered it as it was, and the cover seemed to capture the place as I'd once known it.  No, knights hadn't fought there, nor had it sported marquees - but the grass, trees, clouds and sky looked as if they'd been plumbed from my youthful memories, and were therefore familiar to me.  And, 20-odd years later, an expanse of greenery yet lay within sight of my new bedroom window, which revived and reinforced my childhood recollections for the then-present day.  It's likely that first reading the ish on the same kind of sunny afternoon as depicted on the cover was also a contributory factor in my regard for it. 

However, enough of my nostalgic, self-indulgent sentiment, let's get to the pictures before you abandon me for some other blog.  Did you read this series back in the day?  Then let rip in the comments section about what you thought of it.  





Monday, 20 May 2019

RUMINATING REPOST: MAN IS A DOG'S WORST FRIEND...



Not long after our dog TARA died, a friend asked me to look after his four-legged friend for a while, so I did.  Two weeks after my doggie-sitting term had ended, I bought a puppy, ZARA, who was the final dog out of three that my family had over a nearly 26 year period.  Let me tell you something - people who don't like dogs - or any animals in fact - and are untouched by an animal's death, are unnatural.  There's something missing in them and they're very probably latent serial killers.

But that's another subject.  When Zara was a few months old and still in the process of getting her jags, I was sitting in the vet's one evening and a dog could be heard whining behind a door.  The vet came out to speak to me, and I caught a glimpse of a black dog which must've been tethered to a table leg or something.  As I was speaking with the vet, the whining increased and the dog started scratching at the door and yelping.  I asked what was wrong with it and the vet replied "It's getting put to sleep."

Anyway, after my business was completed, I made my way home feeling a little sorry for the dog, but too delighted with my own pup to dwell on it.  A few years later, I ran into a friend, who mentioned that he'd been given the very canine that I'd once looked after, because its owner couldn't keep it any more.  "What happened to it?" I enquired of him.  "I had to get it put down because..."  I forget the reasons why, but I asked him where he'd taken the poor dog, and, sure enough, it was the very vet's where I'd taken Zara for her course of injections.

I checked the timeline with him and it matched.  It was then I realized that the poor creature had been the dog behind the door, and must have recognized my scent or my voice - hence its frantic scratching, whining and yelping in an attempt to be rescued from what it must have sensed was its final fate.  And I had failed it, and it had gone to its end unloved and unwanted.

Looking back now, I'm not sure what I could have done, if anything, but it still bothers me every now and again to this day.  I'd only looked after it for a fortnight or so, and it wasn't as if it was 'my' dog, but that poor creature must've hoped I'd rescue it and I let it down, unaware of its identity though I'd been.  Humans are often pretty useless when it counts, and I was found amongst that particular number on that sad and pitiful day.  Alas, I no longer even recall the doomed dog's name.

Regrets?  I've had a few... and this was one of them.

BABE OF THE DAY - DORIS DAY...



As you all know by now, DORIS DAY passed away a few days ago.  In tribute to her, here's a song that I associate more with The MAMAS & The PAPAS, but Doris does a pretty good version as well.  She sure was some chanter.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

BABE OF THE DAY - BLACK BAG BETTIE...



Don't know this honey's real name, but her 'swimwear' is made from black plastic bags, hence my alliterative appellation.  Saw this pic on the Internet and thought it would be selfish not to share it with my fellow Criv-ites.  Aren't you glad I'm so generous?

Saturday, 18 May 2019

LOOKING FOR THRILLS? THEN YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE...



Never was a fan of MICHAEL JACKSON (never will be now given the recent revelations), but I did like THRILLER.  That was primarily because of VINCENT PRICE's vocal contribution and the zombies dancing around.  However, what if this song had been recorded back in the 1930s?  Here, recently spotted on MARK EVANIER's blog, is a great version by WAYNE BRADY.  Watch it here right now, then watch it again over on ME's blog (click on his name above), just to thank him for bringing it to our attention. 

ARE YOU A MOANER OR A COMPLAINER?



A guy I used to know once said to me "The trouble with the British is that we're moaners, not complainers!"  Could be he was right, could be he was wrong, but I found it ironic that he fell under that description himself.  We used to 'do lunch' regularly, and he'd sometimes say "These beans are cold" or "They've given me a buttered roll and I asked for a plain one", but when I suggested that he mention it to staff, he wouldn't - but would still leave a tip (when it was his turn to pay), even though he was dissatisfied with the food and/or the service.

I mentioned to him a couple of times that he was just as bad at moaning and not complaining as anyone, but he'd say "There's no point making a fuss, I'll just not go back there."  I replied that there was no need to make a fuss, but that it was entirely possible to politely say that something wasn't quite right in a way that wasn't likely to offend anyone.  Y'know, like "Excuse me, I hope you won't mind me mentioning it, but the beans are a bit cold."  What's wrong with that?  But no, he much preferred to stew in his own juice and not say anything.

It occurs to me that, his way, the staff were deprived of the opportunity to put things right and - more importantly - to learn from their mistake and avoid repeating it in the future with other patrons.  People will never know they're doing something wrong unless they're alerted to the fact and given the chance to fix it (and thereby improve), but this obvious truth was either beyond his comprehension or he was just another moaner of the kind he liked to moan about (or both).  Funny that he couldn't see that truth for himself.  People, eh?

Anyway, with that in mind, how would you describe yourself?  Are you a moaner or a complainer - and do you have any true-life examples with which to regale us by way of illustrating your point?  Go on, give it a try!  You wouldn't want me to moan about lack of comments, now would you?

DOGGIE OF THE DAY - ZARA...



And it was a long-ago day at that, as this photo was taken in 1986.  ZARA has been gone nearly 21 years now, but I still wake up some days and wonder where she is, before remembering that her current home is in the great big Kennel Club in the sky.  Still, cute-looking puppy, eh?

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

MIGHTY MARVEL CHECKLIST - ON SALE 16TH MAY...


AVENGERS UNIVERSE #19

Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

76 pages of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

The epic ‘No Surrender’ saga comes to an epic conclusion as the Avengers take on the Challenger!  By Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub and Pepe Larraz!

Also: a three-page preview of the next volume of AU, starting next month!

Featuring material first published in Avengers #688-690.

On sale 16th May.

£4.99.

 ******

WOLVERINE & DEADPOOL #18


76 pages of Marvel’s Toughest heroes!  Three awesome adventures!

Wolverine and Captain Marvel lead an attack on Latveria – but Doctor Doom is ready for them!  By Tom Taylor and Ramon Rosanas!

Old Man Logan faces a lethal showdown with Kraven the Hunter!  By Ed Brisson and Francesco Manna!

Deadpool and the brutal Tombstone go head-to-head in the kick-ass conclusion of ‘Suicide Kings’!  By Mike Benson and Carlo Barberi!

Also:  a three-page preview of the next volume of W&D, starting next month!

Featuring material first published in All-New Wolverine #35, Old Man Logan #42 and Deadpool: Suicide Kings #5.

On sale 16th May.

£4.99.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

MISS ANNE NEILSON - R.I.P.



Just found out tonight that one of my old English teachers (Miss Anne Neilson) from secondary school passed away on the 2nd of this month.  Born 5. 7. 1944, she'd have been 75 this July, which means that when I started secondary as a callow 11 year old, she'd not long turned 26.  Funny how, when we're young, anyone over the age of 20 seems much older, especially when they're in a position of authority.

I never knew her well, and I doubt she'd have remembered me within five minutes of my having left school at the conclusion of my academic 'career', but somehow I find myself (selfishly) saddened by the fact that another 'part' of my youth has now gone forever.  I think I saw her again no more than a couple of times after leaving, shopping in my local town centre, but it was from a distance and no greetings were exchanged.  And I recall attending a summer fayre (jumble sale) in the school hall around 1976 or '77, and no doubt she'd have been there as well.

She was a folk singer as well as a teacher, so here's a YouTube clip of her performing.  Anyway, here's to Miss Neilson - may she rest in peace and be fondly remembered by family, friends, and former pupils.

OH FOR A BIT OF PEACE AND QUIET...



Is it just me, I wonder?  Am I deluded in my memory of things being much quieter in my youth when it came to neighbours sitting out in their gardens enjoying the sun?  I seem to remember gentle murmurs of laughter and subdued ripples of convivial conversation, carried on balmy breezes across the garden hedges or fencing.  The faint clink of cups on saucers as families and friends indulged in tea and sandwiches, and lemonade for the kids who quietly played with their toys nearby.  Am I the only one who recalls it that way, or is it a false memory of something that never actually was?

Nowadays, it's all effin' and blindin', growlin' and roarin', shoutin' and swearin', singin' and screechin', and radios blaring away at full volume, while kids scream at the top of their voices as they run around unchecked, adding to the cacophony.  It's no longer tea and lemonade, but rather beer, wines and spirits being quaffed, which perhaps accounts for another element, absent in my day, of a strong sense of barely-suppressed aggression which seems to permeate proceedings, threatening to burst forth at any moment and spoil the fun.

And when I say 'fun', I'm talking about what the participants in these melees presumably derive from such raucous occasions, because it's certainly no fun for anyone wanting to simply sit contendedly in their gardens and relax in the warmth of the sun, listening to birds chirping, bees buzzing, or gazing at aeroplanes flying overhead in the distance.  Gardens were once considered places of peace and quiet, an oasis, where families could laze in deckchairs and forget their troubles and woes for a brief-but-ever-so-welcome spell.  When I hear the noise that emanates from some nearby gardens nowadays, it sounds more like war-torn Beruit, or a fight at an Old Firm football match.  (I'll let you decide for yourselves which is the worse option.)

My nerves are frazzled within no time when I'm out in either of my gardens, and that's only to fill the bird-feeders and water dishes, or to deposit household waste in any of the four bins.  (Oh for the days of one single refuse receptacle.)  The noise isn't only audible outside though, as I can also hear it from indoors.  Am I alone in my feelings about this, or is there anybody else out there who feels the same?  Or have I simply metamorphosed into an intolerant old fart like Victor Meldrew now that I'm of a certain age, and am out of step with everyone else?

Feel free to express yourselves (whatever your opinion) in our ever-lovin' (and far too often neglected) comments section.    

Monday, 13 May 2019

MARVEL FEATURE #1 FACSIMILE EDITION - THE DEFENDERS...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Ever coveted MARVEL FEATURE #1, the debut issue of The DEFENDERS, but were unable (or unwilling) to pay the hefty collectors' item prices for it?  Well, now you can buy yourself this handsome facsimile edition for a few paltry quid.  Still dragging your heels?  Here's a sneak peak inside just to show you what you're missing.  Now, straight 'round to your local comics shop with you, Criv-ites, and say it loud and proud - "Make Mine Marvel (Feature)!"



Sunday, 12 May 2019

BABE OF THE DAY - LYNDA CARTER...



I was just running around the back garden in my BUGS BUNNY gym shorts earlier, and LYNDA CARTER stood gaping at my mighty manly-man muscles.  "I've never seen a guy with a body like yours before," she said, clearly astounded at what she saw.  In fact, she was so astounded that she went home immediately, obviously needing to lie down and cool off after I set her pulse racing.  She must have fallen into a deep swoon, because I've been calling her all afternoon and she hasn't picked up the 'phone.  Guess she's enjoying herself too much in dreamland thinking of me (the lucky woman).

Saturday, 11 May 2019

BARRY PEARL MINI GUEST POST...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

When you think of superheroes, you automatically think of strong, powerful men and women.  Marvel has received a lot of publicity for creating a 'handicapped' superhero with Matt Murdoch/Daredevil, but in the 1960s there was more than just him.  Here is a list:

Daredevil:  Blind.
Iron Man:  Injured heart.  (He needed what today would be a pacemaker.)
Professor X:  Crippled, confined to a wheelchair.
Nick Fury:  Loss of one eye during the war.
Don Blake/Thor:  Lame, needed a cane to walk with.
Dr. Strange:  Loss of dexterity in both hands.

In the twelve superhero series of the '60s, half of them featured what can be regarded as disabled characters.  And then there were also those who were 'sort-of' handi-capped.

Hulk & Thing:  Physically altered.
Cyclops:  Needed to constantly wear protective eye-wear.
Henry Pym:  Stuck in giant-size for a while.

Back then, members had to get to Avengers Mansion early for meetings or all the handicapped parking spots would be taken.

Who was the handicapped hero you most related to back in the day - and why?
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