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Friday, 21 September 2007

Luminous Spooks!

There's nostalgia and then there's nostalgia. For some of us older types, it's the 1966 World Cup, "Love Cats" by the Cure and TV21. For the owner of the web site linked here, it's Luminous Spooks.

I'd never heard of Luminous Spooks before now, but in 1965, there was a set of cereal premiums given away in Sugar Puffs. They were called 'Luminous Spooks' and a television advertisement promoted them. Apparently, composer Barry Gray (who also wrote the music for Thunderbirds etc) did the music for this and Thunderbirds voice actor David Graham was the voice artiste.

Anyway, this web site has to be one of the most impressive labours of love about a product from a bygone age that I've seen in a while and the creators have done a fine job tracking down everything you need to know about the "Spooks". But does anyone reading this remember the television advertisement and its music -- and if they do, do you know where a copy of the advertisement might be found?

Get in touch with the site owner and let them know.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Story of 2000AD on Radio 4

With BBC4 taken over by comics this month on TV, BBC Radio 4 is getting in on the act, too. The radio station will be broadcasting Futureshock! The Story of 2000AD this Saturday (22 September) at 10.30am, narrated by Phil Jupitus.

"Over the past 30 years, the weekly British comic's distinctive visions of the future have shaped the imaginations of a generation of young readers," Radio 4's online trailer opines. "Its dark and gritty tales, often set in a near future of post-apocalyptic urban decay, have changed the tone of science fiction."

Radio 4 has of course done several comics related documentaries over the years - they interviewed my Mum for one about Film Fun - and the results are usually pretty good.

You can listen to Radio 4 online via the official BBC web site

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Talk Like a Pirate Day is here

Arrr me mateys! It is that time o' the year again, the day that comes but once a year ...

Aye, today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

The official web site offers the following advice on the basics of how to talk like a pirate... have fun!

Pirate lingo is rich and complicated, sort of like a good stew. There are several other sites that offer glossaries that are pretty good, and you can find some of them on their links page.

But if you just want a quick fix, a surface gloss, a "pirate patina," if you will, here are the five basic words that you cannot live without. Master them, and you can face Talk Like a Pirate Day with a smile on your face and a parrot on your shoulder, if that's your thing.

Ahoy! - "Hello!"

Avast! - Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, "Whoa! Get a load of that!" which today makes it more of a "Check it out" or "No way!" or "Get off!"

Aye! - "Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did."

Aye aye! - "I'll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over."

Arrr! - This one is often confused with arrrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. "Arrr!" can mean, variously, "yes," "I agree," "I'm happy," "I'm enjoying this beer," "My team is going to win it all," "I saw that television show, it sucked!" and "That was a clever remark you or I just made." And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of Arrr!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

In Review : The War Libraries

To give it its full title The Fleetway Picture Library Index Volume 1: The War Libraries makes this reference book sound very grand, perhaps a little foreboding and even rather dry. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Compiled by Steve Holland and David Roach over many years, the book indexes the quite incredible extent of Fleetway’s war digests -
545 Air Ace Picture Libraries,
1706 Battle Picture Libraries,
76 Giant War Picture Libraries,
2103 War Picture Libraries,
36 War At Sea Picture Libraries
plus all the Air Ace, Attack, Battle, Battler Britton and War Picture Library Holiday Specials and last but not least the War Picture Library Special Extras.

Crammed into its flexi-covers are 194 pages of information. The introduction by Steve Holland is 11 pages long, a major article in itself, tracing the behind the scenes stories of the Picture Library staff and artists culminating in a staff listing with dates and, remarkably, several staff photos. The listing pages are punctuated by many black and white covers with some interior art also, yet the highlights are the colour pages which are given over to printed covers and even some original cover art.

The information for each issue includes the title, issue number, date, interior artist, cover artist and in some exceptional cases even the scriptwriter. The short backup stories are detailed as well. Familiar names such as Ian Kennedy and John Ridgway rub shoulders with the less familiar such as Annibale Casabianca and Aldoma Puig. It shows that today’s Commando with its 50% reprints is nothing new. The listings of the later issues of War and Battle show how many reprints Fleetway were producing at the time and that the reprints in one title were often from another, while the unusual double height Giant War Picture Libraries often reprinted from Super Detective Library and Thriller Picture Library.

The book is published by The Book Palace and is the first in a set of three, with Volume 2 advertised at the back and entitled The Thriller Libraries and covering Super Detective Library, Thriller Picture Library and Cowboy Comics Library. At around £30 from Amazon or direct from The Book Palace it is not cheap but to the collector the information in it is so valuable that it really makes the book itself invaluable. Since it is a limited print run don’t miss out on this mine of information.

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