As a long-time record collector I know all too well that not all songs are created equal. There are songs and there are songs, if you know what I mean. And this is one of them. It’s a real GFR (Great Fantastic Record). And it ties in nicely with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the TV show that has me mystified. But more on that later.
As you listen to this record notice the neat S.H.I.E.L.D. reference, as well as a Mopar mention, plus nifty nod to Chuck Berry at the end. This song has it all!
T. Rex, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Back to S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ve seen something about how the show is better than ever. I’m not sure about that. But it sure has changed. It seems whenever I like something they either change it or stop making it all together. It doesn’t matter if it’s a kind of cookies I like or my favorite toothpaste. Once the word gets out, somebody at the top gets a memo, “D.J. David B. likes our product. Do something fast!” And then it’s yanked off the shelves quicker than you can say “Pure and Natural bath soap.”
It seems like a couple of my favorite shows came back different this season, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not necessarily improved, but there’s been a change in tone and in theme. We don’t see super-powered beings on the show anymore and there’s a greater focus on spies, double agents and triple agents. Eh. It kind of leaves me cold. I liked it better the way it was. Next time I like something I’m going to keep my mouth shut!
Now let’s listen and enjoy this early S.H.I.E.L.D. song and forget our troubles.
One of my favorite features from both Crackajack and Popular Comics was Pete and Pudgie by Win Smith. He was an animator and cartoonist who worked on comic strips featuring such animated stars as Flip the Frog, Bosco and even Mickey Mouse himself and as you can see for yourself, he was tremendously talented. It’s a lively, lovely feature with appealing characters but for me the attractive is large in part to the extremely odd premise. That being the adventures of an at liberty boy scout and his penguin pal, the only talking animal in an otherwise human filled bigfoot cartoon world, was just so odd. I’m also a huge fan of the 1939 World’s Fair so naturally seeing Pete and Pudgie wandering around it aimlessly and getting into scrapes is endlessly appealing to me.
Due diligence compels me to reveal these strips were gathered and compiled into a Public Domain Comics Archie by Boutje Fedankt. If you love old comic books and strips (which given that you’re reading these words is pretty much a gimme) you should go to the Comics From the Golden Age website (http://publicdomaincomics.wordpress.com). It specializes in these kinds of compilations and believe me, this won’t be the last time I’ll be using them as a “resource” (i.e.; usurping their hard work).
It’s been busy lately, here at I.T.C.H. H.Q. What with all the comics-oriented TV shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham and The Flash (not to mention Arrow, which I haven’t even mentioned yet) we’re not lacking for comics tunes to write about. We’re living in a new Golden Age, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Sixties – when Batman, Green Hornet, The Addams Family, and Dennis the Menace could all be seen on television. Comics are back to being pop culture!
So, apropos of nothing, I’d like to present a song that dates back to an earlier time. Recorded by one of the Fab Four (that’s The Beatles to you youngsters) it has no less than three comics characters in it. At the moment, there’s no Titanium Man TV show and he hasn’t been in the Iron Man films. Neither has the Crimson Dynamo, for that matter, although we’ve seen plenty of Magneto. By now you’ve figured out which song it is so let’s jump to the appropriate cover gallery, shall we?
Click the link below and listen to a classic song about metals and magnets.
As previously established I know precious little about Australian comic books but the more I learn the more I want to learn about them. Case in point, courtesy of the Comic Book Plus website Silver Starr, a full color (!) Australian comic book written by Frank Ashley and illustrated by the great Stanley Pitt.
More than once on this blog we have discussed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham, but there’s another comic book TV series that we haven’t even mentioned! That changes right now: The Flash! Yes, The Flash, the fastest man alive who once again has a weekly television show. Did you ever think you’d see the day when super-heroes were the source material for so many movies and TV shows? I’m so busy watching TV I scarcely have time to read comics.
The Flash ran on treadmills before they were popular.
The Flash is particularly interesting in the context of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham in that it isn’t dark, gritty or, ugh, realistic. In fact, it’s refreshingly comic-booky in its approach. It’s the kind of show where the villain stands there spouting dialogue like “It’s the end of the line, Scarlet Speedster, you’ve met your match in Captain Cold” with a straight face. Kudos to the actors who do a wonderful job of not cracking up (although I dare them to not burst out laughing when Captain Boomerang arrives on the scene.)
Barry Allen trying hard not to laugh
The show takes place in an alternate universe where police chemists are about 16 years old and all the actors look like they belong on Dawson’s Creek. Boys have crushes on girls and girls have crushes on boys, and nobody gets stabbed in the eye. (See Gotham.)
The cast of The Flash
To celebrate the Scarlet Speedster’s return to the small screen, let’s enjoy this vintage opening theme.
Here’s a riddle for you. Q: How can a TV show which started out so bad turn out so good? A: When yours truly, DJ David B. steps in to straighten it out! Although I’m not one to brag, I take full credit for the recent turnaround of the TV series Gotham. It’s all thanks to the scathing editorial I wrote a couple weeks back (check the archives if you don’t believe me). I wrote about the excessive violence of the first few episodes and the powers that be at Warner Brothers/DC Comics listened. You’re welcome.
Which brings me to The Riddler. Last night’s episode featured one Edward Nygma getting on everyone’s nerves. Now I didn’t come down with the last raindrop. I can see that Mr. E. Nygma is sooner or later going to become The Riddler, and get on Batman’s nerves. (In Gotham, that’s a career path.)
The Riddler was a minor villain in the comic books, became world famous on the 1966 Batman TV show, and continued to be a major player in the Batman movies. It’s only fitting that this giggling enigma – oh, I just got that! – play a big part in the Gotham show.
Q: When is an action figure not an action figure? A: When it’s still in the package.
To celebrate The Riddler’s increasingly active role, we present our usual: some cool pictures, a comic book cover, and a record. Don’t thank us, it’s what we do.
Click the link below and see if you can solve the riddle before the Boy Wonder.
Sadly this British weekly comics isn’t an adaptation of Carla Lane’s situation comedy of the same name*. This Solo was a masala of strips based on movies and TV shows of the era that’s kind of oddball even for a British weekly comic. It’s probably best known for the strips and other material based on the Mysterons, the bad guys from the Gerry Anderson show Captain Scarlet..
First up there’s Project Sword a strip based on a toy line created by Gerry Anderson that for some reason never got a TV series of its. own.
There was quite a bit of Disney material, like this true-fact page taken from one of their nature documentaries.
The internet tells me The Adventures of the Seaspray was an Australian kids series and I have no reason to doubt it.
Here’s a chance to see some glorious Dan Spiegel artwork in black and white, as in this adaptation of That Darn Cat.
1967 seems a bit late for there to be a Sgt. Bilko comic but I assume the repeats were currently running on British television.
Here’s that Mysterons strip I was talking about.
Here’s an intriguing original about a time traveller in the old west.
As well as a not bad Man From U.N.C.L.E. strip.
The real oddity here though just might be a one pager based on the short-lived American sitcom Run, Buddy, Run which had the hilarious premise of a regular guy constantly on the run from the mob.
And here’s another couple of pages of wonderful Dan Spiegel black and white art from an adaptation of the Disney movie Bullwhip Griffin.
*Having seen Good Neighbors a.k.a. The Good Life at a vulnerable age I have had a livelong Felicity Kendal addition. So I was much pleased that while studying in London I was able to see the first season of Solo. I assumed I would never get a chance to see the second. But thanks to the magic of illegal downloads I was finally able to see it about a year ago. And, as so often is with the highly anticipated, season two is more than a bit of a disappointment. Mostly because the initial premise, a young woman struggling to find her place in the world after being cheated on by her boyfriend, lost most of it’s playful tone. Like Lane’s other notable situation comedy, Butterflies it suffers from a central character who’s vague dissatisfaction with a male dominated middle class existence. But like it her unhappiness is cloaked in feminist rhetoric but what she really needs (in my opinion) is therapy and/or antidepressants.
All I can say is, “Thank you, DC Comics.” Thanks for cleaning up Gotham.
After last Tuesday’s editorial about excessive, graphic violence in Gotham, the new Fox TV series about Batman before he was Batman, this week’s episode was very toned down. Sure there was violence, but it happened off-screen or otherwise out of our view. Yes, the Penguin’s face was bleeding but there was no visible blood-spurting, no open chest wounds, no on-camera bludgeonings. An entire hour-long episode without a single eye-gouging!
A dapper, non-bleeding Penguin.
It’s very gratifying to think that a little (albeit well-written) editorial by yours truly, could have an effect on a big organization like Time-Warner and DC Comics. Our opinions are heard. The little guy does matter. The squeaky wheel does get greased. Good triumphs over evil. It’s like a story out of a comic book!
Hey, maybe I should get on a soapbox more often! Now that I know it works I may have a few suggestions for The Flash and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
But let me make this clear to the powers that be at DC: I’m not looking for any credit. You don’t have to thank me for straightening out your show. I’m not asking for a fat check or a producer’s credit. Just the personal satisfaction that I made a difference is reward enough. (Although cash is always welcomed.)
To celebrate this David B.-versus-Goliath victory I’m sharing a classic cover gallery featuring the Penguin. You’ll see the Penguin using his trick umbrella and refraining from any brutal violence – just the way I like him.
Click the link below and listen to yet another vintage record about the Penguin.
Today’s installment concerns yet another Captain Atom. In a previous installment I revealed there had been a little know and lesser seen Captain Atom back in the 50′s who had appeared in a short-lived series of comics in a less than the standard format. Well there was an even lesser known (in America anyway) one from Australia written and drawn by Arthur Mather for Atlas Publications in the late 40′s. My experience with Australian comics is less than I would like, but I have noticed they seem to like their costumed adventurers to be of the regular guy two-fisted variety. But Captain Atom is a proper superhero with actual atom powers. And the art is, well, distinctive. Me, I like it, but you don’t often see an artist who’s clearly inspired by both Dick Sprang and Milton Caniff.
The stated purpose of this blog is to celebrate the nexus of comics and records, that wonderful place where two of my hobbies intersect. Songs relating to comic characters. How fun is that? But today I’m getting on my soapbox to editorialize a bit. (Don’t worry, there’s a record coming up later.)
I’ve been watching Gotham, the new Fox TV series that makes The Dark Night look like a day at the beach. It’s not just violent, it’s the kind of ultraviolence that got A Clockwork Orange an X rating. And it’s on television. At 8:00 pm. Gotham is the kind of show you’d expect to see on HBO after 11pm. But it airs during “the family hour” on a broadcast network. It’s easy to believe that Fox would sink so low, but I’m surprised at DC Comics and Warner Brothers. They should know better.
The Penguin with the least amount of blood on his face I could find.
Anyone in the comic book business knows that when violence goes too far, people get riled up and put a stop to it. Ever hear of Fredric Wertham? In Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent, the doctor pointed out to parents how violent comics had become and it just about killed the entire comic book industry. You can’t blame Freddy. Comics were horrifically violent at that time. Although they’re just “lines on paper,” those lines crossed the line, so to speak. Arguably, movies and TV shows have the potential to be worse since they show actual people being hurt, not just cartoon drawings.
One of Wertham’s pet peeves was the injury to the eye motif. Here’s an example:
Given how horrible that image is, why did the creators of Gotham do THE EXACT SAME THING on this week’s episode? In fact, they went even further, actually showing people being killed by having a spike shoved into their eyeballs. Is this really necessary?
If this level of explicit, disgusting violence continues on Gotham, are we headed for another crackdown? Will a new Fredric Wertham arise to try to curtail injury to the eye, being burned alive, and other graphic horrors? Will I be that person?
Classic injury to the eye motif
Also available on a totebag
It’s too much for me. I think it’s unnecessary to show so much bloodletting and torture in order to tell a compelling story. You people should be ashamed. I’m talking to you, DC Comics! If you’re putting your name on this show you’re asking for the same thing that happened in the 1950’s. Think about it.
Click the link below and listen to a more innocent, non-violent Penguin.