Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Okay, Criv-ites - as a special treat, I thought I'd present you with
TV ACTION + COUNTDOWN #59, which I featured the cover of
in part four of my FAVOURITE COMICS OF THE PAST series some
time back.  This time around 'though, you get the complete issue, plus
I've also thrown in the elucidating exposition which accompanied the
aforementioned previous pulsating post.  (Saves you looking it up.)


As I lay in bed on that lazy March or April mid-morning in 1972, I
was unaware that, in a few short weeks, I'd be moving house for the fourth
time in my thirteen and a half short years of existence.  Through the slightly
open window the sound of kids in the playground of my old Primary school
at the bottom of the road reached my ears, as I sipped American Cream
Soda and enjoyed not having to attend the Senior Secondary
educational establishment a couple of streets away.

Surrounded by a monumental mountain of comics, the inconse-
quential illness which had kept me from school was soon forgotten, as I
luxuriated in the privileged status of idle absenteeism while my classmates
busied themselves with the enforced academic application that such scholarly
study demands.  Looking back, it's strange to realise that, were it not for the
date on one particular comic establishing almost the exact moment in
history, my recollection of events would suggest them as having
occurred many months before their actual point in time.

The comic in question?  The 59th issue of COUNTDOWN, which
also happened to be the first issue of its relaunch under the title of TV
ACTION.  Cover-dated April 1st, it had gone on sale on March 25th, and
perhaps the subsequent issue may even have been in that pile of comics on
top of the blankets.  I'm not 100% sure, hence my hesitation in pinpointing
the exact month of that school 'sickie' all those years ago.  All I know is
that it was either the last week of March or the first one in April.

However, as I said - that was only a mere six or seven weeks away
from moving to a different house in another area.  I was blissfully unaware
of the fact, although no doubt my conspiratorial parents had been making the
arrangements for some time.  I was informed of the move only about a week
or so in advance, which, with hindsight, I'm actually glad of, as the know-
ledge would probably have ruined the last occasion I had a day off from
school in the house I had lived in since I was seven years old.

One glance at the above cover and I'm once again lying in bed on
that morning in 1972, listening to the faint noises from the street as they
drift in through my inch-open window - the knowledge that one chapter
of my life was about to end and another begin still concealed behind
the cover of Time's cascading curtain.


If you have any fond memories of this particular issue,
feel entirely free to share them with your fellow Criv-ites in
our captivating comments section.


INES CUDNA is this babe's name (sometimes
spelt 'Innes') - but I reckon she could if she tried.
(Little Scottish joke there.)

Monday, 1 September 2014


Of course, he hasn't made the same impact on the comics industry
as I have (who has?), but some of you might like to pop along and get
his autograph anyway.  (Nurse - is it time for my reality pill yet?)


As I gad about the streets of Glasgow, one overriding thought
haunts my mighty mind - how can I make my blog even better than it
is?  ("Shouldn't be too hard," some of the more witty amongst you may
even now be thinking.)  I enjoy doing the blog for its own sake, of course,
but it's nice if others enjoy it too, 'though one can never quite be certain.
Some posts get many comments, some get none, yet sometimes I'm
not always certain that the posts which generate reader response
are necessarily the ones most deserving of it.

Do you comment because you want to, or because you feel
obliged to?  Would you prefer not to feel as if you have to leave a
comment when you can't think of anything to say?  Would you still visit
this hunble blog if I did away with the commenting option altogether, as
I'm considering doing?  You see, sometimes, having spent ages scanning
something and racking my cataclysmic cranium for a subject with which I
can thrill and enthrall you, if there is little or no response, I feel I've failed
to deliver - disappointed you in some way.  If there were no comments
section, then I needn't worry that the absence of any kind of response
was an indication of my having failed  to deliver an interesting
or worthwhile post.

"But surely the number of visits that each post receives tells
you whether it's struck a cord or not?" you ask.  Sometimes yes,
but not necessarily so.  A particular post might get a fair amount of
hits, but while the title or illo was perhaps interesting enough to entice
visitors to take a look -  it doesn't reveal whether they stuck around to
read the whole post or bailed out three words into the first paragraph.
Only comments can do that, and the absence of any tends to suggest
indifference to the subject.  So, while I'm grateful to all those who
do regularly comment, if you only do so because you feel you
should, then removing the option may be a relief to you.

Anyway, fully aware of the inherent irony in asking you to
comment on whether this blog should continue having a com-
ments option, what do you think?  Should I leave things as they
are, or do away with the commenting option altogether?  Yes,
no, don't care, get a life?  Vote now.  (If you want to.)      

Sunday, 31 August 2014


Okay, so I lied - about being 'true' I mean.  What you're looking at
is a fictional account from the TV CENTURY 21 Annual for 1969
about how the 'newspaper' came into being.  It gets its facts wrong from
the start, saying that the first edition rolled off the presses on January
27th 2065 - even 'though its clearly dated January 23rd.  Note also
the bit about the periodical being expected to be selling in the same high
numbers in ten years as it did initially - 'though it was highly likely to be
showing signs of falling circulation at the time this piece was written.

So, not much truth about it, but interesting nonetheless.  Like to
see more from the TV21 Annuals?  Then let me know, pilgrims!


once again just how a song should be sung.  So pin
back yer lug'oles and chill out to the world's greatest
Country crooner.  (Best listened to on headphones
for optimum soothing effect.)


but without the costume.  No less gorgeous
for that 'though, eh?

Saturday, 30 August 2014


Now that was better!  (I'm a man
of few words - sometimes.)


Alas, DONALD DOGFLY makes his last two appearances
in this latest BIG BEN IS THE THING Cover & Image Gallery.
Drawn by HUNT EMERSON, I don't think Donald has appeared any-
where since.  It would be interesting to learn who currently owns the
copyright, as it would be nice if Hunt could revive the character.

Looking back, the comic wasn't too bad, but the name was a bit
naff and the masthead wasn't exactly eye-catching or memorable.  It's
interesting to speculate as to whether the mag would've enjoyed greater
success if it had been called something else - something like, I dunno -
POWERHOUSE, or something along those lines.

Now there's an idea!  See if you can come up with some good
names for U.K. MARVEL mags that might've resonated better with
the readers.  Go on - you know where the comments section is!

Friday, 29 August 2014


Many years ago, I was on nodding acquaintance with a
girl who was practically the double of actress JACQUELINE
BISSETT (apart from her hair style).  If her character was half
as impressive as her looks, then whoever eventually married her
was a very lucky man indeed.  That applies to both women,
it goes without saying.  (So why did I say it?)


Going by the embarrassing clips I've seen,  ALAN MOORE's
new film appears to be a low-budget, badly acted and poorly directed
piece of amateurish nonsense.  I can't see myself rushing out to join the
end of a cinema queue to see it any time soon - or buying the DVD.  The
bearded writer claims that Hollywood "clearly hasn't had an idea in the
last two or three decades" and  that it can "only recycle things that
have already been done, or adapt things from media where
they weren't intended as films." 

This from a man who has made a career out of recycling other
people's characters, and, in many cases, adapting them from books
for use in comics.  Surely a prime example of adapting something from
one medium for use in another for which it wasn't intended?  Apparently,
according to a recent  CHANNEL 4  news item, "Alan often
described as the best graphic novel writer in history."  Presumably by
himself, as it's not something I've ever heard said about him.  Sure,
he's written a few good superhero yarns, but he's also written a
pile of dreary, pretentious, self-indulgent p*sh.

I really wish that someone would call a halt to the relentless
publicity machine that continually seeks to present Mr. Moore as
some kind of literary genius.  He isn't.  He's an affable enough bloke
(when he's not slagging off  STAN LEE) who's had his fifteen minutes
of fame, but who now seems desperate to prolong his time in the spot-
light.  Go back to writing comics for teenage boys, Mr. Moore.  It's
something you can actually do when you have a good editor
who isn't afraid to say no to some of your wilder ideas.

 Or at the very least, give us all a break from your
  increasingly silly, self-serving pronouncements.


It's a grey, wet, miserable day - so here's singer
MEL TORME to get your feet tappin' and put a
smile on your face.  Sing along now.


Now that's what I call a costume!  And ANNE
HATHAWAY is what I call a woman!  And someone
who doesn't have a chance in hell is what I call myself!
Never mind - I live in hope.

Thursday, 28 August 2014


It seems, looking back through the mystical mists of time, that it
was the small hours of the morning when my father woke me to present
me with the first issue of a new comic that had just come out.  In actuality,
it was probably only around 10 o'clock at night after he'd come home from
work, and he'd no doubt purchased the periodical from a shop earlier in the
day, or from a street vendor after finishing his shift.  I'm not sure why he
didn't simply wait 'til morning to announce its procurement - it's almost
as if he was as excited by the comic as he expected me to be.

I could see it was really a comic for girls, but expressed delight
on receiving it so as not to disappoint my father.  And perhaps I was
even delighted to a degree - after all, it was a new number one.  I can
only suppose he'd recognised the FAB 1 Rolls from THUNDERBIRDS,
or saw the name of THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. on the cover and as-
sumed it was for boys, but I'm unsure whether I ever bought another issue
(although perhaps I did).  I do recall 'though, my brother almost having
a fit some months later when my mother embarrassed him by asking
if he wanted 'Lady Penelope' in a newsagent's while we were
looking for a comic to buy.

However, enough of my dreary personal reminiscences - you
no doubt have your own memories of this comic if you read it back
in the day.  (Yeah, I know - your sister bought it - heard it.)  So, take
a trip back in time to an earlier point in your life, and live again those
seemingly more innocent , halcyon days when the world was a big-
ger, brighter and better place that it often appears today.


On the page below, note that Lady Penelope being an
inhabitant of the 21st century is seemingly ignored, and she is
depicted as a contemporary of characters from the 1960s.