Tuesday, September 01, 2015

September 2015 Issue

amalgam logo copy


Welcome to the second issue of the all-new Random Acts of Geekery! As you're reading this, you've been waiting a month for the new issue, but for me, it's still months away from your even reading the first issue!

As I write this editorial in June, summer is coming, with San Diego Comic-Con only a few short weeks away. Sadly, I still haven't managed to make a return visit to this most legendary of comic book conventions, but I'm hoping to some day.

We live in an amazing time to be a geek! When I was a kid, most of the stuff I enjoyed would often be dismissed as simply kids' stuff: Superheroes were on TV, but only on Saturday mornings in animated form; comic books were only at drug stores and other shops of the sort, in spinner racks where you might not be able to find the next issue of your favorite book; once a genre movie was out of the theaters, you had to wait for it to air on TV, and if you were lucky, it might be rerun once every year at best; toys based on genre properties were usually cheap and tacky (although still desirable), with a lot of them seemingly only available at Kmart/Kresge's.

These days, geek culture is everywhere, it seems. You can go into any store that has toys, and there'll be a lineup of action figures and the like featuring characters from comics and movies, or go to a comic book shop, and there'll be even cooler items available. Thanks to eBay, if you have the money, you have access to any collectible from any time (and at the very least, you can always "window shop" and think, "Wow, I had that as a kid, I wish I'd kept it!"

Just about any department store will have t-shirts featuring genre characters in adult sizes, and some carry other articles of clothing with them as well. The video department is just as likely to have a decent selection of genre tv shows and movies available as the latest mainstream releases, and if what you're looking for isn't there, chances are you can stream it on the internet through sites like Netflix or Hulu.

Superheroes have moved from Saturday morning cartoons to prime time, and in greater numbers than before; not only that, but they're being shown in all their special effects glory in movie theaters, with some of the highest-grossing movies being adapted from comics.

But what I believe is the most important change in geekery from when I was a kid is that there's no more sense of isolation. These days, you can be connected to people who enjoy the same things you do easier than ever, whether it's purely online (through social media and the like) or in person (at comic shops, conventions and shows, and more). When I was a kid, there weren't many people around me who liked comics and Star Trek and monster movies and so forth, and when I finally got to meet some of these people with common interests, I didn't feel alone any more. When I go to comic conventions, I'm being surrounded by "my people," and I'm not the weird guy who still likes comics and other esoterica, I'm part of a community where I can pretty much approach anybody and ask them who their favorite comics character is, and get a wide range of answers.

I think it's vitally important that we, as geeks, avoid the temptation to keep our geekery private, and close ourselves off from the rest of the world. We need to celebrate who we are and what we like, and make those connections with those with similar interests in any way we can. Look around your local area, and find the nearest convention or show and get to it, and meet some people! If there's nothing happening locally for you, make something happen -- find out if your library or other location has a space available and start up a group for people who are fans of your brand of geekery, and promote the heck out of it!

Find your way to connect, and be part of a larger community. We all grow stronger when we don't feel like we're all alone in the world, and there's no reason we ever have to feel that way!

Note: On August 19, we learned of the passing of TV's Batgirl, Yvonne Craig, from breast cancer. I had the pleasure of meeting Yvonne at a Mid-Ohio Con back in the days when I lived in Wisconsin (my first wife, Barbara, and I went to Columbus for the convention, where we ran a table for Twomorrows, and Yvonne's table wasn't far from ours). Yvonne was a pleasure to meet, and she graciously posed for a photo with me that I need to dig up, scan, and share here sometime. I'm saddened for her death, she was a great person.


Table of Contents
As with the last issue, you can read this issue either by clicking the "previous entry" button at the end of each article, or click on the items below to open them up in new windows!

Collectible Spotlight – Scooby-Doo collectibles! 
Geek Memories – The final segment of the longest-running Geek Memories series wraps up my comic convention memories, with the Emerald City Comic Con and me! 
Puzzle Time – Sharpen your pencils and your wits! 
Kirby Kovers – A gallery of covers by the great Jack “King” Kirby! 
Book and Record – The video feature returns, with book and record sets featuring the Hulk plus Captain America and the Falcon!
Pulp Magazine Cover Gallery – A handful of covers from the pulp magazines I was selling on eBay last fall! 
Comic Reading Library – This month's selections are from Tales From The Tomb V2#2, Criminals On the Run V4#2, Masked Raider #6, The Twilight Zone #4, Green Mask V2#3, and The Little Scouts #3 
Geek TV Extra – Talking about comics-based TV shows, last season and the new one! 
The Indexible Hulk – The Hulk Vs. the Rhino! 
Ape of the Geek – The Golden Gorilla/Congorilla! 
Covers Redux – Play along at home and see if you can spot differences I missed! 
Cool Stuff – Lots and lots of Beatles stuff, but a few non-Beatles things to start off with! 
Comic Book Ads – Wheaties Continued 
Fandom Library – A few selected articles from K-A #12, a few features from TV Tornado #52, and selected pages from Days of Thrills and Adventure 
Geek TV Return to the Planet of the Apes 
My Characters – A profile of Crime-Master, the most obnoxious villain ever!
Monster Stuff – An assortment of monster and horror movie collectibles, plus a handful of articles in the Monster Stuff Scrapbook! 
Government Comics – This time, the focus is on the National Guard!
Silly Cover – It's an Amalgam Comics mash-up like you've never seen before! 

Puzzle Time Answers - How well did you do?

october2015 Next Issue:

It's Halloween time, and there's a lot of monsteriffic goodies in store for you! Horror comics, Kirby Monsters, a "Babe of the Geek" look at Julie Adams from Creature From the Black Lagoon, and much more! It'll be available starting October 1st!

Character Collectible Spotlight: Scooby-Doo!

I can't believe that I hadn't gotten around to putting the focus on Scooby-Doo yet! I was a fan of Scooby and the gang from the first episode of Scooby-Doo... Where Are You?, even if I wasn't much of a fan of some of the subsequent iterations of the show. Aside from the Flintstones and probably Yogi Bear, Scooby was probably the most-merchandised Hanna-Barbera property.

This plates was similar to Marvel World and other toys, having cardboard punch-out pieces that could be assembled for play.

These Slurpee cups featuring the whole Scooby Gang were part of a summer of Hanna-Barbera character cups at 7-Eleven.

Scooby puzzle!

Some Scooby coloring books!

The episode "That's Snow Ghost" was popular with licensors, here it was used for a Talking View-Master, and I know it was one of the cartridges offered for one of Kenner's projector toys, too.

Figural radio from 1972!


Scooby-Dumm push puppet!

Scooby Puzzle Clock!

Scooby Bagatelle game!

Here's an 8mm home movie adapted from an episode!

Here's a few Scooby story books! I know there were a few more other than these, and I also know that the headless horseman one was based on an episode that was also adapted into a book and record set!

The Indexible Hulk #61!

Hulk 104Issue: The Incredible Hulk #104

Title: "Ring Around the Rhino!"

Credits: Written by Gary Friedrich, penciled by Marie Severin, inks by Frank Giacoia, colored by Marie Severin, lettered by Stan Rosen.

Supporting Cast: Thunderbolt Ross, Glenn Talbot, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Villains: The Rhino, Igor, Georgi

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: When last we saw the Hulk, he had defeated the Space Parasite, but after the fracas, he had been gassed by the police and turned back into Bruce Banner! The issue opens with the front page of the Daily Bugle with the headline "Hulk Captured! Held prisoner at Sing Sing!" In his cell, Bruce ponders his future as a prisoner when Ross and Talbot come to speak with him. Bruce tells them he has an idea that will cure him of the Hulk, but he needs to be taken to his lab. They refuse, and when Bruce starts to get excited, they have him injected with a sedative to prevent his changing into the Hulk. 

In the meantime, we see the Rhino, having just recently been released from prison, and he's been approached by Igor and Georgi, the men who made him into the Rhino. They offered the ex-con money to become the Rhino again, but this time with a more powerful suit as well as enhanced strength (partly from the suit, partly from added gamma-ray exposure). The Rhino's mission: Defeat the Hulk! And he feels up to it!

Back in Bruce's cell, images of the Hulk haunt Banner's nightmares. While he's sedated, Ross is having him transferred to a high-security prison. Betty begs her father to let her accompany them to the airport, and he grudgingly agrees. Meanwhile, Rich Jones watches all this on his television, and considers going to the airport to see Bruce one last time, and possibly ask his forgiveness.

At Igor and Georgi's lab, they've also been watching, and they tell the Rhino that it's really Banner they want, as their organization could use his knowledge of gamma rays. They warn the Rhino before he goes that if he tries to turn on them as he did the last time, they'll use a self-destruct device in the suit to make him regret it! The Rhino smashes through a wall and starts on his way.

Over at the Long Island Expressway, the convoy transporting Bruce is only a few miles away from JFK Airport when the Rhino shows up, butting the armored vehicle with his horn. The guards try to stop the Rhino, but their bullets bounce off the Rhino's new hide! The Rhino tears open the passenger compartment to get at Banner, who's bound.

Meanwhile, as Rick Jones drives to the scene, he hears a report on the Rhino's attack on the radio (amazing media coverage in the Marvel Universe, isn't it?). At the airport, a helicopter flies in to help the Rhino escape with his captives... not only Bruce, but Betty as well! When he boards the copter, he complains about its arrival, as he promised he'd manage by himself, but perhaps they had a better plan, as they brought chloroform to knock Bruce out. However, as they try to knock Bruce out, Rick slams his car into the copter, sending one of the scientists flying out the open door just as it takes off. The resulting situation causes Bruce to lose control, and he turns into the Hulk!

When the Rhino sees the transformation has happened, he drops the Hulk out of the copter, but Greenskin had already spotted Betty, so he spins in midair and grabs hold of the side of the door, then he climbs up and breaks the propellers, forcing it to land with him under it to cushion the fall. But as he drops, the Hulk starts to get dizzy (probably an aftereffect of the chloroform), making him an easy target for the Rhino when they land!

The Rhino starts beating on the Hulk, but the Hulk suddenly recovers and strikes back, sending the rhino flying into an airplane. Then the Hulk turns his attention to the copter to rescue Betty! The Rhino decides it's best to leave as the Hulk rescues Betty. He picks Betty up and jumps to the top of a tower, where he places her for her safety before jumping back to the ground.

On the ground, he lands near the Rhino, saying the Rhino is scared of him. This makes the Rhino change his mind about leaving, and the two clash! While the Rhino is able to get up after the first two hits, he doesn't fare so well when the Hulk smashes a truck on the Rhino, which bursts into flames from the explosive jet fuel it carried. The Hulk grabs the burning Rhino and leaps into nearby Jamaica Bay to put out the fire and drags him back to shore. Even though the Hulk's saved the Rhino's life, the Rhino is far from grateful! Despite his injuries and exhaustion, the Rhino still wants to fight, and then he insults the Hulk by calling him an animal!  

The Hulk's had enough at this point, and promises to kill the Rhino... but quickly changes his mind, as the Rhino can barely stand. He turns his back on his foe and starts to leave, but the Rhino decides to charge him! This doesn't do him any good, as the Hulk easily swats him aside. The Rhino says if it weren't for the truck explosion, he would've won, but the Hulk orders the Rhino to say the Hulk can beat anybody... but the Rhino is silent at this point, and the Hulk assumes he's dead.

Back at the tower, airport workers have recovered Betty, who fainted. The Hulk arrives to see her reunited with her father, and demands that Ross give Betty back to him. Betty begs the Hulk to leave, but the Hulk assumes that Ross has forced her to say this, so he jumps down, picks Betty up, and rushes away.

Invention Exchange: The Rhino's new suit

Reprinted In: The Mighty World of Marvel #52 (UK), Marvel Super-Heroes #58, Der Unglaubliche Hulk #2 (German), Essential Hulk #2

Notes: This issue definitely delivered on all fronts, didn't it? An epic clash, the Hulk escaping with Betty, etc. Of course, we know by now that the Rhino didn't die from his injuries (let's face it, a paramedic the Hulk isn't!). The two would clash again in the future (including a battle that the Abomination would join, having teamed with the Rhino -- this issue would be adapted into a Power Records Book & Record set). 

Next issue: The Missing Link!

Puzzle Time!

It's time once again for some puzzles, and this month I'm starting to feature puzzles from Marvel Fun and Games #6! If you get stuck, you can find the answers to these puzzles here!


Geek Memories: Comic Book Conventions, Part 5!

I know, I know... the last time I posted part of this series was back in December (go ahead, click the link to remind you where I left off if you want... I'll wait).

In 2002, I was hired to work at The Olympian as a graphic designer, so for the first time since moving back to Washington, I had a steady income... which meant that I could consider going to comic book shows again! A few things managed to get in my way, initially, such as moving to Olympia in the first place, and getting all settled in. 

In June of that year, I met Jessi, the woman who would become my second wife. Honestly, I think she wasn't sure what to make of me at first... even before she saw my apartment and all the geeky stuff that occupied it! But I think she realized that it was part of what made me who I was, and accepted it. 

The first comic book show we went to together was probably in August or September of that year, and it took place at the Seattle Center. This was another of those comic book shows that was about 98% dealers tables, which was fine... that's what I was mostly looking for anyway. By this time, I'd heard that Seattle was getting its first real comic book convention, the Emerald City Comic-Con, and I had been in contact with the show's organizer about being a part of it in some way, so part of the reason for going to this Seattle Center show was to meet up with him and discuss what I had in mind. 

The meeting went well, and plans were under way for me to run a trivia contest at this convention. I started working on this almost as soon as we got back to Olympia! The contest would be a basic pros versus fans type of thing, but unlike some of the more famous matches you might've read about, the fans would be chosen from volunteers in the audience. I tried to structure it to give the fans a chance, but with guys like Mark Waid and Kurt Busiek planned early on, they really didn't stand much of a chance! 

Between these two shows, I recall also going with Jessi to a convention in Portland, OR, which takes place around the second weekend of November each year. This was larger than the Seattle Center show, and Jessi may have felt a bit more overwhelmed at the size of this (little did she know how big Emerald City would get)! 

One of the highlights of these shows... and all comic book conventions, for that matter, was the opportunity to touch base with some people and friends I knew... some of them were people I'd met personally (such as the husband-and-wife owners of Lady Jayne's Comics & Books, the shop I was buying from before I moved to Wisconsin, which closed its doors before I moved back), while others were people I knew only from the internet! In some ways, these shows almost feel like they're part high school reunion in a way. But I digress.

I really enjoyed my first Emerald City Comic Con, especially being a part of the show itself. I think the fans and pros enjoyed my trivia contest, and there were some pretty fun prizes given away (I tried to make sure all participants got something). Afterwards, I made sure to thank all the pros individually, and one of the pros was Tom Peyer, whose comics work I'd read, although I didn't quite connect it all at the time. Tom, it turned out, had a blog, and the URL to it was on the business card he gave to me.

I doubt he had any idea how big a deal that ended up being.

Not too many days after I got home from ECCC, I checked out Tom's blog, and from there, I checked out some other blogs as well. And the bug bit me. I decided to start my own blog.

Longtime readers may recall the original title of this blog was "Waffyjon's Random Thoughts," and there wasn't really any real rhyme or reason to what I posted each day. Still, it was an outlet of sorts, and I tried very hard to post every evening, even if it was just a picture. 

The following year, I went to the Portland show again, and again to ECCC, although this time I had no involvement with the show (the trivia contest was overlooked on the schedule). Same for the following year, except that the trivia contest did return! "You Call This a Trivia Contest?" was changed from the last one to an extent; the questions were in categories with point amounts similar to Jeopardy!, plus there was the addition of special helper items!

There were several helper items, and the fan team for each match-up could choose one of them, not knowing what it would be able to be used for. They were:

The Flash's Ring -- this was the ring included with a DC Direct Flash action figure. This ring, when used in the game, would allow time to be "turned back," so if the fans gave a wrong answer to a question, they'd get a chance to answer it a second time.

Two-Face's Two-Headed Coin - An item I created with a print-out of a coin glued to foam board with one side marked. If this coin was used after a correct answer, they could flip it to go double or nothing on the points for that question.

Justice League Communicator - Created like the coin, using this would let the fan team ask an audience member for help on a question.

Fantastic Four Flare Gun - Mocked up as best as I could, this was like the JLA Communicator, in that they could ask the audience for help.

Wonder Woman's Lasso - A length of golden rope (which I purchased at Wal-Mart). When the fans were stumped on a question, they could choose a member of the pro team to answer it for them, the lasso "forcing" them to tell the truth.

The Cosmic Cube - My favorite item of the bunch, this was made with one of those plastic photo cubes. I made a paper liner for the inside, and then took a Halloween thunder and lightning gadget, disabled the thunder sound effect, and placed that inside, so that there was a near constant flashing of light. As with the Flash's ring, they could use it to alter reality so they'd have a second chance of answering a question.

The fans had fun with these objects (the only one I know for sure I still have is the Cosmic Cube), but that was the last year the trivia contest was held at ECCC. I missed going the following year due to financial constraints, and then attended the next one, which was the first one my kids went to themselves. Then another skipped year, and then attended again (this was the one my daughter wore her Supergirl outfit for, which got her lots of attention. I think this is the one I made a video for). 

I had to miss two in a row after that, but my family and I made it to this year's event. Daughter Desi wore a custom-made Raven outfit, based on the animated version, and we got pictures of her with every other Titan we could find there. 

Even though the subsequent ECCC's have been ones where I only attended and didn't actually be a part of, I still enjoy them a lot. The show has grown significantly, to the point where it's nearly as big as San Diego was the one time I went (maybe bigger). I'd been saying for years prior to this that Seattle could support a real comic convention, and I've been proven right!

I'm looking forward to 2016's show, and you'll be able to read all about that one in the issue after it happens!

Kirby Kovers!

And now it's that point in this month's installment of Random Acts of Geekery where I present a gallery of covers by the great Jack "King" Kirby!

Book and Record Sets: The Incredible Hulk Plus Captain America & The Falcon!

Having not posted any of these for a while, I figured I should treat you a little bit this time around! First up, here's a book and record set that was actually a book and cassette set, based on The Incredible Hulk #1!

Up next, we've got Captain America and the Falcon in "A Phoenix Shall Rise," one of the 1970s Power Records sets. This one was adapted from an issue of Cap's book written by Tony Isabella, although I'm sure you'll see that there's been some very bad relettering going on! Power Records' editors obviously decided some changes had to be made from the original comics, and while some of these changes were removing references to previous issues, some of them seems rather arbitrary to me!

Sci Fi Pulp Magazine Cover Gallery!

Time once again for a small gallery of covers from some of the sci-fi pulps that I sold on eBay last fall!
Giant clutching hands were never exclusive to comic book covers!

Comic Reading Library

Our first selection this month in the Comic Reading Library is "Swamp Monsters" from Tales From the Tomb Volume 2, Number 1!

Our next selection is a story that originally appeared in Criminals On the Run Volume 4 Number 2, and was reprinted in Super Comics' Master Detective #17! It's Young King Cole in "The Polka Dot Bandit"!

More Comic Reading Library on the next page!