Saturday, April 28, 2012

It Oughtta Be...

...a comic book! Yes, I've done "It Oughtta Be..." installments for a book series to be a movie series, and a comic book to be a TV series, now it's time to tell you about a TV series that I think would make a good comic book!

That series? "Leverage." If you haven't seen it, it's about group of criminals who were brought together by a former insurance investigator to help the little guy get leverage against the powerful and rich that screwed them over. It's on TBS Sunday nights, and as I'm writing this, they're on reruns, with new episodes to come, so if you haven't watched the show, you could catch up.

Now, the way the crew help out the little guy is by using their skills to pull off a scheme that typically tricks the powerful and rich person who's screwing over the little guy into causing their own downfall. In some ways, it's kind of like the original "Mission: Impossible" combined with "It Takes a Thief."

And I think it would make a great comic book. See, one of the things about the show is, as you watch it, you're not entirely in the know so far as all the tricks that have been pulled against the bad guys. Oh, there are hints if you're paying attention, but often the hints can be taken more than one way. As things start to happen, we get flashbacks that show details we didn't see before. For example, say the bad guy's car gets blown up after they've put a package in the trunk containing something they stole from someone else (without the bad guy getting hurt themselves -- the bad guys are rarely physically injured, more often they end up being arrested for the crimes they committed but couldn't be proven before). Later, we'll find that what was in the package is still safe and sound, the team simply swapped packages around so it could be returned to its rightful owner. These flashbacks are typically done in black and white. I think the comic book format would work well for this, myself.

I also think the characters would translate well. Sure, we wouldn't really get to hear Sophie's accents (unless the writer of the book used standard comic book accents, which is entirely possible), but other aspects would portray well -- like some of the gymnastics that Parker performs in her thievery, for example.

I'm not sure who would be the best publisher for this book, or even who I'd want to write and draw it -- it would have to be a writer who can think ahead enough and plot tightly (I bet Tony Isabella would do a great job writing the book, as well as other writers of his generation), and the artist would need to be able to capture the actors' looks without making it look like photo reference being used all the time (who did the artwork on that Star Trek one-shot that Claremont wrote about 20 years ago? Was that Alan Davis?).

So I'm throwing this one out there, and hopefully, someone will nibble on this bait!

Cool Stuff!

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First up this time around is this Star Trek Paint by Number set, obviously influenced by the Filmation animated series!

Friday, April 27, 2012

10 of a Kind: Missing Accessories from Mego's 8" Toy Line!

Yeah, I'm on a Mego roll this month!

1. Justice League Satellite Headquarters
I know there was a Hall of Justice, but in the comics, the JLA had a satellite headquarters! This would, of course, be similar to the Star Trek Enterprise Bridge, including a transporter!

2. Fantasti-Car
And I'm thinking of the flying bathtub version, so that your FF figures have something to ride around in!

3. Avengers Quinjet
As noted last time around, there were three Avengers in the line, they need a vehicle!

4. Star Trek Galileo 7 Shuttlecraft
Some time ago, I showed a photo of a custom one that someone made, and it was awesome!

5. Whirly-Bat
Just because it would have been cool to actually have a Whirly-Bat toy!

6. Batboat
This one seems like it would've been a no-brainer, doesn't it? They did Batmobile, Batcycle, and a crappy Batcopter... why didn't they do a Batboat?

7. Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane
They got around to this with the Comic Action Heroes line, but really, there should've been one for the 8" line!

8. Baxter Building Playset
With Negative Zone portal!

9. Avengers Mansion Playset
So they've got somewhere to assemble!

10. City Playset
This one would've been generic enough to stand in for New York City, Gotham City, or even Metropolis -- basically building fronts with sidewalks, balconies and things that could be used to stage your superhero battles in! BONUS: Includes ropes that could be used for Batman and Robin to swing on, or to pretend they're Spidey's webs, with places to attach them to!

Comic Book Ads!

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First one this time around was featured on the inside front cover of Mighty Samson #23, as well as other Gold Key books! As you can see, it's an ad for GAF's View-Master, especially the Disney ones! Well, they're the characters you can see pictured, but the text also mentions Casper, the Partridge Family, Snoopy, and the Flintstones! I'm not enough of a View-Master collector to identify the three reel sets in the photo underneath the Donald Duck set! Sometimes I find it hard to believe that this toy line still lasts (well, okay, barely lasts) today, while so many other toy lines from my childhood (indeed, toy companies) are long gone!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kirby Kovers!

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Last time around, I had Daredevil #3, this time it's DD #2! Now, this definitely has more action than the last one I featured, but there's still some odd stuff going on here... like the position of the rope DD's holding! Overall it looks off, which I'm going to attribute to the Vince Colletta inks.

Geek TV: Birdman and the Galaxy Trio!

51vUN1WwUvL._SX500_Concept: Birdman: Ordinary human endowed with wings and solar powers by Ra, assisted by his eagle sidekick Avenger, battle a variety of bizarre villains as directed by Falcon 7. Galaxy Trio: The exploits of three extraterrestrial superheroes.


Total Episodes: 20, comprised of 40 Birdman segments and 20 Galaxy Trio segments (each episode had 2 Birdmans, and 1 Galaxy Trio).

Original Air Dates: September 9, 1967 to September 6, 1969

Original Network: NBC

Geek Factor: 7

Characters:

Birdman Segments:

Birdman-And-The-Galaxy-TrioBirdman (Keith Andes): The sun god Ra gave an ordinary human the ability to shoot solar rays from his fists, project solar shields for defense, and a set of wings (presumably biological, like the X-Men's Angel), Birdman requires regular doses of sunlight to renew his powers. He operates out of a hidden lair in a volcano with his giant eagle, Avenger. He must be related to Space Ghost somehow, as both have this tendency to yell out their names in a dramatic manner, like a battle cry.

Falcon 7 (Don Messick): Birdman's contact with Inter-Nation Security, Falcon 7 (real name unrevealed) wears an eyepatch and gives Birdman his missions.

Birdboy (Dick Beals): Birdman's sidekick. His origin is similar to Captain Marvel Jr.'s – Birdman finds a boy near death from exposure after a shipwreck, and gives him some of his super energy to revive him and give him powers. His wings are mechanical, and spends time searching for his lost father.



General Stone: One of several military leaders, he appears multiple times and tends to take the brunt of villains' schemes.


Number One (Vic Perrin): Leader of the evil organization F.E.A.R.

X the Eliminator: A mercenary hired by FEAR to eliminate Birdman.

Mentok the Mind-Taker: A mind-controlling villain, it's he that is responsible for creating Birdgirl.

Vulturo: Evil scientist who makes a vulture-like costume to combat Birdman. Also hired by FEAR.

Galaxy Trio Segments:

bird2Vapor Man (Don Messick): Has the power ot transform all or part of his body into gas, can cause various forms of vapor to emanate from his hands. From the planet Vaporus, where apparently everone has this power.

Meteor Man (Ted Cassidy): Can enlarge any part of his body, gaining superstrength in that part. From the planet Meteorus, where everyone has the ability, presumably.

Gravity Girl (Virginia Eiler): Has the ability to control gravity. From the planet Gravitas. In some segments, she's mistakenly called “Galaxy Girl.”

Geek Guest-Stars: Not applicable.

Geek Pedigree:

birdman3Prior to voicing Birdman, Keith Andes appeared on a 1964 episode of The Outer Limits. At the same time as Birdman, he also appeared on the original Star Trek episode “The Apple,” playing Akuta; he also appeared on three episodes of I Spy, playing Troy Duncan in two episodes and a different character in a third. His last geek role was playing Darius in a 1980 episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

As mentioned previously, Don Messick has had such a long career in animation voices that I'd be exhausted trying to provide all of the credits! His career at Hanna-Barbera began in 1957 voicing Ruff and other characters in The Ruff & Reddy Show, he was the narrator on Quick Draw McGraw and The Huckleberry Hound Show, he voiced Boo Boo and Ranger Smith on The Yogi Bear Show, Bandit and Dr. Benton Quest on Jonny Quest, Blip and others on Space Ghost, Atom Ant and Precious Pupp on The Atom Ant Show, but for millions of children of all ages, he'll always be the voice of Scooby Doo. He died in 1997, last providing the voice of Dr. Quest in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest.

John Stephenson, who did the voices of Cumulus, Reductor and others, had his first real geek credits in three episodes of Science Fiction Theatre, then was the narrator on The Ruff & Reddy Show, Fancy-Fancy and The Sergeant on Top Cat, the narrator on Top Cat, Dr. Benton Quest on Jonny Quest (apparently he and Don Messick shared this role?), was Mr. Slate on The Flintstones, Professor Conroy on Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles, voiced Farik on The Arabian Knights, and a whole mess of other characters! Other notable voice roles were Doctor Doom, Karnak, Magneto and others on The Fantastic Four (1978), but he continued to do voice roles up to 2010.

Vic Perrin, who did multiple voices on this show, could have been seen in The Adventures of Superman episode “The Golden Vulture,” playing a character named Survey. He also appeared as Agar in three episodes of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. Later, he appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone, and was the Control Voice on The Outer Limits, voiced Dr. Zin and others on Jonny Quest, voiced the Creature King in an episode of Space Ghost, was the narrator for the 1966 version of One Million Years B.C., voiced Hawkman in the Justice League of America segments on Aquaman, did four roles on the original Star Trek (Tharn in “Mirror, Mirror,” the voice of Nomad in “The Changeling,” the voice of Metron in “Arena,” and a Keeper in “The Menagerie.”), voiced the Silver Surfer on The Fantastic Four (1967), played an Alien in an episode of The Invaders, and appeared in or did additional voices for many, many other shows such as The Wild Wild West, Land of the Giants, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, Mission: Impossible, Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch, The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, The Fantastic Four (1978), Challenge of the SuperFriends (he was Sinestro), Project UFO, Spider-Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Spider-Man (1981), The Incredible Hulk (1982-1983) and many others!
Dick Beals, the voice of Birdboy, voiced Ralph Phillips in the Looney Tunes short “From A to Z-z-z-z-z-z” as well as the follow-up Ralph Phillips cartoon, voiced Gumby in the 1957 The Gumby Show, voiced Buzzer Bell and Shrinking Violet on The Funny Company, additional voices for a few other shows, Buzz Conroy on Frankenstein Jr. and the Imposssibles, many other roles here and there... but did you know he was also the voice of Davey on Davey and Goliath?

Ted Cassidy, the voice of Meteor Man, is of course best known for playing Lurch on The Addams Family, Godzilla on Hanna-Barbera's Godzilla animated series, and a whole mess of other roles, both on-screen (such as Ruk in the Star Trek episode, “What are Little Girls Made Of?”) and voice only (such as the Thing on the 1978 Fantastic Four). Ted died in 1979.

DVD Release: Complete series.

Website: Unofficial websites are http://www.hbshows.com/site.php?c=./birdman.htm and http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/b/birdman1.htm There doesn't seem to be an official website at all, and on Kids WB, there's no Birdman at all!

Notes: Many fansites claim that Birdman's real name is “Roy Randall” or “Ray Randall,” but apparently there was no official real name for him (this same error has been perpetuated for some time). Birdman was always a favorite of mine! Of course, there's the modern-day Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law program, which uses the Birdman characters (as well as many other Hanna-Barbera characters) in a satirical fashion, but I can't honestly call them the same character!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dog of the Geek: Santa's Litle Helper!

SantasLittleHelperBreed: Greyhound

Original Appearances: The Simpsons

Other Appearances: Other Simpsons merchandise, including comic books and video games.

Biography: Originally, Santa's Little Helper was a racing greyhound which Homer Simpson bets on with the Christmas money he made working as Santa. Homer believes the dog's name is a sign, but loses his money, and Santa's Little Helper finishes dead last, resulting in the owner abandoning him. Homer and Bar adopt the dog, giving the Simpsons a merry Christmas after all. In most episodes, Santa's Little Helper is usually seen chewing on objects in the Simpson household, tearing up the furniture, digging holes in the backyard, or eating food from the dining room table. Santa's Little Helper has not had the healthiest history, nearly dying of gastric torsion and breaking two legs in another episode. In one episode, “The Canine Mutiny,” Bart abandons the dog for Laddie, a purebred and very well-trained dog, but eventually Bart sees the light and takes Santa's Little Helper back. In another episode, “Stop, Or My Dog Will Shoot,” he becomes a hero after saving Homer and becomes a police dog, but eventually goes back to living with the Simpsons. Later, he's kicked out of the house by Homer because the dog didn't save Homer from a fire in the treehouse (Homer was instead rescued by Snowball V, the family's latest cat), but after the dog briefly replaces Duffman as Duff Beer's mascot, the family takes him back again. There were several other episodes where the dog is kicked out or given away, and then returns to the Simpsons again, although there were variations. Santa's Little Helper has sired at least two litters of puppies (a total of at least 33 puppies so far).

Powers: None

Group Affiliation: Simpsons family.

Miscellaneous: Santa's Little Helper was originally voiced by Frank Welker, but after 2002, Frank Castellaneta has provided the dog's voice.

Comic Reading Library: Four Favorites #20!

Going back to the Golden Age for this one!
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Cool Stuff!

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This time around, Cool Stuff begins with these Batman and Captain America hand puppets! I believe Batman is from around 1966, while Cap is from the mid 1970s. Batman was definitely the most successful one here, eh?

Character Collectible Spotlight: Aquaman, Part One!

Ok, before anyone gets their tights in a tangle, let me assure you all that I am well aware of the excellent Aquaman Shrine that Rob! produces every day! I'm also well aware that some (if not all) of these photos have appeared there -- mainly because I've provided Rob with access to all of them! So without any further ado, let's get into it, eh? Obviously, I have a fair amount of Aquaman items to show you here, so this'll take a few posts!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rant-Itorial!

Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but the more I see of how DC Comics is treating their characters -- especially Superman -- in the comic books, the less interest I have in giving DC any of my money (with the exception of buying their Showcase Presents... TPBs).

I'm probably not alone in this, at least among my age group. The costume's messed up, and the characterization is off... and none of the developments in the character have stuck.

Okay, okay, I know that DC's trying to latch on to a younger market out there, because us old fuddy-duddies aren't buying the floppies like we used to. I guess they decided that they're happy to get our money from the trades, and don't need our money every week.

It's a shame that, in order to try to grab a new readership, they have to make things so unpleasant. Is there really no way to keep a current readership AND bring in new readers? Apparently, writing good stories is entirely out of the question, because clearly that is not a goal any more... and neither is writing stories that only last one or two issues.

Remember back in the Silver Age, when Superman was selling amazing numbers? Or even in the Golden Age, when Superman was only outsold by Captain Marvel?

Okay, I don't remember those days, either -- I'm not THAT old!

But anyway, the books back then featured Superman in pretty much only eight-page stories, getting longer only towards the waning years of the Silver Age (and even then, the stories didn't take up the whole book, because there was still a back-up feature for the most part). Superman had his solo stories in Superman and Action Comics, plus his younger self in Superboy, team-ups with Batman in World's Finest, and with his fellow teammates in Justice League of America. Oh, and don't forget his "supporting role" in Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane. By my count, that's seven books that featured Superman, most of them coming out every month. With very rare exceptions, all of these books were "done in one," that is, the story took one issue, period.

These are some of my favorite books to find when I'm at comic book shows, naturally. Do I spend any time trying to track down current DC books at all? Nope. Probably won't happen.

Oh, I've dabbled with some of the recent events that were reprinted in trades that I borrowed from the public library, so I have a passing knowledge of Darkest Night and Final Crisis and some of the other stuff that apparently doesn't mean anything anymore.

Remember back when DC published Crisis on Infinite Earths? Everything (or almost everything) was going to be changing, and it was exciting. We didn't always know what in the past was going to be kept and what was going to be discarded. Some of the changes were pretty minor -- putting the daughter of the original Black Canary as a founding JLA member instead of Wonder Woman, or having Power Girl take Supergirl's place in significant events -- and some of them were a mess because someone didn't always think through things. But at least for a while, we could still read the books every month and start to see where things were fitting together, and what we could still count on as being "reality."

I don't see that happening now. The current reboot is like the second Battlestar Galactica series, in that the names of some of the characters are the same, and some of the relationships are the same, but you can't count on anything else. Even the J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek seems to be closer to the original Trek series than the current DC books are to any previous DC books.

Please, don't tell me I should give book "X" a try, or that book "Y" is really cool, I should check it out -- because I don't believe DC is trying to reach me as a reader any more. I don't think they even want me as a reader of their monthly books. Strangely enough, the only new adventures of DC characters that I've been happy to enjoy when they're available are the animated series, like Batman: The Brave and the Bold, or Young Justice -- and yes, I'll even include Green Lantern in that count, because at least based on the pilot episode, I think I'll enjoy that. It looks like some of the DC Nation stuff on Cartoon Network will appeal to me, too.

OK, flashback time again: Remember when Batman: The Animated Series came out, and we all went (pardon the expression) batshit over it? It wasn't exactly the same as Batman was in the comics -- actually, I think it was better than the current Batman in the comics -- nor was it exactly the same as any other incarnation of Batman. Instead, the creators of that show took parts of all incarnations of Batman and put them together in ways that worked.

It's too bad that we can't seem to do that with the print versions of the characters, isn't it? Superman should be recognizable as Superman, dammit!

As it is, the current DC books feel to me more like an extended "Elseworlds" series that I don't need to read, because it's not "real" anyway.

Fortunately, I still have back issues to read, as well as those aforementioned Showcase Presents... volumes.

And don't think I'm letting Marvel off the hook, mind you -- the only Marvel stuff I've been buying for the past several years have been Essentials, and I'm not planning on getting any of their monthly comics, either!

Fandom Library: The Merry Marvel Messenger 1966!

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