Saturday, 31 December 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL CRIV-ITES...



May 2017 be all plain sailing, and may you float through life
on a calm blue sea.  See you in the New Year, Criv-ite chums!

BABE OF THE DAY - LINDA THORSON...



Today's Babe, fellas, is LINDA THORSON -
doing the worst VAL DOONICAN impression
I've ever seen.  Love the boots 'though.

Friday, 30 December 2016

YIPPEE! ANOTHER TWO PAGES FROM THE 1978 CHRISTMAS BEANO...


Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

Okay, peeps, here's another couple of pages in our last post of
the 1978 Christmas BEANO issue.  Hopefully you've enjoyed the
half dozen strips featured in this short series, and maybe I'll show
some more next year.  Just wait until it comes 'though, don't go
wishing your life away.  I now declare these pages - open!
  

BABES OF THE DAY - VALERIE LEON & MARGARET NOLAN...



Two for the price of one today, Criv-ites.  The
voluptuous VALERIE LEON and the magnificent
MARGARET NOLAN - both asking me (off-camera,
lying in my scratcher), if there's anything I want them
to do for me.  Standing there in their scanties?  You
bet there's something I want them to do!  "Bring
me cuppa and a biccie, luvs - I'm parched!"

RECOMMENDED READING: THE THREE DOCTORS...



No, not the '70s Dr. WHO TV serial storyline of that name,
but the three FREDERICK MULLER books published back in
the '60s.  BBC BOOKS have republished them with their original
dustjackets, and very nice they look too, sitting on my bookshelf
together.  If you're a Dr. Who fan, you'll want to have this trilogy
of handsome volumes in your collection, so why not take a trip
along to your local FORBIDDEN PLANET and buy them?

Go on, revisit The Doctor's past today!

******

Curiously, the original publisher, Frederick Muller, is named
as Frederik Muller in these volumes.  Perhaps someone at 'BBC
Books' was thinking of the bibliographer, book seller, and print
collector who was born in 1817 and died in 1881, even 'though
previous paperback editions had the 'correct' spelling.





Thursday, 29 December 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - DOLORES DONLON...



DOLORES DONLON has no fear.  We're in
the middle of winter, yet she's gadding around with
an open cardigan and running the risk of catching a
cold.  If she needs someone to rub VICKS on
her, er...chest...then I'm her man.

THE NERVS AT CHRISTMAS...


From SMASH! Incorporating FANTASTIC #158, December 28th 1968

Still in the spirit of the season, here's the Christmas episode
of The NERVS from 1968 by KEN REID.  So when was the last
time you you saw such a well-illustrated strip in a modern comic?
H'mm, you're having to think about that, aren't you?

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

KID'S KLASSIC CHRISTMAS KOMIC KOVERS - THOR & THE X-MEN #37...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

As far as I can remember, no British MARVEL mag of the '70s and
'80s followed the U.K. tradition of having snow on the cover masthead
before THOR & The X-MEN #37 was published, so this one's a col-
lecter's item on that basis alone.  And having ICEMAN's head in the
corner was another n-ice touch for a winter issue, don'tcha think?

(If I'm mistaken and there was a U.K. Marvel mag prior to this
one with snow on the masthead, then let me know, frantic ones!)

BABE OF THE DAY - JENNIFER BEALS...



The seriously sexy JENNIFER BEALS
makes her Crivens debut today, fellas, and
all I can say is - "Im in luuurve!"

KID'S KLASSIC CHRISTMAS KOMIC KOVERS - FANTASTIC #46...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

It's still within the Festive period, so here's the cover of the
Christmas issue of one of the all-time great comics of yesteryear -
FANTASTIC!  It was just over halfway through its short lifespan
at this point, but readers didn't know that at the time.  In fact,
it's unlikely that publishers ODHAMS PRESS did either.

And look at the pic below:  MARVEL, DC, and Odhams
characters all on the one page.  Such a thing probably couldn't
happen today, so savour this classic moment from 1967.

Image copyright MARVEL COMICS, DC COMICS, & relevant owner

SANTA CLAUS CAME TO TOWN - AND STAYED...



It was 1972 or '73, getting on towards Christmas.  I'd
just acquired two different Santa 'cake toppers' from a shop
called W & R HOLMES, which was one of the absolute best
shops in my local town centre.  One of the Santas was on skis
and was identical to one once given to me by a neighbour
(ROBERT BAIRD) two or three years before when I
lived in a different house in another area.

The second Santa was smaller and, unlike the other,
was more of a 'cartoon'-type figure.  I had them both for a
relatively short time before they vanished into the limbo that
inevitably claims most items from our youth.  In 1977, a mere
4 or 5 years later, but seeming like a lifetime (after all, I'd gone
from schoolboy to working man in that time), I obtained a
replacement for that second Santa in a local shop (RS
McCOLL's) across from where I worked.

When I was in Portsmouth in 1978 to be best man at
a then-friend's wedding, I saw the same Santa in a news-
agent's and bought it for my pal.  Why?  Because he'd been
with me when I got the two Santas from W & R Holmes on
that Saturday morning back in the early 1970s so it somehow
seemed fitting.  Whether he kept it or not I have no idea, but
I still have my 1977 replacement and it's been part of the
Christmas decorations every year since then.  (That's
40 Christmases in case you're counting.)

So, in yet another self-indulgent fit of sentimental
reminiscing, I decided to give you the backstory so's I'd
have an excuse to show a photograph of that little Santa.  As
you'll have guessed by now, that's him at the top of this post.
Takes me right back to that crisp Saturday morning in the
early '70s just looking at him.  Long may it be so.

Have you got an old Christmas decoration that
  you'd never part with?  Go on - tell us all about it.  

BABE OF THE DAY - KELLY BROOK...



I think all cars should be fitted with
KELLY BROOK-shaped airbags.  Then
crashing your car wouldn't necessarily
be as awful as you'd expect.

SNOWMAN IN A COOL TIN BOX...



Remember when houses had a floor-to-ceiling cupboard in
the kitchen that served as a larder?  The kitchen of the house in
which I now live used to have one, but it was removed when the
property was refurbished back in the mid-1980s, when my family
and myself were living somewhere else.  When we returned over
four years later, the larder was gone.  Y'know what?  I miss
it - it somehow gave the kitchen character.

In this larder used to be a square-shaped tin with a picture
of a boy on a raft in the middle of a river.  Beside the boy was a
dog - a Scottie, I think.  The lad may've been HUCKLEBERRY
FINN or TOM SAWYER, but he was definitely in that mould.
I wish I could find a replacement for that old tin, as even just
thinking about it returns me to a long-vanished era.

This tin (a biscuit tin) used to reside in a drawer in the
kitchen of my previous house, and also, I'm sure, the kitchens
of the two homes before that.  Then, I merely took it for granted,
but in this house, it acquired the status of a link to my childhood,
which is sort of what happens to most items that lay around for
any length of time.  At first, they're just there and we're only
dimly aware of them, but eventually, we somehow come
to notice them more and grow to cherish them.

At least, that's how it is with me.  Like a lot of things, the
tin eventually disappeared, and I have no idea how long it was
after it's disposal before I first noticed its absence.  However, the
tin is not the central point of this post;  no, it's a little chalk 'snow-
man' that, after a few years as a Christmas decoration, was con-
signed to the tin when he eventually became a little the worse-
for-wear.  That was the old tin's purpose you see - to store
various items 'til they were required again (if ever).

Close to 30 years ago, I saw the snowman's twin in
JOHN MENZIES, amongst an array of 'cake-toppers' on
a shelf, and immediately snapped him up.  Like the tin, I can no
longer recall (if I ever even knew) when the original vanished, but
it may have been around the same time as the tin, which could've
been the mid-to-late '70s.  So whenever I look at that snowman
today, I'm reminded of past Christmases in four houses, as
well as the tin which I'd dearly like to own again.

If you happen to have one of these tins, get in touch
if you'd consider selling it.  That's the snowman at the top of
the post, although, as he's got a flesh-coloured face, maybe he's
meant to be an Eskimo kid in a snowsuit for all I know.  Anyway,
I just felt like a bit of shameless reminiscing, so hopefully you'll
forgive my self-indulgence.  Is there anything you miss from
your youth that you'd like to own again?  (Aside from your
youth, obviously.)  Tell your fellow Criv-ites.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

DEATH OF A PRINCESS (UPDATED)...



Just returned from the shops to learn that actress
CARRIE FISHER has died.  Saw her on a couple of
chat shows not that long ago, and it's hard to believe
that she's now gone.  To paraphrase a well-known
saying:  "May she be with the Source."

******

Sadly, only a day or two after Carrie passed away,
her mother, actress DEBBIE REYNOLDS, has also
died.  Let's hope we can get into 2017 without losing
any other celebrities, eh?  Such a shame.

RAMBLING REPOST: SOME OLD NEIGHBOURS DIE, OTHERS SIMPLY FADE AWAY...


Art by BERNIE WRIGHTSON, copyright DC COMICS

A few doors along from me used to live a woman whose name
(for the purpose of this tale) was Mrs. SMITH.  Mrs. Smith and her
three daughters were living there when my family moved into the area
in 1972 and had presumably lived there for a good number of years
before we had ever thought to do so.  In the fullness of time, her
daughters married and moved out and Mrs. Smith lived in the
house by herself.

About fifteen years ago, I would occasionally see Mrs. Smith's
teenage granddaughter visiting her, but her health had started to
fail so I never saw much of Mrs. Smith herself, apart from the very
odd occasion when she was sweeping her front porch.  Then, around
six years back, I noticed that the now adult granddaughter and her
boyfriend seemed to be visiting Mrs. Smith quite a lot, if their
frequent comings and goings were anything to go by.

And then one day the penny dropped.  Mrs. Smith's grand-
daughter and boyfriend weren't visiting, but actually living there,
Mrs. Smith having moved out of the house and in with another of her
daughters some months before without me having noticed.  And so it
had come to pass that another long-time familiar face had disappeared
from my everyday life without me ever getting to bid her a last
goodbye.  (Not that she'd be concerned with that.)

I've no idea if Mrs. Smith is still alive or not, but I wouldn't be
at all surprised to find that she expired a few years back, so frail
had she become.  In the caverns of my mind are many people who
were once everyday participants in my day-to-day life who I haven't
seen in years, and, like Mrs. Smith, I have no idea whether they yet
inhabit this mortal plane or left for parts unknown a good while
ago.  Alive, dead, flitted, emigrated?  Who knows?

(UPDATE:  I later learned that 'Mrs. Smith' passed away on
Friday, November 1st, 2013 - twelve days after I first posted
this.  Her house has now been sold to someone who lets it.)

What strikes me as odd is that it can be many months, some-
times even years, before we realise that we haven't seen 'so and so'
for ages, and that part of the backdrop of our lives has been altered
by their absence.  I often think of folk who once perambulated past my
window on a daily basis that I haven't seen in years, and wonder where
they are and (if alive) what they're doing now.  (Just where is the guy
with the ill-fitting toupee, who my teenage self used to see making
his way to and from the local pub every night?  He must've been
one helluva fighter to stop his drinking buddies continually
ripping the p*ss out of him, that's for sure.)

I remember sitting in a cafe in Southsea, back around 1985,
and noticing an elderly gentleman with a pale film over one eye
and a distinctly Karloffian-type face (as BERNIE WRIGHTSON
would draw it), dressed in 1950s style clothes under a black overcoat.
I only ever saw him once, maybe twice, but every now and again, my
mind jumps backwards and I wonder what became of him, simply
because I associate him with Southsea and have fond memories
of my time living there, over thirty years ago.  

When I'm gone, I wonder if anyone will one day ever wonder
what happened to the guy with his German Shepherd dog, who
faithfully traversed the neighbourhood in all weathers, and, without
ever having known me, sort of miss me in the same way that they
miss their childhood - simply because I was once a familiar
(from afar), everyday part of it.

It would be nice to think so, but somehow I doubt it.  

HOORAY! MORE CHRISTMAS BEANO PAGES FROM 1978...


Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

As promised, here's another couple of pages from the 1978
Christmas BEANO - ROGER The DODGER and The 3 BEARS.
I'll post a couple more in a day or so, so don't be going anywhere or
you'll miss 'em - and that would never do!  In the meantime, enjoy!
And if you had this issue as a kid, share your memories of it in
our ever-lovin' comments section, why don'tcha?!

Monday, 26 December 2016

BABE OF THE DAY - KELLY BROOK...



Y'know, there's a couple of things
about the lovely KELLY BROOK that
I like, but I just can't put my finger on
them.  (Otherwise I'd be arrested.)

THE RETURN OF DR. MYSTERIO - A SHORT 'REVIEW'...



So what the hell happened?  I actually enjoyed it this year.
The Doctor is still a tad too shouty-wouty and a bit too much
of a would-be stand up comedian for my tastes, but overall, it
was an entertaining little show.  Maybe the secret is not to
 expect too much, eh?  There - that short enough for you?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

KID KLASSICS: 'SNOW' USE - I JUST GOTTA TALK ABOUT THE SNOWMAN (& HIS DOG)...



didn't see The SNOWMAN when it was first broadcast on
CHANNEL 4 on Boxing Day in 1982.  It wasn't until I caught the
latter half of it the following year (or even the one after that), that I
bought the video of the classic cartoon-short about a Snowman who
comes to life (as they all do, apparently), and which was based on
the 1978 picture-book by RAYMOND BRIGGS.

I'd always assumed that DAVID BOWIE's introduction (first
used in the 1983 broadcast) was the only one, so I was surprised to
discover later that it wasn't.  The cartoon has now had three intros:
 the Raymond Briggs original, the Bowie one, one by Briggs' version
of Santa (voiced by the late MEL SMITH), and (on DVD) none
at all (but with all three intros as separate options).

Many folk think ALED JONES was the singer of HOWARD
BLAKE's haunting composition WALKING In The AIR, as it
was his cover which reached number five in the U.K. charts in 1985.
However, it's actually chorister PETER AUTY's soprano tones on
the animated feature, although his name was missing from the
credits and not added 'til the the 20th anniversary version.


The Snowman and the young lad who built him (JAMES) made
cameo appearances in the 1991 animated version of Briggs' FATHER
CHRISTMAS, thereby suggesting that James's adventure with his snow
pal wasn't a one-off.  This is borne out in the 2012 sequel, The SNOW-
MAN And The SNOWDOG, where a new boy finds an old  box under
the floorboards of James's old home, containing a hat, scarf, withered
tangerine - and a photograph of James and the Snowman together,
obviously taken on an occasion subsequent to the first one.

The sequel is also delightful, although not too different from
its predecessor.  However, there are a few things I have reservations
about, so I'll address them here.  Coming thirty years after the original,
viewers are within their rights in assuming that perhaps something close
to 'real time' has elapsed in the intervening years, as the isolated house
in the country is now part of a new estate.  Although surely a housing
development would've simply bulldozed the house, rather than
gone to the bother of building around (and next to) it.

Also, what happened to James, the original boy?  Would he really
have abandoned the Snowman's accoutrements and photo of the two
of them together?  I'd have preferred to see him as the new boy's father,
passing on a magical secret to his son rather than his fate simply being ig-
nored.  (We at least know he survived into adulthood and bore an uncan-
ny resemblance to David Bowie.)  I suppose, 'though, that one can always
interpret events as James's son and widow moving back to his boyhood
home after having left some years before.  Perhaps the adult James only
expired after the plans to move back were finalised, or perhaps (on
a happier note) he's simply away on business at the time.


One thing I did like was the fact that, when the Snowman is
given a fresh tangerine for a new nose, his shrunken, dried out one
is utilised for the Snowdog.  "Waste not, want not!" as the old saying
goes.  Also, a young girl is seen playing with what is clearly an item of
Snowman 'merchandise', while the boy himself has a poster of Briggs'
earlier creation from 1977, FUNGUS The BOGEYMAN, on his
bedroom wall.  (And see if you can spot the 1966 TV BAT-
MOBILE toy's brief and surprising appearance.)

As for the sequel's song, LIGHT The NIGHT by ANDY
BURROWS (which is nowhere in the same league as the original),
the makers (LUPUS) should've used either an instrumental version 
of Walking In The Air, or a new arrangement with a male-voice choir
to distinguish it from Auty's.  (After all, it is the Snowman's 'signature'
theme, in the same way that JAMES BOND and SUPERMAN have
one also.)  Burrow's song is disappointingly underwhelming ('though,
for all I know, may be technically and musically perfect), and fails
to resonate to anywhere near the same degree as Blake's
original 1982 classic composition.

For those interested, a box-set of The Snowman & The
Snowman and The Snowdog is available from most HMV
stores and other outlets.  Or you can catch up with them on TV over
Christmas if you're too much of a skinflint.  Well worth watching!  One
thing I'd really like to know is this, 'though:  what gives the Snowman
his individual personality?  Is it the garden he's built in, or the person
who builds him?  Or is it perhaps the accessories he wears?  If James
is still alive and he were to build a Snowman, would it be a different
one (personality-wise) to the one he built as a kid, or the same
one?  Anybody got any thoughts on the matter?


"MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!"

KID'S KLASSIC CHRISTMAS KOMIC KOVERS - TERRIFIC #38...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

This story had previously been reprinted in a couple of issues
of SMASH! (in two parts), also around Christmas, and whenever I
look at the cover and b&w pages within, I'm back in my home town
as it was in 1967, and not the vastly changed place it is today.  That's
the thing about comics - they return us to the era in which we first
read them, and which, if we're honest, we wish we could revisit
 far more often than we do.  Am I right, or am I right?

MY VERY 'FIRST' CHRISTMAS BEANO...


Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

As an adult that is.  Chances are that I had at least one Christmas
issue when I was a kid, but this is the earliest one I own, the very ish
I bought back in 1978 when I was a mere 20 years of age.  It's possible
I bought it in Southsea when I was down there to be best man at a (now
former) friend's wedding, but it's equally possible I bought it within a
day or two of returning home.  I'll be posting a few other pages from
the comic over the next few days, but in the meantime, here's the
'world's wildest boy', DENNIS The MENACE!  Enjoy.

KID KLASSICS: SUNNY SUMMER SPECIALS OF YESTERYEAR...



It's the depths of winter, so let's cheer ourselves up by
stepping back into sunnier climes with a look at some of the
great Summer Specials from a vanished era.  Ready?

****** 

One of the things that every blogger has to concern themselves
with is just what to write about for each new post, in the hope that at
least someone will be interested in reading the result.  One can never
really tell with any certainty just what will float a reader's boat so it's a
bit of a gamble whenever a blog host takes the plunge with yet another
entry for his members' perusal and hopeful appreciation.  Will a catchy
title arouse their curiosity?  Will a dramatic opening illustration grab
their attention?  Sometimes I'm surprised as to just what attracts a
significant number of hits - and sometimes I'm disappointed in
equal measure as to what seems to escape under the radar.


So, "what's the recipe for today, Jim?" - and will it be enough
to lure you into my blog's web for a few enjoyable minutes of reading
pleasure?  Let's look at the subject of Summer Specials - or Holiday
Specials as they were also sometimes called.  Asides from three new Ul-
timate Beano Summer Specials which graced the shelves of WHS
a while back, the particular breed known as the Summer Special seems
to be extinct.  Hardly surprising given the dying interest in comics
in general, but no less disappointing for that inarguable fact.


Those of a certain age will recall the glory days, when - for a mere
2'6d (usually) - 96 pages of fun and adventure could be had to pore
over again and again.  There was just something about those extra thick
publications that seemed to beckon to us from the newsagents' counters -
enticing us to spend the half-crown that an indulgent grandparent or uncle
had given to us only a day or two before.  We were mainly unaware that,
inevitably, these bumper packages contained an allocation of reprint-
ed strips from comics or annuals of an earlier era - and what did it
matter anyway?  They were definitely new to us.


So come with me now on a short journey, and let us return to
an age when Holiday Specials were a welcome distraction as we
sheltered under the leafy shade of an overhanging branch from the
heat of the sweltering Summer sun.  A bottle of pop in one hand, an
oversized paper periodical in the other, the future remained an un-
discovered country - in which, sadly, all too soon we would find
ourselves residing while wondering how we got there. 
    






And below is one of my all-time favourites...

Saturday, 24 December 2016

HAVE A CRIVENS CHRISTMAS...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

A very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to
all CRIVENS regulars and fellow comics bloggers.  May
all your wishes come true in 2017.  (Apart from world
domination - I'm reserving that one for myself.)

BABE OF THE DAY - ALIONA VILANI...



Strictly speaking, ALIONA VILANI is
a dancer - which probably explains how she
managed to waltz right into my heart.  (Yeah,
I know, I know - these captions get cornier
and cornier.  You try writing them.)

Friday, 23 December 2016

RECOMMENDED READING: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN EPIC COLLECTION VOLUME TWO...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Here's another little belter of a book you'll no doubt all
be wanting to rush out and buy, Criv-ites - SPIDER-MAN
EPIC COLLECTION Volume 2.  So look at the covers and
read the spiel on the back, then race straight 'round (which is
surely a contradiction in terms, but never mind) to your local
FORBIDDEN PLANET store and pick up a copy today.
(Go on, treat yourself - the wife won't mind.)