Sunday 28 January 2024

The FUTILE QUEST For PERFECTION... (Updated)


Copyright DC COMICS

No, your eyes do not deceive you - you are seeing double and, yes, I've shown the cover of this number before as a single issue (though I applied digital technology to disguise some flaws.).  Back in May it was, when I acquired a replacement for my original copy after 43 years.  (I still have the cover and splash page though, 'cos I used them as pin-ups on my bedroom wall in another house.  They're tucked away somewhere safe at the moment.)

As alluded to, it wasn't in perfect condition, as it had the number 10 scrawled on the cover in ballpoint pen (which I assume was a reduction from its price of 15p, and at one time it may have had a sticker on it which had been removed, leaving some residue over the 'E' of Superman.  The '10' wasn't too noticeable, though its impression was visible if the light fell on it in a certain way, and I gave the area around the 'E' a colour touch after removing the residue, but it wasn't in perfect condition.

I decided to wait a while to see if I could live with these flaws, but when I recently saw another one on eBay described as being in near mint condition, I decided to take the plunge and purchase it.  Alas, the seller had failed to notice a couple of small rips on the left-hand lower cover, one which was around half-an-inch long.  He gave me a very generous partial refund after enquiring whether that would be acceptable, and the application of some PVA glue to the rips soon remedied that problem, but the colours on the cover and inside weren't quite as vibrant as the other copy.  The vagaries of printing, alas.

Also, my original copy had, I'm sure, the UK 15p price on it (as does the replacement I bought in May), whereas the more recent copy has the original US price of 40c.  Normally, such things wouldn't bother me if I were buying the comic for the first time, but as I'm replacing the one I had in 1980, I'd prefer it to be a 15p issue. 

So what do I do now?  Learn to live with these imperfections or wait until a near-pristine copy pops up at a reasonable price and go for third-time lucky?  (Fourth if you count my original.)  So far I'm undecided, but if and when I make up my mind, you'll be the first to know (after me of course).  What I'm interested in, though, is what would you do in this situation?  Just accept the flaws or look for a better issue?  The comment section awaits!

******

Ah, you'll have to be quicker, Crivs - just bought another one!    

Friday 26 January 2024

BATMAN #5 Facsimile Edition...


Copyright DC COMICS

DC's Facsimile Editions just seem to get better and better.  Some earlier issues were scanned from published originals and weren't quite as sharp or as bright as they could've been; others were comprised of a mixture of pages from new proofs when it came to the main strips, alongside murky ads scanned from published comics.  This latest issue is more-or-less perfect throughout and is printed on matte paper, as opposed to the slightly glossy stuff favoured by Marvel.  All-in-all, it adds up to a nice little product worthy of adding to your collection.  If you haven't got it already, rush out and buy it today.  (Or acquire it via eBay like I did.)

Note that on the symbolic cover, the bat emblem is absent from Batman's costume - presumably so as not to clash with the baddies in front of his chest.  (Hee-hee!  I said "chest".) 




Tuesday 23 January 2024

BABE Of The DAY - DOLLY PARTON...



 Dolly Parton asked me to join her for a roll in the hay
so I dutifully obliged, though all it did was get us covered in
the stuff.  That's all we did for a couple of hours - take turns at
rolling around on haystacks out in her big barn and telling each
other silly jokes.  Wasn't at all like what Sean Connery and
Honor Blackman got up to in Goldfinger.  I must be
losing my sex appeal - though Dolly sure isn't. 

Thursday 18 January 2024

A SUPERFAST REMINISCENCE TO 'BUG' YOU...


Funny how some behaviour continues even after a 'change' in circumstances, eh?  Back around 1971/'72, I used to wash cars on Saturday mornings in the car park of the pub on the other side of the shops across from my house.  This gave me some extra pocket-money with which to indulge my buying habits, such as comics and the occasional toy or model kit.  Halfway through June of '72 my family moved to another house in a different area, but because it wasn't too far distant I continued my car washing 'business' in my former neighbourhood as if nothing had changed.

One of my purchases with the proceeds from my labours was the very first Knockout Annual for 1973, bought, it seems from memory, a little earlier than when Annuals usually went on sale in shops, from the newsagent's just along the road from my new house.  Another buy was the Matchbox Superfast Flying Bug (No. 11), purchased from the newsagent's in my old neighbourhood (while residing in my new one) just after a car-washing session one sunny Saturday in 1972.  I forget which item was obtained first, not that it much matters for the purpose of this story.  Annual or car?  Just can't recall.

Maybe a week later, in the company of a pal, the late Alan Bowie (no relation to the singer, whose real name was Jones), I bought a second Flying Bug from another newsagent's, in an area where I'd once lived prior to the two mentioned above.  AB also bought one, being enamoured by mine and wanting one for himself.  Why did I buy another?  I have a vague recollection of having blootered my original with continually scudding it across the living room carpet into the skirting boards and compromising its pristine condition.  I was always a sucker for things that were brand-spanking new.

Close to 30 years ago now, I bought a replacement Flying Bug (boxed), and recently saw another on eBay.  I couldn't help thinking it would be nice to have a spare one - to sort of stand-in for the one my pal had bought 50-odd years ago, on the same day I'd purchased my second Superfast car.  So I promptly bought it and it arrived at Castel Crivens last week.  I'll keep it out for a while to enjoy looking at it, then I'll store it alongside my other one in a box in the cupboard.  First, though, I'll photograph the two of them together (still to do at time of typing) so you Crivvies can cop a gander at them.

Having two of them reminds me of not only an earlier time in my life, but also in my late friend's, who I later fell out with (in 1981) and didn't find out had died in 2013 until September of last year.  So he's gone and I have no idea how long it will be until I follow him, but for the meantime, I can look at these two cars and remember a time when we were best buddies with an eternity ahead of us.  Always better to recall the happy times, eh?  Any of you Crivs own an item which reminds you of old pals who you later lost touch with, and if so, how about sharing it with the rest of us in the comments section?

And just in case you were interested, below is the cover of the Knockout Annual for 1973 (on sale in '72).  It's as Christmassy a cover as you could wish for, though I got it around July, possibly August.  It was the only Annual the newsagent's had, and I remember it was a sunny day.

******

It occurs to me that I have many items that remind me of specific friends, people (and also places), who are indelibly associated with them because they were with me when I first purchased the items in question.  It's almost like a diary entry, being able to look at something and recall who was with me when I bought it, and in what shop in which neighbourhood as well.  It doesn't happen with every item I own, but it occurs enough times to warm the cockles o' me 'eart.  

Tuesday 16 January 2024

ACTION MEN Of The 1960s - Guest Post By Doctor ANDREW MAY...


Fellow Crivvie Doctor Andrew May has decided to spoil us all once again with another guest post.  This time he's looking back on one of the most popular toys for boys ever created, which is yet available today in 2024.  Good toys never die, eh?  Over to Andrew...

******

I mentioned in a comment on this blog a few months ago that I still had some Action Man figures from the 1960s, so I'm grateful to Kid for this chance to say a bit more about them.  The four that I still have are pictured above - they're lying flat on their backs because the internal elastic has become so loose they can't stand up on their own.  Apart from that, though, they're in pretty good condition given how much I used to play with them.  One of the brown-haired figures is missing a foot, and the yellow-haired one is minus both hands, but otherwise they've survived the years pretty well.

As you can see, these are all "first generation" Action Men with painted-on hair - originally bought circa 1966-67 when I used to play with them constantly with my best friend of the time, who was the same age as me and lived in the same village.  We were continually swapping toys between us, so the ones I ended up keeping weren't necessarily mine to start with.  My own first Action Man was the yellow-haired one (who, as you can see, quickly got stereotyped as a German), though the oldest toy in the photo is the black-haired one on the left, which originally belonged to my friend and subsequently came to me in a swap.

At one point I also had an Action Man "Talking Commander", which I never really liked, as well as a Tommy Gunn - an Action Man clone from a different manufacturer (Pedigree), which I also didn't like much.  I suspect I ended up swapping one or other of them for that black-haired Action Man, which was always my favourite.

Technically, in fact, that one isn't an Action Man at all but a G.I. Joe - the original American toy from which the first generation Action Man was copied.  You can see this by comparing the inscription on the black-haired figure with one of the others:

The first one reads: "G.I. Joe reg. T.M. copyright 1964 by Hasbro (R) Patent Pending Made in Canada", while the second one says "Made in England by Palitoy under licence from Hasbro (C) 1964".

As discussed recently on this blog, Action Men weren't cheap - the equivalent of over £30 in today's money.  But many years later my mother told me that, after initial misgivings about "boys playing with dolls", she and my father decided it was the best money they'd ever spent on me, because I played with them constantly from age 8 right up until I was 11 or 12.  By that time I was too old for toys as such, but (with a new and more sophisticated circle of friends after starting high school), they became more like today's modern action figures for adult collectors, being put on display with different uniforms and equipment.  I even remember adding stubble to one of the brown-haired figures to make a "Sgt Fury" lookalike!

Back in their early days, however, the figures really got their boots dirty fighting endless back-garden battles.  Here's a couple of photographs from that era:

As you can see from the second of the above garden pictures, I used to have an Action Man "frogman" outfit in those days, complete with wetsuit and scuba tank.  None of that's survived, but I do still have a few miscellaneous accessories - of which the most interesting (to me) is the spacesuit pictured below.  The silver fabric is reminiscent of the iconic Mercury spacesuit (1961-63), but I think it's actually meant to be a Gemini suit (which would have been bang up to date at the time I bought it), because it includes a hand-held manoeuvring gun like the one used by Gemini astronauts on spacewalks.


It's been good to look back on my childhood playthings and I only hope that it's reminded you of many happy moments playing with your Action Men.  Any of you still have them?

******

Thanks, Andrew, for taking the time to prepare this post for your fellow Crivvies.  I'm sure they'll have enjoyed looking back just as much as you did.  Hopefully, they'll be so moved with nostalgia and emotion that they'll leave lots of lovely comments.

Friday 12 January 2024

Corgi STINGRAY About To Be Launched...



In its 60th Anniversary year, Stingray has been immortalised in diecast by Corgi, costing a whopping £39.99, I assume it's intended for adult collectors and not as a toy for kids - except big kids like me.  (Were toys back in the '60s ever priced at what would've been the modern-day equivalent of £40?)  It looks a beezer, though I don't like those flat edges at the rear of the torpedo silos - probably necessary to accommodate the torpedoes, but ruins the sleek lines of an otherwise handsome craft.  Having said that, can't wait for mine to arrive.  Have you ordered yours? 

Thursday 11 January 2024

BABE Of The DAY - LYNDA CARTER...



Ever wondered what a real woman looks like?
Then wonder no more - here's Lynda Carter to show
just what you should be looking for in the dating stakes.
Obviously, women like this will be searching for guys like
me, so you shouldn't go getting your hopes up that you'll
ever be in with a chance with a hot babe as stunningly
beautiful as the lovely Lynda.  Poor little you!

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Go On, Indulge Me - In Memoriam (One More Time)...



Remembering
ALAN BOWIE
(17-2-1959 - 10-1-2013)

Those were the days, my friend,
we thought they'd never end.

Tiddely pom.

******

So why another 'In Memoriam' post for the same person and a repeat of the above photo after its previous outing a few months back?  Simple.  It's now 11 years to the day since my erstwhile friend passed away (though I never learned of the fact 'til September of last year) and I thought I'd mark the anniversary of his passing on Crivens, as well as in my local weekly newspaper which goes on sale today.  (11 years ago, the 10th was a Thursday, not a Wednesday, not that it much matters.)  I never realised that such notices were so expensive, but I thought it was worth the cost to reaffirm his connection (under his own name) to the town he'd grown up in.

You see, at some stage in the last 26 years or thereabouts of his life, he'd taken to calling himself Alan Bowie-McDonald, though (for reasons beyond my ken) notice of his funeral service in the Cornwall Gazette was listed only under McDonald, which I thought somewhat lacking as, even had anyone from his youth seen it, they wouldn't have known it was him.  I felt compelled to redress the balance by ensuring that his death was also recorded in our home town's local paper under his 'real' name, even if it was 11 years after-the-fact.  It didn't seem right otherwise, even though he'd spent his last 35 years down south after joining the Royal Navy at the age of 18.

You may be wondering about the 'Tiddely pom' line so allow me to explain.  Sometime around 1975 or '76 I bought a combined volume of A.A. Milne's 'Winnie The Pooh' and 'The House At Pooh Corner' (from, if memory serves, the local Boots The Chemist, in whose warehouse I then worked), in which the following poem appeared:

                                                                    The more it snows
                                                                             (Tiddely pom),
                                                                    The more it goes
                                                                             (Tiddely pom),
                                                                    The more it goes
                                                                             (Tiddely pom),
                                                                        On snowing.
                                                                     And nobody knows
                                                                             (Tiddely pom),
                                                                     How cold my toes
                                                                             (Tiddely pom),
                                                                     How cold my toes
                                                                             (Tiddely pom),
                                                                        Are growing.

Don't ask me why, but this greatly amused me (yeah, yeah, I know - simple things please simple minds - heard it before) and I soon made AB aware of it, who likewise found it amusing.  That same night (I think) we were both out and it happened to be snowing, so the pair of us launched into an impromptu recitation of the poem - then repeated it over and over again.  Subsequently, we only had to say 'Tiddely pom' to one another to conjure up memories of that snow-clouded evening when we were both only around 16 or 17 years of age.  For that reason I thought it was a nice way to round off the lines from Mary Hopkin's 'Those Were The Days', which we also used to belt-out from time-to-time when reminiscing about the past.

It's strange to think that he spent nearly two-thirds of his life elsewhere, because I still mainly associate him with our town.  There are few spots I can go to which don't conjure forth memories of us roaming or exploring as kids or teens so it's odd to realise that, eventually, his main store of recollections would've consisted of times, people and places from after he'd left our town, myself, and everyone else he'd known far behind.  In due course he'd have come to regard somewhere else as 'home', not where he'd grown up, whereas my 'geographical allegiances' remained the same.  Not that he ever 'forgot' where he was from as it was listed on his Facebook page, but perhaps it was no longer as relevant to him as it had once been.

Anyway, I just couldn't permit notice of his passing (and under a different surname to boot) be confined to another part of the UK, leaving the area he originally hailed from and his birth name unacknowledged, so I thought it only proper and fitting that his home town's local newspaper should also recognise and remember him (better late than never).  To my mind, this is where he yet belongs and, like I said, though the majority of his memories were doubtless of other times and other places and people, it's the earlier ones coinciding with mine which I'd like to think were among the most notable to him, however self-centred that sentiment may seem.  I can never really know, of course, but it's not altogether beyond the bounds of possibility.

I'll purchase my local paper when I'm down at the shops later today, scan the notice, print it out, and then affix it inside the Navy notebook he gave me (along with his old wallet) the last time he was in my house when he was up in our home town on a brief visit in December of 1980.  That somehow seems fitting, don't you think?

Pax vobiscum.  (And Tiddely pom.) 

Saturday 6 January 2024

No, It's NOT A FANTASY - It's AMAZING...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

What's that you're saying?  How can there be a 1000th issue of Amazing Fantasy when it only lasted 15 issues?  Well, you're forgetting numbers 16-18 from around the mid-'90s, but you're right - there were never 999 previous issues before this one.  I dunno, maybe it's symbolic or something, but the above ish (dated October 2022) came into my possession only recently and I found it to be a jolly good read in the main.  I therefore thought you might like to know of its existence (if you didn't already) and want to track one down for your own collection.

Be warned, it can be pretty pricey, though I was lucky enough to pick one up for next-to-nothing - in perfect condition too.  There are less-expensive ones available from America, but the p&p costs are sky-high so you could still end up paying through the nose.  If you can find it cheaply enough, grab it, 'cos it's a cracking read (Gromit).  See the back cover below for a list of who was involved in producing this neat and natty number.  And if you already own this ish, register your thoughts about it in our comments section.  Excelsior!

Tuesday 2 January 2024

BABE Of The DAY - PAIGE SPIRANAC...



We're now into the New Year of 2024, which
is often how old I feel these days, what with the ills
and ailments which accompany our advancing years.
However, although we old yins are all in the same boat,
one thing sure to put a smile on our face and a spring
in our step (for about five seconds) is the welcome
 sight of a pretty babe like Paige Spiranac.



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