Thursday, October 01, 2015

Cool Stuff!


Now it's the time in this month's issue where I present photos of some cool stuff I think is of interest to my readers! All of these images have been archived from eBay auctions of the past, so it's unlikely the exact item pictured here is available now, but it's entirely possible someone is selling one of them, so start your saved searches! Unless otherwise noted, I don't own any of the items seen here, nor am I selling any of them myself. Now that the formalities are out of the way, let's begin!

The first item this time around is this French poster for Beneath the Planet of the Apes, which you can probably tell was slightly altered in title for France! I find it interesting that the central figure of Ursus is pretty much an exact match for his on-screen counterpart, while the remainder of the images are pretty generic.

Next up, and appropriately enough for this Halloween issue of Random Acts of Geekery, is this Bewitched Halloween costume! Let's first talk about the box, shall we? Note that three of the images are of Marvel superheroes... badly redrawn images of the Hulk, Spider-Man, and Thor (an odd assortment... nothing against the Thunder God, but I would've thought Captain America would've been more recognizable). The blue guy with the green cape looks vaguely familiar, and I suspect that was a redrawing of an image drawn by Steve Ditko, possibly from some Marvel horror or sci-fi comic. I'm pretty sure Ben Cooper didn't do a costume of this guy, whoever he is!

Now, let's talk about the costume! The mask itself isn't that bad... it's not a perfect likeness of Elizabeth Montgomery, but it's pretty close. Looking at the rest of the customer, it's kind of a mishmash... three different images of Samantha Stevens that we can see... yet not a single one of them is of the iconic animated image of Sam seen in the opening credits of every single episode of Bewitched! Plus, the images show Sam wearing a black dress with a cape... if they figured that was Sam's look, why didn't they make that the primary theme of the costume?

This Bewitched puzzle just has "win" written all over it... excellent likenesses all the way around!

You know, I've never seen The Black Hole? This pop-up book looks pretty neat, though!

Now, for the remainder of this installment of "Cool Stuff" (no doubt to be continued in the next month's installment, if not in December as well), it's a parade of Big Little Books and similarly-formatted books, featuring characters from comics, TV, and other sources that I thought you guys might be interested in checking out!

The Big Little Book line was published by Whitman Publishing Company in 1932, and the line lasted until sometime in the early 1970s. In its heyday, the line "inspired" other publishers to produce similarly-formatted books as well. The original books had a cover price of 10 cents, and I believe it went up to 69 cents by the time Whitman stopped publishing them.

I'm not very familiar with Abbie an' Slats, but I believe they were popular comic strip characters at one point in time, and probably reprinted in some of the early comic books, too.

I certainly hope that you have heard of Alley Oop, the caveman who appears to be a distant ancestor of Popeye (given the forearms and lower legs). One of these days, I'll have to track down some reprints of his newspaper strip and read 'em!

As you can see, Alley Oop starred in at least three Big Little Books!

Here's an Andy Panda book in the BLB format, although this one was really more of a trade paperback book in the BLB size. It's possible this was an adaptation of an Andy Panda comic book, with the panels reformatted to be a page each (some of the Big Little Books were based on comic strips adapted much the same way, with the original comic strip art facing a page of text; since the panels were rarely the right proportions, they often had the art extended, and never by the original artist).

There were at least two of these Andy Panda all picture comics.

This one appears to be more in the BLB mold, although it's hard to tell for certain!

Better Little Books were Whitman's name change to the line, which happened in 1938 (the BLB line began, by the way, in 1932), and then changed back later on. Oh, and "Apple Mary" here? It was a comic strip that later changed formats and title... to Mary Worth!

Here you can see where Apple Mary got a later adventure in the BLB line!

Disney characters were popular selections in the BLB line, and I'd imagine many of these were adapted from Dell comic books.

Big Chief Wahoo was a popular comic strip back in the day, but I'd imagine that modern-day readers would find the portrayal of him rather offensive today!

Blondie was another popular choice of subject matter in the original heyday of the Big Little Books!

As you can see here, by the 1960s, TV was very popular, and Whitman (the publishers of the BLB line) started licensing many of those shows for inclusion in the series.

I can't help but imagine that there were other Bringing Up Father volumes, but this was the only one I'd found when I was collecting images for this post.

Lots of Buck Rogers volumes were done!

Bugs Bunny starred in a few of these as well, here's one that I've had myself!

It appears that most of Bugs' BLB books were published in the 1960s to very early 1970s, as the only "golden age" book I found was that all pictures comic seen in the group above!

Here's a couple of BLBs with newspaper strip star Captain Easy!

I'm pretty sure this Captain Midnight BLB preceded Fawcett's comic book adaptation of the radio series.

Yes, even Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen got to be in a BLB, although this could be more of a fictitious biography rather than an adventure based on their radio personalities.

Here's three different Charlie Chan books in the series!

Every now and then, Whitman would produce a BLB with an original character, possibly to save money on licensing. The Crimson Cloak would appear to be one of these!

Daffy Duck got a BLB of his own, although Bugs Bunny guest-starred in it!

Dan Dunn was another popular newspaper strip in the day!

Next month, the gallery continues, beginning with Dick Tracy!

1 comment:

  1. Jon,
    I hope you get a chance to see The Black Hole. Actually, I'm surprised you haven't already seen it. I'll look forward to reading your reaction!


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