Thursday, 23 November 2017

(BOND) BABE OF THE DAY - CAROLINE MUNRO...



You only really need two words to describe
CAROLINE MUNRO - "Wotta darlin'!"

HE'S CHEAPER THAN THE AVERAGE BEAR...



See the above YOGI BEAR pottery figurine from 1977?  Daft question - of course you do.  There are three of them available on eBay at the moment from two sellers, priced at nearly £25 each.  This little chappie (6 inches high) arrived to live with me today, and cost less than a fiver - purchased through eBay, same as the other ones mentioned.  Just shows that there are bargains to be had if you look out for them.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

YOU CAN'T JUDGE A (COMIC) BOOK BY ITS COVER - OR CAN YOU...?


Image copyright DC COMICS

That's a great cover image above, isn't it?  So here's a question for all you cavortin' Criv-ites out there.  Have you ever bought a comic mainly for the cover, only to be disappointed with the contents?  Or found that, however brilliant you thought the cover was, astonishingly, it didn't do justice to the story within?  In fact, you can comment on any permutations of those two questions you can come up with.  And here's another - what were the covers, and what was it about them that appealed to you?  (Okay, that's another two questions, but who's counting - apart from me?)

******

I've just realised that the above cover is from 1988 - a kick in the pants off 30 years ago.  I'm flabbergasted - it seems so much more recent than that.  Where on earth does the time go?  

BABE OF THE DAY - NICOLE MURPHY...



"I'm over here, Gordie" says NICOLE
MURPHY, trying to attract my attention on
seeing me surrounded by hordes of gorgeous
women after my manly-man bod.  Seems like
she's the jealous type, but who can blame her
where I'm concerned, eh?  I'm quite a catch.
Hey, whaddya mean, one that she should
throw back?  Bloody cheek.

(And talking of cheek, check out Nicole's.)

DOOMSDAY CLOCK - THE MOORE THE MERRIER...? (UPDATED)



Given the recent news that DC COMICS are releasing a 12-part follow-up to WATCHMEN, it's perhaps not surprising that certain corners of the comics world are pompously pontificating about the 'injustice' heaped upon ALAN MOORE and DAVE GIBBONS.  Apparently, they were promised that copyright would revert to them if the collected book edition of their original series ever went out of print - but it never has.  Presumably that'll be because it still makes a profit, so how could any intelligent person really expect to be handed back the rights to something that was still earning money for its publishers?  The only way it'll ever go out of print is if/when it's been milked dry, something even Simple Simon could've told you.  I don't know what Alan Moore's response is to the current situation, but here's a post I wrote back in 2012, around the time of the movie, and I think the points it makes are still pertinent today.

******      

I've only met ALAN MOORE twice.  The first time was in 1984 at a comic mart in the MOIR HALL in Glasgow's MITCHELL LIBRARY, and the second was in 1985 in the 2000 A.D. offices in KING'S REACH TOWER in London.  On that first occasion STEVE MacMANUS gave me my break into the comics industry and, afterwards, the 2000 A.D. teamAlan MooreBERNIE JAYE, various other comics people and myself, invaded the CENTRAL HOTEL for a chat and a little light libation.

On the second occasion, Mr. Moore brought his daughter up to the twentieth floor of KRT to meet THARG The MIGHTY.  In both instances, the writer was polite, affable and soft-spoken - seemed like a perfectly nice guy in fact.  I very much doubt he'd remember meeting me - or, in fact, even know who I am.  No surprise - there are many millions who qualify in the latter category so you'll understand when I say that it's not something I'll lose any sleep over.


I only mention this so that you don't think I've any cause to hold a grudge against the man.  He wasn't rude to me, he didn't laugh at my accent, nor did he do or say anything to which I could take exception.  As I said - a perfectly nice guy.  When it comes to his writing, I've quite liked some of it and either not liked or been indifferent to what I've seen of the rest.  I'm of the opinion that when Mr. Moore works within 'Comic Code' guidelines, he turns out a nice little tale or two;  however, when he's given the freedom to indulge himself, I find that I have little interest in what he has to say.  He can certainly write, but that doesn't mean that everything he writes (I'm talking subject, not prose) is worth reading.  (A charge that can no doubt be levelled at myself when it comes to this blog.)

Which brings me to the point of this post.  I recently watched Mr. Moore's HARDtalk interview, in which, affable as ever, he came across as - it pains me to say it - a bit of a tit.  A charmingeccentric tit, true - but still a tit.  (I say that in the full knowledge that if ever someone stuck a camera in my face and asked me a few questions, I'd more than likely make a tit of myself too.)  Surely he must have friends - good friends - whose opinion he trusts - who can be relied upon to stop him making a public spectacle of himself whenever a microphone is waved in front of his heavily-bearded gob?  You know, the sort of friends who'll watch 'his' movies for him and then tell him how bad they are, to spare him the ordeal of doing the groundwork when it comes to forming an opinion for himself.

Have none of those friends got the spuds to tell him that he's severely damaged his credibility as a 'principled' individual by claiming, on air, that he accepted dosh for movie options on his works only because he believed they would never be produced?  Prepared to take money for nothing in other words, and seemingly without a shred of embarrassment about publicly admitting it.  (One would think he'd have realised that, after the first movie was made, the chances of the others similarly seeing fruition were distinct possibilities.)
   

And what about his self-indulgent whinging about DC COMICS using his WATCHMEN characters in new stories?  It may have escaped his notice, but he's made a fairly good living from doing exactly the same thing for years, with the likes of SUPERMANSWAMP THINGMARVELMANCAPTAIN BRITAIN, and a whole host of other heroes he didn't create.  There's absolutely no difference between him writing tales for these characters and other writers crafting new stories for his creations.  In fact, as the Watchmen heroes were thinly-disguised reworkings of former CHARLTON properties, he can't even lay a firm claim to them to begin with.  And don't get me started on what he's done to the iconic literary creations of famous, long-dead authors who'd doubtless be incensed by what he's done with them.

As I said, Alan Moore appears to be a likeable-enough bloke. (Although, by all accounts, that LOST GIRLS stuff is decidedly dodgy.  Isn't it a crime to possess or make such pictures of minors?  I'm surprised that him and his missus haven't had their collars felt by the local constabulary yet.)  I'm sure you'd all hate to see 'Affable Al' opening his mouth and putting his foot in it yet again as much as I would, so - if you're a pal of his, do him a favour.  Next time you hear he's about to make a pronouncement on some subject or other - tell him to stick a sock in it.  Or better yet, stick one in for him.  You know it's for his own good.

(And in case any nasty spells are going to be coming my way, I should warn any angry wizards who may be reading that I'm protected by the Mystic Mirror of Moogamoto - it reflects spells and curses right back at where they came from.  So there!)

******

(Update:  Incidentally, it occurs to me that whether or not AM and DG were 'screwed' by DC is not the main issue here.  That's almost irrelevant because, presumably, even if the creators had no problem with DC owning the rights, they'd still object to prequels and sequels on the grounds that, in their minds, Watchmen was conceived as a 'stand alone' series and therefore requires no further embellishment or comment.  However, this is surely an unrealistic expectation, given the very nature of comicbooks.  New creators always come along and add something to an established 'universe', and if someone has what they think is a good idea for existing characters, it will be the readers who ultimately decide whether the published result (if it sees the light of day) is worthy or not.

Some people argue that the Watchmen characters are no mere copies of CHARLTON heroes, but rather an 'homage', which elevates them beyond the accusation of simple imitation.  There's a little bit of 'sleight-of-mind' in this approach though, because they weren't 'invented' out of a desire to pay tribute, but as a matter of expediency when DC resisted Moore's original idea of using the originals in his proposed idea for a story.  They're simply nothing more than 'stand-ins' therefore, not crafted from 'new cloth', but from cut-up, rearranged, and stitched-together pieces of old material.  So it's all right for Moore to use other people's characters (which is essentially what he did here), but not for others to do the same thing?

"O wad some pow'r the giftie gie us..."

Having said that, I won't be buying Doomsday Clock.  Another reboot of the DCU?  I could live with the first one back in the mid-'80s, but DC have done it so many times now that I've not only lost count, but also lost interest.  They just never seem to learn.       

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

LIKELY LAD RODNEY BEWES PASSES AWAY...



A shame to hear that RODNEY BEWES, alias BOB FERRIS of The LIKELY LADS, died today aged 79.  For years it was his wish that JAMES BOLAM, who played TERRY COLLIER, would speak to him again after falling out with him in the '70s, but it was not to be.  It'll be interesting to see if James Bolam comments on Rodney's death.  Condolences to his family, friends, and fans.  It's just a shame that we'll now never get to see that much wished-for update on the lives of Bob and Terry (and Thelma and Audrey).

Incidentally, I'm typing this in the very same room that I saw parts of the very first episode of WHATEVER HAPPENED To The LIKELY LADS (no question mark in the title) back in 1973.  I say 'parts' because I turned over at the start of the programme to another show (on ITV) I regularly watched, but turned back during the adverts.  (Once I could've told you just what that other show was, but no longer, alas.)  However, it wasn't long before the adventures of Bob and Terry became required viewing, and it's my favourite comedy show of all time.

The show was repeated over the years, but it always started from the second episode for some reason  - probably because the first was the 'set-up' episode, bridging the gap between the end of the '60s series and the '70s sequel, so if it was left out, viewers could just drop in as if the show had been on forever. It wasn't until 1993 when the series was rerun from the very beginning that I got to see the initial episode in its entirety for the very first time.  It took a whopping 20 years, but it was worth it.

If you've never seen 'Whatever', you've missed out on a classic.  Nip down to your local HMV store and treat yourself to the DVD box set at the earliest opportunity.   

MORE MOWSER...


Image copyright relevant owner

Here's another page of MOWSER for all fans of REG PARLETT and, of course, 'The Priceless Puss' himself.   This is a reprint that appeared in the 1976 LION Holiday Special, hence the bigger horizontal gutters between each tier to accommodate the different page dimensions.  Upon examination, I see that the panels have also been 'resized', but curiously not to the extent of maintaining the original gutter space.  Still funny though.

BABE OF THE DAY - GAL GADOT...



WONDER WOMAN once never needed anything
other than her bracelets to protect herself from knives,
swords, and guns, so probably the primary reason she was
given a shield for the movies is because the producers saw
what a great weapon it made in the hands of CAPTAIN
AMERICA in the MARVEL films.

But who cares about that when we have the stunning
GAL GADOT to look at - in a respectful, non-pervy way
of course.  (It's her mind we admire - right, lads?)

Monday, 20 November 2017

RUMINATING REPOST: CICELY MARY BARKER - THE FAIRY AND FLOWER GIRL...



I first showed these illustrations in two parts almost seven years back, but because they're worth seeing again, I decided to combine the two posts into a single unit.  Am I thoughtful or what?!

******

Way back in the early '80s, I was at a Christmas Fayre in my old primary school and acquired a small publication called The LITTLE PICTURE HYMN BOOK.  For no other reason than one of accuracy, I should perhaps mention that it was a Christmas Fayre on behalf of the church across the road from my old house, but was held in the school at the bottom of the same street for reasons of space.  (The Fayre was bigger than the church building could accommodate, you see.)  Not that it's important, but I'm fuelled by a compulsion to be as precise as I can when relating these small matters of personal history.


Anyway, the book had attracted my attention because it was illustrated by CICELY MARY BARKER (1895-1973), a famous artist of fairies (and flowers), much in the mould of the Cottingley fairies photographs which had so entranced Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE back around 1917-1920.  The book had a distinct charm and, through its colourful illustrations, conjured up a long-vanished era when children were children - and not the fractious, obnoxious creatures they are today.  One of the hymns in the booklet was "All Things Bright and Beautiful" which, in my previous primary in a different neighbourhood, my class had sung every morning just before the start of lessons.  I only had to hear (or read) a few lines of the hymn and I was transported back to practically the dawn of my childhood, so how could I resist buying the book for my very own collection?


Sometimes, when lying in bed at night, with nothing to read and bored out of my skull, I would dig out the book from my bedside drawer and look at the pictures - or even read "All Things Bright and Beautiful" to myself to remind me of my childhood days so many years before.  When we moved to a new house in 1983 and I found myself repeating the experience in my new abode, I couldn't do so without wistfully remembering doing the same thing in my old room in what seemed another life away.


Amazingly, just over four years later, we moved back to the previous house - where I still reside 30-plus years later.  Now, whenever I look through my little book of an evening, not only do I remember doing so in the same room of the same house nearly 35 years before, I also recall doing so in the other house while looking back on the one I now reside in - almost as if I'm observing myself through a window, watching myself through another window as I contemplate myself in the room in which I now sit looking back on the past.  Yeah, I know, it's a difficult one - you'll have to think about it for a moment.


So what's the point of all this philosophical rambling?  Merely this:  I wanted to explain the reasons why I now unleash upon you the twelve colour illustrations by Cicely Mary Barker from The Little Picture Hymn Book.  Looking at them, don't you feel like a little kid again, playing under the hot Summer sun in the grassy green fields of your childhood when you thought you'd be a child forever?

Someone tell me that it's not just me.


Anyway, enjoy the serenity and tranquility that these illustrations epitomize, and try to recall what it was like to be a child of another, far different era.






BABE OF THE DAY - ANNA BOR...



Why do women wear makeup and perfume?
Because they're ugly and they smell!  Guffaw!
(Just couldn't resist that old joke.)  All the 'babes'
on this blog are simply stunning though, as the
gorgeous ANNA BOR amply testifies.

WOULD YOU DIE TO LIVE...?


Image copyright relevant owner

Here's a question for all you cavortin' Criv-ites to consider.  Imagine that Science one day masters the technique of transferring your brain patterns into a synthetic body - much like NOMAN from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS.  That means a new, younger body, with all your thoughts, tastes, memories and morals would live on, perhaps forever.

There's one little problem though.  Unlike Noman, it wouldn't be your actual consciousness that would be transferred, only a simulation of it.  And the process of transference would effectively cause your original body and brain to enter a vegetative state, with death following soon after.  So, although in one sense 'you' would live on, it would be a copy of you, not you yourself.

Ponder this scenario for a moment.  You're in your 80s and approaching the end of your life, with perhaps only a few years to go if you're lucky.  Would you sacrifice those years for the chance of perpetuating the 'essence' of yourself for many more years to come, thereby preserving all your memories of your life up to that point?

Or would you prefer to take whatever comes, and to hell with the promise of pseudo-immortality?  Do tell.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

IT JUST GETS WORSE AND WORSE (UPDATED)...



Remember me telling you about this issue of TV21 #2 on sale on eBay for £75?  (It has a quarter of the back cover missing.)  Well, the seller has now upped his asking price to £195 - still claiming not to know its true value.  I think it's a safe bet he knows exactly what it's worth - which makes him either a total chancer and perhaps even a crook.  What do you think, readers?

(Update:  I've just noticed that he's got the exact same issue listed twice - at two different prices.  £74 in one listing, £195 in the other.  When I say the same issue, I mean he's only got one copy to sell, not two.  What a total chancer.  Meanwhile, another seller is currently offering a slightly (very slightly) better-condition copy (with a coupon missing) for £27.00.  At least the second seller is being a tad more realistic.

MICHTY ME - IT'S MOWSER...


Image copyright relevant owner

From the back cover of the 1976 LION Holiday Special, comes the magnificent moggy known as MOWSER.  Despite the age-ravaged condition of this particular page, it'll still provide you with a laugh, not only because of the humorous script, but also because of REG PARLETT's great art, which was always funny to look at. 

More Mowser soon, folks.  Don't miss it. 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

BABE OF THE DAY - NICHELLE NICHOLS...



The radiant NICHELLE NICHOLS is our
'babe' today, fellas.  It's fitting that she appeared
in STAR TREK, 'cos she sure has one heavenly
body.  (Winner of the 'most obvious pun of
the year' award, as if you hadn't guessed.)

IS THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE A 'PHOTO-FINISH' - OR IS IT MORE NEGATIVE THAN THAT...?



In an age where just about every new mobile 'phone has a built in camera, younger readers may find it hard to believe that cameras were once not considered essential items, and were, in fact, regarded as a bit of a luxury.  It's only in relatively recent years that people seem to have developed (no photographic pun intended) a need to document their life story by taking constant photos of themselves and their pals, as previous generations didn't give quite the same degree of thought to it.

My father owned an old Kodak Box Brownie in the '60s - at a time when they were considered 'old-fashioned' and far from state-of-the-art.  He never had a flash for it though (flashbulbs were too expensive), so took any photos out-of-doors - in the back garden when we were at home, and on or near the beach or out-and-about when we were on holiday.  And, looking back at the photos from over the years (including colour ones from when he got a new camera in the '70s), there aren't really too many of them.  Unlike today, photos were reserved for 'special occasions', and going from the paucity of pictures from my childhood, there can't have been too many of them.  (And several snaps have heads cut off, or dutch-tilt' angles like something from the '60s Batman TV show.) 

Perhaps the cost of processing was considered too expensive to take photographs willy-nilly, but I find myself wishing that there were more of them from my youth, and that some of them had been taken indoors.  The only interior one that readily comes to mind was taken by a visiting relative on their camera, and we were given a copy when the spool was developed.  I find myself fascinated by such photos for the glimpses they give of long-vanished furniture, ornaments, wall-hangings and the like, and wish I had more of those 'windows into the past' so that I could luxuriate in the self-indulgent pastime of revisiting former homes and neighbourhoods from my period of residence.

What about yourselves, readers?  Do you lament the fact that your early years were not more extensively recorded for posterity, or was a member of your family a keen 'shutterbug' who snapped just about everyone and everything around them?  Is there one particular incident or special occasion in your life that was never photographed, but that you dearly wish had been?  Feel free to tell your fellow Criv-ites all about it in our scintillating comments section.

Friday, 17 November 2017

NEVER MIND THE CENTURY - JUST WHAT WORLD IS THIS EBAY SELLER LIVING IN? (UPDATED)...



Look at the state of this issue of TV CENTURY 21 for which some seller is asking £75 on eBay.  The same seller was asking £229 for an even poorer condition (by far) copy of #1, which he eventually sold (he says) for £59.  His ads say that he's unsure of their true worth so is open to reasonable offers, but he must surely have seen what other sellers ask for issues of this particular title.  In my opinion, whether he has or not, he's simply chancing his arm to see what he can get away with.  What price would you be prepared to pay for a comic in this tattered, ragged condition, readers?  I'd rather do without the comic (though I don't have to, 'cos I've got great condition copy) than have this abomination.  What about the rest of you?

Update:  The seller has now increased the asking price to £195.  Can you believe it?



A NEW CHRISTMAS CARD...



Meant to post this a couple of hours or so back, but fell asleep.  It's a Christmas card I made at the suggestion of regular reader CJ, after I showed a photo of my dog Zara in the previous post, taken around 1987 or '88.  Thanks to the wonders of modern technology (namely an Epson printer and Wordpad), I 'created' this in about 10 or 15 minutes - and that includes the printing, cutting, folding, and placing the message inside.  I think it looks great and will be making some more to send out this Christmas.  What do you think, readers?


Update:  I've changed the layout of the greeting, which you can see below.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

ANOTHER RUMINATING REPOST - A DOGGIE TALE (EXPANDED)...


Zara circa December 1987

After publishing the previous post, I realized that I hadn't mentioned our first dog, so although this has a similar theme, I thought it deserved to be seen again so that he got his fair share of attention.  I've added three photos that didn't appear in the first version, and also updated the original to include them.

******

I was in the back garden filling my bird feeders the other day (as I do every day) and, coming in through the porch door, I spied scratches in the paintwork on the lower part of the exterior of the kitchen door in front of me.  I'd seen them before, naturally (many times), but so used to them am I now that they don't really register with me anymore, so why they did on this occasion I'm not quite sure.

The scratches had been caused by not just one dog, but three.  First, PRINCE, a mongrel we'd owned back in the early '70s that looked almost like a 'miniature' German Shepherd;  then TARA, an actual German Shepherd we owned from around the mid-'70s to 1986.  Finally, ZARA (another German Shepherd), who I'd bought to replace Tara when her time had come to an end earlier in the same year.

Zara circa 1987

What's interesting 'though, is that we'd moved away from this house in 1983, when Tara was eight and a half years old.  Tara died three years later, which is when I got Zara - and a year after that we moved back to our previous house (as regular readers will be tired of reading).

So what's interesting about that?  Well, the back door of that other house likewise has scratches from both Tara and Zara (made when they were seeking re-entry after being out in the garden 'watering' the plants), so both houses bear the marks of the same two dogs, but, in the case of this house, made with a four year gap between them.

It had occurred to me a few years back to fill in the scratches, but now I don't think I'll ever bother.  It's somehow oddly reassuring to see the 'footprints' of our three dogs still there after all this time (Zara died nineteen years ago), as fresh as when they were first made.  It's as if Prince, Tara and Zara are still around in some way.

Tara circa 1984

In fact, sometimes, when the wind is howling late at night, I seem to hear scratching at the back door and a muffled whining, as if something is seeking shelter from the elements.  My first thought, of course, is that my ears are playing tricks on me, but then my curiosity kicks in and I make my way through to the kitchen to check things out.

Whenever I open wide the door, however, only the inky blackness of the night beyond stares back at me - but the unmistakable smell of doggie fur hangs in the midnight air, as if I've only just missed a canine visitor or three wishing to remind me that their spirits yet linger out in the garden in case I should ever forget them. 

Never, my doggie pals - never.

******

Finally managed to find some pictures of Prince.  The original photos bear the printed date of July 1974 in the margins, but whether this is when they were taken or developed, I'm unsure.  If the latter, there wouldn't be much of a gap between the two occasions.  Alas, poor Prince.  We only had him for about a year-and-a-half.  In fact, as I've only got three photos of him, I might as well show them all here.



RUMINATING REPOST: THE THINGS WE LEAVE BEHIND...



The row of houses I once lived in

Ofttimes, when we move from one phase of our lives into another, we do so without a backward glance and with nary a thought to what we're leaving behind.  For example, when I passed through the gate of my primary school for the final time, the fact that it was part of my life that was seemingly gone forever didn't, as far as I recall, perturb me in the slightest.  Soon, the classrooms and corridors of my secondary school became the familiar routine of my daily life, and I'm surprised, looking back today, at just how quickly and easily I adapted to the change without even realizing it.

The front gate of my old primary school - from the inside

It wasn't until I revisited my old primary a few years later, after having left secondary and joined the working classes, that it dawned on me that, in some mysterious, mystical, magical way, I was still connected to this aspect of my past and, in truth, had never really parted from it.  You see, not thinking about a thing is not the same as forgetting it.  The memory yet dwells in our subconscious;  what we forget is the act of remembering - until, that is, something suddenly triggers the memory and causes it to erupt in our minds like an exploding firework.

The toilets - listen to that water trickle

I remember one day a few years back, when I suddenly caught a whiff of disinfectant and was instantly transported back to the toilets of my old primary school, where I often used to retire to during lessons for a bit of peace and quiet in the cool of the tiled environs, with the sound of gently-gurgling water emanating from the cubicle cisterns and porcelain urinals.  I felt such a soothing sense of tranquility there, and it was my very own 'fortress of solitude' for five minutes at a time whenever the confines of the classroom became too claustrophobic for me.  ( I assume my teacher simply thought I had a weak bladder.)

I can see my house from here.  The view from my classroom

I've previously mentioned how I felt when I revisited a former home for the first time since I'd left 16 years before (which, at the time, was more than half my life away), and it was practically the same as when I'd left.  As I said in this post,  it was as if the intervening years and two houses I'd lived in since were only a dream, and I still felt right at home there.  I'm sure we've all had the experience of meeting someone we haven't seen or thought of in years and it's just as if we saw them only a short while before.  That's how I felt on that particular day.

My former back garden - ah, happy memories

When we moved back to my present house after four years away, I was surprised to see the hand-shovel we'd kept outside the back door for lifting our dog's 'number twos' from the lawn was still where we'd inadvertently left it.  The couple who'd lived here in our absence had used it for the very same purpose (I assume) with their own dog.  We'd already acquired a replacement, so I don't think we kept the old one (for long anyway) after moving back, which is rather sad.  To wait there (loyally) for four years, only to get so callously discarded when we returned - ah, the injustice.    

Tara - in the 'other' house.  She spent the last three years of her life
 there, after living eight and a half years in the one I again occupy 

One thing I remember being pleasantly surprised at was again seeing the scratches our dog (Tara) had made in the door when we first lived here.  She'd also scratched the back door of the home we'd just left (and in which she'd expired) to return here, but I was saddened to see on a recent visit to that house after 30 years, that the doors had been replaced and her 'presence' there obliterated.  As was her successor's (Zara), who spent her first year in that house and who also contributed to the back door 'etchings'.  Of course, Zara added her own 'signature' to the back door of this house when we returned, so two different doors in two different houses once bore the marks of the same two dogs for a goodly number of years.
  
Tara's successor, Zara (who was born a month before Tara
died), in my present abode not too long after moving back

Well, I could labour the point I suppose, with example after example, but I'm sure you're all smart enough to catch my drift.  Things we may think we've left behind (whether or not, at the time, we were even aware of it) come with us without us realizing it.  They reside in the caverns of memory, reluctant to let go of us despite our seeming indifference to them.  Whether it be garden gates, bedroom carpets, once favourite toys, favoured friends, or whatever, they follow us throughout our lives, just waiting for an opportune moment to renew the acquaintance.

Long may it ever be so.   

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

READER'S VOICE - "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO CALL THIS POST, KID?"...



One thing that always annoyed me about British humour strips was when the characters were portrayed as being aware that they existed only in a comic strip that was read by 'real' people.  If a character spoke directly to the reader, it told me that the writer had struggled to come up with a decent idea that particular week, or had simply taken the path of least resistance.  I didn't mind it when it was a puzzle or activity page, and STEADFAST McSTAUNCH (or whoever) was inviting the reader to join the dots or colour in a picture - that was okay, but when it was part of a story, it could be irksome.  I don't mind when a character is 'looking out' of a panel and speaking for the reader's benefit in an indirect way, but not when he's addressing the reader 'straight-on'.  (Incidentally, I'm not talking about host-type, 'serious' strips like TALES Of The WATCHER, only humour ones.)   

Even worse though, was when there'd be a speech balloon from off-panel, with a 'reader's voice' label advising us of the fact.  What's wrong with just having a friend, neighbour, bystander, or passerby asking "How will you get your homework finished in time now, Roger?" instead of an intrusive comment from an imaginary reader?  As I said in a previous post, this constant reminder that we're reading a comic ruins the sense of internal 'reality' required to make a strip believable.  (Even 'funny' strips require an element of reality to accentuate the humour of the piece.)

Don't get me wrong though - a 'reader's voice' word balloon can sometimes be used to good effect on occasion, but it loses it's ability to surprise, amuse and entertain when it's the 'default setting', resorted to as a matter of course rather than for a specific and surreal effect.

So tell me - did this ever bug you as much as it did me, or am I 'shouting at the clouds' again?  The comments section awaits (and awaits, and awaits, and awaits...).

******

(I couldn't be bothered searching through a pile of comics to try and find a suitable pictorial example, so I quickly drew the above one myself with a Sharpie fine marker.  Remember, it's only a 'quickie'.)
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