Posted in Comics n Stuff

82 years in the future, or right now on my left arm

I have an awesome wife. The MIGHTY Rosie has always done right by me, being generous and thoughtful. For my birthday/Christmas this year, my main gift is to have my left arm tattoos covered up. There are three stories here, why I have tattoos to start with, why I chose the picture I chose and the day itself.

Why I have tattoos: I got a tattoo about 13 years ago. I showed the tattoo artist the shape and asked for it bigger, he did it to scale, so I wanted one taking up my upper arm and got a tiny one on my shoulder. In order to fix that I got another one to fill it out. To balance them out, I got one one my right arm. They are one of the few things I have done that I regret. Getting them covered up has been a cathartic undoing of mistakes.

Why the picture: Well it surprises no one, but I am a massive comic fan. So it was no question whether my cover ups would be comic related. I wrote about the first cover up here The Right Arm of Vance Astro part 1

so I knew that know matter what, I would go back to design for life tattoo studio and the amazing Simon K Bell who designed it. But why this one? That goes back to my silver age of comic collecting, the 90’s. I missed the boat by a few months in the 90’s. I didn’t really jump on the Image bandwagon when that started and I missed the launches of X-Force and X-Men vol 2 by a matter of months and it wasn’t till near 20 years later that I looked at Ultraverse or Valiant. And Vertigo wasn’t my thing either, so I missed many of the fads of the era, because I wasn’t in on the ground floor. But that changed after several months of reading Peter David’s first run on X-Factor. His use of humour and in depth character study was a revelation for me at the time and then Marvel announced that he was the writer of the flagship title of a new imprint, Marvel 2099.For those who don’t know or care, Marvel 2099 was the idea of looking at the future of Marvel heroes, what would they look like 107 years from the present day, at that point the present day was 1992. There was Doom 2099, Punisher 2099, X-Men 2099 and Ravage 2099.The first, the longest lasting and by far the best was Spider-Man 2099. Drawn by Rick Leonardi and written by Peter David, this was a less friendly neighbourhood and less friendly Spider-Man. Being on the ground floor for this has always left very fond memories of it in my head. Despite many comics fans having buyers remorse, I acknowledge the flaws of many comics of that era, but I really enjoyed comics in the 90s and that was the time that they hooked me, never really letting go, so it was always going to be a 90’s character on my arm and he was at the time one of my favourites.

The tattoo: So after applying some numbing cream (again courtesy of the MIGHTY Rosie) I went to the tattoo place and saw the first part of the tattoo. I didn’t realise how big it was going to be. So I got the sketch done by Simon who applied the stencil to my arm.


The numbing cream helped, I will admit that. Managed to sit for over 4 hours with little problem. However, when he got to my shoulder, I realised the that I didn’t expect the tattoo to go so far up and that’s when I realised how painful it gets when the tattoo is close to bone. That last 90 minute hurt more than the previous 4 hours, by quite a long way. But damn it’s hard to argue with the results.


I won’t lie, that was a tough sit, but with a chicken caesar wrap, couple of bananas and the several episodes of Michael Bailey’s Views from the Longbow, I got through it with a smile in just enough time to go and get my son from school.

This is what was had been finished by 4:30.


So now I have matching tattoos, in that I love both of them. There’s still more to go and I will have to book another appointment but for now, I’m very happy with what I have on my left arm and it’s only going to get better.

Most of the impetus for all this is the support and care of the MIGHTY Rosie.

Like I said, my wife is awesome.

Posted in The MIGHTY Rosie

9 Years and Counting

I was a cynic when I was younger, disaffected and isolated and deep down I believed that I would always be alone, it was what I was used to and it was what I expected life to be.

I had relationships, but doomed to failure each one, I expected things to go wrong.

11 years ago, hope, love, happiness and joy entered my life and I found that in my heart was someone who believed in love still.

Two years later, my happy ever after started. Seeing her in white with a bouquet and a smile put a thought in my head, something new. It wasn’t her beauty, that was clear long before. It wasn’t that I loved her, I was her’s long before. It wasn’t that I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. It was this ‘It’s going to be alright’.

It’s been an ‘eventful’ 9 years, but that feeling, that awareness of hope and of positivity is still there. I believe in myself, I value myself (well I am tryig, OK?) because she taught me. It has been quite a tumultuous ride, but here we are, 9 years in and I love her more now.

You’re my girl and I am yours, forever and always.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Merry Christmas

The Joy of Comics: Symptoms of the Sickness


Prolific podcaster Michael R Bailey in an old promo for his show (one of many)Views from the Longbox, referred to comic collecting as a crippling addiction. As time goes on, I realise how right he was.

It’s a ridiculous hobby for a grown ass man, but comics have been part of my life for longer than most things. So as you can imagine, I have a lot of them, Seriously, it’s ridiculous. So last year I did what I needed to and bought some longboxes. It’s weird to think I didn’t use them before. I now have eight of them in use, plus another two or three for trade paperbacks and the like.

Part of the collecting illness is the organising of these comics. I have whole systems for that process, publishers, themes and so on and so forth and have for the last several months avoided sorting them out (I am good at avoiding, it’s a skill, not a good one, but a skill) and have begun the process of cataloguing them, comic by comic. Now given that a large percentage of my comic collection is digital these days, those eight long boxes are but a fraction of what I have to read, but there is something about physically holding the comics that makes the reading experience richer. But I digress and will not wade into the digital vs hard copy debate, because both have too many merits for me. The point is that organising them is a bit of a thing.

It’s a good thing. I have comics that date back to the 90’s from when I got them and the 70’s from when they were published and I have some really good stuff in there. For example, it would have been Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday last  week, if he hadn’t passed away and i was able to find my copy of the Kirby Genesis series from a few years ago and I re-read it. It was awesome, in fact I plan to do a post on it later. I saw loads of comics that I knew that I had, but forgot how much I actually enjoyed. Re-organising those comics started as a chore, but re-affirmed my love for them. A bag of comics, read once for their new-ness still have the power to transport me to strange places and fill my mind with wonders.

The joy of comics is still with me, they do not overshadow the best things in my life (my son, the MIGHTY Rosie) but they do add something to them and if I hadn’t been such a messy sod, this wouldn’t be at the fore front of my mind right now.

So if you are a collector of stuff, have a butchers at it once in a while, read an old book, listen to an old CD, play an old game and remember, why it is you have those things in the first place.

Bit of a rambly one today, ta ta for now internet people.

Posted in Comics n Stuff

5 Kirby Creations that were not Marvel’s Silver Age

Now as you cab imagine after last week’s post Thanks Jack I am a big Jack Kirby fan. The foundation of the Marvel Universe would be as sand without the striking visuals and fantastic ideas that came from a short scrappy man with cosmic dreams and a pencil that created universes. Other creators built on that foundation and it took on a life of it’s own.

That alone would be a decent legacy to be proud of, it has endured over 55 years and unless Marvel bugger it up, will endure for many more. But that early surge of characters and concepts wasn’t all he did. Here are just 5 out of the many more things created by the King.

1:  OMAC

Buddy Blank is connected to the orbiting satellite Brother Eye and under the command of the Global Peace Agency and when needed, can become the one man army corp OMAC who fights for justice in the nightmarish world that’s coming.

A dystopian future riddled with high concept sci-fi optimism that was unlike anything going on at that time and like much of his work, tons of fun.
2: The Eternals

Wherever he went the King created mythologies. When he returned to  in the mid 70’s he created another one that was as far reaching as anything from his Tales of Asgard.

The basic idea was vast beings called Celestials tampered with human evolution millennia ago, with the results being baseline humans, the mutated Deviants and the super powerful Eternals.

The Celestials are due to return and judge the world and if it is to survive all three subspecies of man must work together.

An odd fit for the Marvel Universe, beings posing as gods and mutated creatures being rather superfluous in a world where Asgardians, inhumans and mutants are commonplace. But the mix of striking visuals and amazing ideas make this an excellent read.

3: The Demon

Gone, gone form of man, rise the demon Etrigan.

With these words we get one of Jack Kirby’s strangest protagonists. Jason Blood, a man from Arthurian times is bonded to the demon Etrigan who was caged within Blood by Merlin. He has walked the Earth since and Blood can summon Etrigan when evil needs to be battled.

One of very few purely mystical characters Jack did, he stands out for his look and the fact that he isn’t really a good guy and is restrained, not reformed. He’s endured well and still pops up from time to time.

4: Kamandi

There came a great disaster and the world as we know it was gone. In it’s ruins humanoid animals have conquered the diminished humanity. Kamandi is one of the only intelligent and free humans left.

Epic and more than a little reminiscent of Planet of the Apes and it’s again tons of fun.

5:  Machine Man

Personally my favourite out of this 5, this is a very by the numbers alien amongst us story with an fugitive hero whom we identity with, but the bad guys treat as property or an obstacle. The difference here is the personality of the lead.

Android/robotic heroes in comics and sci fi are legion. Red Tornado, Jocasta, Vision, the android from Dark Matter, Data from Star Trek TNG and so on  and so forth. Most of those guys had something in common, they were kind of nice, or naive. There was a pleasantness to them. Aaron ‘Machine Man’ Stack is not one of those, in fact, he’s a dick.

Raised to think of himself as human, Aaron is sometimes unpleasant, impatient and doesn’t put humanity on a pedestal. He was a human being, not idealised, not naive, not loveable. Like us.

This isn’t even his independent stuff (we’ll get to that) and won’t even consider talking about the Fourth World, but I wanted to recognised that even 15 years after he made his mark on Marvel, he remained the King.

Long may his legacy reign.