Saturday, 31 January 2015

BARRY & BOING - THEY'RE A KNOCKOUT...



In answer to a request (and if you have one consisting of two
words, the second of which is 'off', well, don't be so cheeky), here's
an eight-page BARRY & BOING adventure from the KNOCKOUT
Annual for 1973.  No point saying much more as there's a recap of the
first tale in the page above.  I'm lucky enough to own every issue of the
weekly comic, so when I can find them, who knows?  Perhaps I'll post
some more.  Be sure to let me know if that's something you'd like to
see, O faithful, canny, and cavortin' Criv-ites.
  







And here's the cover so that you know what to look for.

THE TITANS! NO CONTEST - BUT HAVE A GO ANYWAY...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Here's another blast from the past.  Hands up if you entered this
contest from The TITANS #2 back in 1975.  I did, and out of 100
runners up, I was one of ten who were specially commended for their
efforts.  My prize of a Treasury Edition never reached me 'though,
so I'm still a bit miffed over it.  When MARVEL published some of the
entries, I noticed that someone had copied my GOGGLE-EYED GOON
OF GLOUCESTER which had appeared on the back page of SHIVER
SHAKE a couple of years earlier.  I bet they got their prize, the
thieving 'bar stewards'.  Why not print out a copy of this page and,
just for fun, have a go at it?  Go on - you know you want to!


Looking at the contest results issue, I note that it says that
Treasury Editions have been despatched to 90, not 100, runners-
up, none of whom are listed. The 10 'specially commended' entrants
are listed 'though (including me), suggesting that those 10 are the
'top 10' of runners-up.  So what happened?  Did my prize go missing
in the mail, did Marvel forget to send it, did they only receive 90
prizes from the U.S. to send out, or did they simply change their
   mind afterwards?  Whatever the reason, I wuz robbed! 

Another thing:  I fear I must've mixed up this competition with
another in regard to published runners-up as I can find no trace
of any in the comics.  Therefore, it must've been another contest
in another comic, but now I'm no longer sure whether it was even a
Marvel title.  (Probably was 'though.)  In fact, it was a competition
to design a baddie, and, as I said, someone submitted my Shiver &
Shake character  as a candidate.  If anyone can identify the com-
petition and the comic, please feel free to enlighten me.

Friday, 30 January 2015

BABE OF THE DAY - HEATHER THOMAS...



Yes, she is stunning, and you'll never have a wife or girlfriend as
gorgeous as her (nor will I), but console yourself with the thought
that, one day, she'll be a bandy-legged old trout with her bosom
covering her knees and more lines in her face than a spider's web.
Of course, by then you'll be dead, so it's a 'no-win' situation.

THE DAY 'BATMAN' FAILED...



You'll perhaps recall me relating the tale of how myself and one
of my pals used to play at BATMAN & ROBIN back in the 1960s.
(You're no doubt relieved to hear that it wasn't just a few months ago -
I'm not that sad.)  For my utility belt, I used part of the accompanying
paraphernalia from my father's wartime portable morse code apparat-
us, which, to my eyes, looked vaguely similar to ADAM WEST's
equipment-laden waistline accessory on TV.

Now, usually I came in for a fair bit of mockery from my peers
for my costumed exploits 'round the neighbourhood, as did my com-
panion in crime-fighting, JOHN FIDLER (lucky his nickname wasn't
'KID', eh?), who assumed the role of ROBIN, The BOY WONDER.
However, one evening, three local girls, who'd never previously paid
the slightest bit of attention to me, seemed impressed by the striking
appearance of my makeshift 'utility belt' and enthusiastically
asked for a demonstration of its capabilities.

Touched by their obvious interest and spurred on by the look
of wonder and admiration in their eyes, I agreed, and as we were play-
ing close to some nearby lock-ups, I headed over to the water tap used
by car owners to wash their vehicles.  It was housed in a grey-painted,
oblong wooden 'box' against a lock-up wall, and picking up a metal
bar from the ground, I placed it atop the flat surface of the box.

Directing the girls to stand at a distance over to my right (on the
faux grounds that "it might be dangerous") I pretended to take some
imaginary 'plastic explosive' from my belt and apply it to the iron rod.
Then, standing beside the tap and preventing their uninterrupted view,
I simulated the act of pressing a button on what passed for my buckle
while simultaneously attempting (surreptitiously) to bring down my
left elbow on the end of the bar and hopefully send it somersault-
ing high into the air as 'though propelled by the explosive.

Alas, my ability was not the equal of my ambition, and my ruse
was rumbled right away.  Disillusioned cries rent the air, along with
contemptuous looks and jeering tones from the trio as they stormed
off in disgust at my barefaced attempt to defraud them.  Ah, how fickle
were the affections of these three feisty females, the extent of whose
eager expectations I had clearly underestimated and been found
sadly lacking as a consequence.

Even today, I remember how deflating it was to see the look
of awe and adoration fade from the eyes of the three former fawning
fillies who, only a short time before, had regarded me as a figure worthy
of respect and admiration, if not actual hero worship.  There have been
several females down through the years whose unrealistic expectations
I've probably been unable to live up to, but nothing fills me with such
feelings of failure as the memory of the faces of those three fear-
  some frustrated furies from so very long ago.

THE ROTTENEST CROOK IN THE WORLD...



If I recall correctly, LEO BAXENDALE never made any
secret  of the fact that GRIMLY FEENDISH (brilliant name) was
based on cartoonist CHAS ADDAMS' UNCLE FESTER, from the
ADDAMS FAMILY.  Perhaps that's why he never took legal action
over copyright of the character (like he did with D.C. THOMSON) -
he'd surely have been on shaky ground if he'd tried.  Grimly was one
of the strips that appeared in the ODHAMS PRESS weekly comic
periodical named SMASH! back in the '60s, and he was the in-
spiration for the song Grimly Fiendish by punk band
THE DAMNED in 1985.

As you'll doubtless have noticed, bald baddie GRU in the
movie DESPICABLE ME bears an uncanny resemblance to
Grimly, but he's more likely to be based on Uncle Fester than he is
on Feendish himself.  Anyway, I don't think the accompanying four-
page strip from the 1967 SMASH! Annual is by Leo Baxendale,
but it'll give you a fair idea of the kind of shenanigans that "The
Rottenest Crook in the World" usually got up to in his
weekly criminal expeditions.

Any fond reminiscences of reading Grimly as a boy?
(You, not him.)  Then let's hear them, O fellow followers
from fandom.  (It's good to share!)
    


Thursday, 29 January 2015

A FORGOTTEN FANTASTIC FOUR 'CROSSOVER' CLASSIC?


From WHAM! #143, cover-dated March 11th 1967

What would you like first, the good news or the bad news?
Well, the good news is that here's THE HUMBUGS strip I spoke of
in a recent post, in which the terrible twins play at being THE THING
and THE INVISIBLE GIRL.  The bad news is that I haven't yet brought
down all my comic boxes (in which are stored my loose issues of WHAM!)
from the attic, so I've had to scan the page from my bound volume which,
as you can see, doesn't really lend itself to the process.  (I can't open it
wide enough to lay flat on the screen, hence the shadow and blurred
speech balloons on the right-hand side of the page.)

When I find the loose issue (which I think I've got) I'll scan the
page properly and replace the current image with a better one.  In
the meantime, however, this imperfect presentation should at
  least give you a fair idea of what's happening.  

THE SECOND DOCTOR DOOM...


From SMASH! Annual 1967

Believe it or not, there once used to be two DOCTOR DOOMs
inhabiting the same comics universe.  As well as MARVEL's Doom,
there was also the evil adversary of The MAN From B.U.N.G.L.E.,
who appeared weekly in SMASH!, stablemate to WHAM!, which had
The FANTASTIC FOUR.  Both publications fell under the POWER
COMICS banner, both reprinted Marvel strips, and some of the U.K.
humour strips occasionally referred to the Marvel ones (like The
HUMBUGS in Wham! mentioning the FF one week).

So for any U.S. readers unaware of the fact, here's the second
Doctor Doom trying to do away with The Man from B.U.N.G.L.E.
 Okay, okay - yours existed first!  (But ours was funnier!) 


And to save you having to turn your computer
screen upside down, here's the SOLUTION:

BABE OF THE DAY - RACHEL RILEY (AGAIN)...



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

DITKO'S DOOM: SPIDER-MAN POCKET BOOK #8...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

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 '60s.  I just love this cover, and
although 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 of MARVEL TALES.

However, I thought I'd use this issue to demonstrate how
inconsistent these PBs could be when it came to reproduction.
Take a gander 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 page below.  Look at the last panel -
the detail is almost non-existent and FLASH THOMSON
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 heroes without having to fork
out a fortune on original issues.  As for the cover, I've actually
got a DOCTOR DOOM figure that's clearly based on Ditko's
interpretation of the character.  I may have shown it before
a while ago, but here it is again in a pair of pics for those
who haven't seen it.  Cracking, isn't it (Gromit)?


GERRY ANDERSON'S TV CENTURY 21 COVER GALLERY - PART NINE...



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

THE BOY WITH A SKULL IN A BOX...



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 evening, 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 a case
of exaggerated, 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 - small 'c' - 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! 



BABE OF THE DAY - VICTORIA VETRI...



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!)

AVENGERS #100 (U.K. EDITION)...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

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?)





LOOKING FOR A GOOD SINGER? I KNOW ONE...



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.

YOU SAY I'M CRAZY? I GUESS I AM...



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

BABE OF THE DAY - CANDY LOVING...



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.)
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