Saturday, April 21, 2012

Puzzle Time!

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Comics They Never Made!

Longtime readers of this blog may recall that when I first began doing this, I was also doing a weekly column for World Famous Comics called "Cover Stories," which once a month featured "Comics They Never Made"! Well, as I was looking over what I wanted to add as features here, I realized that I hardly shared any of those covers that I created here! So, I'm doing it -- but without all the crap I made up about what the plot of the comics were, or who worked on it, etc. So click on the jump, and enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Toy Spotlight: Aurora Superheroes Models, Part 1!

Yep, this'll have to be in two parts, I think!
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First up, we have the Batman model kit, with two built examples! I must say, I definitely prefer the second one to the first -- those eyes on the first one are creeeepy! Also note that the model only bears a vague resemblance to the art on the box!

Cliffhanger! King of the Rocket Men, Chapter 2!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Monkees, Season 1, Episode 1: Royal Flush!

Hey, hey, it's time for another feature! Alternating in position with the MST3K review/indexes (which I promise will be shorther in future installments), I'm going to be watching an episode of "The Monkees" and writing about it as I watch it!

Note: I started writing this series before the untimely death of Davy Jones. This installment is, naturally, dedicated to him.


The Indexible Hulk #20

Tales to Astonish 064Issue: Tales to Astonish #64


Title: “The Horde of Humanoids!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Penciled by Steve Ditko, Inked by George Roussos (as George Bell), Lettered by Artie Simek.

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Major Talbot, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: Leader, Humanoids, Chameleon

Hulk Intelligence: Strong But Slow... Stan describes the Hulk's brain as “clouded,” although he does at least question why he can't destroy the Humanoids he fights.

Guest-Stars: The President of the United States (not directly seen or named, but it's heavily implied)

Plot: Bruce Banner is in a cell at the New Mexico Missile Base due to events from last issue. To prevent the stress from causing him to change into the Hulk, Banner's been taking tranquilizer pills. Meanwhile, the Chameleon reports to the Leader that Banner has been arrested, but while the Leader would like to use it as an opportunity to study Banner's invention, he'd really prefer to learn more about the Hulk! Later, Bruce is meeting with his attorney (not Matt Murdock) prior to his treason trial when Rick Jones shows up. Talking privately, Rick asks Bruce why he doesn't just admit he's the Hulk, but Bruce fears if his secret got out, enemies of the US would capture him to try to learn how to make more Hulks! Rick decides to head out and find someone who he can safely tell Bruce's secret to who could help out – and he gets in with the help of his Avengers ID card! After a few minutes, Rick tells the President about what the situation is, and the President agrees it's best to keep this a secret. Later, at the base, orders come from the Pentagon clearing Bruce! Even though Ross still thinks Bruce is guilty, he immediately sends him to Astra Island with Major Talbot to test his new atomic device, the Nuclear Absorbatron, which is supposed to absorb the impact of an atom bomb blast. Meanwhile, the Leader has sent a horde of his Humanoids to the base, dropping them into the water some distance from Astra Island so they can walk the rest of the way there. On the island, Talbot and Banner go to the control room, where Talbot acts like a complete ass while Bruce sets up the Nuclear Absorbatron for its test. Talbot's browbeating gets Bruce stressed, but when Bruce goes to take another tranquilizer, he discovers he's all out (should've refilled them before going out!), and he runs away before he changes into the Hulk. Outside the control center, Talbot sees the Hulk and decides that Bruce must've called the Hulk somehow. Talbot activates the security doors to try to keep the Hulk out, but the Hulk starts breaking through. Suddenly, the Humanoids approach the isle, and they immediately pile onto the Hulk! As the Hulk battles the Humanoid horde, Talbot activates a series of buttons sending the device deep underground into a titanium shielded shelter. About four or five minutes into the fight, the Hulk realizes that the Humanoids are some kind of machines, but nothing he does seems to be able to stop them! As the battle continues, the stress causes the Hulk to become more and more savage, and his pulse rate changes, which will cause him to change back to Bruce Banner shortly!

Invention Exchange: Bruce Banner's Nuclear Absorbatron (again, when did he have time to invent this? It doesn't seem to be the same device from last issue).

Reprinted In: The Incredible Hulk Special #1, The Incredible Hulk (Simon & Schuster 1978), Essential Hulk #1.

Notes: Adapted as episode 8 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. As noted in the previous installment, it seems as though Stan wasn't really thinking too far ahead with this series. Indeed, it's almost as if this time around, he just wanted to kill time while he figured out what he really wanted to do, so threw more Humanoids at the Hulk! The Hulk doesn't appear until page 6, then page 7 starts four pages of fighting with the Humanoids.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This 'N That Time!

OK, so Random Acts of Geekery has been back from hiatus for 18 days as of today... and I've been working away as hard as I can to make sure that another hiatus doesn't happen for a long time (to give you an example of how far ahead I'm working, I'm taking a break from November posts to write this).

And I'm really, really beginning to wonder if I made a terrible mistake by A) taking a hiatus in the first place, and B) finally changing the URL for this blog, and doing so during said hiatus. See, since returning, I've been looking at my numbers, and since the return, I've only had about a third of the hits I'd been accustomed to getting before going on the hiatus... and I honestly don' t know what I can do to try to get the numbers back up again!

It's very strange, because I was nearing 800 hits a day on average (sometimes more), which isn't exactly huge numbers, but it was respectable... so something's up. Either the hiatus just broke some readers out of the habit of reading the Random Acts of Geekery, or the URL change screwed up bookmarks (even though the old URL has been saying to go here instead)... like I said, I'm not sure what's going on there, and I really don't want to change URLs again to see if it fixes things!

Of course, if those two items together are what messed up my numbers, it wouldn't be the first time that I've made a bad decision that seemed to be the right one at the time, would it?

Oh, you need some clarification on that point? Well, you long-time readers know that I used to be a graphic designer who worked for the local newspaper. A little over three years ago, I was laid off from that job, and knowing that there's like zero need for graphic designers around here, I figured I'd go back to school and get trained in something else -- especially since as a dislocated worker, the state of Washington would pay for it.  And as you may also know, I chose to go for a two-year degree to get trained as a Medical Assistant (that's usually the person who takes you from the waiting room to the exam room, and takes your pulse, blood pressure, height and weight, and so forth. Sometimes a nurse does that job, it depends on the office). There's three reasons I chose Medical Assisting:

1) Watching shows like House and Royal Pains made me realize how interesting Medicine could be (I've been saying that if House had been on when I was a teenager, I would've probably become a doctor).

2) The Olympia area is home to two hospitals, plus a LOT of doctors offices, clinics, retirement homes, and so forth, so I figured I'd be able to find a job where I wouldn't have to travel very far to and from work.

3) The US Goverment Department of Labor said Medical Assisting was one of the fastest-growing jobs in the country.

OK, of those three reasons, the first one is still valid, but the other two apparently aren't. Since finishing school in September, I've been applying for every job out there that my training applies to, and I've had three interviews, and no callbacks. Most of the jobs being listed are requiring at least two years of experience, and most of them are asking for more.

And it's not just me finding this -- there were 18 students in my Medical Assisting group, and I think maybe a half-dozen are working in the medical field at all... and I think most of them kind of had those jobs lined up before they started school, and some others happened to get lucky with their externship site, and were hired by them.

So at the end of this month, it'll be eight months since I finished school, and three years since I last worked regularly. Obviously, I can't keep waiting and waiting for an MA job to come my way, because we can't live on my wife's income alone (and with my numbers here the way they are, it's going to be much longer between those small payments I get from AdSense!).

So we've been thinking about what else I could do that would get me working and bring in money... and quite independently, we both thought of truck driving. In theory, this is a really great idea, because trucking companies are always in need of drivers, and the training course is only four weeks long. On top of that, I started researching it, and the indications were that I could get pre-hired by a trucking company, who would pay for the school so long as I worked for them for a year or two. Sounds like a good plan, right? Oh, sure, I'd be away from home for five days or longer at a time, but at least I'd be bringing in some money.

So this morning, I met with the president of a truck driving school, talked about the school, and he gave me a copy of their brochure (which, honestly, mostly has the same information that the website has on it). Well, talking to this gentleman, I soon learned that the pre-hire thing? Doesn't happen, at least not with this school. And the cost of this four-week program altogether is around six thousand smackers... so at least that school is out of the question.

My next step is to start applying with the truck driving companies that have said that they provide training, and see what they have to say about things... so I'll keep you guys posted!

In the meantime... if anybody has any ideas how I can get the word out better about this blog returning, and get my visits back up, please, feel free to post it in the comments!

Cover Redux!

Time again to take another look at an original Marvel Comics cover and compare it to the reprint and pick apart all the differences!
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I'm not sure where to even begin with this one! We have Amazing Spider-Man #156 on the left, and Marvel Tales #133 on the right. The reprint was obviously reduced and added to on the sides and bottom, plus the blurb about the wedding was changed. Also, the word balloon on the left has been moved to the left. And of course, the background was changed so that the wall at the altar is completely black except for the window. I actually prefer the coloring of the Spidey figure on the reprint, being more purple where the blue is. Again, it appears a stat was used, as the lines are all thicker and details are blotched out.

Cool Stuff!

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Time for more cool stuff, and this time around begins with this AHI Planet of the Apes parachuter featuring General Urko, in Spanish! Now, I don't believe that AHI did an Urko in the USA (I only recall Dr. Zaius and Cornelius/Galen), so this is an especially cool find, eh?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Famous Monsters #31!

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Comic Book Ads!

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The first ad this time around has to be one of the oddest ads I've ever come across in a Gold Key comic book, ever (this was from Mighty Samson #21, by the way)! I mean... typically, the target audience for these books were kids... why would they be interested in watches with Agnew, Nixon, or Moshe Dayan? Now, maybe the W.C. Fields or Laurel & Hardy watches... but not the political party ones. I'm sure these are all ridiculously valuable these days, of course!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kirby Kovers!

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It's time for some Kirby Kovers, beginning with Fantastic Four #17! This style of cover would be a mainstay for the FF, especially for issues where Dr. Doom separates the team, although I think more often than not it would be divided up vertically and horizontally, instead of diagonally. Also, instead of seeing Doom in the center, that's where the blurb would be. I find it interesting that the Invisible Girl's section is right where the arrow is pointing, because I've heard that in the first few years of the FF, readers would write in and complain about her!

It Oughtta Be...

This week's "It Oughtta Be..." is about The Spirit, Will Eisner's classic comic book! So, what do I think should be done with it?

I think it would make a great live-action TV series. Honestly, I do!

See, I don't think it works as well as a movie (TV or theatrical release), because the length works against it. Actually, I think that an hour-long TV show would be too long, as well.

So here's my concept: Half-hour TV drama, paired up with another half-hour drama series, preferably. Think about it: Eisner's Spirit stories were what, eight to 12 pages long? Sounds like a half-hour show to me. In fact, I'd say that most episodes (i not all of them) should be adapted from the original comic stories. Maybe the episodes with the Autoplane would have to be reworked, because I'm not sure how that could be pulled off. Obviously, Ebony White would also need to be reworked for modern audiences -- I don't think he could be introduced as a cab driver, obviously, but he could be portrayed a bit like Gary Coleman in "Dif'rent Strokes."

And it should be done in a somewhat retro style -- think about how "The Flash" was done on CBS, where it was a mix of the modern and retro. This would allow the show to use many existing city sets, and we'd really just need the Spirit's headquarters at Wildwood Cemetary and Dolan's office (and the latter would be easy, right?).

I haven't any ideas as far as casting goes, save that I think the Spirit should be portrayed by an actor who would remind us of a young Bruce Campbell. Obviously, Ellen would have to be portrayed by an actress who's gorgeous and can also do comedy well (maybe the blonde waitress on "2 Broke Girls" would work, although I don't think she's quite curvy enough to be Ellen). If it wouldn't be too much a case of typecasting, I think that perhaps Ted Levine, who played Captain Stottlemeyer on "Monk" would work well for Commissioner Dolan, but that's the only real definite casting that comes to mind.

Of course, there's the other characters that would recur as the series progressed, especially the femme fatales that Denny Colt kept running into... as well as the Octopus and other villains, and casting could be fun to do for those roles!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

10 of a Kind: Missing Marvel Characters in Mego's "World's Greatest Superheroes" Line!

Just like the last 10 of a Kind, except that none of these were made by Mattel last year, right?

1. Doctor Doom
Because really, why have the complete Fantastic Four without Doom to fight?

2. Daredevil
One of four Marvel Superheroes that I thought really should've been included in the line!

3. Sub-Mariner
Namor is the another character I wish had been included. They probably would've ended up doing his blue and yellow costume, which would've at least made it easier to include his ankle wings, but I would've been fine with it so long as they included a trident!

4. Hawkeye
Let's face it, we've got Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor... we need Hawkeye to at least get a quartet of Avengers happening, right?

5. Kang the Conqueror
Because Avengers need someone to fight! He works as a FF foe, too!

6. Loki
Yes, Loki... so there'd be a Thor foe!

7. Yellowjacket and the Wasp
Remember the last "10 of a Kind" where I said the Atom could be an unjointed small plastic figure as an accessory for the Flash? That's what the Wasp could be with Yellowjacket.

8. The Red Skull
If you have Captain America, you need the Skull. 'Nuff said!

9. The Mandarin
Yeah, Shellhead needs his arch-foe!

10. The Rhino
Because he works as a Hulk foe as well as a Spider-Man foe!

CBT: The Lost Prince, a Droids Adventure!

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