Wednesday 9 November 2011

From My Bookshelf: Gullivar Jones

I first encountered Lieutenant Gullivar Jones in Marvel's British weekly black and white reprints where he was updated to be a Vietnam veteran transported to Mars by dying Martian wizard Lu-Pov (an in-joke over the name of Richard Lupoff - I guess). He immediately became one of my fave characters and I really loved the art (although I wasn't big on reading credits boxes at age 8) by Gil Kane, Ross Andru and Gray Morrow.

Later I also obtained reprints of the original novel - by Edwin L Arnold (also author of Phra the Phoenician) - as a kid I didn't get too far into this before I realised that it was quite different to the comic book. To be honest, a little tamer... the comic strip had been really jazzed up to make it more like John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Re-reading the novel just recently I found it to be quite beautifully written and very humourous too. I wouldn't be the first person to see the influence of The Time Machine on the story - yes, the Hither and Thither (!) people are reminiscent of the Eloi and the Morlocks but the inclusion of the magic carpet as Gullivar's mode of transport to Mars seems to bring us into the Arabian Nights style of storytelling. Joe Petagno's cover has Gullivar (re-spelled as Gulliver in these editions) surfing to Mars on his carpet while the sublime Frazetta cover of the Ace edition has Gully Jones at the feet of two battling titanic Martian monsters like a character in a Harryhausen movie.

Oh yeah, I mentioned that Arnold's other book was Phra the Phoenician and of course Gullivar in the comic book encounters a huge humanoid amphibian called Phra.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Bonfire Night!

For those suffering the disappointment of a lack of live-blogging regarding trick or treaters on Monday; I was visited by inumerable skeletons, witches, ghosts, vampires and one very tiny Batman.

Tonight is Bonfire Night...which here at Gately Mansion we'll be celebrating with masses of fireworks (a curry!) and no bonfire. And if you're setting off fireworks follow the firework code - as advised by Guy Fawkes himself in this Standard Fireworks ad from 1974.

By the way, I am old enough to remember fireworks that you were allowed to hold - one was called the Olympic Torch - and also a rather terrifying hovering and spinning firework called The Flying Saucer (natch!).