“I Know A Little Bit About Everything And A Great Deal About Nothing.” — Gene Kelly, Jack & the Beanstalk TV Movie (1967)

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Sadly, I didn’t have any marmalade sandwiches on me.

I know people always say that hate writing about themselves, but I really hate writing about myself. However, when Quy Ma kindly asked me to participate in the About Me Stories publication I could not very well say “no.” So…


My name, as you’ve probably gathered from the title of this article, is Joe. I’m an Aussie who moved to the UK in 2016. I initially planned to stay only two years, but after meeting an amazing woman who I somehow convinced to become my wife I stayed. …

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Cover of Frew Publication’s first ever issue of The Phantom. 1948

Three years before Batman donned his cape and cowl, and two before Superman crashed into a field in Smallville, there was another hero who would leave an indelible mark on the history of pop culture.

He wore a skin tight costume and a black mask. He left his symbol upon those he vanquished; a permanent skull-shaped brand so that all would know these were evil men. He may not have been a superhero as we know them today, but he taught those who were to come a thing or two.

Debuting as a newspaper strip on February 17th, 1936, American writer Lee Falk’s The Phantom is widely considered to be the template upon which the heroes of DC and Marvel were based. A “proto-superhero” of sorts, The Phantom character introduced for the first time many of the stapes of the superhero genre. …

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Obviously 2020 wasn’t the best year. I’m not going to go into all that, because we all know it. Instead, here I’m going to focus on the things I liked the most in 2020, particularly my favourite movies, games, books and graphic novels.

A quick note; some of the following may not have been released in 2020, but 2020 was the year I saw/read/played them. Also, these are my opinions, which generally tend to differ from the popular.


In 2020 I watched 58 movies (although this number is probably out a little bit as I only started using Letterboxd late in the year and may have forgotten some). Due to the various lockdowns most of these films were older ones, or ones I’d seen previously. …

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Rumours are starting to swirl that the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, may be regenerating by the end of the 2021 season of the BBC’s popular sci-fi series. The timing would not be out of the ordinary as many past Doctors have only stayed for three years (there was no 2019 season); David Tennant, Matt Smith and even Second and Fifth Doctors Patrick Throughton and Peter Davidson left the TARDIS after their third seasons. So if Jodie was to leave at the end of 2021 it would have precedent.

Also, I kind of wouldn’t blame her. Her tenure as the Doctor has probably been the most controversial in the show’s history. Not only did it incense the trolls who loudly cried about how making the Doctor female would kill off the series, new show runner Chris Chibnall decided to make series 11 (or 37 if you’re counting from the Classic series) “newbie friendly.” This meant that no classic villains would feature and the series would have no over arcing plot as previous ones had. The idea was that someone who had never watched an episode of Doctor Who before could randomly tune in to any episode of series 11 and be able to watch it and know what was going on. …

This is a story about why collections are important, and how they can change your life.

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There are moments, they say, that shape you. Sometimes they are big, grand, Earth shaking moments. Other times, they are small, at first seeming insignificant in the series of events that shape your life.

One of these such moments was my birthday, I think my 6th or 7th. Birthdays are always fun of course, but this particular birthday now stands out as one that shaped who I would become. It was the birthday on which I was gifted my first Mighty Max playset.

Within this small, roughly 5cm playset lay a world of danger and excitement. I could create my own adventures or act out the “official” story that appeared as a short comic on the reverse of the backing card. Usually, I went for the former. …

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Photo by Ben on Unsplash

Gamers will often feel the nostalgic call to revisit a game they remember fondly only to find there is not easy way to play it on modern systems. Thankfully, many skilled fans have put their hand to keeping some of these games alive. Here, I’m going to look at five of the best fan projects that resurrect older games.


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Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Recently Google announced that the free storage of high quality images in their Google Photos service is coming to an end. The free storage of “unlimited” photos has been going for five years, so as you can imaging this announcement has upset some people.

Personally, I’m not surprised by this move. I am surprised that it took five years to get here. Storage isn’t cheap so it’s pretty cool that it’s been as long as it has. …

Finding Peace in the Void.

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One of the many beautiful vistas from my time playing No Man’s Sky

I was diagnosed with depression in my early 20s, but I’m pretty certain I had it long before that, at least since my early teens. Now 35 I’ve been knowingly living with it for 15 years and in that time I’ve tried many different methods of managing it.

Talking to professionals, going on medication, attending groups, journaling, CBT-ing, even meditating. I’ve tried a lot of different things and while some have worked better than others, for me the best way to manage my depression is to lose myself.

The phrase “to lose oneself” can conjure up a myriad of meaning, not all of them good. However, what I mean here is to lose yourself completely in a fictional world; to forget the reality around you and completely surrender yourself to the immersion of this new reality. Of course this can happen with any kind of medium; a novel, a comic, a film or TV series, a podcast or audiobook. …

They almost killed the industry, so why do comics publishers keep producing them?

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Examples of three of the variants released for Spider-Man #1

Variant covers for comic book issues have been a staple of the industry for some time now. The first comic book to have a variant cover was 1986’s The Man of Steel #1. While there were technically variants before this, they were all due to small differences such as distributor logo. Man of Steel #1 was the first “true” variant; an alternative cover with new artwork that fans could buy along with a copy of the regular issue.

Variants played something of a not insubstantial role in the comic book crash of the 1990’s. …

Saying “No” to the big online retailer.

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Elena Lacey: Getty Images, borrowed from Wired.com

One of our New Year’s resolutions for 2020 my wife and I decided on was to no longer shop at Amazon. You’d think that as a collector Amazon would be the ultimate retailer for me. Well, if I didn’t have a conscience, it probably would be.

Constant stories about how Amazon doesn’t pay its staff correctly, doesn’t allow them toilet breaks, is killing off bookstores only to then have the cheek to donate £250,000 to “save” them, selling books below cost to undermine other competitors, trying to smear those ex-employees who dare speak ill of the company and more makes one wonder how anyone could support such a business. …


Joe Douglas

Collector. Writer. Artist. Geek. I write mostly about the hobby of collecting. Check out my full portfolio at JMDWorks.org.

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