Monday 31 July 2023



Living, as a child, in Chislehurst – a then-still-rural corner of Kent – I never saw copies of Tales from the Crypt and even if I had, being a kid with a highly overactive imagination, I would likely have steered clear of the Crypt-Keeper, his chums and their grim tales. Not only that, but I very much doubt if I woud have succeeded in smuggling them past my mother's eagle eye! 


Anyway, when I finally discovered Tales from the Crypt I embraced them for their ripe blending of the comic and the grotesque. Every issue featured cover art – sometimes lurid, often grisly, always striking – by among the best-of-the-best comic-book artists of their day. 


This copy (Vol. 1 # 46, February 1955) is from the pen of the legend that was Jack Davis (1924-2016) celebrated for his prolific output for Mad and other off-the-wall comics such as Cracked, Humbug and Help! as well as memorable film posters for films including It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Viva Max! and Kelly’s Heroes.  


I think this particular issue of Tales from the Crypt serves as an exemplar of great comic book art: grabbing the eyeballs and sensationally begging anyone passing a news-stand to stop and buy!

Sunday 30 July 2023


I have always 'tried' (largely at my late Mother's relentless insistence) to remember the words of St. Paul in writing to the Corinthians: "When I became a man, I put away childish things." But some 'childish things' seem just as irresistible today as they would have been When I Was Very Young... 
For example, I haven't bought a 'soft toy' (even those maturely branded 'collectibles') – for years, but this Disney Double-Act is pretty inviting! However, these 'stuffies' will only mean anything if you know the 1963 Disney animated film The Sword in the Stone which features a wizards' duel between Merlin and the sorceress, Madam Mim.
During their battle, both combatants take on an assortment of outrageously matched magical transformations –– Mim as a purple alligator, fox, chicken, elephant, tiger, cobra and rhinoceros, while Merlin assumes the likeness of a blue tortoise, rabbit, caterpillar, walrus, crab and goat. At the climax of the duel, Merlin becomes a mouse confronting Mim as a dragon before Merlin delivers the coup de grâce –– no spoilers; go watch the movie!
So here they are: Mim as Dragon and Merlin as Mouse – with an appropriately dragon-singed tail. 
According to the Disney Shop's online blurb the products' safety rating is 'Suitable from birth', which I guess must include 74 year olds...
SHUT UP, Mother!


Monday 24 July 2023


When we entered the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the Mass had just ended but the organist was still at the keyboards. As its multiplicity of multi-directional pipes filled the vast building with glorious sounds, I was reminded of Thomas Carlyle who wrote:  

"Listen, and for organ music thou wilt ever, as of old, hear the Morning Stars sing together."



Monday 3 July 2023


For the seventh and final issue of Marc Silvestri's Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo, comic-book artist 'Jock' (Mark Simpson) has created this variant cover (only 500 copies printed worldwide) that I really like for its sheer audacity in framing the Clown Prince of Crime's manic tombstone toothy grin within a bloody image based on the the Dark Knight's iconic silhouette.

Currently available at Forbidden Planet and other good comic vendors.