Alternate Titles

January 1, 2013

Unsurprisingly the world didn’t end on December 21st 2012. The goalposts have now been moved to later this year when an asteroid will collide with earth and/or Jellystone park’s subterranean volcano will errupt. I wonder if anyone has warned Yogi and Boo-Boo?

The future for the guy on the cover of these comics doesn’t look too promising. In fact the best advice I can give to anyone is “Watch out, the world’s behind you.” Yes, I got the (excellent) 6 CD version of the VU’s Banana Album for Xmas…..

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Makes you think…..

January 1, 2013

Recent articles by James Glanz and Stephen Bayley have given me pause for thought. The Internet is fast becoming the C21st version of the C19th dark satanic mills and coal mines in terms of the pollution it is creating.”Server farms are costly, inefficient and environmentally destructive.” they say.

We are given the impression that using the Internet and your gleaming new tablet is free, clean and using next-to-no resources. In fact, the opposite is true. The huge international Internet companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon etc need enormous Server farms to handle the traffic. Google draws 260 million watts night and day 365 days a year.

“The Cloud”, which we are increasingly being asked to use to store our data (such as this blog!) isn’t a white fluffy cloud at all. It is really warehouses full of hot computers being cooled using vast amounts of electricity. And this energy use is growing year on year. Makes you think….

Server Farm

Another thing I learnt recently (From “Lighting” magazine) is that carbon emissions equivalent to 100 less coal fired power stations would be achieved if Lighting across the globe was updated and made more efficient. If people worldwide (we are ahead of the game here) finally replaced their GLS lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes with LEDs and switched off lights when they left a room immense long-term savings could be made. Amazingly, carbon emissions equivalent to 34 less power stations would be achieved if the poorer parts of the world just stopped using paraffin lamps and used electric lighting instead. I didn’t realise that there are still 2 billion people across the planet without mains electricity. Many of these people use paraffin lamps which give off enormous greenhouse emissions as well as being quite toxic to the human body after long-term exposure. Makes you think……

Spine roll

January 1, 2013

Adventures into the Unknown 20

ACGs “Adventures into the Unknown” is claimed to be the first ever continuing horror comic, beginning in 1948. After the Comic Code was introduced, unlike EC who cancelled most of their comics in disgust, ACG more pragmatically continued publishing by replacing their vampire and werewolf stories with (often quite cleverly written) mysteries and ghost stories.

There were at least 20 (monthly?) issues of the UK version of ACG’s “Adventures into the Unknown” published between 1958 and 1960 by The Arnold Book Company and/or Thorpe and Porter/Strato Publications Ltd depending whether you look on the front cover or the back cover or at the indicia inside. Issue 20 was probably published in 1960. It has an advert on the back cover showing issue No 2 of the UK version of “Mad Magazine” and issue No 1 of “Mad” is documented as having begun in October 1959. As well as containing the entire contents of AITU 107 (April 1959) this magazine also includes the contents of Marvel’s (quite recent!) “Tales to Astonish” No 7 (January 1960) and two stories from “Astonish” No 5. You got value for your shilling in 1960, despite those “big 68 pages” being only in glorious black and white. Now, a mere 52 years later, you get a crumbling, yellowing artifact still only worth a shilling but now also suffering from the dreaded “spine roll”. Although it sort of survives digitally here the comic itself barely survives. It didn’t like being scanned and is now well and truly broken.

Nuff Said 34

January 1, 2013

Emma Lion

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Sham, drudgery and broken dreams about sums things up. This version is much nearer to reality.

Maureen and Sterling

January 1, 2013

More Atlas

January 1, 2013

Although they are now 38 years old it still seems to be quite easy to get the 1975-version Atlas Comics for not too much money. Galactus knows why, but on an impulse I’ve just acquired a stack of them from eBay. And I’ve still got loads that I foolishly bought when they were new!! Despite supposedly having given up “collecting” years ago, and as I’m so near to a full set, against my better judgement I feel an overwhelming urge to locate the missing issues now that I have virtually the complete checklist right here. I’m only missing the (difficult to find in the UK ) one-shot Gothic Romances and two Monster Mags.

Marvel Comics had called themselves Atlas for a period in the late 1950s. The UK also had an Atlas Publications producing comics and annuals at the same time. Most likely due to editorial disarray and a belief that as long as it looked like a Marvel comic it would sell in truckloads Seaboard/Atlas only survived for 6 months in 1975. By the time the returns began flooding in, it must have been obvious that the comics weren’t selling.

In 2011 three of the  Seaboard Atlas characters re-appeared with updated versions of The Grim Ghost, Phoenix and Wulf the Barbarian. I dunno if they’re still being published now though. And I don’t think they’re likely to resurrect Vicki…….

Out of the 70 original 1975 comics and magazines spanning 28 titles there were 4 issues of Vicki. The other comics may have been of variable quality but at least they were new, if a trifle derivative of contemporary Marvel material. Vicki comics were derivative of Archie comics and also reprints. The covers may have been new but the stories in the 4 issues had originally appeared in the 1960s in Tower’s Tippy Teen comics. Some of the Tippy/Vicki artwork was slightly re-drawn to make the clothes a little less dated, but they still looked like Archie comics from a decade earlier.