Friday, 29 November 2019

ODDBALL OATES...


Copyright relevant owner

I may previously have heard the name of ODDBALL OATES from commenters on the blog, but I don't remember ever seeing it prior to recently acquiring the first combined issue of LION & EAGLE in which the strip first appeared.  Semi-regular reader McScotty will be pleased, because I believe it's one his favourite strips from his youth. Disappointingly, my copy of the comic had four missing pages (don't worry, I got a full refund), so if you have this issue and can help me out with scans of them, then let me know in the comments section.

TWO SHORT AT THE TABLE...



I received a text message from a pal almost a week ago, telling me that someone we both knew had died.  He'd had cancer, but at only 58 he was taken far too soon.  He was one of a group who used to hang around with me on occasion, either all together or in smaller divisions.  There were six of them altogether, and one of me, so I suppose, had I been clever enough to think of it at the time, I would probably have considered us my town's equivalent of The Magnificent Seven.

There was me, Stuart, Alex (or Alec), Dougie, Tony, Laurie, and Ricky (aka 'Britt'), and I was odd man out I suppose, in that they all knew one another (four of them being two sets of brothers, so it wasn't hard) before I arrived on the scene.  In a previous post, I recounted the story of how I acquired the nickname of 'Kid' in my teenage years (which you can read by clicking here), and three, perhaps four of the lads alluded to in that post were from the above-mentioned group.

Because I was a year or two older than the others, they tended to regard me as the 'leader', which wasn't a position I aspired to, but it usually just naturally falls on the shoulders of 'the elder of the tribe', doesn't it?  Nowadays they'd probably laugh at the very idea of such a thing, perhaps even deny it, but when a trio of neds started a fight with three or four of us one night, I was the one expected to defend the group's honour, while they stood quite a distance behind me.  It fell on me to take the blows and return them, though actually I was only hit once before I swung into action.

Anyway, 'Britt' died a good number of years ago, and I only learned of it long after the event a handful or so years back, and Tony died on Friday or Saturday.  There's only a couple of the guys I'm still pally with, but as one of them lives in England somewhere, I haven't seen or heard from him in years.  It's sad to see the ranks diminish, even when they've moved on, married, had kids, and left their old lives behind.  Nothing in my life has really changed in 35 years, so I sometimes feel frozen in time, while everyone else has climbed several other rungs up the ladder of life.

It all seems like only yesterday to me, so clear and fresh are the escapades we got up to and the happy times we shared as teenagers.  Hard to believe that the old group is now two members short at the table, and I can't help but morbidly wonder who might be next.  Is it wrong to hope that it isn't me?  Do you ever think of departed friends and keep their memory alive in your mind, or have they faded over time like the scent of summer carried off on the evening breeze?    

Thursday, 28 November 2019

MIGHTY MARVEL COLLECTED EDITIONS CHECKLIST - ON SALE NOW!


WOLVERINE AND DEADPOOL #7

Copyright MARVEL COMICS

76 pages of Marvel’s toughest heroes!  Three great stories!

Logan discovers a deadly web of deceit in Alaska – and starts slicing through it! ‘The Long Night’ continues, by Benjamin Percy & Marico Takara!

Plus: X-23 and Gabby face a new challenge: ‘The X-Assassin’!  A new story begins by Mariko Tamaki & Diego Olortegui!

Also: ‘Night of the Living Deadpool’ continues as Wade Wilson fights to survive a zombie apocalypse! By Cullen Bunn & Ramon Rosanas!

Featuring material first printed in Wolverine: The Long Night #3, X-23 #7 and Night of the Living Deadpool #2.

On sale NOW!

£4.99.

******

AVENGERS UNIVERSE #7


76 pages of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

The team-up you never thought you'd see is here – the Avengers travel back to the Hyborian Age and meet the legendary Conan the Barbarian!!!  Don't miss the shocks as the awesome ‘No Road Home’ saga continues!  By Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Mark Waid & Paco Medina!

Featuring material first printed in Avengers: No Road Home #6-8.

On sale NOW!

£4.99.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

BABE OF THE DAY - JEAN GRAY...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

I remember buying this comic as a kid and being fascinated by the figure of JEAN GRAY on the cover.  Even though The ANGEL is arguably more prominent, I still find my gaze being drawn exclusively to Jean.  Now she's what I call a babe.  So the cutie on the cover is today's offering of womanly wonder, fellas - enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

EXTRA! EXTRA! JANUS STARK ESCAPES FROM THE TREASURY VAULTS...


Copyright REBELLION

My JANUS STARK book from REBELLION's TREASURY Of BRITISH COMICS arrived today and it's a very nice product indeed, with crisp, clear reproduction that is likely superior to the content's original printing in SMASH! comic back in the '60s.  It's a slim volume, being more a 'bookazine' than an actual book, so perhaps Rebellion are testing the water to see if it sells before committing themselves to the expense of producing a more substantial tome.

In the inside back page are brief bios of TOM TULLY (writer) and FRANSISCO SOLANO LOPEZ (artist), but Tom's bio claims that his portfolio of work spans over 'forty decades'.  If so, he must be ancient, so that should obviously rather read 'forty years' or 'four decades', an oversight that should have been caught at the proofreading stage.  Also, most of  the comic titles that the two men worked for are rendered in bold, with the exception of SCORE 'N' ROAR, so chalk up another error, admittedly a minor one.

Surprisingly, other artists - TOM KERR being one - aren't credited, perhaps because Lopez is the primary one, but it would've been nice to see them get a mention.

Unfortunately, I can't open the booklet wide enough to scan without risk of creasing the cover and pages, but trust me, it's worth having.  It comes wrapped in a flimsy Polyethylene envelope, so if you're a collector who wants a pristine copy, it might be worth mentioning it to Rebellion.  Luckily, mine arrived with no major impair-ment, only some minor faults I can sort myself, but I have long experience of receiving inadequately wrapped and badly blemished comics and books from ebay, so this 'free-from-significant-damage' occasion was a miraculous exception.

Order your copy today (if you haven't already) from this link

DAREDEVIL #181 FACSIMILE EDITION...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

I'll say one thing for MARVEL's Facsimile Editions - despite the shiny paper instead of newsprint, their reproductions of the original ads are usually first class, unlike the ones in DC COMICS equivalents.  The ones in the above issue of DAREDEVIL #181 look as fresh and as sharp as the day they first appeared, and if DC could attain the same standard, I'd be a very happy chappie as theirs look washed out and faded.  Obviously some computer technology is at work, so DC should send a spy into the Marvel camp to find out what the process is, as they'd benefit from the knowledge.  Anyway, this one's a belter, so get around to your local comics shop right away and buy one.  Or if you're lazy like me and have a mattress stuffed full of cash, get one on ebay.

Monday, 25 November 2019

VALIANT JOINS VULCAN - IN A JOURNEY INTO OBLIVION...


Copyright relevant owner

You'd have thought IPC's VULCAN would've been more of a success, emulating, as it did, a style very similar to US comics, but the national edition of Vulcan ran for only 29 issues.  However, as it had tallied up another 30 in a trial run in Scotland six months previously, if I'm not mistaken (and knowing me, I very well could be), the total count (remember to be extremely careful in your pronunciation of that when speaking to someone) was 59.  It also had a Holiday Special and an Annual, the latter usually being listed on ebay as 'rare', despite it popping up for sale extremely regularly.  (For 'rare', read 'more expensive than it should be'.)

When its time came, it was merged into VALIANT as a 'mini-mag', which, as far as I know, was the only time this was done to an absorbed title.  I'm not sure it was successful, as it meant some adventure strips were given only one page, and The TRIGAN EMPIRE's colour art didn't reprint too well in black and white.  A mere six months later, Valiant was swallowed by BATTLE and I can't help but wonder if it was the awful typeface lettering that was being use in IPC comics at the time which led to circulation dropping on so many titles.  I won't even bother showing you any examples, because they're so bad it's painful to look at them, but the overall effect was, to use the Glasgow technical term, pure pish.

Sure, D.C. THOMSON used typeface lettering in their comics too, but it was done with more finesse that IPC could manage.  When a comic looks dreadful, it surely doesn't help it retain a loyal following.  It's merely speculation on my part, of course, but maybe there's something in it.  Anyway, here's the Vulcan Mini-Mag #1 and some humour pages (hand-lettered thankfully, so they're most likely reprints) to give you a small taste of a comic weekly that had only around six months to live.  Shame really.  Still, that said, Valiant's 14 year lifespan is hardly to be sniffed at.







BABE OF THE DAY - SYBIL DANNING...



Here's the super-sexy and sophisticated siren SYBIL DANNING to kick-start our pulses this Monday morning, fellas.  One look at Sybil and I remember that life is worth living.  And I'm sure she feels the exact same thing about me.  (Er... why are you all laughing?)

A LOAD OF OLD BULL...



My family lived in the house prior to the one in which I currently reside between November 1965 and June 1972 (when we flitted), but because I still attended the secondary school across the road and hung out with pals in the evenings at the neighbourhood shops a stone's throw away, I didn't really miss it (didn't have a chance to I guess) until around a dozen or so years later, after we had again moved to yet another house in 1983.

Hold on a minute, you say.  If we moved to another house in 1983, how can I yet be living in the one we were in prior to moving?  Easy - we moved back (sans brother) just over four years later, as regular readers will doubtless be sick fed up reading by now.  However, I still knew a few people in the area of my '65-'72 house, and during the '90s would occasionally visit one of my old boyhood pals, who'd lived two rows behind me when we yet stayed there.  He'd left the family home for a few years, but returned when a relationship had ended, living there with his father and sister.

In 1997, upon the death of his father, he and his sister had to move, but a couple or so weeks before, he'd given me an ornament of a Highland bull, I think.  (Judge for yourselves from the photo above - excuse the dust.)  It's horns were broken, so I took it home and repaired and repainted them.  My father had recently had two or three spells in hospital, but on one of his returns home (not that he knew it would prove temporary) as he cast his eye around the room taking in familiar objects, he spotted the repaired bull sitting atop a display cabinet where I'd placed it.

"Where did that bull come from?" I heard him ask my mother while I was in the kitchen, who informed him that I had brought it in.  I think he had only been back in the house a few days, possibly a week, when he was again hospitalised for the final time, never making it home again.  I appreciated my pal giving me that bull, because it was a link to my old neighbourhood, likely having sat in my pal's living room while I yet lived in the area as a child - it connected me to the place in a tangible way.

Now it has another significance, in that it was the last 'new' household item my father ever laid eyes upon before he passed away.  I doubt that he would've viewed it in the same way as me, as a link to the past, and though I never got to explain to him where it had come from, I'm glad he got to see it and sort of 'welcome' it into the house before he himself left it for the final time.

So I look at that old bull now and again and it reminds me of my old house, my old neighbourhood, my old pal (and his old house), and my old dad.  Funny the sig-nificance an ornament can have, isn't it?  Do you have any old ornaments or items that hold any special significance or associations for you, Criv-ite chums?  Feel free to share in the comments section.

******

For another nostalgic tale involving this boyhood friend and my old neighbourhood mentioned above, click here.  And you may also find this tale interesting.    

Sunday, 24 November 2019

CRIVEN'S CLASSIC COMIC COVERS: THE EAGLE HAS LANDED... WELL, MORE LIKE BEEN BROUGHT DOWN TO EARTH...


Copyright relevant owner

Above is the cover of the first combined issue of LION & EAGLE, dated 3rd May 1969.  The week before had seen Eagle's final solo issue, though there seems to be some ambiguity as to precisely what number it was - either 987 or 991.  You'd think the 'powers-that-be' would have allowed it to reach it's 1,000th issue, eh?  Alas, 'twas not to be, and after a long run of just over 19 years, Eagle was no more, relegated to a supporting act (with second billing) to the comic that had been created to directly compete with it.

Lion may have won that particular circulation battle, but ultimately it lost the war when, a mere 5 years later, it was subsumed by VALIANT, which compared to Eagle and Lion, was a relative newcomer, having first appeared in 1962.  Valiant didn't have long to go itself, being merged into BATTLE in 1976, thus breaking the last link in the chain connecting back to MARCUS MORRIS's and FRANK HAMPSON's vanished dream.

A new version of Eagle took flight in 1982, but although it managed to survive (barely) into 1994, it was never the comic that its predecessor had been.

ONE FOR SORROW, TWO FOR JOY - THREE FOR A 'FULL' SET...


Copyright relevant owner

One thing I've noticed as I've grown older is that things that didn't particularly mean anything to me when I was younger have now taken on a significance that I couldn't possibly have foreseen.  For example, the kids TV show MAGPIE was one that I watched occasionally (probably to drool over SUSAN STRANKS and, later JENNY HANLEY), but I'd hardly describe it as classic television.  The BBC's BLUE PETER on the other hand, sometimes could be, and with the likes of a full-size, real-life ACTION MAN in the form of JOHN NOAKES risking life and limb for our entertainment, it was certainly superior to its THAMES TV rival, which was naught but a pale imitation.


So I surprised myself when I saw a Magpie Annual several years back and promptly bought it.  It was the second Annual in the series, and as the years passed, I found myself wanting to obtain the first and third to sort of complete the 'trilogy'.  Not that there were only three (11, I think), but I have this habit of wanting at least the first three of a series, even when I know I'm not going to continue with it.  It's an offshoot to me of the first three issues of a new comic traditionally being free gift issues (which I'd always buy), and I've tended to apply that to Annuals too - even though they're usually 'giftless'.  (There have been exceptions in recent years.)


Anyway, at the beginning of the week I bought the first and third Magpie Annuals from ebay, which arrived yesterday (Saturday morning) so my collection of them is now complete as I doubt I'll purchase any further ones.  One of the later presenters was a fellow called MICK ROBERTSON, and I note that he's listed as a researcher in Books 2 & 3, which at least meant he had a foot in the door when a new presenter was required.  Reminds me a bit of ALIAS SMITH & JONES in that, when actor PETE DUEL committed suicide, ROGER DAVIS, who voiced the show's intro, replaced him in the role of HANNIBAL HEYES.


Anyway, if you'd like to see what sort of contents these Annuals contained, click here, and you'll be taken to "one I made earlier" (to nick one of rival BP's 'catchphrases'), but in the meantime, you'll have to content yourselves with the first three covers.  Even though I was never a regular viewer of Magpie (which was broadcast from 1968-1980, only 12 years), I now derive a poignant pleasure in owning these books, as they remind me of (and connect me to) a far earlier, more carefree time in my life.  Is it the same for you with anything?  Do tell.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

PSST! WANNA BUY SOME DRUGS? THESE DC FACSIMILE EDITIONS ARE ADDICTIVE...


Copyright DC COMICS

The latest DC Facsimile Edition arrived at Castel Crivens this morning, thus adding yet another classic title from yesteryear to my vast collection.  The interiors are scanned from an actual published issue of the original comic, and the colours are therefore muted and occasionally slightly out of sync as per the 1971 edition.  Shame they couldn't print from brand-spanking new proofs, but it's better than nothing.

So, as a slice of the past, it serves its purpose adequately, and semi-regular reader McScotty revealed that he also acquired this replica reprint as his original '70s copy is falling to bits.  It's printed on newsprint paper inside (unlike DC's new line of Dollar Comics, which have that shiny paper that MARVEL also uses), which helps capture the mood of the period in which the mag first appeared, 48 years ago. (I suddenly feel very old.)

The 1962 GREEN LANTERN back-up story is complete, but the main tale is continued, so it'll be interesting to see whether DC do a facsimile edition of the follow-up issue.  Let's hope so!

Friday, 22 November 2019

CRIVENS - WHERE THE ACTION IS...


Copyright DC COMICS

Here's my other LOOT CRATE facsimile edition - ACTION COMICS #1.  It's almost the same as the US POSTAL SERVICE's facsimile from back around 1997, except that the interiors are on newsprint paper as opposed to the glossy stuff used on the USPS issue.  Unfortunately, the 10 cents price box is missing, having been removed for earlier facsimiles, but I wish DC had restored it.  Curiously, the price was left on The BRAVE And The BOLD #28 edition, even though it was removed from previous reprints.  (Spare proofs must've been retained with the price intact.) 

I've seen the same thing happen before; on the three volume NEAL ADAMS BATMAN collection, most covers still had the price, except for a few where it had been deleted for single issue reprints.  You might think I'm nit-picking seeing as how this reprint isn't exactly the same size as the original 1938 comic (which was shorter and wider like all comics of the time), so what does it matter if the price is missing?  I just think it helps recapture the era in which it was first printed.  That's why I wish MARVEL would leave the COMICS CODE stamp on their facsimiles (which they've removed from recent ones), as it helps retain the spirit of the period.

Anyway, although I've got several reprints of this same issue, it's nice to have yet another to add to the collection.  You'll find this (and the previous one I showed earlier) on ebay, should you be interested in acquiring them.  And should you want to see some other reprints of this iconic comic, click here.

PUT MY LOOT IN A CRATE...


Copyright DC COMICS

Just arrived at Castel Crivens - LOOT CRATE's 2017 facsimile edition of The BRAVE And The BOLD #28, The JUSTICE LEAGUE Of AMERICA's first appearance.  Looking at the cover, it's easy to believe that it could be the original, but though the story pages inside are as clear as a bell ('cos DC have reprinted the tale a number of times from top-quality sources), the ad pages, etc., which have never been reprinted before, are scanned from an actual published edition of the 1959 comic.

Looks great though, eh?  And the good thing about it is that the interiors are printed on newsprint paper, not that shiny stuff that MARVEL use.  Coming up next - Loot Crate's facsimile edition of the one that started it all.  Don't miss it!

IT'S BY SIMON & KIRBY, SO IT MUST BE SPECIAL - BOY COMMANDOS (UPDATED)...


Copyright DC COMICS

When I bought DC's BOY COMMANDOS #1 (my original copy that is, not the replacement I now own) back in the early '70s, I suppose I just assumed it was a one-off (a 'one-shot' as they're called today), because I never saw any further issues.  It was only a couple of years or so ago that I learned there'd been a second ish, and it's only in the last week that I got around to buying it from ebay.  That's it above, finally acquired a whopping 46 years after it first came out.  I can now bathe in the satisfaction of owning a complete set, even if it consists of only two copies.  (That's the first ish below, just to keep its 'sibling' company.  Incidentally, the hands holding the guns aren't by either SIMON or KIRBY, but are a '70s addition to this cover.)

A caption at the end of the second story says that it's the last issue, which leads me to an interesting speculation.  On sale around this time was MISTER MIRACLE #17, the second-last Kirby issue.  Did DC know that Jack was considering returning to MARVEL when his contract ended, and decide there was no further point in promoting any minor comic mag by him?  This was 1973 and Jack's last issue of KAMANDI went on sale around January 1976, but it would have been turned in a few months before that.  Truth be told, none of Jack's DC mags had really set the world on fire, with Kamandi being his longest-running title, but the honeymoon period of JK and DC had been over for a good while.

Remember the DC house ads in advance of Jack's first DC mag?  'The Great One Is Coming!'  Well, the 'great one' came, stayed for a bit, then left, but hardly made much of a mark at the time.  His comics certainly didn't have the impact on sales that DC had anticipated.  It fell to others at a later date to more fully incorporate Jack's characters into the DC Universe and exploit them to (arguably) greater effect.  Or am I reading far too much into it?  It's likely that issue 2 of Boy Commandos had been prepared before the sales figures for 1 had come in, and when they did, DC saw that the demand wasn't great enough to continue the title, so a new end caption box was inserted at the last minute announcing the fact.  Maybe it's as simple as that?

What do you think, Crivs?   

GO ON, PICK A COMIC - ANY COMIC...


Copyright REBELLION

As you'll all no doubt know by now, REBELLION are bringing out a dozen new Specials in 2020, including COR!!-BUSTER, and SMASH! issues, among other famous names from the past.  Which leads me to a question that I've maybe asked before and which you probably answered at the time, but I can no longer remember (bet you can't either).

Before I ask the question though, the Smash! Special won't have any of the original contents of '60s Smash!, but new strips featuring characters from other comics, such as The SPIDER, The STEEL CLAW, MYTEK The MIGHTY, and The MISSING LINK.  Personally, I'd have also liked to see The LEGEND TESTERS, The RUBBERMAN, and TRI-MAN included in the mix - after all, they did appear in Smash! during its lifetime.

Anyway, here's my question to all you cavortin' Crivs.  If you could revive one comic title from your childhood and have any strips from any of the comics you read back then, which title would it be and what strips would it have?  Go on, I know you're dying to answer this one!

Thursday, 21 November 2019

BY THUNDER! COULD THE PERSON WHO STARTED THIS RUMOUR BE LION?


Copyright relevant owner

Remember THUNDER comic?  It was launched in 1970 and lasted all of 22 issues before being merged into LION.  I've read somewhere on a couple of occasions that Thunder was produced merely to be subsumed by Lion and thereby increase its circulation.  H'mm, but here's the thing that makes me slightly skeptical of that rumour being accurate.  It cost a helluva lotta dosh to launch a comic back in the day (probably still does, even though they're not advertised on TV nowadays), and it took at least two years for a periodical to recoup its initial expenses - which, to my mind, makes the claim unlikely.

Publishers don't usually ever spend money with a view to failure, so it's likely that IPC had high hopes for Thunder, and considering the fact that when the two comics combined there was a preponderance of Thunder strips, it seems there was quite an inventory of material to be used up.  I can certainly imagine the IPC bigwigs being aware that if the comic never took off then they could merge it with another title, but spending many thousands of pounds on a new publication with the express intention of merging it with an older one doesn't sound logical to me.

However, I know that a few 'industry' professionals occasionally read Crivens! because it's so compelling (don't worry, my tongue's firmly in my cheek with that last part), so if you know what the real story behind the release of Thunder and its pretty rapid merger into Lion actually is, feel free to share it in the comments section.  Mind now, only facts, no mere idle speculation, 'cos I do enough of that for everyone.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

WHEN CREEPY WAS CLASSY...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Nope, I don't have any of the ALAN CLASS titles shown in this post (aside from CREEPY WORLDS #68), I 'borrowed' the images from ebay - but don't they look great?  (I cleaned them up a little.)  I used to own Creepy Worlds #130 back around 1972 or '73, bought at the same time and from the same shop as I purchased my MARX TOYS Jerry mouse from TOM & JERRY fame.  (You can read about that here.)  I managed to re-acquire Jerry at the beginning of the year (along with Tom, who I didn't have before), and one day I'll add CW #130 to my collection as well.

Anyway, I'm sure that you're not interested in all that load of old nonsense, you're just here to look at the pretty piccies.  So look!  (Incidentally, I haven't placed them all in order of title, but by contents, so that the heroes don't get mixed.) 









Monday, 18 November 2019

GLASS - FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH CARE...



As you all know, Crivens! welcomes and even encourages the opinions and observations of others.  Whether I write something, or a commenter expresses a viewpoint that a reader disagrees with, said reader is welcome to express their dissent as long as they do so politely.  (And, obviously, the first commenter should likewise have expressed his opinion in a polite way.)  Having an inquisitive mind, I like a good discussion (even if it's just as an observer), and discussing something - with a cordial exchange of different opinions - is not the same as arguing about something.  (Though I grant you, one can sometimes lead to the other.)

I'm therefore surprised why some people even have blogs.  Well, that's not quite accurate - I know why they have them - they like to express their opinions on things.  Whether it be a new comic, movie, record, etc., some people are consumed by a burning desire to tell the world what they think about it.  "Huh, cheek!" you say, "You're the exact same!"  Well, I'd say that I belong in a slightly different category, as I have a blog because it allows me to exercise my gradually fading mental faculties, not because I feel that others need to know what I think on any given subject.  It's therefore the former, not the latter, that leads me to write on whatever topic occurs to me (if anything).

However, even if the accusation were true, at least I'm prepared to entertain and publish other people's views that are not in accord with my own.  How will we ever learn anything if we close our minds and refuse to consider various other view-points?  Expressing our thoughts and beliefs also serves to exercise our minds in the defence of what we think and believe, or revise our opinions if our defence is found wanting.  (True, that probably doesn't happen as often as it ought to.)

As I get older, because of a congenital medical disorder, I find my mind descending into blankness very often, and it can be difficult to gather my thoughts and express them in a coherent way.  You may have noticed that I sometimes use 20 words when 10 would suffice, but that's because I have to build my thoughts up, layer upon layer, as I struggle to convey what I'm trying to say or type.  My thoughts no longer arrive fully-formed and 'ready for use'.  I very often forget words mid-sentence - not just when I'm writing something, but also when I'm speaking.  I even forget what I'm talking about and my mind becomes a complete and utter blank.  

"So why should we be interested in that?" you might ask.  I'm not saying you should be, I'm merely explaining why I still maintain this blog by adding to it whenever I can.  I'm not trying to batter anyone over the head with the cudgel of my opinion, I'm essentially exercising a tired muscle - my mind - in an attempt to stop it from atrophying any further.  Maybe there's a chance I can even kick-start it into renewed vigour if it gets a regular workout.  I also use the blog as a personal after-the-fact diary, to record memories of my youth in case I some day forget them.  (There's at least one instance of Dementia in my family, and my fear is that I too may become stricken with it.)

However, when it comes to other bloggers, I've often noticed a resistance to any expression of dissenting opinions.  You see, if someone writes an enthusiastic review of, say, why it's great that DOCTOR WHO is now a woman - and they invite (or allow) comment - then surely if I (or others) have a contrary opinion, it's no crime to express it?  Wrong - it is!  At least, it is in the mind of that type of blogger, who only wants the approval and approbation of like-minded souls.  If you're of a different mind, then don't you bloody well dare have the effrontery to say so.  Dissenting opinions aren't wanted you see, only agreeable ones.

Yes, it's a surprise to me too that some people are so insecure in their beliefs that they're not prepared to be put to the effort of considering whether there's another way of looking at things.  (Or maybe they just can't be @rsed.)  They've made up their minds and the intrusion of a contrary opinion isn't welcome, perhaps because, deep down, they know they're incapable of logically or reasonably defending what they're saying, and then they might look silly.  And that will be your fault for con-fusing them by asking for whys and wherefores, merely in an attempt to have an interesting and hopefully rewarding discussion about the subject.  (And sometimes just because you think there's another perfectly legitimate way of seeing things.)

Then there are those who consider their pronouncements as authoritative and beyond debate, and who accuse anyone who questions their position as 'just loving an argument'.  How dare anyone cast doubt on, or request that they clarify or defend what they believe!  It's an ego thing - they've bestowed their 'wisdom' on us, and we should just take it or leave it.  Such an attitude allows them (in their mind) to avoid having to justify anything they say if politely called to account.  Next time you're on dodgy ground with an opinion on something and someone asks you to explain, or points out a flaw in your thinking, just say "Oh, you just like to argue" and 'refuse to discuss the matter' - then you can declare whatever you want with no comeback.

These bloggers shouldn't really have a comment facility, or at the very least they should have a disclaimer stating that any opinions not in accord with those of the blogger won't be considered or published, so don't bother submitting them.  Only comments confirming their point of view are welcome, thanks very much. That would solve their 'problem', wouldn't it?  I try and show support for other blogs by leaving a comment so that the blogger doesn't think their efforts are unappreciated, but that doesn't mean I'm going to necessarily tickle their ears by pretending to agree with everything they say when I don't.

Those type of bloggers should do us all a favour; if they're not interested in our response to their opinion, then they shouldn't bother the rest of us with it in the first place.  What's that you say?  "You're not obliged to read their blogs!"  Well, that's true (though we usually do if we follow them), but neither are they obliged to write them if they're not interested in the reaction their thoughts produce (unless it's a 'positive' one of course).  And, as I said, if they're not interested in a variety of opinions in response, they know what to do.  It seems that they want to talk at us, instead of with is, and I for one am fed up with it.

Got any thoughts on the matter, fellow Crivs?  For or against, let's hear 'em.  See, I'm the type of blogger who's interested in what you have to say, good or bad.  Just be polite though, huh?

******

Incidentally, you're reading this post in one smooth swift go, but that's not the way in which it was written.  It actually hurts my head to apply my mind to something like this, because I no longer have the ability to convey my thoughts as they sequentially occur to me.  (Well, sometimes I do, but it's a rare occasion these days when I actually can.)  Usually, I have to wrestle with them, struggle with and juggle them before I get a result that's even vaguely comprehensible and that I'm (almost) satisfied with.  Of course, I can't always guarantee that my readers will be.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

MARVEL MUSINGS ON THE DEMISE OF MWOM...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

When The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL first hit the shops on September 30th 1972, I was a (nearly) 14 year-old instant fan. Having been a hopeless nostalgist from around the age of 5, it gave me the chance to relive almost half my life away to when I'd read the same stories in the ODHAMS PRESS POWER COMICS in the '60s.  (And if you're a true believer, you'll know that they consisted of WHAM!, SMASH!, POW!, FANTASTIC, and TERRIFIC.)

I loved MWOM and SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY (SMCW), and when I look at the early matt-paper covered issues today, I feel like I'm 14 again.  There's something about the colour (whether full or spot), that has a certain charm. However, much as I love them, it has to be admitted that they were a bit 'piecemeal' in the way they were put together.  Some of the lettering amendments* (changing US spelling to UK), and the way the panels were cropped (sometimes removing border lines completely), were amateurish in the extreme.

(*I'm talking about lettering amendments made in the US, not ones made in the UK of ones that had been missed in the US.)

That such a big outfit as Marvel could put out such a 'technically' substandard products is difficult to understand.  I'm not talking about the stories of course, just the way they were butchered to accommodate the UK page size.  Obviously, the editor has to shoulder the blame for such inadequacies, but it wasn't the nominal UK editor's fault, as she/he was really just a handler at our end.  The real fault lies in the States, where the package was assembled and then sent over here to be published.

And when the switch to glossy covers with muddy interiors happened, why wasn't it sorted out sooner?  Whoever was responsible in America must've been asleep at the wheel not to notice that panel detail was often obliterated by the over-zealous application of 'Zipatone' - though, to be fair, it was really inferior printing that rendered it that way.  However, the US editor should have noticed these problems and sorted them out sooner.

Truth to tell, the Power Comics hadn't been much better (and often worse) in the way they re-sized their Marvel material.  Panels were extended and drawn-up by bodgers who clearly had no idea what they were looking at, which resulted in some panels making absolutely no visual sense.  MWOM though, was an official Marvel pub-lication, and as such, should have received better treatment, as should all the early Marvel UK periodicals.

Think I'm exaggerating?  Take a look at the page below (from SMCW #50) to see how JOHN ROMITA's art was ruined by too much Zipatone and inferior printing, and you'll see for yourself that my assertions are no mere hyperbole.  The PANINI incarnation of MWOM, first launched in 2003, had much better production values, though didn't seem able to match the magic of the 1970s version of the mag.

One day, perhaps, we'll see the return of MWOM, but hopefully in the traditional UK weekly comics mould of yesteryear.  Wouldn't that be something?!

THE DENTIST WILL SEE YOU NOW...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

You may remember be talking several posts back about a MARVEL story from the '60s which didn't make much sense.  Well, I've now added the actual pages, which can be accessed by clicking here.  Take a look and judge for yourself just how daft it is.

MEXICO 70 UNLOADED...


Copyright relevant owner

Take a look at the page above.  I was clearing out some old mags the other day, LOADED #50 among them, and saw this page while I was looking through it to see if there was anything worth keeping.  It's the last episode of a strip called MEXICO 70, of which I was the letterer.  (I ripped it out to keep before disposing of the rest of the mag.  I'm sure I've got the other parts somewhere.)

I worked on a couple of strips for Loaded, and the editor insisted on paying me £30 per page, which was a great little number for a while.  Basically, it amounted to £60 per hour - if it even took me that long to do them.  Ah, those were the days.  When I first started lettering, I wasn't quite satisfied with the result, but by the time this strip came about, I'd developed a style that I was very pleased with.

Anyone remember this strip from Loaded?  Then reminisce in the comments section to your heart's content, why don'tcha?

CONAN'S DREADED DEADLINE DOOM...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS and CONAN PROPERTIES

I decided to give myself a treat recently, so bought a back issue of CONAN The BARBARIAN #22 - even though I already have the strip contained within.  See, apparently pages for the story featured on the cover went missing in the mail, so the mag had to go with a reprint or be faced with penalties for missing its printing deadline.  Once the schedules have been arranged, publishers are legally obliged to honour the arrangement - or else.

Anyway, MARVEL decided to re-present the first Conan adventure from issue #1, and also included a previously unpublished piece of BARRY SMITH art so that readers would at least have something new to gape at.  The reason the cover wasn't changed to match the contents was because covers are (or were - dunno if it's still the case) printed far in advance of the internal pages, so Marvel had no option but to use it.  The scheduled story appeared in the next issue.

The cover's been cropped across part of the COMICS CODE stamp, though the mag's still the height it should be.  (There's just more space under the story's title at the bottom.)  I can live with it, as it's reproduced in my Conan OMNIBUS, and it was really the contents I was interested in.  Why?  Well, because (as far as I'm aware) I now have every English language single-issue presentation of Marvel's Conan debut, which appeals to me in an obsessive collector's way.

In case you're interested, that includes CTB #1, CTB #22, CONAN CLASSIC #1, SAVAGE SWORD Of CONAN #1 (UK weekly), and the recent TRUE BELIEVERS printing.  Oh, and I've also got CONAN The ADVENTURER #1, the short-lived UK fortnightly periodical, which reprinted his first tale, but with 'Barbarian' changed to 'Adventurer' on the splash page to tie-in with the animated cartoon TV show of the same name. 

I've not included CONAN SAGA #1 (though I've got that as well), because it contained the first three (I think) Conan tales, not just the first one.  I've also got CBT #1 reprinted in the DARK HORSE volume, plus the aforementioned Omnibus, but I'm not counting collected editions.  I think the only CE I don't have is the Conan ESSENTIALS volume, but I can live without that.  Owning all the US standard-sized single-issue colour presentations of Conan's first comic strip story will do for me.

I've got more incarnations of it than I actually need, but you can bet your barbarian's boots that if Marvel ever release a Facsimile Edition, I'll be buying that too.

******

Oops, how could I forget?  I've also got the UK Conan POCKET BOOK from the early '80s.  Perhaps I shouldn't count that one, as it also reprints CTB #2, plus (if I recall correctly) the first half of #3.  Tell you what, let's include all the magazines, but forget the collected book editions.  How does that sound to you?