Saturday, 29 September 2012

Sweet Dreams and Monsters

"A Beginner's Guide to Dreams and Nightmares and Things That Go Bump under the Bed" says the cover. An informative, educational and reassuring book about how and why we dream, but that's not the reason I was given this book many, many years ago - it was because it was filled with great monster pictures! Nicely written by Peter Mayle, and VERY nicely illustrated by Arthur Robins back in 1987. I won't be posting all of the text here, just the pictures. Of which there are many.

Friday, 28 September 2012

When Telly Was Good, Part 2

Friday night is telly night! Well, it USED to be anyway. Nostalgic waxing... The Simpsons, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Top of the Pops, 999, Strange But True, Red Dwarf blah blah blah etc. All good shows, most readily available. What you CAN'T get in DVD box-set form are those dedicated evenings that used to be broadcast occasionally. Lots of different things, most specially produced, with a common theme and shown over the entirity of a Friday night.

Last week we had Weird Night, and this week we've got... Monster Night!

Originally shown back in 1998, around the time of the release of that Godzilla film that no-one liked, it's a fun evening. There's a 40-minute documentary about Godzilla and his mates, a Lee & Herring sketch concerning the world's nine scariest monsters (with Carol Vorderman), and the whole thing's separated by three fat men (Bill Bailey, Phil Jupitus and Chris Moyles) and Jonathan Ross's brother placing bets on a few monster fights.

The whole thing's been uploaded to YouTube by various folk, and I've put it into a handy playlist form below. There's a big chunk at the end missing - namely the two films that were shown on the night. So instead I've stuck in the trailers for those films. A poor substitute, I know, but it's an effort. Enjoy!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Is it bad? Nah, It's Wicked!

In the space-age year of 1989, Marvel's UK arm decided to have a stab at DC Thomson's racket with a couple of strange comics. One of those shall be looked at right now, and the other at some other time. This is the first one, and it's wicked - It's Wicked!

Yep, that's Slimer from The Real Ghostbusters on the cover - Marvel already had a Ghostbusters comic out, so they must've thought it'd made sense to launch a new bunch of characters off the back of this ugly little spud. The big orange square is where the free tattoos were displayed - and as I don't have the tattoos to hand, we're left with a deceptively spartan cover! The font up there's an obvious Dandy rip-off, but we'll forgive them that much. The covers for the other two issues I have are less lonesome-looking than this one:

 We've got Slimer's hilarious attempt at body-building on this one...

And some advice to the youngsters about not hiding inside the mouths of lions on this one. Makes sense when you think about it.

Right, let's see what's inside them!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sidney The Monster

Ah, Sidney The Monster! One of literature's greats. Written by David Wood, fantastically illustrated by Clive Scruton - this is one of my all-time favourites. And it's another one with new things to see on every read-through, which are always the best kind of books. This one even won an award! Says so on the back:

And what's good enough for Nottingham's kids is good enough for everyone, right? So let's read on...

When Telly Was Good, Part 1

A long, long time ago, before everyone had YouTube or 700 channels, there was only four channels to choose from for entertainment, education, information or whatever. Also, if you just stuck a camera in front of a celebrity and filmed them planning a wedding or something, that didn't count as a TV show. No, back then, EFFORT had to be made for television stuff. There was still guff, obviously, but a few times a year, whole "theme nights" would be given over to a particular theme.

In December of 1994, BBC2 showed this:

Weird Night, a whole evening's worth of brand new, specially-commissioned programming focusing on strangeness, alternately presented by Roger Corman and a giant talking baby's head. Beginning with a round-up of the year's strange news (narrated by Tom Conti), there was also a series of talking-head bits of people recounting odd incidents that had befell them, a documentary on America's last travelling freak show, an episode of The X-Files, a short film concerning urban legends, a panel discussion within the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum in Blackpool (featuring Bob Rickard of Fortean Times, amongst other people), and then "weird movies" until dawn.

And here's one of the few good things about modern media - YouTube means that we can watch the GOOD TELLY, again! Some kind-hearted soul out there has uploaded Weird Night in its entirity (minus the X-Files episode and the "weird movies"). And through the magic of playlist-embedding, here's Weird Night, all three hours and ten minutes of it.

So go on, cook yourself a big shepherd's pie, grab an extra large mug of tea and a bag of Liquorice Allsorts and settle down for an evening's viewing of GOOD TELLY:

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tin Teacher

There's always been "archetypes" in comics. You know, take a theme and run with it. There's "gang of unruly kids" (Bash Street Kids, Banana Bunch), "rebellious little nutter" (Dennis the Menace, The Smasher), "girl who fights and stuff" (Minnie the Minx, Beryl the Peril), "strange animal-mad hybrid" (Biffo the Bear, Mickey the Monkey), "over-imaginative child" (Dreamy Daniel, Les Pretend), and so on and etc. One of the more oddly specific "types" would be "robot teacher and his class that wishes to murder him". We've already seen Autoteach from the Topper. Well, now we have Tin Teacher from Buster!

Drawn by Peter Davidson, and originally running from 1965-1970, I've got a bunch of them here from several 1979 reprints. In contrast to Autoteach and his adversaries, both robot and pupils here are equally sadistic, with the class cooking up ways to crush, decapitate, bury and otherwise annihilate the mechanical master, who in turn takes a lot of pleasure from whacking the kids senseless. I've scanned as many as them as I can find below, but there's a few two-parters that are missing either the first or second part. Sorry, like.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Max Overload! - Part 4 (and the last part, for now)

And so we come to the final strip from Max Overload!, and it's a doozy! Definitely a case of "shit game, great comic" with this one, as it's about Greendog - which is a very, VERY boring platformer for the Mega Drive. Drawn by ILYA (aka Ed Hillyer, of Deadline and Crisis fame) and written by Ian Carney (who, along with Woodrow Phoenix created the intriguingly titled humour anthology SugarBuzz). Enjoy.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Go and buy some food, why don'tcha??

Some semi-interesting food-based adverts from various comics of the late-Eighties and early-Nineties...

Start your day with wheat!

Turtle or slime flavoured, it's up to you.

Then have some snacks:

Those Curly Wurly bits are by Martin Chatterton, in case you're wondering.

Here's a drink.

And it's potato shapes for tea... Again.

And for your pudding... Rubble!

Hah, just joking. It's only a yogurt. 

"Just think, you could have a dinosaur for tea!"

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Amstrad's GX4000

I've never owned Alan Sugar's entry into the home console market, and I've only played on one of them once. For anyone who doesn't know what I'm on about, look on YouTube or something, there's loads there. I'm just here to post interesting scans. And in this case, two widely contrasting scans.

First, here's an advert for the machine from a 1990 issue of the Dandy, drawn by DC Comics "romance" artist Frank Langford:

And here, from the March 1992 issue of Game Zone, is this:

Seems that something went wrong, somewhere. From what I've played (Burnin' Rubber, which was alright), and from what I've seen (Navy Seals looks great, as does Pang), it doesn't look all that bad. Maybe AT THE TIME it was, but seemingly not in retrospect. Worth looking into, it seems.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A quick plug for Plug

Here's another short-lived DC Thomson comic (there's a lot of them!) - this one based around the sporting adventures of Percival Proudfoot Plugsley, aka. Plug from the Bash Street Kids. I only have the one issue (they seem to be scarce), so everything I know about it is based on this one here, and Graham Kibble-White's mostly excellent Ultimate Book of British Comics. What I do know is that it lasted from 1977 to 1979, it was expensive for the time, and it eventually got swallowed up by the Beezer.

Let's have a mug...

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Give a hoot - read Hoot!

It was "Britain's bubbling new comic" in 1985, and 364 days later it was merged with the Dandy, but DC Thomson's short-lived comic had its fun. Most remember it as being too childish, but from the dozen or so issues I've read, I'd disagree. Mostly. Granted, it had a baby on the cover in the form of Barrie Appleby's Cuddles (a survivor of the similarly short-lived Nutty comic, and the same Cuddles who'd later team up with Dimples from the Dandy), but the inside pages were mostly fun fun fun in a way that today's comics would never allow!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Two Strange Comics About Giraffes

So... Giraffes it is then. Strange looking things. Tallest living thing on the planet, you know? Stating the bloody obvious there. The Romans thought that they were camel/leopard hybrids, the ancient Chinese thought they were some sort of unicorn (or Qilin, if you're willin'). Here's some that we saw on a recent visit to Chester Zoo:

Big buggers, aren't they? There's a height chart there, just in case you've never heard of a giraffe being tall before. They look funny when they're having sex, and mildly horrifying when they're fighting.

They also make for bizarre comic subjects, as we'll see now in two wildly different but equally nutty things.

The first one's from good old Tom Paterson in the good old Dandy with his Laughing Planet series. Regard!

Lighter-than-air giraffes, eh? Better watch out for those jellyfish! Ha. Ha.

Next is an example of fourth-wall-breaking done to perfection, as the French comic-person known as Gotlib talks us through the problems presented when trying to represent the giraffe in a comic.

See? Strange creatures inspire strange things.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Desirable Things I'm Not Likely To Own

Presented here are several, several things that'd be great to have, but it isn't very likely in the immediate future. All of them either NEVER show up anywhere, or if they do show up, they sell for crazy stupid prices. So, unless I either become a millionaire somehow or get VERY lucky, these'll only remain as JPEGs on my hard drive. At least I've got my health etc (although I did wake up this morning with the taste of blood in the mouth, oh my!). 

Oh, and I've been collecting these images for years, without noting where I found most of them. So if you recognise any of your own pictures in this lot, let me know and I'll be sure to give you a bit of credit.

To start with, and so that the page doesn't look empty before being clicked on "properly", here's the Astral Moat Monster from Thundercats in TWO variations!

Classy stuff, yes? And it only gets better. Let's see what else...

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Little Dracula at the Seaside

Inspired/influenced somewhat by a post over at Green Plastic Squirt Gun, and because it's still Summer (sort of - the Sun's out at least!), AND because some other blogs have already started their Hallowe'en countdowns... Well for lots of reasons really. Here's a book in which the Dracula family have a day out in Blackpool.

This one's from 1987 and has been read daily ever since then, so you'll have to excuse the odd scuff. At least all that reading's flattened the spine enough to get some good scans, yes!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Max Overload! - Part 3

So what's next from Max Overload!? Why, it's something about that smashing caveman-romp of a game, Chuck Rock! Written by Cefn Ridout (editor of Doctor Who Magazine back in the 1980s) and scribbled by David Lyttleton who's done mad stuff for loads of different publications - most notably Red Dwarf Smegazine, Fortean Times, NME, The Guardian, Punch, The Independent, etc. The story here seems like it takes place sometime between (or during) Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck and BC Racers. Enjoy!