Friday, June 27, 2014

Cover Redux!

Time once again to look at the differences between original Marvel Comics covers and the reprint books they later made a re-appearance in!
First up, we have Avengers #51 and the reprint in Marvel Triple Action #43. As you can see, the larger logo for MTA required things to be reduced a bit in order to fit! Heck, even the blurb on the bottom got replaced with a new blurb moved to below the corner box (which is, to be fair, smaller than the original had it). It appears that either the lettering was reused from the old blurb, or (more likely?) the lettering was redone in the same style. Also, note that Hawkeye's right arm is completely redrawn, as well as other parts of him (I notice his breechcloth is slightly different in the reprint). It looks like new art was done for the background on the top, and the machinery on the right got added to.

What happens when the trade dress of a comic is no longe rin style when the book is reprinted? Well, this happens... the art gets enlarged slightly, although mostly it's a case of it being added to on the sides a bit to accommodate the lack of a frame. If you look carefully, you'll notice the crowd of men fighting is actually overlapping Spidey a bit more than on the original, probably due to the larger logo on Marvel Tales #91. Note also that the background on the left is slightly different on Amazing Spider-Man #112... actually it's completely different! Changes were made on the left side as well. Also, note that while the "Cops Out" text is pretty much used as is, a new "Spidey" was lettered!

Not a lot of changes were made when Fantastic Four #22 was reprinted in Marvel Collectors' Item Classics #16... the Mole Man's speech balloon was replaced with the blurb for the other features in the reprint book, and the bottom blurb is also replaced. You'll note a new arrow blurb on the top, much smaller than the original, as well as a different blurb above Reed's head (the new blurb is even behind his head a bit). Finally, the background has been altered on the top and right sides. I've got to say, I definitely prefer the original coloring, too!

This takes us to X-Men #26 and the reprint in issue #74. As I've discussed in this feature before, I've long theorized that Marvel did all-new covers for some of their reprint books in an attempt to keep them from looking like reprints, but instead all-new books (honestly, even when the original covers were used, it took me years before I realized the cool Lee-Kirby Fantastic Four stories in Marvel's Greatest Comics were reprints!). In this instance, we have one of those rare situations where the new cover (obviously by Gil Kane) was much better than the original, which lacked dynamism.

We started with Avengers and Marvel Triple Action, and now we end there... when Marvel reprinted Avengers #35 in Marvel Triple Action #27, they did an all-new cover, although this was a bit beyond when they'd typically do that. My best guess is that the original cover just didn't work for the much larger logo on the reprint -- I mean, look at that thing! It's a third of the freaking cover!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Comic Reading Library: Barbie and Ken #1

Barbie and Ken in Random Acts of Geekery? You'd better believe it, effendi! It's just part of my offering the widest variety of old-school geekery available to you, my readers!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Comic Book Ads: Smith Cough Drops!

Can you believe that a medicine like Smith Cough Drops would've advertised in the Golden Age Fawcetts? Well, you don't have to, just check these out!
This is typical of the original series of ads... where Trade and Mark, the Smith Brothers, help out a child with a cough who can't do something they want!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ape of the Geek: King Kong – Toho (1)

kong toho 1Species: Giant gorilla

First Appearance: King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962)

Other Appearances: None (see Miscellaneous)

Merchandising: The Kong from this movie has been made multiple times in action figure form in Japan.

Biography: This version of King Kong was 147 feet tall, and lived on Faro Island in peace, until a pharmaceutical/television conglomerate discovered soma, a new type of sedative-producing berry, existed on Faro Island. TTV Television sent two men to Faro to retrieve more berries, as well as to investigate the legend of a giant living diety worshipped by the natives. The men got the natives to guide them to the soma berries, but en route an avalanche blocked their way, and the natives were attached by a giant octopus which sought the berries itself. Kong showed up to fight the octopus, chasing it off, and then it drank four large jars of the berry juice, prepared by the natives. As Kong slept it off, he was transported to the TTV ship for transport back to Japan, towed on a raft. Before arriving ashore, Kong awoke, freed himself, and sought out his instinctual enemy, Godzilla. His first match was a loss, and Kong fled to Tokyo, where he runs amok until he sees and captures Fumiko Sakuri, the sister of one of the men who captured him earlier. The Self Defense Force used soma juice fired in rockets to put Kong asleep again, but with Godzilla still on the rampage, Kong was airlifted to Mr. Fuji to face off against his foe again. Thanks to a freak lightning storm, Kong was victorious, and returned back home (presumably).

Powers: This version of King Kong had one special power – he could absorb electricity in any form and then redirect it as an attack when he touches his foe.

Miscellaneous: This version of Kong is obviously not the same as the original, who died at the end of his own film. Also, the version of Kong in King Kong Escapes is obviously based on the Kong of the Rankin-Bass animated series, and not this one, as it's not the same size, nor does it have the electrical abilities of this one. That Kong will be covered next time.

The origin of this movie and its Kong is an odd one...originally, Willis O'Brien had conceived of a project called King Kong Vs. Frankenstein, which would have been a sequel to the original King Kong, where Kong would fight a giant creation of Dr. Frankenstein's grandson. The story was stolen from O'Brien by John Beck, who hired George Worthing Yates to flesh it out into a screenplay and retitled it Kong Kong Vs. Prometheus. This script was sold to Toho who replaced Frankenstein/Promethus with Godzilla. Toho didn't give up on using a version of the Frankenstein Monster, however... they planned a Frankenstein Vs. Godzilla film as a follow up to King Kong Vs. Godzilla, but things didn't work out, so Godzilla Vs. Mothra became the next film in the series. Toho would use the Monster (in a bizarre form) in Frankenstein Conquers the World in 1965.