Saturday, September 29, 2012

So... Here's An Update of Sorts...

This could be a long one, kids... strap yourselves in!

It's been a very interesting couple of months for me. As many of you should remember, after nearly a year of looking for work as a Medical Assistant (you know, that thing I went to college two years to earn a degree in, which I chose because it was supposed to be a high-demand occupation according to the US government), I wasn't getting anywhere (because everyone wants experience), so I decided to do something different... namely, truck driving.

So, I enrolled in the C.R. England Premier Truck Driving School, which had me in Salt Lake City for a little over two weeks going through their course, often putting in 12-hour days in classes. There were some pretty stressful times there, but I eventually made it through and earned my Commercial Drivers' License, Class A. Once that was done, I was assigned to a Phase I trainer named Kevin, so I could get some real-world experience and fill in the gaps in my education (a lot of it was getting practice backing the truck into parking spaces and to customer docks), and after that, I was dropped off at England's school in Dallas, Texas for some upgrade training.

Now, while all this was going on, there was stuff happening at home, naturally... but all I'm going to really share about that is that the person who rear-ended me in the second accident (did I mention being rear-ended in June and July before? If not, my bad) was going to traffic court about a ticket, and there was a sub-poena sent to my house asking me to be there. This gave me a really good reason to get home after the upgrade training.

The main reason I wanted to get home, of course, was to get some time with my wife and kids, because I'd been away for seven and a half weeks... also to get some competent medical treatment for the injuries I suffered in both accidents (the second one made things much worse than they'd been before). Trying to get chiropractic treatment on the road proved to be much more challenging than I'd originally anticipated, and getting competent treatment was even harder!

So, about a week and a half ago, I arrived back home, and started getting things taken care of here that I needed to take care of.

Now, here's the thing: The next phase of training with C.R. England would've had me away from home for at least two and a half months! I can't be away from my family that long again... I was getting close to being burned out after the four weeks on the road with Kevin! Something had to change.

Well, change was a'coming...

Comic Book Ads!

This time around, the ads are from Dell's Thirteen... Going on Eighteen #26! thirteen26_02 And I'm sure the readers of this book about a young teenage girl are all so concerned about building up their muscles, right? Mocking aside, I've always been amazed at how many muscle-building ads there have been in comics over the years -- and yet these days, when we (and yes, I include myself in this group) as comic book readers probably could use the benefits that they offer most, they're not advertising in the comics any more!

Comic Book Ads!

thirteen08_35 Remember last time around, I had an ad for plastic soldiers with a photo from Dell's Thirteen... Going on Eighteen? Well, this is from issue 8 of that title, and they've gone to using drawings instead of a photo -- and I'll bet they got many more orders from this ad than the photo ad!

Cliffhanger! The Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter 6!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cliffhanger!

Toy Spotlight: Batman Escape Gun!

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Well, here's one of the few carded Batman toys that actually had something remotely to do with Batman; even if it took about 25 years to really fit best! Of course, in the late 1960s when this toy came out, Batman exclusively used his Batarang to get a rope up to where he needed to climb to, but still, this toy came out -- and in two, colors, too! One has to wonder if memories of this toy sparked the late 1980s grappling gun seen in the Tim Burton Batman movie, and even moreso in the Bruce Timm Batman animated series?

My Toys: "Flying" Superman!

Okay, so sometimes, I just get really, really lucky... I was lucky to meet my wife, for example, because sometimes, when she's out shopping for stuff, she finds things for me!

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Case in point: This Superman figure by Mattel! My wife came home with this one day, having found it at Value Village for three bucks! It's huge, almost a foot tall, and is a great representation of the Man of Steel from the animated series and Justice League. I have no idea if this was part of the Superman animated toy line, or if it was a Justice League toy (I can't quite focus on the copyright information).

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It's better articulated than you might think from the photos... the head actually tilts up and down as well as rotates, and the hands rotate, too. But what's really cool about this is, it's electronic! There's a button on the side of his belt that, when you press it, will make a wind sound, and then the cape starts flapping (there's some ribs on the cape that make the effect)... or it will make a ray sound and his eyes will glow, indicating the use of heat vision!

I have no idea what these go for on eBay, but I'm guessing a bit more than $3, especially when shipping is included, because this guy's heavy, too!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Geek TV: Gigantor!

gigantorConcept: In the far-flung future of the year 2000, Jimmy Sparks, a 12-year-old boy, controls Gigantor, a huge flying robot, with a remote control. Gigantor, created by Jimmy's father, was originally created as a weapon, now used for peace.

Total Episodes: 52

Original Air Dates: (Japan) October 20, 1963 – May 25, 1966; (US) 1964-1966

Original Network: Syndicated

Geek Factor: 9

Characters:

Gigantor: Huge flying robot, with incredible strength. Gigantor has no intelligence of his own, but merely acts under the instructions of whoever has his remote control.

gigantor5Jimmy Sparks (Voice of Billie Lou Watt): 12-year-old boy who controls Gigantor, and uses him as a guardian of peace. Jimmy lives with his uncle Dr. Bob Brilliant on a remote island, and not only carries a firearm, but he also drives a car on occasion!

Dr. Bob Brilliant (Voice of ): Jimmy's uncle and guardian.

Dick Strong (Voice of Gilbert Mack): A secret agent.

Inspector Blooper (Voice of Ray Owens): A funny policeman.

Geek Guest-Stars: None
Geek Pedigree:

gigantor-headerFred Ladd was the person who “discovered” Gigantor for US audiences. His credits include editor, writer and director of The Underseas Explorers and The Space Explorers (also producing some of those), producing Pinocchio in Outer Space, associate producing Journey Back to Oz, writing episodes of not only Gigantor but also Astroboy, Kimba the White Lion, Tarzan (1979), The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!, The Incredible Hulk (1982), and Ghostbusters (1986). He was also voice director for Astroboy, Gigantor, Kimba the White Lion, G-Force: Guardians of Space, and Sailor Moon.

Peter Fernandez wrote several episodes, and contributed voices to a handful as well. He served the same role for shows like Astroboy, The Space Giants, Johnny Cypher in Dimension Zero, and Ultraman. He did voice direction for many of those shows, along with Godzilla Versus the Space Monster, Marine Boy, Star Blazers, Thunderbirds 2086, and many other shows and movies, most recently for Kenny the Shark. Oh, and of course, he was the voice of the title character, Rex Racer and others on Speed Racer, voiced Dr. Mariner and Piper on Marine Boy, Mark Venture on Star Blazers, and other roles. He had a cameo as a local announcer in the 2008 Speed Racer movie, and was the voice of Spritle on the ill-advised Speed Racer: The Next Generation. He passed away in 2010.

Gigantor_KochCollV1 Ray Owens had done the voices of Dr. Boyntonn, Dr. Elefun, and the Narrator in Astroby, and did the narrator on Kimba the White Lion. He was the voice of The Flash in the Filmation Flash and Justice League cartoons that were part of The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, and provided voices for the religious shows The Flying House and Superbook.

Billie Lou Watt, as noted earlier in this series of articles, was the voice of Astroboy on that series, as well as the title voice on Kimba the White Lion, and could also be heard on The Flying House and Superbook. Her last role was Ma Bagge on Courage the Cowardly Dog.

Gilbert Mack had earlier been cast in the TV series Fearless Fosdick (I didn't know there had been such a thing), did voices for Johnny Jupiter including the title character, and also provided voices on Astrboy and Kimba the White Lion.

DVD Release: Multiple box sets.

Website: http://www.gigantor.org/ (official site)

Notes: I loved this show as a kid! The original anime of this was called Tetsujin 28-go.

Kirby Kovers!

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First up this time around, it's Gunsmoke Western #67, and it's one of those four-panel covers Kirby didn't do too often (although it seems he did more multi-panel covers for westerns, didn't he?). I love how this is pretty much a story in itself!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cool Stuff!

shootingloneranger_arcade The first item this week is this Lone Ranger shooting gallery, which is certainly appropriate for a Lone Ranger toy!

Dog of the Geek: Farfel!

farfelBreed: Hound Dog


Original Appearances: 1950s nightclubs

Other Appearances: Nestlé commercials from 1955-1965, sporadically afterwards, as well as a lot of merchandising.

Biography: Ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson had been working a late show at a nightclub in Wichita, Kansas with his dummy Danny O'Day when he spotted a stuffed dog a patron had left on a piano. He picked up the stuffed dog and started improvising a low-pitched voice for the dog. This inspired him to create a new character, which he commissioned from Chicago ventriloquist dummy maker Frank Marshall and named Farfel, after the Jewish pasta dish he'd seen on the menu of Borscht Belt resorts. Later, Farfel appeared with Danny O'Day in an 11-year-long run of Nestlé's Chocolate commercials, with Farfel providing the final line, i.e. Danny: “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestlé's makes the very best...” Farfel: “Choc-late!”

Powers: None

Group Affiliation: N/A

Miscellaneous: Farfel, along with Danny O'Day, was manufactured as ventriloquist dummies for children learning how to do ventriloquism. Both came with a record and script that would teach you the art, although the record was the same for both.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fandom Library: The Comic Reader #95!

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The Indexible Hulk #35!

Tales to Astonish 079Issue: Tales to Astonish #79


Title: “The Titan and the Torment”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, layouts by Jack Kirby, finished pencils and inks by Bill Everett, letters by Art Simek.

Supporting Cast: Major Talbot, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: Dr. Konrad Zaxon

Hulk Intelligence: Not quite as stupid as he got in the 1970s, and definitely much, much angrier!

Guest-Stars: Hercules

Plot: Zaxon fires his Organic Energy Attractor at the Hulk to power his own device, but he didn't reckon on the Hulk getting madder – and of course, the madder the Hulk gets, the stronger the Hulk gets! The Hulk pushes through the ray and swats Zaxon aside, causing the OEA to strike a wall and hit Zaxon himself, instantly killing him! The Hulk leaps away, hearing soldiers approaching! Meanwhile, a short distance away, a train hurtles down the track – and within it rides Hercules, the son of Zeus, and the press agent of a Hollywood studio, who's convinced Herc to come out west with him to play Hercules in a movie! The radio Hercules is listening to interrupts the music to announce the Hulk has escaped after murdering a scientist (Herc's mad at the music going away, and crushes the radio). The agent dreams of the Hulk and Hercules meeting (“It'd be a press agent's dream!”). Back at the base, Rick doesn't believe the Hulk killed Zaxon, and it seems Betty is coming around to the idea that the Hulk and Bruce Banner are one and the same. Talbot is leaving with Rick to try to take the Hulk alive, if possible! Miles away, planes have been called in to attack the Hulk, and the Hulk decides to fight back! Landing near some train tracks, he starts pulling up the rails and throwing them at the planes, destroying enough to send all of them away. Of course, this is the same track that train is on, and it stops, the engineer seeing the damage ahead. Hercules, of course, also comes off the train, and sees the Hulk there! Herc tells the Hulk to prepare for a lesson from Hercules imself, and the two begin to fight! But after two pages of battling, Hercules realizes that the Hulk is stronger than he realized (he also starts to understand why Thor likes it on Earth so much). They continue to fight, grappling at first, and then Hercules throws the Hulk into the cave of a nearby small mountain, and closes it in after the Hulk. The Hulk, however, simply tears the top of the mountain off to free himself! Then, the entire area gets pelted with shells from the approaching soldiers! The Hulk figures he doesn't have the power to fight them all (rather uncharacteristically), and decides to leave! Hercules is all right after this, and goes back to the train, which he gets past the area of damage by lifting one car at a time to the other part of the track. Meanwhile, the Hulk lands some distance away, having escaped his pursuers, and sits.

Invention Exchange: Nothing new this time!

Reprinted In: Marvel Treasury Edition #5, Marvel Super-Heroes #34, Essential Hulk #1

Notes: It's kind of disappointing that the fight between the Hulk and Hercules lasted only the one issue... this is the second time in the span of just a few issues where the Hulk had a foe he could really go toe-to-toe with, and Stan didn't really exploit this!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

CBT: The Fantastic Four Meet "The Witch" Coloring Book!

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If there was a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 for Coloring Books, this would've been one of the episodes!

Cliffhanger! The Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter 5!