I Am A Poor Boy Too

The  school holidays have arrived and I’m feeling a bit under the weather. The body always knows when it’s appropriate to be ill, when deadlines are done. Nonetheless, I took a trip to Inverness on Saturday but found my local comic shop had closed down.

Heroes Inverness

Heroes For Sale had been trading for about 7 years, I understand.  The stock was rather haphazard but in the year of Winter Soldier, Amazing 2, DOFP and Guardians of the Galaxy. kids obviously want dvds and toys more than comics.

Indeed, this year, I’ve bought fewer comics than at any point than the mid-90s. I found the return of the Legion in Justice League Unlimited lacklustre and uninspired. While Ms. Marvel has charm and verve, Mighty Avengers has been subsumed in a derivative stunt for Captain America and the Falcon. The series I’ve most enjoyed this year was Byrne’s 30-year-old FF- which I was reading in paperbacks bought in Heroes for Sale. To get new comics, I either have to go on online or take a 1hr 45m train ride to Aberdeen.


So we turn for comfort and joy to the comics of the past and Marvel Holiday Special 1996, which I bought the other week on ebay. That was my first Xmas in the first flat I bought, in Marwick Street, off the Parade. I was still working on Directory Enquiries and that week, I read Kingdom Come in a boxed set with a die-cut cardboard sleeve. Despite still reading a few of the X-Men comics at that time,  however, I undoubtedly passed this special by.

Not a Creature Was Stirring: Mark Waid and Pat Oliffe trap Spidey and JJJ for a bonding session in a collapsed warehouse. This is perhaps the best-written vignette but it seems too important a moment in the history of the characters to throw away in a Yuletide grab-bag.

Unto Others: Kitty Pryde retelles the Hanukkah story to a kid in a burned-out church. Evan Skolnik and Josh Hood produce a seasonal fable that is so 90s it hurts.

Hark! The Herald: The Silver Surfer seeks out the Star of Bethlehem. He then encounters a Watcher- oddly, not a giant babyman but something resembling a bunch of grapes! Sentimental cartoon Kozmic from Perez and Leonardi with Stan Lee dialogue.

Ambush At Angel Rock: my favourite story in the special is a tribute to Lee and Kirby by Karl Kesel and Patrick Zircher. The Rawhide Kid takes on the Wizard of the West and his gang, inspiring a young Isaac Stark into the bargain. It’s a Cowboys vs Aliens romp and the villain is surely an ancestor of the FF’s Wingless Wizard.

Humbug:  the special concludes with a dour monologue on consumerism by Wolverine which is contrasted with the other X-Men giving presents. De Falco’s corny, melodramatic first person style is familiar from his Spider-Girl stories; the art, again, by Hood is Manga-inspired and not to my taste.

Apologies for a somewhat Grinch-y, congested post. I hope you and yours have a very merry Christmas.

Coming soon: Doctor Who and Santa; Daleks in Inverness; Don Heck and Thunderworld

All images presumed copyright of their respective owners


5 comments on “I Am A Poor Boy Too

  1. Paul McScotty says:

    That’s bad news re “Heroes for Sale” in Inverness, although I’m not from that area (living near Hamilton/Glasgow area) I have visited the shop when I ve been up North and I thought it was a vibrant little enterprise (although I could have had back issues) with a vibrant comic following (hasn’t there been several successful Highland Comic ExBos?). For such a large City (for the Highlands) that is not good news as I assume if you need to travel to Aberdeen (a great City) that means no comic shop in Inverness and surrounding areas now.

    My new comic buying has also decreased over the years with few exceptions (BDPR: Hell on Earth, Chris Samness Dare Devil, and the odd special by Aragones, Stan Saki, Paul Grist etc) DC new 52 has left me cold (you’re spot on the Legion at one time my favourite title has been mis managed to say the least) and I havve no idea what Marvel are doing with their core characters now (Caps no the Falcon, Spidey was Doc Ock, Thors a woman now etc) but saying that I am picking up more reprint books than ever, The Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novels Collection ( by hachette) is excellent. plus there have been several US Marvel (and to a lesser extent DC) collections reprinting in colour the classics and a plethora of one offs and coffee table books focusing on the likes of Don Heck, Russ Heath etc. Anyway have a great Christmas and Hogmanay.and keep blogging

    • Dougie says:

      Hi, Paul. Unhappily, there hasn’t been a Highland Comic Expo for a couple of years. I felt HFS sold more toys than comics but aside from a message of commiseration from the owner on FB, I don’t know why he closed the shop. It’s frustrating therefore to have to shop for comics online and pay extra for shipping to the Highlands.
      I did notice when I was last in Dennistoun that the comics shop on Duke Street had also closed. I don’t know when that happened- could’ve been a year ago at least. After the death of its owner, I see Futureshock on Woodlands Road is currently abandoned but still full of stock.

  2. Kid Robson says:

    Hope you had a great Christmas, Dougie, and have an even greater New Year. Talking of back issues, I was in City Centre Comics in the West End of Glasgow last Sunday (it’s down the lane across the road from the entrance to Aston Lane) and they’ll be having their New Year half price sale around about now, so worth looking into if you’re going to be in the area any time soon. As for Futureshock, shame that Neil’s expired, but I could never move in the shop to look at anything, so overloaded was the place. Perhaps his widow will get someone to run it; it’s been there so long that it’d be shame if it disappeared.

  3. Paul McScotty says:

    Oh I wasn’t aware Furureshock was closed and more sadly its owner Neil (Craig) had passed ( he didn’t seem that old either) – I haven’t visited the store in over 2 years (just too messy) so have been out of touch.

    Furureshock must have been Glasgow’s (Scotland’s?) first dedicated comic shop – it was certainly the first comic ship I was aware of and I was always excited visiting the store in the late 70s , very early 80s , sadly it never really moved with the times and was to say the least untidy – although Neil did try to change things when he moved for a short time to a larger store in Byres Road but I think he lost interest in SF and comics a bit as he got older and he got more into politics – commiserations to his family and friends – I do hope someone reopens the shop though its a bit of an institution in Glasgow.

    I wasnt aware there was a comic shop in Dukes Road.

    • Kid Robson says:

      McScotty, I only found out he’d died a couple of weeks after the fact. I’d passed his shop only a few days before (on a Sunday) and thought it was still open for business. Still looks the same.

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