Tuesday, December 01, 2015

December, 2015 Issue!



It's that time of year again, when the stores are packed with shoppers, holiday decorations are everywhere, and you're either embracing it, enduring it, or hating it.

One of the challenges of the holiday season is finding that perfect gift for someone. Now, I'm no expert on gifts, but I do have a few suggestions for gifts for your fellow geeks:

The first one would be a gift certificate or gift card for their local comic book shop or Amazon. While this seems impersonal, I like getting gift cards, because sometimes there's an item I've been wanting to get but can't quite afford on my current budget, and often a gift card will give me the financial edge to get it!

DVDs are a good option to consider, as well, especially of TV shows or movies that the recipient is a huge fan of. While many of these are available on Netflix or other streaming services, I always enjoy checking out the special features that you usually don't get online. Most geeks usually have an extensive want list of DVDs they'd like to have (my own want list includes the original Star Trek, as well as the TV series of Planet of the Apes, although Land of the Giants and The Time Tunnel would be welcome as well). You can also consider DVDs of shows and cartoons they were fond of as a child (I'd love to get the Looney Tunes collections, as well as fill in the gaps in my Speed Racer collection).

Collectibles relating to a particular show can be welcomed as well... fans of the 1966 Batman would likely welcome getting some of the action figures or Batmobiles that have been produced.

eBay can be a good source for finding gifts. The only thing you really have to consider is making sure that delivery will be made on time! Be sure you check out when the seller ships (while most will offer same day or next business day shipping, some will only ship once a week) as well as how it's shipping (during the holidays, items sent Media Mail are often “bumped” due to other items having priority). Talking to your recipient about their collection will often reveal items they've been wanting. Movie posters of favorite movies can be a good choice here, although originals can be expensive! Here you'll need to read carefully if you're looking at a listing as to if it's an original poster or a reprint.

The Moebius model reissues of classic Aurora models (as well as models Aurora never produced) are good gifts for those who had the Aurora kits as a kid, especially if they've continued to build models as an adult.

Another idea for a holiday gift could be admission to a local comic book show. More often than not, these tickets are available well in advance, and if your recipient hasn't gotten their tickets yet (or is concerned about affording them at the time), this could be very welcomed!

If your recipient is a comic book fan, it's possible that you could purchase an original sketch for them. The real caveat here is that many comic book artists that take commissions are often backlogged, and the sketch may not be completed and mailed in time for the holidays. Some artists regularly list sketches for sale on eBay (I know Fred Hembeck is constantly selling hand-colored original drawings, and I'd love to have a few of those).

If you need a gift for a child who's into geekery, I always like the idea of buying them trade paperback collections with stories of characters they like. While most current superhero books aren't really appropriate for kids, getting them Showcase Presents or Essential volumes can give them a lot of reading about their favorite characters from a time when all-ages was the default!

Hopefully, those will give you some ideas.

This issue is jam-packed with stuff, as I wanted to make sure there were some special features this month. In the following pages, you'll find a video based on DC's The Untold Legend of the Batman, a Geek TV spotlight on Fantastic Journey, a Silly Cover, a Babe of the Geek gallery of TV Batgirl Yvonne Craig, some Christmas Comics, and a lot of the other features you've come to expect from Random Acts of Geekery.

Next month... Random Acts of Geekery will go back to its original bloggy format. The monthly blogazine was an interesting experiment to try, but I'm not sure it worked. So look for Monday through Friday postings to begin with the new year!



Book andRecord Set – The Untold Legend of the Batman! 

Geek TV – The One-Season Wonder Fantastic Journey

SillyCover #2 – Another “missing” Amalgam Comic Cover! 

PuzzleTime – Another set of challenging puzzles from Fun and Games Magazine

Babeof the Geek -- TV's Batgirl, Yvonne Craig!

CollectibleSpotlight – AHI Star Trek and Space: 1999 Collectibles! 

ComicReading Library – Christmas Comics Edition! 

ComicBook Ads – A selection of vintage comic book advertisements! 

MonsterStuff – From Konga and King Kong Escapes to Love at First Bite, with a mini-gallery of Little Shoppe of Horrors covers and other stuff! 

GeekMemories – Star Wars! 

ComicReading Library – This month, selections from Chilling Tales of Horror #2, Green Hornet #33, Criminals on the Run V4 #5, Masked Raider #7, and Zaza the Mystic #10!

Apeof the Geek – Chewbacca the Wookiee! 

BeatlesCartoon – Another episode of the Fab Four's animated series, with episodes based on “Anna” and “I Don't Want to Spoil the Party,” plus of course the singalong! 

FandomLibrary – A selection of articles from magazines and fanzines past! 

IndexibleHulk – From Incredible Hulk #107, “Ten Rings Hath the Mandarin!” 

CoolStuff – Continuing the Big Little Book galleries! 

CoversRedux – Still more original Marvel books and the reprinted versions... can you spot the differences? 

MonsterScrapbook – More from The Mole People fumetti, a pair of articles on Frankenstein in the movies, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Ray Harryhausen, Satan in the movies, and The Mummy's Curse

MyCharacters – This time around, a villain group called the Five Card Draw! 

Sci-FiPulp Cover Gallery – Some classic covers from the 1940s and 1950s! 

KirbyKovers – Another gallery of classic comics covers by the King! 

TheFleischer Popeye – “Beware of Barnacle Bill,” the 19th in the series! 

CoolStuff Bonus! – An additional selection of vintage items of interest, including Bond, Book and Record Sets, Buck Rogers and Bullwinkle items!

Essayson Comics Characters – Doctor Victor Von Doom!

PuzzleTime Answers! – How well did you do? 

Submission Guidelines

Random Acts of Geekery is happy to consider any submissions for publication that are appropriate to the themes covered in this blogazine. No compensation is offered for use, but you do get to keep the copyrights to any submissions, so long as you understand that any accepted submissions will remain in the archives of Random Acts of Geekery issues.

Prior to preparing a submission, contact Jon B. Knutson at waffyjon at comcast dot net with the idea for your article or submission, just in case something similar is already in the works. Topics that can be covered are: comic books,cartoons, oldies rock and roll, monsters, science fiction, pulp magazines, toys, geeky TV shows, children's books, and so on. Interviews with people involved in any of these topics are also welcomed! Submissions are also welcome for regular features such as Puzzle Time (you can either scan puzzles from vintage items in your own collection or create your own geeky puzzles), Covers Redux (I've only been covering Marvel's superhero and Sgt. Fury books, but I know several of their western comics had reprints, usually with new covers, and I haven't covered any DC stuff at all), Geek TV (I have a list of shows I'm planning to get to eventually, but if you have a favorite that I haven't covered yet, it's more than welcomed), Ape of the Geek (again, I've got a list I'm working on, but you may have a favorite ape you want to write about I haven't gotten to yet), Comics They Never Made, and Silly Covers. I also will consider submissions for Geek Memories!

All writing should be kept PG-13. I reserve the right to make any edits that I feel are appropriate for spelling, grammar, clarity, and so forth, but I will always contact you before publication, just to make sure that any misunderstandings are cleared up. All graphics submitted should be in .jpg format, minimum resolution of 72 dpi, maximum resolution should be 300 dpi, maximum size (at set resolution) of 8.5” x 11”, minimum size (at 72 dpi) of 3” x 3” (larger is preferred).

Remember that Random Acts of Geekery is prepared several months ahead of publication, so on occasion, some submissions may not run for a while after they are accepted. However, when a submission fits into a prepared issue that hasn't been published, I will consider adding it.

Any other questions concerning submissions should be submitted to me at waffyjon at comcast dot net.

Book and Record Set: The Legend of the Batman!


This month's Book and Record selection is based on one of DC's first miniseries, "The Untold Legend of the Batman," which began with art by John Byrne in the first issue, and finished with Jim Aparo doing the remainder (he inked Byrne on the first issue).

Geek TV: The Fantastic Journey!


fantasticjourney1Concept: A family and their associates charter a boat into the Caribbean for a scientific expedition, but after encountering a strange green cloud in the Bermuda Triangle, find themselves shipwrecked on a mysterious, uncharted island populated by people from different times in history, separated by "time zones." The group would travel through these time zones, having adventures while searching for their way home.

Total Episodes: 10

Original Air Dates: February 3 - June 17, 1977

Original Network: NBC


Jared Martin (Varian) and Roddy McDowall (Willowy) with guest-star Joan Collins,
from a women's lib-themed episode.
Varian (Jared Martin): A man from the 23rd century, who possesses powers. He uses a device called a Sonic Energizer, which uses his thoughts to manipulate matter with sonics (which can have devastating effects or subtle ones, but mostly used for healing). After meeting the travelers, he takes on the role of leader.

Scott Jordan (Ike Eisenmann): Teenage son of Professor Paul Jordan, he has knowledge of history and events, but is still young and sometimes impulsive.

Dr. Fred Walters (Carl Franklin): A young doctor, just out of medical school. For a doctor, he certainly knows a lot about fighting!

Liana (Katie Saylor): Daughter of an Atlantean and an alien, she possessed greater than human strength and psychic skills. Her character was dropped after the eighth episode due to Saylor becoming ill; the show said she was going to be catching up with the group later, but she never did, due to the cancellation of the program.

Dr. Jonathan Willoway (Roddy McDowall): Similar to Dr. Smith in Lost in Space, he's a rebel scientist from the 1960s with scientific knowledge and was something of a black sheep.

Sil-El: Liana's cat which she can communicate with telepathically.

Geek Pedigree:

Two of the 10 episodes were directed by Vincent McEveety. His prior directing credits included an episode of The Man From UNCLE and six episodes of Star Trek, including "Dagger of the Mind" and "Balance of Terror." He also directed the 1974 TV movie Wonder Woman, an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and later directed two of the Love Bug movie series, three episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, an episode of The Powers of Matthew Star, and 20 episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

Michael Michelin wrote three of the episodes, he'd previously written the scripts or stories for four episodes of Kung Fu. He later wrote an episode of the Amazing Spider-Man and an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as an episode of War of the Worlds

D.C. Fontana wrote one episode, she is of course best known for writing credits on 10 episodes of Star Trek, as well as episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Land of the Lost, later writing episodes of Logan's Run, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Star Trek: The Next Generation, War of the Worlds, The Legend of Prince Valiant, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, and several other genre shows.

Liana caught in an energy cage!
Lead actor Jared Martin had previously appeared in an episode of Night Gallery, and played a technician on Westworld. He later guested in episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, Project UFO, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Knight Rider, and starred in the TV series War of the Worlds.

Ike Eisenmann should be familiar to most of you, he's best known for playing Tony Malone in Escape to Witch Mountain and the sequel, Return From Witch Mountain. He later played Charlie Barry in Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell, guested in a pair of episodes of Wonder Woman, played Preston in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and has done a handful of voice acting jobs. He played Sheriff Antony in the 2009 movie Race to Witch Mountain, a remake of his most famous movie.

Katie Saylor had previously been sen in Invasion of the Bee Girls and Supervan, but after Fantastic Journey, she didn't do any other acting parts.

Roddy McDowall, of course, played Cornelius and later Caesar in the Planet of the Apes movie series (except for Beneath the Planet of the Apes), as well as playing Galen in the TV series Planet of the Apes, playing the Bookworm in a few episodes of Batman, and voicing the Mad Hatter in Batman: The Animated Series, among many, many other great roles.

Mike Road was the narrator on the show, he may be best known for voicing Race Bannon on Jonny Quest, although he's had many other voice roles.

Geek Guests:

Ike Eisemann (Scott) with guest-star Cheryl Ladd, still a few years
away from Charlie's Angels. This same episode also guest-starred
future TV Spider-Man Nicholas Hammond.
For such a short show, it had its share of geek guest-stars, among them Lynn Borden (she played Barbara Baxter on Hazel, guested in 2 episodes of Get Smart, and played Jenny Corckett in Frogs), Gary Collins (his second screen role was an uncredited part as a submariner in King Kong Vs. Godzilla, later playing Dr. Michael Rhodes in The Sixth Sense, appearing in an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man, as well as one of The Bionic Woman, three episodes of Thriller, and later appeared in an episode of Tales of the Unexpected), Jason Evers (he'd played Dr. Bill Cortner in The Brian That Wouldn't Die, and guested in episodes of T.H.E. Cat, The Green Hornet, The Invaders, Tarzan, The Wild Wild West, played E-2 in Escape From the Planet of the Apes, appeared in four episodes of Mission: Impossible, and latter appeared in two episodes of Knight Rider), Richard Jaeckel (The Green Slime, as well as a handful of other genre guest roles), Nicholas Hammond (who would the same year start his three years playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man), Cheryl Ladd (who may be best known as one of Charlie's Angels, but began her TV career voicing Melody in Josie and the Pussycats), Lew Ayres (best known for the title role in the Dr. Kildare movie series, he also appeared in the pilots for Gene Roddenberry's Earth II and The Questor Tapes, as well as playing Mandamus in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, and later President Adar on Battlestar Galactica), Julie Cobb (she was Yeoman Leslie Cobb in the Star Trek episode "By Any Other Name"), Joan Collins (who had, of course, played Edith Keeler in the classic Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," as well as the Siren on Batman), Jerry Daniels (who'd played Marple in the Star Trek episode "The Apple"), Marge DuSay (who played Kara in "Spock's Brain" -- yes, another Star Trek guest-star who appeared on this show... did you imagine there would be so many Star Trek connections?), Leif Erickson (George MacLean in Invaders From Mars), Susan Howard (who played Mara in the Star Trek episode "The Day of the Dove," and had also guested on an episode of The Monkees), Paul Mantee (Commander Christopher "Kit" Draper in Robinson Crusoe on Mars), John Saxon (Blood Beast from Outer Space, Queen of Blood, as well as guest roles on TV shows like The Bionic Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Wonder Woman, later playing Sador in Battle Beyond the Stars), and Jack Stauffer (who would later play Bojay on Battlestar Galactica).

DVD Release: A complete series is available on Amazon, but it's not a commercially-released DVD.

Website: None.

Notes: This was, of course, one of those short-lived SF series of the 1970s that my family and I watched religiously, and were disappointed when it was cancelled. A mid-season replacement, it suffered by being put up against popular shows The Waltons and Welcome Back, Kotter, as well as dealing with pre-emptions and time slot changes. I recently watched the entire series for the first time since it originally aired, and while I was expecting to be disappointed, it actually holds up rather well, if one considers some of the standard sci-fi TV tropes of the era (i.e., the Hotel Bonaventure will be used in at least one episode due to its futuristic look, some props will be reused because nobody ever expected you'd be able to watch episodes back to back like we do today, etc.). I wonder if anyone's ever considered reviving this show like Battlestar Galactica was?

Silly Cover!


Here's another one of those mash-ups that's been kicking around in my head for a while, just like the previous T.H.U.N.D.E.R.Cats cover... I have to admit, though, this didn't quite turn out as I'd planned... trying to find a picture of He-Man holding his sword up with other MOTU characters, and then trying to find a picture of E-Man with him using his energy powers to form his hand into a sword and working it that way was my original plan, but the best-laid plans, etc. Overall, I'm happy with the way this came out, though!

If you've got a Silly Cover you want to make up and submit, check out the submission guidelines on the cover page!

Puzzle Time!


It's once again time for Puzzle Time! And as before, I'm continuing with puzzles from Fun and Games Magazine #6! When you're ready to check your answers, you can click here!


Government Comics!


Time once again for another edition of "Government Comics," where I present sponsored comic books designed to educate and inform! This time around, it's "Ricky and Debbie in Sardineland," and you can well imagine how much excitement this will have!

Next time: Security is an Eye Patch, starring Sally and Charlie Brown!

Collectible Spotlight: AHI Star Trek and Space: 1999 Toys!


If you're around my age (53), you probably have fond memories as a child seeing rack toys made by AHI and other companies in stores like Kmart. Many of these toys are worth quite a bit of money these days, which is especially amazing considering how cheap they were back in the day! Among my favorite lines that AHI produced were their toys based on Star Trek and Space: 1999, so I thought I'd feature a mini-gallery of these toys for you this month!

The Phaser Ray-Gun was probably the only AHI Star Trek item I actually owned... as you can see, it's shaped like a Phaser, with the Trek logo used on the Gold Key comic book, but it houses a small flashlight that would light up when you squeezed the trigger. Even as a kid, I bemoaned the fact that the barrel wasn't quite right... but I still got it!

The Saucer Gun looked a lot like the ray-gun, didn't it? I wouldn't be surprised if some of the parts were the same, or at least slightly modified tooling from one used for the other. AHI did several different saucer guns.

OK, I can hear you saying (or thinking), "Wait a minute... you said AHI toys, not Remco toys!" Well, Remco was a subsidiary of AHI (which is kind of odd when you think about it... Remco's toys were usually more expensive and better produced, so the cheap company was the parent to the more higher class company). Anyway, this is another Phaser toy, that's also pretty much a flashlight, although this comes with "beam discs" that would form the shape of the Enterprise, a Klingon Battle Cruiser, and a generic UFO. Note that this box uses photos instead of original art!

I would've loved to get this Utility Belt that included all three major props from the show, although looking at it, it doesn't seem that the items are very well-made... the Exploration Set models produced by EMT were much more accurate! Naturally, this is one of the more valuable items produced by AHI or Remco!

It was popular enough that two versions were sold, although it appears the only real difference was the box design.

As you can see, AHI also did Jet Disc versions of the Phaser, as well as the weapon from Space: 1999... and both were featured on this refill kit!

This flying Enterprise is pretty neat, even if they did move the saucer section to midships! Note that by this point, they were using the TV logo instead of Gold Key's logo.

AHI was also known for making toys that really didn't fit their licenses at all. Here's a loose Mr. Spock parachutist... because, of course, they were always parachuting from the ship to the planet surface, right?
As you can see, they made versions of both Kirk and Spock, and neither of them is a particularly good likeness (they did a better job with Batman and Spider-Man ones).

This pinball game may not have been an AHI item, but it looks like their kind of product!

I wish I had a bigger, better photo of this Enterprise water gun, because I think it's the neatest idea that AHI produced, even if the execution was lacking a little bit (judging from the photo, anyway).

Courtesy of the Plaid Stallions blog, here's an AHI action figure of "Mr. Rock," and you can probably tell it's supposed to be Spock. I don't know how they got away with this any more than they got away with their Action Apemen knockoffs of Planet of the Apes!

AHI and Remco seem to have made even more Space: 1999 items than they made for Star Trek, which is pretty amazing for a show that only lasted two seasons! Here's the Remco stun gun, and it looks pretty cool to me!

The Stun Ray-Gun was similar to the Phaser Ray-Gun. When I got the Phaser, my brother Jeff got this toy!

AHI made several Eagle Spaceship toys like this one, with a few color variations, as I recall. 

To be honest, I'm not sure if AHI or Remco made this walking spaceman toy, but it's pretty similar to earlier walking robot toys both companies produced.

Here's the disc shooter version of the Stun Gun!

The Eagle water gun suffers from some of the same problems the Enterprise one did... great idea, but the execution was lacking. Note that the landing gear pods were moved up, and a lot of the detail is entirely missing.

Of course, if there was a Star Trek pinball game, they had to do it for this show, too!

The same applies for the parachutists! AHI liked to repeat ideas between licenses (they also did parachuting Batman, Joker, Penguin and Robin figures, as well as Spider-Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Superman, and Cornelius and Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes... of course, most of those didn't really work with that concept, did they?).

"The Alien" was a concept produced as a model kit (by a different company) as well as this car from AHI... I don't know if it ever appeared on the show at all!

Here's the Stun Saucer Gun... or rather, the page from the AHI catalog promoting it!

Last, but not least, here's the friction-powered Moon Car!

I hope you've enjoyed this look at AHI's Star Trek and Space: 1999 toys... if I missed any, please send any pictures you have to me!