Saturday, October 01, 2011

Geek TV #5: Astro Boy!

astroboy1Concept: Ministry of Science head Dr. Tenma builds a powerful robot to replace his son who died in a car accident, but later burns down the Ministry of Science and disappears. Dr. Elefun is put in charge of finishing Astro Boy's development, and tells Astro he wants humans and robots to co-exist in peace. Astro Boy then begins to fight crime, evil, and injustice.

Total Episodes: 104

Original Air Dates: 1963-65

Original Network: Syndicated version in USA was redubbed (and rewritten) from the Japanese original series, which itself was based on a manga.

Geek Factor: 10 (this show and Gigantor were my generation's introduction to robot superheroes)

Astro Boy (Billie Lou Watt): Super-powerful robot, able to translate more than 60 languages, strength equivalent to 100,000 horsepower, flight via foot and arm jets, super-hearing, various built-in weapons, electronic brain. Astro often deals with human prejudice because he is a robot, despite his work for good.

Dr. Packadermus Elefun (Ray Owens): Repairs Astro Boy and sends him on missions, much to Astro's teacher's chagrin.

Geek Guest-Stars: N/A

astroboy3Geek Pedigree: Astro Boy was created by Osamu Tezuka, who also created Kimba the White Lion. Billie Lou Watt also voiced Jimmy Sparks on Gigantor, and was also the voice of Ma Bagge on Courage the Cowardly Dog. Ray Owens also voiced a character on Gigantor, as well as voiced the Flash in the Filmation cartoons. Gilbert Mack also did voices for both Astro Boy and Gigantor. Assorted voices for the show were done by Peter Fernandez, who also did voices for a number of Japanese shows and movies translated into English, such as The Magic Land of Alakazam, “Mothra,” Gigantor, “Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster,” The Space Giants, Marine Boy, Ultraman, Star Blazers (Mark Venture), but is probably best known as the voice of Speed Racer as well as Racer X – and he also wrote the US lyrics for the Speed Racer theme. Peter also did some voices for the Power Records Book and Record Sets.

DVD Release: Boxed Sets

Website: is probably the best one out there, although if you were a fan of the US version of Astro Boy, you may feel lost quickly!

Notes: I recall watching Astro Boy as a child, although I have stronger memories of Gigantor. Watching some episodes in the past few years, I'm not sure it holds up as well as I'd like.

Countdown to Halloween: Amazing Ghost Stories #16!

This year, I'm shaking things up a bit with the Countdown to Halloween posts! Mondays will, of course, feature Monster Mondays posts, and Wednesdays will feature the Monster Magazines as always, but there still needs to be something Halloween-themed the rest of the week, right? So on Fridays, I'll try to remember to use a monster-themed toy for the Toy of the Week, and then on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'll either post an old horror comic book, some monster trading cards, or the horror comics original art I've been saving for this time around! Today, we start with Amazing Ghost Stories #16!


Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #5

As referenced last time around, Raoul Barré went from making his own original cartoons to creating the first Mutt and Jeff animated cartoons, based on the comic strip created by Bud Fisher, beginning in 1918. Barré worked with Charles Bowers, who'd actually acquired the rights. Neither man's names were put on the cartoons, leading viewers to believe that Fisher made them himself, an illusion that Fisher was apparently all too willing to keep up, taking credit for the cartoons although he rarely even visited the studio they were made in! Bowers was fired by Fisher in 1919 from the studio, although Bowers did get the okay to produce occasional Mutt & Jeff cartoons as an independent contractor (which didn't last long). After Bowers left, Dick Friel and Burt Gillet took turns running the studio. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any of the original cartoons made in this series, but I did find two others to share!

First up, "Soda Jerks"!

Next, "Slick Sleuths," made in 1928.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Give-A-Show Fridays: 1973 Chad Valley World of Disney, Parts 1 & 2!

And we're on to another Chad Valley set, this one featuring "The World of Walt Disney"! This set apparently stayed in regular production until 1977 (I'm not aware that Kenner produced any Give-A-Show Projector set beyond its original release)! Here's the first two of eight parts:

Toy of the Week #5: AHI Batcopters!

AHI produced about as many Batcopters as Batboats, and I think I have better photos of them, too... so let's start looking at them!

The first of the three I have to show you here (not that I actually have these, just the photos) is this battery-powered model, which is pretty cool! The top picture had a 1977 copyright date on it, and honestly, it doesn't look like any Batcopter in the comics or TV, does it? But it does feature that full-color Batman figure in the cockpit, which is nice!

This AHI Batcopter is much smaller in scale, and I believe it was either friction-powered (i.e., you'd push it against the floor a few times and then let it go) or it was a pull back and release model, either way I think the propellors may have turned.

The last of the AHI Batcopters I have to show you is this one, which I thought I had a better photo of -- better hunt one down soon! This one is basically a gyro-powered toy, which you'd grasp the base of, pull the ripcord, and that would start the propellor spinning, then the helicopter would fly off. AHI used the same molds with different plastic colors and stickers to produce Spider-Man, Hulk, and Planet of the Apes helicopter toys, at least! You can see some of the variations on this page at Plaid Stallions!

Apparently, these Batcopters are pretty rare, because I just checked as I'm writing this, and there's not a single AHI Batcopter to be had on eBay! Still, if you want to check out other Batcopter toys there (maybe there'll be some AHI ones by the time you check it out), click on this link!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cool Stuff!

This week's Cool Stuff begins with the original art from a Popeye Color and Read book!
There's the cover, the interior pages (and more) follow after the jump!

The Indexible Hulk #5

Hulk 005Issue: The Incredible Hulk #5

Title: “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Hordes of General Fang!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Pencils by Jack Kirby, Inks by Dick Ayers, Lettering by Art Simek.

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: Tyrannus, General Fang

Hulk Intelligence: Smart, but not Banner Smart, and Pretty Aggressive!

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: “Beauty and the Beast” – General Ross shows Bruce, Betty and Rick some footage of the Hulk battling the armed forces (sequences never shown in the prior issues of the comic, but given the later appearance of the Iceberg Rocket, it had to have taken place prior to issue 4, perhaps after issue 3, although that doesn't make any sense either) before Ross asks Bruce for scientific help to conquer the Hulk. This, despite the fact that Ross doesn't trust Bruce and believes him to be untrustworthy. Below the surface of the Earth, Betty is being observed by Tyrannus, who then takes a sip from the subterranean Fountain of Youth to maintain his beauty, then he sends his forces into readiness. On the surface, some time has passed, and Rick and Bruce are approaching Ross' house, where they are introduced to Tyrannus, posing as an archaeologist that Betty's offered to guide to the local cliff caves. Suspicious, Bruce and Rick follow Betty and Tyrannus, but are blocked by a huge boulder. Beyond it, Tyrannus is taking Betty to his underground realm, but Bruce has already gone to his hidden lab and transformed into the Hulk, and he's in hot pursuit, accompanied by Rick. However, even the Hulk isn't prepared to deal with a sudden blast of volcanic gas, and he's knocked out. When he awakens, the Hulk's decked out as a gladiator, forced to perform for Tyrannus' amusement else it's curtains for Betty! The Hulk easily battles the robotic foe Tyrannus puts up against him, but during the battle Banner's personality ebbs away, and the full Hulk personality re-emerges! He launches himself at Tyrannus, but a paralyzer ray stops him. Later, the Hulk is used as a beast of burden, but Tyrannus soon gets bored with this, and orders the Hulk's execution. Meanwhile, Rick has disguised himself as a guard in order to rescue Betty, and then the two of them go to release the Hulk! Once the Hulk is aware Betty's safe, he breaks out and attacks Tyrannus' forces, eventually burying them beneath rubble. Then the Hulk uses Tyrannus' own vehicle to return the three of them to the surface, but by the time they get there, Betty's in such a state of shock that she doesn't remember anything that's happened.
“The Hordes of General Fang” – The Hulk is exercising by leaping over the desert when he's spotted by soldiers who report to Ross. Ross orders the Iceberg Missile fired at the Hulk, and it does trap him in ice, but the desert heat starts to melt it quickly, and the Hulk breaks free and flees for the hidden lab, which Rick Jones is also headed to. Inside, the Hulk uses the Gamma Ray Machine to turn back to Bruce. Meanwhile, in a tiny Asian village in Llhasa, word spreads that General Fang is about to attack! When news of this attack reaches the States, Bruce decides that the Hulk should step in to deal with Fang. After changing to the Hulk again, the Hulk pulls a book off the bookshelf about “Strange Myths and Legends,” telling Rick that's how he'll demolish Fang's army. Later, with the Hulk heavily disguised, he and Rick are aboard a flight headed towards the Orient, when someone accidentally bumps the Hulk's hat off. Rick and the Hulk leave the plane while it's in flight (again, we have speed lines indicating a midair change in direction) to travel by leaping to Formosa, and from there to Red China to deal with Fang. His stop in Formosa to get his bearings is met with an attack by the local army, but they aren't much for the Hulk to worry about. Arriving near Llhasa, the Hulk puts on a costume to impersonate the Abominable Snowman, hoping to prey on superstitions, and between the costume and the Hulk's strength, it appears to be working until Rick points out what appears to be a dragon! The Hulk leaps at it, only to discover it's an illusion, and the Hulk lands in an electronically-charged cage! General Fang figures the Hulk is trapped, and prepares to send his forces into Llhasa when Rick sabotages the electronic cage, freeing the Hulk! The Hulk then wades into the Fang army, using his incredible strength to take out paratroopers by leaping past treetops, bending them back, and then releasing them to create a gale, then blocking a geyser with a boulder to build up pressure underground to stop the fleeing Fang! The Hulk next brings Fang to Formosa to be hunted down by soldiers before he and Rick return to the US (although it's not mentioned how they got back home), where the Hulk tells Rick that the human race will never be safe while the Hulk's around, and he's planning on being around for a long time!

Invention Exchange: Neuron-Magnet (inventor unknown), various inventions of Tyrannus, 3-D projector and electronic cage designed by Red Chinese scientists.

Reprinted In: “Beauty and the Beast” – Marvel Collector's Item Classics #6; “The Hordes of General Fang” – Marvel Collector's Item Classics #7; Both – Marvel Masterworks #8, Essential Hulk #1, Pocket Books Incredible Hulk #1.

Notes: “Beauty and the Beast” was adapted as episodes 31-33 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. “Beauty and the Beast” may have been the first use in the comics of Ross' nickname “Thunderbolt.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Comic Book Advertisements!

This week, something a bit newer for the comic book ads! These come from the 1970s Atlas Comics Hands of the Dragon #1! First up, a variation on the typical Charles Atlas ad, adding the free Karate Jiu-Jitsu Course! I can only imagine that the popularity of kung fu, karate, and other martial arts in the 1970s led Charles to decide to add this to his usual product to cash in on the craze, as well as to make his ads stand out from all the other muscle-building ads of the era!

Famous Monsters #24!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Video Blog Time!

CBT: Space Ghost BLB "The Sorceress of Cyba-3" Chapters 8 & 9!


Kirby Kovers #4

Once again, we're starting out with a Golden Age Captain America cover by Kirby, aided and abetted by Joe Simon! This time around, it's Bucky who's in peril, obviously unconscious (you can just feel the weight of his body slumped there), with Cap once again bursting onto the scene, his shield (still not quite drawn the way we'd expect, looking almost like a slice of a solid sphere) deflecting a fired bullet. There's two villains about to plunge knives into Bucky (although the one behind Bucky should really be getting his sleeve burned by that fire, eh?), one shooting, and one just minding his own business, adding Bucky's name to the Hotel of Horror's registry of death! Some of the proportions seem to be off a bit... the stairway in the background doesn't quite seem to be in scale compared to the shooting figure, does it? It also looks like Cap's boot should be behind the potted plant, not in front of it... at least, to me. Still, those nitpicks aside, it's still a striking cover! This was the last Simon & Kirby issue of Captain America Comics.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dog of the Geek: Fang!

fangBreed: Boarhound (in the book), Neapolitan Mastiff (in the films)

Original Appearances: The Harry Potter books and films

Other Appearances: No doubt Fang appears in some merchandise.

Biography: Despite his enormous size, Fang is “a bloody coward,” according to his owner, Hagrid. Fang is very boisterous and loving with people he knows, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, for instance. In The Philosopher's Stone (US Title: The Sorcerer's Stone), Fang accompanies Harry, Hagrid, Ron, and Hermione into the Forbidden Forest to look for an injured unicorn. In The Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron take Fang into the Forest where he is scared stiff of the gigantic acromantula (spider) and Mr. Weasley's flying car. In The Half-Blood Prince, Fang barely survives being burnt alive when a Death Eater sets fire to Hagrid's hut, but Hagrid saves him. In The Deathly Hallows, Fang participates in the Battle of Hogwarts, although his role is unspecified. He's last seen running away after a shattered vase frightens him.

Monster Monday!

So, this week's Monster Monday begins with this lobby card for The Body Snatcher! And you'll see what else I have for you after the jump!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fandom Library: The Comic Book Guide For the Artist-Writer-Letterer!

This is an item I've been looking forward to presenting here for some time, as I know I've seen ads for this in old Charltons for years, but hadn't been able to get my hands on this one before... and so, this is for all of you who have been in the same position!

Puzzle Sunday!

Last week's solution:

This week's puzzle: