Classic Westerns

I caught Winchester 73 on TV years ago, and it immediately became one of my favourite films. In HMV today I saw it on sale for just £6, and bought it. I also saw another, erm, “western” which isn’t quite to orthodox XD


 Now, which do I watch first?

Apparently it’s based on a zombie hack n’ slash game in Japan. And the temptation to move there grows once more…

A Terrible Tomboy – interesting book


I found this book in Oxfam for £3 today, and thought it looked interesting. At first I thought it’d be like a short story I read in an issue of School Friend from 1960, where a tomboy who likes tinkering with motorbikes is “cured” by her prim-and-proper friend (if you think all old British girl’s comics / books were like that, you’re thick and brainwashed. Go and actually read some). But the story appears to instead celebrate her tomboyishness. Just look at these illustrations:

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Pictured: Not what you’d expect from 1904!

A girl who helps her brother explore dingy caves, and gives boys that (I assume, not read it yet) bully him a fwightful thwashin’? They ought to re-publish this today! It’d be far better than all this shitty, “original”, “It’s like cinderella except she doesn’t really love the prince, and it’s set in ☼JAPAN☼” bollocks. I can’t see why they shouldn’t reprint it today…


Pictured: What you would expect from 1904

…oh. Never mind, then.

It’s really strange, right…

…though I have read loads of Victorian/Edwardian detective stories, and hundreds of Sexton Blake tales, I’ve never read a proper story about the daddy – Sherlock Holmes!

I have read this:


Great cover!

Which is an unofficial tale, both in the Holmes canon, and also an unofficial “alternate” sequel to Prisoner of Zenda. Apparently the real sequel, Rupert of Hentazu, was a bit depressing – in this version, Sherlock Holmes rolls in and puts everything to rights, allowing the king to rule happily ever after (or whatever, I’ve not read either of the Zenda stories yet XD). I’ve also read a few stories in this:


Crap cover!

But that’s all fanfic. Of course, today “fanfic” generally means “furry yaoi”, but this is old fashioned fanfic – which was published in enthusiast’s magazines. That meant it had, to a degree, an editor calling the shots, and so very little furry yaoi slipped through the net. These stories are pretty good, but they aren’t by Sir Conan-Doyle!

But then today, I saw this for a tenner:


How could you say no?

It’s a bit of a block:


The most recent other book in my collection with coloured page edges is from 1967!

But the grand, lavish binding does the contents justice. Either way it will fill up plenty of work break times. And I’ve taken bound volumes containing 3 months of The Boys’ Friend Library before, those are almost cube-shaped! Sherlock Holmes is a character other people at work will have heard of, too. At the moment I’m reading The Schoolgirls’ Own Annual 1940 at breaktimes. I have no shame.

The new year

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Last sunset of 2011

I was magnificently lazy over the Christmas holidays, I just sat about eating chocolate and writing short half-arsed reviews of a bunch of small press comics for a magazine. Oh wait, that’s bad! I meant to do a heap of comic drawing, including finishing off my ill-fated manga for a competition the Japanese embassy was running. I’d failed to get it even near finished before that closed, but I hoped to get it finished by tomorrow for inclusion in the next “issue of” (it’s no longer a ‘regular’ comic) Non Repro. But won’t finish it in time for that either now.

The reason? Sherlock! Yes the BBC finally got off their arses and made another three (three! When are we getting a proper series?) episodes of this. And BY GOD are they awesome. The first one was shown on New Year’s day and the second last night. The second was based on the Hound of the Baskervilles… except now “Baskerville” is a secret bio-weapons research facility. You can see where this is going… except it doesn’t go there, actually XD.

Speaking of Sherlock Holmes the latest Hollywood film is incredible too. It’s 2 and a half hours long mind you. But actually there’s only 8 minutes of story and the rest is filled up by slow motion (troof). Still it’s incredible, even if some anachronisms annoyed me… no, his car is not one of them! But the fact there’s nobody walking in front of it with a red flag is. Mind you though, Sir Conan Doyle never liked Sherlock Holmes using motor vehicles, and still had his hero riding around in horse-drawn cabs even after he’d bought a motorcycle. Of course Sexton Blake’s writers had no such qualms, and a motor-car featured in those stories as early as 1898. Later he was thundering around in a Mors car at thirty miles in the hour!

An even more annoying anachronism (to me), though, is the fact that they got the German flag wrong! Germany wasn’t using that flag in 1891 (though had used it earlier), they were using a Black-White-Red tricolour up to 1918. Mind you though, “The First World War in Colour” managed to get it wrong too. As did an old docudrama about the early days of Albert Einstein.


My 2011 Calendar, from Sweatdrop Studios. It kind of sums up the person I was in 2011, very interested in Japan to the point of considering moving there and even becoming a naturalised citizen (eventually). I was working diligently on learning the language and spending hours reading blogs by foreigners who had gone to live there.

I was also giving vague thought to converting myself to drawing manga style, in the vague hopes of “doing a Bakuman” once I was naturalised. But then my girlfriend dumped me in November, and in December I found myself constantly saying “Nanaji” for Seven O Clock, when it ought to be “Shichiji”. Also I read a load of Debito (though a lot of it “through the filter” of Tepido). I still think he’s bonkers and his followers a bunch of commie shitstabbers. But you can’t argue with clear cases of shitty policing, insane working hours with no recognition and GIANT FUCKIN’ INSECTS. If I never set foot in neon hell again, it’ll be too soon!

On to the 2012 Calendar, then…


Yep, that sums up the kind of person I want to be in 2012, the same person I was in 2006! I’m getting the Mini on the road no matter what and waking the echoes of a July afternoon out in the fens (without going over 50 XD). I’m also doing Download and as many local rock/metal/blues/ska gigs as I can cram in. Oh I’ll be collecting more antique comics rather than horror movies though. (Bring back Silverscreen! Those shops were great). Starting with this…

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It’s 6 months worth of The Boys’ Friend (aka the best British comic ever) from mid 1904. I got lucky on this one, nobody else bid and It went for £50! I was expecting to pay over £100. Maybe the low price was because it’s January. Anybody else out there wanting to sell bound volumes of the Boys’ Friend/Realm/Herald, Union Jack, (Halfpenny) Marvel or Skipper please do it right now or wait until Jan ’13 eh?

Boys Friend Price fluctuations…

Complete year 1903 – 04 – £49.99 (Was “pickup only” and BIN, I cheekily offered to pay extra postage and the seller agreed, bargain!)

Complete year 1902 – 03 – £170 (! And I had to drive down to Enfield to get it. Well worth it though! they look great on the shelf)

Half year Jan-Jun 1910 – £110 (great condition)

Half year May – Nov 1904 – £49.99 (woohoo)

Plus loads of individual issues at about a fiver each. Anybody out there got any they want to unload?


Other crap I can’t be bothered to write at length about…

– Helicopter crash! I saw it fly over my work, it seemed to be ‘skidding’ in the air and the wind was really strong that day. It exploded near Ely and crashed into a field

– The strong wind! Part of our fence blew down. A panel of fence at work somehow not only blew down but ‘jumped over’ a big wheelie bin.

– The Pheonix, and it’s dire distribution:

–  Despite the lazy last days of 2011 work is going ‘decently’ on comic for 2012. I hope to do at least 6 issues of the Red, White & Blue, 3 of the The Trident, 2 of The Sentinel (a ‘red top’ for comic collectors) and 1 of the Small Press Digest (encouragement-filled magazine with yellow covers). I’ve got a table at Camcon in May, seemingly the first nerdy convention in Cambridge for many a year (possibly since the Old Boys’ Book Club met there!). Gonna be great! Also got a ‘premeet’ in April.


Huge comic haul!

Today I went into Cambridge intending to get the latest 4 Commando’s, the latest Bakuman and any Graffix books from the 90’s I could find in charity shops. Oh and maybe watch Captain America.

I actually got the latest Bakuman, A couple of reprint books of romantic picture libraries from the 50’s,  Tiger Annual and… 200 weekly comics!



There’s about 50 Wizards from the 1970’s (when it was a picture-story comic with only a few text stories, rather than the other way around!). A lot of issues from between 5 and 98, and then most of 1974. The same amount again of Tiger from the 70’s and 80’s and then probably over 100 issues of Roy of the Rovers from the 80’s, including the famous “Roy Race Shot!” issue. And it’s not the Guardian reprint either. There’s also seemingly a few more Tigers mixed in that pile (only had the Wizards out so far. Need to get some boxes!)

The total for that little lot?  £30! I got them in a pawn shop, then took the bus back out of the city and drove back in to pick the stuff up from the rear of the shop. However I misjudged my distance / the bloke’s directions and stood ringing the non-working doorbell on an old lockup for about 45 minutes. An old lady had told me “They’ll ignore the bell!” and I took the statement at face value, assuming that the shop was too busy for anybody to come out. However crammed in a narrow gap next to the lockup was a house occupied by yanks. One of these came out and told me the back door of the pawn shop was actually in a much-newer looking building next door! So I rang that bell and was “served” within seconds. I’ll know for next time XD

Had a bit of charity shop luck…

People learning Japanese will probably eventually be told about the books “Japanese for Busy People”. Well I’d looked at them in shops and found them far too expensive. In one shop they were $25 that had been ‘converted’ to £24.99, and in another they were ¥2500, which is about, er, £24.99.

Well anyway the other day I found the first two in Oxfam for £4.99 each.


Pictured: Win.

Being previously owned they contain evidence of the previous owners. One of which is a new year’s card written by some upper middle class twonk in Japan, going on about how he was going to listen to Chopin and was reading some book that “really gives you an insight into Louis XIII’s France!”. That’s a funny coincidence, though. I was reading a literary classic myself, that morning.


Suck my culture.

Oh yeah also my room was all disarranged recently as the builders building the new room(s) for granny to live in needed to put in some more sockets, taking wires from inside my floor. Most of the stuff has now been moved back, including the Commando comics.


Pictured: More win.

Of course moving that many Commando comics takes time. You keep seeing covers and thinking “ooh, this one was good!”