Saturday, 31 August 2013

FIFTH & FINAL PART OF MIKE NOBLE'S VERY FIRST FIREBALL XL5 STRIP...



"Parting is such sweet sorrow" - and so, alas, we come to the
final episode of MIKE NOBLE's very first FIREBALL XL5 adven-
ture for TV CENTURY 21.  Only two pages this time 'round, but don't
blame me - it's just the way the cookie crumbles.  Y'know, great as they
were, wouldn't it have been awesome if the TV21 Annuals had featured
the same sort of high-quality colour reproduction as the weekly?  It was
surely possible, as the'60s DALEKS Annuals had strips of the same
painted style as their back page appearances in TV21.

Anyway, that's it for now, culture-lovers - I'm off to enjoy
my many treasures ("the slow result of life's decay" according
to LEWIS CARROLL), and laugh gleefully as I foil the deluded
intent of my internet stalker by deleting his many comments
unread.  Oh, what fun!  See you next post.
  

WOW! ANOTHER RON TURNER CAPTAIN SCARLET ADVENTURE...



Right, be honest - you thought I'd forgotten, didn't you?
A while back I said I'd publish another RON TURNER drawn
CAPTAIN SCARLET adventure from the second of two Annuals
(1969) devoted to the SPECTRUM operative - and you've been
waiting patiently ever since!  Well, the wait is finally over -
here it is!

I could wax long and lyrical over the superlative artwork,
the vibrant colours, the dynamic storytelling - but why bother?
You can see it all for yourselves in the accompanying pages.  So,
not being the type pf person to impede the pleasure of others,
I'll stop yapping and let you get straight into them.

Spectrum is Green!





Friday, 30 August 2013

THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS...



How do you measure success?  Is it by comparing your
achievements to the accomplishments of others, or against the
fulfillment of your own ambitions?  And when it comes to judging
the success of others, it's probably pretty pointless using your own
aspirations as the standard by which to do so, because they simply
may not have been aiming at the same target - nor shooting the
same kind of arrows in order to hit whatever target
they were aiming for.

I once freelanced for IPC's top-selling boys title, 2000 A.D.
I had my name in print, people requesting my autograph, and -
best of all - money!  Was I success?  Well, in one way, yes - but in
another way, not really. I'd never had any particular ambition to
work for 2000 A.D. per se, only to work in comics in some way.
The fact that I started my 15 year career on the most popular
adventure comic in the country was merely a bonus.

Was I any more of a 'success' than the lad whose first job
was as a shelf-stacker in Sainsbury's and who then worked his
way up to the position of store manager?  Well, no, not really.  Is
he any more of a success than me?  How do you measure it?  It may
never have been his ambition to work in a supermarket, but it was
mine to work in comics - and I achieved that.  (Interestingly, back
in 1988, MARVEL U.K. contacted me to offer me work - I
never had to approach them.  That's being a failure?)

If you're happy (or content) with your achievements in
life, then, in a very real sense, you're a success.  Whether you're
a biscuit salesman or banker, if you've attained the goals you set
for yourself then that's an accomplishment.  (Unless your ambition
was to be a failure - now there's an interesting paradox.)  Remember,
you can't be said to have failed at something you've never tried (after
all, you've got to be in a race to win or lose it), so don't ever waste
a second paying heed to those smug, self-satisfied types who
regard their own personal career situation as some
kind of 'international standard'.

Deep down inside, they're extremely insecure people who
need to feel that they've done better in life than anyone else
  in order to feel good about themselves.  Sad but true. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

THE DOCTOR'S REGENERATIONS - BY DANBURY MINT....

 
 
 

 

 
 

GETTING THE 'BRUSH-OFF' - PART FOUR OF SCHOOLTIME SCANDALS ...



It had been raining, and I could see through the classroom
windows that it was beginning to get dark outside.  The rain-lashed
footpaths reflected the yellow lights of the school building in their
shimmering, mirrored surface, and as the art lesson neared its end,
I started gathering my stuff together in preparation for the bell
which would signal our release.

One thing was wrong however;  my schoolbag was absent
from its accustomed place under my desk.  "Right, who's got
my schoolbag?" I challenged, standing up and addressing the line
of classmates to my side.  "Is this it?" came a murmer from the far
end.  "Yeah, pass it along to me!" I said, and the bag was handed
from one pupil to another until it reached me.

No fool was I!  First thing I did was check the contents to
ensure that nothing was missing.  In actual fact, the reverse was
true - at the bottom of my bag was a class paintbrush which didn't
belong there.  "Please Miss," I said to the teacher, "someone's put a
paintbrush in my schoolbag."  As it turned out, I'd have been better
placing the brush in its pot with the others and saying nothing,
but perhaps I was fueled by a subconscious desire to solicit
an acknowledgement of my 'virtuous' nature.

Mrs. BARCLAY (dubbed 'Screamer Barclay' by we
pupils) seemed unperturbed.  "Put it in its pot!" was all she
said - so I did.  However, at lesson's end, she took a count of the
brushes and discovered that some were missing.  She decided that
a search of the boys was in order, but not the girls.  (Obviously, in
much the same way that ol' QUEEN VICTORIA reputedly couldn't
imagine women ever indulging in 'unnatural desires', Mrs. Barclay
clearly considered females incapable of taking something that
didn't belong to them.  The settlements often arrived at in
today's divorce courts suggest otherwise.)

Mr. McLEAN, the head art teacher, was sent for, and
when he arrived, 'Screamer' explained the situation about
the missing brushes.  She concluded her summary of events by
saying - and these are her actual words - "A brush has already
been found in Gordon Robson's schoolbag."  I regarded this as
a gross misrepresentation of the facts, so I interjected and
said "Yeah, and it was me who found it!"

I wasn't the subject of any undue attention as a result
of Mrs. Barclay's less than stringent recounting of the facts,
and it may be that it hadn't been her intention to cast me in the
role of transgressor, but nevertheless it riled me at the time and
still does whenever I think of it today, more than 40 years after
the fact.  Reputations often rest on such gossamer threads that
I'm always prepared to stand up and defend mine at
the drop of the proverbial hat.

Now, I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere,
but I'll leave you to figure it out for yourselves.

******

Why not take advantage of our free therapy session and
exorcise your demons of yesteryear by unloading them in the
  comments section?  Go on - you'll feel much better for it. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

HONK! FOR ATTENTION...



Adult publication HONK! by LEE JAMES TURNOCK,
is now available here.  Not for the faint-hearted, vicars, priests,
rabbis or kids.  After enduring vilification by some so-called 'pro-
fessional' cartoonists (note:  just because you get paid for it doesn't
necessarily mean you're any good - as the work of some published
individuals far too readily attests), LJT finally has his very own
underground comix which lovers of that genre should be well-
 pleased with.  Check out the above link now! 

CALLING ALL RIVER BANKERS - NO, THAT'S NOT RHYMING SLANG...



Regular readers will know that I'm a huge fan of the book The
WIND In The WILLOWS, written by the estimable Mr. KENNETH
GRAHAME (a Scotsman, naturally) back near the turn of the last century.
I collect different editions of the book, and today I took possession of the
latest addition to my library, The Centennial Anniversary Edition -
which is a reissue (or an old copy) of the 75th Anniversary Edition
with an amended dustjacket.

What's fascinating is the fact that the cover illustration by
ERNEST H. SHEPARD is not one that's familiar to these shores,
apparently being reserved exclusively for U.S. editions of the book.  The
evocative illo, featuring the main characters from the tale, is copyrighted
1960 to the artist, but it's interesting to wonder why it was never used
in U.K. editions - although it's always possible that it may have
been utilised relatively recently.

The volume features an informative preface by MARGARET
HODGES, and an 'afterword' by E. H. Shepard himself, entitled
'Illustrating The Wind in the Willows', which, again (to the best
of my knowledge), has never appeared in any U.K. printing of the classic
tale.  I do have two reservations however.  Firstly, the eight colour plates
(first seen in the 1959 edition) seem 'washed out' in comparison to U.K.
printings - and, secondly, the dustjacket seems too large for the book's
width, in the way that the flyleaf folds over the edge.  That apart, it's
a nice little addition to the collection of any fans of this
classic piece of literature.

THAT'S TAKING BROTHERLY LOVE A BIT TOO FAR, DONTCHA THINK?



Cop a gander at the above panel from THOR #144,
in which BALDER The BRAVE manfully suppresses
his attraction for his golden-haired Asgardian buddy's
girlfriend.  What a hero!

But wait a minute - according to the panel below, from
the TALES Of ASGARD back-up strip in JIM #102,
SIF is his sister.  Ugh!  What a pervert!

Funny how quickly you can go off some people, eh?


However, worry not, true believer.  It was
later revealed that Sif was actually the sibling
of HEIMDALL, not Balder.  Phew!

Monday, 26 August 2013

HAS HE GOT A ROBOT CALLED ARCHIE? LION ANNUAL 1968 - PART ONE...



Here's a treat for you all - the full-colour ROBOT ARCHIE
strip from the LION Annual for 1968.  As you're no doubt aware,
when Archie first appeared in Lion way back in the 1950s, the strip
was called The JUNGLE ROBOT.  His colour has differed down
through the years, sometimes being red, sometimes grey - and
perhaps even various other hues of the spectrum as well.

I'll be featuring other strips from this book in future
 posts, so don't forget to check in from time to time.








Sunday, 25 August 2013

FROM THE PAST TO THE PRESENT - AN UNTOLD 'TALE' OF DOCTOR WHO...



Way back at the start of the '80s (wow, more than 30 years
ago) I purchased two brush pens with which I hoped to practise
my inking.  I'd had them for a while before I got around to using
them, and when I did, it was on a DOCTOR WHO drawing of
the original and best Doctor, WILLIAM HARTNELL.

I pencilled the figure and TARDIS and then inked them
in, rather too thickly in places, due to my unfamiliarity with
the pens, which, unlike most brush pens of today, had flexible,
rubber-tip 'points' to them.  In the end, I abandoned the drawing
because, although I was happy with the likeness, the pose was
a little too rigid and not quite natural enough to my eyes.

Part of the problem was that I had done the drawing A4 size,
which was far too small to allow for a finely-detailed finish, so
I put it away, resolving to draw a larger version at some time in
the future and give it the loving attention it deserved.

Well, the future came and went, and I never did get around
to redrawing my Bill Hartnell 'masterpiece'.  However, a few
months back, I discovered an old, actual-sized photocopy of my
initial drawing (dunno know what happened to the original) and
decided to finish it.  I'd already added a logo back in 1983 (photo-
copied from a 1979 ish of DWW), so all I had to do was complete
the background, which I did over the course of a few days
when time, inclination, and energy levels allowed.

I still possess my original brush pens after all this time
(STAEDTLER MARS GRAPHIC 3000) and, amazingly,
they both still work, although the ink in one of them is no longer
quite as black as it once was.  (A bit purple in fact.)  However, I
didn't want to compromise their nigh-pristine condition by sub-
jecting them to the rigours of artistic application, so I used
an actual brush and a combination of different markers.

What you see above is the finished result.  Now, perhaps
I'm biased, but I'd say it's not too bad for a 30-odd year old
drawing.  Maybe one day, I'll enlarge it to A3 size, tidy it up a
bit and add some colour.  Or who knows?  I may even start
from scratch and do the thing properly.

And, just in case you're interested, below can be
seen my original brush pens from the early '80s.

  

******

Should anyone with the requisite skills feel like colouring
 the illustration, go ahead - as long as I get to see the result. 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

PART FOUR OF MIKE NOBLE'S FIRST FIREBALL XL5 STRIP...



Oh, lookee-look-see - the crew of FIREBALL XL5 return for
another thrilling four pages of magnificent MIKE NOBLE artwork,
culled from the pages of the greatest comic of its kind ever to exist -
TV CENTURY 21.  Nowadays, it's extremely doubtful that any weekly
periodical for children would be able to afford artists of the calibre of
Noble, EMBLETON, BELLAMY, etc.  Even just one of them would
probably be beyond their budget, never mind all of them in the same
publication.  Yup, there's no doubt about it - we kids of the '60s
were spoiled, pure and simple.

Fifth and final part coming soon!
  


ARE YOU A SATISFIED CUSTOMER?

 

"Keep the customer satisfied" runs the old saying - and I
do my best to keep all my 'customers' satisfied by trying to write
posts that are worth reading. I'm quite sure I haven't always achieved
that goal, but it's honestly not for want of trying on my part. It might
amaze you to learn that hosting a blog is a 'hit-or-miss affair, as it's
never easy to judge with any certainty just what might interest
the readers.
 
Sometimes I'm surprised by the hits an average post might
get, and often I'm equally disappointed to see that no one seems
much interested in what I may regard as a masterpiece (for me, that
is). Take JOHNNY FUTURE for example. One particular post might
receive numerous visits, but the next instalment only receives half as
many. How do I account for it? The fact is, I can't. One would think
that all the people who visited the previous post would keep an eye
out for the next one, but it doesn't seem to work like that.
 
So, all I can do is do my best - and hope that, in the long run,
most visitors find at least one post that makes dropping in on this
blog worthwhile. It always helps to get feedback, because that lets
me know just which posts have gone down well with the readers.
You see, hits alone don't really prove anything, as a good dollop
of them may result from folks dropping in by accident - and
then dropping right out again.
 
So, if you enjoy any of my future posts, feel free to leave
a comment telling me what you like about them. And if there
should be any you don't enjoy, feel free to tell me about them as
well. That'll help me to try harder in my efforts to inform, enthral
and entertain you all. (You can't accuse me of lacking ambition,
now can you? "Shoot for the moon" I always say!)

In fact, why not leave a comment right now?

TIME FOR DOOM?

 
 
Here's a puzzle to ponder: Why hasn't DOCTOR DOOM
ever used the time machine he created to go back into the past
and fix the error in his calculations for his matter-transmutation
and dimensional-warp machine? Then it wouldn't have exploded
and he could have contacted his mother in the afterlife as was
his intention. (Or perhaps he did and I missed it?)
 
Actually, there are probably loads of good reasons for him
not having done so, but how about exercising your imaginations
and seeing what ingenious explanation you can come up with. Go
 on - have some fun and show everyone how smart you are. 

Friday, 23 August 2013

THOR OMNIBUS VOLUME 2 - ON SALE NOW!



All fans of THE MIGHTY THOR will surely be interested
in the latest OMNIBUS edition (Vol 2) of the hammer-throwing
Asgardian's adventures, collecting JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY
#121-125THOR #126-152 & ANNUAL #2. And guess what?
If you live in Glasgow, FORBIDDEN PLANET has a special
offer on the book at the moment which will save you an
astounding £15 off the regular price.

While I'm glad to see that the over-thick 'restored' panel
border lines on a couple of TALES OF ASGARD stories which
marred earlier re-presentations have now been fixed, there are at
least two splash pages on the main tales which are not as originally
published, having been cropped for 1970s reprints and reused in
previous MASTERWORKS editions. The correct version of one
page was utilised for a VISIONARIES volume, so there's
really no excuse for such an oversight.

Having said that, however, the book is still well-worth
having, just to see the large-sized pages of JACK KIRBY's
& VINCE COLLETTA's art at its finest - with perfect colour
registration, a plethora of back-of-the-book bonuses - and the
letters pages from each issue thrown in for good measure.

Rush out and buy one today! And remember the clarion
call: "FP FOR ME!" (You know it makes sense.)

ISBN: 978-0-7851-6783-9

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

"MAKE MINE A DOUBLE!" - PART EIGHTEEN OF FAVOURITE COMICS OF THE PAST...


All images copyright DC COMICS

Continuing our look back at some of my favourite comics of
the past, we now turn our attention to SUPERMAN #198, which
I first spied in my local Barber's in 1967 or '68 when my father took
me for a haircut one day.  (This was before he acquired the 'amazing'
RONCO home haircutting device a few years later.  This was a small
plastic item with a razor blade at each toothed end, which, magically,
could make hair fly from your head in all directions at once, merely
by being waved anywhere within a two inch vicinity of it.  At least,
that's how it seemed to operate - it was lethal!)


As I awaited my turn in the chair (had only it been electric, some
of you are thinking), I read the comic so thoughtfully provided by
the barber for the entertainment of his younger customers.  Needless
to say, I was entertained.  So much so, in fact, that, seeing I didn't want
to relinquish it from my grasp, he let me take the comic away with me,
nice man that he was (and hopefully still is).  The premises remained a
'hairdressing salon' right up to a few short years ago, when someone
else acquired the lease and turned the place into a Delicatessen.


The first story in the mag was drawn by AL PLASTINO
 doing a pretty fair imitation of CURT SWAN, and the second tale
is by the great man himself.  Both strips later turned up in the monthly
SUPER DC, a British anthology reprint mag that lasted for 14 issues.
However, whenever I look at my replacement copy of Superman #198
today, I'm back in that barbershop getting a short back and sides, and
thrilling to the amazing adventures of the mighty Man of Steel.  If
only such establishments were like that today, I'd doubtless get
my hair cut more often.  (Sawdust on the floor or not.)





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