Monday, 29 December 2008

Oi Polloi

It is a well accepted part of business that a dissatisfied customer will tell far more people about their dissatisfaction with a company than those who have received good service. In an effort to redress this balance I feel compelled to shout out to the world how wonderful the Manchester based store Oi Polloi are. I bought a lovely jacket via their website last week which arrived the next morning, packaged well with a hand written note of thanks and a cool badge. These might be little touches but they count; wow factors do exceed the customer's expectations and I will want to go back to them. Large retailers just can't connect with their customer like this. Its refreshing that store like this are out there, clearly thinking abut their customer, what their customer wants and providing it in not only a prompt fashion but with wit and flair, as evidenced by their website. Hands down the best men’s clothing store in the UK right now.

Running out of the past

Surrounded by my sons' toys, many of which have been whizzing and beeping fresh from their cardboards constraints for only a few days I wonder which of them they will look fondly back on. I would plump for the marble run which has been the hit of Christmas for all of us. On the games front, Ellefun is a hoot but over all too quickly. The above books are all fantastic reflections on classic toys, Tim Walsh's being the benchmark of the lot. The other three are more whimsical, with TV Cream Toys and Boys' Toys having a British bias. Just Can't Get Enough is from the American perspective reminiscent of the Ben is Dead's Retro Hell.


"Somebody told me that only 12,000 people saw The Wire when it was first broadcast in the UK but every single one of them wrote an article for the Guardian about it."

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Man Bag

With the demise of the plastic bag on the horizon the number of cloth totes and jutes continues to grow. More progressive independent shops have already spotted this marketing opportunity and in many market towns the posh grocery shop will have gained market dominance. Whilst the demand may not be great yet, there will surely be a demand for totes aimed towards various men's markets. This BAPE bag is my chosen shopper. Its a nice tough nylon and reversible should you wish the more subdued black on the outside (it's all about the camo for me though). It was a most generous gift from my good friend Sol - cheers Sol!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The Egg Cup

I'm looking forward to giving this to my eldest son this Christmas. Its a simple but great trick and easy for youngsters to learn. I still remember when my mother gave a version to me for Christmas; I guess it is a family tradition of sorts.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


It was time to put away my T shirts until next year this weekend. They seem to be worn less and less; not due to the weather but because I just don't wear prints all that much, favouring plain white or stripes. There are some that I have been happy to let go over the years, but amongst the collection are some favourites that I will always hang onto, regardless of whether I wear them or not. Amongst them is this one by Supreme in conjunction with Tokion magazine. I picked it up on my first (and only, so far) trip to New York back in 2000, and it will always remind me of the holiday. From a collector's point of view, it seems to be a rarity as it doesn't seem to come up on eBay etc often. As well as the chest print, which is a box logo of sorts, there are the Tokion and Supreme logos on one of the sleeves.

Friday, 14 November 2008


Post 31st sale fodder

Friday, 31 October 2008

How EC became a headz

The ubiquitous cult of celebrity is a supersaturated vat of mediocrity. Yet amongst the tell tale baby bumps, and insider sources I must admit to my interest being piqued by paps of those wearing more underground labels (take note, that for BAPE this only applies pre 200/1). One name that frequently pops up in threads along the lines of “celebs seen wearing...” is Eric Clapton. His patronage of Visvim etc is by no means news to fellow otaku, but I have been a bit lost as to how it started for him. So whilst browsing the shelves of my local library today I chanced upon his autobiography and was pleased to find it indexed.

After the end of a turbulent relationship and a fire in is London house he sought to make a fresh start in many aspects of his life. Eric writes”...I woke up to what was happening with street fashion too. It was weird, because a lot of it tied in with the old fifties and sixties street look that I would wear with the Yardbirds - Levi’s and wind breakers, hoods and sneakers...”. He goes on to write...”I started looking at graffiti art, and began collecting it. It was like a whole new world had opened up to me, the only problem was , I felt I was too old to be getting into this. I hated the idea that I was this old guy, trying to come across as a hip young street dude, but the culture was drawing me in, it was powerful and I felt like I understood it. What could I do? I was hooked again.” So true Eric, so true.

Living in Chelsea and with this new found interest it was no surprise that he went onto befriend the folks at Fly (RIP). Now this is news to me, but those of you who remember Choke clothing may not have realised that Eric was on board with “me [EC] sharing most of the design duties”. With time Choke folded. It was through Fly’s Simon and his friend Michael Koppelman he met Hiroshi Fujiwara and Hiroki Nakamura, “...and over the last few years we have become friends.” On Visvim “...these are the clothes I wear every day, they are simple and beautifully designed.”

Monday, 27 October 2008

Hobbies Weekly

I have a fascination for people’s hobbies, so when I chanced upon a selection of Hobbies Weekly from 1955 and 56 in a junk shop in Lyme Regis a few weekends ago I had to have them. There’s an innocence to both the tone of the magazines and the projects within, despite being less than a decade on from the most harrowing of times. Many of the projects now seem anachronistic, whether it be a pipe rack or a home made extension lead. Others are prophetic; “Save pounds and pounds on furnishings with Wren Craft” reads one add - “Home assembled furniture. Just fit the ready-made parts together.” yeah right, like that would ever catch on.

Thursday, 16 October 2008


I have spotted this car on several occasions around the village I work in and fell in love with it. Initially I thought it was a classic car then I thought it must be a kit, but then to my surprise I saw it sported a Nissan badge. Its turns out this is the ‘91 Nissan Figaro, designed by Shoji Takahashi, part of the Nissan’s special development team, the Pike Factory. It would seem that the trappings of Japanese collectables extend to cars, with only 20,000 made, in four colours, Topaz Mist being limited to 2,000 models. Its a turbo automatic and not exactly going to wow the petrol heads, but it sure looks cool.

Friday, 10 October 2008

James Jarvis with...

“We don't do collaborations very often. When we do we are either very well paid or we have very strong ties with our partners” Russell Waterman, Amos Toys blog

Bemused by this quip I decided to compile a list of the JJ/Amos collabs; I shall leave it to you to decide which were for the money.

plastic collab checklist...

Silas x BxH Martin
King Ken - Clutter Magazine colour way
Mini King Ken Strangeco Comicon colour way
Kubrick Martin and World of Pain (Medicom)
Bearbrick King Ken (Medicom)
Nokia Office Archetypes
Sony Time Capsule Juvenile Delinquents
Sillything Leon
Nike x Stussy Leon
Chapel of Dawn Wrestling Elves
King Kun - BxH

Monday, 6 October 2008

Cult Flicks and Trash Pics

In the mid 90s I picked up some terrific film books that proved to be formative and guiding. Reaffirming my beliefs and guiding me to pastures new these books opened up a pre web world of wonder. Amongst these were two awesome titles by Videohound - “Cult Flicks and Trash Pics” and “Idiot’s Delight: 100 dumbest movies of all time”. I can say with some confidence that I have enjoyed some really, really dumb movies of late. When I list Shoot Em Up, Resident Evil 3, Smokin’ Aces, some Segal etc etc. you could only but agree. I do lose some points as I haven’t watch a Jason Streatham film for several months now. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a gem of stupidity that would fit nicely in both Videohound’s tombs on the latest release shelf at Woolies. Jack Brook’s Monster Slayer is like a Troma film with a budget that stretches to hiring Robert Englund. How good is it that people are still making films like this?!

Saturday, 4 October 2008


These Clarks Originals are certainly striking. Kudos to the person who thought their Desert Boots were too plain and realised what was needed was not just gingham, but a brogue detailing too. These were not samples either. I spotted these at my local Clarks Outlet store, where I feel you are far more likely to find their Originals than any of their High St stores in the UK. They seem to stock models that aren't for the UK market too and I have had some good finds over the years, but these take the cake. DId I get them? The need for gingham brogues just isn't there at the moment...

Tuesday, 30 September 2008


Sunday morning was spent collecting blackberries, which (minus this eight legged intruder I only noticed after I took the photo) have now been turned into lovely jam.

Double name madness

I can't even do the food shopping without gtting suckered into collaboration/ limited edition madness. Cath Kidston is the "other box logo" in my life, thanks to my wife. I'm hoping that they do some of the vintage children's prints, especially the Cowboys and Indians.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Watching yo

Sunday, 7 September 2008

I could be so good for you

Watching an early episode from the 80s the other night reminded me I had this gem hidden away.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Packed By

These packaging stickers by the mail order department at Schuh are a cute touch but I was disappointed to find that they aren’t individualised pictures.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Lost and found

A recent clean up involved me going through my many boxes of junk that I have hoarded over the years. I was chuffed to find this pencil case. Whilst both anime and manga narratives hold little interest for the most part I love big insane mechs and I think this Macross/Robotech style is close to perfection.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Flea market find - tasty!

I bought these at a flea market today. The box alone is supurb.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Lolly Scramble

I grew up laughing to the antics of the D Gen, with fond memories of watching them on the ABC, and listening to them on the radio as my mother drove me and my sister to school. Upon moving to the UK 10 years ago when I felt a bit homesick, putting on a Martin and Molloy album soon perked me up. So it was a joy to discover the Get This program on MMM last year. I have since listened to all the Pod casts many times. Greg Fleet, Ross Noble, Daniel Kitson, Kevin Smith, Weird Al and many more guest hosts made the show a spectacular production that I (and many others) will miss. Receiving Tony’s book in the post the other day felt like Get This had gone into over time.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Retrospective collecting

The grey colour way of King Kun came in the post today fresh from the Amos store. I don’t normally go in for multiple colours of figures unless they are significantly different (viz Stussy Leon and the Sillything Leon), but I was keen to get the grey colourway too as its a nice transition from the King Ken to the grey King Kun to black King Kun to black Skull Kun. Buying the figure was rather straight forward, despite Amos’s advance warnings it would be limited numbers. It was also a fantastically boring exercise and empty “experience” that is one of the major, if not the major, downside of modern prospective collecting.

As I see it there are collections that are based on what has already been made and collecting this ephemera I have classified as retrospective collecting. Rarity may be due to production numbers and popularity (as in the case of prospective collecting) but it is also due to factors including shelf life, original intent, target consumer at the time. Whilst highly dependant upon the nature of the item collected, modern objects created to collect don't have the same "magic" in discovery as does the everyday item of yesterday that has gained the status of collectability.

Prospective collecting, in the case of vinyl toys at least, has become a case of ensuring your cache is empty, being logged in, and hitting refresh repeatedly. Sure there are the events like the San Diego Comic Con and the bricks and mortar shops that get the figures, but these aren't the type of collectable that you are likely to stumble upon (outside of Tokyo). There isn’t that excitement when you go to a market and find that rare gem amongst the crap, because these figures circulate in the world of online auctions and forums. I remain dedicated to collecting both Bounty Hunter and Jarvis vinyls, but the magpie in me yearns for a return to the flea markets and car boot sales. Boolean searches don’t have the same thrill of the chase and find as does rummaging through junk on a Sunday morning or a local charity shop.

Past efforts have included various Stormtrooper memorobilia, John Carpenter films on VHS and any consoles (an Amiga CD32 my best discovery at a car boot for £5). The discovery always seemed more thrilling than the trophy and these have all moved on to new owners. I can feel its time again; I feel a new collection coming on....

Monday, 28 July 2008

Ab Fab

I seem to be getting a few moments here and there to read more recently. At the moment I;m engrossed in The Beautiful Fall. A thoroughly researched and an almost overwhelming array of characters contribute to this exhaustive account of the rise of Yves St Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. Both men saw success in 1954 with their entries in the International Wool Secretariat Competition, but their rise to success took divergent paths. St Laurent saw in the revolution of the couture business whilst Lagerfield was always visionary in anticipating the rise of ready to wear and the cult of youth. The influence of the May 68 riots, youth culture and changes in society shaped the development of Paris Couture in the latter half of the Twentieth Century more so than any other time in its history.

Monday, 21 July 2008


I left my old job (after 10 years) at the start of this year to run my own business. I was chuffed to receive a Wii as a leaving gift, but with the pressure of the new business, it hadn’t had much of a work out until the last month or so. So after many hours and much swearing I finally finished Super Mario Galaxy. This is without doubt the most inventive of the Mario outings, making both great use of the Wii controller and mind bending use of in game physics. But is it the best Mario game? I think that crown must remain with Super Mario 64. The most important in its significance remains Super Mario Bros as it defined 2D platform gaming. It still is the gold standard.

My fop 5 favourite Mario games, in no particular order...

*Donkey Kong (Game and Watch)
*Super Mario Bros. (NES)
*Mario Kart 65 (N64)
*Super Mario 64 (N64)
*Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Monday, 14 July 2008

Round the Outside!

I love this record cover. Not only does it represent the pairing of two of the most important people to shape street wear (if not the most important influentially), but it later became both the source material directly for a classic Supreme T and also Supreme’s use of the “World Famous Supreme Team” slogan. Released in 1990 on Virgin Records.

Saturday, 5 July 2008


These postcards were amongst some other gems in a book store at Glastonbury. This style of photography that celebrates the banal and kitsch of Americana and Route 66 has become a cliché and a bit played out, but the images still have a certain charm. I love Stephen Shore's works that depict diners and big American cars, and whilst far brighter and chirpier there are several along these lines amongst this pack of cards,

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Film Soleil

Amongst the usual SAS books and boxer biographies a small selection of Pocket Essentials caught my eye. A long time fan of the series I was chuffed to find a title I hadn’t picked up before. Film Soleil is a concise exploration of what the author proposes to be a film genre that has evolved in the mid 70s, Chinatown perhaps being the turning point. The book explores a host of neo noir films that draw upon the conventions of noir, but “turn the lights on”. Dry arid highways, cowboy boots and fast cars form part of the visual imagery. Directors include Dahl and the Coehns, films include Sexy Beast and Point Blank.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


It was nice to see all the crowds starting to gather for the Glastonbury Festival today. The infrastructure for the event goes in place several months in advance of the event, with the perimeter fence having sprung up about two months ago. I have spoken to chippies and other workers who have been preparing the site for some time now. Its strange to see quiet Pilton become a city of thousands almost over night. Of course getting to work is a bit tougher because of all the crowds, but it is such a smooth operation the impact is pretty minimal. Whilst I’m not attending the full event, I will be going Sunday, so here’s hoping its not as ridiculously muddy as last year.

When I checked the line up I was a bit disappointed that two of my favourite groups, Massive Attack and Crowded House, were playing Saturday. So I checked Crowded House’s website when the program came out and was thrilled to see they were also playing in Westonbirt Arboretum (a fantastic location for a nice bourgeoisie night out). So I made the trip up there last Saturday and enjoyed a ripper performance. When they had their farewell concert in 96 I thought that was that and I would never see them play, especially with the untimely death of Hessie (who still makes me laugh when I see him on The Wiggles).

They played a good selection of favourites and new tracks. Neil’s banter is playful and confident and he works the crowd well. The reinterpretation of the songs and audience involvement makes the night more intimate and special for the audience. I can only imagine how many times they have had to play most of their songs, but you really felt that on the night this was the first time they had played it to anyone and they gave it their all. In the words of Moly Meldrum, do yourself a favour, see them before they really retire for good.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Jack Klompus's Battery Shop

I am ashamed to say that my knowledge of aerospace is limited to the realms of fiction, but I was particularly intrigued to read about NASA's Ulysses craft. Whilst its mission was interesting (to study the sun) its the length of service and the reason its mission has ended captured my interest. NASA has now ended the vehicles mission after seventeen years as its power system has now run out. Considering my phone runs flat in two days and my Frog runs for little more than 10 minutes, what the hell was powering this thing?

Like something out of Dr Brown's car, the energy for the Ulysses came from a radioisotope thermoelectric generator. This cell generates power using thermocouples heated by radioactive fuel. The radioisotope decays and gives off heat, which the thermocouple converts to electricity. The isotopes used allow for an extended cell life, hence the Ulysses lasting 17 years.

Where things get a bit scary is that isotope thermoelectric generators aren't confined to what we send out into space (or what falls back to Earth). The Soviets were big fans of them for beacons and lighthouses, and concerns remain as many have been just left, their status unknown.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Oh yeah!

Travel Guide

I found this on the shelves of Forbidden Planet. It is densely packed with info on the locations of over 500 films. Like any traditional guide book its broken down into geographical sections. The traveller is taken on walks that take them along routes that point out film locations from the more obvious landmarks to the more non descript. Many photos accompany the sections, and the maps are clear. There’s some central colour plates with thematic collections of sites, the Hitchcock’s London has piqued my interest. I look forward to trying this out when I holiday in the capital next.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Mr King

The Skull Kun has essentially become BxH’s platform figure, having now been released in a variety of guises. Whilst BxH has collaborated with the likes of Disney, Medicom, Takara and Lucasfilm,  Mr Skull seems to be for the more personal projects. The chosen few (so far) are Slick, Hiddy, Kaws and now James Jarvis. JJ’s collab is a “perfect fit” with the original BxH/Silas Martin having been released ten years ago.

King Kun stands at  about 17.5 cm  high, making him a bit taller than a standard Skull Kun. His legs, arms and hands articulate. The arms are slightly shorter and much thicker than a Skull Kun's. King Ken’s nails are punk black. The signature JJ potato head sculpt is clear and a stark contrast to the more angular Skull Kun head. The Frankenberry brain bumps give it the Skull Kun look. Unlike many BxH figures, the figure is made in China. There are no serial numbers on the feet, but copyright of Amos and BxH is imprinted alongside 2008. Like most BxH figures and the Amos Sillything/Stussy Leons, the figure comes in a bag without a header. What was odd is that mine came double bagged. The outer bag being slightly bigger and thicker, but looking just like the inner bag.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Masks 02

The HK vinyl toy scene has seen better days. Tim Tsui and Michael Lau continue to represent the scene, but the pre SARS golden era has passed. An era which produced still unsurpassed classic ”urban” inspired figures. Without doubt, the standout piece from this era, for me, is Eric So’s collaboration with Phase 2.0 , Masks 2.

Kenneth Tang, owner of Phase 2.0 was instrumental in bringing both Lau and So into the toy world. Masks was Tang’s more high end clothing line for Phase 2.0. Thankfully, it also included toys. The first two figures, Masks 1 and 2 were designed by So and released around June 2001. Another three colourways were released for Japan, Taiwan and France. Masks 2 comes in red, white, black and grey.

Eric So states in Boon Toys Eric So mook that “this (Masks) was the figure that brought me to the other side of the word. My name was being introduced in (sic) US, Europe , Japan and Southeast Asia”.

Masks 2 measures almost 23 cm high. His arms articulate at the shoulder and his feet can swivel. Despite its considerable weight, the feet provide perfect balance, and toppling isn’t an issue. Gas masks came with Masks 1 and 2. An ashtray accompanied some of the colourways.

Phase 2.0 went onto release Masks 3 and 4 plus the Masks Crow Team. Masks 3 and 4 were done by Devil Robot and H8 Graphix and produced my Medicom in 2003. Masks Crow Team comprised 4 vinyl crows and a canon; of course...

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Avoid Immitation

The ash makes a bit of a mess, but I do love incense. The Nag Champa has been getting a good work out of late leaving me in a haze of sandalwoods, but a fragrant array from Resonances are always worth a burn. Incense tend to come in lovely packaging too. I think the photo packages don’t really work as well as the plainer/simpler packs, and I prefer boxes over tubes. Guess which my favourite is? Released in June 02 with package design by Geoff Heath.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Anti Fashion?

“I’m not a fashion person. I’m anti-fashion. I don’t like to be part of that world. It’s too transient. I have never been influenced by it. I’m interested in longevity, timelessness, style—not fashion.” Ralph Lauren

Cleaning up my study last week I started reading through some old Japanese magazines. Whilst Boon (RIP) will always have a fond place in my heart, other titles including Cool Trans and Asayan often proved an interesting read/look. Apart from picking up the odd issue now and then for the premiums they come with, I have stopped buying these magazines. Now that many of the companies who used to reveal their latest offerings in the magazines first have an online presence (via press releases or home pages) or release their own mooks, they have reduced appeal. That still doesn’t take away from several great years of otaku friendly product photo spreads.

I was struck especially by one in a 2001 issue of Asayan, featuring Supreme’s line-up. The line included their seminal Brothers, Supremes, Woody and Pryor Ts, but its the cut and sew that is the motivation of this posting. All killer and no filler. Fantastic short sleeve gingham shirts, a simple M65, supurb chest seam jacket and spot on crusher hats. The pinnacle of the collection being the yet unsurpassed 9th backpack. If this line was to be release tomorrow it would sell out without doubt. And therein lies a large part of Supreme’s popularity, longevity and the appeal to me; its timeless anti fashion. Like the man who has inspired many of their designs, and who they have paid homage to, its about style.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Soul City 576

On the July cover of The Face in 1998 Ad Rock is pictured wearing some jeans with roll ups, a T shirt and some New Balance sneakers. I thought he looked so cool and pretty much went out and bought a pair of New Balance just because of that picture. That pair of shoes (RIP) lasted me years but it wasn’t until I saw Hanon’s Soul City 576 that the NB bug bit. Whilst the Hanon 576 colour way is my favourite, I prefer the 860 as a model. If the Soul City had been an 860, wow....

The following interview appeared in Issue 9 of Sneaker Freaker Magazine. My questions are posed to Brian Toft of Hanon Shop.

1. Who came up with the concept of basing the sneakers around the theme of the Northern Soul music scene? Sneaker culture is so entrenched in hip hop culture I found the concept a breath of fresh air.

1. Brian Toft here at hanon came up with the initial idea. The entire concept was inspired by the Northern Soul scene in England during the 60's and 70's and the rare 45' vinyl records , cover art and collectable patches were all contributing factors . Although the Soul Boys back then did not necessarily sport NB we felt the energy and excitement they invested in their culture mirrored that of the sneaker / trainer collector today. The project in a way was also a nod to the influence the North West of England has had in general to trainer culture over the years.

2. Talk me through the colours/design on the Soul City 576, and its inspiration. Was it based on the colours used on the records of the 60s UK record label of the same name?

2. The colourway on the Soul City was taken from an original 45rpm record of the same title released in the 60's. Each model in the series is inspired by or makes a direct colour reference to Northern Soul. The Soul city is a particular favourite of ours and we pretty much knew the colourway was right and would need minimal tweaking from the 1st sample. This model we felt captured the feeling of early Northern Soul. I guess one eye would have been on the hip hop inspired products you mentioned and and we probably were trying to combat the sea of camo and patent released styles out there.

3. The accompanying badges and postcards were nice bonuses. Who designed them?

3. The badges were designed by Edward Toft and each is based on a iconic Northern Soul record or patch. It had to be badges or patches and we hope the old soul boys would instantly recognise all four.

4. Brian Sweeney's photographs were tied in with the Sole City Series. How did you get him involved with the project?

4. I met Brian Sweeney through a journalist friend Greg Gordon who felt he would be perfect for the project. Brian is a much sought after snapper and his work regularly features within the music industry. He has captured stars such as Eminem, Oasis, Happy Mondays and The Chemical Brothers to name a few. His earlier work however centred much on the working class areas of Northern England. Touring with bands in the early 90's he captured the 70's architecture, run down football terraces and grounds of the towns they visited. These images were of the very areas where Northern Soul was born, and it was those reference points that captured the true feeling of the scene.

We approached Brian and he was very enthusiastic to the project. We worked closely together going through this period in his archives and selected the 4 images that would go on to be part of the limited edition canvases and postcards.

5. Hanon has put out several exclusive colourways with NB now. NB seems to be going from strength to strength of late with their fashion led models. What is it that attracts you and the Hanon crew to their shoes?

5. Having worn NB 576's since my youth I have always had a natural respect and affinity to their shoes. To me the hand built process of manufacture makes them to running shoes what Saville Row is to suits. They fact they are manufactured in England is also a bonus as when it comes to design, the opportunity to work closely with the factory makes a massive difference of what can be achieved. My next project with them - a M990 release reflects this flexibility as we are now working directly with Schoeller Technologies to develop a new upper.

Foot note: One reader was not amused that Ad Rock was wearing New Balance and wrote to the editior of The Face in a subsequent issue, unhappy with the stylist’s choice saying that NB wasn’t the Boys style! He was also wearing a nice orange Very Ape T a lot around this time.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Man Who Laughs

I will always be indebted to Hadrian for putting me onto the Bats. I’ve always dipped in and out of the comics world, but never hung around for long. A few issues of GI Joe, Groo then McFarlane Spider Man and the X Files held my attention for a while but then I just forgot about them. i think trade paperbacks are the only realistic way to break into a character as long established as Batman. There are one or two sites out there that help the novice approach the difficult matter of timeline/continuity for a newbie.

It hasn’t taken long to catch up on most of the titles that DC has put out. Both the artwork and story lines in Joseph “heroes” Loeb’s titles have been faves, as has the No Mans Land arc. Crisis and 52 proved to be a wonderful further expansion into the DC Universe but I don’t see myself going beyond that.

I finally managed to get into The Man Who Laughs today. The first page is very striking, with the artwork by Doug Mahnke. The story is about Batman and the Joker’s first encounter post Moore’s Red Hood. There are some nice nerdy references to other Year One events within the first few pages alone. This is turning out to be a cracking title....

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


I have been after the BxH Pete for some time now, and finally managed to track one down. This was BxH’s second Disney figure after Mickey. I can honestly say I am no Disney fan at all, especially Mickey. Having said that I think that both the Julius and Pete sculpts are perfectly executed and both true to the spirit of BxH. Due to my total lack of any Disney knowledge I collected these two without knowing their “story”. What makes the BxH oeuvre have a particular resonance for me is that most, if not all, the figures have some meaning and relevance to Hikaru and Taka. Sometimes this is easily “read” sometimes it takes a bit of digging.

I was intrigued to discover a Disney Wiki that reveals Pete is Mickey’s nemesis, and appropriately for a mouse’s nemesis, he is a cat. I also found that he probably predates Mickey, having featured in a 1925 cartoon “Alice Solves the Puzzle”. Pete has appeared under many names, but Disney nerds have his true id pinned down as Percy P. Percival. This sculpt of Pete is from 1928’s Steamboat Willie.

I’m glad I found out a bit more about Pete, or I wouldn’t have realised that Julius is also Pete! Julius is Dr Frankenollie’s monster in the 1995 short, Runaway Brain.

Pete is made in China, and an official collaboration with Disney. He was released in 2001 and retailed for Y5800. He has a serial number stamped under his left foot. From the top of his hat to the ground he is about 10 inches. His head/neck and arms are articulated.