Wednesday 29 May 2024


What do you use as your computer's screensaver, fellow Crivvies?  I've got several I can use, most of them being the front and/or back views from previous houses I've lived in.  At the moment, I use part of the view from my old bedroom window in a former dwelling, which I took in 1988 - 16 years after having flitted from the place, and one year after we moved back into the next house we'd first moved to in 1972.  (We flitted from that house in 1983, though returned in '87, you see.  Hope that makes sense.)

The above scene has a particular significance to me, though it's probably fair to say that it didn't mean anything much when I lived in the house between 1965 and '72.  However, my old primary school (the second of two) which you see in the photo was demolished in 2014 - and even if it still existed, it would be obscured by a three-storey building of amenity apartments for the elderly - so to see again the field I played in as a kid (it hadn't really changed in all that time) brings to mind friends and neighbours who are long (and in some cases not so long) dead and buried (or cremated).  Not everyone I knew then has expired though, as some of them merely moved elsewhere in the UK, or emigrated.

It's comforting to know that these views are preserved for posterity in photographs, as one glance at them returns me in memory to an earlier period of my life when things seemed so much simpler and better.  I also then  'laboured' (though it was no hardship) under the delusion that I'd live forever, and sometimes these days I briefly (emphasis on 'briefly') forget that such isn't the case.  So I repeat - what do you use as your screensaver, and does it have any specific significance that you'd care to share with the rest of us?  We're all waiting.

Monday 20 May 2024


No, of course it isn't, but ain't he a cute little fella?  (I assume.)  Snapped him out in my back garden this morning (you can just see part of his mum in the second photo) and thought I'd give him a star turn on Crivens!  Third photo's a little blurred as he did a sudden twirl as I pressed the button, but you can still see his short muzzle.  I'll try and get some better ones next time, though I'll have to be quick 'cos fox cubs don't take long to sprout.  What's surprising is that 'Cubby' seems to be a litter of one this year - there are usually three or four of them.  Got any foxes in your garden, Crivs?  I put out food for the wee critters 'cos I'm a big softie - do you?

Saturday 18 May 2024


Same as last week - I could hardly stay awake through it.  Exterminate!  'Nuff said.



Here's a quick question for you, Crivvies.  Which comicbook would you've liked to see 'touched' by a particular artist (penciller or inker), who didn't work on that comicbook?  For instance, much as I like Vince Colletta's inking of Jack Kirby's pencils on Thor, I'd have loved to see what John Severin's inking would've done to the strip.  I'd also have loved to see Wally Wood's inks on Kirby's FF.  I'm not just talking about the odd assignment here and there, I mean as regular contributors to those particular mags.  Same goes for pencillers - which comics would you've liked to see drawn by which artists?  Tell all in the comments section.

Thursday 16 May 2024


Copyright DC COMICS

Actually, it's the recent Facsimile Edition and is very nice indeed.  I don't recall whether I ever had the original or not, though I'm familiar with the contents and have them in other reprint collections.  The only thing that lets it down slightly is that the house ads at the back of the book are obviously scanned from an original edition and are therefore slightly faded and murky in places.  I'd have thought DC could've dropped in some new colour to sharpen them up a bit, but maybe they didn't think it was worth it.  However, the actual story pages are as sharp and clear as a bell (mixed-metaphorically speaking).

Anyway, peeps, did you have this giant book (as in comicbook) back in the '70s, and if so, just what did you think of it?  Tell all your fellow Crivvies now and start the comments ball rolling!

Wednesday 15 May 2024

The GHOST Who 'TALKS'... (Updated)

Actual drawing size 57mm high

I've just spent the last 20 minutes or so 'conversing' with an old friend.  He died 11 years ago (which I only found out about in September of last year), but between the end of 1977 and 1980, we kept in touch by letter after he joined the Navy.  So did I employ a happy medium?  (Guffaw!)  No, I recently rediscovered his letters in a box and had a read through them, and it was good to 'reconnect' with the friend I'd liked and found amusing, before he became almost another person (at least in regard to me) and I eventually cut all ties with him.  (Regular readers will perhaps remember the events from previous posts.)

As I read his letters and cards, his 'voice' ran through them, and it was as if time had rolled back and his missives were recent communications, not nearly 50 years old.  To read references that only I would know was a poignant reminder of our youth, and I found myself dwelling on events and circumstances that I hadn't thought of in a long time.

For example, he mentions 'cows passing over' (raining) when he was on a training exercise, and my mind returned to the time a passing car drove through a muddy puddle and thoroughly drenched us with its contents.  I remarked that we looked as though a herd of cows had passed over us and 'dropped their load' (though the latter part wasn't the precise phrase used).  Over the years, whenever we recalled the event (which happened when we were primary school kids), we always referred to it as 'The Day The Cows Passed Over'.

He also humorously calls himself 'a bear of very little brain', adding 'Tiddely Pom', which was a direct reference to the time I'd bought a Winnie The Pooh book and brought a poem containing the phrase to his attention.  When we were out that night, we kept repeating the full poem (short as it was) and couldn't help laughing at the sheer silliness of it.  (Ah, the exuberance of youth.)  This had happened only around a couple or so years before he joined the Navy, and with that curious paradox of time, seemed fairly recent and also ages ago at the same moment.

He also scribbles the phrase 'Biffo The Bear Is An Easter Egg With Legs' in the top margin of a letter, which recalls the time we were on our way home after visiting a friend* and saw a father write the phrase (backwards from our point of view) in the condensation on his kid's bedroom window.  I assumed he remembered the circumstances, but was surprised when he asked me on one of his visits back to Scotland just where it came from.  I explained its origin, but he had no memory of the event.  "Then why did you write it in your letter?" I asked.  "Because you did in yours, and I found it funny" was his reply.

Another random thing he wrote on one letter, unconnected to its contents, was 'Rubber Buttons'.  This referred back to a conversation we'd had as young teens, about the so-called 'short trousers' we wore as kids.  Back then, short trousers ended just above (or touching) the knees and were higher-waisted.  Their flies had far too many buttons (seemingly made of a dense rubber) which were difficult and time-consuming to undo, resulting in having to hoist up a trouser leg to have a wee, as it took too long to open the fly.  When you were desperate, trying to undo the buttons was like moving in slow-motion, so long did it take (or appear to).

What's more, short trousers were thicker back then (as well as longer), and when you rolled up a leg, it resulted in something resembling a concertina that was spring-loaded, threatening to unfold over the 'little chap' and getting soaked in pee in the process (both trousers and said 'little chap').  Oh, the hardships, trials and tribulations we had to suffer in the '60s.    

There was so much more; references to people we knew, jobs I'd had, places we'd frequented, etc.  I'm glad I never threw his letters out as they allowed me a brief return into the past, and my demised youth that yet calls to me on occasion, but tauntingly teases me by remaining just beyond my firm and tangible grasp.  The rough pencil sketch at the top of this post is a quick drawing I did of him one night (I think) in the flat of a mutual friend (*same one as alluded to above), which said friend had in his possession for a good while until I reclaimed it from him.  It's been back in my ownership for decades now, from before I eventually realised my childhood pal had 'grown up' into a person I no longer liked or found amusing and let him follow his own path.

It was good to revisit him from a time before this though, even if it was all-too-brief.  As is life, sadly.  It's a shame I never made copies of my own letters before I sent them, just so I could read his correspondence in context, but it simply never occurred to me to do so way back then.

Any similar stories, Crivvies?  If so, let's hear them.

Monday 13 May 2024


Images copyright relevant and respective owners

I don't know about you, but when I buy a facsimile edition of a comicbook, I don't expect (nor do I want) footnotes from publishers prominently posturing in a politically 'correct' way and thereby compromising a mag's historical 'integrity'.  Look at that caption under the splash atop the indicia in the above example - no, Marvel, no!  The 2019 facsimile didn't have it, so why does the 2023 version need it?  Newsflash!  It doesn't, and I just wish Marvel (and anyone else) would cease trying to convert us to whatever the current woke fashion in thinking happens to be.

Hitherto, Marvel have trumped DC in (at least) one important way with their facsimiles, and that's with the reproduction quality of the ads.  In most cases, DC scan their ads from published comics of the past, and they look faded and just a bit rough, whereas Marvel (and don't ask me how they do it) usually manage to reproduce their ads in such a way as to make them look brand-spanking new and as sharp as they first appeared.  In the recent facsimile of The Flash #105, the ads have curved corners in some instances, indicating that they were either scanned from a comic with spine roll, or a bound volume, but DC need to do better in this department.

Having said that, look below at the same ad from a recent DC facsimile compared to a Marvel one; surprisingly, the DC example is of a much higher quality than Marvel's, so at least DC is improving and may yet overtake their rival's replica editions when it comes to the reproduction quality of the adverts.  Anyway, thought you might like to see the covers of some more recent facsimiles from the top two comics publishers so feast your eyes, effendis!  And if you have any thoughts and observations you'd like to share with your fellow Crivs, feel entirely free to do so in the comments section.

Marvel facsimile ad                                                         DC facsimile ad

The new 2024 printing - it was also published in 2021 with the original 12c cover price 

The 2023 printing - it was also published in 2019 (when it was only $4.99)

Update: I've added the cover of All-American Comics #16 to the above ones, and below is the inside front cover.  (It was once the custom to include the indicia on this page - I think it changed in the '50s sometime in DC's case, the '60s in Marvel's, but don't know the exact dates.)  Anyway, as you see, DC have their own version of Marvel's footnote and it's exactly where it should be - not destroying the comic's integrity in a screamingly obvious way - nor doing it with a mini-lecture.

Click to enlarge, then click again for optimum size

Sunday 12 May 2024


Let's not waste words - the two episodes were dreary drivel, turgid tosh, and pointless pish.  I could barely stay awake through either of them.  They'll have to try a helluva lot harder than this if they want to win my vote.  Thoughts, anyone?  (And the figures in my Corgi Toys Yellow Submarine bear more of a likeness to The Beatles than the actors chosen for the roles did.)

Wednesday 8 May 2024


Copyright DC COMICS

Three DC Facsimile Editions to drool over, Crivvies.  Two new from 2023 and '24, and one old from 1992.  Detective Comics #140 (1948), The Flash #105 (1959), and Action Comics #1 (1938).  Only the Superman segment from AC is included and for some reason the inside covers are blank, but it's a nice little addition to my collection, as are the other two mags shown here.  I got mine from eBay - where you get yours (if you don't already have them) is up to you.

Sunday 5 May 2024


A new comics shop opened in East Kilbride in Scotland back in March, with loads of great stuff that's sure to appeal to a wide range of customers.  Alongside toys, collectables, card games, graphic novels, t-shirts, Funko Pops, etc., it also has a wide selection of comics back issues.

Greg Findlay (on the right, below) is the king owner and Mark McAllister (on the left) is one of his serfs knights.  As is Garry McColl on the far right of the third photo.  (Didn't his family own a chain of newsagents?)  Don't ask me what Greg is doing to Garry, 'cos I've led a sheltered life and don't really know about such things.  Nice to see they're all pals though.

So if your a comics fan, or are into any of the other great things that Castle Comics has to offer, get yourself down to their store in EK shopping centre and buy something nice for yourself - or anyone else you know who'd appreciate it. 

Wednesday 1 May 2024


Original visual effect.  Copyright relevant owner

More years ago than I can now recall, I purchased all three seasons of the original Star Trek, each of which came in their own plastic box that wouldn't have looked out of place in the show itself (which I think was the idea).  Recently, I bought them again, though this time the three came in one box and featured enhanced visual effects.  They're bloody good from what I can see from a quick fast-forward through the first broadcast episode (which I believe was the sixth to be made), called The Man Trap.  Thought you'd all like to see a few before and after screen grabs, so here they are!  Whaddya think, Crivvies? 

Enhanced visual effect

Original visual effect

Enhanced visual effect

Original visual effect

Enhanced visual effect

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