Tuesday 29 June 2021


If you're anything like me (or anywhere near the same age) you probably miss once-familiar names, places, and things from your past.  You know, names like Marathon, Treets, Opal Fruits, etc., or places such as Safeway, Woolworth's, Fine Fare, John Menzies, and various others.  And what about the original Germolene ointment, not to be confused with the new cream that's replaced it?  What most people might not realise is that the original ointment is yet available, but it costs an absolute fortune, though I read somewhere only recently that it can be acquired with a doctor's prescription.  Whether that's true or not I couldn't say, but I'll ask my doctor the next time I have to see him.

Anyway, I bit the bullet and forked out for a tube on eBay, now manufactured by another company (presumably under licence) and it arrived at Castel Crivens yesterday.  Germolene has, due to various mergers and buyouts, been produced by different pharmaceutical companies over the years (or in some cases the same ones with different names), but I won't bore you with all the details (nor bore myself by paying them more than superficial attention), which you can read for yourself on Wikipedia.  Suffice to say, unless they're connected in some way, the cream is made by one company, the ointment another.

What a delight it was to smell that distinct aroma (known as oil of wintergreen) when I opened the tube, and I straightway found an excuse to apply it to a few minor scuffs and abrasions on my arms and legs, incurred as a result of my clumsiness.  I've also got a hint of a pimple on my beak, so I dabbed a bit on to that as well.  Until 2014 it was possible to purchase both versions of Germolene from any UK chemists, but then the original simply disappeared.  Up to that point, I'd buy a tube to refill an old Germolene tin I'd bought sometime in the late '70s or early to mid '80s, and that's what I did when the new tube arrived - filled my old tin.  That still left around half the contents in the tube though, so I've got plenty to last me for a good wee while.

That brings me to another 'medicine' - Golden Eye Ointment.  I remember having this applied to my eyes as a child when I had an infection, and, having a tendency to be regularly afflicted with conjunctivitis and blepharitis over the years, I've also used it as an adult.  I had a minor eye irritation recently and tried to buy a tube, but was told in every chemists I went in to that they didn't stock it - some assistants didn't seem to even know what it was.  I've checked the Internet and it seems readily available at a reasonable price, so I'll be buying some of that before very long.  I've still got the last tube I bought, but it expired in 2006 so it's not safe to risk using it.

Before we go, let's take a look at Germolene New Skin.  This is a product for applying to cuts and scratches, and which forms an artificial 'skin' over them to protect them.  Personally, I don't like sticking plasters, so when I first discovered this back in the late '70s or early '80s I bought one right away.  In the photo below, the one on the left may well be the first (if not, the second) one I ever bought.  The bottle is now empty, so I bought another one a few weeks back and that's it on the right of the photo.

Anyway, I've probably milked this topic for all it's worth (if not more), so I'll call it quits for the moment.  However, let me ask - is there anything you miss from your long-ago days that you'd like to see or smell again, and which is no longer around?  And do you remember the smell of the original Germolene ointment?  Tell all in the comments section.

Sunday 27 June 2021


Copyright MARVEL COMICS and relevant owners

Take a look at the above double-page spread from the MWOM Annual for 1977, which I featured in the previous post.  I was studying it earlier and noticed what seems to be a mistake - can you spot it?  It seems that Conan The Barbarian appears twice, although I did consider the possibility that one of them (the one on the left) is meant to be Kull The Conqueror.  Only thing is, both figures are wearing a metal band on their right arm, and what are the chances that they'd have the same taste in fashion?  (Having said that, Kull is wearing a band on the cover of KTC #4, but it's a different type to the ones shown here.)

Whaddya think, Crivvies - boneheaded booboo, or is one Conan and the other Kull?  Vote now!

Saturday 26 June 2021



The Mighty World Of Marvel Annual 1977 was significant in that, although it was the fifth in the series, it was the first to have the full name of the weekly comic it represented on the cover and spine.  The first four Annuals were simply called 'Marvel Annual' (though the 3rd sported the full title on the contents page, as did 5, 6, & 7, but not 4), so it was good to see the connection with the comic more prominently acknowledged.

Strangely, I find myself unable to recall whether or not I actually had this book at the time - despite the cover seeming familiar to me - but I've got it now as it arrived at Castel Crivens this morning.  Originally, it would've gone on sale around August/September of 1976 (at which time I was working in the warehouse of my local Boots The Chemists) so I feel like I've returned 45 years into the past - even if only in my mind.

There are four pages of pin-ups at the expense of one of the strips being abridged, which strikes me as an odd thing to do as I'd rather have had the full story, but it's a nice little Annual despite that and I'm glad to finally have it in my collection (if I didn't back in 1976/'77).  As far as I know, there were only two more in the series (for '78/'79), making a total of seven Annuals in all.  I've yet to complete the set, but once I do, prepare yourself for a cover gallery of all seven.

Any thoughts, memories, or observations, faithful Crivvies?  Did you have this book when you were a lot younger than you are now, and what do you think of the cover by Ron Wilson and Mike Esposito?  Let rip in the comments section. 

Friday 25 June 2021


I never met, spoke with, or even knew Steve Sherman, but his was a name that I was familiar with through his association, alongside Mark Evanier, with Jack Kirby back in the early '70s.  Most of Jack's then new DC mags had at least one feature page which bore Evanier's and Sherman's names, as they were assistants to 'King' Kirby.  Mark Evanier has said on numerous occasions that they did very little as there wasn't a lot to do when you worked for JK, apart from say "Great idea, Jack!", but I'm pretty sure they earned their wage and probably then some.

Anyway, I learned today from Mark Evanier's blog that Steve Sherman passed away yesterday, and couldn't help but be saddened by the fact that yet another aspect of my faraway youth had left the stage, and thought that, if you were familiar with his name but didn't already know, you'd want to be informed of his passing.  I suppose it's kind of selfish to view his death from my own personal perspective, but nevertheless, my condolences to all of Steve's family, friends and fans at this sad time.

Steve was much more than just one of JK's assistants though, and you can read a fuller account of his achievements and accomplishments over on Mark's site, which is in my bloglist. 

Wednesday 23 June 2021


Somewhere I have a photograph of a Hoover I remember my mother having in the first house I can recall waking up in, though there was a previous abode I've absolutely no memory of, where said dust-sucking implement could also have resided.  The photo was taken in the second previous house to my current one, which will confuse you if you're not a regular reader of this blog.  You see, my family first took up residence here in 1972 and moved elsewhere in 1983.  However, just over 4 years later, we moved back again, meaning we lived in one house before moving in here the first time, and another house before moving back again in 1987.  I forget where the photo is, but when I find it I'll add it to the post.

The Hoover made it back here with us, meaning that it's been in every house I remember, but it didn't get to stay for long.  I no longer recall whether it was days, weeks, or a couple of months, but my mother bought a new vacuum cleaner and 'old faithful', who I'd known from my infancy to adulthood, was put out in the back garden next to the rubbish bin, for disposal when the refuse collectors (that's bin men, Melvin) came to collect our garbage.  This was more than half my lifetime away, back in the day when households had only one bin, and before we had to take out our own trash and do the council's job for them.

I find myself missing this Hoover from time-to-time.  I wish I still had it because I have many happy memories of reading comics on the settee when I was a kid, and having to lift my feet as my mother vacuumed under my legs and around me.  In fact, I miss every item of furniture we ever had and that I no longer own, and if I could, I'd buy replacements for every last stick of it and quite easily allow myself to believe that they're the original pieces from my childhood and teenage years.  To be able to live here with all the furniture and fittings that we brought with us back in 1972 (most of them dating from the late '50s and early '60s, thereby reflecting earlier houses too), well, that's my idea of Utopia.

So, fellow Crivvies - what's yours?

But before you tell me (if you do), here's another part of the story.  In the back garden of the second 'previous' residence, my father had a greenhouse.  At some stage my mother bought a new ironing board, the old one, same as the Hoover, having been with us from at least the '60s.  My father requisitioned it for his greenhouse and laid out boxes of tomato plants on top of it, but when we moved back here, he left it where it was.  After a couple of weeks back in our old home, I started to feel a bit guilty about its abandonment so went back to the house we'd flitted from and offered the guy with whom we'd swapped a couple of quid for it.  He was perfectly agreeable as he had no need for it, so a fortnight or so after our flit, the old ironing board also made it back to be reunited with its 'comrades'.

Why was it so important to me?  Well, I've always been in the habit of carefully ironing my comics if there's even a hint of a creased or curved corner or spine, and over the years it had been done on that very ironing board, so I couldn't just walk away from it.  It hasn't been used in decades now (since that day my mother got a new one in fact), but it's stored in my shed and hopefully isn't too warped or decayed in the less-than-desirable conditions of its acrylic container in the back garden.  Maybe one day I'll clean it up and start using it again, but even if I don't, it's nice to know that it's still there and can be 'pressed' into service if required.  (Yes, that was a deliberate ironing pun.)

Anyway, while you reel in shock at my obvious insanity, I'll retire for the moment before you start demanding that someone signs the papers for my committal.  No point in giving anyone even more ammunition.  Blurble!

However, I have to ask - has there ever been something you left somewhere that you went back for - or didn't, but now wish you had?  If so, spill the Heinz 57 in the comments section.

Tuesday 22 June 2021


Hopefully, you won't be offended
by a wee 'hint of nip' in this photo of Sybil
Danning lounging on my private beach as she
fixes me with her 'come hither' stare.  That's how
most women respond to my Herculean physique
kitted out in nothing more than my Yogi Bear
swimming trunks.  It wouldn't work for you lot,
as I'm far more handsome than the average
 Criv.  (Oh yes I am!  Don't deny it.)

Sunday 20 June 2021


It will doubtless come as no surprise to most of you that I like to have the familiar around me.  Whether it be pictures on the wall, ornaments, furniture, toys, etc., I derive a certain comfort from being surrounded by things I grew up with from childhood to adulthood, and although I sometimes think I'm a slave to them and should perhaps learn to let go, I know that I never could and never shall.  I realise that I'd miss them if they were gone, and then I'd probably spend a small fortune and a lot of time I don't really have in trying to reacquire or replace them with exact replicas.

Earlier this evening as I reclined on my bed with a cuppa char, my eye fell upon a picture of Fireball XL5, culled from an Annual and put up on my bedroom wall sometime around the mid-to-late '70s.  Or at least the original was, but two or three years back I made duplicates of most of the pictures, posters, pin-ups, and pages that had faded, browned, rippled, and mottled over time and replaced the originals by means of my trusty scanner and printer, along with the application of a bit of computer technology to enhance and make them look fresh and new.

The paper those pictures once adorned may be new, but the images on them are ones from of old, familiar 'friends' from my youth that I'd miss if they weren't there whenever I care to cast my gaze over them and remember earlier, better times.  It does sometimes bother me that they aren't the originals, but they were well-past their best and made my room look like a forgotten tomb on which time had taken its tiring toll.  Now that they're bright and clean and new again (and colourful), my room doesn't seem like a repository of relics, but rather a brand-new edifice at the start of its existence, not near the end of it.

It's daft I know, but sometimes I like to pretend that it's my first full day in this room back in 1972, which makes me feel like I only just flitted from my previous house the day before.  In that way, it creates the illusion (even if only for a short time) that my life up to that point is as fresh and as recent as only a day earlier, and that I'm not as old as I sometimes feel - or my mirror often testifies I am.  When I look at something from the '70s it's as if I'm back there again, and as I've said before many a time, it's the closest thing to time travel that any of us will ever experience outside of photos or home videos, or revisiting places from our youth (if they still exist).

So am I just completely bonkers, or do any of you Crivvies ever feel the same?  Do you surround yourself with the familiar, either in a physical way or just by entering the evergreen land of memory?  Do tell, if you'd be so good.   


Pencil tracing by Dom Regan, inking and lettering by Kid Robson
Many of you will have seen The FREEDOM COLLECTIVE one-shot mag from a small independent 'publisher' a goodly number of years back.  There were quite a few people involved with the issue, but I believe the basic premise was based on a suggestion by a Glasgow artist (not the one alluded to below and named above), author, and well-known man about town.

I'm unsure whether the original pencil rough of the above image was prepared as a possible project or merely for the artist's own amusement, but it was traced from a copy of the cover of STRANGE TALES #135 - which I then inked, embellished, improved, as well as lettered, and which came out not too badly at all, in my humble estimation.

"KRUST" was later changed to "K.R.U.S.H.", but the above illustration is how it left my drawing board.

Saturday 19 June 2021


While we're on the subject of TV21, there's a picture of a character identified as Norrie Kamar on the cover of issue #15, which rang a bell in memory's belfry while I was preparing the previous post.  Where had I seen that face before?  Then I realised that he bore an uncanny resemblance to the late Alan Fennell, then editor of TV21, and also the writer of various episodes of some of the Gerry Anderson puppet shows.  I wonder if the puppet makers deliberately based him on Alan (who'd have had a bit more hair at the time than in the photo below) or was it mere coincidence?  (They did sometimes model their puppets after real people.)  What do you think, Crivvies?


Character images copyright relevant and respective owners

Y'know, 43 is a number of significance when it comes to TV Century 21 - from my perspective anyway, even if no one else's.  Or maybe it was 42, but I think it was 43.  It all depends on precisely what date #43 went on sale.  It bears the date of November 13th, but I'm not sure how far ahead TV21 was dated - it may only have been a few days instead of a full week, but I associate the Fireball XL5 strip in that week's issue with the house we moved from on the 8th, so I'm assuming that's where I read it, not the house we moved to.

Does it matter?  Well, obviously not to you - why should you care? - but it does to me.  Maybe it's a coincidence, but while I recall every Fireball, Stingray, and Lady Penelope story up to the 43rd issue with stunning clarity, not much after that ever made the same kind of impression on me, aside from the Stingray adventure in issues 45-51 and the Lady Penelope serial involving an invisibility torch in #s 44-51.  I also remember all The Daleks strips, though I sometimes mistakenly connect a few from after #43 with my former house, as I do with the Lady Penelope 'torch' tale.

"Right, so get to the point, you waffling bag of wind!" you may be thinking.  ("No 'may be' about it!" you cry.)  Well, those 43 issues represent the house I was living in at the time, the first primary school I went to (I often bought the comic en route), and pretty much the period of my life between January and November 1965 (or 2065 if you prefer).  Sunny summer days, snowy Christmases, atmospheric Hallowe'ens, and smoky Guy Fawkes nights (I speak in the plural, though we actually only had one full summer and a single Christmas in that house), all encapsulated in memory in those 43 issues.

It's possible the early issues made more of an impression on me due to the fact that it was a new comic, and the thrill of that gave it a momentum for close to the first year before levelling off somewhat.  Also, I was soon to discover the thrill of the Odhams Power Comics and their reprinted Marvel stories, and that was a pretty hard act to compete with, especially after The Daleks strip disappeared from TV21 after number 104.

Anyway, the above preamble explains why I'm showing you those first 43 issues, and justifies me taking the time to lay them all out on the floor and photographing them.  Remember, I did it just for you Crivvies, so if you feel slightly tempted to leave a comment of appreciation, then don't hold back.  Oh, and I also have quite a number of subsequent issues in its various formats, which I'll doubtless get around to showing you some day.


Incidentally, checking this post just before I press 'publish', I now wish I'd taken the photos the other way around.  By that I mean, the first three issues together instead of the last.  Oh well, they're all tucked away again back in their cupboard so I'm not digging them out to re-photograph 

Friday 18 June 2021



Several days ago, on eBay, I bought a Buster badge that was given away as a free gift with the weekly periodical back in 1983.  Then I happened to see the issue (from another seller) that one of these badges would've been attached to and decided to buy that too.  Rather fancifully, I find myself wondering what the possibilities are that the badge is the actual one that belonged to this particular comic before they were separated all those years ago.  Unlikely I know, but not entirely impossible, eh?  Anyone else ever ponder things like that, or am I the only nutter who does so?

Seller's photo - before

Anyway, the cover was unavoidably marked where the clear tape once held the badge in place, so I decided to do something about it to improve its appearance.  I chose to go for a minimal 'touch-up' and retain an indication of where the tape had been, rather than attempt to completely disguise the remnants of its residence, and I'm fairly pleased with the result.  I may decide to do a more thorough job in the future, but for the moment I'll leave it as it is.  The picture above is the 'before', the one below is the 'after'.  Didn't I do well-ish?!

My photo - after

On the subject of badges, although I've never been a wearer of them, I have quite a nice collection of comics-related examples (and others), which I may get around to featuring on the blog one day.  One is the Buster Club badge from the '60s, which puts paid to the mistaken assertion a couple or so years back by the writer of an article in ComicScene (is it still on the go?) that Buster weekly never had a club.  All together now - "Oh yes it did!"

The two photos side-by-side - courtesy of a screengrab


Nah, I wasn't completely happy with it, so I re-did it.  The red is slightly darker than the original, but I've often seen various issues of the same comic with one or more colours darker than others, so it's not going to bother me too much.  I've still to retouch the logo's black outline in places, but I'll do that at my leisure.  Cop a gander at my latest effort below.

Thursday 17 June 2021


All images copyright relevant & respective owners

Ah, sweet memories!  Memories of 6 year old me standing on the path at the end of my front garden looking at the above issue of TV Century 21, just before getting into my father's Nobel 200* car for a family trip to the Town Centre shops.  (I'd purchased the comic earlier that morning from Chamber's newsagent around the corner from us.)  I recall gazing at the cover photo while sitting on the back seat of the car, and perhaps I even wondered why Dr. Who looked different to how he appeared on the telly.  (If so, it was explained inside.)  Given the cover date, I assume it was the school holidays, which must be why I was free for shopping excursions and not confined to the halls of junior academic learning.

This issue was a real treat for fans of The Daleks and contained ads for all sorts of merchandise based on the scions of Skaro.  It also included a recipe for Chocolate Daleks, which was subsequently tucked in between the pages of one of my mother's cook/bake books for a number of years, in that house and the next.  (Yeah, remember when mothers could actually cook and bake, instead of just feeding their sprogs from McDonalds?  Mums just don't do that anymore, do they?)  I remember much about this comic, though not everything.  However, I do recall the terrific Fireball XL5 and Stingray pages (not shown here), as well as the Daleks back cover strip, with startling clarity, so they obviously made a big impression on me.  (Interestingly, aside from the masthead, the Daleks didn't appear in their own strip that week.)

What I didn't realise until recently was that, although TV21 was normally a 20 page comic, occasionally it increased to 28 pages with no additional charge to the regular price (7d).  That probably wouldn't happen with any comic today, so City Magazines deserves a belated pat on the back for treating their readers so royally.  Okay, there was no extra comic strip content and perhaps the makers of the new Dr. Who movie met the cost of the increased page count as it was publicising their film, but the publishers could probably have added a penny or two on the price and had an editor's note inside to explain why - but they didn't, so good on them.

Anyway, to those who are around the same age as myself, I'm sure you'll have your own memories of this ish if you bought it back in the day, so I won't bore you with any more of mine.  I'll leave you with a look at the pages pertaining to Peter Cushing's first cinematic outing as Dr. Who when the Doc was just an ordinary human, before all the Time Lord from Gallifrey nonsense was introduced.  Life seemed so much simpler back then, eh?  Wish I had a TARDIS to revisit that era, but in the meantime I'll make do with the next best thing - my very own copy of TV Century 21 #28, from which these pages are scanned.  Enjoy!  And remember, click on any image to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.

See those Herts Plastic Moulders Daleks in the above ad?  Well, that's me below with the one I had back in 1965.  I may've had more than one at different times.

*In case you've never heard of (or seen) a Nobel 200 before, that's it below.  In the first photo I'm holding TV21 #19 while on holiday in Rothesay in 1965.  This pic was snapped in Port Bannatyne, though I couldn't say if the second photo, taken (I assume) by a visiting relative outside our house, was snapped before or after.  (The colour photo enlarges only once due to its height being under 1000mm.)

Wednesday 16 June 2021


All images copyright their respective owners

The very first weekly comic I ever bought on a regular basis was TV Century 21 back in 1965.  It's therefore natural for me to associate illustrated Supercar and Fireball XL5 strips with the periodical because it's where I first saw them in comic strip form - as far as I remember that is.  Aside from a TV Comic Summer Special I had around 1963 (from which I only recalled Mighty Moth, not even by name, but by artist Dick Millington's style when I saw his art again maybe a couple of years later), I don't think I bought a weekly copy of TV Comic until after TV Century 21 was up and running.

So it feels strange on occasion when I'm reminded that Supercar and Fireball had a comic strip life prior to TV21 (though perhaps not to you if you were a regular reader back then), and something that brought it home again to me recently was when I received my replica Supercar Pilot's Licence and badge, first given to readers of TV Comic who joined the Supercar Club back around 1962.  Whether the club was created and run by the comic's publishers or was a separate entity, I'm not sure.  Maybe it was similar to the Corgi Model Club News in TV21 (the comic having no connection to Corgi) in that it was featured in its pages, but perhaps not necessarily connected to the publishers.  Anyone know?

Having seen the TV Comic strips in later years, I feel that the Fireball one can't really compare to the dynamic visuals Mike Noble brought to the table in TV21.  Strangely though, TV Comic's Supercar strip is better than TV21's, in that it's an action/adventure strip, whereas TV21 played it for laughs and turned it into a humour strip.  It might not be immediately obvious from the art, but the tone of the stories differed.  It would've been great to see an artist like Frank Hampson, who illustrated a Fireball and Lady Penelope adventure (for the weekly and a Summer Special respectively), draw a serious Supercar story.  I kind of think that City Magazines missed a trick there, as TV21 already had humour covered in the form of My Favourite Martian and Zoony The Lazoon.

Incidentally, the first Supercar and Fireball pages shown here are from TV Comic Annuals, as although Supercar appeared as a colour centrespread in the weekly, I'm not sure whether that was always the case or not.  And as I haven't seen full-colour pages of Fireball in the comic, I felt it wasn't fair to compare the b&w/spot colour of the weekly with Mike Noble's glorious full-colour artwork, hence my use of TV Comic Annual pages.  This way, it's more 'like-with-like' (with the exception of the TV21 Supercar example as that was only ever printed in b&w).  

Anyway, are you ancient enough to recollect both strips in each comic, and how do you think they compare to one another when you sift through the sands of childhood memories?

Spot the difference.  As you can see from above pair of images, the details of the Lucky Licence Numbers was simplified at some stage, but I couldn't say exactly when.  Neither could I swear to which version was the first, though I'd guess it was the one on the right of the screen.  Does any knowledgeable Crivvie know how long the Supercar Club ran for?  Feel free to share.

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