Tuesday, 28 February 2017


Images copyright relevant owners

It's always nice to look back on the familiar, isn't it?  So, even
though you've seen them all before, I thought it would be fun to do
an 'omnibus' edition of some classic U.K. covers.  Featured in their
sequential order, any absentees this time around may pop up in a
future post.  Hey, that's something to look forward to, eh?


JERI RYAN has a couple of great
features that are totally entrancing - her
lovely blue eyes.  Of course, that's not to
suggest that she's restricted to just a pair
of perfect peepers, but you don't need
me to tell you that - now do ya?

Monday, 27 February 2017


Images copyright relevant owner

It was in Glasgow's VIRGIN MEGASTORE in 1982
that I saw PACIFIC PRESENTS #1, and probably bought
it primarily for STEVE DITKO's The MISSING MAN strip.
However, there was really only one star of the mag, and that was
The ROCKETEER by DAVE STEVENS, which had first ap-
peared as a back-up in STARSLAYER #s 2 & 3.  (Never
bought them and therefore missed Rocky's debut.)

(Thought I'd bought the first issue, but I checked and
it turned out to be WARP #1 by FIRST COMICS.)

After two issues of Pacific Presents (dated October '82,
and April '83 respectively), The Rocketeer next showed up in
the November '84 dated Special Edition, The Rocketeer #1
(published now by ECLIPSE) - only to promptly vanish again.
The Rocketeer Adventure Magazine #1 (dated April '88, pub-
lished by COMICO), was the next venue for Stevens' high-flying
hero, with a 2d issue the following year (dated April '89).  Six
years later, a 3rd (and final) issue, this time published by
DARK HORSE, hit the stands, dated January '95.

In '85, Eclipse published a collected edition of the first
five chapters, and IDW followed suite in 2009, with a very
handsome, recoloured hardback volume of all eight chapters.
Sadly, Dave Stevens died in 2008, aged only 52, after suffer-
ing from leukemia for several years.  His Rocketeer series re-
mains a high benchmark in the world of graphic storytelling,
and it's certain that this very fine artist will not soon be
forgotten - if ever in fact.  Here's to you, Dave.


And now a word from our sponsor - namely me.  I kept
the first two issues of Pacific Presents in the drawer of the
writing bureau beside my bed, where they remained in the new
house my family moved into in 1983.  Subsequent appearances
of The Rocketeer have joined those two issues over the years,
though I missed the 3rd issue of Adventure Magazine in 1995.
However, I managed to track one down and it arrived today,
and has now joined its companions in that drawer.

As regular readers know, I returned to my former home
after four years, so it gives me a glow of satisfaction to know
that The Rocketeer's comics journey eventually ended in the
very same drawer of the same desk, in the exact same room
of the same house in which it began, 35 years before.

Now, check out Dave Steven's great art, and then
leave a comment of appreciation for the man and his
work in the you-know-where, if you'd be so kind.

Apologies for the intrusion of my personal address label (sans address)

One of those pesky labels obscuring part of the art again - apologies 



This is another of those tales that I know I intended
to relate a while back, but can't remember if I've actually
done so or not.  Anyway, back in 1972 when my family first
took up residence in my present abode, the family with whom
we swapped houses left a piano behind.  I can no longer recall
how long we kept it, whether it was a year, two years - may-
be even going on three, but my parents, at some stage,
decided to dispense with its seldom-used services.

None of my family played the piano, and apart from a
rare visitor occasionally tickling its ivories, the poor 'box
in the corner' lay neglected for the most part.  So my father
donated it to the town's hospital, and a contingent of youths in
the charge of an adult (I have a vague memory they may have
been Scouts, but I'm not certain) came to our home one day
and wheeled away our unwanted house-guest.  I wonder
how it felt being so unceremoniously evicted?

I've long been afflicted with a tendency to imbue in-
animate objects with sentience, feelings, emotions - even
personality.  What can I say?  I'm off my head!  But did you
know that, apparently, when plants and trees are pruned, they
scream?  (It's far beyond the ability of human ears to detect, but
scientists have registered the 'sound' on audio machines attuned
to a certain wavelength.)  True, plants and trees are 'alive' in a
sort of way;  they grow - not something that a piano (or any
other inanimate item) in the corner of the living-room
does.  (As far as anyone knows anyway.)

However, if you cut a leaf in half, and then subject it
to a certain kind of infra-red spectrum analysis, the image
shows the outline of the full leaf.  So, imagine if a tree, even
after being chopped up and made into furniture, yet retains a
part of whatever measure of 'awareness' it may have had
when it was growing in a forest or field somewhere?  Too
far-fetched?  Perhaps, but who can say for sure?

Anyway, where am I going with this you may be won-
dering.  Years after the fact, I learned that our old piano had
been passed onto the church situated across the road from our
former abode.  The fellow who told me was one of the boys who
had helped remove the piano from our house.  It transpired that
he was a friend of a friend, and what's more, coincidentally lived
next door to another of our previous homes, though not when
we'd lived there.  (Which is neither here nor there, but it's
an interesting example of how 'fate' unfolds.)

The woman who now lived in our former residence
would undoubtedly have been in that church on occasion,
even if only for a jumble sale or a coffee morning.  Given my
over-active imagination, I found myself wondering if she might
ever have passed her/our old piano without recognising it, and
whether it had called out to her in its inaudible voice, not under-
standing why someone it knew was now ignoring it.  "Hello, it's
me - don't you remember me?  I lived with you once and then
you went away one day and left me behind.  What did I do
wrong?  Did I offend you by being out of tune perhaps?
Why won't you acknowledge me?"

Same goes for myself.  Although no longer living in
the area, I was back in that church many a time over the
years.  As was my mother in fact, as she attended its Sunday
services every week.  I restricted myself to jumble sales and
Christmas and Summer fayres, but I surely must have passed
the piano, or even stood close to (or against) it on one of my
many visits over a period of nearly 20 years.  Did that poor
piano also call out to me (or my mother), unable to com-
prehend why we turned a deaf ear to its cries?

The church was demolished around '91 or '92 (due
to structural flaws) and a new (and different) building was
erected in its place.  I took numerous photos, both inside and
out, before the old church (which had only been completed in
1965 or '66) was erased from the face of the planet, and our old
piano - if it hadn't been replaced or dispensed with by that time -
is surely in one of those pics.  It was a large church, with two or
three pianos in different halls, but I think I got photos of all of
them.  Trouble is, they're in a box in the loft at the moment,
so I can't check - or illustrate this post with a piccie.
I'll add one later when I find them.

In the meantime, I've used a stock photo of a piano,
which will have to do the job for now.  I guess it's always
possible that the piano yet survives in the new church build-
ing, and now that the thought has occurred to me, I'll make a
point of visiting one day to see if it is.  If it's there, I'll be sure
to say hello to it, and run my fingers over its keys, just for old
times' sake.  If it isn't, I'll gaze upon it's image in one of my
photos and bid it goodbye.  After all, it's a friend from
the past, and doesn't deserve to be forgotten.

Whatever its fate, hopefully it had a happy life being
played for the enjoyment of hospital patients and church
groups.  Had we kept it, it's entirely probable that it would
never have got to fulfill the purpose for which it was created,
and merely been a surface on which to place framed photos
or vases.  It was made to make music, and I like to think
 that's what it got to do.  (And hopefully yet does.)

  Feel free to tell me that I need 're-tuning'.


Update:  Below are three photos of two pianos (I think -
could be the same one in two different halls).  I took them in
the church sometime in the early 1990s, and I'm hoping that
one is the piano we had temporary custody of at the start of
the '70s.  There's no reason why one of them shouldn't be
'ours', so I prefer to believe that one of them is.


Sunday, 26 February 2017


Seeing as we've been pursuing an Anniversary theme
with the last few posts, here's a behind the scenes insight
into things that readers don't usually get to see.  Above is a
flyer I received back in 1992 when 2000 A.D was a mere
15 years old.  Below is the covering letter explaining what
it's all about.  Did I attend the prestigious event?  Nah! 
I was far too busy lettering everything in sight.


There was JULIE, waiting to greet me with
a posy of flowers - for li'l ol' moi.  There was
supposed to be a box of chocolates as well, but
the greedy bint ate them before I got there.


Images copyright REBELLION

Well, it's not exhaustive, but here's a selection of Anniversary
2000 A.D. covers from over the years.  I may have some more,
but these are the only ones I could find at short notice.  How many
of them do you have?  And if you've got any not seen here, send
them to me at once.  I'll give them a good home - honest!

This one's still in its cellophane, hence the wrinkles

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