Oct 30, 2008

All too often I hear a fab song and rush out and buy the CD. Then I find that every other track pales in comparison to the one track I liked in the first place. Here is a case in point. I believe Hellsongs (stupid name for a group by the way) come from Sweden. This CD mostly comprises of cover versions of “metal” music pared down into a gentler/slower/more acoustic/often piano driven way. Its an interesting concept but personally I would have chosen different songs to cover.

The one track that really works is their version of “Paranoid” (as made infamous by those Brummies Black Sabbath). Its even better than Cindy and Bert’s version. Highly recommended if only for this one track.

More Ogri

Oct 30, 2008

For a time in the late 1970s MB Games (Milton Bradley) sold a selection of 6 Jigsaw Puzzles featuring a few famous and not so famous Warren Comic Covers.

Jigsaws were available showing the cover art of Creepy 28,71,81 and Eerie 38,59,84. As I own the Creepy 28 one I thought I’d pull out the actual issue for a closer look. Cover dated August 1969 it was published at a time when Warren needed to resort to using a number of reprinted stories to find enough material to fill the magazines. Despite having seen some of the stories before the new material is still interesting. The results of an earlier competition are announced whereby a reader had to send in a script to be published. The winner was Reuben Reid. I wonder if that was the only thing he ever had published?

“Grub” also caught my eye. Scripted by Nicola Cuti (perhaps his first for Warren?) with artwork by Tom Sutton.

The splash page artwork doesn’t really look like Tom Sutton’s work. The rest of the art has a polished “Wally Wood” space opera look to it.There is a nice shock ending.

I also like the story “The Doorway” drawn by Dan Adkins. Although it had already been published in Creepy 11 a couple of years earlier this time it inspired the cover artwork and I’m back to where I began. It’s a long time since I did a Jigsaw Puzzle…………………………

The Modds

Oct 23, 2008

Its always worth checking out http://www.garagehangover.com for some obscure yet oh so catchy (and sometimes scratchy) singles. Why is there no date on this single ?? Who were the Modds ?? Andy Warhol said that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. I never will be and neither will the Modds. Yet this charming tune is ten times better than most of the stuff I’ve heard on the radio today.

PS: For completeness I really must include the “b” side “Leave my House” here. Although it hardly sounds like the same band it is probably nearer to how they would have sounded live than the “a” side. It sounds like the amps were turned up to 11 as the guitar and vocal drowns out whatever other instruments were there at the time.

Eyeballs in the Sky

Oct 20, 2008

If you wondered how the crabs in the rockpool felt when the dog looked down on them in the “Perishers” strip cartoon (see an earlier blog)……………… Either the people who made this video have far more computer skills than me or..or.. I don’t know what to say………………….

Spot the Difference

Oct 16, 2008

A number of subtle and not so subtle changes to the script (and art) took place between the Rex Havoc stories in the Warren magazine 1984 and their collection in Warren Presents 14 a couple of years later. Here are just a few examples.

Above: Warren’s 1984 #4. Below: Warren Presents #14.

Above: Warren’s 1984 #4. Below: Warren Presents #14.

Above: Warren’s 1984 #4. Below: Warren Presents #14.

This magazine from 1973 was an interesting concept. A “how to” manual with good solid advice on how to set out a script and basic advice on lettering and artwork. I’m sure Charlton, along with all the other comic book companies of the time received unsolicited submissions in biro/pencil/on the backs of cereal packets! This was a nice thing to hand out to people explaining that a good starting point was to produce something neat,clean and tidy. Useful advice included keeping a “swipe file” and “plenty of erasers”. I presume this magazine was sold at conventions as well as being available by mail order/with subscriptions.

This magazine was the first time I’d seen the Comic Book Code spelt out in its entirety.

Nuff Said 13

Oct 13, 2008

Aphrodite’s Child

Oct 10, 2008

This was the only Greek pop group I was aware of in the 1960s although I’m sure there must have been many more. With the talents of Lucas Sideras, Vangelis Papathanassiou and the unmistakeable vocals of Demis Roussos, Aphrodite’s Child soon developed from the bubblegum pop of “Rain and Tears” in 1968 to the concept album “666” of 1972.

I highly recommend all their stuff. Their last single “Break” is fab. “It’s 5 o’clock” is atmospheric. 

Humour is dead

Oct 7, 2008

I see that the (to me incredibly unfunny yet) incredibly popular UK TV Comedy sketch show “Little Britain” is currently attempting to break into America. But rather than just show existing episodes the cast have to create new USA-centric characters. American TV execs have so little faith in their viewers ability to cope with British TV shows that they usually have to be re-written or totally re-done in an American context. Yet we are quite able to take an American sitcom (or even soap opera) as it is and comprehend what is going on no matter how different the situations portrayed are to our lifestyles. In the States a sitcom usually consists of a verbal tennis match of one-liners written by a team of script writers. Our comedy TV shows are usually written by just one person with the comedy (often mixed with pathos) coming from the situation itself as exemplified by “One foot in the grave” with its catchphrase “I don’t believe it!”.

I know the past is a different country but even so I pause to marvel how bizzarre it seems that people could make a career out of a “catch phrase”. None of these phrases are inherently funny and yet at the time….
Can I do you now sir?
Don’t panic!
Stupid boy!
It’s the way I tell ’em.
I’m free.
Am I bovvered?
Mr Grimsdale! etc etc

The oddest catchphrase was “Where’s Me Shirt?” which Ken Dodd used in his mid 1960s Radio show. Ken is approaching 81 years old yet still tours with his 4 hour stream of consciousness saying things like:-
“What a beautiful day missus. What a beautiful day for sticking a cucumber through someone’s letterbox and shouting ‘Help,help,the martians have landed’ .”

Space Patrol

Oct 5, 2008

My first ever exposure to the fantastic worlds of Science Fiction as a child wasn’t books or comics but rather two puppet shows. Circa 1963/1964 I was enthralled by “Fireball XL5” and “Space Patrol”. Although only viewed in Black and White on an ancient Ekco TV (with a 14″ screen in a much larger rectangular box) these two programmes were the highlights of my week. Incidentally the TV set was made by the British company E.K.Cole in the mid 1950s. Those were the days when Japanese/Chinese imported electrical goods didn’t exist. The cabinet maker was as important as the designer of the electrical bits. And “letting it warm up” was the period of waiting for the valves to build up enough to put a 405 line (50Hz VHF) picture upon the tube.

“Fireball XL5” is well known even today as the third in a number of Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionations. “Space Patrol” however seems to have fallen through a crack in time and space and has never been re-shown on TV since the 1960s to the best of my knowledge. I don’t know what brought the thought into my head but I’ve just looked on Youtube and, sure enough, there it is. The opening and closing scenes contain some of the first electronic music/sound effects as it was broadcast even before the first episode of the long-running Dr Who (another influence I suppose.) The alien characters in “Space Patrol” are peculiar, but, like “Fireball XL5” it does contain what I still imagine to this day “proper” robots should look like. There is a boxed set DVD now available but it seems quite expensive.

(PS:to prevent any confusion “Space Patrol” was apparantly called “Planet Patrol” in the States as there had already been a “Space Patrol” live action Science Fiction show on American TV in the 1950s.)

Batman Gum Cards 2

Oct 1, 2008

Here are all the “Red Bat” cards.

It seems the artist responsible for many of the original 1966 painted Batman bubblegum cards, as well as the earlier Mars Attacks, Civil War, Flags of the World etc cards was the talented artist Norman Saunders (1907 – 1989). His son has produced a fascinating account of his life (with pictures of all the Batman cards) here.

Here are all the “Red Bat” cards.