Thursday, 29 January 2015


Brainy, blonde and beautiful, what's not
to like about RACHEL RILEY?  How about
the fact that she won't return any of my 'phone
calls?  Huh!  Bloody women!  They think they're
too good for me - and they're right!  (Curses
and exits, stage left.)

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


Since my posts on MARVEL U.K.'s Pocket Books from
the early '80s, I've acquired a few more on eBay.  I'll be adding the
above cover to the relevant post, but I thought it deserved one of its
own, so impressed am I with the illustration since first seeing it on an
issue of POW! back in the 1960s.  I just love this cover, and 'though
I don't have the original U.S. issue of THE AMAZING SPIDER-
MAN #5, I do have the reprint (cover and all) in an '80s issue

However, I thought I'd use this issue to demonstrate how
inconsistent these PBs could be when it came to reproduction.
Take a look at the page below, which is perfectly adequate
given the reduced 'Digest Size'. 

Now look at the following page and note that the top tier is
fine, but the bottom (third) tier has huge chunks of detail missing
from STEVE DITKO's art.

Same again with the following page. Check out the last panel -
the detail is almost non-existent and Flash and his admiring crowd
are practically invisible.

Having said that, however, these mags were great value
for money for readers who wanted to catch up on the early
tales of their favourite Marvel characters without having to fork
out a fortune on the original issues.  As for that cover, I've actually
got a DOCTOR DOOM figure that's clearly based on Ditko's in-
terpretation of the character.  I think I showed it before a while
back, but if I can remember which post, I'll add the photo
here when I get the chance. 


As it's fifty years since TV CENTURY 21 first hit the shelves,
it's now time to look at anther ten covers of what was arguably Britain's
most successful adventure comic for kids (at least, it certainly was at the
time).  ALAN FENNELL was the editor for around the first two years of
the comic's lifespan and it was probably never better than when under his
stewardship.  Hard to believe that it's been almost a quarter of a century
since some of these strips enjoyed a new lease of life for a new audience
in the early '90s, in the pages of THUNDERBIRDS THE COMIC,
with Alan once again being the man at the helm.  (Very fitting, I
thought, and nicely bringing things full circle.)

However, that's enough verbal reminiscing for the moment.  It's now
time to indulge our nostalgia by paying attention to the pretty piccies.
Got a favourite?  Be sure and let your fellow Criv-ites know!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015


Let's be honest now - if you carried a skull around with you in a
box you'd be considered decidedly weird.  Having said that, sometime
back in the '70s, I bought a life-size skull by REVELL and painted it with
a greenish glow-in-the-dark paint.  One night, me and some pals took it out
with us, and you should've seen the startled looks we got as I walked around
with Skully (the tooth is out there) tucked under my arm.  It really was exag-
gerated open-mouthed 'double-take' stares of shock and horror.  Wotta
larf . Wotta tit!  I wouldn't do it now of course, but back then I was
young, crazy and reckless  (in a conservative kind of way), and
was up for a jolly jape or two.

Anyway, that's enough talk about my favourite subject (me) -
time for a look at what brings use all here.  A four page BRIAN'S
BRAIN strip from the SMASH! Annual for 1967.  O joy! 


VICTORIA VETRI is her name - and making
men go weak at the knees is her game.  Hands up
all those who'd ditch the wife for this babe if they
ever got the chance?  (Go on - be honest!)


Having had this comic in 1975, when I recently saw it on eBay
I decided to re-acquire it.  I couldn't recall much about it, but, hey 
 it's the 100th ish so it was sure to have something of interest relating
to its celebratory status.  Nope, not a thing!  That blurb you see on
the cover is all you get!  No editorials, no articles, zilch!

Still, having bought it, I thought I'd better give you a glimpse
of the contents.  That's not my mistake regarding the indicia page,
by the way - it really did appear on the splash page of the second
story instead of (as is usually the case) the first.

So cop a gander at THE AVENGERS #100!  It's a little piece
of history, even 'though MIGHTY MARVEL didn't make much
noise about it at the time.  (Not like them to be so shy, is it?)


Here's another catchy little number by the late,
great JIM REEVES.  This is an overdub version
where he's accompanied by one of his biggest fans,
who's a successful singer in his own right.  You'll
be singing it for days.


Here's Gentleman JIM REEVES doin' his thang.
Catchy, catchy, catchy.  Did I mention how catchy
this is?  It's pretty catchy!


I know only three things about this babe:  1)  Her
name's CANDY LOVING.  2)  She was a PLAYBOY
model.  3)  I love CANDY.  (That's all there is.)

Monday, 26 January 2015


All images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

When you think about it, it at first seems strange that one of the
staple features of British comics for boys in the 1960s and '70s were
stories about the Second World War.  However, to many of the writers
who penned these adventures and who'd experienced the conflict first-
hand, that period must've seemed like fairly recent history.  After all,
it was closer in time to them than my own teenage years are to
me - and that only seems like yesterday.

THE CRUNCH included a story called HITLER LIVES, but
that was set in the present day (after recapping events at war's end
in early episodes) and wasn't really a war story in the traditional sense.
I suppose kids of the time enjoyed war stories 'though, otherwise, despite
the predilections of the writers, they wouldn't have appeared for as long
as they did.  Neither would comics like THE HOTSPUR, WARLORD
or BATTLE have had such long runs - unless, of course, it was
mainly World War II veterans who were buying them.

So, full marks to The Crunch for trying something at least slightly
different.  Not that the difference was radical, because, whatever the
setting, most adventure stories are either war, sport or cowboy stories
at heart - even science-fiction ones.  Think I'm talking nonsense?  Well,
consider - 2000 A.D.'s HARLEM'S HEROES was a sports story,
bounty-hunter STRONTIUM DOG (first seen in STARLORD) was
a cowboy story, and ROGUE TROOPER was a war story.

It's a bit like STAR TREK.  My father could never get into the
programme because of its SF trappings, but, essentially, Star Trek is
not too dissimilar to a war story set in a submarine.  KLINGONS and
ROMULANS are the Nazis, KIRK, SPOCK and the rest of the crew
are the good guys, and the ENTERPRISE is a submarine, but travel-
ling up in outer space instead of down in the depths of the sea.  You'd
be surprised (or maybe not) at how many Star Trek plots could
be transferred directly into a Second World War setting.

However, that's enough padding from me.  Now you can get
on with what you came here for.  Namely, ogle these fantastic front
and back covers from The Crunch - a comic that surely deserved
a longer life than it had.     

Sunday, 25 January 2015


All images copyright MARVEL COMICS

I never bought the first nine issues of STAR HEROES Pocket
Book - if indeed I even saw them!  I think I did see the first issue (or
an ad for it), but decided against buying it because I wasn't really into
science fiction comics.  At the beginning of 1981, walking from Southsea
into Portsmouth town centre, I spied the tenth issue in a shop and bought
it immediately.  The reason?  See for yourself - the original X-MEN!  As
with some of the other pocket books, it was like reading '60s comic
FANTASTIC all over again, and my then-youthful little heart
skipped a beat in anticipation of re-living my childhood.

I've now got all these stories in full-colour MARVEL MASTER-
WORKS and OMNIBUS volumes, as well as various other reprints,
but I couldn't part with my PBs because of the particular time in my life
that they represent to me.   Madness I know, but they've got a charm of
their own, even 'though they were far from perfect in their reproduction
of these classic strips.  I also acquired the next two or three issues in
Southsea/Portsmouth, and that's where I tend to think of whenever
I look at these cracking covers from a long-gone era.

The very same covers that you're now about to savour, O
dribbling Criv-ite, so I won't hold you back any longer - go to it,
frantic one!  And be sure to let the rest of us know what you think
of them in the comments section!  Lines are now open!

Okay, okay,, chill out!  There's no need to shout.  Here's
the first nine issues of the title to complete the set.