Just in time for Halloween, Sterling Children's Books has released Who's Haunting the White House?, written by Jeff Belanger and illustrated by Rick Powell. I received a copy of this book for review the day before I hit the road, and I didn't get a chance to read it until yesterday... And I wish I'd read it before I left, so my son Tristan would've had a chance to read it himself before Halloween this year!
Many of you readers probably already know that there've been stories about the ghost of Abraham Lincoln being seen in the White House, but he's not been the only apparition sighted there!
This book is a nice combination of historical fact (for context) combined with the reports of ghost sightings from the earliest days of the White House to the present. Certainly, author Belanger writes from the perspective that ghosts exist, but whether you do believe in them or not, I found the book to be a fun read, and one I'd be happy to recommend for any child from about age 9 or older, depending on their reading level. Heck, I'd even recommend it for adults who are curious about the ghost sightings there, period! It's a bargain at the cover price of $9.99, and you should be able to find it at your local bookstore, or you can order it from the handy link below, and a few cents will find its way to my wallet eventually.
First up in this installment of Cover Redux, it's Sub-Mariner #7 and Tales to Astonish #7... and this is quite unusual -- rather than exactly reprint the original art, they took the Namor pose and used a different background photo! My best guess as to why this was done is because they could do more with cover photos by the time the reprint was done (still nowhere near as good as they could do today, but then, desktop publishing and computer graphics make it much easier).
Time for more comic book ads... and yes, I know that because of the size I've got this ad here, you can't see all of it... but what you can see is how this early ad for the 204 Revolutionary War Soldiers photographed the pieces... and you can really see how flat they were! You may recall I posted a similar ad here a few weeks back. Oh, and this is from Alarming Adventures #1!
And here's the final batch of Monster Cards I have for you!
These were from a series that was apparently called Frankenstein Valentines, but you'll forgive me if I don't use them for Valentine's Day, eh?
I've only seen one of these ever on eBay, so it's gotta be pretty rare, eh? Sure, it's probably just the same mold as some other plane Lincoln put out with some other stickers added to make it a Batplane, but I still think it's pretty cool!
Credits: Written by Stan Lee, layouts by Jack Kirby, finishes and inks by Bill Everett, letters by Sam Rosen.
Supporting Cast: Rick Jones, General Ross, Betty Ross, Major Talbot
Villain: Boomerang, the Secret Empire, Tyrannus
Hulk Intelligence: Brute who just wants to be left the heck alone!
Plot: The issue opens at the headquarters of the Secret Empire (making their debut appearance) where they are watching a film secretly taken of the Hulk escaping from the missile base led by General Ross. As we watch with them, we see the Hulk leaping away, pursued by the new Orion Missile, which blows up 100 feet from its target to release a ring of ionic energy at the target, causing a shock wave to send anything or anyone to the ground! Yes, I know, we've never seen this happen before, it happens. Of course, the Hulk survived the attack, but this just shows the Secret Empire that they shouldn't consider using the Hulk, but instead focus on the Orion Missile. Empire agents number five, seven and one other (whose number isn't mentioned) decide to hire Boomerang for the job! Moments later, at the apartment of Fred, a former baseball star pitcher turned villain, aka Boomerang, receives the call on his high-tech walkie-talkie (which he passes off to his date as a normal citizen's band walkie-talkie) and accepts the assignment! He sends his date home, and then opens a secret panel to reveal his Boomerang costume and weapons! Meanwhile, far below the surface of the earth, the forces of the Mole Man and Tyrannus continue to wage war against each other, while Bruce Banner (who's missing the glasses we saw him in last issue – his pants also look appropriately torn) tries to make his way to find Betty Ross, Rick Jones, and Major Talbot, who are trapped down there too. Bruce runs into Tyrannus as he searches, but Tyrannus tries to shoot him with a raygun! Tyrannus misses (not having any idea who Bruce is, naturally), and Bruce takes the gun from him and demands to know where his friends are. Tyrannus eventually tells Bruce that since they were of no further use to him, he sent them to the surface via his Matter Transmitter. The aged Tyrannus drops the bust of himself in his youth on the ground, and his obsession with regaining his youth leads Bruce to walk away from him. Tyrannus then comes across some moisture on the ground, and is convinced it's what he seeks! He vows vengeance on the Hulk! On the surface, Rick, Betty and Talbot materialize and are found by Ross' soldiers. Talbot is told that Ross is concerned about the safety of the Orion Missile, and since Talbot is in charge of security, he verifies proper procedures have been followed. As the trio climb into a jeep, some distance away, Boomerang watches them! He pulls a metal disc from his uniform and throws it with deadly accuracy, shearing off the steering wheel of the jeep, and then he uses more discs to disable the soldier's weapons as well as put the soldiers out of action! Rick and Talbot decide to fight fire with fire, and pick up some rocks to throw at Boomerang! The villain, however, throws two more discs before the rocks can be thrown, knocking them out of the duo's hands! Boomerang then grabs Betty, planning to use her as a hostage, and flies off with his boot jets, first throwing an explosive boomerang at a nearby hill, shattering it and causing a rock slide, trapping Talbot and Rick. Meanwhile, Banner approaches Tyrannus' science building, but he's grabbed by the local Moloids! Banner begins to fight for his life, but the stress causes him to turn into... The Incredible Hulk! The Hulk easily breaks free, and continues to the Science Building, where the dim memory from when he was Banner causes him to get to the Matter Transmitter, where an automatic circuit kicks in, and the Hulk dematerializes!
Invention Exchange: The Orion Missile (inventor unknown), Boomerang's boomerang with electrical discharge, and the now renamed Matter Transmitter.
Reprinted In:Marvel Super-Heroes #36, Essential Hulk #1.
Notes: Adapted as episode 37 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. The reprint of this story in Marvel Super-Heroes may have been the first comic with the Hulk I ever bought! Notice that despite the fact that Talbot is a complete failure as security officer, nobody's been calling him a traitor or anything... in fact, nobody's mentioned Zaxon from a few issues back!
Jack Kirby's work often had a sense of humor present -- think about some of the sequences in Fantastic Four, for example, like the Thing trying on a Beatle wig -- so I like to think he really enjoyed doing silly stuff on occasion like this, the cover of Not Brand Echh #1! Notice all the standard Kirby touches done askew!
So, we're up to the fourth of the Fleischer Popeyes, and someone must've decided they didn't like the previous arrangement of the Popeye Theme, because this time around, "I Eats My Spinach" opens with the arrangement we've come to know and love, more or less (the hornpipe introduction goes a bit longer than usual).
We iris out to see Popeye walking down the street, singing his theme song -- and this street looks like Popeye's been mad at it in the past, because there are broken windows and warped doorways. Ahead of him, two roughs are fighting each other, but Popeye just walks right between them without getting hurt. Later, a tiny thief is holding up a big fat policeman, and Popeye walks between them, too! Next, Popeye's walking past a construction site where a big piledriver is in use, and walks right through it -- damaging it beyond repair when it hits him!
Shortly, he arrives at the apartment house Olive Oyl lives in, and calls out her name, followed by throwing a boulder through her window! She comes and looks out, and when she sees Popeye, she calls out, "Oh, sweetheart!" This gets Popeye acting all shy, and a heart comes out of his chest (with an anchor -- he is, after all, a sailor). Olive slides down the drainpipe, landing in a full barrel of rain water, and Popeye invites her to the rodeo.
Naturally, at the rodeo, Bluto -- or rather, "The Great Bluto" is performing. We're kind of going back to the Betty Boop cartoon territory, as the first people we see at the rodeo is a pig selling tickets, with a cow woman (with her children hiding under her dress) buying one. Popeye and Olive arrive, and Olive buys a ticket and walks in, then uses her long legs to pass the ticket over the fence to Popeye, so he can get in, too. Inside, they can't find a seat, so Popeye pulls a row of seats over to make room next to a cat woman and a horse man.
Wimpy is in charge of telling what event is what, and while eating burgers (from an enormous pile of them), he sticks his foot over a bucket of paint (there's a brush tied to his shoe) and slaps paint on a big sheet of paper, announcing the first event is fancy horsemanship. Bluto rides out, standing on top of his horse, which turns into three smaller horses, and then merge back into one again! He then proceeds to slide his way all around the horse without falling off of it (it's kind of hard to describe - see the picture to get an idea of it) and then standing on the horse's outstretched tail. Olive applauds him like crazy, so Bluto rides up to meet her.
When Olive remarks, "Ain't he grand?" Popeye says, "Well, watch me!" and proceeds to hop into the arena and on the horse, riding it backwards! Then, he grabs the horse's tail and pulls on it, turning the horse back to front! Then, he takes the horse to a central ring, where he rides standing on it like a circus performer, and then switches places with the horse! The crowd goes wild for Popeye's stunts, but Bluto just stamps his foot.
The next event is steer wrestling, and a steer is released for Bluto to wrestle. He pulls it to the ground and then, grabbing the horns, twists its head around in circles, but when he lets it go, it spins back, smacking Bluto with the horns in the face. The steer then runs off, but Popeye grabs it, and Popeye and the steer begin wrestling like human wrestlers, with the steer at one point putting Popeye into a scissors hold (briefly changing into scissors, naturally). But then Popeye turns the tables on the bull, and even does some judo-style throws on it until the bull's tail goes straight up and a white flag of surrender is raised. Naturally, the crowd goes crazy for this!
Then, an even bigger, meaner bull comes out, which Bluto catches with a lasso. He ties it up, r starts to... but the bull takes over and ties up Bluto! Popeye laughs over this, and then pulls out a red cape, and starts bullfighting! Bluto gets out of his ropes, and lassos Olive, and goes to get a kiss from her, but she runs off! Popeye doesn't notice this, as he's too busy having fun with the bull, even switching places with the bull holding the cape! But then he hears Olive, and chases after her and Bluto. So we have Olive, Bluto, Popeye, and the Bull running away from the arena!
The bull manages to hit Popeye with his horns, sending Popeye crashing into Bluto, bumping Bluto far enough ahead so that he can grab Olive! But she squirms free and kicks Bluto, sending him spinning (and Bluto somehow transfers the spinning to Popeye, who pulls out just in time to clobber the bull. Then Popeye leaps to where Bluto and Olive are, getting between them, and holding Bluto off with his feet while he gets out his spinach... and we get a very slow version of the Popeye theme, not the fanfare we've been waiting for!
Energized by the spinach, Popeye knocks Bluto aside with one blow, just as the recovered bull is charging straight at them! Popeye hits it once, sending it up to the air, and it falls down as prepared cuts of meat for Popeye's Meat Market! Popeye sings, "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man! (toot! toot!)" and we iris out!
We've come very, very close to a "perfect" Popeye with this one... the transformation punch was saved for the end of the cartoon, the spinach wasn't eaten too soon... but we didn't get the full pay-off for the spinach, no fanfare, no effects... one punch for Bluto, one for the bull, and it's all over. Plus, of course, there's the whole arena full of animals and not humans thing, which bugs the crap out of me when watching Popeye cartoons! So unfortunately, I can only give this three cans of spinach (it would've been four if there'd been people in the arena).
In case you're wondering, yes, I do have a lot of these, which is why they're alternating with other Fandom Library presentations, otherwise I'd quickly get to the point where that's all I'd be presenting each time!
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