Sunday, 9 November 2014


Having a fly puff between takes, here's golden
girl SHIRLEY EATON in either her swimming
cozzie or her underwear - take your pick.

Saturday, 8 November 2014


Here's a 'Babe of the Day' at no extra cost - PENELOPE CRUZ

The subject of 'piracy' seems to get some people hot under the
collar, going from a recent discussion on a certain comics forum.
(That's the one I resigned from and was then 'banned', after the fact,
"for leaving", by an over-zealous, biased moderator - even 'though the
site owner invited me to rejoin.  Running true to form, a disingenuous
detractor of mine continues to maliciously misrepresent the facts of
the situation over on his blog in an attempt to malign me.)

But that's by-the-by;  more pertinent is how one defines 'piracy'
in relation to comics.  Some people sell discs of comic collections on
eBay, comics that the copyright holders (if they can actually be identi-
fied) don't seem particularly interested in exploiting for financial gain.
It seems to me that some so-called 'piracy' can have positive benefits
which, in certain circumstances, mostly outweigh any negatives.

To give you an analogous example:  I'm a JIM REEVES
fan (don't shoot), and on occasion I've made compilation discs
for my own use which I've occasionally duplicated to give to friends.
No money is involved, except for what I spend in buying the originals
(not for the purpose of copying, merely for my own enjoyment) and
then on the blank tapes or discs when it occurs to me that someone
I know might enjoy listening to a sample.  I don't even let them
cover the cost of the blank disc, should they offer.

I know from experience not to lend originals because they
won't be returned in the condition lent, regardless of how well the
borrower may think they've looked after them.  So in the case of my
own music collection, being able to occasionally burn a disc for some-
one to see if they might like it is a handy thing.  As I said, I don't charge,
and in some cases, the other person has become a fan and then bought
other recordings by the same artist, thereby increasing sales.  So who
loses in that situation?  Certainly not the record company, who lose
no money by me giving a compilation copy to someone who
wouldn't have bought an original disc in the first place.

With back issue comics it's a similar scenario, although
collectors prefer to own the originals, and in most cases only
resort to facsimiles or disc collections as a stop-gap, until such time
as they manage to track down an acceptable-condition original at an
affordable price.  In my case (and I'm sure it's true with most folks), if
I really want a particular series and it's released in an authorised print
edition, I'll buy it - even if I already have it in digital form.  If I don't
buy it, it's because I'm really not that fussed about it, although I
may have it in digital form merely because it was available.

In that instance, as it's something I wouldn't have bought
anyway, me having acquired it in digital form from the internet
doesn't deprive the publishers of income.  I'm sure most of us own
something that we don't mind having because it was free, but would
never have purchased otherwise.  Obviously, I'm not talking about new
material (whether it be comics, music or movies) bought by one person
for the purpose of copying for friends (or selling to strangers) in order
to spare them having to buy an item they'd willingly pay full price for
if there was no other way of acquiring it  - I only mean out-of-print
comics, books or old records that aren't currently available
and don't look like being at any time in the future.

 In the case of facsimiles of old back issues, no surviving
contributors are deprived of any royalties as they were paid for
their work outright.  Nor are the publishers losing out if they don't
have any intention of reprinting the stuff as it first appeared.  And, if
the publishers ever do decide to reprint their back catalogue in some
form or other, the vast majority of avid collectors would readily buy it,
because they'd want the 'official' package with its superior printing on
quality paper, along with the informative introductions, prefaces and
appendices - regardless of however many digital discs or 'pirate'
facsimiles they already possess.  Those that wouldn't clearly
don't want it enough to spend money on it anyway.

In short, what I'm saying is that whether or not I buy an
official collected edition is determined only by how much I like
the material - not by whether I already own it in digital form.
That isn't a factor.  I bet it's the same for most of you.

I note with interest that one of the more vocal opponents
of so-called 'piracy' has no objections to people scanning their
own collections and making digital copies available to friends - so
long as no money changes hands.  What real difference does it make?
The contributors would never see a penny in royalties anyway - even
if it was an authorised publication, and those chasing their nostalgia
fix could well be dead before the current copyright holder (if even
known) extracts the digit and decides to make the material
available to an ageing and ever-diminishing audience.

What must be remembered is that the current crop of new
'Best of' Annuals now on sale are aimed at a readership whose
interest has been kept alive by internet comics blogs;  and digital discs
and amateur facsimiles have fed the appetite for vintage material in the
absence of proper print-editions - until some publishers took note and
realised that there was still a market for it.  A limited one, admittedly,
and ever-decreasing, but one that would probably have long since
perished had it not been for a dedicated group of enthusiasts
stoking the fires and keeping the spluttering flame alive.

So ignore those po-faced, self-righteous critics who are
lucky enough to be able to afford those scarce back issues for
themselves, but loudly decry anyone whose only option is to obtain
the much-missed, long-sought reminders of their childhood by the
only means open to them until something better comes along.

I don't know about you, but I've always considered the
"I'm all right, Jack" attitude of the 'haves' towards the 'have
nots' to be a particularly ugly one - whether it be with regard
to money, security, status, or even just comics.

     What say the rest of you?      

Thursday, 6 November 2014


I'm unable to scan anything at the moment, but fortunately I
have quite a bit of stuff in my computer's comics files and folders to
dip into for material.  Therefore, what better way to utilise it than to
present you with the next instalment of our TV CENTURY 21 cover
gallery?  This time around, we have numbers 71 to 80, and I intend
to reproduce the covers of at least the first 104 issues - the first two
years' worth - when the comic was at its height..

Any memories of these particular issues?  Why not share them
with your fellow Criv-ites in the comments section?  Go on, we're
all waiting - and you'll feel much better for it .  (Honest!) 


For no other reason than it's a little glimpse into yesteryear, here's
the cover to the TV COMIC Holiday Special from 1967.  ADAM
ADAMANT seems a bit on the large side compared to the DALEKS
below and in front of him, but it's a nice little scene all the same.


Babe Of The Day Extra - FARRAH FAWCETT

Just to keep all you cavortin' Criv-ites up to date, the reason
regular blogging has been sparse for a while is because my house
requires some emergency work which entails the carpets and floor-
boards having to be lifted in every room.  This meant that I had to pack
all my comics and collectables away in boxes (close to a couple of hundred
by now - boxes, that is) and store them in the attic, which I've just completed
after several weeks.  The work commences this coming Monday, but as my
scanner, comics and books are all packed away, I'm kind of limited in what
I can actually post until I can get them all unpacked again.  That could
take a while, because my rooms will first need some decorating and
carpet laying when the work is completed before I can finally
restore everything to its accustomed place.

In the meantime, posts will be occasional and probably
lightweight until everything is as it was on the home front -
but I'll do my best to come up with something.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Back in the mid '80s, the stunning SAM FOX
was the pin-up girl of the moment.  I'm sure you
can spot at least two good reasons why.

Monday, 3 November 2014


Here's my CHERILEA BATMAN figure after a
little light restoration, which you can compare to the
seller's eBay photo below.  Truth to tell, I'd already
slightly retouched the lower picture to enhance the item
for use in an earlier post, so it looks better painted than
it actually was.  However, it gives a close enough
indication of 'before' and 'after.'

These small figures were originally available in
WOOLWORTH'S in the mid-to-late '60s and are
highly sought after these days.  Once I've restored
the ROBIN figure winging its way to me, I'll post
a photo of the two of them together.

Sunday, 2 November 2014


Look what I just won on eBay - a CHERILEA
ROBIN figure to complement the BATMAN one I
acquired several weeks back.  Aren't I lucky?!


Today's 'Babe of the Day' is MADONNA.  C'mon,
who are you kidding?  You know you would.


Here's ol' blue eyes himself, FRANK
SINATRA, in a reminiscing mood.  Enjoy.

Saturday, 1 November 2014


Have you ever encountered such startling levels of stupidity as to make
you want to wring your hands in sheer frustration and despair - or even the
necks of po-faced, petty perpetrators of moronic madness on a massively-
monumental scale?  (Yes, I know that "massively" is redundant in that
last sentence, but I'm waxing lyrical.)  Here is such a tale.

So, I'm walking past a charity shop in the main shopping centre of my
town when I see a teddy bear through the glass frontage and decide to buy
it for someone.  I make enquiries inside and am told that it's not for sale -
it's a display item only.  At the back of the shop are various other teddies
of diverse shapes and sizes sitting on a low shelf, which are for sale. "Can't
you sell me the teddy I want and replace it with one of the others?", I
enquire.  In short, "No!"

"Why not?", I ask politely.  "Because it's for display only, not for
sale!", comes the reply.  The shop's most expensive teddy is only £3,
so I offer them £10 for the one I want.  "It's not for sale!", I'm told again.
"Can't you use one of the other teddies for display?", I again venture.
"No!", I'm told.

I'll give you the abridged version of events, otherwise we'll be here
all week.  In short, over the course of several days, I speak to assistant
managers, managers, supervisors at head office, blah, blah, blah, and ask
why it's so bloody difficult to purchase a teddy from them and swell their
coffers by a tenner - more than three times the amount they're asking for
one of Ted's even bigger-sized pals.  This is what I'm told:

1)  "Our staff aren't trained to rearrange the displays."  (Can you
believe this cr*p?  Not trained to take one teddy from a shelf at the back
of the shop and exchange it for one near the front?  Gimme a break.)

2)  "We want our displays to look their very best to entice people
into the shop."  (Fine, but what's the point of enticing them in if you're
then going to refuse to sell them the very item that caught their attention
and which they want to buy?  Isn't the raison d'etre of the charity to
raise money?)

3)  "Our staff are too busy to accommodate individual customer re-
quests."  (I pass this shop practically every day.  It's in a remote corner of
the shopping centre and as quiet as the tomb.  I don't think I've ever seen
more than two customers in the place since it opened last year, and the
staff sit around looking bored for most of the time.)

4)  "It's our policy.  If we make an exception for you, we'd have to
do it for everyone"  (Well, then it wouldn't be an exception, would it?  But
we'll let that loopy lapse in logic pass.)  I thought it was their policy to raise
money for charity, by selling items that people donate for that very purpose
- not to try and win the 'window display of the year' award and deter folks
from spending cash by refusing to take it from them in exchange for that
which they wish to purchase.)

I'm on my soapbox now, but consider the absurdity of the situation.
They're turning money away, instead of grabbing it and saying:
"Thanks very much, do call again!"  Their mission should be to sell every-
thing they've got as quickly as possible, and then replenish their displays
from fresh donations - not say "I can't sell you the item you want because
it'll mess up our display and we'll have to start again."  No, we can't
have them inconvenienced, can we?  That would never do.  Not even
when some cold, hard cash is at stake.

Charities are run (so I've
always thought) to benefit
the recipients of said
charities, not the organisers,
and the best way to facilitate
that is to (in the words of the
song) "keep the customer sat-
isfied", not alienate them by
implementing and enforcing
ludicrous dictats.  They're
there to make money for the
less fortunate, not refuse it
on the grounds that moving
one soft toy into the position
of another is "against policy'"
or is beyond the abilities (or
inclination) of the staff.

In the end, I got Ted, who now sits proudly in the living room of the person
for whom he was purchased.  I also bought the other one (which has likewise
gone to a good home), thus adding £13 to the funds for the charity's cause.
Money I had to practically force on them by kicking up a fuss and reminding
them that such places exist to help others less fortunate, not to fulfill the
ambitions of those who want to rule over their own private fiefdoms in
a self-indulgent attempt to satisfy their feelings of self-importance.

Rant over.


(Incidentally, I should perhaps add that I had previously seen items in
the window with 'sold' signs on them, and I subsequently discovered that
display items could be sold, but had to remain in the window display until
it was changed, which was usually every fortnight.  The shop still operates
this way today, so why I was never told that I could pay for Ted and
collect him later at the end of his service remains a mystery.)

Friday, 31 October 2014


Here's JIMBO singing BLUE BOY.
Click on that arrow and get those feet
tappin'.  Top stuff.


Here's a blast from the past!  The GUY FAWKES mask free with
WHIZZER & CHIPS #3 back in 1969 (issue dated November 1st,
but on sale October 25th), and the NEW Annual currently available at
the larger branches of SAINSBURY'S.  The book is priced at £7.99 on
the back cover, but is being sold at the specially discounted price of only
£3.99 - an absolute bargain.  It contains material from Annuals between
1971 and '85 -and the front cover is sourced from the very first edition,
the back cover from the second.  Go on - buy a copy and relive
your long lost childhood!

(And remember - the mask doesn't come with the Annual.
I've only included it because it's appropriate for the time of
year and I thought you might like to see it.)

Thursday, 30 October 2014


The man with the golden voice, JIM REEVES, sings 
 a song that was released a week before he was killed in a
'plane crash on July 31st 1964.  It reached #3 in Britain,
and remained in the charts for a staggering 26 weeks.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Hi, fellow Criv-ites.  Just a short post to let you know
that personal circumstances yet prevent me from regular
blogging, and that it'll probably be a few weeks (longer than
anticipated) before I'm able return to thrilling and enthralling
you all (I hope) with my hyperbolic haverings.  The question
remains, 'though - will you return when I do?  In the mean-
time, here's a babe of the day to make your mouth water
and kickstart your heartbeat.

Am I good to you or what?

Sunday, 12 October 2014


I'd hoped to be able to do the occasional post and
respond to comments in between attending to a matter of
urgency, but, unfortunately, time will not allow me to do so
for the foreseeable future.  I'll see you all when things return
to normal (or what passes for normal around here) - in the
meantime, here's an unknown babe to put a spring
in your step.  Schwiiiiinnngggg!

Saturday, 11 October 2014


Still unable to resume regular blogging, but
here's a quick babe to prove that I haven't quite
abandoned you.  Criv-ites, I give you - the
delectable DALIAH LAVI!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Stan 'the Man' Lee certainly knows how to
react to a camera pointing in his direction

Just time for a quick post to allay fears that I've disappeared
off the face of the globe or have turned up my tootsies.  Way back
in November of 1991, STAN LEE visited Glasgow's FORBIDDEN
PLANET to promote the late LES DANIELS' book, MARVEL -
COMICS.  Why Stan and not Les, you may wonder.  Simply put,
Stan was a bigger draw than Les - and he had written the intro,
so his presence wasn't entirely without merit.

Also in attendance that day were SPIDER-MAN, GRANT
MORRISON, MARK MILLAR and myself, as well as genial host
JIM HAMILTON, well-known proprietor of 'the city's FP store.  I
assumed the role of unelected 'official' photographer, and snapped
around a dozen photos of the event.  (Well, that's not quite true -
obviously the pics of me and Stan together [and Spidey] were
taken by someone else - but with my camera.)

And just in case you're reading this, Jim, two new A4 copies
of the photos of you and Stan will be winging their way to you in
the post tomorrow - so that's something you can look forward to. 
And if you're a comics fan who lives in Scotland, why not pay a
visit to FP at the earliest opportunity?  Go on - splash some
cash around and make yourself feel good.

Spidey hogs a little attention while Stan is distracted

Jim trying to memorise how Stan writes his signature

"Great store you have here!" says Stan, in an unsolicited testimonial

Grant and Stan have appeared together at conventions
quite a few times since this picture was taken, I believe

"Come back when you're more famous!" jokes Stan with Mark

I suspect Spidey may have been a 'ringer' - he had an English accent

You can't quite see the fiver Stan's handing me to pose with him

Me and Stan - the best of pals.  "Who is this guy?" he's thinking

"Wish I'd brought a rubber stamp with my name on it!" thinks Stan

I don't think these two wannabes ever amounted to much - shame

Finally, here's Jim Brown with Stan, looking
happy as Larry (Lieber, perhaps?) 

Thursday, 2 October 2014


Salma can hardly hide her, er, disappointment.
(Phew!  I nearly said 'nipple' - oops!)

A slight emergency (if that's not a contradiction in terms) has
arisen which will require my full attention for the next few weeks.
Sadly, therefore, with the possible exception of the BABE OF
THE DAY feature and the odd YouTube link (if even those) ,
there will be no new posts for the foreseeable future.

Hopefully my regular readers won't abandon me, and will
find something in my back catalogue (ooer, missus) to entertain
them in the meantime.  It's also unlikely that I'll be able to respond
to comments (if there are any) until I return to regular blogging,
although I'll check in when I can and publish any in waiting.

See you all when I've attended to business.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


All images copyright Marvel Comics

I walked into WHS two days ago (September 30th) and saw the
latest issue of THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL (#4) sitting
on the shelves.  Hard to believe that it was 42 years to the day since the
very first issue of the weekly incarnation of this periodical went on sale
in the U.K..  Cover-dated October 7th, 1972, it had actually appeared
in the shops a week earlier, to give it a full seven days shelf life
before the next issue came in.

So what delights does the currrent version contain to enthrall and
entertain its readers?  You'll have to buy a copy to find out, because
the only strip I read these days is DAREDEVIL, which is top-notch
stuff.  Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that the other contents
aren't likewise excellent, but they fail to call out to me in the same
entrancing way that THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR does.

Okay, I've done my Marvel duty by showing you what the
mag looks like; it's now your turn as a dyed-in the-wool Marvelite
(assuming you are) to demonstrate your allegiance by running out
and buying a copy.  Why are you still here?  MWOM awaits!

And here are four more Mighty Marvel Mags currently on sale.


Had a hard day at work?  Sore head, sore feet, sore
back?  Don't worry - all your aches and pains are about
to melt away as you relax and unwind to the velvet voice
of Gentleman JIM REEVES.  Surely his CDs should be
available on the NHS?  Makes sense to me.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


What's better than a Scooby Snack?
VELMA!  Be honest now  - the cartoon
didn't do her justice, did it?


All images copyright Marvel Comics

And now...the concluding part of FRANK MILLER's and
gallery.  The saga came to be collectively known as BORN AGAIN
when all seven issues were gathered together in a softcover edition
in 1987.  (You can see the cover at the foot of this post.)

This was one of the very best series that MARVEL published in
the '80s - in stark contrast to comics like SECRET WARS, which 
may have sold a bundle, but paled into insignificance when compared
against the brilliance of Miller's and Mazzucchelli's masterpiece.

So, to jog your memory if you were fortunate enough to have
enjoyed this series back in the day, here are a few select images
for you to drool over - which you can also do even if you've never
seen them before.  What can I say?  I like to keep everyone happy -
that's just the sort of thoroughly decent chap I happen to be.