Saturday, March 10, 2007

This Week's Cover Stories...

...which you can check out by clicking the link on the link list, deals with the subject of "Super-Kids," and for a change, I have a lot to say about the contents of the comics covers I'm featuring, thanks to having files from my old e-fanzine days when I was writing articles for the Kryptonian Cybernet.

One of these days, I'll have to repost some of those articles here!


Currently Watching...

As I type this, I'm watching a DVD of "Frank Ferrante -- Groucho: A Life in Revue." Frank Ferrante plays Groucho Marx here, in a show that I remember Mark Evanier recommending. You might see if your local library has a copy of it!

Update: I just finished watching it... and wow! What an enjoyable viewing that was! Ferrante was everything Evanier said he was!!


TV Comic of the Day!


Here's today's TV comic: George of the Jungle! A bit off-model here, but not too bad...


Cool Retro Toys of the Day!


Here's another trio of cool space toys, from the 1962 Sears Wish Book!


Going Into the Weekend...

Looks like it'll be a fairly calm weekend for Jessi and I... Saturday should begin with breakfast, then walking the dogs, then we'll be heading up to the Sea-Tac area to meet my brother Jeff and his wife, Kristi, for lunch and a movie (no, I have no idea what movie we're going to see). I'd imagine after that, we'll head back to the house.

We've got a project we need to finish up for Jessi's previous job that I'm hoping we can wrap up on Sunday, but other than that, Sunday's open so far as I know (this is always subject to change, naturally).

If you've been enjoying the retro toys feature I've been running lately, you'll be glad to know it should last at least six months... there are 50 scans total from the Sears Wish Books, and I've 90 other scans from other sources already done, and one more book that I've got some scanning planned for.

One of these days, I'll have to provide Amazon links for any of those books that are still in print!


Cool Retro-Toys of the Day!


So here's a few more space-related toys from the Sears Wish Books... the 1962 Wish Book was full of space toys (they kind of took the place of the western/cowboy stuff that was so popular in the 1950s). Of course, in another few years, the space stuff would be almost completely overtaken by GI Joe and the various knockoffs!


TV Comic of the Day!


So here's the Funky Phantom... which I think I saw on TV maybe -- maybe -- once or twice at the most. Kind of bizarre twist on the whole Scooby-Doo formula... and given that I think this show appeared around the Bicentennial, I guess it's understandable that a ghost from the Revolutionary War would be used!

One other note: While Hanna-Barbera's cartoons may have used limited animation, and weren't always written all that well... they certainly did a good job of designing cute girls for the casts of their shows, didn't they? The blonde babe here could give Daphne (from Scooby-Doo, natch) a run for her money!


Friday, March 09, 2007

Cap Dead????

Yeah, right... Oh, I'm sure at this time, he's as dead as dead can be, for comics. But like so many other comics fans, I don't believe it'll end up being permanent.

What I am expecting Marvel to do is parallel the whole Reign of the Supermen thing, with some replacement Captain America (or Captain Americas) running around, most of 'em not really being able to handle taking on the role.

My best guess as to how it'll end up being resolved, with the return of Steve Rogers? The Red Skull returns and kills off every replacement Captain America that pops up, because he knows they aren't his immortal enemy ("immortal" in the sense that whenever the Skull has a plot in operation, it's always Steve Rogers who shuts him down), and thus, are not worthy to take on the identity. And then Steve Rogers will return as Cap, and we'll find out where he's been all this time, and there will be this huge freakin' battle with the Skull, and the Skull will be defeated once and for all.

At least, until someone at Marvel comes up with an idea to bring the Skull back yet again.

Such is comics.

So, in case you were wondering, I have no interest in getting a copy of the issue in which Cap is "assassinated"... absolutely none. The only Marvel title I've been buying is "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes II", as well as those occasional Franklin Richards one-shots. I do plan on starting to pick up Fantastic Four again, once the Civil War stuff is all done with (Karl Kesel's started writing the book, and I've always enjoyed his take on the FF).

Besides, I can keep track of what all's going on with Cap in the various news sites I hit each morning.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

My Daily Routine, These Days...

Just because I don't happen to have much else to talk about, I thought I'd fill you readers in on my daily routine:

10am - The alarm goes off, and I get up. Some mornings, I'll get up earlier (if I have errands to run, for example... or if I wake up too close to the alarm to bother going back to sleep). I let the dogs go outside to do their business, grab a soda from the fridge, and let the dogs back in. Then I'm up in the office to read emails and check the news sites I've got on the links, as well as some blogs that update more often (like Evanier's blog, and TV Squad).

After that, it's time for a quick shower, and then I get some breakfast (usually a bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch or a generic version) and watch some stuff I've DVR'ed until 11:30, when I put the dogs to bed.

11:40 - This is the latest time I'll leave to go to work. It takes 15-20 minutes for me to get there.

12pm-4pm - At work.

4pm-6pm - Lunch break! I'll get home, make dinner so it's ready by the time Jessi's home from work at about 5:10pm or so. We'll eat dinner together, and then I head back to work at 5:40.

6pm-10pm (or so) - At work again. Some days, I finish earlier; some days later.

10:15pm - At night, it's usually 15 minutes to get home. If Jessi's still up, we'll talk for a bit before she heads to bed (that's usually the case if I'm home early). If I'm leaving on time or late, Jessi's normally asleep on the couch, or already in bed. If she's sleeping on the couch, I'll get her up and into bed.

10:30 (or so) - I'm at the computer, reading blogs. If I'm hungry, I'll have my dinner while I read. The TV's usually on Cartoon Network at this time, so I can watch a few Futurama reruns, but sometimes I'll pop a DVD in the machine.

11:00 (or so) - About time for my blog entries of the night, starting with TV comics and the retro toy of the day. Once this is done, I'll make my posts to the DC History List (which, these days, are covers for TV Comics!).

11:30 (or so) - Once the blog's done, and the DC History lists are posted, it's Project Time, assuming I have a project going on! I may be doing scans for future postings (which I've been doing the past week or so), or working on stuff for the trivia contest (ongoing for the past three weeks, I guess), or maybe even writing Cover Stories columns (which I've done the past few nights, usually two entries a night). I may even be searching YouTube for videos to share!

If I have no projects going on, or need a break, then I'll usually read, or maybe watch TV or DVDs.

2:00 - Typically, by this time, I've gone to bed. If I go to bed earlier, it's to read in bed until I'm sleepy.

Exciting schedule, isn't it? It'll likely have to change when we get our foster child (but my hours will be different then, too).


Cool Retro-Toy of the Day!


Here's a water-powered rocket toy from the 1962 Sears Wish Book... I think they made these things through the 1970s, and maybe even into the 1980s! But I'm guessing too many of these went way out of control and broke windows and so forth, or hit other kids...


TV Comic of the Day!


I haven't seen an episode of F Troop in years and years... but I remember enjoying it in reruns when I was a kid (I recall one where a British pop band got the Hakowi tribe all interested in their music, and things were going bad with the Fort, until Jane and some of the rest of the troopers did their own pop band... I think they even sang "Hey Mister Tambourine Man"!

Yeah, it apparently wasn't that important to remain historically accurate, was it? But so long as it was funny, who cared?


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Video of the Day - Who's on First?

Sheesh... six of the videos I'd saved to post here are no longer available... but at least I have the classic Who's on First? routine by Abbott and Costello!



TV Comic of the Day!


Today's TV Comic is Emergency!, one of the two comic book series based on the NBC tv show (the other was a Charlton black and white mag, like the Six Million Dollar Man and Space: 1999 ones I think I've mentioned before).

The color book, at least, seemed pretty close to the TV show... maybe with a bit more characterization... hard to say, since I've read about four issues of the book, but I haven't seen Emergency! since it was originally on, over 30 years ago!


Cool Retro Toys of the Day!


It's more robots today, but they're robots that look like monsters, which makes 'em even better!

King Zor looks the coolest... and it's interactive, too! You get the sticker gun to shoot at it! (Guess that means they won't be re-releasing this in Toys R Us these days, eh?)

The crawling crab isn't much of a robot, just a wind-up toy, but I thought you might dig it.


Bonus Video: The Great Garloo!

Here I posted an image of Garloo earlier, and now I found this video... enjoy!


Video Feature: Bride of Darkseid

I don't remember if I've posted these before or not... so here they are (maybe again!). This is a two-part video from Super Friends, the last series when they were Galactic Guardians, and the Super Friends fought Darkseid, and were joined by some newcomers, namely Cyborg, Firestorm, and probably one or two more I forget right now. Enjoy!

Edit -- Sadly, this one is no longer available... that's what happens when one waits too long to post stuff, eh?


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cool Retro Toys of the Day!

OK, I think I may have settled on a title for these posts...


Here's some more robots from the 1962 Sears Wish Book... and the first and last ones I've actually heard of!

Starting with Mr. Machine... he was an interesting robot, in that you could see all the gears operating as he worked! I don't know if he was sold assembled, or if he came unassembled with directions (actually, being able to assemble your own Mr. Machine would be cool, wouldn't it?). I've never actually seen one of these (or the other two robots, for that matter), but I have seen TV commercials with him.

Of course, Mister Machine was the original name Kirby came up with for X-51, aka Machine Man... and he was even called by his former name in the 2001 comic book, but changed when Marvel learned that Mister Machine was still copyrighted.

The Robot Commando is another one that looks like something from a 1950s sci-fi movie...

But the Great Garbo looks like the coolest robot toy yet... especially since it's really a monster toy! Plus he looks like something out of a 1940s movie serial, too! This is definitely a toy that needs to be reissued for the collectors like myself who could never, ever afford the original.


TV Comic of the Day!


Yes, it's Dynomutt, from his series back in the days when Marvel had the Hanna-Barbera licenses.

So, let's see... the H-B books started at Dell, went to Gold Key, then Charlton, then Marvel, then Archie, and then finally at DC! I don't think anyone else will get the licenses after this, do you?

I always liked Dynomutt and the Blue Falcon... heck, I liked all of the H-B superheroes! I always thought it would be fun if they did a new cartoon series teaming them all up, even across time and space...

Just Imagine... Space Ghost, Birdman, Mighty Mightor, the Galaxy Trio, Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, all brought together by the power of Shazzan! to fight the forces of evil, no matter where they rear their ugly heads!

Of couse, I'd want them to have guest-starring appearances of some other H-B heroes, too... like Frankenstein, Jr.!

Too bad I could never come up with a name for the group...


And I Noticed This Morning...

That I'd already posted my 1,000th post on this blog! (this is 1,006) Guess I won't have a special #1000 post after all...


Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday Night Ramblings...

So today was a really mind-numbingly slow day at work... at least the first half of the day, anyway. I got so bored I went to the NBC website and downloaded the PDF files of their Heroes on-line comic book (which I'd fallen behind on). Given the size of these files, and the fact that I don't have a working CD-ROM drive, I had to do what I could to email these files.

The sizes of these files were anywhere from 2MB to 4MB or even more! So, I opened each one of them up after they were downloaded, then exported a postscript file of them and re-distilled them (since they were from a newer version of Acrobat than we have at work). The next step was to open the new versions up, and then run another program within Acrobat that resized the graphics down to 200 dpi (which is still plenty good enough, given the pages are actually something like 22 inches wide!). Once those were done, I was able to email them to me at home... and after getting home, I downloaded them to my hard drive. I still need to read them.

In other news, last night I worked on the introductions for Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek and Tom Peyer for the trivia contest at Emerald City, and sent them off to make sure they were okay. Waid okayed his without changes, while Peyer and Busiek had some corrections to be made. Of course, now this means I have all their email addresses, but being the responsible person I am, I won't be sharing them!

I've been doing some additional work on the artifacts for the trivia contest, too... the Fantasti-Flare is pretty much ready, except for painting. I think it'll look pretty cool once it's all done! I've also been continuing work on the Red Kryptonite... unfortunately, it seems to be taking forever for each paper-mache layer to dry! I'm hoping to do another layer tonight before going to bed.

So, that means I have the Flash Ring and Cosmic Cube ready, the Fantasti-Flare nearly done, and the Red K in progress. I still need to find a cheap watch for the Jimmy Olsen Signal Watch (gotta hit a garage sale for that, I think... cheap watches probably aren't showing up at thrift stores). I think I'll skip Wonder Woman's lasso, and may switch it out with a JLA communicator (which I'll probably have to just make up entirely, since I can't find a picture of one to work from).

I also have a few things to finish up for the contest itself... mostly visual items.

Meanwhile, I finished reading Tales to Astonish tonight... and the factual errors just kept coming! I wonder if someone's done a web page that details all the errors in this book? Next up on my reading is either Against The Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood, Astro City: Heroes, Godzilla: King of the Movie Monsters or The Ultimate Guide to the JLA. It'll probably either be the Astro City or Wally Wood books.

Another thing I did earlier today was check to see what's waiting for me at the library... and there's a few things there already that I'll probably be scanning pictures from for future sharing here... assuming that you readers are enjoying the new classic toys feature!


TV Comic of the Day!


Here's an issue of Charlton's Dudley Do-Right comic book, which may be the only Dudley book published? I know I've seen Dudley on the covers of some Gold Key books, but those may have been Bullwinkle titles.

It's been way, way too long since I've watched any of these cartoons.


Classic Toys Of The Day!

As you can see, I've come up with a new subtitle for these posts... not that I'm necessarily married to it, mind you!


What we've got here are some robot toys from the 1962 Sears Wish Book. None of them ring a bell with me at all (heck, I would've been one year old when they came out), but don't they look super-cool, almost like something out of a 1950s sci-fi movie?

It's a shame that nobody's sought to reintroduce these robot toys with a new release (maybe even using our more advanced technology to make them even cooler).


Sunday, March 04, 2007

More on the Kirby book...

I've continued reading "Tales to Astonish," Ronin Ro's biography of Jack Kirby... and the factual errors just keep on coming!

I mean, I just read where, to keep DC from discovering they were publishing superheroes (back when Marvel was being distributed by DC's company), that on Amazing Fantasy #15 and Incredible Hulk #1, the covers were done to make the new heroes "barely noticeable" -- say WHAT?!?! Did this guy even LOOK at those covers before writing such garbage?

Hey also talks about how Marvel latched on to the youth that was following the Beatles... and I'm sorry, but the Beatles hit the US after the first Marvel Age books hit the stands.

I mean, the kind of errors in this book are things that even someone with a casual interest in comic book history would identify as being wrong, wrong, wrong! I suppose that given that nothing in the author's blurb on the inside back cover indicates that Ronin Ro has any interest in comics at all should've been a clue.

Hopefully, it won't be all that long before Mark Evanier's Kirby bio comes out, which should be a much better volume than this one.

I don't even know how this book manages to call itself a biography of Kirby, given that there's been much more about Stan Lee and how he turned things around at Marvel in the early 1960s than about Kirby himself. I just don't feel like I'm getting anything out of this book at all... other than it does give me something to blog about, I suppose! And I will finish reading it, too.


TV Comic Cover of the Day!


So, here's an issue of Four-Color Comics featuring Patrick McGoohan's "Danger Man," which was the first title of the series later known as "Secret Agent" (at least in the USA, I'm not sure what title it was known by in the UK).


Classic Fan-Nerd Toy of the Day!


OK, I guess technically, this is a costume, not a toy... and also, I'll have to say I'm not thrilled with the heading I came up with for this.

Anyway, this is the first off a series of posts of very cool (in my opinion) toys out of old catalogs... this one is the sole 1958 Sears Wish Book item that I thought would be of interest to my readers.

I'm guessing this Superman costume is the same one that used to be advertised all the time in the comics of the 1950s-1960s (usually by the Johnson Smith Co.), except that this one doesn't have the stupid mask being worn by the model. And doesn't this version of the costume look just that much more fun than the Superman Returns version they've been selling in toy departments and stores over the past year or so?


Bonus TV Comic of the Day!


Didja even know that Charlton had the Bullwinkle license for a while? I sure as heck didn't... I thought it went from Dell to Gold Key to nowhere until Marvel had it briefly. So this was kind of a surprise.

I note that on the covers, at least, Charlton managed to stay on-model more than Gold Key did!


New Cover Stories Column!

It's Sunday, so you can point your browswer here to read this week's Cover Stories column. It's 1-10 time, and this time around I look at Superboy, the original series!

This may be the last 1-10 I'll feature in Cover Stories, unless I get some emails from my readers telling me they'd like those to continue.

And, since I've only sent one more column in to run after that one, I guess this coming week, I'll have to start writing some more of 'em up!


Current Reading...

OK, so last night I finished my three months' of comics catch-up (sheesh!)... and hopefully, starting in April, I'll be able to start doing mini-reviews again (I just don't know where to start with what I bought and read recently, so I'm holding off).

Being caught up on comics gives me time to read other stuff now... and thanks to my local library, I'm doing so with relish (well, you know what I mean... not real relish, like the condiment!).

I'm on my second batch of books from the library (the first batch was picked up Tuesday, and returned Friday)... this batch includes: Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 5 (the last of the Lee-Kirby run), Boys' Toys of the 50s and 60s (the source for the Sears catalog stuff I'll be sharing sometime soon), Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood, Astro City: Local Heroes, Godzilla: King of the Movie Monsters, The Ultimate Guide to the JLA, and the book I'm currently reading, Tales to Astonish, Ronin Ro's biography of Jack Kirby.

Honestly, I'm glad I've only borrowed this book, and not bought it. As Mark Evanier's reported when the book came out, it's full of errors (heck, I think it may have perpetuated the whole Sub-Mariner being created as a Hollywood tie-in that was recently reported in Comic Book Resources' Comics Urban Legends column), but I am taking it all with a grain of salt. Of course, it doesn't help that it talks about Sandman and Manhunter (at DC) as being actual comics titles, and not features in anthology titles.