Friday 30 September 2022


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Cover by JOHN BUSCEMA

My senses reel as I realise that the above comic - The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL #1 - came out a staggering 50 years ago today, though 'today' was a Saturday back then on the 30th September 1972.  What's that?  The date on the comic says 7th October?  Yes, I know - that was the way of things back then - most comics carried the date of the following week so that they'd have a full seven days' shelf-life before any unsold periodicals were returned.

This was a great comic, and a step up from various earlier reprint weeklies that had previously presented such Marvel tales.  For a start, MWOM had a few colour pages, as well as spot-colour, to distinguish it from the black and white ODHAMS PRESS publications from a few years before.  What's more, the number of colour pages actually increased a few issues later, beating its competition hands down for visual impact.  That didn't last too long though, and the internal colour was eventually phased out well before the mag's first year had elapsed.

However, the early issues of MWOM, containing The INCREDIBLE HULKThe Fabulous FANTASTIC FOUR, and The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN were something special to British readers who bought the title at the time.  Over the ensuing weeks some readers called for full colour throughout, saying the comic could go monthly to accommodate this, but it was explained that UK comics were geared towards weekly publication, and that full colour on every page would be far too costly.  How times changed, as before the pandemic, UK Marvel mags (published by PANINI) carried around 76 pages, and each one was in full colour and the same size as the US mags.

And what's more, MWOM was still around until November 2019!  Okay, it hadn't been published non-stop since 1972, but it was revived in 2003 and had nearly a 17-year run comprising several volumes.  (A previous revival in 1983 lasted only 17 issues.)  So enjoy looking at how it all started (and dig that crazy free gift transfer), and remember, if you were around at the time, what it was like to wake up on an autumnal Saturday morning 50 years ago, and then rushing to the newsagents to buy this brand-new comic before it flew off the shelf.  Ah, happy days!

Not that I rushed out to buy it, though, as I hadn't seen the STAN LEE-voiced TV ad (though I did later - either that night or the next day), so it came as a surprise when I spotted the comic on an exterior magazine wall-rack at the side of a newsagent's door, just along the road from Glasgow's famous BARROWLAND market (aka The BARRAS) where I and my parents were heading on that particular Saturday morning.

I couldn't talk my folks into buying it for me on the way in, but I'd managed to wear them down into submission by the time we made our way out an hour or so later.  We were soon ensconced in the cosy confines of a comfy cafe, and it was with great joy that I pored through its contents over a glass of cola and reacquainted myself with the paper pals I'd first met in the pulsating pages of WHAM!, SMASH!, and POW! way back in what even then seemed like the dim and distant days of the '60s.  Suddenly, life was exciting again.

DEZ SKINN once revealed that Stan had told him the comic's original title was going to be The WONDERFUL World of Marvel (after the Disney TV show of almost the same name), but thankfully 'twas not to be.  Besides, MIGHTY and MARVEL go so well together it seems the obvious choice, so I'm amazed that any other name was even considered.
If only they still published comics like this today, eh?  Wouldn't that be something?!


And just think - around 15 years later I was freelancing for Marvel UK, lettering strips in such titles as Doctor Who Magazine, Galaxy Rangers, Dragon's Claws, Cartoon Time, The Transformers, Death's HeadRugrats, Count Duckula, ThundercatsThe Real Ghostbusters and others that escape my memory for the moment.  (I'll add more as I remember them - if I do.)  [Update: Now done!]  Ah, yes, also lettered 2-page Spider-Man and 2-page Hulk strips for promotional advertising purposes, but can't recall precisely what.

Iron-on transfer as it would be seen on T-shirt

The 'centrespread' as one image.  Click to enlarge, then click again for optimum size

Thursday 29 September 2022


The year was 1978, the month and day are lost to history.  It was, as they say, 'chucking it down', and by the time I arrived at my place of employment, I was drenched to such an extent that it looked as if I'd been for a swim in the sea fully dressed.  I worked in the warehouse of a large department store, so the display dressers gave me some dry clothes to change into, plus a pair of moccasin-style shoes from a store dummy.  (From one dummy to another you're thinking, right?  Cheek!)  I was allowed to keep the shoes, which I mainly used as slippers back home as they were so comfortable, though I occasionally wore them outside.

Sometime in the mid-'80s I had them resoled and reheeled, but when that was done and even before I got to wear them again, I noticed that the stitching which gave them a moccasin-style appearance (and kept the tops on) was a little the worse for wear, so I removed it with the intention of redoing it myself.  Trouble was, I couldn't find a suitable replacement for the original stitching and the shoes were consigned to the back of my wardrobe until such time as I could find a thread, cord, or lace which would do the job.  Every so often I would remember the shoes, but my attempts to source a suitable stitching material remained unfulfilled.

36-odd years passed - faster than a fart from The Flash (to use my patented catchphrase) - until a couple of nights ago I decided that, more than half my life later, it was time to restore my 'moccasins' to somewhere approaching their former glory.  I decided just to use ordinary string and, a couple of hours later, my shoes were whole once more.  Then I saturated the string with brown shoe polish, gave the shoes a good buffing, sprayed them with a shoe protector and then rested from my labours.  And Kid saw the result of his work and it was good.

As you can see in the photo below, the new soles and heels from 36 or so years back have no wear on them, so this is likely the first time I've actually worn them since 1985/'86 or thereabouts.  It doesn't feel that long to me, so I've essentially wiped nearly four decades off my personal life clock and returned to an earlier time, at least in my mind.  Honestly, it feels like only around a week or so since I last wore them in their slipper capacity around the house and I'm filled with such a sense of accomplishment in finally managing to complete an unfinished task from so long ago.

So, here's a question for the rest of you Crivvies.  What's the longest it's taken you to finish something after you started it?  Days, weeks, months, or years?  And what was it, and why the reason for the delay?  Tell all in our comments section now (if you'd be so mad good).  Update: Since first publishing this post I've bought a darker polish to apply to the stitching as, on reflection, I thought the medium brown I used was too light.  However, you'll just have to imagine what the shoes look like now as I can't be bothered taking new photos.

Tuesday 27 September 2022



Lovely Sue Storm graces our Babe
spot today.  Okay, she might be only a
drawing (by Alex Ross, no less), but she
certainly 'draws' my attention.  Very few
 men could fail to notice her charms.

Friday 23 September 2022



Here's the last of my recent FF acquisitions that I never bought (or even saw) at the time of publication (with the possible exception of #363, can't quite recall), just to round things off on this theme for the moment.  (Though if I did buy 363 back then, I'll still have it somewhere.)  Take a look at #224 below - nicely drawn cover, but still not without its glaring flaws.  Firstly, ignore the guy at the back as he's meant to be extra-tall, but take a look at The Thing.  Even allowing for his 'slouching' posture, he's far too small in relation to both Reed and Johnny.  In fact, if Johnny were to stand up, he'd dwarf even Reed, so Bill Sienkiewicz, talented artist though he is, fumbled the ball on this occasion.  Dynamic pic of Doctor Doom on #330 by Buckler & Sinnott - very Kirby-esque.  Got a favourite?  Then let's hear it, Crivvies.

Thursday 22 September 2022


Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  An okay cover from Kirby, but not one of his best

As explained in part one, these comics 'never were' (in my house) only in the sense that I never actually owned (or even saw) most of them when they were first published all those dim and distant decades ago.  It's only in the last few weeks that I've managed to fill in the gaps in my existing FF collection, which in itself consists of replacements acquired years ago of the original mags I bought back in the '70s.  So part of that decade (comics-wise) which I never experienced at the time has now, retroactively, been absorbed into my memories of those halcyon days of yore.    

Now, I hate to admit it (so, luckily, hardly anyone ever reads this blog), but I was always a bit of a 'paper pin-up perv', in that 'good girl art' was, for me, often the deciding factor when it came to choosing a comic from the teeming ranks which graced the spinner-racks of my hometown newsagents.  I had an instant crush on Susan Storm, alias The Invisible Girl (first one who asks what I saw in her can leave now) when I first laid eyes on her in b&w in UK weekly comics Smash! and Wham!  For the historians among you, sequentially, Wham! came first, but the FF's origin was published simultaneously in both papers, and at the time, I was buying Smash! on account of the Batman strip it also featured.  (I soon started getting Wham! as well when I realised the FF appeared weekly.)

It will therefore come as no surprise to anyone that one of the reasons I decided to plug the gaps in my FF run was because of some of the covers featuring Susie in all her alluring feminine beauty.  She still rings my bell, even in my current condition of decrepit old f@rt, who's too past it to draw even a first look from a real-life female, never mind a second one.  Anyway, see if you can spot the covers in which Susie specifically attracts my attention and say if you likewise feel her allure tugging at your heartstrings - or any other part of your anatomy.

So, yeah, it's perhaps a bit odd to find line drawings of a 'four-colour' female attractive, but it could've been worse.  It might've been Ben Grimm's lumpy orange epidermis that made my heart beat a little faster and that would've been seriously weird.  Anyway, I now declare the comments section open - may God bless her and all who sail in her.  (Eh?)

The perspective of the buildings on the left-hand side is wrong, Ben's too small and Thundra's
body is far too distorted.  It pains me to say it, but this is substandard fare from Jack Kirby

The car looks as if it's parked on the pavement and Ben's too high in the air.  Also, the
 sizes of the bystanders in the background aren't consistent with the space they occupy

Yet another Kirby-Klunker.  The figure of the Torch is poorly drawn and once again Ben
is too small in relation to the figures behind him.  Kirby's talent had deserted him

This cover certainly has 'impact', though could've been better.  I think this was Jack's final
cover for the FF's regular monthly mag, but if you know of any others be sure to tell me

John Byrne spotted a flaw in this tale's concept.  The Thing is a monster, so how can there be
a monster version of him?  He realised Ben had become too much of a cuddly 'teddy bear' in
appearance over the years, and 'roughened' him up when he became writer/artist on the mag

Tuesday 20 September 2022


I don't remember the precise year - or even the month, come to that.  June or July perhaps?  Whether I was yet a schoolboy or had left my educational environs is another thing beyond my ability to recall.  At a guess I'd say it might've been around the mid-'70s upwards, but I couldn't swear to it.  I do remember it was a sunny Saturday, maybe late morning or early afternoon, and I was making my way down to the local town centre, which took me past a church in between my house and the shops.

On the path leading from the church, I saw my father, coming in my direction and carrying a stool-type piece of furniture he'd just acquired from a jumble sale in the church hall.  He asked me if I'd carry it home for him, but I was eager to get to the shops and so resisted his invitation.  It would mean retracing my steps home and starting again from scratch, and as I was already at least halfway to my intended destination, it wasn't a delay I was prepared to undergo.

The stool wasn't heavy, but my father wasn't exactly what you'd call a healthy specimen, so had I been a good and dutiful son, I'd have obliged him.  But no, I was eager to be off on my adventures, so my father had to carry his burden home by himself.  Yes, I was a bit of a b@st@rd, wasn't I?  Anyway, my father survived his trek, and the stool ended up in my bedroom, though whether he'd bought it with that intention or had just succumbed to a whim with no thought as to where the item would go is lost to history.

Over quarter of a century ago, I re-upholstered the 'lid' of the stool with a material that matched the original and restored its appearance to that which it had before it came into my possession.  It still sits in my bedroom and whenever I look at it, I feel a pang of guilt at my callous cold-heartedness in not being prepared to (slightly) inconvenience myself by carrying it home for my father.

Funny the effect time has, isn't it?  I'd like to think its passage has made we wiser and even kinder (though I doubt the latter), and that, were I to have that moment again, I would acquiesce to my father's request and spare him the effort of trudging home with the load on his own.  True, he could have stopped and rested whenever he felt the need to and taken the weight off his feet by sitting on the stool, but I take no comfort from that realisation and still feel like a bad 'un for being so selfish.

Decades later, the 'sins' of the past yet haunt me and hold me to account.  And perhaps that's just how it should be if there's to be any kind of justice in the world for missed opportunities of acts of kindness and decency.

Sunday 18 September 2022


Copyright BBC TV

The above magazine seems to be something of a unique publication in that I think this was the only one ever published.  I've now added it to the post I did about the 1976 Blue Peter Holiday Special (another one-off), which you can read about by clicking this link.

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