Saturday, March 24, 2007

Currently Reading...

Here's a rundown of what I've got in my stack of stuff from the libary...

I'm just starting "Future Perfect: How Star Trek Conquered Planet Earth" by Jeff Greenwald, and I find it an interesting companion to the Star Trek special the History Channel aired a while back... you know, the one mainly focused on the Sotheby's auction of Trek stuff?

This one focuses more on the impact Trek's made on people's lives, without being overly analytical. A good read so far!

After that, it's Nichelle Nichols' "Beyond Uhura," keeping the Trek vibe going. The bottom of that pile are two different oversize Popeye books... the second one is subtitled "I Yam What I Yam."

Those are the final four books of one libary trip... but I have another stack that I got from my last trip. That stack is comprised of one DVD (Behind the Planet of the Apes, which I'd already recorded from TV a while back, but wanted mostly to check out special features) and the following books:

"Get A Life" by William Shatner (yes, I'm on a Trek groove here)
"Collectible View-Master" (mainly checked out to see if there's any cool pics I can scan to share with you guys in the future)
"Groucho Marx" a rather slim volume about Groucho
"She-Hulk: Single Green Female" reprinting some of the Dan Slott Shulkie comics
"Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2" - I'd read Volume 1 last week or so.
"Collector's Guide to Battery Toys" - another one checked out for blog fodder
"Cartoon Modern" - A book produced by the same guys behind the Cartoon Brew blog, so I had to check it out!
"The Official 30th Anniversary Salute to GI Joe" and "The COmplete Encyclopedia to GI Joe" -- yes, the Joe posts won't be coming to a complete end, will they?

This stuff should see me through at least until next Friday... naturally, Saturday and Sunday next weekend are Emerald City Comic-Con!


Cool Classic Toys of the Day!


It's still the 1966 Sears Wish Book, and I'm still looking at GI Joe stuff... although honestly, I doubt that any of these vehicles were Hasbro products... more likely they were made by a different company, just in scale with Joe (kind of like so many toy companies are doing these days with their own 12" action figure stuff, most of which you'll only seem to find at Big Lots -- not that there's anything wrong with that!).

Still, these are pretty cool... I especially like the motorcycle and the Navy jet (the helicopter just looks strange... certainly not anywhere near as cool as the Adventure Team's helicopter!).

Tomorrow, more on the 1966 Sears Wish Book stuff, as we look at some Lost In Space toys!


TV Comics Cover of the Day!


Yes, My Favorite Martian... but forget the show for this post... instead, focus your eyes on the inset panel, presumably from one of the interior pages, and look at how Tim (the Bill Bixby character) is catching a ride from the flying Uncle Martin!

Haven't we seen this exact same pose used by the Ambiguously Gay Duo in their SNL cartoons?

I'm not trying to draw any conclusions here about Tim and Martin's relationship, mind you... I'm just sayin' it's a rather bizarre image.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Work Stuff...

I forgot to mention the other night (or did I? I suppose I could just check the last work-related post and find out) that the sales rep for that appliance dealership told me that the owner of that dealership has been so happy with the ads I've created for him that he wanted to know my name, so the next time he runs into the publisher (as he often does), he wants to let him know exactly who's doing such a great job for him.

This same sales rep also handles that furniture store that I've been working on a new mascot design for... you know, the one I showed you samples of below a few posts? I asked her this morning if she'd had a chance to show them yet, and after that, she sent the samples off to her contact.

Well, she loved them! Her favorite is the longer-haired version in the oval, but she thinks the owner of the company will go for the shorter-haired version in the oval. Unfortunately, the owner's out of town for another week and a half, so I figure it'll be about two weeks before I hear anything more about it.

A different sales rep at work, who deals with the auto dealers, has been disappointed that I'm giving up one of my automotive guardian accounts (guardian accounts are ones where one specific person works on those ads). This account's being given to my guardian back-up, who my boss figured needed some more regular guardian work that's bigger than the little guardians she has.

Anyway... shortly after I got to work this morning, this rep was asking me about the other auto guardian account I have (which I'm not giving up). Actually, this guardian account is several accounts... multiple dealerships under one umbrella owner. Typically, I don't actually build these ads... they're created at our sister newspaper in Tacoma, and they send me a PDF of the file, which I at least have to change the phone numbers on (and sometimes change from full color to spot color).

This week, I ended up building the VW, Porsche-Audi, and Toyota ads, while the Chrysler ad was sent to us. I'd been doing the first two for a week or two already, but it's been some time since I'd done the Toyota ad... so long ago, in fact, that on Thursday, when I worked on it, I had to create an entirely new "shell" for that account. The sales rep wanted to know if a requested change could be made on this ad.

I told him, "Nope, it's absolutely impossible," in a joking manner of course (my boss was standing nearby, and I could see her grinning at my gibe). He didn't get it was a joke at first, and so I let him know I rebuilt the ad (which he wasn't aware of), and that it would be easy to make that change. He told me he didn't realize I'd built it because it matched so closely the original file I built the shell from.

To which I replied, "Well, that's because I'm very good at my job!" but grinning this time, so he'd know I was just joking around with him, giving him a hard time. He then turned to my boss and said he knows I'm good at my job, and that I should be given a raise!

Unfortunately, since I just had my review in February, there won't be any raises for me until next year... although I can still hope, can't I?


TV Comic Cover of the Day!


I'm not sure how much longer I'll be presenting a TV Comic cover of the day before I go on to a comic cover of the day...

Anyway... today, as you can see, I present the cover from the first issue of Gold Key's Munsters comic book. I have to admit that I'm kind of surprised this was published by Gold Key, because I would've thought the Munsters was off the air before Gold Key started up! But obviously, I'm wrong!

I seem to recall seeing, somewhere long ago, a page or two of one of these issues, and probably on a website somewhere.


Cool Classic Toy of the Day!


I'm still looking at the cool classic toys from the 1966 Sears Wish Book, and this time around, I'm presenting what, for me, was the "Holy Grail" of Joe toys before the Adventure Team stuff started coming out.

Yes, this Jeep was considered the absolute coolest thing to have if you had Joes! Naturally, my next-door neighbor had it.

To be honest, though, these days, if I had this toy, I'd be taking that searchlight and converting it into a mini-Bat-Signal for the trivia contest.


Mego Videos!

As a contrast to the 1960s GI Joe and other action figures, here's some Mego video goodness!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

That Mascot Image I was Talking About Last Night...


As you can see, here's some of the variations I'd come up with for that furniture company... you can see their original version in the upper left-hand corner. I'm sure that, since many of you are also comic book geeks like myself, you won't have any problem identifying the inspiration for the full-figure version of the mascot in red and orange.

Of these, I think I acutally prefer the shorter-haired version coming out of the oval. Today, I took that image and used it for a sample ad for that customer (not altering anything that would actually be run, naturally), and it looked great.

By the way, if you're wondering: The flesh tone used prints perfectly fine... I'm not sure why it looks so light on screen (other than that most monitors aren't calibrated to provide an accurate representation of what something looks like when printed).

I acutally did yet another variation earlier today, after I assembled this collage... the orange-and-red-clad gal, but with less slender legs... her legs are closer in proportion to the one on the bottom. But I, personally, didn't care for how it came out.

Anyway, you can click on the image to see it bigger.


TV Comic Of The Day!


Today's TV comic cover is, as you can tell, Mission: Impossible. And definitely NOT the modern movies with what's-his-name (sorry, I can't even type his name in this post).

Give me the original Mission: Impossible any day... with all the clever disguises and gadgetry and the incredible psychological ploys the IMF would come up with to accomplish their mission (which they always accepted!).


Cool Classic Toys of the Day!


Continuing the look at the 1966 Sears Wish Book, and the second entry on GI Joe!

The items listed here are all pretty cool... except for that cot.

Seriously... a COT? How many boys playing with their Joes ever thought, "You know, all these uniforms and weapons and military vehicles are cool and all, but what I really want is a place to lay my G.I. Joes on so they can get a good night's sleep when they're all tuckered out!"???

But I'd imagine someone bought 'em.


So... an Update of Sorts!

Got a few things to talk about here, but don't want to do a separate entry for each one...

Finished watching the Underdog DVDs tonight... a lucky break that there were some of the other toons included there, as well, such as Tennessee Tuxedo and Go-Go Gophers, because I'd created a Comic They Never Made featuring those two toons, but couldn't remember enough about either one to fake up a story for them! There were at least three of each of those on the discs.

Next up: Gojira! Another DVD from the library. I've only seen the original American version of Godzilla (actually have that on DVD myself), but the recent release of the original Japanese version was something I've looked forward to seeing! I'm planning on watching it Thursday night, assuming I can devote my full attention to it.

Current reading: Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 4. It's all Lee-Kirby goodness, natch!

I'm about 99 percent ready for this year's Fan/Pro trivia contest at Emerald City... I just have one or two more artifacts left to acquire... Wonder Woman's magic lasso (just need a length of golden rope, which I'd hoped to find at Michael's, but alas they didn't carry anything remotely like that... will probably have to go to a fabric store) and Jimmy Olsen's signal watch (which will just be the cheapest watch I can find... I guess I need to stop at a thrift store for that, or just get one from a dollar store). All the questions and game boards are ready, though!

Work was interesting today... one of our advertisers is a furniture store, and a while back, I redesigned the look of their ads on pure impulse, and they liked it... so today, the sales rep for that account (who's the same sales rep we have for that appliance store that's loved what I've done for them) asked if I'd be interested in re-designing their corporate icon. They've been using a cartoony version of the founder (who passed away several years ago) that's very much old-fashioned, and they wanted something up-to-date.

Well, since I finished what I needed to do early tonight, I spent a few hours working up a couple of ideas. The second one I did was just a very minor update, something slightly more modern than the old one... but the first one... ah, the first one! I really hope that they like that one, because I think it came out great.

Now, I'm not really that great an artist drawing freehand on the computer... at home, I'll usually sketch something with pencil and paper, and then scan it in to use as a template for redrawing it, but I had a definite concept in mind for the first go, and I knew there was no way I could just draw it straight on screen, if you will (I don't have a scanner with my computer at work, nor did I have drawing materials at work anyway). My basic idea was Bruce Timm combined with the style used for those eSurance ads... so a bit of Googling found a basic image to work from (the Supergirl cover of Superman Adventures, which may not have been real Timm art). I saved it locally, and then placed it in Illustrator to use as my template.

When drawing it, I first created the color version... because I am hoping that they'd do more color advertising, plus I figured it'd be easier to go from color to black and white than vice versa. So I adapted the Timm style, but created it without any black outlines (like the eSurance animation style). I ended up changing the hair completely, and drawing all new hands (because the icon has to be stretching a giant dollar bill) and changing the clothing, as well as repositioning a foot... but I think it came out pretty cool.

Unfortunately, the black and white version of it, when reduced to the size that would be used for the black and white ads, would probably lose something in the printing... or maybe not. Just in case, since their current icon is placed in an oval, I did the same with the version I created... except that I have it sticking out of the oval, like the oval's a cut-out or doorway. Kind of hard to explain, I know... and maybe tomorrow while I'm at work, I'll rasterize it and post the image here, so you can see what I mean.

Anyway, I did send a PDF of both takes to the sales rep to see what she thinks... it's entirely possible I need to do something that's halfway between both versions!


TV Comic of the Day!


Yes, it's Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp!

I loved this show when I was a kid... I mean, it's chimpanzees in human clothing acting like secret agents, PLUS the inevitiable rock and roll band (the Evolution Revolution)!

Classic stuff. Has this been released on DVD yet?


Classic Toys of the Day!


As promised, 1966's Sears Wish Book posts continue with the first of the GI Joe collection offered!

You know, it really was brilliant for Hasbro to come up with the whole GI Joe thing to begin with... it's been referred to as the "razor/razor blades" concept... you sell the razor, and the customer comes back to buy more razor blades (this, obviously, in the days before disposable razors).

Naturally, Mattel already had this down pat with Barbie and her various outfits and accessories... but it took Hasbro to nail down the concept for boys toys, eh?

I've read that when they were developing G.I. Joe, they needed war surplus stuff as well as specs on various military equipment... and apparently, the armed forces provided them with all kinds of stuff to base the accessories on! (Gee, I hope modern-day terrorists never get the idea to ask the Pentagon for access to plans for military equipment under the guise of designing action figures!)

I've also read that G.I. Joe was changed to the Adventure Team in the early 1970s (or was it late 60s?) because of anti-war sentiment... but honestly, although you can't see it in the post here, there were non-military accessories made (such as the astronaut and Apollo capsule). Still... one can't help but wonder if Hasbro made a greater show of providing non-military accessories earlier, would the line have lasted longer than it originally did?

On the other hand, the cost of plastic going up pretty much killed the line off (although, so far as I'm concerned, it's all Mego's fault -- they turned down the Star Wars license, after all! If they'd bitten, and produced Star Wars figures like their 8" super heroes and the like, even the rising cost of plastic could've kept them going, which would've helped keep Joe going, I'd bet... and then, without Kenner introducing the 3 3/4" or so line of SW toys, there wouldn't have been such a long period where the only action figures were the little SW toys and the like! Yeah, I know, Kenner did the 12" SW figs, but they were never that big sellers, so far as I can tell).


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Is It Just Me....?

...or does reading a volume of Essential Daredevil seem to be rather... tedius to anyone else?

Admittedly, DD's never been one of my favorite Marvel characters... With the exception of the Daredevil and the Black Widow issues, the issues Tony Isabella wrote, and the Frank Miller run, I've never been all that excited to come across a DD back issue... so it shouldn't surprise me, really, that in reading Essential DD Vol. 3, I pretty much gave up halfway through it.

Fortunately, I didn't buy this... it was from the local library.

It's really bizarre... I mean, most of the issues in this volume were written by Roy Thomas, and I usually love Roy's stuff, but... Daredevil? Eh.

I think, too, part of the reason is the Gene Colan artwork. Don't get up in arms, but I've never been all that terribly fond of Gentleman Gene's work... I always felt that, as fluid as his art was, his pencilling needed a Joe Sinnott or someone to tighten up his stuff a bit more, and give it a bit more depth.

Maybe it's that I never felt his stuff was that great for superhero work, because I don't have a problem with his stuff in Tomb of Dracula, for example... his horror work is great!

Anyway... if anyone else finds it hard to read Essential Daredevils, feel free to comment!


Underdog Video!

So you guys don't feel left out... here's some Underdog video for you!


Cool Classic Toys of the Day!


It's 1966 still, and from the Sears Wish Book, here's some more James Bond toys... plus Man from UNCLE, too! Geez, another action figure I don't recall ever hearing of!

Tomorrow's classic toys looks at GI Joe in 1966!


TV Comic Cover of the Day!


Today's TV comic is an oddity... a Hanna-Barbera live-action Saturday AM show that was supposed to be historically (or should that be pre-historically) accurate, but the comic book (at least, the issues after this first one) were anything but!

While this first issue has a mammoth (or is it a mastodon? I can never tell them apart) on the cover with the cavemen, later issues in the series would feature dinosaurs, robots, and aliens! I can only imagine how frustrated Hanna and Barbera would've felt if they ever saw the things.


There's No Need to Fear, Underdog is Here!

At least, he's in my DVD player... thanks to my local library, so I don't get to keep him... or rather, the DVD of episodes.

Underdog's been one of my favorite cartoons for as long as I can remember... at face value, it's basically a Superman parody:

Shoeshine Boy/Underdog - Superman
Sweet Polly Purebred - Lois Lane
Simon Bar Sinister - Lex Luthor

But it's really so much more than that... it really is so much more! First of all, there's that very cool theme song (with the various verses), which is very infectious! After hearing it once, it's going through my head for days, weeks even!

Then there's Underdog always speaking in rhyme... "When Polly's in trouble, I am not slow, it's hip-hip-hip and away I go!" I never realized before that Shoeshine Boy doesn't speak in rhyme, however... so you've got to admire Underdog for maintaining the rhyme-speak in his costumed identity!

The voicework on this show is also classic, starting with Wally Cox as Underdog! Then there's Simon's henchman, Cad, whose voice sounds like Humphrey Bogart. Then there's also the various character names... Riff Raff, Batty Man, plus the aforementioned characters!

I think Simon's my favorite of the villains... all his plans have him, at some point, saying, "Simon says... ______________!"

I'm surprised that the DVDs still retain the Super Energy Pill in Underdog's ring... I seem to recall that when these were released on VHS, the Super Energy Pill was removed from the episodes as part of the whole anti-drug thing.

Anyway, I'm just digging these old Underdog cartoons!


Monday, March 19, 2007

Cool Classic Toys of the Day!


Bond... James Bond... was still pretty big, toy-wise, in 1966, where I took today's images from in the Sears Wish Book! While only the top toy is an official Bond item, the items below are also pretty super-cool, too, and definitely spy-related!

None of those toys would dare be sold today, would they?

I think the last time I saw the toys that turn into guns was while watching Joel Hodgson (before MST3K) performing his standup act... he had a couple of those toys (Joel always had the cool toys) that he used for a few gags, and then I think he wrapped up the run of the jokes with a teddy bear or other stuffed animal that turned into a gun! It was very funny, and I wish I had a video of that to share.


TV Comic Cover of the Day!

Taking a short break from a freelance gig to do a few posts...


Yes, it's the Jetsons, as portrayed in the Gold Key comic! I'm sure you know at least as much about the Jetsons as I do, so I won't say much more, except that I'm glad they never made the live-action Jetsons movie that had been bandied about after the first Flintstones live-action movie did well.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

By The Way...

If you enjoy the videos I posted here, you'll probably want to go over to World Famous Comics and check out this week's Cover Stories column (yeah, the link's on the right there) as I present some Comics They Never Made, but instead of blathering on about the fake history behind them, I present some videos, mostly movie trailers, relating to each of the four covers!

Random YouTube Video Time!

Here's a few YouTube videos I'd planned to post for some time... minus the ones that are no longer available, natch!

Defenders of the Earth Opening

Banana Splits Opening

Archie's Funhouse


So I thought Saturday was busy...

Hah! Today was at least as busy!

Let's see, it was about 9:30 that Jessi and I got up (half an hour later than usual for me, a bit later for Jessi, who needed the extra sleep), and I grabbed a quick shower before making breakfast.

At 11:00, we met some of our boxer friends for an off-leash walk/playtime. KO and Krypto were joined by Jäeger and Maximus... Maximus was one of our new boxer friends. We were done with that and home around noon...

...which is when we saw that my mom's van was already pulled up in front of our house! She had called us as we were on the way to the walk to let us know she was leaving Tacoma, but had a stop to make before heading down here. Now, I figured that meant we had at least an hour and a half before she'd get here (what can I say, mom likes to shop), but it was a very short stop in T-Town!

Mom came down here to buy us a new washer and dryer -- we've been on our second used washer and dryer for a while, and while the dryer probably works fine, the washer just sucks, and doesn't do much to get the excess water out of our clothes, so we end up running stuff through the dryer three or four cycles (which doesn't help our energy bill). On Saturday, Jessi and I had picked out a moderately-priced washer and dryer, but mom pretty much insisted on our getting the next better model, an LG extra-large capacity set which are extremely energy-efficient. I won't even say how much it all added up to in the end, let's just say my mother is very generous! She tried to insist it was because she didn't think she got us much for a wedding present, but I think it's got more to do with our getting a foster child in another month or two.

Anyway, the new washer and dryer will be delivered a week from Monday, and depending on the timeframe they say they'll deliver it (they'll call Friday and give us a four-hour range they'll show up), I may or may not have to take some time off of work to be here for it.

To thank mom, we took her out to lunch (I know... lunch is not a fair exchange for a new washer and dryer, but it was the best we could do at this time... suffice it to say that her future birthday and Christmas presents from us will be extremely generous, too).

Next on the agenda was a run over to visit with a family that Jessi met on Thursday night at a foster parent support meeting. This family has one biological child, and two foster children that they're adopting. Jessi felt that they were very supportive when she talked to the wife at the meeting (yes, I am witholding names here), and wanted a chance to talk to them both at length, so we could find out some more inside information about the whole foster to adopt thing... which we figured we could use!

Once we were finished with that visit, we headed for home, where we watched a bit of "The Sixth Sense" on TV before Jessi headed off to bed (she wasn't quite feeling 100%, and I'd imagine a lot of that was some stress she was feeling).

And after she went off to bed, I started reading blogs and checking newssites, while finishing watching the Rocky and Bullwinkle DVD set (which will not take much longer, since the last disc is scratched up, and so it's skipping chapters).


Cool Classic Toys of the Day!


Yep, as promised, here's more of the 1965 James Bond toy lineup!


TV Comic Cover of the Day!


Looking just as sexy as her television counterpart, but doing something more exciting than the same, here's The Mighty Isis!

You Isis fans do, of course, already know that BCI/Eclipse is releasing an Isis DVD set, don't you?