Sunday, 22 April 2018


If you say the magic word, SALMA's
covering will drop away as if, magic.
I'll give you all a clue to start you off - the
word isn't "SHAZAM!"

Thursday, 19 April 2018


Just time for a quick post to show off a couple of recent eBay acquisitions - two of the four little plastic THUNDERBIRDS craft given away free (and separately) with KELLOGG'S SUGAR SMACKS in the '60s.  Had them back in the day, have them once more -  I'm a very happy chappie.  (I'll no doubt track down the other two some day.)  Bring back any memories for anyone?  Feel free to share with your fellow Criv-ites.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018


Tonight, as I luxuriated in the refreshed familiarity of my bedroom, a thought occurred to me.  (You shouldn't find that surprising by the way - thoughts very often occur to me.)  That in turn led to another thought - see? It can be habit-forming - which was this:

Imagine we're living in a world where technology is more advanced that it currently is.  Imagine also that you're 14, and come home from school one day to find a forlorn-faced relative who informs you that your parents have just been killed in an accident.  Well, obviously you'd be devastated, and to those who have actually suffered such a tragedy, I hope you won't find the following scenario too disturbing.

Now imagine that some official comes to see you one day and informs you that, rather than commit you into care, two clones of your parents will be supplied to look after you and any siblings.  These clones look like your parents, talk like your parents, are capable of independent thought, and are practically indistinguishable from the real people they're cloned from.  In this way, the home environment with which you are so familiar can be maintained, thereby hopefully lessening the trauma of your parents' death.

Would this work for you?  It occurs to me that though this illusion of 'continuance' might be comforting to a degree, every so often you'd be reminded that, although these replacements fulfilled the role that your real parents had once served, they were mere duplicates, replicas, stand-ins - fakes even.  Sure, it would be great to have your life continue as before, but this couple were not the ones who had brought you into the world, looked after you, dried your tears as a child, etc., etc., - they were merely imitations.

Of course, the same scenario can be imagined for spouses and children, siblings and pets, but is this concept one that you feel drawn to, or do you reject it completely out of hand as something you'd never entertain if given the choice?  I must confess that the idea intrigues me, though I don't know if I'd go for such a scenario were it within the realms of possibility.

What gave rise to this bizarre idea?  Well, as I said, tonight, as I luxuriated in the refreshed familiarity of my bedroom, a thought occurred to me, which was this:

As regular readers will be aware, I've recently been replacing posters, pin-ups, pages and pictures with newer duplicates. The ones that now adorn my bedroom walls may appear the same as those they replaced, but they aren't the ones upon which I've daily gazed over the last 35-40 years of my life - they merely look like them (though newer, brighter, cleaner and whiter).

There's something comforting about retaining things that have accompanied you through a significant period of your life's journey;  they have silently seen and shared your joys and sorrows, heartaches and hopes, like old friends that have always been there for you.  It suddenly struck me tonight that these pictorial doppelgangers don't share the lenghty history of their predecessors - they only have the same ap-pearance, though not the same 'experience'.

I feel very guilty.  Though it's nice to have my room looking more colourful and less aged, I know that I'd never have replaced my parents with newer, younger duplicates when they began to look old and faded, so now wonder why I did so with my posters and pin-ups.  True, it's not an entirely equivalent comparison, but I still can't help but wonder at my heartlessness in dispensing with those loyal pictorial companions, many of which have accompanied me through nearly two-thirds of my life.  Like I said - I feel very guilty.

H'mm.  I think perhaps I shouldn't think so much.  It hurts.

Thursday, 5 April 2018


On the wall across from the foot of my bed hangs an AIRFIX skeleton.  I purchased it in the early '90s as a replacement for several of the same model I'd owned (at different times) as a child.  I'd love to be able to tell you that it inspired the following poem (which I wrote in 1980) because it would make a great anecdote to be able to say that the skeleton at the foot of my bed gave me the idea of Death being ever-present, but, alas, it had nothing to do with it, apt as it would be to claim otherwise.

Most of the poem came to me unbidden in the early hours of that '80s morning (I think it was October - I have a note of it somewhere, but it's not to hand at the moment), and, unable to sleep, I grabbed a pen and paper and jotted it down as it came to me.  Later, I added some bridging lines and polished it up into its present form, but, truth to tell, I'm still not entirely happy with it.  One day I must sit down and apply myself to giving it a further polish, but in the meantime I present it as it is for your esteemed consideration.  Are you all sitting comfortably?  Good, then I'll begin.


                                              Reader dear, if you will hearken,
                                              a hellish tale I shall relate;
                                              each and ev'ry word consider,
                                              for in their story lies my fate.
                                              One night while vainly seeking sleep,
                                              I heard a sound within my room,
                                              and slowly opening my eyes,
                                              I pierced the near-Stygian gloom.

                                              A fearful sight confronted me,
                                              O reader how can I convey
                                              the scene that met my startled eyes,
                                              a scene that haunts me to this day?
                                              A figure draped in black I saw,
                                              it lurked mere inches from my bed;
                                              a vision from the vaults of hell -
                                              my quaking heart was filled with dread!

                                              I lay quite still, no sound I made,
                                              though all the while I longed to scream -
                                              but I held back my cries of fear
                                              with hope 'twas all an idle dream.
                                              And then with stealth I pinched myself,
                                              with fervent pray'r my head would clear,
                                              but, alas, 'twas no vain fancy -
                                              the image did not disappear.

                                              I heard it moving closer then,
                                              though soft and muffled was its tread,
                                              a face peered out from 'neath its hood -
                                              a ghastly pale skeletal head!
                                              I watched the fiend loom over me,
                                              my body froze, my limbs grew numb.
                                              It bent its skull towards my face -
                                              I thought my final hour had come.

                                              And then it spoke - O saints above,
                                               I felt its fetid icy breath!
                                              The words it said near stopped my heart -
                                               "Tremble mortal, for I am Death!"
                                               And then my clouded head did spin,
                                               for he stretched out his evil claw,
                                               but something seemed to hold it back -
                                               his gnarled talon did withdraw.

                                               And as I gazed into his eyes,
                                               they glitter'd with intense regret;
                                               and then he spoke and I knew why -
                                               he said "Your time has not come yet.
                                               But know you this, although unseen,
                                               I stand forever at your side -
                                               and when at last your time does come,
                                               there is no place where you can hide!

                                               So now I leave you with these words" -
                                               he seemed to fade into the black -
                                               "You have respite, for now at least,
                                               but live in fear for I'll be back!"
                                               And with those words the fiend was gone,
                                               though only from my human sight,
                                               for he, in truth, yet lingers near -
                                               in spirit, ev'ry day and night.

                                               And since that dreadful hour I fear
                                               the chimes that bid me to my bed,
                                               for on some unknown day to come,
                                               the rising sun shall find me dead.
                                               And so I sit here while time flies
                                               until the day of Death's return,
                                               when he shall come to claim his prize -
                                               O reader dear, the tale is done! 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Okay, folks - just clearing out my drafts file.  You now have every post in this series I'd prepared before I pulled the plug on regular posting on this blog.  Maybe one day I'll get around to compiling and publishing the rest of the cover comparisons.  If so, you'll be the first to know - promise.


You all know the drill by now - two covers for the same story, one based on the other, but different artists on each, several years apart.  Got a preference?  You know where the comments section is, frantic ones - don't neglect it.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018


Images copyright DC COMICS

I unexpectedly find myself with a bit of spare time in which to dash off a couple of new posts, so why deprive you all of my wit and wisdom?  (Okay, so who said "Because you have none!" ?)  Here's one of them.  (The other is on MMMM.)


Cop a gander at the image above.  Back in 1982/'83, I must've had spare issues of a couple of DC comics, one from the early '70s, the other from the early '80s, because I cut an ad for the first series of the SWAMP THING from one and glued it onto a piece of card above an ad for The SAGA Of The SWAMP THING I'd cut from the other.  Alas, memory no longer recalls exactly what comics I desecrated in the process of combining the old with the new.  The plan was to put the homemade pin-up on my bedroom wall with all the other cut-outs and posters that adorned it, but I can no longer recollect whether I actually managed to get around to it before moving house in May of '83.  I'll have to dig out my album of photos of my old (and current) room and check to see if it's on one of the walls.  Whether it was or not (just checked - no sign of it), it was certainly given a spot in my new bedroom once it had been decorated, though I had to wait a year for the new-built house to settle before I could get around to it.

Anyway, when we flitted back to our previous house four years after having vacated it, the pin-up was again awarded the accolade of enhancing the decor, and has done so for the past 30 years.  Until recently that is, as, like many other of my posters and pin-ups, it had discoloured with the passage of time and was in dire need of replacing.  So that's precisely what I did.  I carefully removed it from the wall, trimmed off the margins and gutter, then scanned it against a white background and printed out a duplicate.  With one difference (as you can see if you compare the above pic with the one below) - namely, I reduced the space between the top ad and the one below it just a tad, as I thought it looked better.  Anyway, the image survives, and continues to grace the same spot on the wall where it's been for the last 30 years.  This time though, it doesn't look quite so time-worn as it had become a good while back, leaving me to wonder if there's anything that can be done to replicate the effect on me.

I'm saddened by the fact that I've had to dispense with the services of the original, 35 or so years after cobbling it together on the living room table (which I remember doing as if it were only yesterday) back in '82/'83, but at least this way I've ensured that the image survives without further deterioration for hopefully the same length of time again.  And should it ever need replacing in future, I can merely print off another copy as it's stored in a file on my computer.  (And again, I find myself wishing that I could do the same thing with myself.  Bet you feel the same.  If only, eh?)

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

Oops!  I've had a couple of these FF/TITANS posts sitting in my drafts file from before I discontinued the blog on a regular basis.  Was looking at them earlier and unintentionally hit the publish button instead of the close button on the second post without realising it.  Just this moment noticed, so I've returned part 12 to my draft file and decided to publish part 11 just in case you're wondering what the heck is going on.


JACK KIRBY's final issue of The FANTASTIC FOUR, sporting a cover by JOHN ROMITA and JOHN VERPOORTEN, and its near doppelganger, The TITANS #45, by - who?  Anyone know for sure?  The penciller's initials are SS so could be by STEVE STILES, and the inker is likely DUFFY VOHLAND.  There, I've suggested an answer to the question myself, but feel free to chip in your two cents worth, true believers.

Monday, 5 March 2018



I find myself with a few spare moments, so even though the blog is officially 'retired', I thought I'd dash off a quick post for anyone who might still be feeling deprived over the absence of any regular posting on Crivens!  What follows is the result - hope it doesn't prove a disappointment for you.


Well, "Yes" and "No" is my response to the exasperated question I imagine some of you may be asking.  Yes, it is a post about me renewing and replacing a 'poster' on my wall, and no, it isn't just that.  Intrigued?  Then read on, MacDuff.

I obtained the above issue of the RADIO TIMES in Southsea or Portsmouth back in April of 1981, around three weeks before returning home and eventually putting the cover up on one of my bedroom walls.  (I still have the 3 page SUPERMAN article from inside.)  There it stayed for two years before we moved house, whereupon it took up residence on the wall of my new room, where it stayed for the final three years out of four.  (I had to wait a year for the house to settle before decorating, as it had just been newly built.)  Then, as any regular readers will be tired of reading, we moved back to our former home, and the image resumed it's previous place on the wall, where it's been for around 30 years.

I'm sure you're all aware of just what 30 years can do to a piece of paper, and sure enough, the page had become tanned and perhaps just a tiny tad faded.  Also, when I'd first stuck it up on the wall, I used so-called 'invisible' tape, which despite claims to the contrary, can brown and shrink over time - and it had!  (Originally, I'd carefully and neatly taped it all the way around the edges, half on the page, half on the wall, but latterly, it was held in place by small pieces of double-sided tape on the back.)  So, recently, I took down the image, carefully cut away the margins of the page, replaced the line of print on the top right-hand corner with an enhanced copy of the original (the surrounding area whitened, the words darkened), scanned it against a white background, then printed out a superior copy the same size as the 'master copy'.  I also took the opportunity to digitally remove any noticeable wrinkles and scuffs, though I didn't bother with minor imperfections.

So a nice new replica now adorns that same space on the wall, but I haven't yet disposed of the original.  I find it hard to casually cast off something that I've had for 37 years, more than half my life away.  I'll maybe paste it onto a piece of card and put it with the few internal pages that I yet possess, but that's a decision for another time.

Anyway, the other topic I wanted to mention is just how amazed I am that, after staying in Southsea for around 3 or 4 months, when I returned home, I fitted right back into my old life as though I'd never been away and never really missed Southsea or Portsmouth.  Looking back, it seemed that I instantly forgot about my time there, but I now realise that's not quite true.  It was still all so recent and fresh in my mind that I simply didn't feel far enough removed from it for me to miss the place.  That takes time of course, but I still remember my first day back home and how easily and effortlessly I resumed my old routine.  I ran into someone I knew on my first day back, and he said "I thought you were in Portsmouth?"  "Just got back this morning!" I said as we passed one another, but he looked as if he didn't quite believe me, and it occurred to me to wonder if he thought I'd invented my intention to visit the place and had just been staying out of sight for a few months.

You're probably wondering why I even mention the subject, but I'm astonished that I could live in another part of the country for that length of time, with different neighbours, different accents, different shopping centres, different experiences, different points of reference, different local newspaper, etc., - and then remove myself from it all, seemingly without even a backward glance or feeling of regret or displacement.  (And I really enjoyed my time there.)  As I said though, it was all still so recent to me that it never occurred to me to miss it.  Perhaps, subconsciously, part of me was still there, which would help explain the ease with which I returned to my old routine.

Anyway, perhaps you feel this post is a bit pointless or self-indulgent - and it probably is, but I wanted to get my thoughts (however insignificant) down on paper (figuratively speaking of course) before they disappeared back into the void whence they came.  And look on the bright side - at least you've got a nice Superman cover to print out and hang on your wall, just like me.  And who wouldn't want to be just like me, eh?  (Hey, where'd everybody go?!)

Monday, 5 February 2018


A month to the day after retiring the blog, I find myself forced to return for a one-shot special in pursuit of justice and to draw attention to a shocking situation.  I've always been quite prepared to use this blog as an organ of retribution against the guilty and that's not going to stop now.

Some of you may have heard of MODEL SUPPLIES, a business run by a chap called STEVE FLOWERS.  He supplies newly manufactured replacement parts for various diecast models from the '50s, '60s, '70s and beyond.  Some of the parts are excellent, some quite good, others merely better than nothing - and a few are downright mediocre.  Back in September last year, I ordered a white metal replica of the famous BUDGIE Toys SUPERCAR from the 1960s, which I received on the 27th of that month.  It's quite a rough replica which will need a lot of filling, filing, sanding and shaping before it can be assembled and painted, but I'm willing to give it a go when I have time.

The Budgie name had been very roughly scraped off the base, leaving some noticeable gouges, and I emailed Model Supplies to register my disappointment, as, to my mind, a replica should remain faithful to the original.  After all, there have been a few Supercar models in recent years (by PRODUCT ENTERPRISE and JOHNNY LIGHTNING), so the attraction of having a Budgie Supercar is that it says Budgie on the base.  I then put the replica aside for a while, but upon a later viewing, I noticed that the canopy was extremely 'cloudy' and did not have the crystal clear finish that it ought to.  When enquiring about something else at a later date, I mentioned this, and was told to return the defective part for a replacement.

All well and good you may be thinking, but I've always taken the view that if I'm provided with something that isn't as it should be, then I shouldn't be put to any expense in obtaining a replacement - that's the responsibility of the person or company who provided the faulty part to start with.  I duly contacted Model Supplies and requested that they send the replacement part first, along with a prepaid, self-addressed label or envelope for me to return the inferior item.  No reply.  They're busy, I thought - I'll give them some time.  Almost a month later, I contacted them again - once more, no response.

I should point out that, had they responded and said they'd reimburse me for any costs in returning the defective part once they'd received it, then that would have been acceptable to me, but not even the hint, never mind the courtesy, of a reply.  I waited another month, then emailed them to say that, as they had ignored my previous two emails, if they didn't forward the replacement part along with a prepaid address label, then I would address the matter on my blog - as well as raise a case against them with eBay.  (That's my next step - if I haven't left it too long.)

I received a reply from someone called ERICA HALL, who said that the part would only be replaced once I had returned the original, but there was no mention of a refund for the post and packing charges that I'd incur because of their ineptitude in supplying an inferior part to begin with.  Nor was there an answer to my perfectly reasonable enquiry as to just why I should be inconvenienced with extra expense because of their mistake.  She also had the temerity to suggest that I would not report the facts correctly, so I'll be forwarding a link to this post so that she can see her impertinent insinuation is unfounded.

I don't think I'm being unreasonable about this.  I was supplied with a defective part, and though they are prepared to replace it, they expect me to cover the expense of returning it, with no offer of reimbursement.  They also ignored two of my emails requesting a prepaid address label, which they could have conveniently sent along with said replacement.  (And remember, the returned item will be of no use to them because it is not up to par.)  Also, I could have used the padded bag containing the replacement to return the original.  Other mail order businesses have no issues with doing this, so I don't see why Model Supplies should consider themselves exempt from what is standard practice by companies who place their customers' convenience before their own.

When it comes to doing the right thing, Model Supplies are far from being (dare I say it?) a model company.  (Yes, a corny pun, but nonetheless true.)  Just thought you should know in case you were thinking of ordering anything from them.  Establish in advance that they're prepared to meet your costs when resolving their mistakes.

Incidentally, I've availed myself of their services a few times over the years and this isn't the first time I've been disappointed with them.  However, in the interests of fairness, I've confined myself to this specific instance, though I may air previous grievances at a later date.  Why didn't I learn my lesson the first time?  The triumph of hope over experience, alas.  Also, when they're good, they're very good, but when they're bad, they're absolutely fecking shocking!


And I'm not alone it seems.  Here's some of his negative feedback (as originally typed by buyers), indicating that he (or his staff) is running true to form.

Wrong size & type!  No communication!  Returned, Refund by eBay intervention!



This guys a joke never replys to emails until you report him or her to ebay.


And you should see the email I received from one of his employees called NIKKY earlier today.  Nothing but impudence and barely concealed abuse (to say nothing of spelling errors, poor punctuation, and bad grammar).  Obviously Mr. Flowers' staff subscribed to The BASIL FAWLTY Correspondence Course on Customer Service.  (They should seek a refund.)  True, his positive feedback outnumbers the negative, but in my book, the measure of a company's integrity is how they deal with customers when they have a complaint, not when there isn't a problem.


Update:  Unfortunately, eBay couldn't assist me in this matter as their 30 day time limit had expired, but they agreed that I should have been supplied with a prepaid address label.  However, they suggested I pursue the matter through PayPal as they have 180 day time limit to raise issues with sellers.  PayPal found in my favour in double-quick time, and awarded me a partial refund which was actually more than the one I'd suggested.  It was more the principle with me than the money anyway, and the fact that PayPal found in my favour means that they accept that the other party was at fault.  That means - on a matter of principle - I win and they lose.  Justice is served.  Just think - all this could have been avoided if Model Supplies had replied to my two ignored emails, and provided me with a prepaid address label or agreed to reimburse me for my p&p costs.  I'd like to think they've learned their lesson, but going by their response to this result, it's clear that they haven't.       

Friday, 5 January 2018


Ever felt that you're wasting your time?  I try to put up something fresh every day for readers, mainly using images from my own collection, but I sometimes get the impression I'd be better borrowing them all from elsewhere, and merely saying "I don't remember anything about this comic!"  (Well, it seems to work for some.)  Add to that, cretins taking an obvious dig and then saying they weren't, with some people actually being stupid enough to believe them, well - it makes me wonder why I bother.

So I'm taking a rest as from now.  Whether I return to blogging on Crivens! is as yet undecided, but that will depend on certain personal factors in my life at the moment and how they pan out.  For those who have supported the blog over the years, a big thank you, for those who haven't - well, not everyone can have taste and discernment.  Have a great 2018 - I certainly plan to.  You can always revisit old posts and remind yourselves that, amongst the occasional dross, there were actually some little gems that were well-worth the read.

Pax Vobiscum.


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Aha, not only has it been redrawn, it's been done so in reverse, just to keep all of us on our toes in regard to FANTASTIC FOUR #98 and THE TITANS #41 - in this, the latest in our series of cover comparisons.  Well, you know the drill by now - if you'd like to air your thoughts, theories, or observations on these two images, then our comments section awaits your input.  Why not avail yourself of its facilities and share your wisdom with Crivendom? 


Stunning good looks, sheer class, elegance,
sophistication - but that's enough about me!
JANE RUSSELL ain't too bad either.



Back in the late 1980s when I was freelancing for IPC, sometimes when I was in the main post office sending off work to London, the assistants would enquire of me (on sighting the name 'EAGLE' or 'WHIZZER & CHIPS' or '2000 A.D.' [or whatever] on the package of artwork I was posting) "Do you know the RUPERT BEAR artist?"  First time it happened I assumed they just thought that anyone involved in comics must know one another, but they explained that artist JOHN HARROLD posted his Rupert strips from the same post office.  Turned out that he lived in my home town, just a short walk down the road from me.

Eventually, while in Glasgow one day, I was introduced to Rupert's illustrator in AKA BOOKS & COMICS by comics fan and historian JOHN McSHANE, and we both later found ourselves sharing the same train carriage back home.  He invited me to drop in for a cuppa and chat some time, and repeated his invitation whenever we ran into one another, but I was always busy with work back then and never got around to taking him up on his kind offer.  Eventually, John moved down to England somewhere, and then to Paris, and I've no idea what he does now as he no longer draws Rupert, and hasn't for a long time.

However, one of his endpapers from an earlier Annual is reprinted (I assume - maybe it's new) in this year's Rupert book (along with a couple of strips), and I thought you might like to see it.  Maybe I should put in a bit of time and effort and digitally remove the spine-line down the middle, but why should I do all the work?  I'm sure if you all try hard enough, you can imagine it isn't there.  Very evocative, eh?  (Oh, go on then - I've included a line-free version below.)

Incidentally, this 2018 Annual's contents are all reprints from earlier books, going right back to 1939, including strips by ALFRED BESTALL, so it's a nice little collectors' item.  I've no idea if this is a 'one-off' event, or whether the books have been all reprints for a while now, but perhaps a knowledgeable 'Crivens!' reader can enlighten me?  Ta muchly.

Enjoy!  Did you read Rupert as a kid?  Let's be having your reminiscences in the comments section.



Managed to pick myself up a few bargain books the other day, which surprised me, because I thought there'd be none left in the shops.  All four books cost me a grand total of £6.96, averaging £1.44 per book.  (If I'd had to pay full price, they'd have cost £38.96, so that's a saving of £32.)  In the case of The BEANO and the RUPERT Annual, they were the very last ones in their respective shops, so had I wandered in half-an-hour later, they might well have been gone.  What, if any, Annuals did you get for 2018, readers, and how many years have you been getting them?  Go on, don't be shy now - give us their names.

Copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

Thursday, 4 January 2018


The ravishing RAQUEL WELCH shows how to
be amazing without even trying.  Few people have
mastered this art, Raquel and myself being two of the
few.  Yes, she considers your humble host ravishing
as well, and that's good enough for me.  (You think
it's easy writing this p*sh?  Try it sometime.)


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

"Hell's bells!  Is there no end to this cover comparisons series?" you may be asking.  Well, to be honest, no - not quite yet.  Isn't it fascinating though, to see these covers 'side-by-side' (you know what I mean) and see where they match and where they deviate.  I think that in some cases, even if you'd once owned the US issues, you'd probably have just assumed that the 'new' covers were simply rearranged layouts of the originals, not completely redrawn versions.  Unless you were a die-hard KIRBY fan, you'd really need to see them both at the same time to spot the differences between them - and that's the purpose of these palpitating posts.  So here you are - FANTASTIC FOUR #96 and The TITANS #39 - have fun looking.    


Around 25 years or more ago, I bought an unopened blister pack of MATTEL's Man In Space MAJOR MATT MASON's Moon Suit from a toy dealer.  The suit was in pristine condition, never having being played with - so what did I do?  I promptly (though carefully) opened it and put it on display, and you've probably seen it in photos I've posted over the years of some of my collection.  However, contact with the air gradually decayed the 'rubber' arms until they just dried up and disintegrated, leaving Matt's nifty wee protective space shell bereft of its flexible appendages.

In the past, some enterprising folk have manufactured and sold replacement arms for the Moon Suit, but no one seems do be doing so currently, placing me in the position of having to make my own.  I haven't tested them to see if they work like the originals, but I doubt it because the rubber is quite heavy.  However, they're mainly for cosmetic purposes so that I can have the suit on display in my room and until I can secure 'proper' replacements.  Doesn't look too bad though, does it?

Did you have Matt Mason when you were a kid, readers, and any of his accessories like the Moon Suit?  Relive your childhood in the comments section.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018


Images copyright relevant owner

I'd be 'LION' to you (ho ho) if I said the following ZIP NOLAN strip is the pinnacle of perfect reproduction, 'cos it isn't.  However, I've tried to compensate for the faint line work by digitally enhancing a few spots where it was particularly bad, but there's a limit to what I can do short of printing out the pages and drawing over the 'ghosty' parts.  This is the way it appeared in the 1980 Lion Holiday Special, so they must've used an extremely poor source for these reprinted pages - obviously they'd have been much sharper when they were first published in the weekly comic.  Anyway, it's either these scans or you don't get to read them at all I'm afraid, so you'll have to be thankful for small mercies.  


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

And here we go again with another entry in our cover comparison series, this time FANTASTIC FOUR #95 and The TITANS #38.  This one actually works quite well, with no obvious drawback to the different dimensions of the new version.  At least, that's what I think - you may have another opinion entirely.  Tell you what, why don't you share it with the rest of us?  Go on - you know you want to.


Well, when in Rome, do as the romans do.  Budge up, JULIE,
and make room for me on that couch.  I could do with a kip.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018


Here's a couple of recent screen grabs (note the date and time) showing some of the visitors to my blog.  See any names you recognise?  (Click to enlarge.)  And it's not the first time in the last couple of weeks that his name has appeared in my stats.  Nice to see he's such a fan, eh?  (Or could I mean that phonetically?)  Well, at least he gets a free link out of it.  And I'm advised that on his recent Twitter posts, not once did he deny leaving 'that' comment on my blog.  (He probably will now though.)  Okay, hopefully that's the last time he'll be alluded to on this blog in 2018, but that's entirely up to him.  Onward and upward!  

(Update:)  Incidentally, I'm aware that the presence of his blog name could indicate that someone else clicked on a link (if there is one) to my site from his, but it doesn't necessarily prove that it wasn't him.  The timing is suspicious given his recent Tweets and any suggestion that it was someone else strains my credulity.  Just how many 'coincidences' am I expected to believe?  And the fact that there has still been no denial regarding 'that' comment is extremely telling.  


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Cover art JACK KIRBY

Over on Amiable Al's MARVEL In The SILVER AGE blog, the debonair host talks about a certain romance artist's one-off superhero tale back in the '60s.  It reminded me that I'd once turned my attention to that very issue (back in 2011) and it occurs to me that now would be the perfect time to resurrect my post for another outing.  Be sure to jump over to MITSA (by clicking this link) and read that post too, as it's extremely detailed and interesting.


To many (if not all) MARVEL fans, the worst THOR story ever drawn was most likely JOURNEY Into MYSTERY #90's 'The CARBON COPY MAN!' (March '63), illustrated by AL HARTLEY.  Apparently Al was mainly a romance artist who was pinch-hitting for KIRBY, who drew almost everything else that Marvel was publishing at that time, superhero-wise.  (With the exception of SPIDER-MAN.)

It probably is the worst Thor adventure ever to appear, but for reasons other than just the art - like the plot for example.  Basically, it's a re-working of FANTASTIC FOUR #2's 'The SKRULLS From OUTER SPACE' storyline, but without the hypnotism angle at the end.  (The Skrulls transformed themselves into cows, and were then hypnotized by REED RICHARDS to prevent them from thinking of changing back to Skrulls again.)

A bunch of evil aliens from the planet XARTA land on Earth and impersonate key figures in government, with the intention of making foolish laws which will throw citizens into a state of confusion and panic.  (Isn't that what most politicians do anyway?)  Apparently this will soften up the planet enough to leave it vulnerable to invasion.  They've chosen America as the first stage in the pursuance of this plan, with the intention of conquering the rest of the world when the good ol' U.S. of A. has fallen.  (Always pays to get in a bit of practice first.)

A perfect duplicate?  Betcha he can't turn into THOR though, huh?

Thor eventually defeats the aliens in combat, then commands them to transform into trees, on the grounds that, as the Xartans take on all the traits of whatever they impersonate, and as trees can't think, the idea of changing can never occur to them.  Er, how's that again?

Firstly, Thor couldn't possibly know whether this was true or not, and secondly, on what system of logic is he basing his assumption?  For example, if Xartans take on ALL the traits of whatever they impersonate, they surely wouldn't have been able to change back from human form (regardless of whether the idea could occur to them) - because humans CAN'T DO THAT.

See, that's the fly in the ointment - taking on ALL the traits of whatever they impersonate.  They've already demonstrated that they DON'T.  They merely mimic the outward physical appearance of whatever form they adopt, not the intellectual or mental limitations of that form - so they should be able to change back to Xartans any time they wanted, whatever shape they happened to be.

Gosh!  Some of those classic tales from yesteryear sure don't stand up to scrutiny.  (Or am I just being too pernickety?)  But what the heck!  They were fun.

For more Loopy Lapses in Logic, click here.


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Anybody tired of this series yet or do you still want to see more?  While you're making up your minds, take a look at FANTASTIC FOUR #94, then compare it with The TITANS #37 - whaddya think, frantic ones, does the copy cut the mustard?  (Right now you're probably thinking "Hah, Kid has made a mistake - it's 'cut muster' or 'pass muster' - though the definite article [that's the word 'the'] is sometimes also included.")  Actually, you're misinformed - 'cut the mustard' is a legitimate expression in its own right, and, contrary to what used to be believed, does not derive from the 'muster' saying.  (So who said this blog isn't educational and informative?)

Right, English lesson now over, back to the comics.  Let's hear your views on just how well (or not) you think the copyist has done.  You never know, he might be reading this and appreciate your observations.


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

So why the cover of The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL #2 at this moment in time?  It's another one that came down from the wall (in the early hours of this morning) after being there for almost 30 years.  It was faded, rippled, discoloured, and decayed, and the time had come to replace it.  Surprisingly, the area of wallpaper behind the cover was bright and new, revealing my suspicion that the page's condition was caused by dampness coming through the wall to be mistaken.  The effects of entropy had been caused from inside my room, and I realise now that it's probably down to me not opening my window often enough.  That's because the room is the coldest in the house, being an end one at the front which catches Caledonia's inclement elements more severely than the others.

Anyway, it's now been replaced with a bright new doppelganger, freshly printed out specifically for the purpose of filling the space on the wall.  I've printed it on card, so hopefully it'll last longer than its predecessor, which was given a traditional 'Viking funeral' after its many years of loyal service.  So all that remains for me to say is...

"Make Mine Marvel!"
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