Tuesday, 7 April 2020


No, I wouldn't have know it was GAL GADOT either if this recent pic hadn't had her name attached, but this really is the cinematic WONDER WOMAN, with a nice cheery smile that will hopefully cheer up all Crivs everywhere.



Odd as this may seem to you (and me, come to that), I've owned The VALIANT BOOK Of MYSTERY & MAGIC Annual for so long that I can't remember pre-cisely how long I've actually had it.  Is it 15, 20, 25 years?  It's a mystery which makes me wish I had recourse to magic so that I could recall exactly which year it came into my possession.  (See what I did there?)  When I first bought it (whenever that was), I gave it a quick browse-through and then tucked it away in a cupboard without reading any of the contents.

Anyway, I recently dug it out and have now read the comic strips, though I've yet to read the text stories.  Really enjoyed it so far, and if you don't own this book, it's one you should consider adding to your collection.  Again, I can't open it to scan without risk of splitting the spine, so am unable to show any pics of its interiors.  You'll have to take my word that it's a belter of a book, with art by ERIC BRADBURYGEOFF CAMPION, and JOHN STOKES among others.

Have you got this book?  Were you lucky enough to acquire it back in the mid-'70s? How would you describe it those who might be interested in obtaining a copy?  Why not share your thoughts about it in the comments section?


Good News Dept: I've just noticed that, although the book is tightly bound in most of the middle section, the end pages are more amenable to being opened flat and scanned.  Therefore, here's a tale from the back of the book to give you a taste of the contents.  Note that there's a credit box, which means (as this book was issued in 1975) that IPC/FLEETWAY were crediting contributors (in some publications at least) before 2000 A.D. had even hit the stands. When did it begin I wonder - with BATTLE perhaps?  If anyone knows for sure, please share.

Monday, 6 April 2020


Sadly, the delightful HONOR BLACKMAN, who played CATHY GALE in The AVENGERS and PUSSY GALORE in GOLDFINGER, has died at the age of 94. Another part of the nation's collective youth gone forever, alas, though she'll live on in our minds, hearts, and DVDs.  Condolences to her family, friends, and fans.

Sunday, 5 April 2020


I was looking at the FACEBOOK group page for former pupils of my old secondary school recently (not the official school site, if it has one) and reading the comments of some of the members.  It was sad to see people mention names of their old class-mates, only to be informed that some of them had died anything from ten years ago, right up to 40.  Just think - this meant that, in the minds of many, those deceased pupils had remained very much alive into the present day, making it an even greater shock for their surviving friends to learn of their demise.  Some of the deceased had moved from their home town decades ago (as had some of the yet-living), hence news of their deaths not being more widely known at the time.

Just think - some members probably joined the group in the hope of catching up with particular friends from the past, only to have their hopes dashed upon discovery that their teenage pals were beyond their reach and unable to participate in mutual reminiscing of happy days gone by. In one instance, someone home for a visit couldn't bring himself to go and see his best pal from school who was dying of cancer and unable to speak, because he preferred to remember his friend as he'd been when young and fit.  (He later regretted his decision, though it's an understandable one.)

Anyway, reading some of those comments reminded me of a post I'd written some years ago, and I thought it a perfect time to re-present it here as it touches on the very subject.  Want to read it?  Then...


One of the things about my home town (as I'm sure it is with yours) is that certain aspects have changed so much over the last thirty-five years or thereabouts, that some areas are almost unrecognizable to what they once were.  To anyone who moved away in the early '80s and has never been back since, the town remains preserved as it was in the amber of their memories.  If ever they were to return on a visit, I'm sure they'd be in equal parts amazed and horrified at some of the changes which have taken place.

Truth to tell, I'm almost envious of them.  To gad about on the other side of the world somewhere, thinking, in a blissful state of ignorance, that one's home town remains as it once was seems a reassuring notion to me.  In that way, the playing fields of your childhood remain forever inviolate.  Same goes for people;  if you don't know someone has expired since you last saw them, they're still alive to you and will be for as long as you are.  What does it profit you to learn that their life's race ended halfway through your own?

I remember being in a camera shop a number of years ago and running into a schoolpal who once sat beside me in technical drawing class (and probably other classes also).  ALAN PARKER was (and is) his name, a fact which won't make this tale one whit more interesting, but which I feel compelled to mention for no other reason than that it happens to be the case.  The conversation ran something like this.  Me: "Hi, Alan - what're you up to these days?  Him: "I'm on holiday at the moment."  Me: "Not going anywhere?"  Him: "Yes - here!"  Me: "Eh?"  Him: "I emigrated to Australia a couple of years back, and I'm over visiting my folks."

To be honest, I can't actually recall whether it was Australia, New Zealand or Canada he had gone to, but Australia will suffice for the purpose of our tale.  I was actually quite surprised by the news, mainly because it didn't seem like anywhere near two years (at least, probably longer) since I'd last seen him - five or six months at the most, I would've thought.  The realization that he'd been living in another country and pursuing a new and different life for that period, while I subconsciously imagined him to be still tripping merrily around the streets of my town, ready to run into at any moment, was a sobering reminder that things aren't always as we perceive them to be.  In my life, nothing much had changed; in Alan's, a whole new horizon lay before him - and he was already several steps on in the journey which had taken him beyond the narrow (if comforting) confines of my own world.

A few years back, myself and a friend I've known since I was seven years old, took a wander around the new housing scheme which now sits upon the sizeable area of land where once resided my old secondary school.  It was a strange experience because, inside its boundaries, there were no visible 'landmarks' to indicate our location.  We could've been in any new-built housing scheme in Britain; it was as if we'd walked through a dimensional portal and found ourselves somewhere else entirely.  Beyond and out of sight, lay the familiar environs we'd known since childhood, but within these strange new streets we were in an unknown place in an unknown land.  It was with a sense of relief that we returned to our own world some minutes later, back through whence we had come.

In my more fanciful moments, I sometimes wonder if the 'dear departed' (assuming they survive death in some form) are aware of what goes on in the place they left behind; or do they imagine (like the distant wanderer) that everything remains the same as when they left it?  If granted a day's visit to their home town from whatever celestial realm or dark netherworld they may inhabit, would they be surprised and dismayed to learn of the changes which have taken place in their absence?  "What? My old house has been demolished?  The old cinema has been gone for thirty years? My favourite toyshop is now a newsagents?  The Cairneys don't live at number forty-three any more?"  Or would such trivial concerns be beyond them in their joy at feeling the wind blow through their hair once more, and again experience a sun-kissed walk through green fields for however brief a period?

Try and let me know if you go before I do, will you?


Have Amazing Adventures #1, think I had #11

Here we go again with one of Big-hearted BARRY PEARL's guest blog posts, this time featuring photos from his very own collection of '70s MARVEL comics that were cancelled within a very short time if they didn't sell as well as expected.  Let's hear from Barry...


My favourite Marvel era was the 1960s.  One of the reasons was that it was unique, in that only one superhero comic (The Incredible Hulk) was cancelled.  Marvel did change series - The Human Torch in Strange Tales and Ant-Man in Tales to Astonish, but those characters carried on in other books.

Usually, rather than cancel a comic in the 1960s, Marvel worked on character development.  Iron Man was radically changed, costume and all, in Tales of Suspense #48; Ant-Man became Giant-Man and Thor, when Jack Kirby returned to the series, was no longer Earthbound, fighting characters like Mr. Hyde and The Cobra, but was more in Asgard and other planets.

Having time this week to fix up my closets of comics, I noticed that Marvel had so many more cancellations and such in the 1970s.  They had new owners, a new publisher, new distributors - and a new philosophy.  Put a lot comics out there and if any titles don't sell, quickly cancel and replace.  Even their magazine line, mostly, did not last long.  Here are a few of their cancelled comics and series.

Have Astonishing Tales #1, had #25

Have Black Panther #1 & Black Goliath #1

Had Shanna The She-Devil #1, have The Cat #1

Have Creatures On The Loose #22

Have them in reprint editions

Have Crazy #1

Have Machine Man #1

Have Eternals #1

Have both these issues

Nah, don't have either of them

Don't have any of these titles

Don't have any of these ones either

Again, only have reprints

Had Marvel Spotlight #28

Don't think I have any of them

Have The Monster Of Frankenstein #1

Well, whaddya make of that lot, pilgrims? Hasn't Barry done us proud in sharing these classic collectables from his vast collection.  I have complete sets of some of the titles on display, the longest-lasting being, I think, The ETERNALS at 19 issues (and one Annual), followed by The MONSTER Of FRANKENSTEIN at 18. If there are any here that survived longer I'm certain Barry will let us know. (Just remembered - NOVA had 25 issues.) I'm sure you'd all like to show your appreciation to him for this post, and I'm also sure he'd very much appreciate your appreciation.  No standing out on your doorstep and applauding though, 'cos he's too far away to hear you - just leave a comment.

Saturday, 4 April 2020


Okay, Crivs, time for a bit of fun! Amazingly, my recently purchased GEMINI SPACE CAPSULE arrived today (HERMES must've used a space/time warp), so as promised, here's a quick shot of it alongside my GOLDEN GATE STEVE ZODIAC and ZOONY on a JETMOBILE (excuse the dust). I'll be taking some more pictures of the Capsule and adding them to my previous post about it as soon as I can.  (Now done!)  Meanwhile, your mission, if you decide to accept it, is to think of a funny caption for the photograph.  Here, I'll start you off with a few (and add more as they occur to me)...

1) "That Zodiac looks like a bit of a bighead to me."

2) "Don't much fancy his date."

3) "Think he'll sell us some of his oxygen pills?"

4) "Keep on going - run the buggah down!"

5) "Just ignore it, Zoony.  It's not a patch on Fireball Junior."

6) "They've got a more varied colour scheme than us, Fred."

7) "Gah!  Trust Zodiac to go by when we're taking a dump!"

8) "I tell ya, this shot'll look great once the sfx guys add in a space backdrop and take out the wheels."

9) "I wonder if Venus knows those two are an item?"

10) "Zoony, I can feel you trying to lift that bar of chocolate from my back pocket."

11) "Let's pull him over for not wearing a space helmet."

12) "Look at his eyes - he seems 'spaced out' to me."

13) "I think the one in front is a dummy - he's being worked by the funny-looking one at the back."

14) "Nah, that ain't the pizza delivery guy - I don't see any boxes."

15) "That's the laziest way of taking your pet for a 'walk' that I've ever seen."

16) "You're right, Joe - these 3D 'drive-in' movies are great!  You'd think he was real!"

Can you think of any others?  The comments section awaits your esteemed presence.

Friday, 3 April 2020


Copyright relevant owner

Okay, Crivs, here's what, according to my stats, very few of you have been waiting for, so let's not waste any time and get straight into the action.  This strip (as you'll all know by now) originally appeared in a weekly comic called TERRIFIC back in the '60s, and, as far as I know, has never been reprinted.  I can see why, as no-one, apart from a few die-hards, seems much interested in it.  Oh well, I guess you can't please everybody. 


Want to show support for the NHS and key workers during these difficult times?  I mean show real support, not just indulge in a few moments of empty (though well-intentioned), self-indulgent applause on your doorstep?  My suggestion is that some organisation or charity produces a blue 'poppy', to be sold in supermarkets or any shops that are still open on a daily basis.  No human contact required, just a tray of blue poppies with a secure container for donations (no less than £1), which can then be distributed to those who are putting their lives on the line for us at this very moment.  Or even just several collection tins (sans poppies) at the checkout tills of large supermarkets, so that the public can show real appreciation and support, as opposed to mere pointless posturing with no practical value.

Sound like a good idea to you?  Why not contact your local (or a national) newspaper and suggest them proposing it in their pages to the powers-that-be?  I've already been in touch with The DAILY RECORD, and the News Editor I spoke with will be running it up the flagpole with the relevant people to see if it can become a reality.

Go on, forget about standing on your doorstep once a week and clapping into the air - put your money where your mouth is!  Clapping is the very least we can do - don't you think they deserve more than that?

Thursday, 2 April 2020


Comics from the '60s

Have I got a palpitating post for you!  Prepare to be rendered utterly envious of Bashful BARRY PEARL's cataclysmic comics collection, accumulated from when they first came out as he was growing up in America in the '60s and '70s.  I actually have some of these comics myself, the operative word being 'some' - but Barry has an unbroken run of every issue up until he stopped buying them in 1977.  I'll let Barry explain things in his own words before I unleash you on the rest of his fantastic photographs.  Over to Barry.

Comics from the '70s

It only took a few decades, But I was finally able to do this right.  With our current national (and worldwide) crisis, I finally got the time to place my comics the way I'd like, in two closets, one for the comics that began in the 1960s and another for those that began in the 1970s.  Now I can pull them out easily, whenever I want.  My collection, which contains all the Marvel Age comics beginning in 1961 with The Fantastic Four #1 (actually Amazing Adventures #1 with Dr. Droom), ends in 1977.  I keep my most valuable comics in a third, very secure place.

The Fantastic Four.  I have a mid-'60s individual reprint of #1

Whenever I post a picture of how I keep my comics stored, several concerned posters comment that they are stored the wrong way.  Many feel that comics should only be stored standing up or in special boxes, or should be slabbed, especially the oldest ones.  However, for me, comics have always been a great source of entertain-ment and enjoyment, and are useless to me unless I can pull them out and read them! Perhaps I'd feel differently if I'd paid a fortune for them, but I got many of them for free at my aunt's candy store, or on the newsstands when they first came out.

Amazing Adventures, Fantasy, & Spider-Man.  I have ASM #1

In the second picture from the top, I've shown how a couple of shelves look in the 1970s closet, which does not have double-doors.

The Avengers.  I have 1, 2, & 3

The X-Men.  I have #1

Tales To Astonish & Sub-Mariner #1.  I have TTA #70

The Incredible Hulk.  I have #102

First appearances of Daredevil, Iron Man, & Thor.  I have all 3

Strange Tales.  I have #135

As well as the comics in Barry's pics that I likewise own, I also have numerous reprints of every other comic on open display, with the possible exception of Strange Tales Annual #1.  However, my collection almost pales into insignifi-cance when you consider that Barry has an unbroken run of every title from 1961 right up to 1977.  Impressive, eh?  I'd like to thank Barry for sharing his collection with we Crivs, and I'm sure you would too, so why not leave a comment?!



Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

A brand-new era of Deadpool madness begins!  Deadpool accepts a job offer to kill a monster on Staten Island, little realising that it will lead to him becoming... King of the Monsters!  By Kelly Thompson & Chris Bachalo!  Plus: more outer space mayhem with the Deadpool Corps!  Deadpool and Lady Deadpool take on some alien uglies and the Champion too!  By Victor Gischler & Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld!

Featuring material first published in Deadpool #1 and Deadpool Corps #1-2.

Available Now!


Nate Grey has enough power to imprison Apocalypse and transform Magneto into his servant!  Time is running out as the X-Men fight to save humanity!  Also, Psylocke must battle her former love, Angel!  By Matthew Rosenberg, Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson & RB SIlva!

Featuring material first published in Uncanny X-Men #5-7.

Available Now!


Copyright BBC TV.  Published by PANINI

Issue #550 celebrates Doctor Who’s mid-70s classics.  Highlights include: • Showrunner Chris Chibnall and former producer Philip Hinchcliffe – together at the Doctor Who studio • Director Michael E Briant on The Robots of DeathSadie Miller remembers her mother, Elisabeth Sladen • Review of Series 12 • A diary and scrapbook of 1976-77 • Dr Who and the Hell Planet • The Fact of Fiction on Tooth and Claw • A look at Exploration Earth: The Time Machine • Part Two of The Piggybackers, a brand-new comic-strip adventure!

PLUS: 1977-style poster magazine • TARDIS control-room diorama • Talons of Weng-Chiang music-hall poster • Six collectors’ cards • Four-part Big Finish download.

Available Now!


Note: I'm unsure whether these mags are currently available in shops, though it's possible they might be on sale in some supermarkets who usually stock such titles. However, I believe they are available mail order from the Panini website.


I see that the NHS hand-clapping event has been scheduled again, for tonight at 8 p.m., despite it doing nothing at all to supply nurses, carers, and key workers with protective apparel, masks, gloves, etc., as well as the necessary equipment to help safeguard both them, their patients and the public.  Yesterday, my taxi driver told me that his wife, who's a nurse, thought such gestures were total codswallop, and he wasn't 'April Fooling' me.  At least tonight I'm forewarned so am unlikely to be dis-turbed from sleep as I was last week, but what about those just off a shift who are in desperate need of a kip before returning to work?  That's all right though, as long as we feel good about ourselves while 'virtue-signalling' our alleged appreciation, we can conveniently ignore taking all necessary sensible precautions which would not only protect ourselves, but would alleviate the strain on overstretched resources.

I still see kids playing out in the streets together, and ask myself what on earth the parents are thinking.  Sure, let junior out in the back garden to stretch his or her legs once a day, but anything else is risking him or her catching Covid-19 and giving the NHS yet another patient to tend to and strain their already limited resources even more.  Switching lanes for a moment, there's been a lot of attention paid to the fact that some people are 'panic buying', but it appears to be an inevitable repercussion of advising the public to stay home and not go out.  Obviously they're going to think that in order to stay in, they need to increase their stock of necessities to see them through their period of 'house arrest'.  I haven't indulged in panic buying, but that means I have to go to the shops every other day in order to buy milk, bread, toilet rolls (if I can find any) - I'm condemned whatever I do.  (Just a shame the revamped Dandy is no longer available, 'cos I could've wiped my @rse with that.  H'mm, maybe not, the paper was too shiny and would simply have smeared excrement all over my nether-cheeks.  It would've been a case of sh*te spreading sh*te, which is rather ironic when you think about it.)

Anyway, getting back to the point, there can't be an NHS worker anywhere who doesn't already know how much the public appreciates them.  (It's the government - regardless of whichever one is in power - that they feel under-appreciated by.) They're on the front line every day, dealing with death and the dying, and have relatives of the afflicted and the deceased telling them in extremely emotional and heartfelt terms just how much they're appreciated, so they really don't need any empty gestures like people hand-clapping on the doorstep. Instead of drawing attention to yourself, why not draw attention to the NHS and key workers by making a donation to an organisation or charity that supports them.  That's far more prac-tical and requires real action that will make a difference, as opposed to the minor inconvenience of opening your front door and effectively saying "Hey, look at me, folks - am I a good person or what?"  Well, your appreciation may be genuine or it may not, but instead, try putting your money where your mouth is!  That'll make a real difference and show nurses, doctors, and carers, etc., that your appreciation is genuine, and not mere pointless posturing.

After Eight Update:  Oh, and here's another thought.  Last week, one of my local chip shops had a sign on their door saying no more than 2 customers at a time.  Yet behind the length of the counter were around 10 staff, all in close proximity to one another.  Delivery drivers were congregated at the end of the shop, and assistants had to pass inches from them to go through to the back in order to get things.  The shop has now started doing only deliveries and collections, yet is still packed full to the brim with staff.  You can bet that at least some of those people would've been out clapping tonight, but by their work-environment behaviour they're not only putting themselves and their colleagues at risk, but also NHS staff who will have to treat them if they become infected. Way to go, peeps - that's the way to show your 'appreciation' - not! 


Characters copyright relevant and respective owners

Having already shown you the front covers of the four TV TORNADO Annuals almost as I received them (with the exception of the 3rd), it's now time to display them in their proper sequence along with the back covers also.  I've now completed the set 53 years after the first Annual was issued, although I didn't acquire my first (which was the one for 1970, issued in '69) 'til around 1986 or '87.  That means it took me around 33-34 years to acquire all four of them.

Interestingly, even though I never had any of these books when they first came out, owning them now feels, to me, a bit like dipping back into the '60s and '70s and experiencing something I missed out on at the time but have finally caught up with. So it's a bit like time travel in a sense, because something that comes from the period of my youth, even though not owned by me back then (the Annuals that is - I had the odd weekly comic) is now part of my life - and feels as though it always has been.

Does that make any sense, or have I conveyed it in my usual vague, not quite on-the-mark manner?  I'm sure that most of you are smart enough to grasp what I'm getting at though, so buy yourselves a big bag of jelly babies as a reward.  (Along with a big box of Aspirin for the headache I've just given you.)    

And below are the two guys (l-r) who gave me the Annuals for 1970 and '68 - in that order and 34 years apart.  Going from the issues of NIPPER lying on the floor and the BEANO calendar on the wall, this photo was taken sometime in February '87. Unknown to me at that moment, six months later I was to return to the previous house in which I'd lived for 11 years, just over three and a half years earlier.

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