Tuesday, November 12, 2013
When I started writing this blog back in 2007 (has it really been 6 years already?) the process involved meticulously going through my massive record collection in search of comics-related tunes. On more than one occasion I hunted down a record on eBay and paid dearly for an album with an appropriate song on it. I scoured record stores, asked record-collector friends for input, even went so far as to petition the government for a grant to research the nexus of comics and records! (Okay, that last one isn’t true, I was just trying to impress you.) Once the particular 45 or LP was in my sweaty little hands I painstakingly transferred the desired song to CD-R, then ripped the song from the CD to the mp3 format where it was then uploaded to the powerful Super I.T.C.H. servers for your listening pleasure.
These days, thanks to Google (the subject of my first blog!) and Amazon, I can find a song for just about any purpose and – bingo! – it’s ready to enjoy. Sure, it’s not as much fun as scrounging though mildewed boxes of records in search of an elusive piece of vinyl, but it’s a lot faster. Which leaves me more time to listen to music and less time spent on fruitless record safaris.
Which brings me to this week’s spotlight on Thor: The Dark World. The film just opened last Friday and already I have the soundtrack to share with you. No fuss, no muss. But first, some classic covers featuring Loki, Thor’s half brother, who co-stars in the movie, albeit without those giant horns on his hat.
Click the link below and listen!
Thor – The Dark World – Brian Tyler
— DJ David B.
Monday, November 11, 2013
I’ve been reading Will Eisner’s legendary The Spirit since the Warren Magazines reprints came out in the 70′s, but one comic I’ve always wanted to read for myself were the actual Spirit Sections from whence it sprang. Mostly because the idea of a 16-page Sunday newspaper supplement that appeared in Sunday newspapers was absolutely mindblowing to me growing, but I must confess writing about it gives me the opportunity to acknowledge something the average compulsive comic book guy refuses to; most of the stories featuring The Spirit weren’t done by Will Eisner and weren’t all that great. Most weren’t, you know, terrible, depending on which artist was ghosting for Eisner while he was int he army they could be breezy little crime thriller, an inoffensive mix of action and pretty girls with touches of low comedy provided by a grotesque sidekick. In short, they closely adhered to the formula soon in 40′s B-movies or radio shows featuring The Falcon and/or Boston Blackie.
But then, The Spirit had a lot in common with those Saint knockoffs. While he started out as a pretty conventional masked comic book vigilante he quickly evolved into a laughing Robin Hood type, the kind who in spite of having no visible means of support never got paid for fighting crime. Like those fellows The Spirit managed to maintain a chummy relationship with a police official in spite of the fact he was repeatedly compelled to chase after him when he was inevitably wanted for crimes he didn’t commit. Likewise, he had a regular girlfriend who saw his career as competition for her affections when she wasn’t alternatively forcibly inserting herself in his adventures, and a foul ball sidekick with a mouth made for malaprops. The other fellows preferred doughy ex-convicts, but The Spirit had toxic racist stereotype Ebony White.
In a 2003 interview with Will Eisner (ironically titled “Never Too Late”) in Time magazine about his then new book Fagin the Jew, the subject of his stereotypical depiction of Ebony came up where, as far as I know. was the closest Eisner ever came to actually apologizing for Ebony. ”The only excuse I have for (that portrayal) is that at the time humor consisted in our society of bad English and physical difference in identity.” No question Ebony was more of an actual person than such comic book offenses as Steamboat and Whitewash Jones, and Eisner was unquestionably a genius. But he was also a man of his time and I suppose the closest we’ll ever come to understanding why men of that era could tolerate something which seems to us to be so obviously wrong is by accepting the bromide “that’s just the way things were.” That can never be used as a free pass, but I believe we’ve reached a point in our history where it’s just as important to understand our past as it is to judge it.
And those Spirit Sections were also home to lesser known features, like Lady Luck who was secretly socialite Brenda Banks who fought crime not so much in a costume, but a fetching sea green ensemble with the figleaf of a veil working as a mask. This outing was drawn by the artist most associated with the character, Klaus Nordling,
And Mr. Mystic. He was a fairly conventional if all powerful comic book magician who got his powers through a tattoo on his forehead he picked up in Tibet, who had fairly conventional adventures, though this one by Fred Guardineer is more outre than usual and barely even a story as I understand the concept.
— Steve Bennett
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Hooray for acronyms!
Here we are a few weeks into Marvel’s new TV series and I have to say I’m enjoying it. I’ve always liked S.H.I.E.L.D. and its various agents, and it’s fun to see them in action on screen – although perhaps not as fun as reading the comics. There’s still something about holding a comic book in your hands, reading the captions and the word balloons, looking at the pictures, and turning the pages, that a television show can’t do. On the other hand, a TV show has music. Since every Tuesday here on the I.T.C.H. blog is Comics Tunes Tuesday, and this is the nexus of comics and records, putting music together with comic art is what we do.
Today’s treat for the ears is the theme music to the ABC-TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (no surprise there). To go with this stirring music are some classic images of Strange Tales covers featuring Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
P.S. Today is also Election Day here in these United States. I encourage you to Vote for the L.O.T.E. (the Lesser Of Two Evils). I’m hoping that this slogan makes it onto bumper stickers and soon becomes a rallying cry like “Don’t Yield, Back S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Click the link below and listen!
Theme from Agents of Shield – L’Orchestra Numerique
— DJ David B.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Either tonight’s game, or the next, will determine this year’s World Series winner. So, presented is one final round of baseball cartoons for this year. The cartoons immediately above & below, come from the October 1913 issue of Cartoons Magazine, with art by Robert Satterfield (above), and Nate Collier (below).
Beneath, though the Philadelphia A’s (now Oakland A’s) won the 1913 World Series, New York City-based Cartoons Magazine reprinted Jeff Carlson‘s cartoon featuring that Series’ loser, the N.Y. Giants. The other pieces are by Hugh Doyle and James H. Donahey.
Click on the pages beneath, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
It’s October 29th and that means it’s time for Batman! Why? Because Every Day Is Batman Day here on Comics Tunes Tuesdays. As I’ve said over and over (and over) again, the 1966 Batman TV show was the biggest pop culture phenomenon ever. And it’s especially important here at the nexus of comics and records because there were more records inspired by Batman than any other comics-related character. (I’ve made that statement on a regular basis for years here on the I.T.C.H. blog and no one has challenged me yet.)
The effects of the 1966 Batman series are still being felt today. There’s even a new comic book about the ’66 vintage Batman. See the before and after pictures below if you don’t believe me.
Click to enlarge
In the 47 years since, we’ve seen a lot of changes to Batman, from the gritty Neal Adams version to the long-eared Marshall Rogers Batman. We’ve seen Batman grow old and nasty thanks to Frank Miller, and we’ve heard Batman’s voice as a gruff stage whisper courtesy of Christian Bale. There is no end to the myriad ways Batman can be re-invented, re-cycled and re-imagined. But did you ever imagine this?
At the peak of the 1966 Bat-boom, when Batmania was sweeping the nation, Panda Records released what appears to be an authorized album of Bat-tunes by that swingin’ group, The Dynamic Batmen. (Cue the THUD sound effect.) As with many groups before and after them, The Dynamic Batman do a decent job of covering Neal Hefti’s hefty hit from the TV show. What’s most remarkable is the trippy album cover featuring all of Batman’s famous foes: The Penguin! The Fox! Mr. Mouse! The Fuzzy Widdle Bunny! And of course, The Giraffe! (Note that LSD abuse was pretty widespread by 1966. Just sayin’.) Take a closer look:
Click for the full mind-blowing experience.
Here’s what the brain-bending caption says on the bizarre framed art by noted children’s illustrator George Buckett: “IMPORTANT MESSAGE: The beautiful full color illustration on the opposite side is made specially for framing or as a pin-up for your child’s room. A most wonderful gift for the favorite children in your life.” Well, they got one thing right. It is full color.
Click the link below and groove to the Batman theme for the umpteenth time.
Batman Theme – The Dynamic Batmen
— DJ David B.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
Above, we’ve a second round of baseball cartoons for World Series Week. These come from the May 1913 issue of Cartoons Magazine. Art by Sidney Smith, H.R. Manz, Terry Gilkison, and Harry Murphy.
Click on the above & below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
This being Opening Day for the World Series, above we have a comic strip adaptation of author Ernest Thayer‘s famous 1888 poem, “Casey at the Bat”, as illustrated in the September 19th, 1908 edition of the Chicago Examiner by cartoonist Thomas A. Dorgan (“Tad”).
A dramatized reading of “Casey at the Bat” was part of the Vaudeville line-up at Chicago’s Lyceum Theatre during 1908, whose headliner was blackface minstrel singer Lew Dockstader (whom the advertising flyer above, was attributed to).
baseball Tad Dorgan
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
It’s hard to beat 1966 for comics tunes. Not only was it the year of the Batman TV show (possibly the most recorded comics-related song in history) but it was a banner year for the competition over at Marvel. When The Marvel Super-Heroes TV show made its debut in ’66, it introduced us to five different super-hero theme songs. Plus, the Merry Marvel Marching Society theme. That’s a.k.a. the M.M.M.S. for those of U who text (U no who U R.).
Until today, I didn’t know who had written those songs. For all I knew it was Smilin’ Stan Lee who limned those tongue-twisting lyrics. But no! Thanks to fellow I.T.C.H.-er Steve Thompson and the good folks at PBS, we now know it was the same man responsible for both music and lyrics – Jack Urbont. The unsung hero of 1966 finally gets his chance to sing.
In a rare departure from our usual Tuesday ritual of sharing a record with you, we’re presenting this video. It showcases all of the Merry Marvel melodies as performed by the man who wrote them. Enjoy!
Click the itty-bitty image to see it in its full-size glory.
Click the link and march along.
— DJ David B.
Monday, October 21, 2013
THE CHILLING ARCHIVES OF HORROR COMICS HALLOWEEN GIVE-AWAY!
Fright Fans! You have five places where to win Yoe Books/IDW’s complete Chilling Archives of Horror Comics! Those are the spine tingling collections of banned comics from the 1950s include “Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein”, “Bob Powell’s Terror”, “Zombies”, the brand new, “Jack Cole’s Deadly Horror” and the soon to be released “Haunted Horror hardback! Enter your name each place for four chances to win!
The scary sponsoring blogs and Facebook page are The Horrors of it All , Four Color Shadows, The Fabulous Fifties, the Yoe Books page on Facebook, and the IDW Publishing page on Facebook. Go here to each of them to win…
Follow each blog’s individual instruction on how to enter your name in the contest.
Gory details: Contest closes on the stroke of MIDNIGHT October 29th. Winners will be announced on the above URL”s on Halloween so check in each place! (Only continental U.S. residents eligible, you can enter the contest all four places, but you can only win one set of books. Void where prohibited by law. Judge’s decision final. YO! Are you not feeling lucky because a black cat crossed your path?! You can still have a Happy Halloween: fearlessly order the books for yourself (and everyone on your Halloween gift list) at the Yoe Books site… http://yoebooks.com/
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