Monday, 31 May 2021

I HAVE OFTEN WALKED DOWN THIS STREET BEFORE...


The street in which I live is a long, winding, twisting, turning snake of a street with nearly 200 homes in it.  Towards the late '70s, I had two friends who lived in the street, but nearer the beginning than I was.  In fact, one lived in number one, the other half-a-dozen houses further up from him.  Neither of them live there now, having moved out decades ago, but their parents (then, with the passing of time, a parent in each case) continued to inhabit their long-term domiciles.

Last year, the father who lived in number one sadly passed away.  He was a very well-educated and extremely intelligent man and whenever he saw me, he'd say "Hello Kid" (yes, even my friends' parents usually addressed me by that singular appellation), and I'd stop and have a blether with him.  Sometimes, on my way to the shops, I'd chap his door to see if he needed anything, but his family, though no longer in residence, usually made sure he was well looked after, so there was only one occasion when I was of use to him for a couple of items of shopping.

Anyway, since he died, whenever I've been passing his house, I've always looked over and given a nod in its direction, just out of respect for him.  Yesterday, however, I saw a 'sold' sign at the entrance, which surprised me as I hadn't seen a 'for sale' sign preceding it, which would normally be the case.  So it's sad that my 45 year 'connection' (minor as it was) to the house has come to an end now that it's passed into the possession of another owner, but I don't think I'll ever be able to pass it without giving it a nod of acknowledgement when I do.

Today, I went around with my camera and snapped a few photos of the front and back, as it's unlikely I'll ever again set foot on the path and steps leading up to the front door.  Casting my mind back, it was in one of the bedrooms of the house that I scored my first '180' at darts sometime around 1982, and I well remember the apoplectic fit my friend's brother had in frustration at me gubbing him at the game he seemingly thought he was superior at.  And maybe he was, but not on that particular day.  Ah, happy memories.

However, I'm becoming all too aware that, with the passing of time, more and more familiar places are passing beyond my reach - or disappearing altogether - and it's a sombre and scary reminder that all things must pass, and that eventually there'll be little or no signposts to my youth left to take comfort from.  I used to be able to visit my old primary schools whenever there was a jumble sale, but they were demolished around 6 or 7 years ago, so I can no longer walk the halls of youthful academia.  Friends have moved or died, so I can no longer revisit the interiors of their houses I was so familiar with when I was a kid or teenager.

I don't know about you, but I miss being able to reconnect with certain aspects of my past due to people or places no longer existing, or for whatever reason it might be that prevents me doing so - like a friend's familiar house now belonging to someone else.  Previously, I knew that if I wanted to chap the door of the house under discussion, I'd be made welcome and given a cup of tea and a biccie.  The fact I knew I could meant that I didn't avail myself of such hospitality as often as I might have, but now that it's forever beyond me makes me kind of sad.

Any of you feel the same way when such things happen to you, or am I just a great big overly-sentimental wussy-boy who should toughen up and just get on with things?  Make your feelings known.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

HAVE YOU HAD A BUSY DAY, LITTLE MAN? THEN IT'S TIME TO RELAX AND LET ALL YOUR WORRIES MELT AWAY...



It's been mostly a warm sunny day today, a bit overcast at times, but at its best the type of day that would've benefitted from a nice cool breeze.  Well, here's the aural equivalent of such a breeze, delivered by the man with one of the greatest voices ever to grace the planet - Jim Reeves.  The song is called Crying Is My Favourite Mood, but you won't be crying after listening to it, no sirree.  You'll be sighing with pleasure and more relaxed than Mr. Relaxed, of Relaxed Street, Relaxedville.  Don't take my word for it, give it a listen.  And don't miss the nod to Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue at the end.

Friday, 28 May 2021

YOGI BEAR NEVER HAD A DOG TO GREET HIM IN THE SUMMER OF 1972 - NOR DOES HE NOW...


Characters copyright relevant owner

When younger, I sometimes bought comics that I was really too old for.  Comics like Little Star, Seven, and Yogi & His Toy.  Strangely, I also bought football comics like Shoot and Scorcher, even though I was never into the 'beautiful game'.  I guess I just liked buying new comics.  Almost 50 years ago I bought my original copy of the one above, which was the Summer Special for the aforesaid Yogi comic.  I received its replacement today, and it's with a sense of amazement that I realise three dogs (Prince, Tara, and Zara) at different times graced my family's household between me buying my first copy and purchasing its stand-in.  (The third dog, Zara, died in 1998.)

Is that significant?  Not to you, but I'm used to often being able to say when I replace a long-lost comic that "I first got that one when we had Prince" (or Tara, or Zara), so to acquire a comic with absolutely no doggie-association in my life is a bit of a strange feeling.  Only because, with this particular Special, we got our first dog only around 6 or 7 months later (when I no longer had the comic), so it's not too far removed from the timeframe of my family's doggie ownership.  In the case of much earlier comics, the time between buying them and getting our first dog is much greater and therefore doesn't really 'connect' in my mind in the same way.  (Although now that I'm aware of it, it might do so from now on.)

I really hope I'm explaining myself coherently as I find conveying precisely what I'm trying to say extremely difficult sometimes due to 'brain fog' caused by a medical condition.  Anyway, in short, this comic comes from a time when I was 'Douglas' (dug-less - get it?) and that's never really quite registered with me before.  It predates my status as a dog owner and, consequently, seems to transform an already lengthy nigh-50 year period into an even longer one.  Having waded through all that, you may now be either relieved or disappointed to learn that it's not really relevant to what this post is about.

No, I wanted to show you what can be done with a comic that's in less than pristine condition, using the seller's photos in comparison to my own once I'd performed a little 'work' on it.  There was a time when I'd have given an inferior condition comic like this one a miss, but I've learned to grab 'em while they're going in case a better one never comes along.  So the premise of this post is quite simple.  I'll show you the before and after photos just so you know that even imperfect comics can be greatly improved if you know what you're doing - and I flatter myself (well, who else is going to?) that I know what I'm doing when it comes to salvaging old periodicals from the scrapheap of history.

Ready?  Then let's go!  The above cover is the after, the one below is before.  The rest of the images are presented in before & after sequence.
















And in case you're interested, below are my three dogs who never saw me read this Yogi Summer Special on account of me not keeping it before we got our first canine chum.  (None of them ever met, but the photos of each pet were taken within a few feet of the same spot in our back garden.)

Thursday, 27 May 2021

PSSST! WANNA WRITE A GUEST POST?


Nope, I dunno why he's wearing a deckchair either

For all you cavortin' Crivvies who don't have a blog of your own, but would sometimes like to (or even if you do), here's an invitation for your careful consideration.  Write a guest post for Crivens! and savour the sizzling sensation of seeing your words in print.  It'll bring you such fame that you won't be able to walk down the road without being besieged by hordes of screaming, admiring females trying to touch you and slipping you their 'phone numbers.  (That reminds me, I really must give some of them a call one day.  They've waited long enough.)

Let me know if you're interested.

POST FROM THE PAST: MEMORIES AND IMAGINATION...


One tends to think of memory's magical kingdom as having fixed boundaries.  Only shadows of the past are allowed residence and interlopers are strictly forbidden.  However, the sentries can be fooled and intruders may sometimes sneak in under the cloak of familiarity if they bear a close enough resemblance to a recognised inhabitant.

"Okay, Gordie, you've lost the plot.  What are you blathering on about now?" you may well be thinking.  Simply this.  If you're around the same age as me, you may well remember the CAPTAIN SCARLET merchandise that was available back in the '60s, particularly the DINKY diecast vehicles like the SPVMSV, and SPC. (Though nowadays it's usually referred to as the SSC.  Perhaps it was only Dinky who called it an SPC?)


I had all of them - and still retain the set I acquired many years ago as replacements for my originals.  I've had them for far longer than I ever owned their predecessors, although it doesn't actually feel like it.  It's almost as if there's never been a period in my life when I was without them, and that the ones I have today are the very ones I had as a kid; hidden in a cupboard somewhere for all those years 'til I rediscovered them after a long period of neglect.  That's not the case of course, it just seems that way.

However, there are other ways to fool the mind, and here's what I hope is an interesting example of just such an instance.  Back in the very early '90s, THUNDERBIRDS enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity when the BBC broadcast all 32 episodes on network TV for the very first time.  Previously, back in the '60s (and with most subsequent repeats), they were shown in various TV regions on different days and times.  Amazingly, the '90s screenings were a huge success, spawning a level of merchandise to rival that which was available during the show's heyday.


The BBC tried again with STINGRAY and CAPTAIN SCARLET, but met with a more muted response from viewers.  However, having anticipated the same kind of enthusiastic reaction that INTERNATIONAL RESCUE had enjoyed, toy manufacturers launched all sorts of items to tie-in with the expected demand for all things GERRY ANDERSON.

Such an item was the SPV 'play set' by VIVID IMAGINATIONS, pictured in this post.  Now, here's the thing: I obviously bought this as a collector's piece, not to play with - and I purchased it while living in my present abode, with where one would naturally assume I would associate it.  But no, whenever I cast eyes on it, I seem to see myself, as a kid, sitting on the doorstep in the back garden of my old house, playing with this exact same vehicle - even though this specific toy didn't exist at the time and wasn't made until around a  quarter of a century later.


So vivid is the image that it does indeed seem like an actual memory - as opposed to what is obviously merely my imagination (see what I did there?), facilitated by the fact that I associate the familiar design of the vehicle with a particular period from my past.  In short, it's a perfect fit - and seems more at home in my memories of 1968 than of when I actually obtained it.

Funny how the mind can play such tricks, isn't it?  I believe it's called 'false memory syndrome', which is perhaps where 'deja vu'-type feelings spring from.  Anyone got any similar experiences they'd care to share?  Feel free to let loose in the comments section.

 

BABE OF THE DAY - PAIGE SPIRANAC...



The delectable Paige Spiranac is a total honey!  I could drone on for hours about the beauty of this magnificent woman, but why should I do all the work?  Especially as nothing I could say would make her any better looking.  Just look - and then sigh with awe and delight.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

THE MOST FANTASMAGORICAL POST IN THE HISTORY OF BLOGGING (NOT)...


Around 15 years or so ago I bought a huge Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.  The chassis is around 14 or so inches from 'tip-to-toe', but closer to 17 if you include the front and rear wings.  Articulated figures were also available, but it was mainly the car I wanted so I didn't bother buying them, figuring I could pick them up later if I changed my mind.  Which I did (change my mind that is*), but never saw them again anywhere, so Chitty was left driverless and without passengers until only recently, when I managed to acquire Caractacus Potts, Truly Scrumptious, Jeremy, and Jemima on ebay.  At last, I thought, now my car is complete.  Incidentally, the car is almost as light as a feather, even with the figures in it.

(*Okay, who's the wise guy who said I should've changed it for a better one?)

Only thing is, the female figures, despite having poseable legs, are hindered in their movements by their vinyl dresses, and the driver (modelled after Dick Van Dyke) is prevented from fitting his legs (with my help of course) under the steering wheel, so isn't quite a perfect fit as the back end of his bum sits a little above the seat.  Only the boy is able to be positioned on the back seat in the right position, whereas the girl has to stand, as does Truly.  Never mind, it's still a far more impressive item with the figures than without and it's great to finally have it as it was meant to look.  (The car was also issued with a chrome-plated bonnet as in the film, but, just like the figures, I didn't buy it when I had the chance.)

So although it's by no means certain that this particular post will attract much interest or many (or even any) comments, I thought I'd share some photos of the car with my fellow Crivvies.  Hopefully some among you will enjoy seeing such a great item.  Incidentally, it's amazing how often this movie is credited in TV listings as being a Disney film, and a large slice of the general public seem to be of that opinion too.  However, it's an Eon film, based on the book by Ian Fleming and produced by Albert R. Broccoli.  The fact that the songs for both movies were written by the Sherman brothers probably led to the confusion, with Dick Van Dyke's presence no doubt helping to reinforce that impression too.

I've placed one of my Corgi models next to it in the last three photos, just to give you a better idea of the size.  That's the main Corgi car, not the smaller Husky or Juniors one.






And here's me in my full-sized Chitty (he lied) a good many years ago

ROLLICKIN' REPOST: KID DOES COMICS...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

It continues to surprise me as to why some other blogs receive so many comments in response to such superficial material.  My theory is that where there's a crowd, other people want to join in and be part of the gang.  I do my more then my own fair share of superficial posts of course, but even when I publish a more serious one, the response, while usually well-considered and insightful, is meagre, quantity-wise - sometimes not even receiving a single reply.  Anyway, let's have a laugh by dusting down an old post and giving it another airing.

******

Thought I'd try something new for a change, Crivs.  (Well, new for me anyway.) Most of the time, the images you see on this blog are culled from my own personal collection.  Occasionally, I'll use a temporary, borrowed image until such time as I acquire the comic for myself, and then the visual 'stand-in' gets replaced with a scan of my own copy.  For this post though, all images are lifted at random from the Internet, after I typed '1970s Marvel comics' into the Google search box.

Also, usually I tell you something about the comics themselves, with a little bit of personal reminiscing thrown in for good measure.  Now, truth be told, I have a few of the comics shown in this post, but for the purpose of this experiment, I'm going to pretend that I don't.  You see, I've noticed that on some other blogs, the site owners don't own the comics they post, nor do they seem to know anything about the contents, yet they appear to have a hardcore following of commenters who lap it all up, and leave comment after comment.

So that looks like the way to go - give the readers the chance to show everyone what they know about comics that the hosts are unaware of and the comments will just pile up, and all the hard work is done by the commenters, not the hosts.  It's a win-win situation for the site owners, because not only do they not have to spend a bean buying any comics to feature on their blogs, but their lack of knowledge of any of the titles reels the suckers readers in.

Wanna give it a try?  Then let's go.  Regarding the above cover, obviously the comic is about a nurse who works at night.  That's all you need to know and, indeed, all that I can tell you.  What's up next?


Spot the boobies of the babe on the above cover defy gravity as CAPTAIN MARVEL (I think he's the guy on the left in the red long-johns) battles The CONTROLLER.  Don't ask me who or what he controls though, as I just don't have a Scooby.  (I don't even know why it's called a Scooby.)


Here's another guy in red long-johns, seemingly getting kicked out of the church disco by some dude called COPPERHEAD.  Why a bouncer needs a costume is beyond me (unless it was a fancy-dress disco), so don't ask me for any details - I don't have any.  (Perhaps the guy in the red suit was caught smoking in the toilets.)  Wait - now I've got it.  It symbolises the Devil being thrown into a churchyard grave - brilliant!


Here's CAPTAIN AMERICA & The FALCON showing what a couple of wimps they are, running away from a motley street gang who are tripping over their own feet.  They sure don't make heroes like they used to, but don't ask me what happens inside the mag as I don't have a clue.


Is that another guy in a red suit I see before me?  Just where do they all come from?  Ol' Red could be a midget for all I know, as I'm unsure whether BLACK GOLIATH is at normal height or giant-size.  Perhaps I should be bothered by my lack of knowledge on the very subject I blog about, but hey - what do I care?!  You rubes can fill in the details for yourself.


What?!  I don't believe it!  Yet another guy in red - pyjamas this time - with a swollen leg that's reminiscent of POPEYE.  Going from the cover-copy, he's having an argument with his dad, so he was probably sent to bed early for not doing his homework or eating his greens.  (I don't know to be honest, so please don't embarrass me by asking.)


Well, thank goodness for that - there's only half a red suit this time.  The story seems to be about a guy who's going to earn himself a restraining order for stalking the stars.  No names are mentioned, but as this was the '70s, it was probably stars like BRUCE FORSYTHNORMAN WISDOMJOAN COLLINSVIOLET CARSON and the like.  Or could it have been American stars perhaps?  Don't ask me, 'cos I just don't know.  (Hey, at least I'm consistent.) 


Ah, a guy in a green suit - that makes a nice change.  However, I don't have a Scooby about what goes on inside, so you'll have to track down a copy if you want to know that - assuming that you don't already have one.  You probably do, though, as you readers seem to know far more than me about what transpires within the pages of these crazy comics.

Anyway, until next time, may your amulet never tickle.  (I don't actually know what that means, but it sounds a bit rude.  Titter!)   Oh, and by the way, if anyone would like to sponsor this site by the auspices of Patsycon, feel free.

Monday, 24 May 2021

IS THERE ANY 'PROFIT' IN DISCUSSING THIS TOPIC?


A good few years back, a UK daily newspapers (maybe a broadsheet, can't recall) published an extremely positive article about the religion of Islam.  It was clearly intended to portray Muslims in a good light, and there was really nothing much about it at which you'd think anyone of that persuasion could take offence.  Unfortunately, it published a small 16th or 18th century illustration of the prophet Mohammed, which is when the sh*t hit the fan.  Muslim leaders across the country got in touch with newsagents operated by adherents of their religion, instructing them to contact the newspaper and demand that, unless they published an apology and promised not to do it again, Muslim news vendors would no longer stock their newspaper or any other publication distributed by them.  Although the picture had been published in perfect innocence simply because it was relevant to the subject, I believe an apology soon followed.

Not long after (or perhaps it was before), around the time of a sporting event (the Olympics maybe), a dairy published verses from various countries' sacred religious texts on their milk cartons in an attempt to demonstrate inclusivity and diversity in matters of religion.  There was a verse from the Old Testament on some cartons, the New Testament on others, and among other world religions, also the Koran.  Sh*t hit the fan again.  Muslim leaders contacted Muslim shopkeepers and instructed them to demand an apology from the dairy involved, on the grounds that all those milk cartons would be disposed of in rubbish bins and this was disrespectful to their sacred scriptures and an insult to them.  And, of course, insisted that they promise not to do it again or their milk would not be stocked.

More recently there was the case of a teacher who showed his class a picture of the prophet Mohammed as part of a lesson.  This was no individual maverick act, but the approved manner in which this particular course was presented to students by all teachers in the school.  Sh*t hit the fan once again, with demonstrations outside the school by Muslims; death threats were made against the teacher from other Muslim sources, and the teacher is now in hiding with his family in fear of his life. It's unlikely that he'll be able to return to either the school or his house.  Only a very few Muslims were in support of the teacher, saying that they had no problem with him and didn't believe he was in any way anti-Islamic.  (Good on them.)

And then, of course, there was Salman Rushdie, who I'm sure you all know about.  One of the more alarming aspects of his case is that Muslims in Britain, family men, were asked by a TV reporter whether they'd be prepared to carry out the fatwa on Rushdie, and quite a few said yes.  Whether this was mere grandstanding for the cameras in order to impress fellow like-minded Muslims with their devoutness or was a statement of intent should the opportunity ever arise is open to question, but as far as I'm aware, none of these men were arrested for declaring that they were willing to commit murder because some old guy in a far-off country had decreed it.  Who'd ever have thought such a situation could happen in Britain?

Now I'm all for people believing what they want to believe and practising whatever religion they choose (within reason).  However, that doesn't mean that they should be allowed to insist that anyone else who isn't an adherent of their religion should be obliged to abide by its precepts and tenets.  (Or be sentenced to death because they don't.)  So if you're a follower of another religion or none at all, if you want to have a picture of Mohammed on your wall (or in your newspaper), you should be allowed to (why you'd want to is another matter) without any threats of physical injury or death, either from Muslims or anybody else.  Why?  Because you're not bound by their beliefs and shouldn't have to kowtow to them in case they threaten to kick-off.  More and more we're being bullied and intimidated into observing alien practices that are not part of our traditional way of life.

Respect for other cultures and religions is one thing, subservience another.  Most British people are prepared to live and let live, but that concept doesn't seem to be reciprocated by those who seek to impose their religious strictures on the rest of us.  If you don't believe in having images of the prophet Mohammed, then don't have them, but don't presume to tell the rest of us how we should think or behave.  It's simply not on!  There's one right that no one has in this country and that's the right not to be offended.

Got a view, or are you too scared to share it in case they come for you?  Grow a pair and let's hear what you think.  If you don't exercise your freedom of thought and speech there's a very real danger it'll be silently taken away from you as a result of the behaviour of those who don't want you to have it.  To paraphrase an old saying - The only thing that oppressive thinking needs to flourish is for reasonably-minded people to say nothing.

And perhaps I should add that I'm not accusing all Muslims of having this attitude, but the pronouncements in response to the newspaper and dairy incidents came from British Muslim leaders, who should surely be prepared to show non-Muslims the same tolerance that the rest of the country accords them?

The floor is open.    

Saturday, 22 May 2021

BY GOLLY - IS THIS RACIST? (UPDATED)


Look at this ad from an old issue of TV Century 21.  Does it offend you?  Maybe I'm an 'innocent', but I don't remember ever thinking that Golliwogs were an example of racism when I was a kid, probably because the concept of racism was then unknown to me.  Perhaps, in my subconscious, I assumed that Golliwogs were a separate strain of creation, like the Smurfs or the Wombles (though they hadn't yet appeared on UK TV), or I considered them as caricatures of black people in the same way that Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were caricatures of stone age 'white' men.  Never really thought about it to be honest, but I certainly never found myself having any negative or hostile thoughts about black people because of Gollies.

Gollies were well-loved, being seen as 'cute' and adorable, and I doubt that there was anything about them that inculcated seeds of racism in the minds of their young owners.  However, maybe you feel differently.  If so, can you articulate why Gollies are seemingly not acceptable nowadays, or do you think that accusations of racism are levelled by those who are simply determined to take offence at every little thing in order to beat 'whitey' over the head with a stick and coerce us into apologetic mode?  My own view is that anything that isn't intended to demean, criticise, ridicule, or oppress isn't racist, and I find myself continually surprised by what falls under the umbrella of racism these days.

Some Scots see the portrayal of a knock-kneed man wearing a kilt, tam o'shanter, and gnarled cane (think Harry Lauder) as a racist stereotype, but I'm not one of them.  I think it's time people loosened up and stopped looking to take offence wherever they can find it.  We used to be able to laugh at, as well as with, one another in this country, though having said that, I don't remember anyone ever laughing at a Golliwog - smiling maybe, but only because they were so loveable.  What's wrong or racist about that? 

Make your feelings known.

******

Perhaps a case could be made for the ad being sexist though.  'Free for every boy'?  Didn't girls collect Gollies as well?  Maybe the fact that TV21 was considered primarily as a comic for boys might explain the seeming sexism?

Friday, 21 May 2021

BY THUNDER - IT'S ADAM ETERNO, THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT DIE!


Copyright REBELLION

Today I revisited the early '70s - or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the early '70s revisited me - when my hardback collected edition of Adam Eterno (from Thunder) arrived at Castel Crivens.  Once more I was a kid, back in the living-room of my previous home and thrilled by the adventures of the man who would not die - unless struck a fatal blow from a weapon (or anything used as a weapon) made of solid gold.  And that's a significant detail to remember - it had to be what under normal circumstances would count as a fatal blow, not just a glancing or weakly administered one, so merely touching him with a gold object wouldn't necessarily kill him.  Nor would throwing a gold-plated cigarette case at him from the other side of a room bring his demise should it strike his person.

Anyway, as usual with those wonderful chaps and chapesses at Rebellion's Treasury Of British Comics, this is a delightful book that is sure to rekindle warm memories of your youth if you were a reader of Thunder back in the day.  However, a few observations are in order or this wouldn't be a proper Criven's review.  I found the reproduction of some of the earlier strips not quite as sharp as is usual for TOBC's collected editions, so I assume that, as the contents are sourced from actual published comics, perhaps the pages used had 'bleed-through' and the process by which this was removed also resulted in some loss of fine detail.  Also, although any spot colour has been removed from any pages on which it appeared in the weekly strips, it's been retained for the text story from the 1974 Annual.  I think I'd have preferred to see it kept in the weekly strips also, even though it wasn't on every page (and maybe not even in every instalment).

This handsome book contains all 22 strips from Thunder's original run before it was merged with Lion, plus all the Eterno strips and illustrated text stories from the Annuals for 1972-'74.  It also has an introduction by Colin Page, one of the various artists on the stories reprinted within.  Officially released on May 26th, it can be obtained from Rebellion's webshop, and will doubtless be available in some better quality bookstores.  This is volume one, so further volumes are sure to follow if this one proves a success.  (It's also available as a softcover edition.)

Was Adam Eterno one of your favourite strips when you were a lad?  Why not share your memories and impressions of those halcyon days of yore with your fellow Crivvies?  You know where the comments section is, so don't be shy now.




Monday, 17 May 2021

BABE OF THE DAY - PAIGE SPIRANAC...



Paige Spiranac would be ideal to play Susan Storm, aka the Invisible Girl, in any new Fantastic Four movie, but for one thing - it would be a crime against humanity if Paige were invisible.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

BLOGGERS - DARE YOU ANSWER THE MOST PERPLEXING QUESTION IN THE WORLD?*


*Well it is in my house.

One of the things that often bemuses me is just why some people leave frequent and lengthy comments on other people's blogs, yet leave only occasional and scant remarks on mine - even when I posted first on the same subject.  Or why readers flock to comment when another blogger admits to remembering absolutely nothing about the comics he's borrowed from the Internet, and says so in every post he ever publishes.  Same old, same old in every single post - and there's a couple of guys who even pay him for the privilege.  Maybe they think if they pay (or should I say 'sponsor') him then they essentially own his blog and thereby can make it the venue for their own private party.  I've never yet seen a blog that's worth paying for (or donating to), and that includes mine!

As an example of what I'm talking about, on another blog at the moment the blogger asks a similar question to one that I've posed a few times (with even a very similar title to an old one of mine - and no, I'm not suggesting he copied me) and is inundated with numerous very lengthy comments, including a few from readers of my blog who - if they answered at all - left far shorter responses to essentially the same topic when I raised the issue.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the comments I do get, but I sometimes wonder why some folk seemingly couldn't be bothered to reply to some of my posts, yet write a novella of a response to someone else asking the same or a similar question.

Or perhaps I do understand.  Could it be that people like being able to show off what they know, and when they get an opportunity to reveal their knowledge on some topic to a bunch of other regular commenters, they seize it with both hands?  Maybe there's just not enough participants in my blog to make it worth people's while to take the time and effort to comment when they can save it for a wider audience on someone else's blog.  I'm not necessarily saying that I get fewer visits than those other blogs (I wouldn't know either way), just that I seem to have fewer and shorter responses from some of those who do drop into my site.  (There are exceptions of course, and you may be one of them.)

Anyway, it wouldn't surprise me if I get little or no response at all to this post, but someone else will get dozens of lengthy replies if they ever ask a similar question (about someone else's blog obviously).  So tell me - where am I going wrong?

BUILDING AN EMPIRE...


Copyright REBELLION

I bought the above book in the early '80s ('81 or '82) from John Menzies in Glasgow's Buchanan Street.  Published in '78, I'd seen it over the years at various times in different places, but it'd never previously called out to me to purchase it.

Not sure why as it's a handsome tome, so I guess I wasn't really a fan of The Trigan Empire, despite the impressive art of Don Lawrence.  (I wasn't too keen on some of his aircraft designs though.)  Or maybe it was because I'd already read the initial strips when they'd been reprinted in Vulcan around the mid-'70s and didn't feel compelled to own them again.  What changed my thinking that day I don't know; perhaps I just had money to spend and the book was in the right place at the right time - and at the right price.  I say that because, although I couldn't swear to it, it may've been reduced.

Anyway, one day during an idle chat with an acquaintance, he expressed his love for the strip and when I mentioned owning this book, he offered to buy it.  Unusually for me I agreed, and we arranged for me to visit him on the coming Sunday and pass the volume into his hands for a paltry sum, probably less than I'd paid for it.  On the appointed day I chapped his door and was met with no response despite repeated attempts, so I took the book home and have had it ever since.  When I eventually ran into him some time later, he said he'd been in but hadn't heard me at the door.  "Tough luck," I thought, "too late!" - he'd had his chance to buy it and wasn't getting another.  (And he'd have had to be dead not to hear me knocking).

Anyway, fairly recently I learned there'd been an earlier incarnation of the book in the form of The Look and Learn Book of The Trigan Empire, published by IPC in 1973 (for '74), and I managed to track one down a few days ago, which arrived at Castel Crivens yesterday (Friday).  It has only the first two stories of the Hamlyn edition's seven, though the latter has used the same proofs or negs as the former in regard to those two particular adventures.  I bought it mainly for the cover, which I think is better than its later counterpart.  Which one do you prefer?

So I now have five editions of Trigan Empire reprints, the two already mentioned, a tabloid-sized hardback by Hawk Books, two Rebellion volumes, plus a 48 issue part-work of Look and Learn which reprinted the strip exactly as it had first appeared in Ranger Magazine.  I believe there are two more volumes due from Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics imprint, and you can be sure I'll be adding them to my collection when they appear in the not too distant future.

Y'know, being able to read stories I didn't see as a kid is like returning to the '60s and catching up with what I missed at the time; almost like hitting a rewind button and reliving my early years and experiencing what I could've and should've but somehow didn't - expanding my childhood so to speak.  It's difficult to put into words, but I'm sure you're all clever enough to catch what I'm trying to say.

Anyway, forgive my self-indulgent nonsense.  It's really just an excuse to show off my new acquisition and remind you all that you too have a chance of experiencing what you may have missed first time around, and to encourage you to consider buying Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics collected editions of one of Britain's most popular strips from the '60s.  Whether you've seen these strips before or not, you're bound to enjoy having them in your collection to dip into whenever the fancy takes you.

Go on - treat yourself today!

******

(Update: Sharp-eyed readers will notice a few minor changes to the above text since first posted.  That's because, last night, I typed out and published a first version, only for it to disappear into limbo when I attempted to correct a typo moments later.  An email then appeared in my Spam inbox, saying that the post had been deleted because it contravened Blogger community guidelines content policy, and that I should click an enclosed link if I wished to appeal the decision.

However, heading that email was a warning saying that the link was known to steal information and it was dangerous to respond to it.  I therefore deleted the email and rewrote the post from memory, but I've just noticed a new email in my inbox [not Spam] saying that after re-evaluating my original post, it's been restored to my drafts file.  I've therefore taken the opportunity to restore some of the original text because I preferred it.  Must've been the word 'Empire', eh?) 




Below is the very first Trigan tale as it appeared in Ranger, and reprinted in a 'new' Look and Learn part-work series a few years ago.  Below that is the cover of the tabloid-sized volume published by Hawk Books in 1989. 





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