The cool haul

Had some charity shop luck today.


I wanted to buy the video of the one on the right back when I was about 14, but my mum was right behind me!

I’m not a fan of anime, mostly because most if it comes in series which are a million episodes long (still not finished watching The Guyver) and it often has unnecessarily-complicated storylines. There always has to be that “guy in the middle” who is not good or evil. Manga is just as bad, though I’m persevering with Bakuman for now.

But anyway, those two are both ones I saw on TV back when I was into anime (IE didn’t know any different). And they also happen to be self-contained. Though Bubblegum Crash is the sequel to a series called Bubblegum Crisis, which is probably the only series I have seen in full… in 1998. Also they were £2.95 each. They appear to have originally came with a magazine (it says “not to be sold separately” but charity shops always ignore that – and long may it last, EU regulators / New Labour / Whatever other scum).


Still think that cover looks more like it’s from the 1880’s

From cool to sub-zero, this is The Wonder Book of Comics from (aroundabout) 1949. British comics from the 40’s are very hard to come by because of the rationing that was in force at the time producing small print runs and crappy paper. But it was also one of the most interesting times for British comics as the yanks had all bought over their comics and British publishers realised that it didn’t have to be “picture strips for funny stories, text for adventures”. Said publishers were often dodgy spivs who would get a batch of paper that “fell off a lorry” and knock out a few comics quickly – normally there’d only be one issue of a given title – and disappear.

But anyway, this, being a hardback annual, is probably one of the easiest ways to experience 1940’s British comics as it’s pretty common (by comparison!). It does primarily have the adventure stories as text stories, mind you. But there’s also some adventure picture stories in there as well. There’s some pretty famous contributors – W.E. Johns, Enid Blyton and Frank Richards.


Britain’s two best (only) proper comics!

I also got the commemorative Beano and Dandy. Might be worth a couple of bob (IE-10p) one day.


Spirit of (18)79!

I also got the latest Commando’s – the last remaining Boys’ Own comic that’s in the shops (and as far as I know one of only three that is currently being produced at all… and one of those is mine). This one is another story of Ferret McGloan. He started out as one of a group of journalists in various stories set in wars in Victorian times, but gradually came into his own. This story is an “origin story” (XD) showing how he became a journalist… and his first war adventure in the Indian mutiny! It’s framed by his reminiscences during his 100th birthday celebrations – on VJ day!

He’s also an unashamed drunk, which is just another spit in the face for the PC maniacs who would love to see Boys’ Own comics vanish for good. He can narrowly avoid death in the face of a horde of screaming Dervishes or Boxers, and his first words are always “Got any gargle, mateys?” when he is bought to safety!

The wedding and that

Back at the start of the year, I had intended to spend the duration of the royal wedding with this inside me:


The folder his pics are in is still not his name. It’s just labelled “Hot Icelandic dude”

But because I didn’t get issue 4 of my comic finished in time I self-punished myself and didn’t go. Also we’d not talked for months or arranged anything proper either XD.

Soo instead I just printed 25 copies of the now-finished issue 4 and then, er, put them in a box under the bed where they will probably stay, as there’s no way of selling them.


6 pieces of paper folds into 12 sheets with print on both sides = 24 pages!


And there we are.

Being a jingoistic little-Englander I did of course also watch and enjoy the wedding. Shame I missed the drive to the church. Mind you though, we may have gained a new possible future queen, but by the time either of them gets the chance to sit on the throne I do of course hope to be a subject of Emperor Heisei instead.


Here’s a clue if you don’t know who that is.

Also this really hot girl shows up on Southern Charms photo sets, but is not a “charm” herself. Anyway today one of them posted a link to her twitter, where she mentioned the fact that there has been a “porn wikileaks” which revals many thousands of porn stars’ real names and HIV status.

Now personally if I was a porn star I wouldn’t give a shit about people knowing my real name or HIV status. But then again I wouldn’t see it as shameful because I’m genetically superior. And also because at night I’d lead a black-shirted paramilitary group that would patrol dodgy parks looking for queer-bashers who would then be dragged to a secluded area and forced to inhale poisonous gas.


Victory, Victory, VICTORY! / Onwards we march ’til victory be won / Victory, Victory, VICTORY! / Any means shall justify the ends!

RWB Issue 4 Finished!

Today, not long after waking up, I noticed my cat appeared to be licking her nose in her sleep. But she soon woke up and starting making the bizarre “knocking on wood” sound that shows she’s about to be sick. Luckily I reacted quickly and caught most of it in the bin, which was full of toilet roll I’d been blowing my nose on to soak it up. Mind you it did smell like McDonalds.

Anyway the builders currently working on our house (we’re having 3 extra rooms added, when it’s finished I’ll picspam pics of the work) have a skip, so I went and chucked the contents of the bin in that.


Can we have one all the time?

I also finished the last of my easter chocolate. Was nice to have a lot, and I’ll have to get some more in the sales too XD. Anyway the boxes had to go somewhere…



I’ve been using this long holiday to work on my self-published comic The Red, White & Blue. Supposedly bi-monthly from 2011 onwards, however I only finished the Jan-Feb issue today -_-. The main reason for that is the Sexton Blake story contained in it, almost 25,000 words! I knew it’d be “extra length” but not, er, excessive. Hopefully the average length of the Sexton Blake story in each issue will be more like 12,000 words from here on.


The cover. It has story on the cover too because that’s proper.


A short, complete story about Speedway. I’d wondered if this was the first time there had been a Speedway comic strip, but there has been others in the past.


Now that’s a wall of text! The Sexton Blake story is in 7.5 point font! 8 was too big and 7 was way too small. Other pages do have block illustrations.


Tigers of Punjab, an adventure/war serial set in India. I actually wish i’d never started this story because it’s crap. Oh well only 2-3 more parts ought to see an end of it, and I can get on with something better – a story about football in the 60’s!


The Day of the Green Skulls, a text serial. Also the continuation of the colour story from the cover.

I only printed one issue today. I’m not actually sure when or even if issue 4 onwards will even be on sale! There’s no conventions I can reasonably get to (well except as a visitor) before August, when I’m hoping I’ll be leaving the country. For various reasons (like my unwitting use of a copyrighted character, oops) setting up an online store might be problematic too. I might just make the comics into PDF’s and put em online for nothing.

Also my printing is a bit SCIENCE-ey


Connected to an old computer because it’s parallel-port only.


Yes, that’s where the keyboard is! Luckily by this stage I don’t need to type anything much. The text stories are also “images” because I convert them to PDF’s and then to images. Mind you it makes the small text blurry, so I might have to find a way to do it better. Probably copying the text into Publisher 98 and arranging it on the page that way.


The beast. That’s A4 paper in there! God knows how me and dad got this thing up the stairs. Why no it will not be leaving the country with me XD.


After fiddling with the blog software in Firefox, from here on known as “The browser where the options actually fucking work” I beleive I have fixed the various problems, woohoo.

Mind you it does mean that the comments/individual pages on the comic blog (the first one I set up) were only ever working up til now by pure LUCK. Which isn’t very user friendly.


So, apparently, Doctor Who was back on last night and I didn’t know. Time to try this iplayer thing, then.


Link O the day:

This is cool because:

– Petrol engines actually throw away most of the energy put into them, and have barely improved in 100 years. Austin Seven’s from the 20’s can get the same MPG as a comparable modern hatchback (it just goes a bit faster). This was a problem recognised even in the 1936 Chatterbox annual. Actually using all the energy contained in the petrol will make the earth’s shrinking supplies go a great deal further.

– The more completely you burn something, the less pollution you get. This is GCSE science. Hopefully the government is slow to react and still bases car tax on carbon dioxide emissions, so suddenly everybody who ‘upgrades’ will get insanely cheap tax.


Oh also I have a blogroll but for some reason the links don’t appear. Still it’s better than my Japan blog where everything you can click on takes you back to it’s main page. I have done NOTHING different in the settings of these blogs to the settings of my comic blog, which works properly. So I have no clue what’s going on. I might have to delete the Japan one and start it again from scratch.

What’s that?


Why I do believe it’s the finished artwork for part 4 of Tigers of Punjab. All ready for issue 4 of my comic The Red, White & Blue. Cover dated Jan-Feb 2011. FML.

Also, does Wilson live on?




Also yesterday, after 3 weeks of trying, I finally caught up with the boss of a bookshop in Cambridge who I had been told would probably like to buy various duplicates I have. It took him all of a 10 seconds to say no. FML.


Any takers?

Pictures from antique books about Japan

1901: Japan, A Record in Colour

By Mortimer Menpes

I’ve written about this before, on a now-dead forum. Mortimer Menpes was apparently the original Otaku! I think I have the post text and original pictures saved somewhere, I’ll have to dig them up and post them on here.

It was published in 1901 by Dorothy Menpes, his daughter. It’s probable, then, that the pictures are actually considerably older and show the Japan of the late 19th century. He apparently went to Japan in 1887 then came back and had an exhibition, presumably of the paintings in this book. I wonder where the originals are now?

There’s about 100 paintings, all in colour (it must have been very expensive when new!) and some look almost like photographs. I couldn’t take pictures of many of them because the book is starting to fall to bits. However if you google the title photocopied copies of it can be bought from an apparently Indian company (the prices are in Rs, presumably Rupees). I’ll have to get one one day.


Using “V” for “U” was very pretentious by 1901 XD





This looks like a house but is actually a small shrine. Those gates are used to symbolise going from the living world to the spirit world.



This one is called A Little Jap in Plum Colour if that girl really existed, and survived the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War 2, and lived to a ripe old age, then it’s possible my life overlapped with hers!


1906: “The Youngster’s Guide to Morals”

This is a short Japanese book. I got the title and date off the ebay auction for it, as I can’t read much Japanese yet. Especially not “handwriting” where several individual strokes are turned into one squiggle. One of the character’s in my girlfriend’s name looks like a little drawing of a sailing ship! But the “water” is actually four seperate lines.



I don’t know which is the “good” and which is the “bad” here XD




Presumably this is a graduation ceremony

1907: A Handbook of Modern Japan

By Ernest W Clements

This is American, and is more about Japan’s economy, history and society than about visiting there. Being American it also has a lengthy chapter about how Shinto is not a “real” religion and how one day Japan will have to see the light and accept Jesus. Luckily America wasn’t into empire building like Britain was, so they didn’t try to remake Japan in their own image. Well not then, anyway.



I went to where he is enshrined… but it was being repaired and I couldn’t go in. Lots of cats there though.




“I’m smug because I live in 1907. I can go down the importer’s and get loads of Union Jack, Marvel, Boys’ Friend etc story papers any time I want!”



Something tells me that background is not entirely authentic



1907: Things Seen in Japan

By Clive Holland

I believe the author of this one actually moved to Japan and married a Japanese woman. At least judging from the titles of his other books! Having “gone native” he is able to explain some of the customs, subtleties of the language and even say “the newly-arrived foreigner may find X very strange”. Nothing ever changes XD







The “1000 days” gate at Nikko. It looks better in colour…


Capabilities of the photographer notwithstanding.


The actual entrance to the shrine at Nikko


…was being repaired in 2009. The inside is amazing, but you can’t take pictures. Also I think only Japanese language tours even go inside.







Obesity crisis: half solved.


Makes a change from Nissan Crown’s from about 1980

1908: Japanese Fairy Tales

By Yei Theodora Ozaki

This is a book of translated stories that are aimed at being simple for children (the children of 1908 that is!) to read rather than stuffing in “authentic” translations that would be of interest to scholars. It also has illustrations “By Japanese Artists”, though apparently only one XD.


The cover is too boring so here’s the inside.





“The Princess is liable to a  £10 penalty fare or the actual fare owed, whichever is greater”


1934: Japan – Mistress of the Pacific?

By Colonel P.T. Etherton and H. Hessel Tiltman

This is another one looking at Japan’s economy and society, this time in the context of Japan’s military build-up and ambitions of creating an empire. If you’re thinking “well it’s not their fault they came to the empire game late, after the Europeans had got all the good stuff” …er, that’s exactly what the book says too XD.




What they had before radar


Modern Japanese city dweller stepping from a time machine: It’s a bit dark isn’t it?





You never saw this in Sailor Moon… probably.


Today this contains an American army base, a huge bridge and a ferris wheel.


Heh, only 150,000 people a day?

Dieselpunk Star Wars

I went back to lurk a forum I used to post on, and saw that as a thread title. It got me thinking, and then I did some sketches on the whiteboard at work…


Messerschmitt T-13 fighter and a Super Sea Destroyer


Supermarine Mark 10


Lockheed A-Type


Nakajima Tei Interceptor prototype


Fairey Y-type



“He’s heading towards that small island…”

“That’s no island… that’s a ship!”

Shaving wierdness

So I was going to shave a few days ago when I noticed some unusually straight lines of already-bare skin…




Different angles…




Now I’m not gonna say alien abduction and skin sample… but, well the only other explanation I can think of involves time travelling Nazis… and that’s just silly.