Saturday 31 July 2021


Imagine, if you will, my surprise and delight when I walked onto the upper floor of John Menzies back in 1979 and was met by the sight of the reissued softcover Superman From The '30s To The '70s and its Batman companion volume.  I bought them immediately, rectifying my oversight in not having purchased the Batman tome in 1972 when I bought the Superman one from W. & R. Holmes, one of my favourite shops of the period.  (I no longer had my original Superman book, hence the reason for buying a replacement.) 

The new editions were slightly less thick than the originals, though only due to thinner paper being used, not because of any content being omitted.  Curiously, Supe's volume hadn't been updated to include mention of the 1978 movie in the back pages, being purely a reprint of its earlier incarnation.  I worked in my local central library at the time and a colleague, Bob Billens, also bought them, he too being a comics fan.

After a couple of years, the cover's clear 'lamination' had started to split along the indented fold which facilitated opening the book, so even though I'd left the library's employ back in '79, I got one of the senior librarians (not Bob - he'd only been 'junior' temporary staff and he and his wife were now living in England) to send my books away to be bound in hardback covers.  (Yes, I paid, just in case you were wondering.)  Red for the Superman volume, blue for the Batman one.  The original cardboard covers were dispensed with in the process.  (They ended up on my bedroom wall, so not completely wasted.)

Anyway, some years back, I obtained original 1972 impressions of both books, plus a second copy of the 1979 impression, but it always slightly bothered me that my '79 former softcover editions had no dustjackets.  The Batman one still doesn't, but the Superman tome now sports the nifty dustjacket you see below, courtesy of a scan and printout of the cover from a later reissued US copy of the book which I acquired back in February of this year.  I had to compensate for the fact that the red hardbacked volume is a slightly different size, but a bit of trial-and-effort was all that was necessary to obtain a satisfactory result.

Because the new dustjacket is printed on standard printer paper, I reinforced the fold-over edges with a special archive repair tape for extra strength, but I'm considering starting again from scratch and re-creating the actual UK cover as a dustjacket, because the back is different from the US edition, which is the one you can see below.  If/when I do, you can be sure I'll let you see the result.  Then I'll have to think about creating a dustjacket for the Batman volume just so that it doesn't feel left out.  I'll show that one too in the fullness of time.  This one's only taken me around 40 years, so hopefully it won't take so long again.

Well, what do you think of my handiwork?  Don't be shy now.

Friday 30 July 2021


Just caught part of an old episode of Bless This House on the
TV and saw a stunning gal by the name of Clovissa Newcombe -
describing part of my anatomy by the look of it.  (Behave, I'm talking
about my feet.)  Believe me, this piccie doesn't do her justice, even
though it has a couple of good points about it.  (Hee-hee!)

Thursday 29 July 2021


Some eBay sellers continue to disappoint me.  Even ones with 100% feedback can let you down in their customer relations technique (learned from Basil Fawlty it seems), and so reluctant is eBay to take action against offending sellers with 100% feedback, they'll sometimes remove honest negative customer feedback if the seller complains, as eBay don't want to sacrifice their percentage of that seller's profits.  I know that for an absolute fact 'cos it happened to me on a previous occasion.

I've got a goodly number of TV21s in the comic's various incarnations, but I was needing three to complete the first year's set.  The numbers are 44, 47, & 50, and I also wanted to upgrade my copy of 52 as it had coupons missing, though their absence didn't affect any of the story pages.  I saw a seller on eBay by the name of a1-comics-dvds (run by Wayne Green), who was selling 18 TV21s for around £199.99.  Amongst them were 44, 50, & 52, so I contacted him and made him a specific offer - £20 each for the three issues he had that I wanted.

He accepted, asking me for my email address so that he could send an invoice, and I sent it to his email address which was listed in his business details, and sure enough, an invoice arrived.  (Call me thick, but it never occurred to me that he was proposing an 'outside eBay' transaction until he later described it as such, as I was too eager to pay him so that he'd send the comics.)

He'd described them as 'very good/fine, complete, no cut-outs, no scribble', but when they arrived, one was defaced by a felt marker on the cover, which had also been absorbed into pages 2 & 3.  Now I don't know about you, but when a comic is said to have no scribble, I take that to mean it has no defacement by pencil, pen, felt marker, or any other kind of writing implement, and I don't consider myself unreasonable in that view.

I contacted Wayne Green (that's his name remember) and explained the situation, suggesting that a small partial refund of £3 or £4 would suffice in compensating me for my disappointment in finding that particular issue not as described.  (Incidentally, 52 wasn't great overall either, with multiple splits on the spines of almost every page, but I subtracted the pages with coupons and transferred them to the copy I already owned.)  Only 50 was in a condition that came near to matching the seller's description.

No doubt emboldened by the fact that he wouldn't have any negative eBay feedback to contend with, the seller 'declined' to accord me a small refund, and came up with all sorts of excuses for not doing so.  Remember, he'd accepted my offer of £20 per comic, but now claimed that #50 was worth around £50 and the other two worth only about a fiver each, so if he refunded me a few quid, he'd lose his profit on one of the 'lesser' issues.  While it's true that some sellers do indeed ask high prices for better condition copies of the 50th issue (on account of The Daleks being on the cover), it can still be obtained for a more reasonable price from time-to-time.

The simple fact is that, in this particular case, he was indulging in retroactive financial gymnastics in trying to ascribe different values to different issues, as he'd accepted my clear offer of £20 per issue.  That means, even if he was getting less money on #50, he was gaining more on #s 44 & 52, which considering that his description of condition was inaccurate (if not fanciful), he was still coming out well ahead on the deal - especially as he's avoided paying eBay's percentage. 

He said that if I was so dissatisfied with the entire transaction, I could return all three comics, but I'd only expressed disappointment about one comic, not all three.  He also said if he were in my position, he'd return all the comics even if it meant losing a little money in doing so.

So look at the images and judge for yourself.  I'd say the defacements are pretty pronounced for a comic that was described as having 'no scribble', wouldn't you?  Totally unreasonable seller in my opinion, not prepared to consider things from the buyer's point of view.  A small partial refund of £3 or £4 (no big loss considering he'd avoided eBay fees remember) would've ensured I'd have bought other items from him from time-to-time, but there's no chance of that now.

So just goes to show - you can't even always trust some sellers with 100% feedback to behave reasonably, ethically, or decently.  Just thought you should know in case you ever consider buying anything from him.


It's not quite finished yet, but here's the cover after I've started to do a bit of work on it to reduce the defacement.  Whenever I try the colours I've mixed on a piece of spare paper, they seem a perfect match, but when I apply them, they somehow don't look as they should.  However, I'll keep working on it 'til I get it more or less right, or see a better condition copy elsewhere.  I've also started to carefully paint out the red 'bleed-through' on the internal pages.  So, not perfect by any means, but better than it was, eh?


Copyright relevant owner

I can remember where and when I first laid eyes on Hanna-Barbera's Fun Time #1 as if it were yesterday.  'Twas on the counter of W. & R. Holmes sometime near the end of October or beginning of November in 1972.  I seem to recall being surprised to see that it 'incorporated' Yogi and His Toy, as that suggested Fun Time was a pre-existing comic instead of a new first issue.  I guess I'd stopped buying that particular weekly by then otherwise I'd have known about Fun Time prior to seeing it on sale.  (Maybe I did, but have just forgotten since.)

Anyway, I bought it, but goodness knows for how long.  Did I purchase all 22 issues (according to one of Denis Gifford's comics catalogues) or did I abandon it before then?  Dunno to be honest, but the first cover always reminds me of Holmes, and in particular standing in front of that counter back in the day.  That's why I bought a replacement recently on seeing it on eBay, so that I can once again enjoy the cool interiors of a much loved, much missed, long-gone shop from my childhood and teenage years - even if only in memory.

Any other Crivvies do that?  Buy back issues simply to remind themselves of where they were when they bought the original, rather than because of the merits (if any) of the comic itself?  If so, feel free to express yourselves in the you-know-where.

Tuesday 27 July 2021


Copyright relevant owner

I freely admit to cheating a bit with this one.  Although I have four of the six books featured here, I couldn't be bothered digging them out to scan, so I've used screen-grabs of PAUL PERT's collection from my DVD boxed set of The SAINT.  Also, not all of these books are actually called 'Annuals', but that umbrella title will have to do for any pedants among you (of which I'm one). The first book, above, was only available in the Netherlands (I think) and was issued the same year (1967) as the British Annual below.  Considering that the ITC series starring ROGER MOORE first appeared on TV in 1962, publishers were a bit slow off the mark in cashing in on the character's popularity by way of books aimed at kids.

The Annual below was issued in 1968 (for '69) and is all text stories, with no picture strips.  Some nice illustrations and features though.

Next up, below, is the Annual for, believe it or not, 1970, issued towards the end of '69.  This book is mainly text stories, but does include a couple of picture strips.

The next book, below, is a bit of a cheat, because it's essentially a slimmer volume of the above book, in that all its contents are reprinted from it - though it doesn't contain all its predecessor's contents, as some have been omitted. Issued in 1971, the one thing it does have going for it is that the two picture strips are now in colour, and if you'd missed the Annual two years before, you wouldn't be aware that it was a reprint book (obviously).

The book below isn't really a Saint book, though he is mentioned inside.  Issued in 1966, it's a collection of true-life tales, with an introduction by Roger.  I assume the contributions attributed to him were actually written by Rog, because he's listed as one of the copyright holders.

Anyway, that's your whistle-stop tour through the Annuals and books dedicated to Roger Moore's Saint.  Did you have any of these books at the time readers, and what did you think of them? Share your memories with the rest of us today. 


Copyright relevant & respective owners

Over on Apocolyte's World Of Comics is a brilliant image which I trust he won't mind me sharing with you Crivs in exchange for a link to his blog.  Brilliant, innit?  Jump over to his site (click on his blog's name) and take a look at his world!



Reassuring to see that Marvel are still publishing their Facsimile Editions, as testified to by Werewolf By Night #32 popping through my liltin' letterbox this morning.  Moon Knight makes his debut appearance in this issue, so it's undoubtedly a collectors' item on that basis alone.  Don't recall ever having the original back in the day, but it's good to finally add this handsome honey of a mag to my collection 46 years later.

One gripe is that I feel the barcode box is needlessly prominent and could easily be less intrusive on the cover, as it's been on a few (but not all) previous editions.  That aside though, even if you own the original mag, it'd be a good idea to grab this facsimile to have a reading copy to hand for whenever you want to dabble in its delights, o dedicated disciple of daring and dynamic drama!

Incidentally, the original issue of this facsimile goes for a variety of sky-high prices on eBay, the most expensive starting bid being £22,810.39.  Do you think the seller will ever get that, considering far cheaper issues are available, though still in the thousands?  (Having said that, some are in the hundreds, but that's still a hefty price.)

Monday 26 July 2021



Just arrived at Castel Crivens this morning, Volume III of The Trigan Empire from Rebellion's Treasury Of British Comics imprint.  With art by Don Lawrence and Miguel Quesada, and stories by Mike Butterworth, this is a handsome edition that belongs on the bookshelves of every serious collector of British comics at their best.  Available now direct from Rebellion, you can obtain your copy by clicking here.  I trust they won't mind me borrowing their images as - back cover aside - I'm too lazy to scan my own copy, even if I could open it wide enough to do so.  (Which I can't without damaging it.)


Copyright DC COMICS

With the five issues you see before you, we're now halfway through (not counting a few Specials and Annuals) the Secret Origins Cover & Image Gallery begun over five years ago.  So if I continue at the same speed, we should get to the end of this occasional series by 2026.  Still want me to go ahead?  To be honest, I haven't read more than a handful of issues since I first bought them back in the day, and I don't think I'll bother in the main.  However, there's definitely one exception in the group below and it's the Jonah Hex tale with great art by Gray Morrow, which I'll be reading with a glass of milk and a wedge of cheese a few minutes after publishing this post.

Any of these comic strip stories take your fancy, Crivvies, or are you like me and slightly underwhelmed by the majority of them?  Either way, let your feelings known in our ever-lovin' comments section.

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