Sunday, 1 March 2015

HERE, HAVE SOME GINGER...



GINGER from THE BEEZER comic always struck me as the
'English' equivalent of OOR WULLIE from The Sunday Post.
Both were published by D.C. Thomson and drawn by DUDLEY
DEXTER WATKINS, but whereas Wullie was distinctly Scottish,
Ginger wasn't geographically-confined to any one area of Britain.

Dudley D. Watkins was one of those artists that made drawing
look easy, pencilling out 'sausage' figures and inking in the detail
as he went along - essentially doing the actual drawing with a pen
or brush.  He was a complete natural, and no artist since has drawn
any of his strips with the same skill, style or verve as he himself,
with the unique exception of KEN H. HARRISON.

However, don't take my word for it.  Here are four Ginger
strips drawn by D.D. Watkins to demonstrate precisely what
I'm talking about.  Superb stuff indeed!  Enjoy!



BABE OF THE DAY - HEATHER THOMAS...



I'm pretty sure that this is HEATHER THOMAS,
but it's one of those photos that also looks a little like
HEATHER LOCKLEAR, who a lot of folks were
always mixing up back in the '80s.  HT or HL?
Who would you say it is? 

Saturday, 28 February 2015

PART EIGHT OF SMASH! COVER GALLERY...



Wow!  Time certainly has a habit of racing away from you, eh?
Who'd believe that it's been 10 months since the last instalment of our
super SMASH! Cover Gallery from way back in the late '60s and early
'70s?   WARRIORS OF THE WORLD came to an end with its 46th ap-
pearance and, after a free gift issue, SIMON TEST became the permanent
front cover star for the rest of the comic's run.  So here's another half dozen
issues to remind you of what you were perhaps reading back then, if you're
as ancient as I am now.  Got any reminiscences associated with these
comics?  Then let's have 'em, fellow Criv-ites!   





WHOOPEE - IT'S GRAN'S GANG...



Sometime near the end of 1985 or the beginning of '86 (yes,
Annuals really were prepared that far in advance),  I was down in
London on one of my weekly visits to what was then IPC's (almost)
skyscraper headquarters, KING'S REACH TOWER, when Humour
Group Editor BOB PAYNTER handed me an unfinished page of
pencilled artwork and asked me if I'd like to complete it.

Apparently it was a try-out page by another artist, who'd refused
to finish it when asked for some alterations, but Bob didn't want to
waste it.  After 30 years, it's difficult to remember precisely, but I think
I drew two panels, finished off some bits and bobs in others, and inked
it.  It's a bit heavy in the inks department, but not too bad overall.

This was a good Annual for me, because I lettered 38 pages,
which, at around a tenner each, wasn't bad for what amounted to
a couple of days' work.  (And that didn't include my regular jobs
for 2000 A.D. and other IPC weeklies and Annuals.)

So, the page isn't all mine, but there's enough of me in it to
justify showing it to you on this here blog.  The strip had started
life as 6 MILLION DOLLAR GRAN, was then retitled ROBOT
GRANNY, and finally became GRAN'S GANG, for reasons
that I have absolutely no clue about, so don't ask me.

Friday, 27 February 2015

TA-RAAA - AND NOW, THE TITANS #59...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS (and owned by Gerry's pal)

Here's one you won't have seen before.  Drawn by DAVE GOLDING
as a commission, it was turned into a cover for the never published ('cos
it didn't exist) THE TITANS #59 by Gerry, a pal of the piece's owner.
Right, Gerry - your next mission, should you decide to accept it, is to
create the rest of the issue.  Well, what're you waiting for?  And why
does a comic dated 1976 have a copyright date of 1977?

(I've also added this cover to my previous post on The Titans.)

KID IN THE KOMICS - 2000 A.D. ANNUAL 1991...



Thought that you might like to see the following page from the
above 2000 A.D. Annual for 1991, featuring 'fun facts' about
yours truly.  The caricature was by NICK ABADZIS (who did a
superb job of capturing my devastating good looks and sizzling sex
appeal - don't all rush at once, ladies - form an orderly queue),
and the page was designed and laid out by STEVE COOK.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

HARLEM NOCTURNE...



I remember this tune as the theme to the '80s TV show
MIKE HAMMER, starring STACY KEACH, but here's
a version (with lyrics) by MEL TORME that pre-dates
it, and which I hope you'll all enjoy.  Take it away, Mel.

SHIFTY, SHOCKING & 'SACKED'...


Would you trust this man?

MMALCOLM RIFKIND is a perfect example of why
the public no longer have any faith in, or respect for, politicians.
Caught on film boasting of being able to see any foreign ambassador
in London and having "useful access" to every British ambassador in
the world while trying to sell his services to a fictitious Hong Kong com-
munications agency, he describes the 'allegations' against him as "con-
temptible" and insists that he's "done nothing wrong" and "broken no
rules".  That being the case, why has he now resigned as chair of the
Intelligence and Security Committee and announced that he'll not
be seeking re-election as MP for Kensington in West London?
Hardly the response of an innocent man, I'd venture.

Claiming to be "self-employed" despite being paid a salary
of £67,000 per annum (not counting expenses and all the usual
perks) by the British taxpayer, he also says he has an unbelievable
amount of free time to read or go walking, which surely only means
that he's paid a disproportionate recompense for what is essentially a
part-time job.  However, it is his arrogant sense of entitlement which
is truly nauseating, believing he is worth more than the immense
salary he already receives.  (The very one that he seems to
think no one pays him.)

He's typical of the self-important, out-of-touch politicians
who seek to deny the poorest in our society the relatively meagre
amounts they rely on to get by, while lining their own pockets with as
much as they can stuff into them;  who try to force the unemployed and
the ill into jobs that either don't exist or are so poorly paid that it's not
worth taking them.  "Is it right that an unemployed person should get
more money than someone who works?" they disingenuously enquire.
Well, ignoring the fact that most unemployed people don't, the answer
 of course, is "No!"  However, in the relatively few cases that do, it's
not because benefits (in the main) are too high, it's because wages
are too low.  If they want to end the so-called 'benefits culture'
then why don't they try coming up with some policies that
create  jobs which pay a decent living wage?

As disgraced Malcolm Rifkind has so ably demonstrated,
they're far more concerned with creating over-paid jobs
for themselves.  Anyone else sick of the lot of them?

******

And their latest 'wheeze' is to try and make people work
30 hours a week for their benefits, which is nothing other
than slave-labour.  If they expect folk to work for 30 hours,
then they should pay them the going-rate for doing so.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

OYEZ! OYEZ! SIXTH AND FINAL PART OF THE TITANS COVER GALLERY...


All images copyright MARVEL COMICS

"And it came to pass that there was a great wailing and
gnashing of teeth across the land, for THE TITANS had fallen."
Yes sirree, after only 58 issues, The Titans was subsumed by SUPER
SPIDER-MAN and yet another mighty MARVEL mag bit the dust.
You have to hand it to Marvel U.K. 'though - they certainly tried, and
were a major player in British comics in the '70s and '80s, but it couldn't
last, alas.  After 20 plus years, Marvel U.K. disappeared, and PANINI
gained the licence to produce mags for a British readership.  However,
in its day, Marvel's British division was a force to be reckoned with
and published some memorable comics that are still fondly re-
called (but not without criticism) by old farts like myself.

Okay, it wasn't as good as it could have been - should have
been - but neither was it entirely without merit.  So let's raise a
glass of soda pop to The Titans, as we study the covers of the final
nine issues of this short-lived but power-packed comic from the far-
off '70s.  We may never see its like again, but at least it made a big
impression on the memories of bright-eyed readers who en-
joyed it back in the day and were sad to see it go.
  











And below is one you won't have seen before.  For the
story behind it, take a look at the comments section.

(BOND) BABE OF THE DAY - MARGARET NOLAN (AGAIN)...



Be honest, lads - not counting your wife ('cos,
depending on your answer, that might cause you
some grief), have any of you ever had a girlfriend
as totally gorgeous as MARGARET NOLAN?  Of
course, being a handsome buggah, I've had loads,
but I just wondered how well all you ordinary,
plain-looking guys have done.

What's that, nurse?  Time for my lomg-
sleeved pyjamas?  But I can't scratch my
@rse when I'm wearing them.  Oh, well -
see you next post, Chums.

THE CRUNCH COVER GALLERY - PART FIVE...


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

As well as having all 54 issues of THE CRUNCH, I'm pretty
sure I also have all 67 issues of SPIKE, which was published by
D.C. THOMSON around three years after its predecessor's demise.
Unless I've given them away and then forgotten about it, they should
be up in my loft in a box somewhere and have been for years.  (Let's
just hope they're not too mouldy.)  I may even have CHAMP as
well, but whether or not I've still got the complete set or only
the first three issues, I can no longer remember.

It's a shame that DCT no longer produce action/adventure
weekly titles for boys, because they had their own undeniable
charm, despite their cheap paper and typeset lettering.  Of course,
that may just be nostalgia for the past which makes me feel that way,
as comics like VICTOR, HOTSPUR, WARLORD, etc., represent
a fondly remembered part of my childhood.  Not that I was ever a
regular reader of the first two papers, restricting myself to an
occasional free gift issue down through the years.

It's kind of scary 'though to think that today's kids may
one day look back on the last incarnation of THE DANDY with
the same glow of affection, as, let's face it - one or two strips apart,
it was pure p*sh.  When I win 80 squillion quid on the the Lottery
I'll come to an agreement with Thomson's and revive some of their
retired titles, fill them with classic strips, but print them on the same
cheap paper.  I'm convinced that content is the important thing,
and I'd much rather read an old 1970s comic printed on what
seemed like blotting paper, than a modern one printed on
something akin to a shiny piece of linoleum.

What say the rest of you?
   




Tuesday, 24 February 2015

THE TITANS COVER GALLERY - PART FIVE...


All images copyright MARVEL COMICS

So, what can I say about THE TITANS that I haven't already
said or that you don't already know?  Nothing, actually, apart from
the fact that I'm surprised, looking back, to note that it lasted for just
over a year.  In keeping with quite a few other titles of their time (like
FANTASTIC, TERRIFIC, SUPER DC, THE CRUNCH, etc.), it
seems, in memory, to have been a more significant feature of my
life and around for longer than it actually was.  Strange, eh?

However, we're not here to ponder that particular paradox
('though you can if you want to), but to go on a whistle-stop tour
of nine issues of what was supposed to be MARVEL's flagship title
in their fleet of British weeklies back in the 1970s.  Like I said in an
earlier post, I feel that, had just a little more care and attention been
lavished on The Titans (and that goes for some of the other comics
too), then it may well have lasted for longer than the 58 issues it
managed to hang on for.

But that's enough pontificating from me, you'll be glad to
hear.  Now it's time to lose yourself in the pretty pictures that
follow.  Don't hog them all to yourself now - leave a space and
let other Criv-ites cop a gander as well.