Friday, 5 January 2018

CRIVENS! COMES TO THE END OF THE ROAD - FOR NOW...



Ever felt that you're wasting your time?  I try to put up something fresh every day for readers, mainly using images from my own collection, but I sometimes get the impression I'd be better borrowing them all from elsewhere, and merely saying "I don't remember anything about this comic!"  (Well, it seems to work for some.)  Add to that, cretins taking an obvious dig and then saying they weren't, with some people actually being stupid enough to believe them, well - it makes me wonder why I bother.

So I'm taking a rest as from now.  Whether I return to blogging on Crivens! is as yet undecided, but that will depend on certain personal factors in my life at the moment and how they pan out.  For those who have supported the blog over the years, a big thank you, for those who haven't - well, not everyone can have taste and discernment.  Have a great 2018 - I certainly plan to.  You can always revisit old posts and remind yourselves that, amongst the occasional dross, there were actually some little gems that were well-worth the read.

Pax Vobiscum.

YOWZA! PART TEN OF THE TITANS COVER COMPARISONS - FANTASTIC FOUR #98...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Aha, not only has it been redrawn, it's been done so in reverse, just to keep all of us on our toes in regard to FANTASTIC FOUR #98 and THE TITANS #41 - in this, the latest in our series of cover comparisons.  Well, you know the drill by now - if you'd like to air your thoughts, theories, or observations on these two images, then our comments section awaits your input.  Why not avail yourself of its facilities and share your wisdom with Crivendom? 

BABE OF THE DAY - JANE RUSSELL...



Stunning good looks, sheer class, elegance,
sophistication - but that's enough about me!
JANE RUSSELL ain't too bad either.

RUPERT ENDPAPERS BY JOHN HARROLD...


Copyright EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS &
DREAMWORKS DISTRIBUTION Ltd

Back in the late 1980s when I was freelancing for IPC, sometimes when I was in the main post office sending off work to London, the assistants would enquire of me (on sighting the name 'EAGLE' or 'WHIZZER & CHIPS' or '2000 A.D.' [or whatever] on the package of artwork I was posting) "Do you know the RUPERT BEAR artist?"  First time it happened I assumed they just thought that anyone involved in comics must know one another, but they explained that artist JOHN HARROLD posted his Rupert strips from the same post office.  Turned out that he lived in my home town, just a short walk down the road from me.

Eventually, while in Glasgow one day, I was introduced to Rupert's illustrator in AKA BOOKS & COMICS by comics fan and historian JOHN McSHANE, and we both later found ourselves sharing the same train carriage back home.  He invited me to drop in for a cuppa and chat some time, and repeated his invitation whenever we ran into one another, but I was always busy with work back then and never got around to taking him up on his kind offer.  Eventually, John moved down to England somewhere, and then to Paris, and I've no idea what he does now as he no longer draws Rupert, and hasn't for a long time.

However, one of his endpapers from an earlier Annual is reprinted (I assume - maybe it's new) in this year's Rupert book (along with a couple of strips), and I thought you might like to see it.  Maybe I should put in a bit of time and effort and digitally remove the spine-line down the middle, but why should I do all the work?  I'm sure if you all try hard enough, you can imagine it isn't there.  Very evocative, eh?  (Oh, go on then - I've included a line-free version below.)

Incidentally, this 2018 Annual's contents are all reprints from earlier books, going right back to 1939, including strips by ALFRED BESTALL, so it's a nice little collectors' item.  I've no idea if this is a 'one-off' event, or whether the books have been all reprints for a while now, but perhaps a knowledgeable 'Crivens!' reader can enlighten me?  Ta muchly.

Enjoy!  Did you read Rupert as a kid?  Let's be having your reminiscences in the comments section.

RUPERT HAS A DANDY TIME AT THE BEANO ANNUAL EVENT...


Copyright EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS & DREAMWORKS DISTRIBUTION Ltd

Managed to pick myself up a few bargain books the other day, which surprised me, because I thought there'd be none left in the shops.  All four books cost me a grand total of £6.96, averaging £1.44 per book.  (If I'd had to pay full price, they'd have cost £38.96, so that's a saving of £32.)  In the case of The BEANO and the RUPERT Annual, they were the very last ones in their respective shops, so had I wandered in half-an-hour later, they might well have been gone.  What, if any, Annuals did you get for 2018, readers, and how many years have you been getting them?  Go on, don't be shy now - give us their names.

Copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd


Thursday, 4 January 2018

BABE OF THE DAY - RAQUEL WELCH...



The ravishing RAQUEL WELCH shows how to
be amazing without even trying.  Few people have
mastered this art, Raquel and myself being two of the
few.  Yes, she considers your humble host ravishing
as well, and that's good enough for me.  (You think
it's easy writing this p*sh?  Try it sometime.)

THE TITANS COVER COMPARISONS PART NINE - FANTASTIC FOUR #96...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

"Hell's bells!  Is there no end to this cover comparisons series?" you may be asking.  Well, to be honest, no - not quite yet.  Isn't it fascinating though, to see these covers 'side-by-side' (you know what I mean) and see where they match and where they deviate.  I think that in some cases, even if you'd once owned the US issues, you'd probably have just assumed that the 'new' covers were simply rearranged layouts of the originals, not completely redrawn versions.  Unless you were a die-hard KIRBY fan, you'd really need to see them both at the same time to spot the differences between them - and that's the purpose of these palpitating posts.  So here you are - FANTASTIC FOUR #96 and The TITANS #39 - have fun looking.    

COME IN NUMBER 3, YOUR TIME IS UP - MAJOR MATT MASON'S MOON SUIT...



Around 25 years or more ago, I bought an unopened blister pack of MATTEL's Man In Space MAJOR MATT MASON's Moon Suit from a toy dealer.  The suit was in pristine condition, never having being played with - so what did I do?  I promptly (though carefully) opened it and put it on display, and you've probably seen it in photos I've posted over the years of some of my collection.  However, contact with the air gradually decayed the 'rubber' arms until they just dried up and disintegrated, leaving Matt's nifty wee protective space shell bereft of its flexible appendages.

In the past, some enterprising folk have manufactured and sold replacement arms for the Moon Suit, but no one seems do be doing so currently, placing me in the position of having to make my own.  I haven't tested them to see if they work like the originals, but I doubt it because the rubber is quite heavy.  However, they're mainly for cosmetic purposes so that I can have the suit on display in my room and until I can secure 'proper' replacements.  Doesn't look too bad though, does it?

Did you have Matt Mason when you were a kid, readers, and any of his accessories like the Moon Suit?  Relive your childhood in the comments section.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

CAN YOU SPOT THE CLUE WITH ZIP NOLAN?


Images copyright relevant owner

I'd be 'LION' to you (ho ho) if I said the following ZIP NOLAN strip is the pinnacle of perfect reproduction, 'cos it isn't.  However, I've tried to compensate for the faint line work by digitally enhancing a few spots where it was particularly bad, but there's a limit to what I can do short of printing out the pages and drawing over the 'ghosty' parts.  This is the way it appeared in the 1980 Lion Holiday Special, so they must've used an extremely poor source for these reprinted pages - obviously they'd have been much sharper when they were first published in the weekly comic.  Anyway, it's either these scans or you don't get to read them at all I'm afraid, so you'll have to be thankful for small mercies.  

WOW! PART EIGHT OF THE TITANS COVER COMPARISONS - FANTASTIC FOUR #95...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

And here we go again with another entry in our cover comparison series, this time FANTASTIC FOUR #95 and The TITANS #38.  This one actually works quite well, with no obvious drawback to the different dimensions of the new version.  At least, that's what I think - you may have another opinion entirely.  Tell you what, why don't you share it with the rest of us?  Go on - you know you want to.

BABE OF THE DAY - JULIE EGE...



Well, when in Rome, do as the romans do.  Budge up, JULIE,
and make room for me on that couch.  I could do with a kip.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

OF ALL THE BLOGS IN ALL OF THE INTERNET IN ALL OF THE WORLD, HE WALKS INTO MINE (UPDATED)...



Here's a couple of recent screen grabs (note the date and time) showing some of the visitors to my blog.  See any names you recognise?  (Click to enlarge.)  And it's not the first time in the last couple of weeks that his name has appeared in my stats.  Nice to see he's such a fan, eh?  (Or could I mean that phonetically?)  Well, at least he gets a free link out of it.  And I'm advised that on his recent Twitter posts, not once did he deny leaving 'that' comment on my blog.  (He probably will now though.)  Okay, hopefully that's the last time he'll be alluded to on this blog in 2018, but that's entirely up to him.  Onward and upward!  


(Update:)  Incidentally, I'm aware that the presence of his blog name could indicate that someone else clicked on a link (if there is one) to my site from his, but it doesn't necessarily prove that it wasn't him.  The timing is suspicious given his recent Tweets and any suggestion that it was someone else strains my credulity.  Just how many 'coincidences' am I expected to believe?  And the fact that there has still been no denial regarding 'that' comment is extremely telling.  

KID KLASSICS: MORE LOOPY LAPSES IN LOGIC...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Cover art JACK KIRBY

Over on Amiable Al's MARVEL In The SILVER AGE blog, the debonair host talks about a certain romance artist's one-off superhero tale back in the '60s.  It reminded me that I'd once turned my attention to that very issue (back in 2011) and it occurs to me that now would be the perfect time to resurrect my post for another outing.  Be sure to jump over to MITSA (by clicking this link) and read that post too, as it's extremely detailed and interesting.

******

To many (if not all) MARVEL fans, the worst THOR story ever drawn was most likely JOURNEY Into MYSTERY #90's 'The CARBON COPY MAN!' (March '63), illustrated by AL HARTLEY.  Apparently Al was mainly a romance artist who was pinch-hitting for KIRBY, who drew almost everything else that Marvel was publishing at that time, superhero-wise.  (With the exception of SPIDER-MAN.)

It probably is the worst Thor adventure ever to appear, but for reasons other than just the art - like the plot for example.  Basically, it's a re-working of FANTASTIC FOUR #2's 'The SKRULLS From OUTER SPACE' storyline, but without the hypnotism angle at the end.  (The Skrulls transformed themselves into cows, and were then hypnotized by REED RICHARDS to prevent them from thinking of changing back to Skrulls again.)

A bunch of evil aliens from the planet XARTA land on Earth and impersonate key figures in government, with the intention of making foolish laws which will throw citizens into a state of confusion and panic.  (Isn't that what most politicians do anyway?)  Apparently this will soften up the planet enough to leave it vulnerable to invasion.  They've chosen America as the first stage in the pursuance of this plan, with the intention of conquering the rest of the world when the good ol' U.S. of A. has fallen.  (Always pays to get in a bit of practice first.)

A perfect duplicate?  Betcha he can't turn into THOR though, huh?

Thor eventually defeats the aliens in combat, then commands them to transform into trees, on the grounds that, as the Xartans take on all the traits of whatever they impersonate, and as trees can't think, the idea of changing can never occur to them.  Er, how's that again?

Firstly, Thor couldn't possibly know whether this was true or not, and secondly, on what system of logic is he basing his assumption?  For example, if Xartans take on ALL the traits of whatever they impersonate, they surely wouldn't have been able to change back from human form (regardless of whether the idea could occur to them) - because humans CAN'T DO THAT.

See, that's the fly in the ointment - taking on ALL the traits of whatever they impersonate.  They've already demonstrated that they DON'T.  They merely mimic the outward physical appearance of whatever form they adopt, not the intellectual or mental limitations of that form - so they should be able to change back to Xartans any time they wanted, whatever shape they happened to be.

Gosh!  Some of those classic tales from yesteryear sure don't stand up to scrutiny.  (Or am I just being too pernickety?)  But what the heck!  They were fun.

For more Loopy Lapses in Logic, click here.

THE TITANS COVER COMPARISONS PART SEVEN - FANTASTIC FOUR #94...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Anybody tired of this series yet or do you still want to see more?  While you're making up your minds, take a look at FANTASTIC FOUR #94, then compare it with The TITANS #37 - whaddya think, frantic ones, does the copy cut the mustard?  (Right now you're probably thinking "Hah, Kid has made a mistake - it's 'cut muster' or 'pass muster' - though the article [that's the word 'the'] is sometimes also included.")  Actually, you're misinformed - 'cut the mustard' is a legitimate expression in its own right, and, contrary to what used to be believed, does not derive from the 'muster' saying.  (So who said this blog isn't educational and informative?)

Right, English lesson now over, back to the comics.  Let's hear your views on just how well (or not) you think the copyist has done.  You never know, he might be reading this and appreciate your observations.

REMEMBERING THE COVER OF THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL #2...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

So why the cover of The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL #2 at this moment in time?  It's another one that came down from the wall (in the early hours of this morning) after being there for almost 30 years.  It was faded, rippled, discoloured, and decayed, and the time had come to replace it.  Surprisingly, the area of wallpaper behind the cover was bright and new, revealing my suspicion that the page's condition was caused by dampness coming through the wall to be mistaken.  The effects of entropy had been caused from inside my room, and I realise now that it's probably down to me not opening my window often enough.  That's because the room is the coldest in the house, being an end one at the front which catches Caledonia's inclement elements more severely than the others.

Anyway, it's now been replaced with a bright new doppelganger, freshly printed out specifically for the purpose of filling the space on the wall.  I've printed it on card, so hopefully it'll last longer than its predecessor, which was given a traditional 'Viking funeral' after its many years of loyal service.  So all that remains for me to say is...

"Make Mine Marvel!"

Monday, 1 January 2018

CRIKEY! PART SIX OF THE TITANS COVER COMPARISONS - FANTASTIC FOUR #93...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Once again, Happy New Year to all you cavortin' Criv-ites.  2018, eh?  Seems like only last week to me that it was 1968.  Anyway, here we are with yet another in our series of cover comparisons, this time FANTASTIC FOUR #93 and The TITANS #35.  There's no doubt that the landscape format restricted the impact of the cover artwork, but it's a valiant attempt to emulate JACK KIRBY - even if it isn't quite in the same class.

When you think about it, the landscape idea was a strange one in that it used up more material than a standard weekly comic, wasn't entirely popular with newsagents, and as I said, restricted what could be done with the cover image.  On the plus side though, it gave readers value for money, and its difference probably generated more attention than a standard comic.  (For a while at least.)

Did you buy The Titans back in the day?  If so, what did you think of MARVEL's 'sideways' comic?  Do tell.

BABE OF THE DAY - IMOGEN HASSALL...



Here's the lovely-looking IMOGEN HASSALL
looking, er - lovely.  So, does exactly what it says on
the tin then, eh?  (No, I don't know what I'm talking
about either.  Let's just pretend we do though.)

OBSERVATIONS ON 'COINCIDENCE'...


"Hur, hur!  Fooled 'em all!"

It's annoying that I have to start the New Year still addressing this topic, but I'm simply not prepared to let someone whom I've conclusively demonstrated on past occasions to be a liar to get away with his latest disingenuous shenanigans unchallenged.

The facts:  This individual recently published a post about how time-consuming scanning comics is, and highlighted the fact that all his scans (with the exception of supplied publicity material) are from his own collection.  He has often been quite vociferous in his condemnation of people using scans that aren't theirs.  (And, to be fair, if that's how he feels, he's entitled to say so.)  Not long after this, I received a sarcastic 'anonymous' comment to my blog, insinuating that the images I use are not mine, and that I am exploiting not only the hard work of others, but also benefitting from the money they spend on old comics.  Coincidence?  Maybe.

I publish a post about DOCTOR WHO, expressing my belief that the character's recent gender change is not only down to a desperate attempt to be controversial in order to court publicity, but is also motivated by misandry and a feminist agenda.  He then publishes a 'tweet' taking a pop at grumpy old men who use 'phases' (phrases obviously) like 'misandry' and 'feminist agenda' in regard to Doctor Who changing gender.  Coincidence?  Unlikely.

I have on numerous occasions mentioned on my blog that the only two weekly comics to survive from the once vast selection during the (now gone) comic industry's heyday are The BEANO and 2000 A.D.  Not long after his above tweet, he takes another pop at 'grumpy gits' who say that there aren't any British comics apart from The Beano and 2000 A.D.  Incidentally, I have on quite a few occasions humorously described myself as a 'grumpy old git' on my blog.  Coincidence?  Don't be silly.

He denies that his comments were in any way about me, although he now concedes that given our past online 'clashes' (all of which were instigated by him), he 'supposes' he can see why I'd think they might have been.  And you can bet your entire collection of 1950s EAGLE comics that he knew I would when he made them.  Given that he was openly mocking the very opinions for which I and my blog are well-known, it would be remarkable if the likelihood of such a reaction had never occurred to him.

"But why would he want to stir things up again now?" you ask.  Well, it so happens that he's releasing one of his self-published comics this very month.  Or could the fact that he might benefit from an increased dose of attention and publicity be just... coincidence?  That's a hell of a lot of a coincidences.  And it's a 'coincidence' I actually predicted on this blog the last time he did this sort of thing when he had a comic to sell.

As GOLDFINGER said in the book of the same name:  "Once is happenstance.  Twice is coincidence.  The third time it's enemy action."  Yet still he sadly shakes his head as if a great injustice has been heaped upon him by a nasty, grumpy, paranoid 'troll' - while his sycophantic fans, desperate to bathe in the reflected (but faded) Beano glory of a contributor, lap up his every word and nod in eager acceptance of his protestations of innocence.  Not a thinking brain between the lot of them it would seem.

Right, done and dusted.  Anyone who can't (or won't) see the truth simply doesn't want to see it.  That's why MICHAEL JACKSON fans still think he was a saint.

 Coming next:  A post about comics or nostalgia - or maybe even both!

MORE MOWSER ANYONE? THAT MEANS YOU TOO, VICAR...(AT LAST! THE DRUGS ARE KICKIN' IN.)


Image copyright relevant owner

What can I say about MOWSER that I haven't said already?  Loads probably, but even if there weren't, I wouldn't let that stop me.  Mowser was based on MAUSER, the cat of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, to whom artist REG PARLETT was distantly related.  He used to spend his weekends at their posh pile, and the humorous antics of their cat inspired him to suggest an idea for a new strip to his FLEETWAY editors, who jumped at the chance and, lo - Mowser was born.

Everything I've just written above on the origins of Mowser is, of course, complete invention on my part, but it sounds so good that it ought to be true, don't you think?

THE TITANS COVER COMPARISONS PART FIVE - FANTASTIC FOUR #91...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Still along for the ride, amigos?  Then let's not waste a second, as we peruse and compare the covers of FANTASTIC FOUR #91 and The TITANS #34.  It's clear that one inspired the other, but rather than being a slavish copy, the latter pays tribute to the former while still having something new about it. Not much point in asking you which version you prefer I suppose, as I guess your answer will be pretty obvious.  However, if you'd like to surprise me, feel entirely free.  The above issue of FF was the second in a four-part tale, considered by many as one of the best sagas of the MARVEL AGE of comics - and I'm one of them.

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR...



A HAPPY 2018 TO ALL CRIV-ITES. 

(And don't let the b*st*rds grind you down.)

Sunday, 31 December 2017

LION 1980 HOLIDAY SPECIAL...


Images copyright relevant owner

Here's a ZIP NOLAN tale and a MOWSER page from the 1980 LION Holiday Special.  Betcha you'd all love to see the ROBOT ARCHIE and The SPIDER confrontation, but I'm holding off on that for the moment.  After all, you need something to look forward to.  Incidentally, this Lion Special only had 64 pages, which was 16 short of the 80 page 1974 Special, which itself was 16 fewer than the year before in '73.  (I can't say precisely which year the page count dropped from 80 to 64 as I don't have the '75 - '79 issues.)  Page numbers were going down and prices were going up, which is, I suppose, why Holiday Specials eventually faded from the scene.  



THE BRAINLESS BULLY (UPDATED AGAIN)...



I received a comment the other day to one of my posts from last week.  This is what it said:  'Thank you for all your hard work scanning comics like this.  It must take you AGES and cost you so much money out of your own hard earned cash to buy the old comics to show us.'  (You can read my response here.)

As you can see, it positively drips of sarcasm and insinuates the very opposite of its apparent meaning. My suspicions were immediately aroused as to who'd be so obsessed with me that they'd go to the bother of submitting such a comment, and I've now had those suspicions confirmed.  I've just received screen grabs from a blog, wherein the writer goes on about how much hard work is involved in scanning and how he mainly uses only comics from his own personal collection, and a Twitter account by the same writer, wherein he takes a pop at me.  Let's look at what he Twitters on about, shall we?


The first comment is in direct response to my recent post on DOCTOR WHO (in which he actually quotes me, so no doubt then as to who he's taking a dig at), and the second distorts my claim that the only two surviving weekly comics from the time this country had a vibrant comics industry are The BEANO and 2000 A.D.  Here we see the tedious, infantile carping that this arrogant individual is prone to in regard to myself.  He's done this before of course, not only on his own blog and Twitter accounts, but also on other people's.  Sometimes he's had second thoughts and removed the posts (if not to hide his 'aggression', then at least his smug, pompous, supercilious self-righteousness), but he just can't seem to leave well enough alone.

I'm advised that he's also recently introduced a new character into one of his strips who is supposed to be a mickey-take of people who share my views on comics (that'll be the majority then), but I confess to being generous in my view - he's likely got a particular individual in mind.  As for his pejorative use of the word 'grandad', I believe he's the same age as myself, so he's surely insulting himself here as well.

Anyway, nice to know that I'm so much in his thoughts at this time of year, but for the record, I've got a life and I'd bet it's a grand sight better than his.  Were I tempted to be offended by his ad hominem attacks, I'd take consolation from the fact that I'm not bald and obese, and have actually had girlfriends (real ones, not inflatable ones like his) from time to time.  That's probably the true root of his 'attitude'.

As for New Year resolutions, I don't have to make any - my life's perfectly fine as it is.  Anyway, have a great time when it comes, readers, and wishing you all a 2018 that is pillock-free.

******

1st Update:  Within a very short time of me publishing this post (and running true to form) this individual tweeted the following comment:

"I should have known that as soon as I posted those tweets about grumpy gits, one paranoid individual would take it personally on his blog.  Pitiful and annoying.  Give it a rest and drop the grudge." 

Is anyone apart from a few lick-spittle sycophants actually fooled by his disingenuous, well-practised, wide-eyed 'innocent victim' routine?  It's obvious from his comments (wherein he quotes the actual content of one of my posts, remember) that he actually did know (as I usually respond to such remarks), and precisely who he was (primarily) taking a pot-shot at.

The number of times he's done this (he has an established history of doing so) are far too many to be down to simple coincidence - or any alleged paranoia on my part (despite his absurd suggestion of such).  H'mm, must be trying to drum up more attention for himself.  Pathetic.  If anyone's got a grudge, it's him, the sad pillock.

******

2nd Update:  Ah, it's clear to me now - he's got one of his self-published thingies coming out soon.  Anyone else see a pattern emerging here?  He did the same thing last time when he published 'anonymous' comments on his blog and tried to suggest they were from me - by 'tweaking' things I'd said about self-publishing on my own blog.  The timing's a dead giveaway.  Or are we really expected to believe that it's mere coincidence? 

MOWSER STRIKES AGAIN...


Image copyright relevant owner

Here we go again with yet another episode of MOWSER's long-running feud with JAMES the butler.  Impeccably drawn by REG PARLETT, I wish some of today's lesser cartoonists would take a leaf out of his book when it comes to composition and storytelling.  A deceptively-simple style, it never fails to raise a laugh on the visual aspects alone, even if the basic plot wasn't always as outrageously funny as Reg made it appear.  (Though most plots were pretty darn funny.)

Incidentally, this is a resized reprint with some panels 'extended' by a lesser hand, so try and ignore those parts.

BLIMEY! PART FOUR OF THE TITANS COVER COMPARISONS - FANTASTIC FOUR #90...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

You're all loving this series so far, I hope!  I know I am!  The above FANTASTIC FOUR issue (#90), was the first instalment of a four-part adventure, and one of the classic tales of the '60s.  A few years later, it was reprinted in The TITANS (#33), and the cover was redrawn to suit the different page size of the UK 'landscape' format.  I'm lucky enough to have both versions in my immense collection of comics, which is why I can show you them here.  Got a preference, frantic ones?  Then say which and why in the comments section. 

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