Archive for December, 2009
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Long before any official Marvel/DC crossovers, writer Steve Skeates famously stuck in an unofficial one when he wrote the final issue of Marvel’s SUB-MARINER as a continuation of his previously written final issue of AQUAMAN for DC. Here’s the whole story…or stories.
Speaking of AQUAMAN, it may sound odd but here’s a fun collection of Golden Age images of the Sea King being hit on the head!
One of a number of comic books long outlasting its source TV series was Gold Key’s DARK SHADOWS, based on the surprise cult favorite horror soap opera of the late sixties. Here from 1975 is a DS story by longtime DC Comics creators Arnold Drake and Joe Certa.
Finally today, the last day of 2009, is a fitting time to revisit the Marvel Comics calendars of the late seventies and early eighties. THE BRONZE AGE OF BLOGS does just that!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Whenever I, D.J. David B., explore that wonderful nexus of comics and records, as I do every Tuesday, I never know what kind of musical treat I’ll turn up. Sometimes it’s a real gem. Other times it’s forgettable garbage. This week is no exception.
Just check out the record I’m presenting.
The year was 1960. It was written by John Stone and Joe Johansen. The band is called “The Adventurers.” All I know is that they hailed from the Pacific Northwest. The song is “Excelsior.”
This record might not even be remembered today except for the fact that it takes its title from Smilin’ Stan Lee’s famous expression, “excelsior!” which means either “still higher” (the motto of New York) or “the trade name, taken from the Latin, for fine curled wood shavings used for packing fragile items.”
Which definition did Stan the Man have in mind? I’d like to think he meant both, in the sense that he was striving ever higher for excellence in Marvel’s comics, and that, at the end of the day, they were nothing more than disposible pulp that could be used as packing material. It’s horrifying today to think of a copy of Spider-Man or Fantastic Four being used as birdcage liner, but back in the day (as the cool kids say) comics were just fish wrappers with color covers. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Buy the album here. And click the link below to listen.
Excelsior – Adventurers
— DJ David B.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Demetrio Sanchez Gomez is a comic book artist with whose work I was not previously familiar. Apparently he did a handful of highly stylized, Steranko-influenced romance comics for Charlton in the mid-seventies. Here are three with commentary.
COLE’S COMICS delves into Jack Cole’s darker side in a late period PLASTIC MAN tale (from a 1949 issue of POLICE COMICS) that starts out with a grim visual of Plas in the gas chamber for murder!
SLAY, MONSTROBOT OF THE DEEP inadvertantly previews yet another of Craig’s optizillion new books, this one being Dan DeCarlo’s JETTA, a 1950′s futuristic ARCHIE clone.
Hanna-Barbera’s TV cartoon characters were at their peak and Kennedy was racing against Nixon when 1960′s HUCKLEBERRY HOUND FOR PRESIDENT came out drawn by Harvey Eisenberg and featuring Huck, Yogi and most of the rest.
Monday, December 28, 2009
On this date in ARF history 87 years ago, Stan Lee was born. ‘Nuff Said!
Monday, December 28, 2009
We run a lot of links here to the very linkable HAIRY GREEN EYEBALL II. If you like the sort of things we link to there, then you’ll like the original HAIRY GREEN EYEBALL (http://hairygreeneyeball.blogspot.com/ ) which is maintained online as an archive. Today, we take a look at 5 sections you might like to start with as you prowl the dusty halls of this great remaindered blog.
From last May, here’s a reprint of an early Vaughn Bode CHEECH WIZARD story from 1967 as reprinted in 1972. “The Race to the Moon” has no lizards or Bode broads and little to no swearing but it’s well drawn and quite funny political commentary.
I recently won a copy of the 1984 volume collecting RUDY IN HOLLYWOOD and it arrived in the mail just yesterday. William Overgard’s 1983 strip was the story of the first talking chimp wanting to get back into showbiz after years in retirement. Either that or “What if George Burns was a cigar-smoking ape?” Here’s a selection from the book:
EC and MAD artist Jack Davis became the darling of advertising in the sixties and seventies and it was largely founded on his record album cover career that dated back to the fifties! Here’s a nice collection of his highly detailed and amusing LP illustrations.
“Fearless Fosdick and the Lovesick Satellite” is a 1960 continuity from Al Capp’s “strip within a strip” starring Li’l ABNER’s “ideel” (and Capp’s DICK TRACY parody), FEARLESS FOSDICK offered here in its entirety.
One of my favorite European strips artwise has long been BERNARD PRINCE. Here we have what is believed to be the only English language translation of any of the strip, originally presented in the magazine WONDERWORLD from 1973.
So check out these and dozens of other historically significant posts at the original HAIRY GREEN EYEBALL, then check HAIRY GREEN EYEBALL II for more every day!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
“Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster” Leaps on “Best Of” Lists!
“Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster” (intro by Stan “The Man” Lee) is scoring high on year end/decade end “Best of’s,” from the President of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, Ellen Abramowitz’s “The Best Damned Comics of 2009” on The Daily Cross Hatch, to Will Pfeifer’s “X-ray Spex.” Pfeifer hails “Secret Identity,” “Fascinating, with a story that manages to not only combine under-the-counter dirty books, Jewish psychos with Hitler moustaches and comic book history — and be true, to boot — but because it also serves as a de facto biography of Joe Shuster, full of amazing revelations and too-strange-to-be-true stories.”
“Secret Identity” is said to be the most reviewed book ever in the comics field, and has been featured on NPR’s “Fresh Air” to Fox News, The New York Times to Hustler, Time magazine to this month’s issue of Playboy. There have been reenactments of scenes from the Joe Shuster’s drawings both in New York and Hollywood by the famed Suicide Girls. Yoe has spoken about the book at the San Diego Comic Con and at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, where he was a guest of honor (Joe Shuster was born in Toronto).
“Secret Identity” launched the ComicsArt line by the prestigious publisher Abrams. The book covers Joe Shuster’s life, from when he was the artist-creator of Superman, and, virtually, the seminal artist of the whole comic book industry, to previously-unknown aspects of Shuster’s life, when he drew S&M booklets titled “Nights of Horror” for the mob. Interestingly, the characters drawn by Shuster for “Night of Horror” look eerily similar to the citizens of Metropolis, Superman/Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Lex Luther.
Anti-comics crusader Dr. Fredric Wertham railed against “Nights of Horror” before a senate investigation, after a gang of Jewish neo-Nazi juvenile delinquents, inspired by the booklets, horse-whipped girls and murdered two vagrants. The Brooklyn Thrill Killers made the headlines of The New York Times and Life magazine. The publisher of “Nights of Horror,” mobster Ed/Edward/Eddie Mishkin, eventually was imprisoned for two years. The case against “Nights of Horror” went all the way to the Supreme Court. In this landmark case, the Supreme Court set an important precedent ruling against the S&M booklets and, consequently, freedom of the press. Shuster’s connection with “Nights of Horror” and the mob was unknown by the public until Craig Yoe discovered these booklets at a rare book fair. Yoe has been called by Vice magazine, “the Indiana Jones of comics historians.”
“Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster” is been represented by The Gotham Group for a major motion picture.
“Jeepers, Mr. Kent!” –USA Today (which kicked off the press on “Secret Identity” with their front peg story.) “The drawing is impeccable, it’s kinky and funny at the same time.” –The New York Times. “Marvelous!” –L.A. Times. “High Weirdness” –NPR’s Fresh Air. “Eye-Opening” –Publisher’s Weekly.
• “Secret Identity” Web site is at http://secret-identity.net/
• The book can be ordered here.
• Craig Yoe is available for press inquiries or interviews by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
— C. Yoe (in the funny papers)
Friday, December 25, 2009
DC published a dozen annual issues of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER beginning not long after the original record came out and continuing into the early sixties. There was even an all-new revival in the seventies! Here’s Pappy with a fun 1953 edition!
A rare 1942 Walt Kelly department store giveaway comic (Remember those? They still had ‘em when I was a kid in the sixties) reprints Kelly’s adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Fir Tree.” See it here:
Hey, let’s all sing some Christmas carols! And let’s sing ‘em with Popeye, Jiggs, Buz Sawyer and Rip Kirby and all the King Features gang! Here’s a wonderfully illustrated songbook from 1949 with exclusive work by Frank Godwin, Alex Raymond, Hal Foster and many more!
Here’s a little-known holiday comic strip run entitled HEAVENLY DAZE described as “the Christmas adventure of an angel and his flying dachshund.”
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Don’t be silly, Dennis! IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME! Sorry I wasn’t here the past couple of days. I was busy living out my own Christmas fantasy! We’re back today though with more of the same.
It’s an accepted fact amongst comics buffs that Al Wiseman’s DENNIS THE MENACE was better than Hank Ketcham’s DENNIS THE MENACE. Here’s Al’s Dennis (as written by Fred Toole) in yet another Christmas story from just before I was born in 1958.
Artists Frank Springer and Johnny Craig do a passable Steranko imitation in this S.H.I.E.L.D. Christmas tale from a decade later during the peak of the so-called Marvel Age of Comics.
Speaking of Johnny Craig reminds me of EC and that brings to mind Feldstein and Elder’s “banned in Boston” take on THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS from the very first issue of PANIC, their own in-house imitation of MAD.
And speaking of MAD, this was the issue that was on the stands for my very first Christmas in 1959 (although I don’t think I actually saw a copy until the early 1990′s). Wally Wood, Don Martin and the Usual Gang of Idiots celebrate (??) the holidays.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I’d like to reprise a record I presented last Christmas. Am I being lazy? No, I’m starting a tradition! Don’t think of it as a rerun. Just like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Charlie Brown’s Christmas, this holiday-oriented post will be an annual ritual, starting right now!
It’s Christmas time! And it’s time for my favorite Christmas song, my favorite comic strip and my favorite vocal group. Isn’t it magical when it all comes together? It’s a Christmas miracle!
It should come as no surprise that my favorite comic strip is Walt Kelly’s Pogo. A lot of comics have their Christmas traditions, but in my mind it’s Pogo that is most closely associated with Christmas because every year Kelly did some variation of his parody of “Deck The Halls With Boughs of Holly.” In the unique Pogo-ese spoken by the swamp critters, it came out as “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie.”
Although Kelly had illustrated the song in the funnies, published the lyrics in books, and even included the sheet music in “Songs of the Pogo,” it fell to a jazz vocal group to first record the song. If you’re not hip to Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, allow me to hip you.
Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross were jazz fans, first and foremost. Plus they were great singers. They came together out of a mutual interest in singing jazz. But much of the music they liked best had no words, and they were not content to simply scat (although they did that very well also). Rather than nonsense like “boop shoo-bop, scree-bop sh-bang” as other jazz singers might have sung, Hendricks wrote actual, meaningful words to music that had none, taking jazz solos that had been freely improvised and writing words that matched them, note-for-note. The result was some of the coolest music ever from one of the coolest-looking groups ever! (Not enough singers wear tiaras these days…)
Being Pogo fans (and who isn’t?) as well as jazz fans, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross recorded a jazzy version of “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie” bringing together jazz, Christmas and Pogo in a way the world had not heard before or since. Enjoy this rare treat and feel free to sing along!
For sounds of the season, click on the link below…
Deck Us All With Boston Charlie
— DJ David B.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Steve Gerber brought Marvel’s HOWARD THE DUCK to the newspapers at the peak of his bizarre popularity in the mid-seventies, first with Gene Colan and Val Mayerik. Gerber left and Marv Wolfman took over with Alan Kupperberg. Nobody cared either way but at least someone clipped a bunch for posterity.
Marvel teamed up with TV’s ELECTRIC COMPANY back in the seventies to present a long series of SPIDER-MAN stories for younger readers entitled SPIDEY SUPER STORIES. Here’s an ish where he teams up with Iceman as written by Roy Thomas’s ex-wife Jean and drawn by Superman’s ex-artist Win Mortimer.
Still in the seventies, here’s an Atlas-Seaboard horror tale from that company’s short-lived and almost generically titled TALES OF EVIL. It’s written by original CREEPY editor Russ Jones with VERY stylized art by veteran Jerry Grandenetti.
Not exactly Christmas but seasonal at least, here’s my all-time favorite Crumb art–ARCADE’s anarchist and most definitely not kid-friendly FROSTY THE SNOWMAN stories from 1975.
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