Sunday, 28 February 2021

FROM PILLAR TO POST - THE SEQUEL...


You may remember several posts (npi) back I showed you a pair of post/pillar box money banks I'd recently acquired to replace a couple I bought in 1978.  Back then I gave one of them to a friend, and kept the other until 1989, when it got damaged beyond repair and was reluctantly disposed of.  I very much regretted its fate, and started buying other post/pillar boxes to fill the space of my original one, and I believe I said I'd show you them when I got the chance.  There's yet another trio or so tucked away somewhere, but I'll add them when they eventually show up.

In the meantime, here are the ones that were readily to hand for photographing, followed by the replacements of my first one, originally purchased in Southsea in December of 1978.  Apart from the brass one above, none of the 'new' ones are necessarily shown in the order of acquisition.  Any other Crivvies got a collection of money banks, especially post/pillar box ones?  Or am I the only one brave enough to admit to my obsession?  Tell all in the comments section.

When you tap the top...

...it lights up.  Looks better in the dark




And below is the pair of replacements for the ones I bought back in 1978 - with a friend (who predates them).

Saturday, 27 February 2021

SUPERMAN THROUGH THE AGES...


Copyright DC COMICS

Here's a little belter of a comic from 2006 that's worth having just for the cover alone.  I was considering bidding on it from reader DS's ebay ad, but then I saw one I could buy right away without having to wait.  That always clinches it for me, unless the 'buy it now' price is too prohibitive and there's a chance I might get one cheaper if I'm prepared to wait and see how high the 'bid' price goes to.  Y'know, I'd have used this Superman figure on the '30s to the '80s book (seen a couple of posts back) as it's more impressive than the one they published.  This one's by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, and you  can't do better than them.

I might scan and print out this cover as an A3 poster and hang it on my wall - it's a stoater!  If you haven't got this issue and would like one, why not bid on DS's copy?  His ebay seller name is davstron.

Friday, 26 February 2021

DC'S 'GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD' COLLECTED EDITIONS COVER GALLERY...


Copyright DC COMICS

Having mentioned them in the previous post, I thought it would be a good idea to show you the actual covers to the Superman and Batman collected editions from the late '80s.  Then I thought it would be an even better idea to show you the covers of whatever DC Comics hardcover collections in the 'greatest' series that were to hand, so hopefully you'll consider them a visual treat and appreciate all the hard work I put into scanning them - just for you!

Regarding the deluxe edition of The Joker volume, I do actually have the regular dustjacketed edition, but it's tucked away somewhere and I've no idea where to even start looking for it, so I'll add it a later date.  Perhaps I should do a Marvel collected editions cover gallery next, but that'll all depend on what response I get to this one.  Over to you, cavortin' Crivvies - how do these books grab you?












The back of the two deluxe editions are blank so no point showing them

This volume is separate from the 'greatest stories ever told' series, but it goes so well
with the above one that I just had to include it

Thursday, 25 February 2021

SUPERMAN FROM THE '30s TO TODAY...


Copyright DC COMICS

Let me set the scene.  The time: towards the end of 1972.  The place: W. & R. Holmes, one of the finest bookshops, stationers, tobacconists, toyshops, and art stores that I've ever known.  Possibly even the finest, though that may merely be nostalgic sentiment for a long-vanished aspect of my youth influencing my retrospective appraisal.  On a table in this magnificent establishment, laid out in all their finery, was a display of books - among them Superman From The '30s To The '70s and Batman From The '30s To The '70s.  (I've taken the liberty of placing the apostrophes in the correct place.)

Whenever I was in the shop, I would pore over every page of this pair of inch-thick (or more) publications, drinking in the artwork and colour covers reprinted within, and the moment I could afford to, I bought the Superman volume.  Curiously, I wasn't consumed with quite the same compulsion to acquire the Batman companion volume, though doubtless I'd have purchased it had finances more readily allowed.  It wasn't until 1979 that I bought the second printing of the Batman opus - along with the Superman one (both bought from John Menzies), as, foolishly, I hadn't kept any of the several copies I'd bought at the time.

And that last sentence perhaps requires a bit of explanation.  You see, I loved my books to be perfect, and if ever I inadvertently soiled a page with the merest hint of a fingerprint or the vague suggestion of a crease or bent corner, I had to buy a new, unblemished one.  One of my brother's visiting friends picked up my Supes volume to read one evening while eating toast, leaving several pages covered in greasy finger marks and resulting in me having to buy a new copy at the earliest opportunity.  I must have bought three or four of them at least within the space of a very short time.  Never held on to even one of them though.

Towards the end of 1982, I used my library connections (though I'd left their employ two or three years before) to get both 1979 softcover editions hardbound.  This was because the 'laminate' on the covers had started to crack and peel along the indented fold where the books opened, so remedial action needed to be taken - even though the original covers were discarded in the process.  Many years later I was able to acquire a pair of the 1972 Spring/Hamlyn printings, but still my appetite for them remained unsatiated.  Eventually I also obtained the 'sequel' to the Superman volume, entitled (wait for it) Superman From The '30s To The '80s - a nice US hardback copy to complement my UK softback '70s one.

Interestingly, these books had late '80s equivalents to celebrate 50 years of Superman and Batman, called The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told and - well, if you can't make an educated guess at the name of the other one, you shouldn't be allowed out on your own.  The advantage of those new collections was that they were in full colour and, a few stories aside in the Superman volume, didn't repeat the contents of the '70s collections.  In fact, going from memory, I don't think the Batman book repeated any of the contents of the earlier version, with the exception of a couple or so cover images.  It's a shame that the earlier books weren't in full colour throughout as opposed to just a few sections, but perhaps at the time the costs would have been prohibitive. 

And now to the point.  (Yes, surprisingly there actually is one.)  A couple of days ago, a 1978/'79 US hardback copy of the first volume, exactly the same dimensions as its '80s counterpart, arrived from America at Castel Crivens.  The '80s edition jettisoned some stories and included others, and to be honest, is probably a better representative example of Superman tales over the decades, but there's something about the earlier '70s cover that I prefer.  The pair look good together in their matching sizes, and who knows, I may even think about getting a hardback of the Batman book.

First though, what I'll probably do is scan the dustjacket of the Superman tome and create a duplicate for my '79 printing, just to enhance its visual appeal.  When I've done that, I'll see about scanning the cover to the first edition of the Batman softback and creating a dustjacket for my '79 second printing of it.  No doubt you'll all be filled with a sense of undying gratitude when I tell you that you'll be able to see the results of my handiwork right here on Crivens, so panic not - you won't miss a thing.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on the covers of these two beauties.  And if anyone knows whether there was a Batman From The '30s To The '80s companion volume, be sure to tell me, eh?  If it exists, I quite fancy adding it to my collection.  And I know what you're thinking - that's a helluva lot of words just to show us a couple of covers!  True, but it was worth it, wasn't it?  H'mm, now where did everyone go?

WHEN UNCANNY TALES WAS A STAPLE REQUIREMENT...


Copyright relevant owner

Regular rabid readers of my worthy words of wisdom (I don't get another reality pill for an hour or two) may remember me saying a couple of posts back that I managed to obtain a replacement for my original copy of Creepy Worlds #130 recently, along with Uncanny Tales #91 and Suspense #121, both of which I thought I already had.  Well turns out I didn't, so I can only assume that I once had them, or that the covers were familiar to me through reprints of them in my DC Comics collected volumes of Thunder Agents.

If I did once have the Suspense issue (and I think I did), it would've been a mid to late '70s printing priced at 10p (not 6p), and the same goes for the Uncanny Tales issue, though I couldn't swear I actually had that one (though I've got the original Tower Comics mag).  The interesting thing about the latter ish is that it's not square-bound, instead being a traditionally folded and spine-stapled comic just like regular Marvel and DC publications, which makes me wonder why.  Was it a try-out that was abandoned because it didn't seem as thick (and therefore less value for money) as its square-bound counterparts, or was it a one-off because they'd run out of glue on the day it was printed?

I don't recall ever seeing another Alan Class comic with staples as opposed to glue and wonder if any Crivvies have ever come across such a thing?  If so, spill the beans and enlighten us with your knowledge and insight, o faithful seeker and sharer of truth - it wouldn't be fair to let us wallow in our ignorance.  The comments section awaits your august presence.

Copyright relevant owner

Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Sunday, 21 February 2021

CHRISTMAS CLASSICS...


I'm a sucker for the Jim Reeves Christmas album; I forget precisely how many copies of it I've got, but it must be around at least a dozen.  And that's only counting it in its original form (12 Songs Of Christmas), not the Christmas Songbook version which includes the original 12 tracks along with a selection of Jim's religious tunes, or compilation boxed sets which also include the Christmas songs.  I've got it in LPs, cassettes, and CDs, and I don't really need any more, but I just can't seem to stop buying it.

I got a remastered version released last year, and saw a CD on ebay around a week or so back that was like a mini LP, in that it came in a cardboard sleeve (no case) which was a facsimile of the original cover.  Well, I just had to buy it, didn't I?  That cost me £11.50 plus £1.65 p&p, but it looks and sounds great.  It was part of a 5 CD box set (the seller split them to sell separately) which contains the Christmas albums of Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Johnny Cash and Andy Williams, most of which (the exception being Johnny Cash) I already own on vinyl and CD.

Guess what?  Then I saw the box set itself, factory sealed, on sale for £5.99, p&p free - so I bought that as well.  What a bargain!  Anyway, in case you're interested in obtaining a copy for yourself (if you can find one) for the end of this coming December, I've included a couple of photos to show you what it looks like (cribbed from the Internet).  Note that Jim Reeves heads the pack, as his album is, in my view, the best of the bunch.  (Which is only to be expected, given that he was the greatest balladeer of the 20th century.)

WHAT HAVE CREEPY WORLDS #130 AND JERRY MOUSE GOT IN COMMON?


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Got myself a new laptop recently as my old one was Windows Vista and only one browser still fully worked with it.  However, trying to get used to my new one is a bit of a hassle as there are some things on my old one that I can't transfer - such as Picasa 3.  This was discontinued a few years ago, but I could still access it on my previous computer, though now there's no way to download it on my new one today.

This means that I can't do the same 'restoration' work to images that I once used to, which annoys the hell out of me.  Does anyone know if there's a direct equivalent of Picasa that does the exact same things in the exact same way?  Or, even better, can anyone tell me whether it's possible to transfer Picasa from one computer to the other?  Any help would be much appreciated.

But I digress.  Just bought the above comic yesterday via ebay, which was one I originally had back in either 1972 or '73.  The above image isn't of the actual one I purchased, but an earlier one from the Internet that I used in a previous post.  The seller's photos weren't of a good enough quality for me to use, so you'll just have to settle for this one.  I obtained my original copy from a newsagent's in another neighbourhood, at the same time as I bought a Marx Toys wind-up of Jerry mouse (of Tom & Jerry fame).

I replaced Jerry a couple of years back (along with Tom, who I never had originally), so with my acquisition of Creepy Worlds #130 (still to arrive), that's the two main items I bought on that particular day in the '70s back under my ownership.  If you'd like to read about it, click here and you'll be magically transported straight to my reminiscences of that long-ago event.

BOB HOPE IN HIS NEW JACKET...



Dug through over a dozen boxes yesterday, trying to find spare outfits for my action figures - success!  So here's Bob Hope with his 'new' jacket on, seeing as how the one he arrived in started decaying the second I touched it.  (And it was in a sealed box that hadn't been opened since the figure was first produced nearly 23 years ago.)  The new jacket isn't the same as the original, but it looks the part - and at least the problem is now sorted.  Doesn't he look smart?

(Update:) Well, the jacket I ordered via ebay finally arrived (from China), but the cuffs aren't wide enough to allow the figure's hands through without probably damaging the material, which is similar to the original but of a different style and colour (black).  So my decision to use the one in the photo was a good call, even though it was only meant as a temporary measure until the new one turned up.  (It's now permanent unless I find a better one somewhere). 

Saturday, 20 February 2021

THE ATLAS AGE - THE BLACK KNIGHT #1 FACSIMILE EDITION...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Before Marvel there was Atlas (and before Atlas, Timely), so it's nice to see an Atlas Facsimile Edition in the shape of The Black Knight #1, illustrated by Joe Maneely, who was Stan Lee's pal and favourite artist when the two worked together back in the '50s.  Unfortunately Joe was killed in an accident while still relatively young (32), and we therefore never got to see what he might've done with the Marvel Age of heroes.  Had there even been one that is, as Jack Kirby was a major force in what was yet to come, and had Joe Maneely lived, it might never have seen the light of day.

Stan was under instructions from Martin Goodman to create a superhero group in the wake of DC's hit mag, Justice League Of America, so The Fantastic Four in some form or other would probably still have appeared, but who the members were, what they were called, and a whole host of other factors, may have been entirely different and not quite the success of the Lee & Kirby version.  If it hadn't been, it's entirely doubtful that there would've been The Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, etc.

Stan Lee is quoted as saying that had Maneely not died, he (Stan) would most likely have given the FF to him to draw, but I think Stan is going overboard in trying to honour his pal's memory and artistic talent.  That's a common trait of Stan's - to bestow credit on his collaborators to the 'nth' degree.  (Ironic then, that he's accused of not giving enough by his often rabid band of detractors.)

Joe was reputedly an extremely fast artist (probably faster than Jack according to Stan, but there's no way to confirm that at this late stage) who had a nice, intricate and ornate yet easy-on-the-eye illustrative style that told the story perfectly adequately.  However, he didn't possess the dynamism or the raw power that Jack did in bringing a page to life, and looking at this reprint of The Black Knight, his shortcomings are all too obvious when considering him as a possible alternative co-creator of the mighty Marvel Universe.

His layouts are rather 'staid' and repetitive, and - were you to equate his storytelling abilities to that of a movie - give the impression that everything was shot from the same eyelevel as the 'actors', performing directly in front of the camera.  There isn't the variety of panel composition, or figure foreshortening that Kirby was capable of, and while nicely drawn, Maneely's art is more like the equivalent of a measured trot (occasionally rising to a canter) as opposed to Kirby's frenetic gallop.

Look at the first splash page.  There's almost an extra foot of body in the waist area of the Black Knight's figure, and I see that Joe repeats this tendency to elongate torsos throughout the mag.  A lot of his panels have a 'flatness' to them, and don't possess that almost 3D effect that Jack's panels have.  Often, Jack's figures appeared to be jumping off the page at the reader, whereas Joe's figures are all too clearly confined within the panel borders.  A Lee/Maneely FF would've been an entirely different animal to the Lee/Kirby one we're familiar with, and I suspect it would've pretty soon faded into limbo and not been the precursor of the avalanche of Marvel heroes back in the '60s.

So, summing up, Joe Maneely was a competent, professional artist who drew nice pictures that served their purpose, but his art just didn't have the raw, raging power required to kickstart and maintain the momentum of the Marvel Comics Group.  You may disagree, but if so, then I suspect that you're seeing something that I don't - something that isn't actually there in fact.

However, Maneely  certainly wasn't a bad artist, and I heartily recommend this comic to those who'd like to see what Marvel might've been like had Jack Kirby not been part of the equation that helped birth the 'House Of Ideas'.  And also just on its own merits, as an entry into a vanished age when comics were exciting fun.  Grab it while you can.

Friday, 19 February 2021

BABE OF THE DAY - SYBIL DANNING...



I'm too tired to write a new post today, so while I go off for a kip, you can content yourselves with looking at this ace piccie-wiccie of the amazing Sybil Danning.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

THE MAN WHO OUTDISTANCED - TIME! (THAT'S ME, FOLKS)...


Copyright relevant owner

"All things come to he who waits" runs the old saying - or something pretty close to it.  And it's right, 'cos I've just this minute purchased the comic wherein I originally saw 'The Man Who Outdistanced Death!' back around the mid or late '60s.  I managed to acquire a colour reprint of the story two or three years back, but I just had to have the b&w one I'd originally read as a kid.

Surprisingly, for a self-proclaimed 'Adult Comic', they've toned down the skeletal figure of Death on the cover, and also adjusted the 'first' page of the story to avoid repeating the cover image inside.  However, rather than describe it all in my usual tedious, long-winded way, I'll just show the cover and splash page as they originally looked when first published.

Well, that's another one soon to rejoin the throng.  At this rate, it won't be long before I have just about everything I recall from childhood back in my possession.



Tuesday, 16 February 2021

THE SHADOWS LENGTHEN...

If I remember correctly, it was when the above Shadows EP single came out in either 1976 or '77, that I wallpapered my bedroom for the first time.  I also painted the skirting boards and doors, lifted the carpet to find linoleum underneath, and under the lino, loads of sheets of old newspaper from the '60s.  I also recall watching the Nana Mouskouri show while taking a short break from my decorating tasks and hearing her sing The Three Bells, accompanied by The King's Singers.  However, for some reason I associate the cover of this record with my labours, and even though I've got an LP with the same cover, as well as a CD, I decided to buy the above replacement via ebay just to have it again.

Thing is, I already have the single in a generic record sleeve, but can no longer recollect whether it's my original single, sans sleeve, which may have got damaged and thus discarded, or an earlier replacement.  Once I would've been able to recall every detail, but the ol' memory is atrophying at an alarming rate.  Anyway, I'll use the cover to create a duplicate for the other single, as I prefer picture sleeves for singles as opposed to dull, boring, blank cardboard ones.  I've often wondered why some singles have picture sleeves, while others have only paper sleeves with the record companies' logos on them (if even that).  Any Crivvies know?

Anyway, do you associate any single 45 rpm records with a particular moment from your past, or are they free from any specific connections in your Crivvie craniums?  Tell all (if there's anything to tell) in the comments section.

Monday, 15 February 2021

THE DAY THE LEGENDARY BOB HOPE TURNED UP ON MY DOORSTEP...


Bob, sans decaying bomber jacket

You'll know already, of course (because I've told you before), that I was fortunate enough to meet Bob Hope in person on two occasions ten years apart.  I met him before his gig in Edinburgh in 1984, and again, after his show in Glasgow in 1994.  (Even got my photo taken with him on the second occasion, but I've shown it a few times so I'll spare you a repeat.)  Both times I got his autograph, and was also the grateful recipient of two separate personally autographed photos he was kind enough to send me.

Well, guess what?  Today, not a word of a lie, Bob popped in to say hello to me and he's decided to stay.  Okay, I know he died back in 2003, but today there was a knock at my door, and when I opened it, there was Bob on the doorstep.  Admittedly, he was in a cardboard box and he was only 12 inches tall, but it was definitely Bob, even though he was made of plastic and dressed to perform at one of his overseas gigs for American servicemen.

One drawback is that, although the box had never been opened, when I carefully took the figure out for examination, the 'skin' covering the fabric of his jacket crumpled and cracked on contact and it probably won't be long before bits start falling off.  Not the seller's fault that the manufacturer decided to use a fabric that wouldn't last, and he's kindly offered me a partial refund to compensate me.  I've already ordered a replacement jacket from ebay, which, although it's not an exact match, will mean I can display the figure fully attired.

It's a really good likeness, though I'm typing this before I've taken photos to accompany the post, so I'm hoping they do it justice.  If not, take my word for it, he's instantly recognisable.  Now I'm going to contact the manufacturer and see if I can get a replacement jacket from them.  Doesn't hurt to ask, eh?


Below, cribbed from the Internet, is a piccie of Bob in his bomber jacket.


And below are three of the seller's photos of the actual figure I purchased, so that you can see what the box looks like.





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