Now that we’re just days away from the season premier of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the excitement is building fast, let’s take a look at (and a listen to) a little Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. Not only was Nick Fury an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. but he is (was?) the commander of the whole secret organization! But this didn’t happen over night. Nick worked his way up through the ranks, starting as a mere howling commando back in World War Two. (Hey, you’d be howling too if you were still on active duty 69 years after the war ended.) In fact, Colonel Fury looks younger now than he did back then! (Shh… maybe he’s an LMD.) But time paradoxes aside, it’s good to see Nick’s spy agency on weekly TV.
Now if you were paying attention during Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and didn’t bolt for the exits as soon as the credits started to roll, you got a glimpse of that man you love to hate, Baron Strucker! Yep, that Nazi turned Hydra bad guy managed to sneak into the movie at the last moment. He’s up to no good, I’ll wager.
The Baron, aka Wolfgang von Strucker, dates way back to SFAHHC #5, and continued to make Fury’s life miserable for several decades/issues. Not to mention being a thorn in the side of Captain Savage. Before long, he’ll turn up on the big screen or the small screen (spoiler!) I have no doubt.
So while you enjoy this cover gallery of the Baron you can hum along with the haunting strains of the Howling Commandos theme music.
Back in the day (I’m old enough now that I use that expression daily) comic books were considered cheap, low-brow entertainment for morons and young children. When you see big-budget blockbusters like The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy it’s easy to forget that comics weren’t always fodder for hit movies. At best, comics were fodder for rip-off record albums designed to separate well-intentioned parents from their hard-earned cash. (“I’ll get this cheap record for Timmy. He’s just a dumb kid, he won’t know the difference.”) Especially after the Batman craze hit in 1966, there were more ways to cheat children than you can shake a Batarang at. Enter The Capes & Masks, a group so phony they make Milli Vanilli seem sincere. Holy hoax, Batman! The Capes & Masks didn’t actually exist, nor did 11 songs about comic book heroes. But did that stop them? No! This was the Sixties and comics were the latest fad to be cashed in upon (or the latest bandwagon to be boarded, if you prefer that metaphor). Some savvy record producer found a bunch of tapes lying on the floor, changed the titles of the tracks to sound vaguely comic-booky, and released an entire LP of disingenuous and fraudulent comics music on an unsuspecting public. And they sold like hotcakes. (They probably would have been better with butter and maple syrup.)
If all of this sounds familiar it’s because I’ve told this same story several times including here, here, here, here, here and here. Hey, there are 11 tracks on the album, so I’ll tell it a few more times before I’m through. As promised, here’s another song from Comic Book heroes.
Click the link below and feel ripped off once again!
As your resident self-proclaimed expert on all things comical and musical, I know a lot about the nexus of records and comics. But even I, D.J. David B., don’t know everything. Shocking, isn’t it? I will pause now while you catch your collective breath and compose yourself. Go ahead, take a minute.
But it’s true. There are still a few musical mysteries that I have yet to solve. Today, one of my favorites.
As I’ve said on this blog before, my favorite comic strip ever is Pogo, by the absurdly talented Walt Kelly. I’ve collected and shared some of the records Kelly made himself (yes, he sang). But here’s one that I don’t quite get.
Made by Percy Faith, whose biggest hit was “Theme from A Summer Place” (literally the theme song from a film called “A Summer Place”) this was the flip side of that inescapable MOR smash. It’s called “Go Go Pogo” and it’s about Pogo Possum, star of the aforementioned comics.
Or is it?
Percy Faith in 1949.
Maybe “Go Go Pogo” is about the fad of pogo sticks. Or maybe ol’ Perce (I call him “Perce”) just needed a B side and decided to title this catchy composition with syrupy strings “Go-Go-Po-Go” simply because it rhymed. Perhaps it was just the first thing that popped into his head.
So here is your challenge, my loyal I.T.C.H. readers: Close your eyes and listen to the record. What do you see? Does the melody call to mind the adventures of Pogo Possum and Albert the alligator in the Okefenokee Swamp? Or do you picture the neighborhood kids hopping on pogo sticks and screaming until you want to stick your head out the window and yell, “Hey you kids! Get out of my driveway!”? Or maybe it conjures abstract images of swirling nothingness orbiting the very eyebones of your noggin.
For now, I’m going to presume that the song was inspired by Walt Kelly’s inspiring comic strip and share some cool related images. Enjoy!
Click to enlarge this gorgeous piece of Kelly art.
Magnificent wallpaper by famed cartoonist Jim Engel. Click to enlarge.
I haven’t seen the new movie, but they tell me it’s good. Personally, I’m more interested in the classic original which was not called “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” (or as I preferred to call it “Sherman & Peabody”) but rather “Peabody’s Improbable History.” Using great writing, excellent voice talent and crummy animation, these short cartoons told the amusing stories of a smart dog and his pet boy as they travel through time. Who knew in 1959 that one day these filler segments from The Bullwinkle Show would be beautifully animated in a lavish feature-length film? And who could have predicted that kids who were 10 years old in 1959 would grow up to be 64-year-old grandparents and bring their grandchildren to see a movie based on fairly minor characters they enjoyed (somewhat) in their youth? I’m betting DreamWorks did!
So let’s climb into our WABAC machine, turn back time, and listen to the classic theme song from the original series. Ah… memories. Sing along! You know the words!
Whenever we run out of ideas here at Comics Tunes Headquarters, we always return to the sure-fire, tried-and-true, can’t-miss-with-this show that spawned more comics-related music than anything else I’ve found – the 1966 Batman TV series. No one really knows how many bat-songs there are, but it’s a bat-load!
This time we’re presenting a real treat. Rather than the “Batman Theme” which has been na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-ed to death, feast your eyes (and soon your ears) on this: An actual record of the real Adam West sort of singing. To tie in with the staggering success of the twice-weekly TV series, this gen-you-wine 45 RPM record was actually released, along with all kinds of other bat-merch. And now, you can listen to it and (try to) enjoy it.
I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I’m not going to review the film except to say that Marvel Studios did a great job of bringing to the big screen a bunch of characters and stories that very few people care about. This is a big departure from the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man films, which had accumulated millions of fans over several decades. It proves that Marvel’s movie department has what it takes to make a hit, regardless of the popularity of the source material. Next year: Ant Man.
And I would be remiss (and who needs that?) if I didn’t give a shout-out to my childhood friend Keith Giffen who is credited as co-creator of Rocket Raccoon. How cool is that?
WARNING: If you haven’t seen it yet, there are spoilers ahead.
The villain of the film (or one of the worst ones, anyway) is Ronan The Accuser, whom we first saw in Fantastic Four #65, looking very much the way Jack Kirby drew him, with his weird hammer-thing and that wild hat he wears. Also very cool.
Naturally I’m building up to a song. It’s the same song as the past two weeks, but this is the wackiest version of all. Enjoy Jack Sheldon singing and Benny Goodman swinging this recording of “Rocky Raccoon.”
Click the link below and swing!
P.S. I wanted to acknowledge the tragic passing yesterday of the wonderful Robin Williams. His connection to comics was already explored a while back when we were spotlighting Popeye. You can see those entries here and here.
By now you’ve probably seen Guardians of the Galaxy. I haven’t seen it yet; I’m going tonight. So please, no spoilers.
The film features, among others, Rocket Raccoon who is sort of a cross between Rocket J. Squirrel (without Bullwinkle) and Rocky Raccoon. Today we’re presenting another version of the popular song that inspired the character. It’s very different from last week’s and I think you’ll dig it the most to say the least.
Meanwhile, I hear that the film is doing very well with both critics and audiences. That’s a big victory since the Guardians are kind of a hodge-podge of Marvel characters with nowhere near the fan following of Spider-Man or the X-Men. Kudos!
Click the link below and sing along. You know the words!
It’s this Friday, people! The day we’ve waited months for. Years? I’ve lost count. Yes, Friday is the day that Guardians of the Galaxy opens at a theater near you. Never has a comic book movie been so eagerly anticipated. And never has there been one based on a less popular title. I mean, compared to Batman or Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy is an also-ran. It’s not like fans have been clamoring for a movie based on this fairly recent cast of characters. It’s not like Captain America, most of whose fans died of old age before the movie came out. The Guardians have their roots (I’m referring to Groot) in decades-old comics, but this grouping is relatively new to the Marvel Universe, not to mention the Marvel Galaxy. And maybe that’s what makes it great.
For one thing, there are no beloved characters to ruin, no classic continuity to be ignored, no favorite stories to be mishandled. If Marvel Studios screws this up, who cares? On the other hand, if it’s as big a hit as I think it will be, it’s an instant franchise without any of the baggage of X-Men or Fantastic Four. It’s win-win!
To commemorate the occasion here’s a song about Rocket Raccoon, one of the stars of the film. This is an obscure cover version. I forget who recorded the original.
Click to enlarge this way-cool poster.
This is how Star-Lord looked before his makeover.
Click to see this even bigger.
Click the link below and get in the mood for Guardians of the Galaxy!
I like Space Ghost. There, I said it! As a kid I was instinctively drawn to it, long before I knew the character was designed by the late, great Alex Toth. When they started re-purposing the old artwork and making a joke out of Space Ghost I was not amused. What’s so funny about a ghost who flies through space with a couple of kids and a monkey? They act like it’s something silly to be mocked and made fun of.
So let’s forget the goofy spoofy Space Ghost and remember the original. The cool costume. The cool name! Geez, what’s more exciting to a 10-year-old boy than a show called “Space Ghost”? Pretend you’re 10 and enjoy this classic theme music.
It’s been a long time since we’ve given a shameless plug to Yoe Books, our gracious hosts here at the I.T.C.H. blog. Publishers of many fine books – both hardcover and comic type – Yoe Books has consistently delivered excellent comics, beautifully packaged and lovingly presented. It’s one thing to release a nice book now and then, but Yoe has a trio of titles that are published on a regular on-going basis: Haunted Horror, Weird Love, and today’s featured series, Classic Popeye.
If you’ve never read Bud Sagendorf’s Popeye stories, you’re in for a real treat. These classic comics from the 1950’s are now extremely affordable (and in mint condition!) thanks to the Yoe Books reprint series.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Tuesday without a song. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Popeye’s long-time gal pal Olive Oyl.
Click to enlarge.
Click the link below and enjoy!
NEWS FLASH! In more than seven years (okay, let’s call it eight) that I’ve been blogging on the I.T.C.H., this is the first time it’s happened – I made a mistake! I guess there’s a first time for everything. I accidentally used the same record twice! Can you forgive me? Yes, the Olive Oyl song I presented above already appeared back on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 (click here if you don’t believe me).
So to make up for the twice-used tune here’s one you probably haven’t heard before. And you’ll probably wish you hadn’t.