|Copyright MARVEL COMICS|
I remember the day well. It was a sunny afternoon sometime in 1981 and I was in Glasgow with a visiting pal, up from where he now lived in England to see his in-laws who yet resided in my home town. So while his wife spent time with her parents, me and Bob Billens (name changed, though it was a double 'B') nipped into the 'dear green place' for a jaunt. Bob had worked as a summer assistant in my town's central library when I was a full-time employee there in 1979, and that's how we'd met. He, like myself, was also a comics geek, though he preferred DC to Marvel.
Anyway, we were near Howard Street, so I directed Bob's attention to a huge board I'd fairly recently signwritten which adorned the side of a building close by. Then we nipped into a newsagent's opposite and I bought The Invincible Iron Man #150, which I still have to this very day. Now, 40 years on, I finally got the chance to read the issue that preceded it when the above True Believers reprint of #149 popped through my letterbox this morning. I suppose it's fitting that the two issues involve time travel, as my mind returned 40 years into the past to the day that two pals with the same pastime enjoyed a carefree saunter 'round the city for a couple of hours.
A mere 5 or 6 years later, Bob apparently decided that our long-distance friendship was surplus to his requirements, presumably having made so many new pals in England that he considered the effort of maintaining contact with me an unnecessary exercise, so he simply stopped keeping in touch. He'd become a bit of a social climber, like Bob Ferris in the TV show Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads, and I think he'd come to regard me as the Scottish version of Terry Collier and therefore a bit of an embarrassment to his imagined new status down south.
So, sadly, turned into a bit of a pr*ck, did Bob, but, regardless, I can't help but smile fondly at the memory of our friendship, before it finally faded like the colours of a parted petal, bleached by the radiating rays of the summer sun. But enough of such sentimental b*ll*cks - if you see this mag on sale anywhere, grab it while you can. It's been out for a month or more, but it's well-worth having. Meanwhile, having read #149, I'm now off to re-read #150, so that I can immerse myself in the 2 part story in sequential order - almost 40 years after the fact.