Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Sometimes I wonder if it's just me.  I mean, look at these
covers.  Don't they make you want to pick up the comics to read
what's going on inside?  I can't remember the last time a cover of a
modern mag made me feel like that.  Anyway, here are another ten
captivating covers from our TALES To ASTONISH series.  A nice
mixture of JACK KIRBY and GENE COLAN awesome art, two of
Mighty MARVEL's legendary luminaries who made comics
in the 1960s and '70s so thoroughly entertaining.

Got a favourite, or a reminiscence about having any of these
issues when you were a kid?  Then let's hear all about it, O true
believers.  You all know your way to the comments section.


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

It might sometimes seem like it takes forever, but I eventually
get around to things - and this is one of them.  So, at last, here's part
three of the TALES Of SUSPENSE Cover Gallery for you to paste
your peepers 'pon.  We start with #59, in which the mighty CAPTAIN
AMERICA received his own series.  I suspect that the figures were re-
positioned to allow for the lettering blurb above Cap's bonce, because
he's too low down and far too small in relation to IRON MAN, who's
introducing him.  Artist JACK KIRBY could sometimes be a little bit
elastic with perspective, but this time it may not have been his fault.
Anyway, enjoy these 5 covers and keep an eye out for the next
instalment in this stupendous MARVEL series.

Any reminiscences you'd care to share?  Feel free!


It's said that a rolling stone gathers
no moss - so, if true, MICK JAGGER's
unlikely to have been out on a date with
the crackin' KATE then, eh?

Monday, 23 November 2015


A promise made is a debt unpaid - and I always pay what I owe.  So
here, as promised, is a STEEL COMMANDO story from the LION
& THUNDER Holiday Special from 1971.  Old 'Ironsides' was one
of the more popular strips in Thunder and its combined incarnation,
and had a decent run until L&T merged with VALIANT in 1974.

Like to see more from this Special?  Then let me know, Criv-ites!

Sunday, 22 November 2015


If anyone is thinking of sending me a Christmas present
this year, a hot Babe like VERONICA CARLSON would
be very much appreciated.  Remember to punch some holes
in the packaging 'though - don't want her suffocating before
the postie delivers her.  First class post, mind.


The previous DARE-A-DAY DAVY strip went down so well, I thought
I'd hit you with another.  Marvel at the unbridled lunacy of KEN REID, one
of Great Britain's finest cartoonists at the very top of his game.  If only today's
comics had an artist of a similar calibre, they'd be much better publications.
Anyway, this page is from POW! #4, cover-dated February 11th 1967.

Saturday, 21 November 2015


Those eyes, those lips, that waist, those hips - yup, it's


The mad, mental and manic DARE-A-DAY DAVY returns to entertain
you all, in this KEN REID-illustrated strip from POW! #3, cover-dated
February 4th 1967.  Who said I never give you anything?  Punch 'em!


In May of 1978, CORGI TOYS issued their third version
of JAMES BOND's ASTON MARTIN D.B.5, this time in
1:36 scale.  As you can see, the two zeros of the 007 logo on
the base are very roughly finished and, frankly, amateurish in
appearance.  That apart, it was a very nice looking car, and
is still on sale today at regular intervals.

When production shifted abroad, the 'Made In Gt. Britain'
line was removed and, with the reintroduction of the Corgi dog,
the logo was moved to where the country of manufacture used to
be.  There may have been a version with the '78 Corgi logo still
at the top, but with no country of manufacture at all;  however,
I can't be bothered going through every Aston Martin I've got
to check, so we'll forget about that possibility for now.

Back in the mid-'90s, I brought the two inferior zeros to
the attention of the then-managing director, CHRIS GUEST,
suggesting they should either be re-done or removed.  I guess it
was cheaper to remove them, because the next issue of the car
looked as you can see in the pic below.

I also pointed out that, as the D.B.5 was the car with which
the company was most associated, a little more care should be
taken with its production.  At that time, the gap around the roof
hatch was very uneven, and the paint finish extremely poor, being 
more of a pale grey than the traditional silver birch.  I suggested a
deluxe version, with richer paint job, wing mirrors, wipers on the
windscreen, and spoked wheels with rubber tyres.  And guess
what?  The next release of the model looked just like the
one below, but with the above base.

I eventually contacted Corgi again (by this time owned by
HORNBY), and congratulated them on their much improved
product, saying that the only thing requiring amendment was the
positioning of the Corgi logo on the base, and suggesting that  it
would look better occupying the space where the 007 used to be.
Imagine my surprise and delight when the very next Aston Martin
I purchased had that very change instituted.  Although I suspect
Corgi may have arrived at the same conclusion independently
as not too much time had elapsed between me making the
suggestion and it being implemented.

So there you have it.  My part in Corgi's restoration
of its 271 model of James Bond's Aston Martin D.B.5 to its
former glory - surpassing it in fact.  And friends - the story
is true.  I know, because I was that soldier.

Friday, 20 November 2015


is our 'Babe of the Day', fellas.  Hey, it's
HAMMER time!  (See what I did there?
Now that's what you call a link.)

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Image copyright DC COMICS

Just received today - The SUPER HEROES Annual 1984,
which went on sale back in August or September of 1983.  I didn't
even know it existed until a few short years ago, thinking that the '82
& '83 Annuals were the only two published.  I printed a poor image of
it in a previous post, but I've now replaced it with the scan above.  So,
I've finally completed the set, but it's incredible to think that 32 years
have passed, as it only seems like relatively recently I was buying
the monthly mag on which the Annuals were based.

When this Annual first came out, my family were living in
another house, not the one in which I got the first two.  Regular
readers will know that we eventually returned to our former abode
four years later (in 1987) so it's weird to acquire and read the book
in the same house I'd read the previous two, not the one which, year-
wise, I'd otherwise naturally more associate it had I owned or even
known about it back then.  It's a sequential anomaly.  That said,
I can easily imagine it in my bedroom of that other house -
almost to the point of 'remembering' it there.

What's that, Doctor?  My therapy session's
over?  Okay then, see you next time.
To see all three Annual covers, and two Specials, click here.


She'll do for me, Tommy!  Rock on!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Now I can see what SUPERMAN saw in
LOIS LANE - and I don't need x-ray vision.
Gentlemen - TERI HATCHER.  (Wow!)


Images copyright DC COMICS

You're looking at the front and back cover of an original
SUPERMAN #1 - not a replica, reprint, or facsimile ish.  That's
exactly how it appeared in 1939.  The bottom two pics are from a
1999 reprint by CHRONICLE BOOKS (by arrangement with
DC COMICS), the same dimensions as the original.

Below are the covers side-by-side for a quick and easy direct
comparison.  Click to enlarge, but for a more detailed study, open
this post in a new window, then adjust the size of each window so
that you can see a larger single cover together with its reprint.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015


Image copyright DC COMICS

It was around 1970/'71, and myself and two pals were leaning
on a railing outside a row of apartments above the neighbourhood
shops.  Passing below were three thuggish, slightly older females who
hung around with the local neds.   They glared up at us.  "Whit ur you
f*ckin' lookin' at?"  they trilled in their delicate, girlish way (sarcasm).
"Dunno - the label's fallen off!" I yelled back.  The gauntlet had been
thrown, and the nedettes responded by mounting the stairs, their
Doc Martins pounding the steps in pursuit of ourselves.

I say 'pursuit' because the moment I opened my gob, the other
two legged it and I followed.  These girls were bigger and older than
us, and as hard as nails.  Having been brought up never to hit a 'girl',
we'd have been at a distinct disadvantage trying to defend ourselves
against the furious assault that was surely forthcoming.  We fled
past the front of the apartments towards the door to the in-
terior stairway which led down to the shops below.

We reached the bottom door with a sigh of relief.  Once we
were through that exit, our escape was secure and an inglorious
fate would be avoided.  Alas, 'twas not to be - the door was locked,
being early evening, and that avenue to freedom was denied us.  We
considered ascending the stairs to the first floor, whereon were offices
between the shops and the apartments, and using the corridor past
the library to gain egress.  Too late!  We heard the 'girls' on the
steps and realized discovery was imminent.  What to do?

Then I had a brainwave!  The bottom flight of stairs wasn't
closed off, allowing us to seek shelter under them, so I beckoned
my comrades to conceal themselves as I did likewise.  We bunched
together tightly, as the merest glance under the stairway would've re-
vealed our presence, and tried hard not to make a noise.  The nedettes
pushed and pulled at the locked door, then grunted in frustrated rage.
"They must've got out on the first floor!" one snorted.  We expected
them to return to the upper levels again, but they plonked them-
selves down on the steps above us and each lit up a cigarette.

We moved not a muscle and feared even to breathe, lest we
betray ourselves.  After a seeming eternity (but was actually only
a couple of minutes or so), they ascended the stairs and made their
exit, amidst much muttering and detailed descriptions of what damage
they'd inflict if they saw us.  We stayed rigid for a few moments longer,
but once their voices were no longer audible, we exhaled a collective
sigh of relief.  What a narrow escape and we knew it.  I can't recall
any other moment in my life when I felt more alive, every sense
attuned to my surroundings, and I'm sure my two friends felt
the same.  (I wonder if they even remember it now?)

Even today, I think back to that moment and recall how
I felt at the time;  the excitement, the exhilaration, the fear,
and, of course, the sheer relief and gratitude at having survived
a precarious predicament unscathed.  It was like something from a
Investigators or a Mission Impossible tale - a truly thrilling
moment that lives on forever in my mind, and reminds me that, once,
my life was more than the uneventful series of events that it is now.  I
felt like James Bond, even 'though, at that time, I'd not yet seen a
Bond film.  However, I knew that anyone who had a real car like
my Corgi Toys Aston Martin must be a cool guy in the face
of danger - much like myself, in fact (he said, modestly), as
the tale I've just related surely testifies.

Okay, so, technically, we ran away from three girls - but
that's only because we didn't want to hurt them.  (Well, that's
my story and I'm darn well sticking to it.  Wanna argue?)

Ever been in a similar situation? Then let's hear all about it
in the comments section, o cool Criv-ites.  Spill the beans!


Images copyright DC COMICS

Another half dozen covers in JERRY ORDWAY's The
ADVENTURES Of SUPERMAN series from the late 1980s
for you to thrill over, comic fans.  The cover of #440 is pencilled
by DAVE GIBBONS and inked by Jerry, and is very nice indeed.
I plan on showcasing the other Superman titles from around the
same period at some stage, so hopefully that's something for
you all to look forward to.  Meanwhile, 'though, enjoy the
ones currently on display for your viewing pleasure.

Any favourites?  Then shout them from the rooftops in
our comments section.  You all know the drill by now.


Me in Saint Andrew's Road in Southsea, Portsmouth, 1978

Reading about LEE JAMES TURNOCK's comic character,
NICKY HUNT (over here) reminded me of a real-life inveterate
'fantasist' (by which I mean liar) who used to pal about with me from
1965 until he joined the Navy shortly after his dad died in 1977.  We
remained friends until 1981, when I concluded that he obviously
had mental health issues and finally severed all ties with him.

I last saw him in Gosport near the end of April '81 when I was
living nearby, and it was then I realized he was no longer the per-
son I thought he was - if indeed he ever had been.  This man simply
couldn't open his gob without a monumental, unbelievable 'porky-pie'
popping out.  For example, even before he joined the Navy he used to
wear an over-sized diver's watch, and when a friend (RONNIE ROSS,
now sadly deceased) asked him what it was, he replied that it was an
atomic power-pack for his bionic arm.  (This was around '76/'77,
when the SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN was still on TV.)

Had it been an 'off-the-cuff' remark intended as a joke, that
would've been fine.  However, in between starting and finishing the
sentence, he'd somehow managed to convince himself it was true and
fully expected to be believed.  Another example (on a flying visit to our
house in December of 1980) came when my father asked him if he had
any kids yet.  (He'd got wed in Portsmouth Registry Office two years
before, and I'd been best man.)  "No," he said, "I caught an infection
from a toilet seat and they had to cut my tubes.  They operated
through my back passage so as not to leave a scar."

To the best of my knowledge, those 'in-the-know' say that in-
fections can't be caught from toilet seats (at least, not the kind which
affect internal organs) so his claim couldn't be true.  However, why the
bit about back-door surgery?  It's unlikely that anyone would ask to see
his scar so why say that if it wasn't true?  Then I realized - as a Navy man,
he shared showers and quarters with others, so he'd need a 'cover-story'
to explain his obvious scar-free condition when he first told his bizarre
tale.  A normal person would simply have said that he didn't want
kids until he left the Navy, not produced a fantastic fable that
defied accepted medical facts.  Not so 'BILLY LIAR'.

His lying was no recent development, but stretched all the
way back to childhood, as this 1966/'67 account illustrates.  One
morning in the school playground, myself, 'Billy Liar' and a fellow
called ROBERT (or ROBINGOLDIE were standing in line, waiting
for the bell to ring to gain access to the building.  Robert was holding an
ACTION MAN and opened the jacket to show us AM's dog-tag.  Action
Man (or GI JOE to U.S. readers) had a rather 'stylised' musculature with
a bit of a gap between his pecs.  My brother owned a TOMMY GUNN
action-figure with a more realistic physique, so I remarked on how odd
Action Man's torso was by comparison.  "That was his sister who did
that - she's got really sharp nails!" volunteered 'Billy', ignoring the
fact that Robert's sister would've had to be SUPERGIRL
to make a dent in such hard plastic.

Regular readers may recall a previous post in which I men-
tioned a pupil who came into school one morning with a tracing
of RUMPELSTILTSKIN (from a class reading book) on a piece
of IZAL toilet paper, claiming he'd drawn it the night before.   (Al-
though when the sheet was placed over the book illustration and
the fraud exposed, he then said it was the work of his sister.)
Yes, you've guessed it - it was the very same guy.

For almost as long as I'd known him he'd been plagued by
cartilage problems in one of his knees.  This meant that not long
after joining the Navy it was discovered that he wasn't fit for active
duty.  So he was given a choice - either leave the Navy or take up a
'landlubber' position at Haslar Hospital in Gosport.  (He invented a
tale which attributed his long-term problem to getting his knee caught
between two practice mines while on a training exercise.)  According
to him his new job was that of 'medical assistant' (nurse), but in all
likelihood he was a hospital porter.  Not for long 'though, as
two or three years later he was back in civvy-street.

In 1981 I'd returned to Portsmouth - at his invitation - only
to find that he steered clear of me and never came to visit - apart
from one time when I saw him on his moped coming from the direc-
tion of my bed-sit while I was returning from the shops.  I hailed him,
but he stopped for only just long enough to tell me he'd no time to talk -
then he was off again.  He was only about two minutes away from my
place and two minutes away from his base (by bike), so I wondered
why he'd gone out of his way if he'd no intention of stopping.  When
I got back, my landlady revealed to me that he'd only been
checking-up to see if I'd returned to Scotland yet.

Me in my room in Boulton Road, Southsea, 1981.
Yes, I know - it looks like a Crimewatch photo

Obviously he was worried that the longer I was around, the
greater the chance I'd eventually meet some of his newer friends
and perhaps inadvertently blow the gaff about some of the 'tall tales'
he'd spun.  After all, this was a guy who, with crash helmet tucked
under his arm, used to visit bars that bikers hung out in - even
before he had a motorbike.  (No joking.)  

Months later, when I finally returned home, my father told
me that while I was in Portsmouth, 'Billy' had 'phoned one night
with a curious request.  "Mr. Robson, I was in a bar the other night
having a drink, and I told a guy I was talking to that I'm a Lieutenant
Colonel in the Royal Navy."  (This was when he was a porter in Gosport's
Haslar Hospital.)  "He didn't believe me, so I gave him your number and
told him to 'phone you and you'd confirm it.  If he does call, could you
back me up?"  Naturally, my father told him not to be so daft.  "Go on -
a favour for a favour," pleaded the deluded 'Billy'.  My father enquired
what he meant.  "I visited Gordon the other day and it cost me money
for petrol for my bike," quoth Mr. Mental, referring to his lightning-
quick dash to check if I was still around.  When I heard this, I
gave my parents strict instructions that, if 'Billy' ever
'phoned, I was out - even if I was in.

About six or seven years later, the 'phone (then in the hall-
way) rang and the answer-machine clicked on.  As I stood at the
top of the stairs to hear who it was, an unfamiliar voice emanated
from the speaker - a Detective Inspector someone (couldn't make
out the name) wanting to talk to me.  I went downstairs and picked up
the 'phone - "Hello?" I said.  "What's the matter, don't you recognize an
old friend?"  The voice had changed, being that strange hybrid accent
that many 'Jocks' acquire from spending years down south, so at first
I didn't recognize it.  Then the penny dropped and I hung up without
replying.  The 'phone rang again and his voice from the speaker said:
"I'll use my warrant card if that's what it takes to talk to you!"
Poor, deluded fool.  He was never in the police - I checked,
even 'though it was a racing cert that he wasn't.

It seems that Leopards can't change their spots.  Egged on
by a pal who'd also known 'Billy' we both looked at his Facebook
page about a year ago.  According to him he's a Falklands war veteran
who was fast-tracked through the ranks of the Royal Navy, is thinking
of taking a course in astro-physics (or something equally far-fetched),
was taught to cook by both GORDON RAMSAY and JAMIE OLIVER,
has hacked into NASA satellites to take photographs of outer space (with
a clearly-cribbed pic from the internet), had a successful career as a world-
class photographer (although his webpage is conspicuously absent of any
evidence which would indicate it), and is a personal buddy of BILLY
CONNOLLY and folk-singer RALPH McTELL, who he claims to
have known since the age of twelve.  Oh, and he learned to scuba-
dive at the age of nine.  (Which was all news to me - and I'd
known him from when he was six.)

Right, altogether now - "JACKANORY, JACKANORY,
JACKANORY".  Needless to say, we both fell about laughing at
this catalogue of absurdity.  Unfortunately 'though, there was a sad
side to his inabiltiy to grasp reality, and let me wind up this over-
long reminiscence by revealing what that was.

As I previously said, I was best man at this fantasy merchant's
wedding in 1978, but I had gone down to Portsmouth a few days
in advance of the 'big day'.  The morning before the ceremony, while
he was out at the shops, his fiancee broke down in tears and confessed
to me that she was now having severe doubts about going through with it.
Her brother and her friends considered him a complete weirdo and had
expressed concern over his alarming propensity to tell the most outra-
geous lies at the drop of a hat.  What was I to do?  What I should've
done was tell her that I didn't think he was mature enough to get
married and had been telling porkies for as long as I had
known him so was therefore unlikely to change.

However, I was faced with a dilemma.  If she called off the
wedding as a result of anything I said, I'd then be the bad guy.  I
knew that he'd continue to pursue her and woo her after I'd gone
home, and probably persuade her (against her better judgement) into
marrying him, and I'd then be excluded from the celebrations and most
likely be a pal short as a result.  So I chickened out, telling her that I'd
have a very serious talk with him and explain that all his lies had to stop;
that he was about to embark on a wonderful new chapter in his life which
he should take extremely seriously and stop embarrassing both himself
and his beloved with his absurd fabrications and fantasies.  So I did -
at great length and in excruciating detail (as is my wont).  At the
conclusion of my sonorous oration he soberly assured me
that he was 'indeed an altered Toad'.

He was lying of course.

On the day of the wedding, when the registrar asked her if
she took this man as her lawful wedded husband, there was a long,
long pause.  Then, with tears streaming down her face, she hesitantly
said "I do" and thereby made one of the worst decisions of her life.  A
decision that I could probably have prevented - and to this day am filled
with regret that I didn't at least try to.  The marriage lasted a couple of
years or so and the poor woman went through hell.  I hope she's happy
now and, should she ever get to read this, can forgive me for my
inaction.  I last saw her around August or September 1980
when they were both up on a brief visit.

So there you have it.  Now take a look at Nicky Hunt over
on Lee's blog.  (Link at the top of the page.)  Believe me, Nicky's
nowhere near as bad as the guy I've just been telling you about.
He's certainly a lot funnier 'though.