Sunday, 31 October 2021

IT'S HALLOWE'EN - NEVER MIND ALL THAT 'TRICK OR TREAT' NONSENSE...


Characters copyright relevant & respective owners

October 31st... Hallowe'en, the time for dressing up and trawling around the neighbourhood at night, wearing a mask.  Don't think I'll be doing it this year though, as it tends to scare the neighbours and the police take a dim view of it.  I've had my final warning and learned my lesson.  (There'll be some people out there who'll believe this guff.)

Anyway, I thought I'd show you some of my mask collection, but don't count the Batman one above as it's not mine.  (Had it as a kid though.)  I've got about four or five other cardboard masks featuring Universal horror characters, plus a more modern Batman one, all of which I obtained from a fast food chain, but unfortunately I've forgotten where I stored them.

So you'll just have to do with the ones on show here.  Some have appeared on the blog before and I've just reused the photos, others I've snapped specifically for this post as they hung on the wall.  (Can't be bothered disturbing any dust by taking them down to photograph.)  Like any of them?  Then let me know which ones, effendis.

Incidentally, take a look at the Spider-Man mask; how impressed would readers have been if it had been the free gift given away with SMCW #1 instead of a paper bag, eh?  (If you're under 50, there's every chance you won't know what I'm talking about.)   










Saturday, 30 October 2021

THE DALEKS MINI-ALBUM - 21 MINUTES OF ADVENTURE... (UPDATED)


Copyright BBC TV

The Daleks mini album by Century 21 (released in 1966) comes in two versions.  The first contains The Eric Winston Orchestra's recording of the Doctor Who theme and the BBC Tardis sound effect.  It was soon withdrawn and a second version was issued, without the theme tune or Tardis tones, presumably due to copyright or money reasons.


The second version has electronic-type sound by The Barry Gray Orchestra, and is, I'd say, the better of the two presentations of this extract from 'The Chase' episode from the Time Lord's Saturday serial.  It's supposedly more easily available than the first release, which is considered the rarer of the two, though I've only ever seen the first version on sale on ebay, never the second one.


Anyway, you're looking at my very own record (well, the cover anyway) which arrived at Castel Crivens today, so that's another item I've always wanted to own ticked off the list.  One day, I'll maybe record it and post it on the blog, but in the meantime, enjoy the second version from YouTube.

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If you look at the cover at the top of this post, you'll see that the Dalek on our right has what looks like a little support 'bridge' under one of it head rings, perhaps to repair a break.  (Or maybe it's a label.)  This has always irked me 'cos it's so intrusive, so I've digitally deleted it to make the pic look a bit better.  See below.


There you go - a couple of close-ups for easier comparison...

Friday, 29 October 2021

BOSSERS & T*SSERS...



I know this blog is meant to be mainly about comics, collectables and nostalgia, but I occasionally like to widen the scope by yakkin' about 'human interest' stories.  The following post is me venting a bit, but it also contains a bit of advice for my fellow Crivvies, should they ever find themselves in a similar situation.  If this isn't your thing, feel free to skip it and wait for the next comics-related post to come along.

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Isn't it disappointing when you find out that someone you know is a pretentious poser?  Around the mid to late '80s, a fella I'd known from primary school and I renewed our acquaintance through a mutual friend.  His girlfriend at the time decided to go out to Japan as an English language teacher and he decided to do likewise.  Going from what happened, I suspect she was wanting to draw their relationship to a close by moving to another country, but he didn't take the hint.  The penny eventually dropped after they'd been out there for a year or two, when she said she was taking a two or three week holiday to go touring around some other country with one of her pals and that she'd see him on her return.  Thing is, she didn't - return that is.

He'd failed the four week course to determine whether he was capable of teaching English to Japanese students, but he didn't let that deter him.  He later asked me to amend his 'certificate' of failure into a pass, which I did, and he eventually became a director of studies in some school, college, or university.  Think about that: a director of studies in a school 'specialising' in a subject he wasn't qualified to teach, and, in fact, couldn't teach - if an example he himself provided to me is any indication.  Back then, long before Skype, we communicated by 'cassette-a-letter'.  I'd send him a cassette masquerading as a radio show (a combination of monologues and music) and he'd do likewise.

In one such show, he played an extract from a tape he'd made in one of his classes.  He asked a pair of young students two simple questions - "What's your name, and what age are you?" (or "Where are you from?" perhaps.)  Silence.  He tried again and was met with the same response.  Then he tried whispering the answers to them, but they still didn't respond.  In my next tape to him, I jokingly (well, half-jokingly) said that if that was the result of his two years teaching over there, he might be better considering another career.  His response?  "No, you don't understand, Gordon," he said, pompously and condescendingly.  "Japanese children are shy and reserved, and are taught to be quiet in the presence of adults."

Well, maybe in a social situation when their parents are visiting friends (the old 'children should be seen and not heard' concept), but certainly not in a teaching environment where even Japanese kids surely know that if teacher asks them a question, they're expected to respond.  So as you can see, he was full of p*sh.  There's an old saying - "You can't give what you don't have" - and as he wasn't even qualified to teach English in a UK school and wasn't able to speak or understand Japanese (apart from a few words perhaps), then he certainly wasn't capable of teaching the subject in a foreign place of learning.  What's more, by his own admission he's rarely and barely read a book in his life, and doesn't even read magazines properly, preferring just to look at the pictures and perhaps the captions.  Trust me, the guy is far from an intellectual giant and is pretty clueless in most things.  A teacher?  Nah, not by any stretch of the imagination, nor any proper definition of the word. 

It seems to me that the whole setup of Japanese English language schools is therefore flawed, as the best, easiest (if there is such a thing), quickest, and most effective way of teaching another language is to employ qualified language teachers who speak both languages equally fluently, not people who aren't qualified teachers, or who don't speak the language of those they're trying to teach.  As I said, you can't give what you don't have, but such establishments prefer to use white English-speaking westerners on the basis that students and their parents will assume that the best 'teachers' of English are those who grew up speaking it, regardless of whether they're qualified teachers or not.  That's why they'll often feature white people on their brochures, pamphlets and posters.

Anyway, a few years later after he'd returned to Scotland, we were travelling back from Glasgow on the train one day when he suddenly announced he was just going to indulge in a wee bit of transcendental meditation, shut his eyes, and proceeded to ignore me for two-thirds of the journey.  Well, whether or not you think you'd do the same if you were stuck next to me on a train (or anywhere), I considered it extremely bad-mannered.  Especially as it looked as if he was just having a kip.  To me, this was his pretentious way of trying to impress me with how 'enlightened' and 'spiritual' he was, and how much of a lesser evolved, primitive being I was in comparison.  Regardless, the time and place for indulging in such behaviour was surely at home and in his own time, not when he was in company?  What a prat!

The straw that broke the camel's back for me happened this way.  I'd treated him to a meal in a local eaterie one day, and he said he must return the favour.  He subsequently contacted me and arranged a day and time for us to meet at the same eaterie, his treat.  On the appointed hour, I turned up only for him to inform me that he fasted on that day, and would therefore not be partaking of a meal, but that I could 'wire in'.  "Why didn't you pick a day on which you didn't fast?" I asked.  "I forgot" he replied.  (I wasn't convinced.  He apparently fasted on the same day every week, so it was hardly something that would slip his mind.  Also, he had several days to remember before the event and reschedule.)  "So why do you fast?" I enquired.  "I give the money that I'd otherwise spend on food to charity" he answered, self-righteously.

"Why not just give money to charity and have a meal as well?  In what way does it benefit starving people for you to do without a main meal one day a week when you can afford to eat and donate to charity?  That just means there's one more hungry person that day, on top of all the others."  He thought for a moment.  "No, you don't understand, it allows me to better empathise with their situation, and besides, there are health benefits to fasting" he proclaimed.  While there appears to be some truth to the latter part of his claim, I expressed my doubt that his well-fed self skipping a meal or two in any way equated to the starvation pains of the less fortunate among us on the planet, or that it enabled him to meaningfully experience their poverty.  What a twonk!  "Okay, then why not eat today - especially as that's why we're both here - and fast tomorrow?" I asked.  I considered that a reasonable compromise.

However, he was unbending.  "No, I fast on a Tuesday (or whatever day it was), and I don't want to disrupt my routine."  I looked at him incredulously - he didn't seem to mind disrupting mine.  "In that case there's no point in either of us being here.  If I wanted to eat a meal for one, I can do that at any time without leaving my house."  We both exited the establishment, with me hanging back a little.  While he was distracted, I turned a corner and returned home.  Never spoke to him again for being such an intransigent, pretentious, posing, pr*ck.  This was confirmed to me when he contacted the local newspaper to get them to do an article on his 'altruistic' attitude.  (I trust you can detect irony.)  He seemed determined to project a certain kind of image of himself, instead of doing his 'good works' in a discreet manner.  Every action seemed designed to attract attention to what a kind, thoughtful, considerate, wonderful human being he thought he was.  In fact, I was convinced he'd picked that particular day just so he could 'unveil' to me his 'charitable' disposition.

He could be quite arrogant, and was known amongst his friends and family for being a bit of a 'bossy boots'.  Everything had to be done his way, and he tried to dominate conversations by simply refusing to stop talking and give anybody else a chance.  Around 29 years after I'd last spoken to him, he approached me in the local town centre one day, beaming in a friendly fashion and saying hello.  I decided to accept his olive branch and we renewed our friendship for a couple of years.  However, leopards don't change their spots.  While we were talking on the 'phone one day, he mentioned the girlfriend from over 30 years ago who'd run out on him.  I took this as my cue to say how badly he'd been treated, and broached the subject (that he'd raised, remember) by attempting to ask whether she'd ever got back in touch with him to apologise for her behaviour.

He wasn't having it.  In firm tones he announced that he was "not prepared to discuss the matter" and tried to talk over me and 'shout' me down - without even listening to what I was trying to say.  I thought this was unreasonable as he'd never before evinced any reluctance to talk about the situation, and indeed, we had spoken about it on a couple of previous occasions.  I felt that he should at least have the courtesy to listen to what I was trying to say first, as all I was doing was responding to a subject that he had raised.  But no, he'd made up his mind and there was no reasoning with him - he'd decided that things were going to go according to what he wanted, no one else.  Quite a few people he's known over the years no longer take anything to do with him, but he's convinced it's because they're jealous of his 'accomplishments' rather than because he p*sses everyone off with his overbearing, bossy attitude.  Let's take a quick look at those so-called accomplishments, eh?

He once worked as an extra on TV, until his services were (so I'm told by someone who knows him) 'no longer required' because of his irritating tendency to try and tell directors just how he'd have shot that scene.  He once worked as a programme controller for BBC Radio, until his job was given to someone else and he was demoted to a researcher.  And, as I said before, he once worked as an English language teacher in a Japanese school, even though he'd failed his four week course to determine whether he was capable of such a thing.  He wasn't - he was deemed as not having sufficient skill or knowledge to do the job, but he went over to Japan anyway and conned his way into a position.  So, no achievement of any long-term ambition, merely dabbling in a succession of whatever opportunities happened to present themselves.  And now he has a part-time job in a tiny cinema collecting tickets from a handful of punters.  Way to go, eh?  "Made it, ma - top of the world!"

Anyway, I told him to sling his hook, and he responded by saying that I didn't have the sense not to talk about certain things, which I considered a bit of a cheek as he'd been the one to first mention them.  He's married with a family now, has been for at least 20 years.  As this former girlfriend was more than 30 years ago, you'd think he'd be over it by now, but regardless, if there's something he doesn't want to talk about, then he shouldn't raise the subject to others, and then try and shoot them down when all they're trying to do is show (or feign) an interest in a topic he introduced into the conversation.  He's either a bit of a control freak (which is why she probably did a runner) or just totally bloody clueless.  I'd say both.  He fancies himself as a 'problem solver', but doesn't have the sense to see that he's usually the one causing the problem.

You can tell I'm annoyed, but this post is more than just a 'hatchet job' in order to put the boot in.  One day I'll tell you another tale about another friend who I didn't speak to for 27 years.  In that time he'd become an alcoholic and a drug addict, and was rude, bad tempered, and paranoid (and a thief), with a tenuous grip on reality.  We revived our friendship for a short while, but I jettisoned him when he simply became more hard work than he was worth.

So I've had a vent, but that's only part of the reason for this post.  Obviously, the requirement of having a topic to write about occasionally necessitates mining the raw material of my own life in order to provide you Crivvies with something to read, but if I may, I'd like to offer you a piece of advice.  I'd strongly recommend that should a former friend from your past wish to come back into your life, give the 'opportunity' a miss.  However well it starts off, eventually they'll let you down again, because whatever it was about them that may've annoyed, disappointed, or offended you years before will be repeated, and leave you wondering why you ever bothered giving them another chance.

As I said, leopards don't change their spots - and neither do total feckin' @rseholes.  Do yourself a favour and spare yourselves from such situations.  And if you've ever experienced any similar moments, feel free to vent in the comments section.  Group hug (but put your clothes back on first, Melvin).

Monday, 25 October 2021

VWORP VWORP! #4 - DON'T FORGET TO BUY YOUR COPY...



Most Doctor Who fans will likely already know about the latest ish of this great publication, but it won't hurt to remind some of you who may've forgotten.  Mine arrived today, along with a combined reprint issue of #s 1 & 2, and assorted freebies that come with #4.  I've already got #3 (which came out quite a while ago), so that's me now got the complete set so far as contents go.

So if you haven't yet bought your copy/ies, jump over to the following link now:  https://vworpvworp.co.uk and part with some dosh.

PART TWENTY-ONE OF COMIC COVERS 'SNAP'...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS & CONAN PROPERTIES

Yet another entry in our occasional series of Comic Covers 'Snap', this time Conan The Barbarian #25 paying 'homage' (a nice word for 'ripping off') to Amazing Fantasy #15.  Good looking covers, eh?  I wonder if the Conan one will ever be worth as much as the Spidey one?  Yeah, I know - unlikely.


And, below, the better to compare with, both covers side-by-side.

BABE OF THE DAY - PAIGE SPIRANAC...



Cor, Paige Spiranac is a real beauty and no mistake.  I wish I had a girlfriend that looked just like her.  In fact, I wish I had a girlfriend.  Thing is, 'cos I'm so handsome, most women fear not being able to hang onto me 'cos of all the attention they think I'd get from other women.  See the problems we good-looking guys have to put up with?  And all you ugly blokes thought we had it easy.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

CREEPY WORLDS #133...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Just arrived at Castel Crivens this morning is a comic which I'm not quite sure if I ever owned previously or not.  I am of course familiar with the lead story (Avengers #6) from various reprints over the years (the first I read being in Terrific #s 1 & 2 when it was split into two parts), and I may've read The Wasp tale in an issue of Marvel Collectors' Item Classics (or another issue of Terrific), but I don't think I've seen Meet Mr. Meek! before.  That said, the splash page of No Human Can Beat Me! does ring a bell in the cavernous confines (if that's not a contradiction in terms) of my memory, so either I did have this issue at one time or I've seen the tale reprinted elsewhere.

The interesting thing about this particular ish is that it has a folded and stapled spine, not being square-bound and glued like most Alan Class periodicals.  I assume that the original '60s AC printing (priced a shilling) would've been square-bound, but for some reason unknown to me, this '70s new pence version wasn't.  I only have two stapled AC comics in my collection, so either this was an experiment, or maybe there was a malfunction with their usual process, which required a temporary resort to staples.  Or perhaps they switched because staples were cheaper (?), but it was soon realised that the square-bound issues gave the impression of containing more content (on account of appearing thicker due to the flat spine), hence the return to the square-bound format.  Anyone know for sure? 

Anyway, enjoy the cover and splash pages from this number - it's my thoughtful way of sharing something with you that you might not own yourself.  There was also a two-page text story (The Wish), but its one illustration was so tiny that I thought you'd be able to live without it.    




Sunday, 17 October 2021

THE COMING (AGAIN) OF CONAN...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS & CONAN PROPERTIES

Hey, lookee here, Crivvies.  A facsimile edition of Conan The Barbarian #1 is due out in December, and you can order your copy now from various ebay comics dealers.  Unlike the True Believers version, this one will have all the original ads, so even if (like me) you own the original '70s edition, this'll make a handy reading copy.  Get your advance orders in now, 'cos I suspect this one will fly.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

BUDGIE UNCAGED...


Back in 1965 I owned a second-hand Budgie Toys Supercar for around half-an-hour.  I'd swapped a red yacht and a red water pistol for it with a guy around the corner from me.  However, when the base suddenly fell off, I insisted that the swap was null and void and I got my two items back.  1965 is 56 years ago, and it's taken me this long to finally acquire a replacement for the temporary toy from my childhood, as a Budgie Supercar arrived at Castel Crivens today.

I had the choice between a red base Supercar with silver upper, or a silver base one with a red upper.  The first had a broken and repaired canopy, and the second was missing its tiny rear aerial.  I could've replaced the canopy as I have a repro spare, but the decals were better on the second version and the canopy was in nicer condition.  As I also had a 'repro' spare aerial (which I got along with the canopy when I purchased a white metal recast of the toy a few years back) so I judged it better to buy the one which only needed the aerial.

In actual fact, the aerial is slightly different from the original, but it does the job and is a lesser compromise of the model's 'integrity' so I can live with it.  Another factor is that the Supercar I bought was quite a bit cheaper as, apparently, it's the more common of the two versions, the red base one been deemed rarer and therefore commanding a higher asking price.  However, under the paint the metal is the same, so if I ever wanted to, I could simply strip the paint off my car and repaint it, as I also have a spare set of decals.

This model is very similar to the Cecil Coleman Supercar, though I've no idea which one came first.  The Coleman one is plastic and very slightly longer, a result of the rear of the car extending further than it should (but not by much) in relation to the back of the canopy.  (If you'd like to see it, click here.)  I coveted the Coleman incarnation on two separate occasions as a boy, but my parents declined to buy it for me, inexpensive as it was.  I purchased one a good many years ago though, and now the Budgie version has finally joined it.  I feel like I'm a kid again, even if it is only a temporary sensation.

Anyway, as if you couldn't tell, that's my new acquisition at the top and bottom of the post.  Now all I have to do is dig out my replica box for it (purchased years ago in anticipation of netting the toy) and it'll look great on display.  If you had a Budgie (or any other make) Supercar when you were a boy, let's hear all about it.  (And don't worry - I've got yet another spare, slightly different aerial should I ever decide to build and paint the white metal recast.)


Friday, 15 October 2021

WHATEVER BECAME OF KEVIN AND JANINE? THE ANSWER (UPDATED)...


There's actually a good reason for republishing the following post from 2015, which will become evident once you've read the following comment submitted to the blog earlier.

Hi Gordon, Marc Jung here, I do trust you're well these days.  Not sure if you knew, but just a note to say Kevin Brighton died on 5th (actually the 8th) September, 2021, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, sadly.  I hadn't seen him in twenty years, but was in contact with his wife on Facebook.  Hoping you are not so bad these days.  Best wishes, Marc.

I've no way of confirming whether this comment is genuine or not, but I'll assume it is (in which case, thanks Marc) as it would be a pretty sick thing to say if it isn't.  That's Kevin on the left in the above photo, with his pal Derek Pierson, who sadly died in 2016.  I took the photo around the mid-'80s in the IPC canteen.  Condolences to Kevin's family and friends.

Update: I managed to track down Kevin's obituary and can now sadly confirm that he has indeed passed away.

As for Janine Andrews, she's now around 60 and was being treated for ovarian cancer last year, having battled (and beaten I believe) breast cancer in 2014.  Not sure what her current situation is, but let's hope she made a full recovery. 

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Hopefully, a side-on view of a bit of nip won't shock anyone too much, but there's a reason for me publishing this particular pic.  I think it's Page 3 model JANINE ANDREWS, and the original glossy photo from which I photocopied this image used to adorn the wall under the window ledge beside the desk of IPC art assistant KEVIN BRIGHTON, who worked on the same floor (26th) as myself in KING'S REACH TOWER in Stamford Street, London, circa 1985-'87.

His desk was situated right in front of mine, and as I visited the Capital every week (sometimes twice), I got so used to seeing the lovely Janine that Kevin let me photostat the picture so that I could have my very own copy to take back home with me.  For nearly 30 years it's graced the side of a filing cabinet in my room, and whenever my eyes fall upon it, I can't help but be reminded of King's Reach Tower, the view from the window of the 26th floor, and, of course, Kevin himself.

The last time I saw Kev was in December '87, when I visited London, not for the purposes of work, but for a two day stay in the city just for the hell of it.  In fact, I haven't been back to London since, and although I spoke to Kevin a couple of times on the 'phone shortly after, I don't know what became of him once the IPC Youth Group began to disintegrate following pension-pincher ROBERT MAXWELL's acquisition of it a few years before his ill-fated swim in 1991.

Kevin was quite a talented cartoonist in his own right, so maybe he fulfilled his artistic ambitions, met and married Janine Andrews, ditched the pic, and lived happily ever after.  Whatever happened to him, I have fond memories of my visits down south in the '80s, and one glance at the above perky pin-up brings it all back to me.  Ah, happy days indeed.

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Update: It's strange to think that Kevin has passed away, because in my mind's eye he's alive as he ever was.  I usually only saw him once a week when I was down in London (except when I'd visit twice in the week as sometimes happened), but each time it was as if the intervening week hadn't existed, and each new day in London followed the day after my previous visit - almost like an alternate timeline, as it were.

I feel that if I got on a coach and went down to London right now, I'd find King's Reach Tower and Irwin House the same as I remember them, and there would be Kevin, Marc and Derek just as they were back in the day, not changed at all.  It's a fanciful illusion of course, but that world of the '80s is as real to me today as it was back then - and I hope it always will be.    

Thursday, 14 October 2021

POST FROM THE PAST: THE TRUE STORY OF BATMAN & ROBIN - (OR: DO YOU STILL BELIEVE IN FAIRY TALES?)


From TRUE FACT COMICS #5, 1946.  Art by WIN MORTIMER, script by JACK SCHIFF,
MORT WEISINGER & BERNIE BRESLAUER.  (Images copyright DC COMICS)

You'd think that BOB KANE, as the 'creator' of BATMAN, would be a revered figure in the world of comics, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  Going by accounts I've read of people who met him, he was egotistical, self-centred, and many fans found him to be an immense disappointment.  It gives me no joy to impart any of this information to anyone who isn't already aware of it, because it would be nice if he was held in the same high regard as STAN LEE is by his fans, but it's hard to escape the facts.

In BILL SCHELLY's excellent book, SENSE Of WONDER: A LIFE In COMIC FANDOM, he has this to say about hearing Bob Kane speak (as one of the Guests of Honour) at the 1973 New York Comic Art Convention.

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                     "The first major event of the comicon was a talk by Bob Kane.
                     While some knew that others had contributed much to make
                     Batman a great success, Kane was held in high esteem.  When
                     he was introduced and strode up to the front of the room, a tall,
                     good-looking man with a dark tan, he received a thunderous
                     standing ovation.

                     When he left the room after completing his talk, the applause
                     was a mere polite smattering.  Bob Kane had gone from hero to
                     heel in a mere half-hour.  That was no mean accomplishment,
                     given his place in the comic book firmament.

                     How did he do it?

                     Humility was not a trait that could be found in Bob Kane.
                     There was little room to admire him when he was so busy ad-
                     miring himself.  All his stories about his time in the industry, the
                     awards he'd received, the celebrities he'd met, and the movie
                     projects he'd masterminded, had one thing in common: they
                     were to reinforce how great, how brilliant, and how famous
                     Bob Kane was.

                     It was nauseating.

                     Having enjoyed the adventures of Batman and Robin for
                     so many years, I was disappointed to discover that the man
                     behind the Dynamic Duo was such a jerk.  It wasn't that Kane
                     was having a bad day, either; I heard later that stories about
                     the man's ego were legion."

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I once read an interview with Kane in which he related the tale of someone at a convention asking him to autograph an issue of either DETECTIVE COMICS #27 or BATMAN #1.  Kane offered the fan a page (or two) of original artwork in exchange for the comic and was apparently astounded when his offer was politely declined.  "Why would anyone prefer a printed comic over original art by the guy who drew it?" he mused.  (And the pages he was offering were not from the comic he was trying to swap them for.)  No great surprise really, as, at the time, the comic was worth many thousands of dollars (which Kane must surely have known), whereas there wasn't really much demand for original Bob Kane art - especially as it was suspected that he routinely back-dated his artwork decades earlier than it had actually been produced.

I remember reading another interview (or perhaps it was the same one) in which he says he just couldn't understand the scene in FRANK MILLER's The DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, where an emaciated SUPERMAN's costume 'fills out' as he flies closer to the sun, the source of his power.  Was Kane really ignorant of this long-established piece of Superman folklore?  If so, it tends to suggest a lack of interest in any comic that wasn't by him.  (Although not many actually were, according to some.)

Having read his autobiography, BATMAN And ME, some years ago, I was struck by how unsophisticated Kane appeared to be.  There's an account of when, as a youth, he encounters a neighbourhood gang, and the comicbook dialogue he attributes to them as he dashingly and daringly (as he tells it) evades their clutches reads like pure invention.  As does his tale of meeting a young (and as yet unknown) MARYLIN MONROE and going to the beach with her for a swim; it has all the hallmarks of fiction by a fantasist who just can't see that his stories are unbelievable.

In the 1989 BATMAN movie, a newspaper cartoonist hands a sketch of a bat-like creature to one of the reporters.  It's prominently signed 'Bob Kane'; the reporter takes one look at the sketch and mutters "What a d*ck!"  Were the movie-makers delivering their verdict on Bob Kane, the creator (or co-creator) of one of the most popular icons of 20th century mythology?  Sadly, it very much seems like it.

However, this isn't meant to be a 'hatchet job' on Bob Kane. I write this post in sorrow rather than in anger, and certainly no malice is intended on my part.  I merely want to point out that it's just a shame that Batman's creator isn't held in the same high esteem as his creation - even if it does seem to be largely his own fault.  At least Bob wasn't (as far as the credits go anyway) responsible for the following 'highly imaginative' account of how the daring Dynamic Duo first came to be.  Cue Jackanory theme music...





Monday, 11 October 2021

MORE MERRY MERCHANDISE FEATURING THAT BRILLIANT BOLD BRUIN, YOGI BEAR (UPDATED)...



Still on the theme of Yogi Bear, here's a bunch of stuff I've acquired only recently on ebay.  I already have two of the above Yogi and one Boo Boo, but I had to buy the above set of three in order to obtain Ranger Smith.  However, I got the trio for far less than it can cost for any one of them on its own so it was an absolute 'steal' for me.

Below is a toy I've been wanting to own for a while; I think it's from the '60s, but might be a '70s toy.  I've got a monkey version, bought new from an open-air stall circa the early or mid-'90s in my local town centre before it was roofed over.  (It was either there or Woolworths.)  Unlike others in this range, Yogi's arms don't turn at the shoulders, but it doesn't seem to hinder his acrobatics. 


As you can see, his face and eyes weren't painted too well, so I tarted them up a bit with some acrylic paint and then varnished over them with a mix of matt and gloss (resulting in something close to satin), so Yogi looks a lot better now as you can see in the pic below.  I didn't go overboard as I wanted the toy to retain a bit of the 'rough' look that many 'Made In Hong Kong' products had back then.  Had I made it too precise, it would've been too obviously a 'touch-up' job.


Below is yet another duplicate of a toy I've already got, but this one has its packaging, which has been partially opened though remains undamaged.  So I've got a pair of smoking Yogis and a smoking monkey - haven't lit any of them up so far, though might give them a try at some stage.


At last - a Yogi Bear mug, adorned with the legend 'Smarter than the average bear'.  It arrived today and I'll be having a cup of tea from it after I've published this post.  What every clever, handsome person should have, so none of you lot deserve one then.  It's for me and me alone!


Just in case you didn't believe what it said, below is another shot from a different angle.  Aren't you jealous?  No?  Well, you should be.  As well as grateful for all the time and trouble I've gone to in photographing these treasures just for you.


Finally (also arrived today), a Yogi badge from the '60s.  I have a pair of similar badges with Yogi facing front, so this makes a nice variation.  One can never have enough Yogi Bear badges - and I don't even wear badges (and never have).  Right, that's your lot, get on with your chores.  (Whaddya mean, reading my blog is the biggest chore going?  After all I've done for you.)

ARE YOGI AND BOO MORE THAN JUST FRIENDS? WHEN WILL IT ALL STOP?


Copyright relevant owner

Regular readers will know that I'm a Yogi Bear fan.  Probably due to the fact that he's the earliest cartoon character I remember from childhood and because I had quite a few Yogi items of merchandise at the time.  Anyway, I still buy old Yogi stuff on occasion and the above cardboard covered comic is a recent acquisition (for a song) via the auspices of ebay.


It's dated January on the cover and 1963 in the indicia, which probably means it went on sale around October 1962.  Nice little collectable item, but imagine my shock when one story appeared to suggest that Boo Boo 'played for the other team'.  In one panel he refers to Yogi as his boyfriend (well, boy-friend to be precise, in case the apostrophe makes a difference), which nearly made me choke on my cornflakes.  (Or would've done had I been eating any.)

I mulled it over then decided he meant it in the same way women refer to their platonic female friends as 'girl-friends' - no romantic relationship implied.  Then, two pages on, he ruins it by saying he'll make up for his duff Christmas gift to Yogi on Valentine's Day.  Swoon!  Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised - after all, they share a bed in a cave, but I'd always assumed it was on the same basis as Laurel & Hardy and, later, Morecambe & Wise did.  (As in nothing dodgy.)

So what's going on?  Was the writer unfamiliar with the characters and perhaps thought Boo Boo was a girl?  Or was he having a subversive dig at the nature of both bruins' relationship while hoping his editor wouldn't notice?  Are dodgy doings going on at Jellystone Park, or could there be a simple, more innocent explanation?  Quick - rescue Yogi & Boo Boo's reputation with a reason as to why things aren't as they seem.  Apply brains now!



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