Thursday 31 August 2023

GHOST With The MOST - STAN LEE Presents: Part Five - The Creation Of The FANTASTIC FOUR...


Hi gang, Stan Lee, inhabiting his Mego 8 inch action figure, back to rap with you again.  I should probably have kicked-off this series with an affectionate look at The Fantastic Four (after all, they started the Marvel ball rollin'), but better late than never.  Y'know, some people have asserted that the alleged similarities between the FF and DC's Challengers Of The Unknown prove it must've been Jack Kirby who came up with our Cosmic Quartet and that I had nothing to do with it.  Let's take a look at those so-called similarities.

1) There are four members in each group.

2) Both groups survived plummeting from the sky.

3) Both strips were drawn by Jack Kirby.

From my point of view, the first two are superficial and are outweighed by the differences, which are...

1) The FF had superpowers, the Challengers didn't.

2) One of the FF was a woman, whereas the Challengers were all men.

3) The Challengers survived a plane crash which should have killed them, whereas the FF's rocket returned safely (if roughly) to earth once the automatic pilot took over.

4) The Challengers didn't know one another before the crash, whereas the FF were friends before undertaking their space flight.

Also, it was surviving a crash which should've killed them that motivated the Challs into undertaking their adventures; with the FF it was being transformed by cosmic ray-endowed superpowers which inspired them to band together as a team - not quite the same thing.  There might be other similarities and differences, but that's enough to work with for now.  My point being that I think any comparisons made between the FF and the Challengers in an attempt to ascribe total creative authorship to the same man are exaggerated and don't stand up to scrutiny.

Also, the FF came about because my publisher, Martin Goodman, tasked me with creating a group that would cash-in on the success of DC's Justice League Of America, which was proving to be a popular hit at the time, so there was a specific reason as to why they came to be.  The FF mag wasn't just some casual creation, randomly churned out on a whim to see what might stick - it was a specific response intended to capture a slice of the relatively recent re-emerging market for comicbook superheroes.

The fact that a re-envisioned Human Torch was part of the group suggests that Martin Goodman (or myself) might have at first wanted to use some of our back catalogue of Timely's heroes.  It may well be that Captain America (maybe Bucky as well) and Sub-Mariner were among those considered for inclusion before I (possibly with some input from Jack, possibly not) came up with the line-up as seen in the published mag.  There had already been an attempt to revive the aforementioned wartime heroes only a few short years before which hadn't been the success we'd hoped for, hence, possibly, that idea being abandoned.

My synopsis (below - click to enlarge) for the first issue still exists (no surprise that some of my critics doubt its authenticity), but I simply can't recall whether or not I'd already talked things over with Jack before typing it.  However, there are aspects of it that Jack changed at the drawing stage, and the Mole Man section may well have been entirely down to the Jolly one.  Though again, we might have discussed it at some point prior to Jack drawing it, just can't remember.  Things like that just didn't seem important at the time - we were all too busy doing it to dwell on it.

However, once the series was well under way, Jack assumed a more creative input into the plots with only minimal 'interference' from me, though I'd say my editing, scripting, and characterisation, along with occasional plot tweaks, were essential elements in why the mag became so popular.  That's why, when divvying up the credits, it's in no way a disservice to either of us to regard myself and Jack as co-creators of 'The World's Greatest Comic Magazine!'

'Cos we were, and it was!


Tuesday 29 August 2023


Yesterday, JACK KIRBY, had he yet been alive, would've been 106.  Cue various blog writers waxing eloquent and lyrical about what a great guy he was, what a fantastic artist/writer/ideas man he was, how prescient he was about graphic novels, collected editions, the fate of comicbooks, etc.  And, of course, how he healed the sick, walked on water, foretold the future, and performed many signs and wonders.  Oh, my mistake regarding the previous sentence, but it's a natural false impression that some may get, given the over-the-top deification of the man in some comicbook circles.

I didn't know Mr. Kirby, but I'm quite prepared to believe that he was a very nice man, and as far as comicbooks are concerned, he certainly was (when at the top of his game) a fantastic artist and ideas man.  Writer?  H'mm, well he certainly wasn't the wordsmith that STAN LEE was, and even at its best, his scripting lacked the grace and the charm - to say nothing of natural-sounding dialogue - of his MARVEL collaborator, but he could certainly hang a story together.  Okay, some of his plots you could fly a 747 through, but he did a good job of producing ephemeral comics to amuse kids and teenagers for 20 minutes or so, and for a time he did it better than most.

However, let's look at things in context.  Jack was reputedly a voracious reader of books and magazines, fictional and factual, historical and scientific, and derived many of his ideas from them.  He didn't originate the concept of DNA and cloning, or indeed time-travel, or any other concept that ever appeared in his strips.  He regurgitated what he had read, often simplifying the ingredients to their most basic level for the purpose of filling a comicbook for what was assumed to be unsophisticated readers.  Remember, we're talking about comics, which, at the time Jack was prominent in them, were never regarded as being anything more than an inexpensive way of amusing kids and teens.  I wonder what Jack's reaction would've been, had the writers he'd been 'inspired' by demanded credit and compensation from him?

Jack was a great visual storyteller, but his artwork was also filled with many inconsistencies and flaws.  Characters cast shadows that bore no resemblance to reality, sported two left (or right) hands and feet, or were sized totally out of proportion to one another.  As for his abstract and idiosyncratic depiction of musculature, well, it's perhaps as well that he never decided to be a physician or surgeon, given his seemingly elastic 'grasp' of human anatomy.  But did all that matter?  In a sense, no - not if you read one of his comics in the same way that it had been written or drawn, which was at speed, without paying too much attention to detail.  Just jump aboard and enjoy the ride while it lasts, then jump aboard the next one.

Now, I never met Jack, but like I said, I'm perfectly prepared to accept that he was a decent guy in the main - but, just like the rest of us, he wasn't perfect.  He didn't always credit JOE SIMON for his contributions during their partnership when recounting a list of his (Jack's) achievements in later years, something you think he'd have gone to great pains to do, given his perception of how he himself was denied credit for his own work.  He became bitter and angry (fuelled, it has to be said, by some of those around him) at not receiving what he considered proper financial compensation for his many creations or co-creations, and unwisely (as well as inaccurately) accused Stan Lee of never having created or written anything in his life.

However, as I've pointed out a few times before, Jack knew how things operated at the time, and knew and accepted that the copyright of any feature belonged to the publishers.  That was only natural (as well as sensible), because why should a publisher shell out many thousands of dollars to launch a comicbook series, only for the writer or artist to take it elsewhere if it became successful?  They'd have spent thousands and then have nothing to show for it.  There's nothing to indicate that Jack or Joe treated their contributors any differently to the established norms of the time when the ran their own company, MAINLINE COMICS.

Jack sold his creations to keep himself in a job, by which he earned a good living to support his family.  The fact that his work later appreciated in value didn't really entitle him to cry 'foul' after the fact.  Otherwise that Aston Martin D.B.5 I sold for £200,000 a few years ago and which is now worth 5 million - well, I'm entitled to a slice of that, so I am.  (No, of course I didn't - I'm just illustrating the point.)  British cartoonist LEO BAXENDALE likewise felt cheated (with no real basis in my view), but it's interesting (and relevant) to consider the opinion of another UK cartoonist, the late TERRY BAVE.

I once asked Terry if he'd ever felt cheated, and tempted to seek reimbursement for all the characters and strips he'd created (with his wife SHIELA) over the years that IPC were still reprinting, and his response was "Nah!  Kept me in a job, it did.  Who needs the grief of all that palaver?"  (Despite the quotes to indicate speech, that's a paraphrase of what Terry said as best as I can remember it, but it carries the full essence of his sentiment.)  Terry enjoyed his career in comics, enjoyed the creative process, regarded himself blessed to have worked in the industry for so long, and didn't feel cheated, or deprived, or bitter about anything.  Why?  Because he knew the deal going in and accepted it - and didn't whinge about it later.

I note that some blog writers are claiming that Jack has been vindicated by time, seeing as how some of his later work, regarded as failures when it was first published, is now being reprinted in hardcover volumes.  This proves, they say, what they knew all along, that it was just the rubes who were too dim to realise what masterpieces Jack was producing.  Well, no (simply).  What it proves is that once 'cult status' has been built up around a figure by dedicated fans over the years since he died, then an interest has been generated in his work, not that the work was necessarily or automatically deserving of unqualified success back in the day.  It also proves that, given the growing industry in collected editions of material that has already been paid for, there is a market to be exploited and an appetite to be developed that will need fed.  I have a lot of Jack's original comics, as well as many and various editions of reprints of the same material.  I find that it doesn't read any better or worse now than it did at the time I first read it, decades ago.

So Jack was a nice guy, who may have believed (or held hopes of) how the comicbook industry would develop in the future, but I'm sceptical that Jack knew  - he couldn't 'know'.  But just for argument's sake, even if he did (and remember, he'd have been aware of what other countries were doing in the field of comics publishing, so there was a template), it wasn't necessarily because he thought that his comics were intrinsically deserving of such treatment (deluxe collected editions, blockbuster movies, etc.), merely, perhaps, that he was cynically aware of just how 'big business' eventually gets around to mining and exploiting absolutely everything down to the very last molecule.  In short, if there's money to be made from something, they'll find every which way to make it.  Jack certainly knew that.

Jack Kirby was a very fine man by all accounts, and also a great comicbook creator, but let's dial down the more 'godlike' attributes that some fans and former associates are prone to ascribe to him, eh?  However, that'll probably never happen while there are people and publishers with a vested interest in promoting (and sometimes exaggerating to the point of deifying) his achievements in order to sell books by or about him.

Let me tell you what I know.  This post well receive a lot of visits, that's for sure.   However, whether or not it'll generate a lot of comments depends on you.

Saturday 26 August 2023

GET READY FOR ACTION - In A 'Knock-Off' Capacity...

Still to get him a jacket and boots

If memory serves (memory backed up by checkable data), my family holidayed in Rothesay back in June of 1970.  While there, I bought a cheap Action Man 'knock-off', but whose face was the double of AM's nearest rival, Tommy Gunn.  Its arms were rubber with wire inside, though the legs bent in the traditional 'riveted' manner, while the torso didn't move at all.  For some now long-forgotten reason, I'd taken a pair of boots from Pedigree's Captain Scarlet figure with me on holiday and fitted them to the figure, but due to them being so tight and inflexible, I inadvertently pulled off its feet when trying to remove the red-hued footwear.

After retrieving the feet, I angrily threw the boots into the sea from Rothesay Pier, an act which still makes me recoil in horror at my callousness even after all this time.  (Luckily, I've now got two replacement pairs.)  I tried a hardware store in Rothesay and managed to make a temporary repair with a couple of small nuts and bolts, similar to ones in a Meccano set.  At a later stage, back home, I took the figure along to the lockup of a friend of my brother's (while he was there) to see if the feet could be pop-riveted back on.  No success, so the ankle nuts and bolts remained for however long I retained the figure, though I no longer recall just how long that was.

I was only 11 years old at the time, which nowadays would no doubt be considered far too old to own an action figure, but I was unapologetically still a mere child who, subconsciously at least, steadfastly refused to grow up.  But wait, I'm perhaps overstating the case; it's probably more likely that I was just blissfully unaware that I should - grow up I mean.  The following year we holidayed in Largs, where I bought yet another action figure - a superior one to its predecessor - and it strikes me as odd that the last two action figures I ever purchased as a youth were both bought when I was on holiday.  Thirteen years were to pass before I bought another one, and that was a brand-new Action Man I got for half price (£7 or thereabouts) from a local R.S. McColl's in 1984.  I still have it too, though it's not shown here.

Why buy it at that age?  Because it was reported in the newspapers that Palitoy had recently announced they were no longer going to produce 12 inch action figures as they felt kids were no longer interested in them.  I therefore decided to obtain one as a memento of what seemed to me - drama merchant that I was - to be a passing era.  However, a new 12 inch version of Action Man returned in the early '90s, this time made by Hasbro, the original manufacturer of G.I. Joe in 1964, who was renamed in the UK as Action Man a mere two years later.

Around four years back I managed to acquire a replacement for the 1971 figure (above), and just a few days ago, I also got my hands on a replacement for the one from 1970 (top of post).  (Remarkably, the wire in the arms remains unbroken.)  The rivets through his ankles were a little bent and corroded, and didn't quite close over properly on the inside - so I removed them as both joints were slightly loose.  Isn't it odd that 53 years after the fact, I detached the second figure's feet (though this time deliberately) as I had with the first one?  I used a couple of plastic 'pegs' from a couple of spare parts to re-attach the feet, which will serve until I find some spare metal rivets, though, truth to tell, it would be fine just as it is.

Any point to this post?  Not really, I just wanted to say how pleased I am that I've managed to reclaim yet another item from childhood and, by doing so, feel closer-connected to that long-gone period of my past, which, sometimes when I'm caught unawares, doesn't really seem that long ago at all.  However, the spell (for that's what it is) is a gossamer one, and it only takes the slightest intrusive distraction to shatter it and return me to the present.  At least until the next time the spell holds sway - these are the moments I live for.

Thursday 24 August 2023


Working on the assumption that most Crivs won't be averse to some pictures of pussy (oi, behave, you dirty-minded lot), I thought I'd show you this trio of photos of a 'stray' cat which has adopted me.  I call her 'Baby' and she has her own wee 'hoose' in my front porch.  Today, she decided to do a bit of sunbathing in my back garden and promptly commandeered a set of chairs for the purpose.  She looks like the cat who got the cream, eh?

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner" - except herself, obviously, as she's in a corner of the garden.  (See what I did there?  Clever me.)

Wednesday 23 August 2023



Hi, Stan Lee here yet again, inhabiting the form of my Mego 8 inch action figure, to rap about one of Marvel's most popular characters. However, before that, I have to set the stage by indulging in a fair amount of preamble, so bear with me, Merry Marvel-ites.

One of the many amazing things about the human mind is that it's tremendously susceptible to suggestion.  For example, ask someone what the difference is between two seemingly identical objects, and you've planted the notion in their heads that there is a difference (even when there might not be), and their thoughts then set off in search of an answer which didn't exist before you asked the question.  Many poems, for instance, arise from a line suddenly popping into the writer's head and them then making it up line-by-line as they go along (following rather than leading), not necessarily because they decided to write something on a particular subject.

It's almost as if the idea has a life of its own and must simply take its course, quite independent of the writer.  However, ask what their inspiration or motivation was, and they respond as if there'd actually been one, and do so quite unconscious of the fact that they'd never even thought about it until you asked.  They recount what seems most likely now that they've been directed down that avenue of thought, and by the time they've finished, they've come to subconsciously believe their explanation as the truth simply because it seems entirely plausible and even extremely likely.

The Mystic Master's debut issue

I've done that, and so has Jack KirbySteve Ditko, and just about any other creative person you care to name.  Ask them for a reason for doing something and they'll give you one, even if there was no specific reason other than trying to earn a living.  In my case, I was once asked how I came up with the idea for Spider-Man, so I gave what seemed to me an entirely plausible account of watching a spider crawling up or down a wall one day, and getting the idea from that.  I was also, as a kid, a big fan of The Spider radio show, and that also figured in my thinking when relating my inspiration for Spidey years after the fact.  Contrary to some assertions, the two accounts are not mutually exclusive; both could have played a part, but I suspect I hoodwinked myself into believing the 'spider on the wall' tale because, hey, it might've happened and, besides, it made for a much more interesting 'reminiscence'.

Jack did the same thing when he later recounted that he'd created The Hulk because he'd once seen a woman lift a car off her son who was pinned underneath, and the idea that rage could fuel some kind of super-strength was his inspiration (or part of it) for the character.  The only thing wrong with his reminiscence is that Jack wasn't responsible for Bruce Banner's rage-induced transformations, which didn't happen 'til after Steve Ditko had taken over the strip.  Whether it was Stevey or me who came up with that angle, or whether it came from both of us after talking things over is something else lost in the mists of history.  

However, don't think I'm suggesting that Jack was lying; what likely happened was, looking back years later when The Hulk's rage-morphs were long established, his subconscious mind joined the dots to come up with a 'picture' of events which made some kind of sense.  However, he just misremembered, joined the dots up in the wrong order and thereby came up with the wrong picture.  Sometimes we just don't remember, and in trying to recall what we've forgotten, we come up with what seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation and then find ourselves believing that it really happened that way.

Which now brings us to Doctor Strange.

While writing my best-selling book, Origins Of Marvel Comics, I cast my mind back and recounted what I felt must have happened, based on whatever sequence of events I could remember, even when I couldn't recollect absolutely everything.  I didn't deliberately or knowingly lie, but I probably didn't represent the full unedited picture.  If you ask me now who came up with the idea of Doctor Strange, Steve Ditko or myself, I can't actually remember whether it was him or me, though I felt it was me back in 1974 when I wrote Origins.  (Having said that though, nowhere do I explicitly state in my intro to the reprinted strips that I created the character, even if that's the impression given.)

Steve's version of events is that he brought the fully illustrated first story in to me with no prior involvement on my part, but whether he's referring to the character or the plot is by no means certain.  As the commissioning editor, it's not altogether impossible that I said "Hey, Stevey, why not do a strip involving a sorcerer?" and left him to it.  I'd already done Doctor Droom with Jack Kirby (which Steve had inked), but that hadn't really worked and was short-lived, so maybe I wanted to see how Ditko would do with a similar idea.  Now, I know what you're thinking.  What about my letter to Dr. Jerry Bails in 1963 in which I say " 'twas Steve's idea" ?  Below is the paragraph in full - click to enlarge.

Read it carefully.  I say that the first story is nothing great and that it was Steve's idea, but what precisely am I referring to - the plot or Doctor Strange?  If I meant the character, wouldn't I have said "he was Steve's idea"?  It could be interpreted either way, so it's not exactly conclusive proof that I had nothing to do with initiating the Doctor's existence - even his name was down to me.  However, for the purpose of discussion, let's assume that Ditko dreamt up the character and the plot on his own before bringing it in to show me.  As Steve has so often said himself, an idea is not fully realised until it's brought to fruition.  Steve might have created the look of Strange, but 'twas me who christened him, supplied him with his origin (significantly similar to that of Doctor Droom), scripted his sorcerous dialogue and mystic incantations - in short, his character and personality, which are all part of bringing a comicbook hero (or villain) to life for the reading public.

And there's always a chance that Steve misremembered things.  Below, in his own handwriting, he admits that just like Jack and me, he didn't have a perfect memory either.  If Steve deserves the credit of being the published Spidey's co-creator for his input into the web-spinner, then I'd say I'm entitled to be accorded the same respect for my input into the Sorcerer Supreme.  What the readers saw was the result of both of us, not just Steve on his own.  Sure, he gets full credit for the visuals and most of the plots, but dare I say there was an equal measure of magic in the scripting and characterisation?  So who created the Doctor Strange that Marveldom Assembled saw in the pages of Strange Tales  and the Doc's own mag?

Well, it would be no lie to say that we were both responsible for the finished creation.  That's just the way comic mags are usually produced.  Anyway, you'll believe what you want to, but I'm giving it to you straight, I'm not trying to hoodwink you into believing a deliberate untruth.  There are always alternative explanations to any contentious issues that are worth considering and I've presented you with one that I think is entirely reasonable.  Whether you see it that way or not is entirely up to you. 

'Nuff said!

Tuesday 22 August 2023



Spider-Man Comics Weekly #48 - the first issue to have a glossy cover after 47 newsprint covers since its first appearance in 1973.  Unfortunately, the reproduction inside the mag was pretty terrible, with murky, obscured, black, white, and grey artwork which was sore on the eyes and must've annoyed any of the artists who saw what was being done to the fruits of their labour, reprints or not.  Marvel eventually sorted out the problem, which was caused by poor printing rather than the Zipatone (Letratone was the UK equivalent) applied to b&w stats of the pages in the States, but it's surprising that readers put up with it for so long.

Anyway, having showed you the first glossy covered ish of MWOM yesterday, I thought you might appreciate seeing its stablemate, SMCW, today.  Enjoy.

Monday 21 August 2023



Having shown you Crivs all the newsprint paper covers of The Mighty World Of Marvel in an 'Omnibus' post recently, I thought I might as well show you the first issue of MWOM to feature a glossy cover.  Why?  For no other reason than because I can, that's why!  Sometimes, that's the only reason required on this 'ere blog of mine.  I'll add it to the other post as well, but I thought it deserved a space of its own first.

Sunday 20 August 2023


Copyright relevant owner

As far as I'm able to determine, there were at least 36 Century 21 Mini Albums back in the '60s, though four of them weren't Gerry Anderson-related and are therefore not included in this post.  (They were comprised of The Daleks, Topo Gigio, Tingha & Tucker Nursery Rhymes, and Space Age Nursery Rhymes.  The Daleks album came in two versions and is probably the most sought-after of all of them, with prices usually being extremely high.)

The album covers you see before you are scans of miniature CD facsimiles of the original 7 inch vinyl records, produced by Fanderson, who, despite some less than satisfying membership conditions, manufacture a fair amount of superb quality merchandise related to Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation TV shows that those of us of a certain age grew up on.  Due to copyright reasons, the only two not replicated by Fanderson are The Daleks and Topo Gigio.

I've got several of the original vinyl records, though the reproduction quality of the CDs is far superior, not being prone to any crackles, hisses, skips, or pops usually found on their vinyl incarnations.  To acquire a full set of originals, you'd probably first have to secure a modest Lottery win, so the CD option is probably the best way to go if you'd like to add these classic recordings to your collection.  Unfortunately, you can only obtain them if you're a Fanderson member - if not, then forget it.  (Unless you find some unwanted ones on eBay.)

As I've related before, after paying for a year's membership, five months later I received a renewal request, on account of, apparently, a year not meaning a year - despite what it said in the terms and conditions of membership on the Fanderson site.  "We never say anywhere that membership is for a year" I was told, despite the inaccuracy of such a claim.  When I pointed out several instances to the contrary (including a start and end date precisely 12 months apart in my membership confirmation), the terms and conditions received a swift overhaul to remove most references to the offending word - year

Fanderson have now revised their membership terms and conditions to say that everyone's membership expires once they receive their FAB Express summer magazine, but unless every single member renews at the same time, it seems to me that this situation still leaves a substantial problem.  For example, if you join as a new member a month before the summer mag comes out, your membership then expires once you receive it and you then need to renew, meaning that your membership has lasted for only a month.  Or am I missing something?  (Entirely possible.)

Perhaps a Fanderson member will be kind enough to comment and clarify the situation as, despite the revisions to the 'rules', it seems that they've not really solved the problem.  All members should be entitled to the same duration of membership, but if people are joining at different times through the year, this doesn't seem possible.  Anyway, apologies for making your head hurt - just enjoy the pretty pictures by way of compensation.

Any of you cavortin' Crivs ever have any of these albums back in the day?  If so and you've got a favourite (or favourites), tell your fellow readers all about them and just what they meant to you.  And remember - Thunderbirds Are Go and Spectrum Is Green!

(I should just point out that the Fireball XL5 Journey To The Moon album was a membership gift at some stage and is not available as part of the various sets of facsimiles.)

Incidentally, the eight images seen here are each comprised of four separate covers placed together by me in order to conserve time and space, they're not eight compilation discs of 'four-albums-on-one'.  (Just in case it wasn't clear.)   

Friday 18 August 2023



You may have seen these 18 Savage Sword Of Conan covers before on Crivens in three separate posts a good while back, but I thought you might like to refresh your memories with an all-in-one omnibus re-presentation of them.  Issue 11 is the odd one out as it was specially drawn for the UK weekly edition it adorns and was never used in America (as far as I know), so it's unique among the Conan covers that Marvel produced.

Although the weekly survived for only 18 issues, a couple of years later the title was resurrected as a 52 page (I think) monthly, which lasted for 93 issues into 1985, but I no longer have them, having held onto only the first and the last.  However, I do have a long run of Conan Saga, which reused most of the same monthly covers, so if I ever find the time to dig them out of my cupboard and scan them, I'll do a post sometime in the future.

In the meantime, enjoy those on offer and let your fellow Crivvies know which ones are your favourites.  (Click on images to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.) 

Below, the first issue of the title in its revived format (monthly) a couple of years later...

Wednesday 16 August 2023


Stunning Denise Melani makes
another appearance on our Babe of the
Day spot, Crivvies.  And she's inviting me
to sniff her armpit to demonstrate just
 how good she smells.  Lovely!

Saturday 12 August 2023

Hey, TOMMY - Do You Have A GUNN?

Copyright Harry Hyndman and relevant & respective owners

There is a time in relation to one's relatively recent past when things don't seem particularly long ago (mainly because they aren't), and then, somewhere along the line, it one day eventually and suddenly hits you that something you tended to still regard as a nigh-on 'contemporary' occurrence actually took place several decades (and houses and neighbourhoods and friends and relatives) ago.

Such was the case with my brother's 1966 Christmas gift of Pedigree's action figure, Tommy Gunn.  My brother was 12 when he received this gift and it really wasn't very long before it passed into my hands.  It must have been around 25 years later before I was able to source a replacement in my quest to re-acquire as many items from my childhood as possible, and when I did, the intervening years vanished in a flash.

Initially, at least.  Then it dawns on one precisely the gulf of time which has elapsed since 'then' and 'now', and it's hard to adjust to feeling two different and contradictory notions at almost exactly the same moment.  It may feel like only yesterday, but you know it was much longer ago than that.  The capacity of the human mind to allow opposing concepts to co-inhabit is truly astounding.

But enough of all that self-indulgent philosophical tosh.

Today I took possession of a book called Tommy Gunn Collectors Guide by Harry Hyndman and my mind immediately returned to, first, 1966 (and 'our' original Tommy), then the early or mid-'90s (and my replacement).  I ordered the book on the 5th, it was (according to a date in the back) printed on the 6th, then despatched on the 8th, and was meant to be delivered on the 13th (tomorrow, Sunday).  However, it arrived today, and I'm certainly not complaining about that.

There must be other Tommy Gunn collectors out there who'd enjoy this book, but rather than tell you all about it, I thought I'd let the spiel on the back cover speak for itself.  The original figure was on sale for only around two years (between 1966 and '68) before metamorphosing into Captain Scarlet, so there are probably loads of grown-ups out there who never knew about him when they were kids.  Palitoy's Action Man captured the attention (and money) of children of the time, so I feel like I'm the member of an elite club who was 'in' on something that passed most others by.

Incidentally, that's my own Tommy in the last picture.  Aren't you jealous?  No?  You should be!  If you'd like a copy of the book, jump over to Amazon and type the title into their search box.

(Click on images to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.)

MARVEL Facsimile Edition: WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #33 - Guest-starring MOON KNIGHT...


Here's another Facsimile Edition you may be interested in, Crivvies - Werewolf By Night #33.  You have a choice ahead of you - either run 'round to your nearest comicbook shop and buy a copy, or order one via eBay like I did.  The second option allows you to languish in front of the mirror for longer, admiring your appearance and sexual charisma.  Oops, my mistake - that's me I'm thinking of, because I have all the necessary qualifications to indulge in such a pastime, whereas most of you are probably unattractive blokes who don't have an unbroken mirror in the house (he said, in a kind and caring way).

On another matter, you'll be pleased to know that the 'Continued After Next Page' lines are present, along with the foot-of-the-page 'plugs' for various Marvel mags.  Unfortunately, a 'woke' box has been added to the foot of the splash page in a totally pointless exercise in case someone might take offense at anything.  I wonder whether it was werewolves they were anxious to avoid offending - whaddya think, Crivs?

Artie Simek's passing is noted on the Bullpen Bulletins page.  Hard to believe that it was 48 years ago, eh?  Artie was 'old school', in that he did all his lettering by hand - not like today's young pretenders who do it all by computer, using fonts created by someone else.  Cynical - moi?

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