Thursday, 23 March 2017


Okay, so here's a question for all of you prompted by
the previous post.  First of all 'though, let me set the scene.
You're part of a group of six that works for a small business,
and one day someone suggests setting up a Lottery syndicate.
"We'll each pay £12 into it every month in advance, and if
ever there's a winning ticket, we'll split the amount be-
tween us in equal shares."  So that's what you do.

Remember, this syndicate is only open to employees,
not outsiders.  One month you pay in your £12, and a few
days later, you give a fortnight's notice because you're sud-
denly offered a higher paid job elsewhere.  Shortly after, your
former colleagues strike it lucky with a huge Lottery win and
you rub your hands with glee because the ticket was one
of the ones you helped pay for before leaving.

But no!  Your erstwhile colleagues protest that the
winnings are for employees only, and that, as you're no
longer an employee, you're not entitled to any share of the
prize.  "It doesn't matter that you were an employee at the
time the winning ticket was bought, fact is, you're not any
more so you're entitled to Jack Squat" they all say in a
smug manner.  "Employees only" they repeat.

Now, if you have even an ounce of sense about you,
I'm sure you can see the flaw in the argument of the lucky
and greedy winners.  If you're an employee at the time when
what later becomes the winning ticket was purchased, because
you contributed to it, you're entitled to your share fair of the
proceeds from it.  That is essentially the exact same scenario
I outlined in the previous post, so the exact same principle
should be applied in both cases.  To suggest anything
else is simply absurd in my view.

Your honour, I rest my case.

So here's the question:  do you consider the Lottery
syndicate to be correct in their reasoning, and, if so, do
you think you'd share their view if you were the former
employee?  The comments section awaits.


And you do realise, of course, that if the ticket
came up trumps before you left your old job, but the
syndicate wasn't awarded its winnings until several weeks
after you'd left, we wouldn't even be having this conver-
sation.  It really is screamingly obvious what the right and
proper thing to do is in a case like this.  Like, give you the
share to which you're entitled, and cut the spurious
     cr*p that you're no longer entitled to it.    


I once knew a woman who feigned friendship with me
so that I'd help out in the little shop she ran.  If a man has a
weakness, it's to feel needed and appreciated by the so-called
'fairer sex', and many a man has been duped by such 'womanly'
wiles.  She was forever proclaiming what a lot she thought of me,
and wanting to hug and kiss me, and overwhelm me with her 'fem-
inine charms'.  It was obvious that this was only to make me more
amenable to her bidding whenever she wanted to use me in some
way, but don't get the wrong idea;  the friendship was merely
platonic, as she was a bit of a tomboy with some disgust-
ing habits that turned my stomach on occasion.

While I was in the shop for six months on my own, I
was visited by a 'mystery shopper', and as a result of my at-
tentive customer relations technique and charming manly-man
manners, I won a prize.  It was £100 worth of gift vouchers and
a bottle of champagne (or cheap equivalent), plus a certificate of
achievement to hang in the shop.  For some reason I now forget,
there was a delay in the presentation, and I'd left the shop's em-
ploy before the prizes were belatedly awarded to the winners.
However, there was a prior agreement between me and my
colleague to split the vouchers, with her also getting
the bottle of champers as I don't drink.

Thing is, she told me I wasn't getting my half as I'd
left the shop before the presentation, and, in her view, the
prize was for the shop, not the person who'd won it.  This of
course was total nonsense, as it had been my sole efforts which
had secured the privilege and plunder, with me being specifically
mentioned (not named, but described) in the mystery shopper's
assessment of why both I and the shop were considered worthy
of reward and award.  It was the equivalent of telling me that
because I'd left the shop's employ before payday, I wasn't
entitled to wages I'd earned before leaving.  Not that
she did that, but, logically, it's the same thing.

So I was robbed of £50 - by a so-called 'friend', who,
once I was of no further use to her, pretty much abandoned
any pretence of friendship past the most superficial of nods in
its direction.  You all know your bold host isn't the sort of per-
son to tolerate such an injustice lying down 'though, and without
going into the specifics, I made sure her act of theft (for such it
was) did not go unpunished in some (legal) way.  She was a liar,
a thief, a cheat, and a fraud, given to devious manipulation in
pursuit of personal benefit, so she's certainly the type of
'friend' I can easily and happily do without.

Have any of you ever had such a 'friend'?  Feel free
to unburden your soul in our confessional comments sec-
tion.  Go on, spill the beans to your fellow Criv-ites.


Images copyright DC COMICS

I acquired this magnificent tome yesterday (Wednesday - apt,
eh?) - WEDNESDAY COMICS - a collection of the strips which
appeared in the broadsheet of the same name back in 2009.  How-
ever, you don't want to listen to me witter on about it when you can
look at some of the pages contained therein instead, so here you are.
Available from your local FORBIDDEN PLANET and all good
comics shops.  And if your local store is out of stock, I'm sure
they'd be prepared to order you a copy.

Interestingly, the SUPERMAN strip is drawn by artist LEE
BERMEJO, who, as far as I can ascertain, isn't related to LUIS
BERMEJO, who drew JOHNNY FUTURE in U.K. weekly comic
FANTASTIC in the 1960s.  However, it's somehow apt that Luis
drew Johnny Future and Lee drew The Man of Tomorrow,
as according to a certain theory by moi, the two heroes are
related.  Click this link and discover in what way.

However, back to the book for a mo.  As well as the strips
on view here, there's also KAMANDI, DEADMANGREEN
sample pages of PLASTIC MAN and The CREEPER, not
included in the broadsheet.  What's not to like?

Run out and buy one today!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

Yesterday morning, I woke to a thick carpet of snow in my town.
It was like a classic Christmas scene, but by afternoon, the snow had
started to melt and only patches remained.  It's the same this morning,
with those patches reluctant to disappear completely, and a Yuletide
atmosphere still casting its glow over the surrounding terrain.

It reminds me of a time, 44 years ago, of a similarly Festive
feeling, when I first bought The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL
#15, and returned home after an afternoon adventuring with a pal to
find that my family had acquired a canine chum.  PRINCE was his
name, a mongrel who looked just like a mini-Alsation, and was the
first of three dogs we had over a period of around 25 years.

The above cover is interesting, in that most of it looks to have
been pencilled by JIM STARLIN and inked by JOE SINNOTT,
with the exception of the SPIDER-MAN figure, which has a distinct
JOHN ROMITA flavour to it.  Could this be a patch, dropped in
over Jim's original Spidey figure, or did he just do a good job of
channelling Romita senior's web-slinger?  Whaddya think?

Anyway, this cover's full of memories and associations for me,
and, if you're old enough to have bought it back then, it'll be the
same for you, too.  Hope you enjoyed seeing it again.


Ah, EMILY, the picture of loveliness,
as usual.  Just what we mere men need
on a cold day such as this to lend a little
warmth to our hearts.  Ta muchly.


Images copyright DC COMICS

Back in the day when BERNIE WRIGHTSON was still
spelling his first name as 'Berni' (to avoid confusion with an
Olympic swimmer of the same moniker), DC COMICS issued
a series entitled The MASTERWORKS SERIES Of GREAT
COMIC BOOK ARTISTS.  The 3rd issue was devoted to the
art of Berni(e) Wrightson, and I thought, following the recent
demise of the artist, that his fans might like to have a look
at this comic and perhaps add it to their wants list.

(Ever had that feeling that there's something you should
remember, but however hard you try, you just can't?  So it is
with this issue.  A still, small, nagging voice seems to be trying
to remind me that perhaps I didn't get this comic until a few years
after it was published, when I returned to my present home after
four years away - but I'm just not sure.  Maybe I actually got it at
the time, which means I acquired it in the previous house to this
one - I can see either scenario being the case.  I know there's
something to be remembered about this mag 'though, but
just can't recall what it is.  Still, I'm glad to have it.)

And now, to you falls the thrill of the hunt as you scour
eBay in search of a copy of this 34 year old mag.  If you're
a fan of Bernie's art (who isn't?), this is one comic you simply
must add to your stash - assuming you don't already have it.
And fear not - I'll get 'round to showing the first two issues
(FRANK FRAZETTA) in the series pretty darn soon.


Issue #s 4 & 5 (NEAL ADAMS) were advertised on
the back cover, but were never published.  The indicia says
that the 3 issue series was published by DC for SEA GATE,
'though comic sites usually say it was published by the latter,
who licensed the material from the former.  Sea Gate was a
company started by PHIL SEULING, the man credited
with starting direct market distribution.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


I'd always imagined that the story of RAY CUSICK not
profiting from his design for The DALEKS was a relatively
recent revelation.  (Around the 1980s sometime, which seems
recent to people of my age.)  Surprisingly however, it was being
reported as far back as 1965, only a couple of years after The
Daleks had first appeared on TV in Dr. Who.  Read all about
it in the above article.  It's a bit faded, so you'll have to apply
yourself.  (Click to enlarge, click again for optimum size.)  I
wonder what he thought when he first saw the MARX
TOYS version of his design?


Nope, dunno who she is, but going by
the way she's giving me the 'eye', I can tell
she definitely wants me.  Hey, she only has
to beg - just like any other woman!


Images copyright DC COMICS

weekly anthology broadsheet periodical, containing several single-
page strips.  Amongst them was KAMANDI by DAVE GIBBONS
RYAN SOOK, and the art was spectacular.  So for all Kamandi
fans, here are all 12 episodes to thrill and astound you!

(And don't forget to pick up the latest issue of KAMANDI
CHALLENGE, available from your nearest FORBIDDEN
PLANET and all good comicbook shops.)


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

No point in explaining the point of this post - the title says it all!
ALAN MOORE is well-known by now for using or imitating other
people's characters and concepts, then complaining when he thinks
others have done the same thing to him.  What's that old saying
about 'people in glass houses'?  His home must be freezing!

Image copyright relevant owner

Monday, 20 March 2017


Sigh!  The lovely IMOGEN HASSALL
presents a pretty impressive picture as she
poses her perfectly-produced person for
our palpitating pleasure.  Pure class.

COMMANDO #5000...

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

This one's old news by now, but I bought COMMANDO #5000 from
WHS just a few days ago.  It was on the top shelf, and four different issues
occupied the same space (one in front of the other), as opposed to being on
display side-by-side so that customers could see there was more than one
single issue on offer.  Just as well I decided to take a closer look and check
through them.  Commando came out in 1961 and is still going strong, so
if you'd like a nice little collectors' item, check out your local WHS or
corner newsagent's and see if they've got any left.

FLEETWAY used to do their own version of Commando (can't recall
what title it went under), as well as westerns, spy stories and humour strips
in the same format (as did DCT).  I remember the sad day when the editor
of IPC's pocket libraries was told they were being discontinued and that he
was being made redundant.  I think his name may have been either ALAN
or BRIAN SMITH, but I'm not certain.  If anyone out there knows, can
you enlighten me please, so that I can give credit where it's due.

Anyway, just think - Commando has been published continuously
 since 1961, and that's a milestone surely worth celebrating.

Sunday, 19 March 2017


DESPERATE DAN copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

Ach, I'm bored and can't think what to post.  How about a
few of my comic strips drawn over the years, ranging from my
teenage years up to the present day?  So, presented in sequential
order (apart from the above one), here're the only colour ones
I've got handy.  Feel free to slag 'em off - hey, I can take it.

(Yup, you've seen 'em all before, but they're
 not so bad they can't stand another viewing.)


I notice that few, if any, regulars ever comment when I post
any of my art.  I can only assume it's because they don't want
to hurt my feelings by telling me it's sh*te.  Ah, well.  (Sob!)

Drawn when I was a mere 17 years old


Drawn for my own amusement a year or two back


I told the awesome ABI
TITMUSS to give me a call, so
she did.  And she used Skype so
I'd see her in the flesh (literally)
as we spoke.  Wotta gal!


Legendary SWAMP THING artist BERNIE
WRIGHTSON has passed away after battling brain
cancer for many years.  Condolences to his family,
friends, and fans.  We shall remember him.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


Right, JOLENE, straight down to the
hairdressers with you for a haircut.  Wait,
on second thought, no need to be so drastic!
Put your locks in a ponytail - you'd look
much better with your hair that way.


When I was around 5 or 6, my mother one day bought
me a YOGI & HUCK ramp walker (made by MARX TOYS)
from WOOLWORTH's.  If you placed it at the top of an incline,
it would toddle down to the bottom in a hypnotically comical way.
It had a loop on the front through which a weighted cord could be
tied, allowing the toy to walk on flat surfaces too.  If you hung the
weight over the edge of a table or ledge, it gently pulled the toy
along as the cord descended to the floor.  (Later versions
were released without the loop at the front.)

The toy you see in the above photo is a replacement I
acquired over 20 years ago.  I stripped off what remained
of the original paint and completely repainted it - to a higher
standard than when it left its Hong Kong factory in the '60s.  I
used medium brown for Yogi, who has has worn many shades
of the colour in various incarnations over the years, but my
original toy had such a dark shade of brown that I often
used to wonder as a lad if it was black.

Over the years I sometimes wondered if my memory
was accurate about the colour, but recently I saw one for
sale on eBay which was of the exact same colour as the one
I had as a boy.  I trust the seller won't mind me using two of his
pics to show you what my original looked like, in comparison to
its replacement acquired back in the '90s.  Most other versions
of the toy I've seen (and I now have 5 of them) have been of
the medium brown variety, but Marx toys always had vari-
ations in the colour schemes.  Maybe one day I'll buy
a darker one to complete the set.

(Or repaint one of the toys I already have.)

Friday, 17 March 2017


Bikini'd beauty RHIAN SUGDEN sure is
a hottie, from whichever angle you view her.
She can turn her back on me any time.


Nearly 10 years ago, I worked in a watch repair shop.
Someone I thought was a friend ran the place, and because
she had no option but to employ an idiot when I declined her
offer of a job, I felt a little guilty and subsequently agreed to
take the position when she eventually decided to dispense
with his utterly superfluous 'services'.

The girl I worked with was lazy and uncommitted to
the business, but as it was the sort of commercial enterprise
that almost ran itself, it still managed to turn a profit, 'though
obviously not as good a one had she deigned to apply herself in
the way she ought to have.  She'd arrive late, then take time to
apply lipstick and make-up and have her brekkie, things she
should've done before coming into work.  There were
even times when she turned up reeking of booze.

She'd close the place to go and do shopping, or buy
clothes for her idiot boyfriend, while potential customers,
finding the shutter down, would simply go along to her rivals
a couple of units away.  She ran the place for her own conveni-
ence rather than her employers, and whenever I made any sug-
gestions about attracting more business, her reply was always
"If they don't bother, why should I?", in reference to the two
blokes who paid her.  Even her mutant boyfriend called
her "a lazy cow" - and I can't say he was wrong.

She often took advantage of my good nature by going
out for a drink with one or two of her motley assortment of
'pals' (on unscheduled breaks), leaving me to cope with long
queues by myself - even on a Saturday, the busiest day of the
week.  That said, I never enjoyed myself more than when she
dropped a sprog and took 6 months maternity leave, and
I worked alone for the entire duration she was off.

Being conscientious, I ran the business as if it were my
own, occasionally working past closing time to make sure
any small repairs not handled by the workshop in Newcastle
were completed in a timely (pun intended) fashion.  And guess
what?  In the six months she was away, I increased the takings
over the previous year for the same period by a whopping 10
grand.  Not a myth, not a hoax, not an imaginary story -
a full 10 thousand quid!  That's a lotta dosh!

When I left, after handing in a week's notice because
the bosses wouldn't confront the shopping centre owners
over the issue of 'hawkers' outside the shop doorway scaring
away casual browsers and distracting me from intricate pro-
cedures, the shop's takings immediately plummeted.  (Even
with the complement of staff now being back to two - her-
self and my replacement.)  How do I know?

Because I was in secret negotiations with the shop
owners about buying the business, along with a friend who
saw the potential of the place when he learned of how much
I'd increased takings during my former colleague's absence.
We'd therefore been supplied with figures of the business's
performance from the last year up to the present one.
The facts (and figures) spoke for themselves.

It seems unlikely that one person could increase
takings by such a huge sum, so there must've been other
factors at work which accounted for at least part of it.  Some-
times, before her absence, she'd 'phone on her days off to say
not to bother doing the 'banking' at closing time, as she'd do it
when she came in the next day.  Occasionally I'd do it 'though,
and there were instances when the cash in the safe didn't cor-
respond to what should've been there.  "Don't worry about
it," she'd say when I mentioned it, "it always balances up
in the end."  (I'm merely relating factual events - any
conclusions you draw are your own.)

The shopping centre owners were in some kind of
difficulty and weren't renewing leases on premises, so we
were told that we'd have to wait until this was sorted before
ownership of the lease could be transferred to us.  The sellers
advised us to get a lawyer, which we did, 'though when he con-
tacted their lawyer, his 'counterpart' told him that he hadn't
been informed of the intended sale, nor yet received any in-
structions to proceed on the matter.  The money was all
ready and waiting, but nothing was happening.

'Negotiations' wore on for a year and a half, during
which time I lost interest and realised that the prospect of
working again with my former colleague didn't at all appeal to
me.  I'd let myself be influenced by my friend and would-be co-
investor, who secured my participation with visions of immense
riches and becoming 'captain of my fate'.  I 'phoned the New-
castle boys and told them that, as far as I was concerned, the
deal was off, and followed that up with a letter telling them
in no uncertain terms what I thought of them for com-
placently dragging their heels for 18 months.

Anyway, her bosses eventually sold the business to
her (at a much higher price), which is probably a good
thing, because doubtless I'd have ended up sacking her.  I
couldn't say whether it's doing well or not, but as it makes no
difference to my life either way, it hasn't really occurred to
me to wonder about it.  Obviously, it won't ever do as well as
it would under my stewardship, but money couldn't buy the
sense of relief (and release) I felt the moment I made
up my mind to simply walk away from it all.

Sometimes, "Never go back" can be a very smart
decision - even 'though it's not one you'll often hear
nostalgists such as myself admit to.


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

remember my dad giving me a notebook one day,
and when I took it into school with me a short time later, a
girl in my class called LYNNE SPEED (or Lynn, perhaps)
took a fancy to it for some reason and offered to swap me an
issue of CREEPY WORLDS #68 for it.  I agreed, but a few
days afterwards, I felt bad about having parted with the
notebook and asked Lynne if she'd swap back.

She was agreeable to the proposition, but it took her 
several more days to bring the notebook into school with
her.  And that's all there is to that little story.  Apart from to
say that the IRON MAN strip in this ALAN CLASS reprint
title always reminds me of the annexe huts (where the deal was
struck) in my school playground and Lynne herself.  The cover
of the comic is from an un-retouched stat of the original art,
as a few changes were made before it was first published in
the pages of TALES Of SUSPENSE #44 (below).

As you'll have noticed, 'pharaoh' on both covers is
misspelt, something that I still see in newspapers today.
When the story was reprinted in recent MASTERWORKS
and OMNIBUS editions, the mistake was restored (it had
been corrected for previous reprints), but in the absence of
uncorrected proofs, it had to be re-lettered the wrong way.
They missed one on the splash page 'though, and the alter-
ations back to the uncorrected text were less skillfully
executed than the original amendments.

Lynne Speed in 1967

Not much of a point to this post, admittedly,
but I just wanted to see that KIRBY cover again
and  remember things as they used to be when the
world seemed a much brighter and better place.  If
you've any memories of your own connected to
  this Iron Man tale, then feel free to share. 
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